We Ain’t Even Begun

‘The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion)’ is considered a group composition, so the songwriting credit is simply The Grateful Dead.  This is the first song on the Grateful Dead’s debut eponymous studio album which was recorded and released in 1967, and it is an original along with the only other new one being ‘Cream Puff War’.  According to the biographies of both bassist Phil Lesh and drummer Bill Kreutzmann, the band released the album as San Francisco’s Grateful Dead, and although the album was considered “a big deal in San Francisco”, it did not see much airplay on AM radio stations outside of the Bay Area.  Their debut LP was cut in only four days in Los Angeles and it received a rapturous response in the Bay Area, pushing the record to #73 on the chart.

The Grateful Dead did cut a single in 1966 with the traditional 1920s American blues song ‘Stealin’’ baked by Henry Thomas’s ‘Don’t Ease Me In’ recorded on Scorpio Records.  Joe Smith worked his way up from promo man to president of Warner Brothers Records and he signed the Grateful Dead to Warner Brothers in 1967.  Joe and his wife went up to San Francisco and they were having dinner when a local DJ Tom Donahue called him, so they went over to the Avalon Ballroom to check out the scene.  They saw people with painted bodies lying on the floor watching a strobe light show, which was kind of startling.  Warner Brothers had Frank Sinatra and acts like that, but Joe saw this as a major change in what’s happening in music and so the adventure began!  Warner Brothers controlled the Dead through 1971 and beyond, up to a point.

When the Grateful Dead went home from the LA studios in February ‘67, they probably thought they were finished recording, but Warner Bros wanted a single, and they asked the group to record another song.  The Grateful Dead decided to write a song that captured the Haight hippie scene.  Palo Alto High School student Connie Bonner and her friend Sue Swanson, became the band’s first two loyal fans, the original Deadheads.  The title for this song came from Sue Swanson who was one of the founders of the Grateful Dead’s Fan Club which she called The Golden Road to Unlimited Devotion.  The Dead recorded the song at Coast Recorders in San Francisco later in February, rather than going back to LA.  They were able to take more time with this song, recording lots of takes, so it’s more layered with overdubs than the other songs on the album, but The Golden Road flopped as a single.

The song mentions a party that takes place every day, which happened during the summer of 1967 in San Francisco.  Rings around the sun or the moon, are formed when the sun’s light is refracted as it passes from the air through the ice crystals composing a cirrus cloud and these are called halos.  Cirrus clouds are around 20,000 feet or higher above us, thus they contain tiny, ice crystals that cause the light to split, or be refracted when the Sun is shining.

See that girl, barefootin’ along,
Whistlin’ and singin’, she’s a carryin’ on.
There’s laughing in her eyes, dancing in her feet,
She’s a neon-light diamond and she can live on the street.

Hey hey, hey, oh, by the way, come and (party every day)
Hey hey, hey, oh, by the way, come and (party every day)

Well everybody’s dancin’ in a ring around the sun
Nobody’s finished, we ain’t even begun.
So take off your shoes, child, and take off your hat.
Try on your wings and find our where it’s at.

Hey hey, hey, come (party every day)
Hey hey, hey, come (party every day)

Take a vacation, fall out for a while,
Summer’s comin’ in, and it’s goin’ outa style.
Well lite up smokin’ buddy, have yourself a ball.
Cause your mother’s down in Memphis, won’t be back ‘till the fall.

Hey hey, hey, come right away
Come and join the (party every day)

Hey hey, hey, come right away
Come and join the (party every day)

Hey hey, hey, come right away
Come and join the (party every day)

Hey hey, hey, come right away
Come and join the (party every day)

Written for Song Lyric Sunday where the prompt is Even/Odd.

14 thoughts on “We Ain’t Even Begun

      1. Better than that I’ve got a snowblower with a husband attached to it !!! He’s great I think he does the whole block, just b/c he’s a nice guy 😉 Happy Sunday Mr.. Jim, Blessings ❤

        Liked by 1 person

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