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Bertha

Bertha has not been seen in 1848 Phish shows.
It was last played: 1985-03-16.
It was played at 0.16% of live shows.
It has been performed live 3 time(s).

Music/Lyrics: Garcia/Hunter

Original Artist: Grateful Dead

Original Album: Grateful Dead (1971)

Vocals: Trey

Debut: 1984-11-03

Historian: Chris Bertolet (bertoletdown)


This rollicking tune about a troublesome dame is an early Grateful Dead classic that, like many songs in the Dead canon, served as a touchstone for the band’s evolving style. “Bertha” came out of the gates as a driving country number in 1971, only to settle back into the Dead’s mellow jazzscapes in 1973, then emerged as a full-tilt rocker in the late seventies (when it was commonly mated with The Rascals’ “Good Lovin’”).



Phish is known to have covered “Bertha” at three of their earliest gigs: 11/3/84, 12/1/84, and 3/16/85. Apart from Trey’s earnest Jerry Garcia impression, they are rather unremarkable performances, but they are nonetheless historically notable. 



Though Phish hasn’t performed “Bertha” in several decades, Trey has taken the vocal lead on several performances of the song in other contexts. He sang it at the 4/16/99 Phil Lesh & Friends show as Page accompanied on keys, and performed it several times thereafter with Lesh, including at the highly-regarded 10/20/07 Glens Falls, NY gig. Trey has also performed “Bertha” twice with Los Lobos: on 8/11/99 at Higher Ground, and again on 5/31/02 during Los Lobos’ opening slot for Trey in Las Vegas.


Lyrics:

(Garcia/Hunter)
© Ice Nine Publishing Company, Inc.

I had a hard run, runnin' from your window.
I was all night running, running, Lord I wonder if you care,
I had a run in, run around, and run down.
Run around the corner, corner, Lord run smack in to a tree.

I had to move, really had to move,
That's why if you please, I am on my bendin' knees,
Bertha don't you come around here anymore.

Dressed myself in green, I went down unto the sea.
Try to see what's goin' down, try to read between the lines
I had a feelin' I was fallin', fallin', fallin',
I turned around to see,
Heard a voice a callin', Lord you was commin' after me.

I had to move, really had to move,
That's why if you please, I am on my bendin knees,
Bertha don't you come around here anymore.

Ran into a rainstorm, I ducked back into Novato.
It's all night pourin', pourin', pourin',
Lord but not a drop on me.
Test me, test me,
Test me, test me, test me,
Why don't you arrest me?
Throw me in to the jailhouse,
Lord until the sun goes down, 'till it goes down.

I had to move, really had to move,
That's why if you please, I am on my bendin' knees,
Bertha don't you come around here anymore.

I had to move, really had to move,
That's why if you please, I am on my bendin' knees,
Bertha don't you come around here anymore.

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