Jeff Lybarger's Song OF The Day

UPDATE from the Webmaster, Februrary 2005:   This SotD was actually written in September 1998, but was lost for over 7 years!   Not even Jeff himself remembered this one - A HUGE thanks goes out to Nech for finding this lost gem!

Date: Tue, 15 Sep 1998 07:46:18 EDT
Subject: Song Of The Day LXX

A very good day to you all, hope life is treating you well and that you are
all doing fine. The past couple of song of the day's were rather bleak and
depressing, so let's try to change the mood a bit. Today's song is a fun,
whimsical look at life and man's best friend. If you have the LP version of
Led-Zeppelin III lying around, dust it off, give the wheel a spin and join me
for track nine, clocking in at 4:20, a most enjoyable song, "Bron-Y-Aur

     Jimmy Page has been a fan of folk music since he first picked up a
guitar. With influences ranging from Bert Jansch to Davey Graham and just
about anybody who was decent, Jimmy has never shied from letting his folk side
emerge, be it in Zeppelin or on his own. The intro to this track is a
beautiful example of his dexterity as a guitarist, as well as his use of open
tunings. This isn't quite as difficult to perform as it sounds, but then
again, that's the magic of alternate tunings. A couple of chord stabs, a
flurry of notes, a couple more chords and then Jimmy is off to the races. It
is his touch that is so awesome here. As he beigns to play the notes he
attacks them softly, delicately, then as he builds up to the chords he begins
to play with more authority. It is these tiny, subtle, nuances that make him
the genius that he is, both as a guitarist as well as a producer.

    After Bonham and Jones enter Robert joins in the fun as he sings
to...his dog! Strider was his name, and it is Strider that was the inspiration
behind this song. And this is another example of Zeppelin seperating
themselves from the rest of the pack. Unafraid to try anything, even if it
means singing songs to ones dog!
     "Ahh...caught you smiling at me 
      that's the way it should be 
      like a leaf is to a tree, so fine... 
      Ahh...all the good times we've had 
      I sang love songs so glad 
      always smiling, never sad, so fine... 
      As we walk down a country lane 
      hear me singing my song, you hear me calling your name... 
      Hear the wind whisper in the trees 
      telling Mother Nature 'bout you and me..." 

    Now, one might not guess that this is actually about Robert's dog, but
he does paint a nice picture in the "country lane" lyric. Can't you just see
Robert and his Strider strolling along some beautiful Welsh dirt road,
completely alone, Robert singing whatever pops into his head, while his dog
trots along beside him? A man at peace with the world, enjoying a lazy
afternoon, no worries, just out for a walk with his friend.
      "Well...if the sun shine so bright 
       or our way it's darkest night 
       the road we choose is always right, so fine... 
       Ahh...can a love be so strong 
       when so many loves go wrong 
       will our love go on and on and on and on and on and on..." 

      I love this verse, it is so positive, "the road we choose is always
right" and when he questions if the love will last, the way he repeats on and
on...etc, you get the feeling that he isn't asking this, rather stating a fact
that it WILL endure. Another run through the chorus and this leads us to a
change that is just so cool. Jimmy gets in some nice slide playing without the
aid of a slide, just fingers, and Robert seems to be having a blast.
     "My my, la de la, 
      come on now it ain't too far 
      Tell your friends all around the world 
      ain't no companion like a blue-eyed merle... 
      Come on now and let me tell ya, 
      what you're missing, messin' 'round them brick walls..." 

     That last line is too funny. Robert is trying to communicate with his
dog the best way he knows, through song, and Strider is tending to business
over at the wall! The music breaks down to just Jimmy again, as in the intro,
and again he displays some wonderful folk lines as only he could do. This
leads us right back to another verse, where the truth of the song is finally
      "So...of one thing I am sure 
       is a friendship so pure 
       as you're singing all around my door, so fine 
       Yeah...ain't but one thing to do 
       spend my natural life with you 
       You're the finest dog I knew, so fine 
       When you're old and you're eyes are dim 
       there ain't no old shep gonna happen again 
       We'll still go walking down country lanes 
       I'll sing the same ol' songs, hear me call your name..." 

      Robert sums up perfectly the relationship between a man and his dog in
the line about "singing all around my door." If you have a dog you know what
he means here, when, after being away, however short the time or however long,
you return home and there is your dog, barking, jumping, licking, just flat
out adoring you and so happy that you have returned to him. Dogs are one of
God's greatest gifts to man, they love us UNCONDITIONALLY! Think about that.
That is perfect love! And when you treat a dog with love and respect, they
love you even more! They protect you, they cuddle with you, they shower you
with love and affection, as well as lots of kisses! We train them to do things
and do they complain? No, they learn and come back for more. They share our
joy when we are happy and they comfort us when we are sad. Hats off to Robert
for this song about man's best friend!

    It should be noted that Robert has actually put his dogs to work since
Zeppelin disbanded. In 1985 when he released the video for "Little By Little"
Robert owned a greyhound, the famous racing dog, and Robert can be seen
playing with him in the video as well as some wonderful footage of the dog
doing what greyhounds do best, RUN! And in 1994, during the filming of the
Unleded video, when the band took to the rock quarry, the dog that is roaming
around is Robert's. If you knew what the dogs name was...well, you wouldn't
believe it. Definitely a humourous touch on Plant's behalf.

    There is a lot going on musically in this song that is so fun besides
the lyrics and Jimmy. Bonzo is awesome, his hi hat and...spoons! create a cool
off-beat that is so difficult to simulate. At least for me, maybe that's why I
play guitar and not drums. At the first chorus he enters with hand claps (or
spoons) and it's the timing and how he does this off the beat of the guitar
that just blows me away. It sounds so simple, but try to clap along, and see
if it doesn't throw you off.

    Jonsey plays an acoustic bass and flows so sweetly through the song. It
would be interesting to know exactly what he contributed to this song as far
as songwriting. Usually one can tell the part(s) that are pure "Jonsey", but
here it's a bit more difficult.

    "Bron-Y-Aur Stomp" was written in the Welsh cottage, named, aptly, Bron-
Yr-Aur. A tip of the hat should also go to Bert Jansch on this song, because it
bears an uncanny resemblance to Jansch's "The Waggoners Lad." An electric
version, known as "Jennings Farm Blues" was even tried and appears in bootleg
form on a couple of sources, most notably the CD titled "Jennings Farm Blues."

     Led-Zeppelin performed this track live quite often, beginning in 1971
in the United Kingdom through the following year when they hit the states. In
Japan, the UK and European dates from 1972-73 Jonsey employed a stand up bass!
In 1975 this was also performed at the infamous Earls Court shows, and in
1977, when the acoustic set returned, they played this as a medley with "Black
Country Woman." Robert would sometimes end the live versions this way: "I'll
sing the same ol' songs, you'll hear me call your name...STRIDER!"

     "Bron-Y-Aur Stomp" is Zeppelin exploring their folk roots and having
fun in the process. A great song, fun to jam to, sing along to, and a unique
look inside the music that influenced all facets of the band. Till the next

      Stomp on,



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