California Earthquake
(Rodney Crowell)

There was a California earthquake in the year of '83
That shook the living daylights out of the Owen's County sea
There weren't a building still left standing when the dust had cleared away
Just a rumble in the distance all the way to San Andre

Well Sherman Buck was driving his old mule into town
When the big one came that shook so hard, it knocked him to the ground
Lord, there opened up a hole so big, he just knew that his time was up
And it swallowed up that poor old mule and it just missed Sherman Buck

California earthquake you just don't know what you've done
We might fall off in the ocean, Lord, but you never make us run
You're a partner to the devil, but we ain't afraid of him
And we'll build ourselves another town so you can tear it down again

And there came the quake of '99 that leveled Mission Creek
The earth was like an ocean churning, with waves of twenty feet
Lord, it sounded like a thousand trains were screaming underground
Clean across to San Joachim, folks heard that mournful sound

Then it came one day a holocaust and it rocked the Frisco Bay
Miles of walls came tumbling down like in Jericho that day
Mighty near everything that the earthquake missed, a full day fire consumed
And just left the smoke and the ashes of the dreams that they had burned

*Grateful Dead 10/20-23/89