Jeff Lybarger's Song OF The Day

Subj: Song of the day XXXVI
Date: 97-03-03 09:13:26 EST
From: OUTRIDERJL@AOL.COM (Jeff Lybarger)
Sender: zeppelin-l@LISTSERV.ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU (DIGITAL GRAFFITI)
Reply-to: OUTRIDERJL@AOL.COM
To: ZEPPELIN-L@LISTSERV.ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU

A very good morning to you all. Hope your weekend was a funfilled one. The weather here is getting warmer, a beautiful sign that spring is lurking right around the corner. Today's song is one that is very dear to me, funny actually, because it reminds me of spring. It may also be the finest moment of Jimmy's post-Zeppelin career. When you consider songwriting, light and shade, guitar performance, the eloquent solo, the over all mood and effect of this song, I can't think of a single time when he was any better during his solo years. So settle in, as we carry on with our Coverdale/Page journey, and look back at track three, clocking in at 6:17, "Take Me For A Little While".

The first two tracks on this album are all out rockers, then suddenly Jimmy changes direction with a complete about face. The beautiful, melancholy, lone acoustic guitar sets the mood for a very special reflection of the struggles encountered throughout the careers of David and James.

       "Now my days are growing cold
        All the memories unfold...
        Thinking about the friends we lost,
        Wondering how to count the cost
        Now my days are growing cold...
        I can hardly wait any longer,
        Now the feeling's growing stronger...
        Thinking about the times we had,
        Good times always turn into bad...
        Now my days are growing cold..."

As Jimmy weaves this beautiful guitar piece through the different sections, David reflects on friends lost, and good times turning bad. In interviews he has stated that this was wriiten about the losses suffered by both he and Jimmy. The deaths of guitarist Tommy Bolin and of course, John Henry Bonham. The mood here is somber, the lyrics are very emotional, and David's performance is of the highest quality. During this opening section the keyboards enter, at times very subtle, at other times sweeping across the landscape of the music, they add such a unique element to this song.

At this point the band enters, after Jimmy strikes a couple of chords, the drums explode in and the chorus is another compelling moment.

       "Why don't you take me for a little while
        sing me songs, you know
        will make me smile
        Why don't you take me
        for a little while..."

The dynamics in this song are something else. One moment quiet and reflective, the next everything is full scale, but that somber mood is never lost. As they finish the first chorus and return to just Jimmy on the acoustic, David sings some more very inspiring and heart-felt lines.

        " And as I watch the rising sun
          I see a new day just begun...
          Thinking about the sacrifice,
          Wondering how to pay the price
          Now my world is growing cold..."

Another run through the chorus and then Jimmy gives us one of the best solo's of his career, Zeppelin or otherwise. This is a great example of a song with-in a song. A mini-masterpiece with-in a masterpiece. You can feel the inspiration that was pushing Jimmy here. This solo has everything a great solo should have. It never takes away from the song, he's not soloing to show off, every note adds more and more to the over all picture. A really brilliant and moving moment. Starting off with a flurry of notes, and then pacing himself as everything builds to the climax, then just for good measure, a very memorable melody in the last few bars. This melody sticks in your head, and you hear it, on later listenings, without it actually being there. A touch of pure Page magic.

They return for another verse, another chorus, and then on the outro, with the band wailing away, David feeling the emotion of this song, Jimmy plays some more wonderful lines and this classic song fades out. Six minutes and seventeen seconds of the most precious music one could ever ask for.

In a radio interview about this song, Jimmy said he was watching his son, about 3 or 4 at the time, play on the floor beside him. He picked up his guitar and wrote this music. So sweet, to think of the innocent actions of James Jr. inspiring his father to such incredible heights. David said the music lent itself to a real reflective piece. The lyrics were produced on the spot. Later, when he attempted to improve on them, Jimmy asked why? He told David they were perfect as is. David said this was about those moments in one's life when everything just becomes too much, and all you want is someone to just hang on the shoulder. I always picture a cool spring evening, with a small fire blazing, and two friends sitting and reflecting, comforting each other. That a song can elicit these kinds of thoughts and memories is staggering.

There is a very beautiful acoustic only version of this song, not released accept as part of a special box set with the studio version. The acoustic version is amazing in it's own right. Yes, you miss the great solo, but you also see the song in a little different light.

Coverdale and Page performed this song on every night of their seven Japan shows. A stunning live vehicle, with the keyboards introducing the track. Jimmy played this on his double-neck guitar for those live performances. Just prior to the solo on the final night, he threw in the first few notes of "Stairway..." as a tease. His solo's on the live version were, to say it again, stunning.

This is just to good of a song to not ever be played again. Wonder if Robert would consider singing this? To see them playing this on the next tour would be a very special moment indeed.

Everyone has an opinion on the Coverdale/Page union. Some liked it, some didn't, but I can't imagine anyone not being touched by this song. It is very rare and quite special when a musician shows their feelings and expresses them as well as Jimmy and David do on this track. Enjoy, and till we meet again, peace be with you.

Rock on,

Jeff

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