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…

Led Zeppelin – Misty Mountain Hop

The song really kicks in when John Bonham enters. The song was released as the B side to Black Dog. Misty Mountain Hop didn’t chart but Black Dog did peak at #15 in the Billboard 100 in 1972. Led Zeppelin didn’t like releasing singles and only had 10 songs in the Billboard 100. They wanted fans to buy the complete album and listen to it in context with the other songs.

Led Zeppelin wrote and recorded this at Headley Grange, a mansion with a recording studio in Hampshire, England, where the band sometimes lived. Jimmy Page wrote the song one night while the rest of the band was sleeping.

The song was off the classic Let Zeppelin IV album that was also known as ZoSo, Ruins, 4 Symbols, and Untitled.

This song was about a love-in happening near London that the police came and broke up. Robert Plant said : “It’s about a bunch of hippies getting busted, about the problems you can come across when you have a simple walk in the park on a nice sunny afternoon. In England, it’s understandable, because wherever you go to enjoy yourself, ‘Big Brother’ is not far behind.”

From Songfacts

The Misty Mountains are in Wales. They are referred to in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Return Of The King. Plant is a big fan of Tolkien and used references to the Lord Of The Rings series from time to time.

This begins with John Paul Jones playing electric piano.

Robert Plant found himself drawn to Wales and eventually settled in Worcestershire, England, near the Welsh border. “I missed the misty mountains – the wet Welsh climate,” he told Rolling Stone in 2017. “I like weather people run away from.”

The band performed this at the Atlantic Records 40th anniversary concert in 1988 with Jason Bonham sitting in on drums for his late father. They played it again with Jason at the 21st birthday party for Robert Plant’s daughter Carmen, and again in 2007 at a London benefit concert for the Ahmet Ertegun education fund.

The 4 Non Blondes recorded this for the 1995 Led Zeppelin tribute album Encomium. It was one of the last songs 4 Non Blondes recorded. They broke up while they were recording their second album.

Misty Mountain Hop

Walkin’ in the park just the other day Baby
What do you what do you think I saw?
Crowds of people sittin’ on the grass with flowers in their hair said
“Hey Boy do you want to score?”

And you know how it is;
I really don’t know what time it was woh oh
So I asked them if I could stay awhile.
I didn’t notice but it had got very dark and I was really

Really out of my mind.
Just then a policeman stepped up to me and asked us said,
“Please, hey, would we care to all get in line,
Get in line.”

Well you know,
They asked us to stay for tea and have some fun,
Oh, oh, he said that his friends would all drop by, ooh.
Why don’t you take a good look at yourself and describe what you see,

And Baby, Baby, Baby, do you like it?
There you sit, sitting spare like a book on a shelf rustin’
Ah, not trying to fight it.
You really don’t care if they’re coming, oh, oh,

I know that it’s all a state of mind, ooh.
If you go down in the streets today, Baby, you better,
You better open your eyes.
Folk down there really don’t care, really don’t care,

Don’t care, really don’t
Which, which way the pressure lies,
So I’ve decided what I’m gonna do now.
So I’m packing my bags for the Misty Mountains

Where the spirits go now,
Over the hills where the spirits fly, ooh, I really don’t know.

Led Zeppelin – Night Flight

I once read where a critic said “Night Flight” was a song that would have fit nicely on a Stones album.  I have to agree with him because I can see that.

Led Zeppelin first recorded this song in 1971. it was intended for Led Zeppelin 4, but was put on Physical Graffiti to fill the double album. Most of this song was written by Led Zeppelin’s bass player, John Paul Jones, who is listed first on the writing credits. It is one of the few Led Zeppelin songs with no guitar solo. It is also credited to Jimmy Page and Robert Plant.

When I listen to Physical Graffiti I always make sure I give this one a listen. This song was not released as a sing because Zeppelin didn’t do that much at all…but I always thought it should have been.

According to Robert Plant…This song is about a man dodging a military draft.

From Songfacts

While there’s no official live recording of the band playing this, bootlegs abound of one time when they did it during a sound check on stage. A different studio version was produced with extra backing vocals.

In the liner notes for the Led Zeppelin box set, Jimmy Page declares: “To be able to fuse all these styles was always my dream in the early stages, but now the composing side of it is just as important.”

In Frank Moriarty’s book Seventies Rock: The Decade of Creative Chaos, Moriarty recounts how critics were less receptive to Zeppelin’s stateside invasion than their fans: “The writers insisted the band’s concerts did little more than placate legions of Quaalude-swallowing, whiskey-and-wine-swilling cretins, a vulgar audience that filled the soulless hockey rinks and municipal auditoriums of the United States – and Led Zeppelin was more to be blamed for the group’s low-rent audiences than praised for their music.” Good thing their reputation recovered, then!

 

Night Flight

I received a message from my brother across the water
He sat laughin’ as he wrote the end’s in sight
So I said goodbye to all my friends
And packed my hopes inside a matchbox
‘Cause I know it’s time to fly

Oh yeah, come on, meet me in the morning
Meet me in the middle of the night
Ah yeah, the morning light is comin’
Don’t it make you want to go and feel alright

I just jumped a train that never stops
So now somehow I’ll know I never finished payin’ for my ride
Just n’ someone pushed a gun into my hand
Tell me I’m the type of man to fight the fight that I’ll require

Oh yeah, come on, meet me in the morning
Want you meet me in the middle of the night
The morning light is comin’
Don’t it make you want to go and feel alright

Oh, mama, well I think it’s time I’m leavin’
Nothin’ here to make me stay
Whoa, mama, well it must be time I’m goin’
They’re knockin’ down them doors
They’re tryin’ to take me away

Please Mr. Brakeman, won’t you ring your bell
And ring loud and clear
Please Mr. Fireman, won’t you ring your bell
Tell the people they got to fly away from here

I once saw a picture of a lady with a baby
Southern lady, had a very, very special smile
We are in the middle of a change in destination
When the train stops, all together we will smile
Oh, come on, come on now meet me in the morning
Won’t you meet me in the middle of the night, night, night
Oh oh, yeah, everybody know the mornin’ time is comin’
Don’t it make you want to feel alright
Ah, ah, yeah, make me feel alright
Fly now, baby
Get to fly, yeah
Fly now, baby
Oh, hey, hey

Bring It On Home: Peter Grant, Led Zeppelin, and Beyond–The Story of Rock’s Greatest Manager… by Mark Blake

I had a business trip this past week driving a car for at least 10 hours to and from Atlanta and finished up this audiobook about the legendary manager Peter Grant. I have read one book about Grant by Chris Welch but I like this one better. Both of Grant’s kids were interviewed by author Mark Blake and they gave a perspective and info that has never been shared.

Grant had been a van driver, bouncer, stagehand, wrestler, and Don Arden’s assistant. He was 6’3″ and at one time over 300lbs… He road managed the tough and a little crazy Gene Vincent, Little Richard, Bo Diddley, and The Animals before he took over the Yardbirds which then turned into Led Zeppelin.

Grant changed the music business across the board. The promoters would enjoy a 60/40 split and better until Grant. He changed it all to 90/10 split with the artists actually getting the windfall instead of the promoters. His saying was 10 percent of Zeppelin was better than nothing. Now it is an industry-standard. The one other manager that I have read about is Brian Epstein who managed the Beatles. Grant and Epstein were complete opposites except for one thing. There was nothing they would not do for their respective bands. They were both loyal and trustworthy with the band’s finances unlike other band’s managers at the time. That is where the comparison ends.

Grant indeed was loyal to a fault…but he did business by suggestion and intimidation. Pouring water in bootleggers tape recorders, smashing film cameras by fans at concerts, and threating anyone that got in Zeppelin’s way or anyone who might be getting something they shouldn’t. He added to their already dark reputation. He started a Zeppelin label in the mid-seventies called Swan Song and signed Bad Company. He became their co-manager and traveled with them when Zeppelin wasn’t touring. He was even asked by Queen in 1975 if he could manage them…he turned them down because he didn’t have the time.

After Bonham died it became close to impossible to get him on the phone. His drug intake, already heavy, escalated during the early eighties. He did eventually get clean, lose weight, and turn into a living legend and he tried to be an English gentleman.

The book moves at a good pace and it goes over the hype and myths that Grant and Page built for Zeppelin.

If you are a Zeppelin fan or a fan of rock in the seventies it’s a good read. Although Grant could be tough, intimidating, and frankly scary at times…he did have a soft side for his family and of course…Led Zeppelin. I would give it 4.5 stars.

I did learn a new name for a certain drug… “Peruvian Marching Powder”

 

Led Zeppelin – Tangerine

This song and Hey Hey What Can I Do are my top two favorite Zeppelin songs.

Jimmy Page wrote this and first recorded it when he was still with The Yardbirds. I’ve read where Yardbirds singer Keith Relf wrote some of the lyrics originally and was given some of the credit but the record company turned it down for release. Later on, Jimmy would use it on the 3rd Zeppelin album with his lyrics.

This was the last Zeppelin song Page wrote without any input from Robert Plant. It’s also the only track on Led Zeppelin III for which Plant didn’t write the lyrics.

At the time the album got mixed reviews from critics and fans alike. Many fans wanted the same heavy albums as the first two. This album had a mix and they perfected it on their next album.

This was used at the end of the 2000 movie Almost Famous in a scene where a bus drives away…I thought the song was brilliant in that scene in the movie.

From Songfacts

Robert Plant would sometimes introduce this at concerts by saying: “This song is for our families and friends and people we’ve been close to. It’s a song of love at its most innocent stages.”

Jimmy Page played a pedal steel guitar on this track. He told Guitar Player magazine in 1977: “On the first LP there’s a pedal steel. I had never played steel before, but I just picked it up. There’s a lot of things I do first time around that I haven’t done before. In fact, I hadn’t touched a pedal steel from the first album to the third. It’s a bit of a pinch really from the things that Chuck Berry did. Nevertheless, it fits. I use pedal steel in ‘Your Time Is Gonna Come.’ It sounds like a slide or something. It’s more out of tune on the first album because I hadn’t got a kit to put it together.”

Why does this song fade to silence a few seconds in? Jimmy Page explained when previewing the song for Melody Maker in 1970: “That’s commonly known as a false start. It was a tempo guide, and it seemed like a good idea to leave it in – at the time. I was trying to keep the tempo down a bit. I’m not so sure now it was a good idea. Everybody asks what the hell is going on.”

Led Zeppelin played this during acoustic sets on their early tours.

This was the second Zeppelin song named after a fruit. “The Lemon Song” was the first.

According to Jimmy Page, this song was dedicated to Jackie DeShannon, who was his girlfriend when he wrote the song. DeShannon, a member of the Songwriting Hall of Fame, had hits as a singer with “What the World Needs Now Is Love” and “Put a Little Love in Your Heart.”

This was recorded on April 4, 1968 at one of the last studio sessions for The Yardbirds, under the title “Knowing That I’m Losing You.” This first version performed by The Yardbirds, featured music almost identical to “Tangerine” by Led Zeppelin, but with different lyrics (vocals by Keith Relf), and was never officially released. It was supposed to be included on the Cumular Limit compilation (which was released in 2000), together with other materials from the same sessions, but interestingly enough, Page vetoed the release of the song. Since then, the version from The Yardbirds has leaked onto the internet, and Page has been accused of ripping off a Yardbirds composition, simply changing the majority of the lyrics (probably initially written by Keith Relf) in order to avoid any problem with the other members of his previous group. This would explain his veto against the release of the original song. It is not easy to ascertain the above, as the remaining members of The Yardbirds haven’t spoken about the subject so far.

 

Tangerine

Measuring a summer’s day, I only finds it slips away to grey
The hours, they bring me pain

Tangerine, Tangerine, living reflection from a dream
I was her love, she was my queen, and now a thousand years between

Thinking how it used to be
Does she still remember times like these?
To think of us again?
And I do

Tangerine, Tangerine, living reflection from a dream
I was her love, she was my queen, and now a thousand years between

When Giants Walked The Earth…. by Mick Wall

I read this book about Led Zeppelin over a year ago…and recently while waiting for a Beatles book to get released I  went through it again. The book is much better than The Hammer Of The Gods released in the 80s. There are many things in this book that I didn’t know. Overall I liked it…but..

Mick Wall would do these interludes that are supposed to be some kind of interior monologue by the protagonists (but in second person). The book is well researched and he would be going along great and then all of a sudden he would try to get into each member’s head and have a monologue (in cockney many times) on what they were thinking at that moment…I don’t care how much you researched someone you do not know what they were thinking at that time.

He would sprinkle these monologues out so it’s not like they are the entire book but it was totally unnecessary to me…and it was annoying.

Here is a small example of a Jimmy Page interlude…and “G” is Led Zeppelin’s manager Peter Grant.  Now it’s down to just the two of you, Jimmy and G. And of course, the name, for what it’s still worth: the Yardbirds. Or maybe the New Yardbirds – G’s suggestion. That way, at least, it won’t be like starting again from scratch, he says. Not entirely, anyway. And you can still get paying gigs. Keep the wolf from the door until you can come up with something better. That’s the plan anyway, this long, rainy summer of 1968…

From 1968 to 1980 Led Zeppelin were together and left a giant legacy and myth behind. The book is solid and I found out many things I didn’t already know. I am a fan of some of their music…the less indulgent side of them anyway. I’m not the person who wants to listen to a 25-minute live version of No Quarter.

The author does go in-depth about Page’s infatuation of black magic and the dark image of the band. He also goes into the songwriting and about how they got the sound they did…so he covers the personalities, the music, and events that happened.

Things were going great for them until 1975 when Robert Plant was in a car wreck with his family and from that point on everything started to go downhill. This book covers everything you would want and it covers what happened after John Bonham died. They did think about regrouping many times through the decades but it was always Robert who had doubts…and after what he went through I cannot blame him. His wife was almost killed in the car wreck and Plant’s leg was badly hurt…then when he recovered his young son (Karac) died of a stomach virus and 3 years later Bonham died.

After Zeppelin unlike Plant and Jones, Jimmy Page didn’t adjust as well to life without the band. The book was written in 2009 and he does cover the O2 Arena reunion.

If you are a Led Zeppelin fan or a fan of classic rock through the seventies…this is a good book. Out of five stars, I would give it 3.75 out of 5 for the information it gives…without the monologues, I would consider a 5.

 

 

My Top 10 Favorite Live Albums

I’m more of a studio guy when it comes to listening to bands but there are a few live albums I really like. This is my top 10 and a few honorable mentions at the bottom. Very few artists can improve on the studio version but sometimes some manage to pull it off.

10. Led Zeppelin –  How the West Was Won – After the disappointing live album The Song Remains The Same, this album released in 2003 contained Led Zeppelin live in 1972 from two shows in top form.

How the West Was Won (Live) (3-CD)

9: Simon And Garfunkel – The Concert In Central Park – This was big for me when it was released. I had by this time worn a groove out in their greatest hits. The band was great and their harmonies were as good as ever.

Image result for Simon And Garfunkel – The Concert In Central Park

8: George Harrison – The Concert For Bangladesh – Fun to listen to George freed from the Beatles and he sounds great with Dylan, Billy Preston, Ringo, and other friends.

Image result for George Harrison – The Concert For Bangladesh

 

7: The Band: The Last Waltz – One of the best live albums ever. The Band’s last concert with Robbie with a host of talented famous friends. I still don’t get the Neil Diamond selection…nothing against Neil…he didn’t fit in with this atmosphere.

Image result for The Band: The Last Waltz album

6: The Allman Brothers Band “At Fillmore East” – This album floats up and down this list depending on my mood. It was at number 2 when I first made this list a couple of weeks ago. This band was probably one of the most talented bands in the seventies. I didn’t start heavily listening to them until around 5-10 years ago. They are better live than in the studio. There was not a weak link in this 6 piece band…especially in the Duane version but later incarnations were almost as strong.

At The Fillmore East (2LPs - 180GV)

5: Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, ‘Live/1975-85’ – I listened to this so much in the 80s that I knew the stories Bruce would tell by heart. Later when listening to the studio version of a song I would expect the story that went with it.

Image result for Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, ‘Live/1975-85’

4: Paul McCartney  Wings Over America – This triple album set was a live greatest hits. The songs had some edge to them thanks to Jimmy McCulloch the young prodigy guitar player.  Paul even broke his silence on the Beatles and included five Beatle songs. Blackbird, I’ve Just Seen a Face, Yesterday, The Long and Winding Road, and Lady Madonna. Unlike the other 3 albums ahead of this on in the list, Paul didn’t mess with the songs too much from the original studio recordings.

Wings over America

3: The Rolling Stones – ‘”Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out!” – This tour and the 1972  tour were the Stones at their live peak.

Image result for the rolling stones get yer ya-ya's out

2: Bob Dylan – The Bootleg Series, Vol. 4: Bob Dylan Live 1966, The “Royal Albert Hall” Concert – I have seen Dylan 8 times but if I could pick a tour to see him on…I would go back and this would be the one. With The Band backing him up…minus Levon Helm but Mickey Jones on drums is very powerful.

Image result for bob dylan 1966 royal albert hall concert

1: The Who – ‘Live at Leeds’ This album highlights The Who at their best. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a rock band so tight. The power of the performance is huge. Pete Townshend told his soundman Bob Pridden to erase all other shows on this tour at the time…Bob did… much to Pete’s regret later on.

The Who - Live at Leeds By The Who

 

 

Honorable Mentions

Beatles Live At The Star-Club in Hamburg Germany – The quality of the recording is pretty bad but it’s exciting to hear the punkish Beatles before Beatlemania hit.

The Kinks – One For The Road

Neil Young & Crazy Horse –  Live Rust

Johnny Cash – At Folsom Prison

The Band – Rock of Ages

Cheap Trick – At Budokan

Elvis (68 Comeback Special)