Truckin'

Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: Jerry Garcia/Bob Weir/Phil Lesh

A mainstay of the Grateful Dead's concert performances, and now played by Ratdog, Phil Lesh & Friends, The Other Ones etc.

Truckin' got my chips cashed in
Keep truckin' like the doodah man
Together, more or less in line
Just keep truckin' on

Arrows of neon and flashing marquees out on Main Street (note 1)
Chicago, New York, Detroit and its all the same street
Your typical city involved in a typical daydream
Hang it up and see what tomorrow brings

Dallas got a soft machine
Houston too close to New Orleans
New York got the ways and means
But just won't let you be

Most of the cats that you meet on the street speak of true love
Most of the time they're sitting and crying at home
One of these days they know they gotta get going
Out of the door and into the street all alone

Truckin' like the doodah man
Once told me "Gotta play your hand
Sometimes the cards ain't worth a dime
If you don't lay them down"

Sometimes the lights all shining on me
Other times I can barely see
Lately it occurs to me
What a long strange trip it's been

What in the world ever became of sweet Jane? (note 3)
She lost her sparkle you know she isn't the same
Living on reds and vitamin C and cocaine
All her friends can say is ain't it a shame

Truckin' up to Buffalo
Been thinking you got to mellow slow
Takes time, you pick a place to go
Just keep truckin' on

Sitting and staring out of the hotel window
Got a tip they're gonna kick the door in again
Like to get some sleep before I travel
But if you got a warrant I guess you're gonna come in

Busted down on Bourbon Street
Set up like a bowling pin
Knocked down, it gets to wearing thin
They just won't let you be

You're sick of hanging around, you'd like to travel
Get tired of travelling you want to settle down
I guess they can't revoke your soul for trying
Get out of the door, light out and look all around (note 2)

Sometimes the lights all shining on me
Other times I can barely see
Lately it occurs to me
What a long strange trip it's been

Truckin' I'm a going home
Whoa, whoa, baby, back where I belong
Back home, sit down and patch my bones
And get back truckin' on

Robert Hunter sings an additional verse (never sung by the Dead so far as I know):
Once in a while when the music gets into the street
Fifty old ladies buck every cop on the beat
They're putting the lock on Lindley Meadow and Kezar
Beginning to look like we can't play in the park

S.F. - that's an open town
Sometimes, it even makes a sound
Caution, spread the word around
Before them mother-truckers close it down
Robert Hunter threw in a couple of additional verses in a performance on 18 November 1981:
Enjoy yourself if just because
Later than you thought it was
Just in case you're in the pink
It's later than you thought, I think
Take it away, take it away

Enjoy yourself if only that
There's more than one way to skin a cat
Stop at the teeth and keep it neat
So even [skindy] lands on his feet
Take it away, take it away
Notes
(1) in early versions, Weir sang "Garlands of neon ...", and in the next line "Detroit, Chcago, New York ..."
(2) in early versions, Weir sang "Get out of the door, strike out ..."
(3) an alternative version of this verse is
What in the world ever became of sweet Jane?
Since she had a sex change you know she isn't the same
[or: Ever since she went and had her frontal lobes changed ...]
Living on valium, ginseng and Contra cocaine
All her friends say ain't it a fuckin' shame
More recently, Bob Weir has sometimes taken to singing "procaine" instead of "cocaine"

Robert Hunter sings, at least sometimes: "All I can say is she must have had shit for brains" as the last line.

See also the Pop-O-Pies variations on the lyrics.


Grateful Dead Recordings

Recordings from dead.net Tapers Section

"The Dead" Concert Recordings

Ratdoglive CDs and downloads

Phil Lesh and Friends Digital Download Series

Furthur Digital Downloads and CDs

Bob Weir Solo Acoustic Live!

Weir-Robinson-Greene Trio Live!

Scaring The Children Downloads

Dead-related Recordings

Tribute Albums

Covers By Other Artists


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 information on references in the lyrics see David Dodd's Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics
For online chords and TAB see www.rukind.com
For sheet music, see:
          Grateful Dead Anthology Volume 1 (piano arrangement)
          Grateful Dead Authentic Guitar Classics Volume 1 (guitar TAB)
          Grateful Dead Songbook Volume 1 (piano arrangement)
          Hundred Year Hall songbook (guitar TAB)
          Very Best Of The Grateful Dead (guitar TAB)

 


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