"Row Jimmy" as written by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter....
Julie catch a rabbit by his hair
Come back steppin' like to walk on air
Get back home where you belong
And don't you run off no more

Don't hang your head, let the two time roll
Grass shack nailed to a pine wood floor
Ask the time baby I don't know
Come back later, gonna let it show

I say row Jimmy row, gonna get there, I don't know
Seems a common way to go, get out and row, row, row, row, row
Here's a half dollar if you dare
Double twist when you hit the air
Look at Julie down below
The levee doin' the do-pas-o

I say row Jimmy row, gonna get there, I don't know
Seems a common way to go, get out and row, row, row, row, row
Broken heart don't feel so bad
You ain't got half of what you thought you had
Rock you baby to and fro
Not too fast and not too slow

I say row Jimmy row, gonna get there, I don't know,
Seems a common way to go, get out and row, row, row, row, row.
That's the way it's been in town,
Ever since they tore the jukebox down
Two bit piece don't buy no more
Not so much as it done before
I say row Jimmy row, gonna get there I don't know
Seems a common way to go, get out and row, row, row, row, row

Lyrics submitted by itsmyownmind

"Row Jimmy" as written by Robert C. Hunter Jerome J. Garcia

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

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Row Jimmy song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentNO COMMENTS?!

    battleofnyon April 14, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song alone got me in to the grateful dead
    ross2pon August 25, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMe tto - I heard it on their live Dozin' At The Knick. It is a beautiful song, don't know what some of the lyrics mean though.
    Tmo2199on March 06, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentclassic Robert Hunter//Jerry Garcia collaboration. The flow of the lyrics always reminded me of "Box of Rain" for some reason, which is also another classic Hunter song...
    dukeoveron March 24, 2007   Link
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    General CommentJimmy and Julie are a poor couple or perhaps children living on the banks of the Mississippi. Live in a grass shack and subsist on whatever they can. Keep some pet rabbits, no money for watches or niceties... "ask the time, baby I don't know"

    Jimmy either has a rowboat and ferries people from the riverboat to the shore and vice versa.

    A rich riverboat patron wryly asks him "Gonna get there?"
    "I don't know," says Jimmy.
    "Seems a common way to go."
    He gives Jimmy a tip anyway:
    "Here's a half dollar if you dare "

    The whole song speaks to the rift and disconnect between the classes, as well as the hopelessness and confusion that poverty so often brings.

    A truly beautiful song. One of the Dead's finest.....
    trich daddyon September 12, 2007   Link
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    General CommentSuch a great depiction of a great song.
    Think Jerry always took Hunter tunes and made a lot of the words his own through passion, emotion or just interpretation. Row Jimmy, when I listen to it, comes down to the idea of working hard...And for all his demons, one thing Jerry did was always "Get Down and Row!"
    gehrigon November 18, 2011   Link
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    My Interpretationthis verses: "row jimmi row" reminds me abour a biography who impressed me much. it made pictures in my night and day dreams. it might has inspired mark twain with the tom sawyer. it is the biograpy of john p. parker, his promised land. parker rowed over missisippi many many nights. smuggeled aprox 1000 slaves over. he helped totally 1500 slaves to cannada. lonsome life. six o clock in the morning he stood there all day in his foundry jobb. there is another hunter song too reminding me about parker: friend of the devil. the friend of the devil was trailed in night by twenty hounds. parker many times was hidin in the corn fields with a group og flying slaves. they could see the leggs of their prececutors and their dogs trough the corn. but the dogs didnt smell them.
    thousands of christians were up in the night praying for parker while he done his emmancipation work. this was the emmancipation railway. the underground railway. parker was a friend to joshua mccarter simpson who wrote "the emmancipation car". earl e thorpe and specially john michael spencer in his book "theological music" says "emmanicipation car" is the source of all gospel, blues, white labor songs and black freedomsongs semiotics. the sosial class codes in the language. and that all artists in the usa have read that book.
    the book has copyright on electronic book now. and is no more in print. I did find it on Alibris. it is penum in sosiology in usa now. the language normalises and units sex and drugs and rock and roll and religion labour class. in good and in evil. the underground rail can be the source og the consept of underground in music and drug and jazz culture. labour class unites the black and the whites first of all. so all this has tracs back to john p parker? I dont know! do you?
    blingblongon August 05, 2012   Link
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    General CommentJulie ran off and cheated on jimmy. She returned preggers. This is a song about jimmy's journey of forgiveness as he stays with julie and her baby in abject poverty.
    ouchmanon October 02, 2012   Link
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    My InterpretationSure, it seems like a song about Jimmy and Julie living in abject poverty - 'til the line, "Ever since they tore the jukebox down". This line suggests the song is set in a post-apocalyptic town, perhaps, or a post-anarchy town - Jimmy and Julie live in a village that has been ravaged by something (let's call it The Event, for the sake of convenience) that has supplanted modes of playing music.

    They're living slowly, day-by-day, subsisting - a pace of life reflected in the song's stately pace. Since The Event, they've been living off rabbits; Julie's tried to run away, to escape, but she couldn't - the effects of The Event were too widespread, and anyway, she needs Jimmy just as much as Jimmy needs her.

    Jimmy, the stoic optimist, tells Julie not to "hang [her] head", as moping won't help them get by - they should "let the two-time roll" (two-time being a triple-entendre, I think - it's a dance, i.e. they're sort of slow-dancing their way through life, but also the 'two' suggests that the pair have each other, and no-one else. A third possible interpretation is that Julie has two-timed Jimmy - but we'll get to that interpretation later.) Naturally, everything is made more difficult by the fact that there's no music (no jukeboxes), except for the song that Jimmy's singing - the song that helps them get by.

    Jimmy's rowing himself and Julie down the metaphorical river of life - seemingly to some sort of afterlife. It's a "common way to go"; 'common' could also be a double-entendre (it's 'common' because everyone since The Event is just rowing, fatalistically, towards death/afterlife; but, since 'common' can also mean 'poor', it could suggest that commoners are forced to merely row, while the richer people can sail by on their yachts - although they, too, are headed for death/afterlife).

    The whole interpretation of the song may change if we interpret 'two time' as Julie having cheated on Jimmy - in which case, they're living in spiritual misery. They may as well be living in literal poverty - the cheating has brought their world crashing down. Even the jukeboxes may as well have been torn down, for all the good the music's doing the couple. Still, there's a sense of optimism - they're rowing their way towards a paired salvation, a state of mind in which they've got over the cheating.

    Anyway - those are my two cents. :)
    as2191on April 07, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWondered if it's "catch a rabbit by his hare" it would be a great pun.
    frank13665on September 14, 2016   Link

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