Jeff Lybarger's Song OF The Day

Subj: Song of the day XLIV
Date: 97-04-01 12:26:53 EST
From: OUTRIDERJL@AOL.COM (Jeff Lybarger)

As this is the 44th song of the day, I thought, why not do the fourth song from the fourth album? Then I thought, nah. So let's journey back one album before that one, to the third album, side two, track three, clocking in at 5:38, "That's The Way".

Ah yes, that beautiful rush of acoustic guitars first captures us and we realize immediately that Zeppelin at it's best is when they touch our soul. This music is like a friend, a calming hand in a cold world, a friend that will protect and share in life's many pleasures. To say that one can completely become lost in this song is an understatement.

     "I don't know how I'm gonna tell you,
      but I can't play with you no more...
      I don't know how I'm gonna do what momma told me,
      my friend, the boy next door...

      I can't believe what people saying,
      you're gonna let your hair hang down...
      I'm satisfied to sit here working all day long,
      you're in the darker side of town..."

Said to be influenced by some of Robert's thoughts from the 1970 spring US tour, and about the dissollutionment of two star crossed lovers, Robert provides us with some of his most personal and telling lyrics. Opening up like this is not at all easy, to bare one's soul can be very scarry, that he does this so well speaks volumes about the confidence he was gaining at this time in his career.

      "And when I'm out I see you walking,
       why don't your eyes see me?
       Or could it be you've found another game to play,
       what did mamma say to me...

       That's the way
       Oh that's the way it ought to be...
       Mamma said, that's the way it ought to stay...

       And yesterday I saw you standing by the river
       and were those tears that filled your eyes?
       And all the fish that lay in dirty water dying,
       have they got you hypnotized?

       And yesterday I saw you kissing tiny flowers,
       but all that lives is born to die,
       And so I say to you that nothing really matters,
       and all you do is stand and cry..."

The simple beauty in these words is amazing. Robert's voice sounds somewhat sad, the emotion seems to have really gotten to him on this track. He sings with such ease, and is so convincing. I love it when he shows this more sensitive side of himself. He never fails to touch the heart deeply.

Jimmy's playing is truly wonderful. Quite content to be the supporting cast for Robert, and yet the sweet music he plays is stunning in itself. When these two musicians connect, as they do here, the result is so powerful.

      "I don't know what to say about it,
       when all your ears have turned away...
       but now's the time to look and look again at what you see,
       is that the way it ought to stay?"

That one verse sums up so much. It can be Robert talking to the concert goers, a lover asking another, or even the possibility of someone trying to speak to a mass crowd, united in one purpose, yet fighting internally. Is that the way it should stay?

"That's The Way" made it's live premeir at the Bath festival on June 28, 1970, and was a mainstay of the acoustic set during the 1970/71 tours, and continued into the American tour of 1972. It made a re-appearence at Earl's Court in 1975. Jimmy and Robert included this in the "Unleded" MTV special, as well as some of their "No Quarter" tour dates, adding drums to it. The drums took away from the beauty in my opinion, but then again, matching the beauty found on the third album might be impossible.

"That's The Way" asks some questions, it doesn't provide all the answers, that's left to us. A most special moment from the catalog of Led-Zeppelin. Till we meet again, peace to all...

Rock on,


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