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Best of Scarlet Begonias> Fire on the Mountain


The Best Versions Project differs from the lists in the Grateful Dead Taper's Compendium in what Ribot_for_President calls good taste and common sense. This project isn't necessarily definitive, and its not an invitation to debate. Its a list of solid versions that you all ought to hear. For more information about the processes used to create these lists, please check the, About the Projects section on the home page.

And now...

The Top 10 Versions of Scarlet Begonias> Fire on the Mountain:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6/18/83 - Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga, NY - STREAM AUD

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

Honorable Mention:

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

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

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

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

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

Historically Significant:

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

12/31/78 - Winterland Arena, San Francisco, CA - STREAM SBD; AUD; MTX

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

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

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"

Official releases:

Studio 1967 The Grateful Dead
24 Feb 1968 Dick's Picks Vol 22
24 Aug 1968 Two From The Vault
28 Feb 1969 Fillmore West 1969 -The Complete Recordings
2 Mar 1969 Fillmore West 1969 - The Complete Recordings
17 Apr 1969 Download Series Vol 12
27 Apr 1969 Dick's Picks Vol 26
2 May 1970 Dick's Picks Vol 8
29 Apr 1971 Ladies And Gentlemen ... The Grateful Dead
6 Aug 1971 Dick's Picks Vol 35
26 May 1972 Europe '72
22 Jul 1972 Download Series Vol 10
21 Sep 1972 Dick's Picks Vol 36
27 Sep 1972 Dick's Picks Vol 11
28 Feb 1973 Dick's Picks Vol 28
19 Oct 1973 Dick's Picks Vol 19
30 Nov 1973 Dick's Picks Vol 14
2 Dec 1973 Dick's Picks Vol 14
23 Mar 1974 Dick's Picks Vol 24
10 Sep 1974 Dick's Picks Vol 7
18 Oct 1974 Grateful Dead Movie (video, DVD & CD)
22 May 1977 Dick's Picks Vol 3
2 Sep 1980 Dick's Picks Vol 21
7 Aug 1982 Dick's Picks Vol 32
4 Jul 1989 Truckin' Up To Buffalo (DVD & CD soundtrack)
16 Sep 1990 Dick's Picks Vol 9