Updated: Jul 18, 2020
For years we’ve had a monthly Thursday evening gathering at our home where we hang out and share life with a few friends. It was initiated by a friend who wanted to meet to discuss Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations – or as I call them “daily medications."
Grandparents/Parents: At several places in this post, I’ve placed advisories about whether certain songs/sections are appropriate for children. So, read/listen on and use your discretion.
Dew [sic] to the themes in this post, I’m suggesting we start with a song to help us all chill…and serving up a song that was birthed in the Caribbean and offered here by a Masta of Rasta – Jerry Garcia…
FYI - A playlist of all 30 songs in this post can be found at the end...of the line
Thought I was done adding songs... when I just typed the above words after publishing the post, I remembered this great traveling, railroad song:
R.I.P. George, Roy & Tom: It may be the end of the line here, but I'm hopeful you're still making music "there" after you climbed the Stairway to Heaven. Reason I'm hopeful...I got some free tickets for your new gig. I know the guy that owns the venue. That makes 30!
OK – let’s proceed down the line - now at a mellower speed…
Karmic driving wisdom:
When Eileen sent out a reminder for our July meeting, one of our regulars replied saying she’s been very busy at work, comes home feeling fried and would not be joining us.
As my mind heard “fried,” a thread within it unraveled: “Out of the frying pan into the…”
“When work & home are both uphill
Visit with us and find some chill”
--my rhyme was inspired by the following cartoon
As the thread happily rolled along – now freed from the confinement of the spool - a pub song was added…
--One listener added these unedited comments: “This song remindes me when my wifes Irish temper got the better of her, i ran a mate to football and promised i would not play, i did and when i walked into the kitchen she said nothing just picked up the pan of spuds and threw them at me. i was lucky, her aim wasnt as good as in this song. still love her though”
Okay…let’s see what else is out there (inside my head)…
Unraveling…the Grateful Thread gets free...
Said the adventurous loop to the others, “I know where the hook (in my mouth) is gonna take me…I’m getting’ off to see where I can go on my own…”
--A commenter said, “Somewhere out there, an alien is watching this saying " Nah, let's skip this planet". Thank you, Les, for saving us from alien destruction.”
Readers: Reply, letting me know if you think Google connected my “fried” inquiry to French fries – crinkle cut variety?)
Couldn’t resist the temptation to see what else this group served in their kitchen…and found this one:
John the Fisherman (from the album “Frazzle Fry” – see my “fried” thread’s still connected : ))))
Comments under this video:
“Nobody just ends up here you have to search for primus😂”
And this one: “Thanks God I'm on this part of the internet again”
And this charmer:
“90's primus songwriting:
Les on weed
Early 2000's songwriting:
Weed on weed
Les on lsd and luckycharms
Lsd on lsd”
“If you eat too many Lucky Charms, you’ll end up farting rainbows…”
My own review of Primus: A moving & musical collage of Mardi Gras, Frank Zappa, Dr. John, Cirque de Soleil and Kentucky Fried Movie…served with a side of Colonel Sanders.
Grandparents/Parents: You can bring the children back into the room now for the next song.
Today’s thread rolled into a children’s Bible, where it connected me to another John who was a fisherman and a fisher of men & women & kids. Here’s a song that was one of my favorites when I taught Sunday school. I especially liked the singer – Rob Evans, nicknamed “The Donut Man” – for the great rapport he had with the children around him as he sang AND his love for donuts – truly holey [sic] food.
Here’s a photo of Rob and friends…
Peter and John Went to Pray (song)
Grandparents/Parents: Here’s a suggested intro to this next concert video…
“Grandchildren…let me tell you about the days when we used to gather together all in one place and hear and feel the music while dancing and swaying and rollin’ together…here’s an example…”
Rollin’…Rollin…Rollin…down the river  (Jordan?)
 Due to social distancing, I selected this video to give us all some feeling of the live concert experience.
But first…a brief and mindful pause…inspired by the donuts (see, my thread’s still connected)
Grandparents/Parents: You decide whether or not your children are ready for some or any of the next songs or images.
Fillmore “East” Yoga Studio
Seeing the above image I had saved in one of my stashes, I felt sad for the forlorn cruller, sad that she was missing the crème from her center. So I put on my superhero gear...see below (this is my alter ego outfit - I'm a female G-d. Think of Octavia Spencer playing G-d in "The Shack."
I'm simply adapting Mel Brooks' classic line from "Robin Hood Men in Tights," "It worked in Blazing Saddles."
I put on my gear, complete with sugar-laden, coma-inducing donut weapons...
...and went to the store so I could reload and got some for her…and it fit right in with the rollin’ thread…
As I was listening to their version of the Muddy Waters’ classic blues riff, I focused in on the combined rhythm of the drum & bass lines and pictured a locomotive rollin’ down the line – which fit right in with the lyrics.
Follow me down the tracks – but not of my tears – but of the railroad tracks, as I keep rollin’ and following the threaded tracks to another connection point, another station, along our musical journey. You can get off here, if you like, to catch your breath…
Been a train lover all my life, so here’s another version with a Buster Keaton train video.
Now, when I was at that last station with you all and catching my own breath, I remembered another train I like to travel on – the one to Glendale. This might have been inspired by some lyrics from Tull’s song that mention a guy named Charlie – possibly an engineer:
“Old Charlie stole the handle
And the train, it won't stop going
No way to slow down
Glendale Train – The New Riders of the Purple Sage w/Jerry Garcia on steel pedal guitar
--this version also features a train robbery film from 1903
See "Side Trips" at end for an article on the frying pan guitar.
Is history Dead? Sure is...the way I saw it...
Back in the day, not quite the old West, when I went to a lot of Dead concerts, the New Riders of the Purple Sage used to open for the Dead. I always thought it was so cool how the night would start with NRPS band warming up the crowd, getting the beach balls bouncing around and then e…v…e…rrrr sooooo sloooowly and one-by-one they’d morph into the Dead. Despite what they say, “If you can still remember the 60’s, you weren’t there,” as I remember it, the Dead would one-by-one take the places of the NRPS crew until just the Dead were playing (in the band). Cool!
Well, some lyrics in that NRPS song:
“Charlie Jones was the engineer
He had twenty years on the line”
…got me a free transfer to another iron horse steered by an engineer with the same last name as poor ol Charlie…
Casey: Better watch both your speed and your cocaine!
So, like the other song says, "STOP THAT TRAIN!"
Get off at STOP 11 - Prayer & Meditation (Step 11) instead.
That way, you WON'T be "better off Dead."
Rollin’ along my currently one-track mind, I selected this offbeat video because it featured steam train footage. The video was created by “OnLineJones” and combined footage from an historic and now unused English train line and the uploader’s mountain bike ride along a trail that followed the old line. He got some of the idea from knowing that the GD’s Bob Weir was an avid mountain biker.
I added ths version so I'd have one for this post's playlist. The above one was from Vimeo and couldn't be added to the YouTube monopoly.
Grandparents/Parents: You can bring the kids back for this next song. It’s a lullaby rendition of “Casey Jones” and contains no drug references.
--above image is from an 11/7/69 Soundboard recording of an entire Fillmore West show. Begins with “Morning Dew”…a song with lyrics that include “Roll away…” …We’re still connected…
As long as Casey’s still at bat, here’s a political version someone uploaded in 2020:
--just slipping this in to see if I’ll get cards and letters…and emails and dislikes…and to see who’s gotten this far…out…in my post
--The cartoons are based on the songs from a 8/29/69 show that took place at The Family Dog at the Great Highway in San Francisco.
The Grateful Dead and Trains (article)
--a bluesy version of the Depeche Mode tune. Here are the lyrics to their version.
--Relax, thread's still connected: "mainline" IS a railroad term
Hey, Steven Cummo, this anywhere near you?
His album art shows a skull and rose - more threaded connections to the Grateful Dead and this post. So, stay dialed in...
As we get close to the end of this post, the next song was inspired by the name of our monthly group – “The Gathering.” As you listen to the lyrics near the end, you’ll see that my thread’s still connected…
After rollin’ along a typically long and cosmic Grateful Dead set and traveling beyond time with the Moody Blues, we recall that Jethro Tull locomotive song that routed us all down that long and winding branch line - or mainline, if you're a fan. Tull’s song inspired (breathed) this next one…
--video is breathtakingly appropriate
Grandparents/Parents: If you’d like to introduce your little loved ones to the groups that formed you, here are some ideas for presents.
But, remember, your PRESENCE is what matters most.
For little feet...
For bigger feet...
A few more un-bearably great idea threads…
Mouse pad…artist Stanley Mouse approved
Here’s an interactive toy that helps baby develop her or his loco-motor [sic] skills. From the site: “Delight your little one with the Grateful Dead Dancing Bear Plush Toy from Daphyls. Inspired by the classic, peace-loving band, this adorable bear features a rattling head, squeaking belly, and crinkle paper feet.” (Sound like anyone you know?)
Or, if you’d like to introduce them to another Bob (Marley), here’s one I call
If you’re into Bob, here’s a recent post:
One more dread thread…
--how appropriate that the lyrics include “roll….”
…leads to another…
“Stop that Train” was done by several bands, including a few from Jamaica. (Wikipedia article)
Just look at Jerry’s Chesire-Cat-like smile of contentment. He knows something…
WOW! What a laid-back track…for chillin’ to (words from my opening verses)
Jerry’s a Rasta Masta!
One more for this never-ending ending to this post
He’s Gone – Grateful Dead Tribute for Bob Marley the day after his death
Grateful Dead Live at Veterans' Memorial Coliseum on 1981-05-12 (May 12, 1981)
While song was written for another reason, the Dead chose it to honor the memory of that great musical prophet – Bob Marley – the day after he died.
--more train lyrics – Why am I NOT surprised?…
“Now, he's gone, now he's gone, Lord, he's gone
He's gone, like a steam locomotive
Rolling down the track, he's gone, he's gone
And nothin's going to bring him back, he's gone”
The whole universe is one huge interwoven thread of connection…
SIDE TRIPS...BUT DEFINITELY NOT DETOURS
Frying Pan Guitar (Wikipedia)
Rickenbacker was involved...
Extra Tracks (pun intended)
As Curtis Mayfield and others have said, "You don't need no ticket ...you just get on board...
Exception to his wonderful lyrics: There IS room for the hopeless sinner
Please see my Good Friday post about this. It presents what I call "the really good news" that's offered from the perspective of Franciscan spirituality. It contains my last will and testament, or what I'd want to leave with you if I or you were on our death beds...
Soooo many people covered this song...here are a few I selected for you...
--first one I sampled...ripping version...lots brass + cool train footage & nature images
--"Gravelly" - in Rod's voice and the ballast on the tracks (with train footage)
--like two modern day hobos, riding the rails, guitars in hand (great train footage) and helping us all get ready