E-mail From John Barlow Regarding Lost Brent Mydland Songs

John Barlow, one of the lyricists for the Grateful Dead, provided some fascinating insight into some rare Brent Mydland tunes I had been researching. He was kind enough to provide some lyrics, as well. Enjoy!

At 1:08 PM 8/7/94 -0400, X92POULOS@wmich.edu wrote:
>Hello John. Hope all is well with you.
>
>I was browsing through the Library of Congress catalog today and came across some
>unreleased Brent Mydland tunes. Specifically,
>
>Inlay It In Your Heart (84)
>See The Other Side (84)
>Long Way To Go (84)
>Take One (84)
>Nobody's (84)
>Dreams (84)
>Fire (87)
>Love Doesn't Have To Be Pretty (88) w/ you
>You're Still There (88) w/ you
>
>Can you shed some light on any of these tunes?

None were recorded except in demo form. I don't have tapes or words to the ones he did himself. I do have lyrics to the two I wrote of course, and there is a tape extant of his sole live performance of "Love Doesn't Have to Be Pretty" (which is, to my mind, one of the best things we ever did.) He performed at a benefit concert in Berkeley. The Dead never did it because they thought it was too negative.

I can still sing the version of "You're Still There" we did together, but that's about it. (Vince and I are working on another one).

> Were they recorded? I'd be very interested in reading the lyrics to the tunes that you
>contributed to. I'm a long time fan of Brent and think that his voice and playing were some
>of the most exciting things about the Grateful Dead.

I was too, of course, and I miss him terribly even today. Among the tragedies is that his songs died with him. No one will ever cover these songs and it's as certain as death itself that the Dead will never do one.

Thanks for your interest. Here are the lyrics...
 


Love Doesn't Have To Be Pretty
by John Perry Barlow / February 1988

It seems that we got an instinct, Baby,
No matter who plunges first.
You can look across a crowded room
And pick out the one
Who will hurt you the worst.
So fasten your seat belt, Baby,
This ride could be rough.
You know that love is gonna make me
Make you cry,
Until we both say,
"Uncle! We've had enough."

Chorus:
Love doesn't have to be pretty.
Love doesn't have to be fun.
Love doesn't have to be flowers and lace,
It can get in your face
Like a loaded gun.
It likes to tangle up your dreams.
It likes to do you 'till you're done.
Love doesn't have to be pretty.
Love doesn't have to be fun.

I got this theory, Baby
That when the Lord made the world,
He cut us all in pieces
And mixed us up
Into a crazy swirl.
We want to find the other half of ourselves.
We try on everyone for fit.
When you're sifting haystacks for needles
It's for sure you're gonna get pricked.

Bridge:
You can let it play your life.
It will franchise your blues.
It will set you up with
One loving wife
And then five or six more
'Fore it really gets through with you.

It's like we're all on a ladder, Baby.
Everyone that I know
Is in love with the one who's above
And couldn't care less
'Bout the one who's below.
It's a long climb to heaven this way.
We try not to look down.
We know if we did
What we'd see down below
Is a big pile of hearts
All over the ground.
 


You're Still There
by John Perry Barlow / February 1988

There will be times
When we forget the dream of reason
And set out to slay whatever
Dragons we can find.
We leave you to mind the children,
Tend the fires, watch the seasons,
And to puzzle at this fever in our minds.

And yet you stayed there.
And yet you stayed there.
When we returned,
We were pitiful and burned
Our lessons were unlearned and yet
We found you there
We found you there.

And now as I write you from this distance,
Imagining the mail come round,
Your fingers on the phone.
All the Angels singing praises,
Stating purpose, bearing witness,
Could not explain to you
The dreams that keep me gone.

And yet you're still there.
And yet you're still there.
When I get home,
Though tired to the bone
Wired to the core,
Nothin' but a 1000 yard stare.
You will be there
You will be there.

Bridge:
The risks I take.
The plans I make
The grandiose projects I undertake.
Should something fail,
Should something break,
I'm not alone in what's at stake...Because you're there.
Because you're there.

On these waves
That have carried us through seasons
We will rise and fall together,
You and I.
You'll accept my affirmations,
Forgiving me my treasons,
You'll be the one I call for when I die.

Because you will be there.
Because you will be there.
Of the many seeds I've sewn
Only one has grown
And it grew in you alone, because...
'Cause you were there.
'Cause you were there.