Who – Love Ain’t For Keeping

The Who’s Next album was released in 1971 and is one of the greatest classic rock albums ever released. This song is a song one clocking in at a short 2:11 and unlike most of the album…this one is softer. Pete Townshend originally wrote this for his Lifehouse project, where the character of Ray, a Scottish farmer, was intended to sing the song, which expresses the sentiment that love is meant to be shared.

The song was originally recorded several months prior to Who’s Next, as a four-minute electric version with Townshend singing lead and playing rhythm guitar, and the lead solos performed by Leslie West, the guitarist for New York power trio Mountain. The Who was recording at the Record Plant in New York, and Townshend reportedly didn’t want to spend time on overdubs, so West was called in to play on the track.

After a falling out with producer Kit Lambert, the band recorded an acoustic version that was used on the album. The Who often played the harder Rock version at their concerts. This version can be heard on their 1974 Odds & Sods album.

If two versions weren’t enough…  Townshend’s original demo of the song appears on the six-disc Lifehouse Chronicles, songs from Townshend’s never fully-completed Lifehouse rock opera. This demo clocks in at 1:31, with no solo and Townshend taking advantage of the then-novel oscillator bank on his Arp synthesizer.

The album peaked at #4 in the Billboard Album Charts, #5 in Canada, and #1 in New Zealand in 1971.

Love Ain’t For Keeping

Layin’ on my back
In the newly mown grass
Rain is coming down
But I know the clouds will pass
You bring me tea
Say “the babe’s a-sleepin'”
Lay down beside me
Love ain’t for keeping

Black ash from the foundry
Hangs like a hood
But the air is perfumed
By the burning firewood
The seeds are bursting
The spring is a-seeping
Lay down my darling
Love ain’t for keeping
Lay down beside me
Love ain’t for keeping

Lay down beside me
Love ain’t for keeping
Lay down my darling
Love ain’t for keeping

Mountain – Mississippi Queen

There was a time that I wouldn’t listen to the song  because I was tired of it. Now after hearing it in a few movies…the love has come back. The guitar in this doesn’t mess around. There are not many bands…be it heavy metal, hard rock, or just rock bands that have such a vicious sound on guitar. Leslie West was a great guitar player who went for the throat.

Corky Laing (drummer) started working on this song with David Rea, who was a friend of the band and frequent songwriting partner…he and Mountain bass player Felix Pappalardi were in Ian & Sylvia’s band.

The reason Vicksburg is mentioned in the song is because Laing asked him if he knew any cities in the state…which Rea mentioned Vicksburg. Vicksburg is a small city on the Mississippi River known as the site of a famous Civil War battle in 1863.

The song peaked at #21 in the Billboard 100 in 1970…their highest charting single and only top 40 hit. The songwriters were Leslie West, Corky Laing, Felix Pappalardi, and David Rea.

Leslie West: When Corky (Laing, drummer) brought me the idea, it was a one-chord dance song. We got real high, took out a napkin, and I came up with the main riff and the chords. Then we fit the words over the sound.” Laing says of the song: “I was madly in love with The Band, and I decided to put a ‘Cripple Creek’ feel behind it. Later on, I told Levon Helm that I felt bad about ripping him off, but he said that he didn’t hear any similarity between the two songs, and that we didn’t owe them any money!

From Songfacts

The song is about a seductive woman who teaches the singer a thing or two about the ways of love, but with the success of “Proud Mary” a year earlier, it almost sounds like this could be another song about a riverboat. In 1976, the “Mississippi Queen” riverboat was put into service by the Delta Queen company, taking its last cruise in 2008.

This is one of the most famous cowbell songs of all time, but the band didn’t envision the instrument in the song. In a Songfacts interview with Leslie West, he explained: “The cowbell in the beginning was just in there because Felix wanted Corky to count the song off. So we used the cowbell to count it off – it wasn’t put in there on purpose. And it became the quintessential cowbell song.”

Mississippi is a special place for Leslie West not only because of this song, but because it’s where he had part of his leg amputated. On June 18, 2011, the day after playing a show at the Hard Rock Cafe in Biloxi, West’s right leg began to swell and he was taken to the emergency room in a Biloxi hospital, where it was amputated below the knee to save his life (West is diabetic). West told Songfacts: “When I play ‘Mississippi Queen’ now, I think about Jesus Christ. Of all places to lose my leg, it was Mississippi.”

TV, movie and video game uses of this song include:

The title of a episode of the anime series Cowboy Bebop
The Simpsons in the 1996 “Homerpalooza” episode
The Dukes of Hazzard movie in 2005
Guitar Hero III in 2007
Rock Band in 2007
The Expendables movie in 2010
Regular Show in “Weekend at Benson’s,” 2012

This was used in a popular commercial for Miller Genuine Draft beer where some guys traveling in a jungle open a bottle of the beer to magically freeze the body of water separating them from some lovely ladies who beckon.

This song got a music video for the first time on Aug 27, 2020, when Mountain posted a collage-style animated clip on YouTube.

Mississippi Queen

Mississippi Queen
You know what I mean
Mississippi Queen
She taught me everything

Went down around Vicksburg
Around Louisiana way
Where lived the Cajun Lady
Aboard the Mississippi Queen

You know she was a dancer
She moved better on wine

While the rest of them dudes were gettin’ their kicks
Boy, I beg your pardon, I was gettin’ mine

Mississippi Queen
If you know what I mean
Mississippi Queen
She taught me everything

This lady she asked me
If I would be her man
You know that I told her
I’d do what I can

To keep her lookin’ pretty
Buy her dresses that shine

While the rest of them dudes were makin’ their friends
Boy, I beg your pardon, I was loosin’ mine

You know she was a dancer
She moved better on wine

While the rest of them dudes were gettin’ their kicks
Boy, I beg your pardon, I was gettin’ mine

Yeah, Mississippi Queen