deadsongs.vue.165 : Ramble On Rose
permalink #0 of 12: David Dodd (ddodd) Mon 8 Sep 03 09:29
Ramble On Rose
w: Hunter m: Garcia
deadsongs.vue.165 : Ramble On Rose
permalink #1 of 12: Alex Allan (alexallan) Mon 8 Sep 03 20:54
Ramble On Rose 
Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: Jerry Garcia

Copyright Ice Nine Publishing; used by permission.

Just like Jack the Ripper
Just like Mojo Hand
Just like Billy Sunday
In a shotgun rag-time band

Just like New York City
Just like Jericho
Pace the halls and climb the walls
And get out when they blow

Did you say your name was Rambling Rose?
Ramble on baby, settle down easy
Ramble on Rose

Just like Jack and Jill
Mama told the sailor
One heat up and one cool down
Leave nothing for the tailor

Just like Jack and Jill
Papa told the jailer
One go up and one come down
Do yourself a favour


I'm gonna sing you
A hundred verses of ragtime
I know this song
It ain't never gonna end
I'm gonna march you up and down
Along the county line
Take you to the leader
Of the band

Just like Crazy Otto
Just like Wolfman Jack
Sitting plush with a royal flush
Aces back to back

Just like Mary Shelley
Just like Frankenstein
Clank your chains and count your change
And try to walk the line


Goodbye Mama and Papa
Goodbye Jack and Jill
The grass ain't greener, the wine ain't sweeter
Either side of the hill


Ramble on Rose
deadsongs.vue.165 : Ramble On Rose
permalink #2 of 12: from ADAN (tnf) Mon 2 May 05 14:31

Adan writes:

Just a comment on the line "the grass ain't greener."  Turns out it is and
it's not.

According to Cecil Adams (the Straight Dope), if you look at your neighbor's
grass, you'll see it at a different angle than when you see the grass under
your feet.  Due to that angular difference, you'll see the brown soil in
between grass blades, etc., desaturating the green in your own grass, whereas
you see all green when you're looking at your neighbor's grass.

All in all, a beautiful real-life metaphor on "truth."  It all depends on
your point of view...

deadsongs.vue.165 : Ramble On Rose
permalink #3 of 12: I prefer to avert my mind. (izzie) Mon 2 May 05 14:39

but the wine, Adan, the wine.  Is it sweeter?
deadsongs.vue.165 : Ramble On Rose
permalink #4 of 12: *%* (jewel) Mon 2 May 05 15:15
Probably if you are on the north side of the hill...
deadsongs.vue.165 : Ramble On Rose
permalink #5 of 12: .006 (gmw76) Tue 16 Aug 05 11:29
Sub rosa - "under the rose" - an ancient symbol of secrecy.

Cupid gave Harpocrates, the god of silence, a rose to bribe him not to
betray the confidence of Venus. 

Hence the ceilings of Roman banquet-rooms were decorated with roses to
remind guests that what was spoken sub vino (under the influence of
wine) was also sub rosa.
deadsongs.vue.165 : Ramble On Rose
permalink #6 of 12: David Dodd (ddodd) Fri 1 Feb 13 09:39
Posted on behalf of Bryan Rosenblithe: 

Dear David,

Just a note to say I stumbled on your annotated dead lyrics site and
found it immensely pleasurable. The entry on "Ramble on Rose" prompted
me to write, and, if you're interested (or not, but choose to continue
reading anyhow), here's my take. 

Ramble on Rose describes an attempt by an unnamed character to make
intelligible and to seduce a love interest they do not know well by
situating them in a geography of power whose parameters are delimited
by the elements of music. The would be lover's protean ability to
suggest limitless possibilities of experience beguiles and frightens
the character, in some meaningful sense a provincial sort of fellow,
who tries to make sense of it all by placing the lover within the
terrain of the familiar: a "local county line" - a place with which the
character is intimate - policed by a "leader of the band" - likely the
character himself. "A hundred verses of ragtime" and a song "that's
never gonna end" offer a chance for the lover to participate in a
vision of eternal beauty, but the lover, given her ability to convey
freedom, experience and consciousness in the broadest sense, finds such
visions oppressive and refuses to be fenced in by her suitor.
Ultimately, while the suitor fails, the attempt at seduction liberates
him from what he can now see as a thin, pinched understanding of what
interest, beauty and love mean, notions more appropriate for a child's
nursery rhyme, which he now rejects: "good bye momma and poppa/goodbye
Jack and Jill." 

Funny, growing up as a gay kid in the 80s, I used to think one of the
reasons why I got into the Dead was that they didn't sing love songs.
Now that I've lived, loved and (most importantly) lost a bit, I know
that to be wrong. The best Hunter lyrics, the one's that enticed Jerry
to write, talk about how reckoning the dimensions of love requires an
intimacy with loss, or at least the possibility of loss, something the
character in "Sugaree" grapples with. Such experience does not need to
be direct; it can be acquired intersubjectively by coming to terms with
the misfortune of another, as in the case of "Wharf Rat."   

It's tempting to transpose the seducer/seduced dyad in "Ramble on
Rose" onto the performer/audience relationship. Before I went to grad
school, I worked at the Carlyle in New York, and got to know Bobby
Short, the legendary cabaret performer, fairly well. Even though
Short's performances of timeless standards in a single venue over many
decades represented the epitome of success and stability, something he
knew, he was still wracked by doubt and insecurity about whether he
still "had it" and could continue to "get over" with what was,
invariably, a rapt audience. Although he never put it in these terms -
he'd talk about not being able to sleep, especially at the beginning of
a run - people who spoke with him regularly knew this to be true. A
good performance, even for the most seasoned artist, requires winning
over the attention of the audience. Gaining this credibility works to
confuse if not collapse the boundaries between performer and audience,
art and reception, placing the artist as much in the audience's power
as the reverse. The connections with the Dead here don't require much
spelling out. They enjoyed a similar run, sang (and in their case,
wrote) timeless songs yet knew very well that "it's one in ten thousand
that come for the show" even with the most exuberant of audiences. 

Anyhow, if you've made it this far, thanks for reading, and, most
especially, thank you for putting that delightful resource online.


Bryan Rosenblithe
deadsongs.vue.165 : Ramble On Rose
permalink #7 of 12: Fletchlives (fletchlives) Wed 16 Oct 13 13:36
God damn that boy hits it right on the head!
deadsongs.vue.165 : Ramble On Rose
permalink #8 of 12: Robin Russell (rrussell8) Wed 16 Oct 13 19:40
Bryan, are you saying the song is a dialogue, with the love interest
lines the verses and the seducer's the chorus and bridge? If so, I'm
not sure I see it that way. I read the song as from a single narrator.

You characterise the performer / audience relationship very nicely.
This is, I think, the heart of the song.
deadsongs.vue.165 : Ramble On Rose
permalink #9 of 12: Alex Allan (alexallan) Sun 21 Dec 14 06:04
There's a mention of Billy Sunday in today's UK Sunday Times review
of Matthew Avery Sutton's book "American Apocalypse: A History of
Modern Evangelicalism."

"Among the prominent voices of the time [the outbreak of the First
World War] was a fire-breathing preacher named Billy Sunday, a
former player for the Chicago White Stockings baseball team, who
seized on Germany’s emperor, Wilhelm II, as the Antichrist
incarnate. Sunday railed against the “hungry wolfish huns” who were
also a “dirty bunch of pretzel-­chewing, [sausage]-eating
deadsongs.vue.165 : Ramble On Rose
permalink #10 of 12: David Gans (tnf) Sun 21 Dec 14 12:45
So that's who he was!!
deadsongs.vue.165 : Ramble On Rose
permalink #11 of 12: Robin Russell (rrussell8) Mon 22 Dec 14 12:01
Highbinders! I shall have to store that one carefully for future
deadsongs.vue.165 : Ramble On Rose
permalink #12 of 12: Nick Newlin (nickeleven) Sat 7 Feb 15 03:50
Pretzel-chewing (sausage)- eating highbinders, no less!

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