Jeff Lybarger's Song OF The Day

Subj: Song of the day XLVII
Date: 97-04-22 07:24:37 EDT
From: OUTRIDERJL@AOL.COM (Jeff Lybarger)

Greetings all, things are slowly getting back on schedule following the fun and excitement of Zepfest 97. Thank you Grant! However, since slipping back into normalcy I've been increasingly faced with the dilemma of the routine day in day out thing, and so the song of the day shall reflect that. This yearning for travel keeps nagging at me, a hunger, a very strong, intense desire one might say. When facing such a situation I always turn to music, my outlet, which is imbedded deep into my soul, and thus is my personal release. Turn with me won't you, to Physical Grafitti, disc/lp two, song three, clocking in at 5:15, the very lovely "Down By The Seaside."

A happy, bouncy feel from this selection. The simpleness grabs you at first, and the pleasant feel perks you right up. But the mood in the lyrics tells quite a different tale for sure. My take on this song may differ from everyone else, but that's ok, this is what it says to me. First of all, I recall the very first time I heard this song, on vinyl, (yes, I know, showing my age), and the impact it had on me. Think of any other rock band that's ever been around, can you picture them doing this song? I can't. This is one of those great showcases for the mighty Zeppelin- Doing what no one else could even fathom.

The music creates a landscape for us, and Robert paints a very compelling picture in the lyrics. The feeling I get from this song is that he's questioning why so many people except the norm. Rather than take a stand for something they believe in, rather than follow their heart, rather than live in that element of total *everything could fall apart at any moment*, rather than LIVE their lives, they take the safe approach. They except things as they are, they don't question why, if they feel emotions, they surpress them, if they are confronted with change, they fear it, they in effect, begin to stop living. Why? The eternal question I suppose, but I am one of those who will never stop asking: Why?

      "Down by the seaside,
       see the boats go sailing...
       Can the people hear,
       oh, what the little fish are saying..."

       Oh, oh, the people turned away,
       oh, the people turned away"

You can picture the scene, a ritzy yacht club, all the people out enjoying their weekend, relaxing on the open sea, and yet missing completely the beauty of that which surrounds them. Caught up in their own lives, ignoring their fellow man, hell, for that matter, ignoring their wives or husbands and of course the kids are no where in sight, can't have them around to interfere. People doing what they THINK is fun, what they THINK is living, but in pursuing these ideals they lose sight of what life is really about. Why not go to that picturesque setting with the one you love, and allow your self to shower that person with all the love you have. Not just a quick kiss and a pat on the back, but bask in their presence, allow yourself to be completely consumed with them, kiss him/her so passionately that the love gods become jealous, lose sight of all that is around you and feel love that is alive, growing, facing the obstacles in your journey as one, and conquering them. That is what living is truly about.

        "Down in the city streets,
         see all the folk go racin', racin'...
         No time left, no no,
         to pass the time of day...

         Hey hey yeah,
         The people turned away,
         The poeple turned away,
         so far away, so far away...

         See how they run, see how they run,
         see how they run, see how they run,"

The music takes a sudden and abrupt change, driving now, relentless, as if trying to convey a certain emotion, grabbing the listener and shaking them, "pay attention here", it screams, you are missing the picture, you are asleep, you need to start realizing what is going on around you. Wake up, for Christs' sake!!!!

        "Do you still do the twist,
         do you find that you remember things that well...
         I wanna tell you some go twisting everyday,
         though sometimes it's awful hard to tell..."

Robert is speaking but is anyone listening, do you do the twist, can you remember how, there are some who still do, but in a world where we are taught to keep emotions in tow and don't rock the boat, and don't do anything that would have others get upset with you, and whatever you do don't you dare wander outside the lines, well, it's kind of hard to tell.

        "Out in the country,
         hear the people singing...
         Singing 'bout their progress,
         knowin' where they're goin'..."

In the above stanza Jimmy plays some very beautiful licks. A slight, dare I say, country flavour to them. The lyrics are reflecting positiveness. YES! There is hope. There are those who know what they want, who know how to follow their heart, stay true to themselves and know how to live their life, really live it.

         "Sing loud for the sunshine,
          pray hard for the rain...
          and show your love for Lady Nature,
          and she will come back again...

          The people turned away,
          the people turned away..."

So sad, that last part, Robert offers us advice, and yet most people would just reject it. It goes against the grain, against rationale thought, and we can't have any of that. Yes, I know this has been a lot of venting, but if you knew what I've been going through lately you would understand. "Down By The Seaside" is a very beautiful song, and one that begs us to question things. At least that's how I see it.

Robert's vocals are perfectly relaxed on this track. Fitting the mood just right, and his back up vocals are quite awesome in their own right. Just as Jimmy layers guitar tracks, here Robert layers the vocals beautifully. Jonsey plays some very beautiful and inspiring electric piano, and Bonham adds his usual brilliant touch, particularly during the sped up middle section. His subtlety during the main, mellow part is so enjoyable as well.

Originally conceived in the cottage in 1970 in Wales with the acoustic material found on Zeppelin III, recorded for the four symbols album, and held back until Grafitti, Zep never performed this one live. Pity really. Robert then drastically altered it for the Encomium CD, and this new, slow version found it's way into the "Calling To You" jam on many of the Page/Plant shows on the first leg of the Unleded tour.

Forgive the rantings of a madman, but it pains me to see how people live their life without really living at all. The living dead to be sure. So enjoy your life while you can, get out more often, do the unexpected, be spontaneous, be creative, be optimistic, tell yourself you can, not you can't, smile more, laugh more, cry more, tell someone you love that you love them, tell someone you hate that you forgive them, relish this time, don't get stressed out so much, pick more flowers, and take time to smell them, watch a sunset, watch a sunrise, chase a rainbow, pet a strange dog, take a walk in the country, take a walk in the rain, watch people that don't do these things because they are too busy, and then ask yourself: WHY?

Rock on,


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