Brown Eyed Women

Ever since 1965, the Grateful Dead has been producing revolutionary music and shaping the way rock is perceived. Out of the 317 cover songs created and the story’s they tell, the song “Brown Eyed Women“, from the album Europe ’72 is poetic in every sense. This song is a little special for a variety of reasons, “Brown-Eyed Women was never recorded on a studio album, but it was included on the live album Europe ‘72 and was played at 340 concerts. The song was first performed on August 23, 1971 at the Auditorium Theater in Chicago”(genius.com). Additionally, “Brown Eyed Women” displays a story, and through a variety of literary techniques, it draws the listener in. As the song begins, the listener is presented with a story about a man named Jack Jones. The lyrics follow:

Gone are the days when the ox fall down

Take up the yoke and plow the fields around

Gone are the days when the ladies said “Please

Gentle Jack Jones, won’t you come to me”

Overall, the song tells a story in era of the Great depression. As the song begins to flow, the listener is brought to a time were the focus character, Jack Jones is now old. As the songs states, “when the ox fall down”, this is a representation of the fall of the mischief in his early life. As the song progresses so does time and Jacks life. As life continues, rough times of the Great Depression kick in and Jack is in a financial crisis, the lyrics write:

The bottle was dusty, but the liquor was clean

Sound of the thunder with the rain pourin’ down

And it looks like the old man’s gettin’ on

While in the midst of the prohibition and the Great depression, Jack goes to the streets to make a buck off of liquor. As the lines include “Sound of the thunder” the thunder shows of Jacks situation and how bad things keep falling. Following this, poor Jack is hit with another crisis. The song writes:

Delilah Jones was the mother of twins

Two times over, and the rest were sins

All in all, Jack Jones loses his wife Delilah. Following her death, Jack becomes depressed and the relationship with his twin sons becomes poor. As the lyrics state, “the rest were sins” the “sins” in the line represents the falling relationship with the rest of his family. Overall, many of the Grateful Dead’s songs tell stories. Through these stories, the diction and syntax deliver powerful messages and add meaning to each story.

https://genius.com/Grateful-dead-brown-eyed-women-lyrics

One thought on “Brown Eyed Women

  1. RYAN M

    This is one of my favorite grateful dead songs. I thought the symbolism of the thunder was really interesting as it wasn’t something that I had considered before. It’s also nice to hear other people’s interpretations of these songs because it’s not something I’ve talked about with other people. I always thought that the line about the rest being sins referred to the conception of her other children.

    Like

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