Sunday, November 2, 2008

China Cat Sunflower - Grateful Dead

Artist: Grateful Dead
Song: China Cat Sunflower
Year: 1969
Album: Aoxomoxoa

I'm not a huge Dead fan, but I do like a few songs. I first heard China Cat Sunflower when I was listening to a concert broadcast on a local Chicago radio station, WXRT. During the concert, which I recorded on audio tape, I was blown away by the performance of this song.

I don't know if it was the timing of the song or if I was in a right frame of mind, but I really enjoyed the song. It has been sneaking on compilations ever since that moment in 1992. The rest of the concert was OK, but "China Cat Sunflower" was the highlight for me.

I botched my chance to see the Dead in 1995. July 9, 1995 to be exact. Jerry Garcia's last show. I figured that they would be around next summer and I would catch them then. I should have learned my lesson with Nirvana, but I usually learn the hard way. I missed out on a golden opportunity and blew it.

At least I can still listen to the music. I have found various recordings from that last show, so I can pretend to be there. It's not the same. Still, this incident (and many others like it) have taught me to live in the moment more often.

Lyrics:
Look for a while at the China Cat sunflower,
Proud walking jingle in the midnight sun.
Copperdome bodhi drip a silver kimono,
Like a crazy quilt stargown through a dream night wind.

Crazy cat peekin' through a lace bandanna,
Like a one-eyed Cheshire, like a diamond-eye jack.
A leaf of all colors plays a golden-string fiddle,
To a double-E waterfall over my back.

Comic book colors on a violin river Cryin' Leonardo,
Words from out a silk trombone.
I rang a silent bell, beneath a shower of pearls,
In the eagle-winged palace of the Queen Chinee.


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