Sometimes You Must Freeze

People say that the early bird gets the worm, but there are times when the early bird arrives too soon and it ends up freezing to death.  The Grateful Dead song ‘Built To Last’ is a pretty much an underrated Dead song, but it fit the prompt, so I am going with it.  This song came out on the 1989 album with the same name and the words were written by Robert Hunter and the music is by Jerry Garcia.  The Grateful Dead were not a studio band and Garcia said that getting the band into the studio was like pulling teeth for them.  The Built to Last album was the thirteenth and final studio album released by the Grateful Dead and the 21st Dead album overall and the LP reached No. 27 on the charts.  Built to Last was the band’s second attempt at recording a studio album on a theater stage with no audience.

This album features four songs by keyboard player Brent Mydland, all of which are in collaboration with Dead lyricist John Perry Barlow.  Due to the rash of deaths by keyboard players in the Grateful Dead, people often said that this was the most dangerous position in all of rock and roll.  This list features Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, Keith Godchaux, and finally Brent Mydland, who was a member of The Grateful Dead from 1979 to 1990, and he had a longer tenure than any other keyboardist in the band.  Mydland died at his home in 1990 of acute cocaine and narcotic intoxication.  Vince Welnick, keyboardist for the Tubes, joined the band and remained with the Dead for the final five years of their existence.  John Perry Barlow also died last year.

Jerry Garcia had a passion for SCUBA diving and he was fascinated with underwater sea creatures and plants.  He made over 300 dives and he enjoyed going up to strange looking eels and poking them with his fingers.  Jerry had a problem, as he could not stop injecting heroin intravenously and that lead to him dying of heart failure on August 9th, 1995, ending the long strange trip and causing the music to stop for the most viewed rock band in their time, who had played more than 2300 live concerts.  In the early 90s, the Grateful Dead went mainstream and they became the highest-grossing touring attraction in the music business.

This song reminds me that there is a time for everything as stated in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing.”

The lyric, “Three blue stars” could be the three bright whitish blue stars that make up Orion’s Belt that are named Alnitak, Alnilam, and Mintaka.  They are also known as the Three Kings or Three Sisters.  Mintaka , the westernmost star in the belt, comes from the Arabic word for belt.  Alnilam, the center star in the belt, means “a belt of pearls”, and Alnitak is the girdle.  When something is “built to last”, it is built well, but you never know if it is built well enough to transcend time.  The Grateful Dead created a legacy through their loyal fans and without Garcia, this band would not be called the Grateful Dead anymore.  They came to be known as the Dead, or Dead & Company, but the music was secondary, as being a Deadhead was all about bonding together to become part of something bigger, something that was built to last.  My lava lamp broke and my bellbottoms no longer fit me, but I will always be part of this group.

There are times that you can beckon
There are times when you must call
You can shake a ton of reckoning
But you can’t shake it all
There are times when I can help you out
And times that you must fall
There are times when you must live in doubt
And I can’t help at all

Three blue stars
Rise on the hill
Say no more, now
Just be still
All these trials
Soon be past
Look for something
Built to last

Wind held by the collar
Got a cloud held by the breeze
You can walk on coals of fire
But sometimes you must freeze
There are times when you offend me
And I do the same to you
If we can’t or won’t forget it,
then I guess we could be through

One blue star
Sets on the hill
Call it back
You never will
One more star
Sinks in the past
Show me something
Built to last.

Built to last till time itself
Falls tumbling from the wall
Built to last till sunshine fails
And darkness moves on all
Built to last while years roll past
Like cloudscapes in the sky
Show me something built to last
Or something built to try

There are times when you get hit upon
Try hard but you cannot give
Other times you’d gladly part
With what you need to live
Don’t waste the breath to save your face
When you have done your best
And even more is asked of you
Let fate decide the rest.

All the stars
Are gone but one
Morning breaks
Here comes the sun
Cross the sky now
Sinking fast
Show me something
Built to last

Written for Song Lyric Sunday where the prompt is “Freeze/Cold/Ice”.

20 thoughts on “Sometimes You Must Freeze

    1. I used to bring a microphone attached to my cassette recorder to some concerts and I got a great recording of them at Watkins Glenn. The Tennessee Jed that they played on the first day which they called the sound test came out so clear, it was like Garcia was singing just for me. Too bad that cassettes don’t last especially when you keep on playing them and all my recording are gone, but I did enjoy them when I had them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That must have been a great experience…. I’ve heard people transferring them over to digital… but as you said they get muddy with age

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It is not one of my favorite Grateful Dead songs, although I do like all their songs. In this challenge four people did the same song Cold As Ice by Aerosmith and I pick Grateful Dead songs to be different from others.

      Liked by 1 person

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