Deep Elem Blues

Lyrics: Traditional
Music: Traditional

Played by the Grateful Dead from their earliest days up till 1983 (and subsequently in 2003 by The Dead). It was also played by Jerry with David Nelson in 1962 and with his then wife Sarah in 1963.

Different versions have the verses in different order (note 1), but these are the building blocks:

1.
Well if you go down to Deep Elem, put your money in your shoes (note 2)
Women in Deep Elem got them Deep Elem blues
Chorus
Oh sweet mama, your daddy's got them Deep Elem blues
Oh sweet mama, your daddy's got them Deep Elem blues

2.
Once I had a girlfriend, she meant the world to me
She went down to Deep Elem, now she ain't what she used to be
[chorus]

3.
When you go down to Deep Elem, have a little fun (note 3)
Have that ten dollars ready when the policeman comes (note 4)
[chorus]

4.
Once I knew a preacher, preached the bible through and through
Went down to Deep Elem now his preaching days are through
[chorus]

5.
When you go down to Deep Elem, put your money in your pants
The women in Deep Elem they don't give a man a chance (note 5)
[chorus]

6.
When you go down to Deep Elem, put your money in your socks (note 6)
The redheads in Deep Elem, they'll put you on the rocks (note 7)
[chorus]
Notes (1) the order of verses in various versions is:
Dick's Picks 8:1,2,3,4,5
Reckoning:1,4,6,3,1
Almost Acoustic:3,1,4,2,3
Garcia/Nelson 1962:3,4,5,6,3
Dead Ringers:3,5,4,6,2,1
Good Old Boys:3,6,4,5
Prairie Ramblers:3,2,1,5,4,6
(2) Garcia varies between singing "Well if you go down to Deep Elem" and "When you go down to Deep Elem".
(3) sometimes "got to have a little fun" or "just to have a little fun"
(4) "ten dollars" is the most common. But the Prairie Ramblers and Dead Ringers have "fifteen dollars". And on Almost Acoustic, Garcia sings the first verse with "ten dollars" and the last with "twenty dollars"!
(5) sometimes "The fellas in Deep Elem" and sometimes "won't give a man a chance"
(6) sometimes "... keep your money in your socks"
(7) the Good Old Boys have "Good lookin' women ..." and Dead Ringers have "they will throw you on the rocks"

Grateful Dead Recordings
     Date Album
     18 Apr 1970 Family Dog at the Great Highway
      2 May 1970 Dick's Picks Vol 8
     15 May 1970 Road Trips Vol 3 No 3 (late show)
     17 Nov 1978 Reckoning (note a)
     11 Oct 1980 Reckoning
      7 May 1981 The Tomorrow Show (DVD)
      5 Apr 1982 Road Trips Volume 4, Number 4

Recordings from dead.net Tapers Section

"The Dead" Concert Recordings

Furthur Digital Downloads and CDs