The lyrics were written by, Robert Hunter, Jerry Garcia composed the music. This was the combination that was the POWER behind the Grateful Dead. Garcia & Hunter....were the DUO that wrote many of the classic Dead standards...
One song in particuliar, and ONE VERSE always STINGS me.
It's from the song, "Cat's Under the Stars"
The first and second verse, are this.
"Cats on the blacktop
Birdy in the treetop
Someone plays guitar that
sounds like clavinette
I ain't ready yet
to go to bed
Think I'll take a walk
Cats on the bandstand
Give 'em each a big hand
Anyone who sweats that hard
must be all right
No one wants a fight
No black eye
Just another cat beneath
the stars tonight"
But, out of nowhere, Hunter comes up with this line that packs a wallop. It hurdles me from where I may be, into another stratosphere.
Now imagine, me with a Walkman 15 years ago, hitting rewind OVER AND OVER again..to hear this 10 second dissertation of the verse.
In the car, I hit reverse, to relisten numerous times....it still happens 20+ years after my introduction to the song.
This is the VERSE.
"A satin blouse unbuttoning
satin blouse unbuttoning,
Time is a stripper
Doing it just for you
Time is a STRIPPER, doing it just for you....
Just for YOU."
Why this "hits me" I'm not sure? The jam by Garcia after this verse, is a 6-10 minute masterpiece, that I believe is KICK STARTED, by the verse itself....
I almost feel as though, (selfishly) that the line was written FOR ME, by Mr. Hunter. (I know it was not, but we can dream, eh?)
Time is a STRIPPER. There is no greater stripper than time. It is the ultimate judge, arbiter, and dealer, when it comes to life.
And, the words could not be more true.
The reason the words hit me in the soul, is because, I guess at a young age, I developed a great respect for age, culture, and history.
This FORCED me to be more cognizant of TIME, developments, and evolution.
For instance, I knew at a early age, I liked the Beatles, Beach Boys, and Mama's and The Papa's. Many of my friends were listening to "Freak Out" - or popular bands of the late 70's, early 80's -- I was not attracted to it, nor did I spend much of my time listening to it. I had "Pet Sounds" and Seargant Peppers on my record player, when my contemporaries, had Disco.
I knew, when I got a call on Sept 19th, 1981, at 1:00pm -- from a friend at the time, named Bill Murray, to go see Simon and Garfunkel play in Central Park. I realized then, that there were NOT too many kids our age, even contemplating, or plotting to go to Central Park - to see a band reunite, that WE LOVED...but, the band was 15 years BEFORE our time. It was not suppose to be our demographic, but it was.
I was AWARE of time, and my limited place in it.
Now, I hear my kids. I am watching them grow up. I see TIME before my eyes.
Verses like this, TRANSCEND music for me.
Time is a STRIPPER, doing it just for you.
Just for you, and NO ONE else. Time, is the most valued, cherished, perishable resource we have.
Use it wisely.
You know why I can write this?
For the first time in my professional career, I feel as though I'm ADDRESSING, and ACKNOWLEDGING, time, and all it's features and attributes.
It's not about money. It's about feeling good with what you are doing with time.
After all, time will strip it all away.
Till we are left with only 2 things.
Results or Excuses.
"Time is a STRIPPER, doing it just for YOU....."