Hesitation Blues

Lyrics: Traditional
Music: Traditional

This was played once by Garcia with Grisman in 1992, and recorded on Shady Grove as a bonus, hidden track (after the final track listed on the CD).

Look down the road just as far as I could see
A man had my woman and the blues had me
Tell me how long
Do I have to wait?
Oh can I get you now, or must I hesitate?

I ain't no doctor but the doctor's son
Can't do the doctor till the doctor's done
Tell me how long
Must I have to wait?
Can I get you now, or must I hesitate?

I got the hesitation stockings, the hesitation shoes
Oh my Lord I got the hesitation blues
Tell me how long
Do I have to wait?
Can I get you now, or must I hesitate?
Can I get you now, or must I hesitate?
Hot Tuna's better-known version has some different verses:
Well a nickel is a nickel, and a dime is a dime
I need a new girl, she won't mind
Tell me how long do I have to wait?
Can I get you now, or must I hesitate?

Eagle on the dollar says "In God we trust"
You say you want a man, you see that dollar first
Tell me how long do I have to wait?
Can I get you now, or must I hesitate?

If the river was whiskey and I was a duck
You know I'd swim to the bottom, Lord, and never come up (note 1)
Tell me how long do I have to wait?
Can I get you now, or must I hesitate?

Rocks in the ocean, Lord, fish in the sea
Knows you mean the world to me
Tell me how long do I have to wait?
Can I get you now, or must I hesitate?

Got them hesitation stockings, got them hesitation shoes
Lord I got them hesitation blues
Tell me how long do I have to wait?
Can I get you now, or must I hesitate?
Can I get you now, or must I hesitate?
Notes
(1) this verse appears in many other songs such as Rollin' And Tumblin'

Jerry Garcia Recordings
     Date Album Recorded By
     199? Shady Grove Garcia/Grisman

Roots
Dick Rosemont has discovered that the original version of this was by Art Gillham (aka "The Whispering Pianist") recorded in 1925. Very few of the lyrics seem to have survived to current versions:
I'm going down to the levee, take a rocking chair
The blues don't leave me, go rocking with them there
Baby how long, how long I have to wait
Can I get you now, or must I hesitate

I had a sweet mama, so bashful and shy
When she [moves] her underware she plugs the needle's eye
Baby how long, how long I have to wait
Can I get you now, or must I hesitate

A doctor's in love with my girl they say
I got her eating apples just to keep him away
Baby how long, how long I have to wait
Can I get you now, or must I hesitate

I've met girls on railroad trains and on big river boats
But my good woman got what makes a goodmule eat his oats
Tell me honey, tell your papa, how come you make him do like you do?
Can I get you now, or must I hesitate

Well you must love your neighbours, what the good book say
But that don't mean to love her, when her husbands away
Baby how long, how long I have to wait
Can I get you now, or must I hesitate

When I got home last night, I wasn't there at all
I looked through the trash, another mule in my stall
Baby how long, how long I have to wait
Can I get you now, or must I hesitate

I've got [ham in my knees], I may be awful dumb
But I got more ideas of loving than Wrigley has gum
How long, how long I have to wait
Can I get you now, or must I hesitate

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust
I got a black haired mama that the rain can't rust
Tell me honey, tell your papa, how come you do things things like you do?
Can I get you now, or must I hesitate

I was born down in Georgia, I was raised in Tennessee
When I get hesitation blues, my mama takes them away from me
How long, how long I have to wait
Can I get you now, or must I hesitate