Jeff Lybarger's Song OF The Day

UPDATE from the Webmaster, November 2005:   This SotD was actually written in September 1998, but was lost for over 7 years!  When Jeff wanted to start things up again, he commented that he had written #69, and even posted it to our Led Zep email group, but yet neither of us could find it! A HUGE thanks goes out to Nech for finding 69!

 

Date: Thu, 3 Sep 1998 07:28:24 EDT
Subject: Song Of The Day LXIX

Greetings to you once again. As the Page/Plant 1998 tour begins to heat up for
the second leg I thought I would stay down here in Clarksdale. It's rather
enjoyable here. You might want to join me. It's a bit off the beaten path, but
that's part of the pleasure. So, as we walk together down the dusty road that
leads us to paradise, why don't you punch up track seven from the new
Page/Plant CD, clocking in at a mere 3:50, "Heart In Your Hand."

    Love. A word that conjures up many images. Good. Bad. Happy. Sad.
Emotions taken to their extreme. It can lift you up and it can flatten your
world. On this album Robert seems to have been going through some very
emotional times himself. The lyrics are quite reflective of that, but so too
is his vocal approach. Soft, gentle, sad. This is the blues. Just not the sort
of blues one might expect from the former lead singer in Led-Zeppelin.

     A sparse guitar from Jimmy opens this hypnotic and blue song. A simple E
minor to C chord progression, but in Jimmy's hands even the simplest of things
have that magical aura hidden within the groove, the type of guitar sound that
might find itself at home in a David Lynch movie. From these opening notes it
becomes very obvious that something new and different is about to grace our
ears. It gets deep here too, so prepare yourself.
 
      "Do you gather flowers for me 
       moving softly through the trees... 
       With the scent against your arms 
       long ago I knew your charms... 
       As I walk... through the purple hills 
       of soon forgotten...know 
       that my heart was in your hand 
       Yeah my heart was in your hand..." 
  

      Mr. Plant has a way with the English language, yes? Such beauty in
these words. The pain and ache of lonliness and questioning in his voice. His
choice of key words here is so powerful. Flowers. Always symbolic of
expressing ones love, but here he is asking with little hint of hope. The
gentle, melancholy way he enters with the first line, Robert is asking if you
"gather flowers for me", yet he already knows the answer, and the answer is
no. Scent. Is this the scent from the flowers, or the scent of perfume? How
poignant that he use this word, as our sense of smell is one of our keenest
senses. Have you ever been doing something when you are suddenly struck by a
long forgotten scent and INSTANTLY been transported back to that moment? If
so, you will know that you can FEEL the moment, it is as if you are right
there...I mean RIGHT THERE! I think the scent he refers to here is the perfume
his lover would wear. He has had a flashback and the torture is killing him.
It is obvious in the very next line: "Long ago I knew your charms." Here he is
saying there was a time when he was her man, but, for whatever reason, no
longer is.

      Purple. "As I walk, through the purple hills of soon forgotten...know,
that my heart was in your hand." Purple is thought of by many as the colour of
passion. Just ask Prince. Is this why he chooses to refer to the hills as
"purple hills?" And those hills are "soon forgotten." Here he is walking down
the same path he used to walk along with his lover, hand in hand, though she
has so soon forgotten... he can never forget.

       Do you see? Robert has taken so many emotions and combined them
beautifully into one verse. There is something at work here, something
powerful. His voice is full of pain. Yet that pain, that deep, heartfelt
emotion, is what makes this song work. If he were merely going through the
motions it would fall flat. Something had to have happened in Robert's
personal life to bring forth this much passion and emotion. And sad as it may
be for his situation, it truly makes for some wonderful songwriting.
          "Do your lips still call my name 
          Would your mouth still taste the same 
          There I learned the sweetest words 
          What price oh mercy yes... 
          Though I steal all across the years 
          The memory lingers on... 
          With my heart in your hand 
          Oh my heart in your hand..." 
 

       Love that has been lost. Gone. But not forgotten. "Do your lips still
call my name?" "Would your mouth still taste the same?" Powerful questions.
The saddest part is that we know what Robert knows, and that is that the lover
he sings to does not still call his name. The pain and suffering in his voice
make that all too clear. And yet, for Robert, the "memory lingers on." There
is no more hope here and that is what makes this so frustrating. A man left to
linger in a memory that will only drive him crazy with questioning. And why?
Why do we as humans allow love to die so easily? Is it from fear? Fear to
trust? Fear to trust our hearts? Do we build up an image of "perfect" love in
our minds and then when we are actually there are we just too blind to see it?
We spend so much of our time worrying about little things that have no
importance and ignore the beauty that is standing right before us. Love is
about letting your spirit soar, letting go of inhibitions and daring to do the
impossible: Opening your soul to another. We dream about it and so few of us
have the courage to actually go through with it, and our wild hearts are left
to ponder...alone. And in five years, ten years, twenty years, we look back
and wonder...what could have been? And the memory lingers on...

      A beautiful, brief, and intense solo from Jimmy takes us away, into
another world. The music soaring high above, circling through our minds, the
questions slide in and out of our consciousness. The hypnotic groove imbedded
deep into our soul.
 
       "Should I fall beside the road 
        Everlasting, wandering soul 
        and the memory sublime 
        and my heart lingers yeah... 
        As I walk...through the purple 
        hills of long ago...know 
        My heart was in your hand... 
        Ooh my heart was in your hand... 
        My heart was in your hand 
        Ohh My heart..." 
 

       The beauty in these words is stunning. "Should I fall beside the road,
everlasting wandering soul." It sounds as if the pain of love has brought
Robert to his knees. You can understand that pain, where it all becomes too
much and you just feel like giving up. To "fall beside the road" is a direct
acknowledgement of suicidal thoughts. My God, can it be that bad? Sadly, the
answer is yes, it can be that bad. A heart tormented by loss and regret can
only take so much. And should he do this unthinkable act, it is his soul that
will wander eternally...while that memory... lingers on...

        This is another perfect example of a band working together for the
good of the song. Michael Lee's drumming here is just awesome. Subtle, his
symbol work dominates the majority of the track, but when the emotion rises he
is there, and the drums have a very important impact as they add to the light
and shade of this track. Charlie's bass is the perfect compliment to what
Jimmy plays. In fact, Charlie's contribution on this entire disc is to be
marveled at. There is a very subtle acoustic guitar that enters just after the
solo, proving that Jimmy is still Jimmy, waiting until the song is half over
before adding a new colour to the canvas.

       This song is very sad, for it is about love that has been lost. Love
is not easy, but then anything in this life worth having isn't easy. The
answer that this song gives us, I feel, is to follow your heart. It isn't
easy, and it most certainly will be painful at times, but there's a saying
that sums it up perfectly: Better to feel pain than to have done nothing...and
felt nothing.

      "Walking Into Clarksdale" may not be the "Return Of Led-Zeppelin", and
that is a good thing. Rather than try and compete with their glorious past,
Jimmy and Robert have taken strides to see that they break new ground. One can
only hold them in the highest regard for this decision. "Clarksdale" has many
highlights. With "Blue Train" and "Heart In Your Hand" we are treated to two
of the most passionate and heartfelt songs this duo have ever written. Jimmy
and Robert have been playing this song on their current tour and I can attest
that the version played in Kansas City was simply amazing. Very emotional,
very moving. Till we meet again...


       Rock On,

          Jeff

      

 

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