Jeff Lybarger's Song OF The Day

Subj: Song of the day XXVII
Date: 97-02-07 07:03:43 EST
From: OUTRIDERJL@AOL.COM (Jeff Lybarger)

Good morning fellow DGers. TGIF, huh? Well, carrying on with the first Robert Plant solo album, "Pictures At Eleven", let's take a look at a very exoctic sounding tune. One that brings to mind a little "Kashmir" flavor, for some reason makes me think of Pyramid's, and was a definate highlight on Robert's first solo tour. Track four, clocking in at 7:43, "Slow Dancer".

A monsterous intro, with Cozy Powell taking the drummers stool on this track, Robbie Blunt's guitar and Jezz Woodroffe's keyboards collide at once in a beautiful palate of sound. Robbie's cool lead lines flow expressively in and out of the beat while the "mood" is set instantly. This song has that eastern texture to it, and I think of the great Pyramid's on a late spring evening, a certain air of mystery in the groove.

Robert enters with a very emotional and loud " Slooowwwwww, Slow Dancer, ooh, now waits for you..." As for lyrics, that's about all I'm gonna give you, because this is by far the most difficult song to figure out lyrically. I've been listening to this track for the better part of 15 years and still can't make out 90% of what he says.

Perhaps this is one of the neat things about this song. After all this time I don't want to know what he's saying. Little fragments here and there, but not enough to list. But does this detract from the song? Quite the contrary. "Slow Dancer" is by far the most Zep-like song of Robert's solo career. The drums are huge, Cozy does several Bonzo licks throughout. Or maybe they're actually his own licks that Bonzo used. Anyway, very cool drums.

The keyboards are a thing of beauty. The mood that fills"Dancer" is there from the opening notes, and the keys play a huge part in that. On "Pictures At Eleven" Jezz Woodroffe plays a large role as keyboardist. He adds colours, accents sections, and overall totally compliments the song and Robert throughout.

Guitarist Robbie Blunt plays very bluesy on this track. Yet he doesn't play standard blues lines. As mentioned in the "Burning Down One Side" post, Robbie had a huge impact on the success of this album, and getting Robert out of the house and little pubs and thinking big again. As guitar playing goes his influence is steeped in the blues, but he always found a way to take things a step further. His songwriting is wonderful, and his playing is always top notch.

One little lyric note that always makes me laugh and shows Robert's great sense of humour. At the 5:53 mark he says: " Oh baby", then at 5:57 he says: " I should say now, baby, baby, baby". Certainly the first time on a solo record that Robert pokes fun at his former self, that bare-chested front man of Zeppelin. This could also be considered a jab at the harsh critics that he was anticipating would trash this album as a Zep clone.

When Robert had finished recording this song he actually took it to Jimmy for a listen. In an interview in 1982 Robert said he needed Jimmy's support, and to see if he thought this was good enough to release. He said they sat and listened to it in Jimmy's house, and that he just sat there holding Jimmy's hand. Yes, actually holding his hand, just hoping Jimmy would be pleased and see that Robert was not only capable of moving on, but that he could do so succesfully.

Now picture this scene, Jimmy sitting there with Robert, hearing for the first time Robert's new band. Jimmy handled himself as he always does, professionally. He congradulated Robert and said it sounded great. Jimmy knew at this point that Zeppelin really were over, as if he didn't already, this just drove the point home, and he responds to Robert very positively, SUPPORTING him and his new venture. Class!!!

I had the great honour of seeing Robert on his first solo tour. Saw him on September 24th, 1983 in Denver, Co. at McNichols Arena. Section 111 if memory serves me correctly, anyway, this was one of the standout songs of the night. Live it may have also been the first solo song to make a reference to Zeppelin. Toward the end he would say, " I can take you there, I can take you there". Only a small reference I know, but still it was cool.

If you have "Pictures..." check out the "Oh baby" part, it is funny.
Till the next time...

Rock on,


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