Jeff Lybarger's Song OF The Day

Subj: Song of the day LV
Date: 97-06-18 19:30:59 EDT
From: OUTRIDERJL
To: zeppelin-l@listserv.acsu.buffalo.edu

Dearly beloved we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life. Electric word life, it means forever and that's a mighty long time but I'm here to tell ya, there's something else: The Song of the day. A collection of thoughts and emotions centered around the greatest music ever created, made possible by four gentleman who called themselves- Led Zeppelin. Light. Shade. And oh yes, the power, mystery and the hammer of the gods. You will find all those things present, day, or night. So when you call up that shrink in Beverly Hills, you know the one, doctor "Everything will be alright", instead of asking him how much of your time is left, ask him what the black object on Presence stands for. And if the answer he gives is incorrect then you know he is not legit. He's a quack. So come on in, we have a place set aside just for you, right here near the Coda album, track six, clocking in at 5:07, "Doubl", oops, I mean "Darlene." And if the elevator (life) tries to bring you down, go crazy, PUNCH a higher floor...

A very lively and upbeat groove eminates from the speakers as Page , Jonsey and Bonzo lock into the riff. As they slide into the first stop, Bonham's hi-hat keeping the count and Jonsey tickling the ivories behind him, they hit a change of the riff and Robert enters in all his glory. The sexual bravado that is Robert Plant is dripping all over this tune. And when he wants to play the part, nobody can do it as well.

      "Darlene...

      When I see you at that dance,
      with your tight dress on...
      what you got it sure is fine,
      I wanna get me some..."

Right to the point! Robert doesn't mess around eh? One thing that seperates Robert and allows him to get away with these types of lyrics is that he can sing with just enough of his tongue in his cheek. You listen to "Darlene" and you just SEE that little boyish smile of his. Half the time he sounds like he's singing "Darlene", the other half it sounds like "Double E." So which is it Robert?

The music is very fun, you can tell this is one of those tunes that probably evolved from a loose jam, and you really don't know if they are joking or not. But they pull the song off so convincingly that you are pulled in and find yourself singing along. In between Robert's verses is some really wonderful jamming, Jonsey displays his talents but in a very playful way, and Pagey absolutely burns on his lead licks. Mr. Bonham once again shows his enormous talent from behind the kit. The hi-hat work is just too cool. He throws in little stutters, straight sixteenth notes, always changing things up. The majority of people don't catch the little things like that, but that is precisely why the music of Led Zeppelin has survived and prospered over the years. It has a very sweet and lasting quality.

Robert's vocals are a treat on this song as well. He sounds like some young kid head over heels in love, or is that lust?, and he just HAS to be with Darlene. After the first verse when he says in a lower voice, "Come on come on come on honey." Ooh, so cool.

      "And I don't care what people say,
       and I don't care what they do...
       Sweet child I gotta make you mine,
       you're the only thing that I want too..."
 

Things start to really cook at this point, the band wailing and grooving away and Robert sounding very determined. A reference to a "pink carnation and a pick up truck", Robert borrowing from Don McLean?

"Darlene" may not have been on any albums until the leftovers on Coda were released, but one thing is for certain, even when they were playing around and maybe not as serious as usual, they could still deliver the goods. "Darlene" has a 1950's kinda feel to it. In fact, it could have fit rather nicely on The Honeydrippers Volume One album. Jonsey's honky tonk piano is the perfect touch, and Jimmy shows his Scotty Moore/James Burton influence, with licks flying in all directions during the final minute plus.

Though Zep never performed this one live it would have been so fun if they had. Jonsey would have brought the house down with his piano chops. This very well may have been a song that Jimmy never intended to release to the public prior to John Bonham's death, but the beauty here is that it does show another side of the incredible musicians in the band. Certainly not thought of as one of their stronger tracks, but a good time blast just the same.

Feel privileged Zeppelin fans, for the band that we so admire could, at will, play anything they wanted, and make you feel as if they invented that particular style of music. They were, and are, that good. Till next time...

Rock on,

Jeff

 

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