Morning Dew

Lyrics: Bonnie Dobson
Music: Bonnie Dobson

One of the songs the Dead played almost every year from the 60s to the 90s.

Walk me out in the morning dew, my honey
Walk me out in the morning dew today
Can't walk you out in the morning dew, my honey
I can't walk you out in the morning dew today

I thought I heard a baby cry this morning
I thought I heard a baby cry today
You didn't hear no baby cry this morning
You didn't hear no baby cry today

Where have all the people gone, my honey?
Where have all the people gone today?
There's no need for you to be worrying about all those people
You never see those people anyway

I thought I heard a young man mourn this morning (note 1)
I thought I heard a young man mourn today
I thought I heard a young man mourn this morning
I can't walk you out in the morning dew today

Walk me out in the morning dew, my honey
Walk me out in the morning dew today
Can't walk you out in the morning dew, my honey
I guess it doesn't matter anyway
Well I guess it doesn't matter anyway
Notes
(1) It certainly sounds as if Jerry sings "mourn" even though the Bonnie Dobson original is "moan"


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Origins
Bonnie Dobson wrote the song in the early 1960s. She describes the background in an interview with Randy Jackson. Her version is pretty similar, though not exactly the same as Jerry Garcia sang:
Take me for a walk in the morning dew, my honey
Take me for a walk in the morning sun, my love
You can't go walking in the morning dew today
You can't go walking in the morning sun today

But listen, I hear a man moaning, lord
Oh yes, I hear a man moaning, lord
You didn't hear a man moan at all
You didn't hear a man moan at all

But I thought I heard my baby crying mama
Oh yes I hear my baby crying mama
You'll never hear your baby cry again
You'll never hear your baby cry again

Oh where have all the people gone?
Won't you tell me, where have all the people gone?
Don't you worry 'bout the people any more
Don't you worry 'bout the people any more

Won't you take me for a walk in the morning dew my love
Please take me for a walk in the morning sun my honey
You can't go walking in the morning dew today
You can't go walking in the morning sun today

But listen, I hear a man moaning lord
Oh you didn't hear a man moan at all
But I'm sure I hear my baby crying mama
You'll never hear your baby cry again

Oh where have all the people gone?
Won't you tell me where have all the poeple gone?
Don't you worry about the people any more
Oh don't you worry about the people any more
Don't you worry about the people any more
Bonnie Dobson talks about the origins of the song in the interview by Randy Jackson:
[RJ] Why don't we go back a little and talk about the inspiration for that song, set the context. I think there were a lot of social and political things going on at that time.

[BD] Yea, well actually what happened with that song is that, I think it must have been maybe 1960 or 1959, I can't remember, when I saw a film called "On The Beach" and it made a tremendous impression on me, that film. Particularly at that time because everybody was very worried about the bomb and whether we were going to get through the next 10 years. It was a very immediate problem and I remember I was singing in Los Angeles at the Ashe Grove and I sat up all night talking with some friends. I was staying with a girl named Joyce Nastelin(sp) whom I lost contact with, nice woman she was. And I don't know, she went to bed or something and I just sat and suddenly I just started writing this song. I had never written anything in my life. I'd written some poetry as a kid. I'd never written songs and this song just came out and really it was a kind of re-enactment of that film in a way where at the end there is nobody left and it was a conversation between these two people trying to explain what's happening. It was really apocalypse, that was what it was about.

I remember the next day, there was a wonderful woman in Los Angeles named Jane Borak(sp) and she used to have these terrific parties that lasted all night and were amazing because everybody played all night long. We'd finish at the Ashe Grove, say Brownie and Sonny, and we'd pick up Mark Speolstra and God knows whatever musicians were around and we'd end up at Janes and we'd sing and play the whole night long, it was quite wonderful. I remember ringing her up and saying "I've written this song" and was sort of singing it down the phone and "Do you think it's any good?". I think I performed it at the Ashe Grove, but I'm not sure about that, but the first time that I know that I performed it where it actually made an impact was at the first Mariposa(sp) festival in Toronto. In fact I remember vividly the review in the Globe & Mail, they said some things about me and a mornful dirge called "Morning Dew", and she sang a mornful dirge. That's what it was really about, it was really about that film and the feelings, the fearful feelings we had at that time. And then things got better and then they got worse and we are where we are now. Actually I think that the song, if anything, is more of this time, of the present than it ever was then.
Fred Neil recorded a version of the song in 1964 that changed the opening line from "Take me for a walk in the morning dew" to "Walk me out in the morning dew", which is how Jerry Garcia sang it:
Walk me out in the morning dew, my honey
Walk me out in the morning dew today
Can't walk you out in the morning dew, my baby
Can't walk you out in the morning dew today

Thought I heard a young man moaning, lord
Thought I heard a young man moaning, lord
You didn't hear no young man moaning, Lord
You didn't hear no young man moan today

Where have all the people gone, my honey
Where have all the people gone today
Don't you worry 'bout those people, baby
You'll never see those people any more

Thought I heard my baby crying mama
Thought I heard my baby crying mama
You didn't hear no baby crying mama
You didn't hear no baby cry today

Walk me out in the morning dew, my honey
Walk me out in the morning dew today
Can't walk you out in the morning dew, my baby
I'll never walk you out in the morning dew again
Again, the Randy Jackson interview describes how the Fred Neil version came about:
[RJ] The first cover version, the first recording besides yours was by Fred Neil.

[BD] Yea, Jac Holtzman(sp) rang me in New York and he said "You wrote Morning Dew didn't you" and I said "Yes". He said "Have you published it?" cause I was quite a little dumb dumb actually in those days. He said "Well, Fred Neil wants to record it so we would like to publish it." So I signed a publishing deal with him and that was OK. And then afterwards I would meet people and they would say "I learned that song traveling on a train from St Louis to Chicago" and it had sort of traveled actually like a proper folk song. Fred Neil was the first person to...well rock it really, because the way I sang it was actually quite lyrical and he rocked it. He actually changed the lyrics as well.

[RJ] He added some additional verses at the end?

[BD] Well, actually, instead of saying "Take me for a walk" he sang "Walk me out in the morning dew". He was the one that changed it.
Tim Rose recorded a version in 1967 (and became credited as a co-author of the song - see below):
Walk me out in the morning dew, my honey
Walk me out in the morning dew today
Can't walk you out in the morning dew, my honey
Can't walk you out in the morning dew at all

Thought I heard a young girl crying mama
Thought I heard a young girl cry today
You didn't hear no young girl crying mama
You didn't hear no young girl cry at all

Walk me out in the morning dew, my honey
Walk me out in the morning dew today
Can't walk you out in the morning dew, my baby
Can't walk you out in the morning dew at all

Thought I heard a young man crying mama
Thought I heard a young man cry today
You didn't hear no young man crying mama
You didn't hear no young man cry at all

Now there's no more morning dew
Now there's no more morning dew
What they were saying all these years is true
'Cause there's no more morning dew

Now there's no more morning dew
Now there's no more morning dew
Lord, what they were saying all these years was true
'Cause there's no more morning dew

Now there's no more morning dew
Now there's no more morning dew
Lord, what they were saying all these years is so true
'Cause they've done chased away all our morning dew

Oh, now there's no more morning dew
Oh, now there's no more morning dew
The Randy Jackson interview explains how Tim Rose came to be credited as a co-author:
[RJ] One of the other people who recorded the song was Time Rose.

[BD] ... Timmy Rose, I've never met him, he was written into the contract subsequently, I think it was 1967 maybe early '68. I had a call from Manny Greenhill saying Tim Rose is going to record your song but he wants to make a few changes, can you write a new lyric. I remember I was sitting on a plane flying from Toronto to Vancouver, I was doing a television show, sitting writing this thinking "What am I doing this for?" you know sort of thing. I was searching desperately through my desk trying to find the correspondence with Manny because I think what happened was there was no way we could not actually cut him in on the lyric because I had performed it and [then] published it. I hadn't done it the way your supposed to do things so it was somewhat in the public domain. I must admit when I heard his version I suddenly said "Uh Oh, hey what's going on here?" because to me there was no substantial change and actually if we're really honest about this, if anyone is going to be credited as co-writer or co-lyricist it should have been Fred Neil because all Time Rose did was take Freddy Neils changes.

So that was difficult, but the worst part was that when I came to England in 1969 and I gave my debut concert at Queen Elizabeth Hall everybody had thought that Time Rose had written that song because he had never ever given me any credit at any time for anything to do with that song. I've written songs with other people and I have never claimed them for my own. I just think it was really a dreadfully dishonest thing to do. I still get my royalty check, but I still consider it quite a grievous injury. I remember when Lulu brought it out, that was what '67, and they took out a full page ad in Billboard and it said Tim Rose's great hit and I nearly went crazy but there was nothing we could do.


Futher Information
For an online discussion of the lyrics to this song see the deadsongs.vue conference on The Well.
For more information on recordings see Matt Schofield's Grateful Dead Family Discography
For online chords and TAB see www.rukind.com

 


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