Jeff Lybarger's Song OF The Day

Subj: Song of the day LIX
Date: 97-08-05 08:46:17 EDT
From: OUTRIDERJL@AOL.COM (Jeff Lybarger)
Sender: zeppelin-l@LISTSERV.ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU (DIGITAL GRAFFITI)

You know what's wrong with the music scene today? Everything is so geared to radio. Where is the improvisational fun? Where are those loose jams that seemed to be so much a part of the late 1960's and through most of the 1970's? Well here's my solution if you're looking for a band that can take a song any direction and always land on their feet, or at least make some damn fine music trying to. And a whole lot of fun as well. Grab any bootleg from the early days, or, if you don't have that option, dig out your copy of Zeppelin I, set the CD player to track nine, clocking in at 8:28, and get ready to be taken there... "How Many More Times."

A simple Bonham beat and Jonsey's bass playing a catchy repeated riff open this little gem. Jimmy joins in with the wah wah, Bonzo does some lightning fast symbol work, Robert lets out a scream from the depths of the soul.... and BOOM, explosion, and we are rockin' indeed. That riff! Simple yet so cool. Where to begin with the accolades on this track? Bonzo? Was this guy really that good at that point in his career? Simply awesome! Jimmy? Well he pulls out all the stops. Great riff, great licks, great subtle touches on the wah and the bow. Robert? A vocal tour-de-force! Jonsey? Yes, Jonsey supplies some most inspiring bass playing. His work on this track is worth the price of the CD itself. The most amazing thing is that they hadn't even know each other that long when they recorded this. Let alone playing together, they barely knew each other! Consider that some bands take years to get to this point and Zeppelin were there right out of the gate.

             "How many more times?
              Treat me the way you wanna do...
              How many more times?
              Treat me the way you wanna do...
              When I give you all my love,
              please... please be true"

Oh man, there is that VOICE! That young, soulful voice singing the BLUES! Been down, been hurt, and the emotion is dripping right out of the speakers and into our lap. All of twenty years old. Yes 20! 20! My God, it just doesn't seem fair does it? This young man had known some disappointment in his life for sure, but the way he could articulate that through song was aboslutely amazing. And here he bares it all for us. The young man hurt and aching. And as the song shifts gears he becomes this sexual, confident, swaggering rock star on the prowl. A young lion... looking for his lioness.

        "I've got to get you together baby
         I'm sure... sure you're gonna call"

At this point the band take off on one of their jams. Some truly inspiring playing, particularly from Jimmy and that sound, it has that late 60's sound all over it. As things come to a brief halt, the band laying back, Robert proceeds to take us on journey. A story of his little "school girl." As Robert spins his tale the band are busy behind him laying down a fantastic loose jam. Jimmy whips out the bow, Bonham is all over the place and the whole track just keeps heating up. Slowly building, the momentum creeping up behind you, something big is about to happen. The eerie strains from the bowed guitar echoing out. Jonsey plays a killer descending bass line and the young lion yells out:

         "Oh Rosie...
          Oh girl,
          Oh Rosie...
          Oh girl,
          Steal away now...
          Steal away,
          Steal away baby,
          Steal away...
          Little Robert Anthony wants ta, come an' play..."

At this point Bonham kicks in with an up tempo groove that just floors me every time I hear it. That groove. That sexual, driving groove! Jimmy adds a new riff into the mix and Robert starts wailing he's the Hunter. Jonsey and Bonzo are so together here it's terrifying. They hadn't been playing together more than a couple of month's and yet it sounds like... MAGIC!

         "Cause I got you in the sights...
          of my... guuuuuuuuuunnnnnnnnnnnnn"

Robert pays tribute to Robert Johnson with the "barrelhouse all night long" line and the jam is as intense as anything you've ever heard. The magic is there, and they had that magic in the studio. So many bands that could do things in a live setting but just couldn't capture that emotion in a studio enviornment. Zeppelin made it all seem so effortless.

And in those live settings they would take this song even further. Always very lengthy "How Many More Times" would contain some of their most inspired live jamming. Throwing in bits of "Boogie Chillen", "Truckin' Mama", the "Lemon Song", "For Your Love", "Long Distance Call Blues", (a number that Robert threw in during the Rock and Roll Hall-Of-Fame induction jam) as well as "The Hunter" and "Rosie". "How Many More Times" live is a truly wonderful piece of the Zeppelin history. Thankfully caught on tape and there for each of us to enjoy and be thrilled over many times. Many MORE times, one might say.

"How Many More Times" was the closing number in the early days of the touring Zeppelin. The Bath Festival would be the last time it was used in this manner, giving way to the mighty new anthem "Whole Lotta Love." After that it pretty much disappeared, being used briefly during the 1971 tour of Japan, once in 1973 at Southampton University, and as a replacement for "Dazed and Confused" in the first two weeks of the 1975 US tour, due to Jimmy's broken finger.

A power house blues jam that would take off in any number of different directions, always entertaining, and one helluva way to close a show. "How Many More Times" was the epitomy of a "loose jam", and nobody could do it as exciting as Led-Zeppelin.

Ever onward...

Jeff

 

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