The Grateful Dead Clubhouse Projects

The Best Of Scarlet Begonias-> Fire On The Mountain


Scarlet Begonias

Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: Jerry Garcia

As I was walking round Grosvenor Square
Not a chill to the winter but a nip to the air
From the other direction she was calling my eye
It could be an illusion, but I might as well try
Might as well try

She had rings on her fingers and bells on her shoes
And I knew without asking she was into the blues
She wore scarlet begonias, tucked into her curls
I knew right away she was not like other girls
Other girls

In the thick of the evening when the dealing got rough
She was too pat to open and too cool to bluff
As I picked up my matches and was closing the door
I had one of those flashes I had been there before
Been there before

Well I ain't often right but I've never been wrong
It seldom turns out the way it does in the song
Once in a while you get shown the light
In the strangest of places if you look at it right

Well there ain't nothing wrong with the way she moves
Scarlet begonias or a touch of the blues
And there's nothing wrong with the look that's in her eyes
I had to learn the hard way to let her pass by
Let her pass by

The wind in the willows playing Tea for Two
The sky was yellow and the sun was blue
Strangers stopping strangers just to shake their hand
Everybody is playing in the heart of gold band
Heart of gold band

Fire On The Mountain

Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: Mickey Hart

Long distance runner, what you standing there for?
Get up, get off, get out of the door
You're playing cold music on the bar room floor
Drowned in your laughter and dead to the core
There's a dragon with matches that's loose on the town
Take a whole pail of water just to cool him down

Fire, fire on the mountain
Fire, fire on the mountain
Fire, fire on the mountain
Fire, fire on the mountain

Almost ablaze, still you don't feel the heat (note 4)
It takes all you got just to stay on the beat
You say it's a living, we all gotta eat
But you're here alone, there's no one to compete
If mercy's in business, I wish it for you
More than just ashes when your dreams come true


Long distance runner, what you holding out for (1)
Caught in slow motion in a dash to the door
The flame from your stage has now spread to the floor
You gave all you had, why you want to give more?
The more that you give, the more it will take

To the thin line beyond which you really can't fake


(1) On some occasions (e.g. 5/8/77) Garcia starts this verse "Long distance runner, with a foot out the door; caught in slow motion, fall on the floor"

Robert Hunter wrote two additional verses that the Grateful Dead never performed:

Baby's in scarlet, her shackles in gray
If loves to love she's got it salted away
Out of the rat trap and under the wire
Out of the frying pan and into the fire
Put it down heavy, strip it down lean
Got to lay it down dirty and play it back clean

Fireman, fireman, call off your dog
This isn't a blaze, it's just a hog in the log
Cut up in sections, squirming alive
Lost to the world on that fifty-cent jive
There's a fire on the mountain, running around

What doesn't go up can never come down

The Annotated "Scarlet Begonias"
The Annotated "Fire On The Mountain"

This list differs from the list in the GD Taper's Compendium in what Ribot_for_President calls "good taste and common sense." As with the Top 100 GD shows, the Best Versions project isn't necessarily definitive (well, it kind of is to us), and it’s not an invitation to debate. It’s a list of solid versions that you all ought to hear.

And now...

Top 10 Scarlet Begonias> Fire on the Mountain:

5/8/77 - Barton Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY - SBD; AUD

4/24/78 - Horton Field House, IL. Univ., Normal, IL - SBD

9/2/78 - Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ - SBD; AUD

2/3/79 - Market Square Arena, Indianapolis, IN - AUD

11/1/79 - Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, NY - SBD

2/27/81 - Uptown Theatre, Chicago, IL - AUD

7/31/82 - Manor Downs, Austin, TX - SBD

4/23/83 - Veterans Memorial Coliseum, New Haven, CT - SBD

6/18/83 - Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga, NY - AUD (Set 2)

3/22/90 - Copps Coliseum, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada - AUD

Honorable Mention:

10/2/77 - Paramount Theater, Portland, OR - SBD

12/16/78 - Nashville Municipal Auditorium, Nashville, TN - Wagner AUD

12/13/80 - Long Beach Arena, Long Beach, CA - AUD

8/12/81 - Salt Palace, Salt Lake City, UT - SBD

10/20/89 - The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA - SBD

Historically Significant:

3/18/77 - Winterland Arena, San Francisco, CA - SBD (First Fire & pairing)

12/31/78 - Winterland Arena, San Francisco, CA - Closing Of The Winterland

12/10/93 - Los Angeles Sports Arena, Los Angeles, CA - SBD (w/Branford Marsalis)

7/2/95 - Deer Creek Music Center, Noblesville, IN - SBD (Last Time Played)



Studio 1974 From The Mars Hotel
23 Mar 1974 Dick's Picks Vol 24
28 Jun 1974 Dick's Picks Vol 12
5 Aug 1974 Dick's Picks Vol 31
6 Aug 1974 Dick's Picks Vol 31
9 Sep 1974 Dick's Picks Vol 7
Oct 1974 Grateful Dead Movie (DVD and CD)
16 Oct 1974 From The Mars Hotel (note a)
21 Jun 1976 Download Series Vol 4
25 Sep 1976 Dick's Picks Vol 20
30 Sep 1976 Live At The Cow Palace (note b)
9 Oct 1976 Dick's Picks Vol 33
31 Dec 1976 Live At The Cow Palace
29 Apr 1977 Download Series Vol 1
30 Apr 1977 Download Series Vol 1
1977-05-21 - Dick's Picks Volume 29
16 Oct 1977 Road Trips Volume 1, Number 2
31 Dec 1977 New Year's Eve At The Winterland
5 Feb 1978 Dick's Picks Vol 18
11 May 1978 Dick's Picks Vol 25
22 Oct 1978 Road Trips Volume 1, Number 4 ("From Egypt With Love")
1978-12-31 - The Closing Of The Winterland
1 Nov 1979 Dick's Picks Vol 13
14 Oct 1983 Dick's Picks Vol 6
24 Jul 1987 View From The Vault IV (DVD & CD soundtrack)
27 Mar 1988 Download Series Vol 5
22 Mar 1990 So Many Roads (1965-1995)
19 Jun 1991 Download Series Vol 11

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