The Needle's Eye is thin
The Ships of State sail on mirage
but drown in sand
in No-Man's Land
where ALLAH does command
What good is spilling
blood? It will not
grow a thing
the sword sings Blues for ALLAH
They lie where they fall
There's nothing more to say
The desert stars are bright tonight,
let's meet as friends
The flower of Islam
The fruit of Abraham
The thousand stories have
come round to one again
our gods pursue their fight
What fatal flowers of
darkness spring from
seeds of light
Bird of Paradise - Fly
In white sky
Blues for ALLAH
Let's see with our heart
these things our eyes have seen
and know the truth will still lie
somewhere in between
Bird of Paradise
In white sky
Covered by Henry Kaiser on Eternity Blue.
Performed live only five times, all in 1975. First performed live at The SNACK benefit, March 23, in Kezar Stadium, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. "Blues For Allah" opened and closed the Dead's set, which also included "Stronger Than Dirt."
Hunter's note in Box of Rain says "This lyric is a requiem for King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, a progressive and democratically inclined ruler [and, incidentally, a fan of the Grateful Dead] whose assassination in 1975 shocked us personally."
And this note from a reader: (July 23, 1996)
I always thought that BFA referred to the Yom Kippur War (October 1973) between Israel and the Arabs--the song was written no more than a year or so thereafter, and after all the initial release of the album had the Hebrew and Arabic translations of the lyrics (only to the song BFA).
I spent a lot of time in Israel-- when friends of mine in the states would ask me "who's right, Israel or the Palestinean Arabs?," all I could say was "The truth lies somewhere in between."
And another note from a reader:
Subject: Blues for Allah
Date: Sun, 02 Mar 1997 02:14:54 -0800
From: Web Station
The song title "Blues for Allah" may be a parody of the title of the Charlie Parker song "Blues for Alice".
Note: "Blues For Alice" is included on many Parker recordings, and has also been recorded by Rahsaan Roland Kirk and by Tony Furtado, among others.
This note from a reader:
Subject: Blues for AllahThanks, ghost! (I especially like the idea that "all thinks are possible"!)
Date: Tue, 10 Dec 1996 23:54:06 -0800
I just want to say that I think you should include the entire quote from Matthew 19:24 "24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?
26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. "
You miss the most important part of the lesson if you leave out, "...with God all thinks are possible."
Hunter's use of this image for his second line reinforces the first line's geographical placement of the song in the landscape of the Holy Land, and adds the element of admonition.
"Representing Arab. in sa' Allah if Allah wills (it), a very frequent pious ejaculation among Muslims."