"Brown-Eyed Woman" as written by Jerome J. Garcia and Robert C. Hunter....
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."

[Chorus]
Brown-eyed women and red grenadine,
The bottle was dusty but the liquor was clean.
Sound of the thunder with the rain pouring down,
And it looks like the old man's getting on.

1929 when he stepped to the bar, drank to the dregs of the whiskey jar.
1930 when the wall caved in, he made his way selling red-eyed gin.

[Chorus]

Delilah Jones was the mother of twins,
Two times over and the rest were sins.
Raised eight boys, only I turned bad,
Didn't get the lickin's that the other ones had.

[Chorus]

Tumble down shack in Big Foot county.
Snowed so hard that the roof caved in.
Delilah Jones went to meet her God,
And the old man never was the same again.

Daddy made whiskey and he made it well.
Cost two dollars and it burned like hell.
I cut hickory just to fire the still,
Drink down a bottle and be ready to kill.

[Chorus]

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."

Brown-eyed women and red grenadine,
The bottle was dusty but the liquor was clean.
Sound of the thunder with the rain pourin' down,


Lyrics submitted by itsmyownmind, edited by DelilahJones

"Brown-Eyed Woman" as written by Robert C. Hunter Jerome J. Garcia

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Brown-Eyed Woman song meanings
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21 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentYeah, definitely talking about prohibition, bootleggin' and all that. I'm aghast at the lack of passion in the comments about this song. This is a song that reminisces on a distinctly American tale in a bygone era (gone are the days when the ox fall down...). Today a Deere does all that nonsense for ya. Yay progress.

    Jack Jones is at the center of the story in this song. He is a simple, hard working man (take up the yoke and plow the fields around). And in this simple context the man gets a little attention from the ladies (... the ladies said please, gentle Jack Jones won't you come to me) and starts a family. Though really, the "gentle Jack Jones won't you come to me line" also speaks to his youth. A youth that evaporated along with the bygone era, and you realize that the old man is moving from this life to the next (and it looks like the old man is getting on). That simpler time is dying with him, all respects....

    And so this song becomes a retrospective of this American, early 20th-century everyman's life, told from his son's perspective. And as the son reflects on that life, it is impossible to segregate that life from the time and place in which it was lived. Prohibition, the Depression, America, the infancy of modern technology all play a role.

    The beauty of this song is the simplicity of the life it describes. A man tills his land and sews seeds. He is a part of a large family - a necessity, as mortality rates are a bit higher back in the day (Delilah Jones was the mother of twins, two times over and the rest were sins). And a large family serves an agrarian purpose or lifestyle. Delilah enters the tale at this point, apparently a force of her own. She has the brood, half of it out of wedlock. Jones's brown-eyed woman passes when a cabin collapses under the weight of snow in the wilderness, and the song says that part of Jack Jones's essences leaves him that day. His imperfect love for an imperfect woman is that powerful. Plus this drives home the fact that hardship is never far away.

    The son is taught the art of bootlegging (I cut hickory just to fire the still, drink down a bottle and be ready to kill). This is another romanticized aspect of Americana. Alcohol is legal today, but it's in all of us Americans to bristle at authority, and we love to do things our own way. A whiskey still is thus a damn fine thing. Some things never change.

    The son registers all this as he looks backwards, some time in the future when Jack Jones is on the brink of succumbing to old age, and it impossible to look back on his life without remembering the time that that life spanned, and all that took place in and around it.

    Early twentieth-century America is a place that would be largely foreign to us today. Both It's simplicity and our "advancement" are a blessing and a curse. This song, in my opinion, touches on all that and is about more elemental humanism and our agrarian roots. It is a very distinctly American folk song.

    I'd love to see affirmation or contention of my assertions. Feel free to comment!!!
    bmwdotdeon January 05, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIts talking about the roaring 20's and the Depression of the 30's. Its a metaphor for the High of taking drugs and the down that follows it.
    VoiceOfReason82on June 07, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commenthey, I saw that movie too
    fikuson June 13, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentaround the fire? mmmaybe im crazy.
    violent silenceon May 06, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song might be about the prohibition of alcohol in the 1920's...

    "1920 when he stepped to the bar, drank to the dregs of the whiskey jar.".....dregs of the whiskey jar meaning lack of liquor.

    "1930 when the wall caved in, he paved his way selling red-eyed gin. ".....meaning the end of the prohibition.

    I dont know, just my thoughts.

    Awesome song no matter what it means!
    rage-fan2002on June 24, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentred eyed gin was a form of whisky made during prohibition. it tasted like crap but was all they had. it sometimes contained embaulming fluid
    tenneseejedon March 24, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhen I first heard this song years ago, I thought they were saying "brown eyed women in red leather jeans". Just thought I'd confess...
    hakimikeon February 14, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhen I first heard this song years ago, I thought they were saying "brown eyed women in red leather jeans". Just thought I'd confess...
    hakimikeon February 14, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI don't know what this song means. I don't know what most Grateful Dead songs mean, but they're still awesome.
    purplemnkey87on August 23, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti love the part about big foot county and the roof caving in. is grateful dead the greatest rock band in history?? songs like this make it hard to say no…and they have so many more just as good.
    nanukrbsiton September 13, 2006   Link

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