Led Zeppelin – Traveling Riverside Blues

This was on their last album Coda after John Bonham died in 1980. Coda was released in 1982 and peaked at #6 in the Billboard Album Charts in 1983.

Led Zeppelin first played this for a BBC session in 1969, but the song was never released on an album. It was placed on the Box Set in 1990, and it was also made a bonus track on the Coda album for the Complete Studio Recordings.

This was written and originally recorded by blues great Robert Johnson. Led Zeppelin borrowed heavily from American blues music…some would say “borrowed” is too kind of word… but they did introduce some of that music to new fans.


From Songfacts

Jimmy Page used a 12-string acoustic guitar to play this song. 

In the third verse, it sounds like Robert Plant mistakenly sings “My baby geen bone” instead of ‘My baby been gone.” 

The lyric, “I’ve had no lovin’ since my baby been gone” came from B.B. King’s “Woke Up This Morning (My Baby Was Gone).”

To get the fast bass beats, John Bonham used “triplets” on the bass drum – he would use the tip of his toe.

Traveling Riverside Blues

Asked sweet mama, Let me be her kid
She said, “You might get hurt if you don’t keep it hid”

Well I know my baby, If I see her in the dark
I said I know my rider, If I see her in the dark

Now, I goin’ to Rosedale, Take my rider by my side
Still barrelhouse, If it’s on the riverside, yeah
I know my baby, Lord, I said, “is really sloppy drunk”
I know my mama, Lord, a brownskin, but she ain’t no plum

See my baby, tell her, Tell her hurry home
Had no lovin’, since my baby been gone
See my baby, Tell hurry on home
I ain’t had, Lord, my right mind, Since my rider’s been gone

Hey, she promises, She’s my rider
I wanna tell you, She’s my rider
I know you’re mine, She’s my rider
She ain’t but sixteen, But she’s my rider

I’m goin’ to Rosedale, Take my rider by side
Anybody argue with me man, I’ll keep them satisfied
Well, see my baby, tell her, Tell her the shape I’m in
Ain’t had no lovin’, Lord, since you know when

Spoken: Why don’t you come into my kitchen

She’s a kindhearted lady. She studies evil all the time
She’s a kindhearted woman. She studies evil all the time

Squeeze my lemon ’til the juice runs down my leg
Squeeze it so hard, I’ll fall right out of bed
Squeeze my lemon, ’til the juice runs down my leg

Spoken: I wonder if you know what I’m talkin’ about

Oh, but the way that you squeeze it girl
I swear I’m gonna fall right out of bed

She’s a good rider
She’s my kindhearted lady
I’m gonna take my rider by my side
I said her front teeth are lined with gold
She’s gotta mortgage on my body, got a lien on my soul
She’s my brownskin sugar plum…

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

22 thoughts on “Led Zeppelin – Traveling Riverside Blues”

  1. Rosedale is a town in the Mississippi Delta and rider refers to a lover. In the Cream song Crossroads which you wrote about the other day there is a line that says, “Well, I’m going down to Rosedale, take my rider by my side”.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Zep were (often still are) one of my favourite bands, but I prefer the Johnson original to their version of this. Curiously, I first bought CODA on a cassette tape and when I tried to play it, it had been wound the wrong way onto the spools and so played backwards! Stupidly, I took it back to the shop to exchange it for one that worked… I should have kept it, shouldn’t I?!

    Liked by 4 people

      1. It would have been a keepsake for sure.

        The only odd thing I ever had was a single by Zeppelin that was printed backward. The Crunge and D’yer Maker were printed on the wrong sides. I got it at a yard sale in the 70s when I was a kid. I thought the song D’yer Maker was named The Crunge…until I got the album.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I dont recall ever having print mistakes on my records but I do recall the songs that always skipped at the same point of the song. My Glass Houses album by Billy Joel had that and it drove me crazy. Every time I hear certain songs without the skip i notice it believe me.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That is funny. I know what you mean. When I hear an old song that I first heard on 8-Track…like Nazareth Love Hurts…I expect an interruption like a “Clank” in the middle of the song switching tracks.
        I still expect to hear it so I know what you are talking about.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. You probably should have kept it! I don’t see how Johnson played guitar like he did. I play guitar and it’s like he had 4 hands.

      I do like the Robert Johnson music also. I credit Zeppelin, Clapton, and others for introducing his music to a new generation.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know what you mean about Johnson’s playing. Other half plays guitar and keyboards. I’ve tried guitar (have a Japanese Gretch acoustic) but have never got very far with it, creatively I’m more visual than anything else.


    1. I know…when I was a teenager I always waited for the next Beatles, Stones, Who, and Led Zeppelin…well…there will be no others like them…I soon had to realize that.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I know what happened. They took the original version by Robert Johnson…on more than three sites.
      I should have noticed…but that is what I get from doing it at 2 in the morning.


  3. the comments on things like records that skipped leaving you EXPECTING to hear that skip reminds me of how when I was a kid, and teen, I’d tape a lot of things off radio. Some tapes I listened to so much, but from radio had DJs intro’ing it so now it doesn’t sound right if I hear the song without that specific little radio patter

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes! I remember the Kinks Apeman and the song Magnet and Steel. When I hear one I expect to hear the other because I recorded them off the radio with the DJ talking in between.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Many people didn’t like the album…It wasn’t a great album by any means…but I do like around 3-4 songs…this was a good one. This could have been on one of their big albums.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. The album doesn’t hold up to their great ones…but…I like more songs on this album than Presence.
      But…Presence is more of a coherent album than this one.
      This is just odds and ends…but I like Ozone Baby, Darlene, Wearing Tearing, and this song…this one would have fit on one of their great albums.

      Liked by 1 person

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