Back to back picks from 1976 here at DFAY. There must have been something in the water during those June shows, but the band certainly had a joie de vivre that came through in the music. Clearly they were glad to be back out on the road.
Ship Of Fools was played a total of 225 but only 8 of those surfaced in 1976.
One of the interesting things about this song to me, lyrically, is how it aged with the band. The original lyrics is “thirty years upon my head,” but this changed to forty, and even fifty as Jerry got older. It’s interesting to think that even as the song’s protagonist gets old he still hasn’t learned his lesson and continues to make the same mistakes with each performance of the song. Was Jerry trying to tell us something? I guess we’ll never know.
I always liked the chord progression of this song too, and that diminished 7th chord (if I recall correctly) provides some really great tension against a rather delicate melody. I used to think it was a bit odd and didn’t fit, but now I welcome the dissonance. It’s funny how the little things grow on you like that.