Ship Of Fools

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Went to see the captain, strangest I could find
Laid my proposition down, laid it on the line
I won't slave for beggar's pay, likewise gold and jewels
But I would slave to learn a way to sink your ship of fools

Ship of fools on a cruel sea
Ship of fools sail away from me
It was later than I thought when I first believed you
Now I cannot share your laughter, ship of fools

Saw your first ship sink and drown from rocking of the boat
And all that could not sink or swim were just left there to float
I won't leave you drifting down but oh, it makes me wild
With thirty years upon my head to have you call me child

(Repeat Chorus)

The bottle stands as empty as it was filled before
Time there was and plenty, but from that cup no more
Though I could not caution all, I still might warn a few
Don't lend your hand to raise no flag atop no ship of fools

(Repeat Chorus)

Ship Of Fools
Written byJerry Garcia & Robert Hunter
Performed byElvis Costello & The Rude 5
Produced byElvis Costello & Kevin Killen
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocals, acoustic guitar
Jim Keltner - drums
Jerry Scheff - electric bass, Ampeg Baby Bass
Larry Knechtel - piano
James Burton - electric guitar
Marc Ribot - banjo, Eb horn
Recorded1990, Blue Wave Studios, Barbados
Vocal backgrounds added at Eden Studios, London
ReleasedApril 23, 1991
AlbumsKojak Variety (Rhino/Edsel edition), 2004
Various Artists collectionsDeadicated, 1991
PromosSelections From Almost Blue, Goodbye Cruel World, Kojak Variety, 2004

First known performance:
April 16, 1987, San Jose, CA
Last known performance:
March 27, 2011, New York, NY
     (5 known performances)

Alternate versions

Ship Of Fools / It Must Have Been The Roses (Live 1987)
Performed byElvis Costello
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocal, guitar
RecordedApril 16, 1987, San Jose, CA
ReleasedAugust 8, 2000
Various Artists collectionsStolen Roses: Songs Of The Grateful Dead, 2000

Ship Of Fools (Live 1996)
Performed byElvis Costello
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocal, guitar
RecordedMay 15, 1996, San Francisco, CA
ReleasedDecember 3, 1996
AlbumsCostello & Nieve, 1996
Various Artists collectionsLive From The Archives Vol. 6, 1999
PromosLive At The Fillmore, San Francisco, 1996

Ship Of Fools / It Must Have Been The Roses (Live 2011)
Performed byFurthur with Elvis Costello & Larry Campbell
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocal, guitar
Bob Weir - guitar, backing vocal
Phil Lesh - bass, backing vocal
John Kadlecik - guitar, backing vocal
Jeff Chimenti - keyboards, backing vocal
Joe Russo - drums
Sunshine Becker - backing vocal
Jeff Pehrson - backing vocal
Larry Campbell - fiddle
RecordedMarch 27, 2011, New York, NY
AlbumsFurthur: Live From Radio City Music Hall, 2011
DeadicatedDeadicated album cover.jpg

Costello & NieveCostello & Nieve album cover.jpg

Stolen Roses: Songs Of The Grateful DeadStolen Roses Songs Of The Grateful Dead album cover.jpg

Kojak VarietyKojak Variety album cover.jpg

Live From The Archives Vol. 6Live From The Archives Vol. 6 album cover.jpg

Furthur: Live From Radio City Music HallFurthur Live From Radio City Music Hall album cover.jpg

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External links