I Thought We Had It All

In 1996, David Murray recorded his album Dark Star (The Music Of The Grateful Dead).  On this album, the David Murray Octet recorded 6 Grateful Dead songs along with this one ‘Shoulda Had Been Me’ which was written by Bruce Cockburn, Michael Nash, and Bob Weir.  Weir sings this song while playing acoustic guitar accompanied by Murray playing a horn.  This song was also played by Bob Weir and Rob Wasserman and by Ratdog a total of 11 times.  David Murray was known for playing tenor saxophone and bass clarinet and he played a set with the Grateful Dead at a show on September 22, 1993, at Madison Square Garden in New York City where he added his soulful tenor to ‘Bird Song’, as well as to the entire second set, which blew away the audience.

Bruce Cockburn is a Canadian singer-songwriter and guitarist from Toronto who recorded his song ‘Waiting For A Miracle’ in 1986, which Bob Weir liked so he turned Jerry Garcia on to this tune and the Jerry Garcia Band started playing it.  Michael Nash is a producer and composer/songwriter, and a keyboardist, who was in the American soul and R&B group Rose Royce that had a big hit with the song ‘Car Wash’.  Rob Wasserman was a Grammy-winning highly respected bass player and composer who also performed and recorded with Lou Reed, Neil Young, Brian Wilson, Van Morrison, Elvis Costello, and Bruce Hornsby, among others.

Bob Weir started the band Ratdog as a side project in 1995 just prior to when the Grateful Dead broke up, but their roots can be traced to 1988 to when Weir started playing with Wasserman as a duo.  They toured for six years together under names like Weir & Wasserman and Scaring the Children.  When Jerry Garcia died this became Weir’s primary band.  Ratdog went through several different formations and they played a combination of Grateful Dead songs, covers and some originals.

Bob Weir started working on a song called ‘The Ballad of Satchel Paige’ and it became clear that there was just a whole lot more than just a song while he was taking a vacation down in Mexico.  He met a screenwriter and they started talking about the life and times of Satchel Paige and at one point, he figured that it would make a great musical.  Weir began working on it for several years with Grammy Award-winning bluesman Taj Mahal and jazz sax dynamo David Murray.  This song ‘Shoulda Had Been Me’ was written as part of a planned musical about the life of the baseball player Satchel Paige, who started his career pitching in the Negro leagues.  This song dramatizes Paige’s reaction to the news that Jackie Robinson had been tapped as the first black baseball player to play in the major leagues.  The legendary Negro Leagues pitcher who made his Major League Baseball debut at age 42 with the 1948 Cleveland Indians became the oldest rookie in Major League.  The musical was supposed to open in Philadelphia in ‘97, but the backers pulled out and unfortunately it seems like the Satchel Paige musical will never see the light of day.

I was your diamond shining in the rough
You were my truest muse, first and only love
My inspiration, you made me rise above
I thought we had it all

Seasons changing now, the bird is on the wing
Guess it’s autumn now, ain’t no hidden spring
No dogwood blossoms, no robin sing
Leaves just turn and fall

Funny how blue skies can turn to grey
Funny how fortune can turn and walk the other way
Can’t take back time, just don’t work that way
Still there’s just one thing I gotta say

Ain’t no denyin’, ‘cause it’s plain to see 
Shoulda had been me

Yesterday’s a stranger, strolls on by so fast
Best forget the future if you’re living in the past
Nothin’ ain’t worth nothin’, all except what’s gonna last
Rest is all just days gone by

Nightbirds calling as the shadows fade away
Guess it’s gettin late now, ain’t much left to say
No hide-and-seek twilight games left to play
I just can’t figure why

I turned the tides for you, showed the breeze where to blow
Made the thunder roll, made the rivers flow
Spun dawn into daylight, with the sundown aglow
If that wasn’t enough of a show

I’d shine the moon and when nighttime was done
Put out the stars, call back the sun
I’ll be a man, I’ll hold my tongue
But I know that, you know that, I was the one

Ain’t no denyin’, ‘cause it’s plain to see 

I’m all done cryin’, yes it’s just gonna be
Ain’t no denying, just let it be
Shoulda had been me
Shoulda had been me
Shoulda had been me
Shoulda had been me

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