deadsongs.vue.113 : Jordan (Cold Jordan)
permalink #0 of 17: (alexallan) Thu 11 Sep 03 00:15
Jordan (aka Cold Jordan)
w&m: traditional
deadsongs.vue.113 : Jordan (Cold Jordan)
permalink #1 of 17: Alex Allan (alexallan) Thu 11 Sep 03 00:17
Jordan (Cold Jordan) 
Lyrics: Traditional
Music: Traditional

Oh sinner as you tread on life's journey
Take Jesus as your daily guide
Though you may feel pure and saintly
Without Him walking by your side
But when you come to make the crossing
At the ending of his pilgrim's way
If you ever will need your Saviour
You will surely need him on that day

Now look at that cold Jordan, look at its deep water
Look at that wide river, oh hear the mighty billows roll
You better take Jesus with you, he's a true companion
Oh I'm sure without him that you never will make it home

That awful day of judgement is coming in the by and by
We'll see our Lord descending in glory from on high
Oh, let us keep in touch with Jesus and in the special love of God
And may we ever be called ready when he calls us over Jordan's tide


Now what you gonna do, oh what you gonna say
Oh how you gonna feel when you come to the end of the way?
deadsongs.vue.113 : Jordan (Cold Jordan)
permalink #2 of 17: David Gans (tnf) Sun 20 Feb 05 23:19

Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2005 22:47:36 -0800 (PST)
From: richelle delpinal <>
Subject: cold jordan

Hey there.  My friend and I are tearing up the
internet trying to find the original artist who wrote
'Cold Jordan' (aka 'Better Take Jesus' Hand').  Do you
have any ideas?  Also, do you know where I can find a
guitar tab for this song?
Thanks much for your time and keep on truckin'!
deadsongs.vue.113 : Jordan (Cold Jordan)
permalink #3 of 17: Alex Allan (alexallan) Tue 22 Feb 05 12:29
It seems to be a traditional song, but it was first recorded by the
Stanley Brothers in the 1960s.
deadsongs.vue.113 : Jordan (Cold Jordan)
permalink #4 of 17: David A. Mason (mntnwolf) Wed 23 Feb 05 18:30
It certainly got a big promotion by being centrally featured in 
the new "Festival Express" movie....  the uninitiated will think
that our Jerry was a Jesus freak!
deadsongs.vue.113 : Jordan (Cold Jordan)
permalink #5 of 17: from PAUL KENISTON (tnf) Sat 26 Mar 05 18:11

Was Jerry a Jesus Freak?

perhaps I am yet uninitiated, but I see alot of Christ coming through in

My friends in church don't get it.
Maybe neither do you.

'but what will be the answer to the answer man...when we get to the end of
the way'

It's just so inspiring to me when Jerry sang the gospel.

Keep on Shining

Paul Keniston
Dallas Texas
deadsongs.vue.113 : Jordan (Cold Jordan)
permalink #6 of 17: Christian Crumlish (xian) Sun 27 Mar 05 19:55
he was more of a UFO-believer type, but he once made comments about
how his worldview was entirely encased within the Christian context. He
was raised Roman Catholic and (projecting, no doubt) I see a lot of
his issues with shame and guilt coming from there. Well into his life
as a successful rock star and hippie icon he still lied to his family
about things like his drug use.
deadsongs.vue.113 : Jordan (Cold Jordan)
permalink #7 of 17: Robin Russell (rrussell8) Tue 29 Mar 05 07:23
I feel an understanding of the spritual context of gospel music is not
confined to committed christians. I do think you can feel and sing
better (including gospel singing) if you can access the divine, but
there are many ways to do that, and many ways of interpreting just what
it is.
deadsongs.vue.113 : Jordan (Cold Jordan)
permalink #8 of 17: Marked from the Day That I was Born (ssol) Tue 29 Mar 05 10:07
The joy and/or sorrow in those fine old gospel songs, and some of the
new ones that mine the same vein, is just beautiful to express and
almost universal to Humans. If one is questing for the spiritual, such
music is a natural place to visit on one's personal map, I think.
deadsongs.vue.113 : Jordan (Cold Jordan)
permalink #9 of 17: from PAUL KENISTON (tnf) Wed 30 Mar 05 08:02

Paul Keniston writes:

I believe we all are on a spiritual quest to access the divine.

In the cosmic scheme of things, the central point can be called by so many
names with so many roads leading to that place where it all rolls in of
 ( and out of) One.

It's that place where all is right and true and pure and enlightening.
It's the spiritual essence of what I call Christ.

It saddens me that the church's influence appears to be the source of Jerry's
guilt and shame when Jesus Christ is in truth the source of freedom from such

Even sadder that the point is a valid one. I'm also a product of the Roman
Catholic Church.

I don't deny Jerry had his troubles, but when our Broken Angle sang from a
guitar he would transcend the proverbial muck and mire. He knew how to tap
into that place of inspiration and pour it out in song.

Jerry also knew that the inspiration wasn't limited only to him and delighted
to see it expressing itself all over the stage and throughout the audience.
All were invited to join in.

That's what I mean about seeing Chrisy coming through Jerry and touching
people dep in their soul.

It's the unconditional love for freaks of all kinds.
It's like Jehova's famous choir.

The point is...

If you want to hitch hike through the cosmoa, as all good pilgrims are wont
to do,

'You better take Jesus with You! "

and I bid you good nite
deadsongs.vue.113 : Jordan (Cold Jordan)
permalink #10 of 17: Marked from the Day That I was Born (ssol) Wed 30 Mar 05 13:08
Hmmmmm... one of the beauties of Hunter & Garcia's little ditties is
that almost anyone can see in them what they relate to.

Speaking of Hunter & Garcia, it's good to remember that Hunter and
others (lyricists of the songs the GD covered) wrote those words, not
deadsongs.vue.113 : Jordan (Cold Jordan)
permalink #11 of 17: David Gans (tnf) Wed 30 Mar 05 13:09
Neither of them wrote "Cold Jordan."
deadsongs.vue.113 : Jordan (Cold Jordan)
permalink #12 of 17: Marked from the Day That I was Born (ssol) Wed 30 Mar 05 13:21
Exactly. Then there are songs covered by the GD that were written and
changed over time by entire communities, or handed down and evolved as
they traveled across the country, from farmlands to cities, even from
England and Scotland to America.
deadsongs.vue.113 : Jordan (Cold Jordan)
permalink #13 of 17: neil (nlg) Wed 30 Mar 05 15:08
While I think it true that overtly spiritual music spoke to Jerry in a
fairly deep and profound way, and that he tried to pass along that
spirit in his renditions of those songs and in his own music, I also
think that one can fall into the trap of reading too much into this
phenomenon.  While I think it is wonderful when anyone finds their
path, whether to the divine, the ground of being, the void, or whatever
you want to call it (I personally do not believe in some center from
which flows all things, and I consider myself a deeply spiritual
person), I think it overreaching to make statements about one specific
faith, religion or path with respect to Jerry's oevre, or the man
himself and his beliefs, let alone humanity in general.  
deadsongs.vue.113 : Jordan (Cold Jordan)
permalink #14 of 17: David Gans (tnf) Wed 30 Mar 05 16:24

My own conversations with Jerry - on and off the record - did not elicit much
in the way of religious talk from him.  In fact, he recoiled when I suggested
that the Grateful Dead served the purpose of religion in some people's lives.

That 1981 interview is published in "Conversations with the Dead."  I'm 2500
miles from home so I can't give you a page number.
deadsongs.vue.113 : Jordan (Cold Jordan)
permalink #15 of 17: Paul Keniston (cross-road) Sat 16 Apr 05 16:12
Let's step back and simply see this song as a metaphor for reaching a

This song tells the tale of the struggle to find a way to reach the
promised land knowing that there are no guarantees. 

In this story of the Exodus , only two of the adults ( neither of whom
was Moses)who departed the land of the Nile actually entered the
Promised land. It also relates to the tale of the Christian Gospel
depicting Jesus as the true and living way into this desired destiny.

It is also a song of hope and encouragement alongside of a healthy
fear of God.

Jerry may not have written the words, but it's interesting that he
chose to sing that particular song at that particular moment in that
particular environment.

He has just faced, as a valiant peacemaker, a violent conflict in
Toronto and knows he's likely heading towards more of the same. It must
have been enormously frustrating to find such a reception in Canada's
attempt to recreate Woodstock. 

It reminds me of another song of the genre which sang:

" we've got to get ourselves back to the garden"

another biblical metaphor alluding to that wonderful place we are
hoping yet  to arrive at.

'and that's where it's at, if you want to believe it'
deadsongs.vue.113 : Jordan (Cold Jordan)
permalink #16 of 17: Bryan Miller (bamfinney) Mon 4 Sep 06 20:44
this is from a post in exFolk forum website:

From Gary B. Reid's notes to The Stanley Brothers: The Early Years
1958-1961 (4-disc set; Stardy/King KBSCD-7000): 

" "Jordan" is thought by many to be an older traditional song but it
was written in 1954 by Fred Rich, a gospel songwriter from northern
Georgia who conceived the chorus of the song at the Co-op where he
worked in Blairsville, Georgia."

Rich was a gospel song contributor to singing conventions in Georgia
that eventually became state-wide all-day functions.
deadsongs.vue.113 : Jordan (Cold Jordan)
permalink #17 of 17: from PAUL KENISTON (tnf) Fri 20 May 11 11:58

Paul Keniston writes:


We can scratch one more good intention off of my list!

I found the reference of Jerry Garcia's encounter with God in The Rolling
Stone's "Garcia by the Editors of the Rolling Stone" assembled in 1995.

Such a great book that all my attempts to find this reference were quickly
distracted by other tales of the adventures of the Good Old Grateful Dead!

Here is the quote on P.219 from the article entitled "Dead Reckoning" written
by Bill Barich and dated September 21, 1995

"He was sure he'd "received direct instruction" about life while high and
swore that once he had ridden up into the heavens and had been shown the face
of God "close enough to see the pimples." The encounter shook him up plenty
and left him with a stammer that lasted for a while."

so there you go

Seeing the Face of God is a rare honor bestowed upon biblical figures.

I must add this in good conscience...if this face really had pimples then it
was not The Most Holy God. I like to think that it was the pores of his skin
that Jerry could see-not pimples-!

IICorinthians 11:14,15 warns of how the Deceiver will transform into an angel
of light.

Goes to show you don't ever know, so I advise you take Jesus with you!

Jerry was certainly a spiritual man and explored the spiritual realm in
amazing ways.

Peace Doves and Love from Above to One and All

Paul Keniston

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