Jeff Lybarger's Song OF The Day

Song Of The Day LXXIV

Over the course of any bands career it is inevitable that if they linger for very long they will invariably write, record and release a few songs that, if given the opportunity, they would leap at the chance to withdraw from their collective catalog. Amazingly, Led-Zeppelin most assuredly does not fall into this trap.

It is quite an amazing feat that over the spread of 12 years, eight studio albums, one soundtrack and one posthumous release Led-Zeppelin never had a cringe moment. You know; the kind of thing when asked about causes everybody to cringe. Sure, each member of the group had personal moments they weren’t the most delighted with, but never did the entire group share those sentiments towards one particular selection.

Today’s journey is a bit troublesome for me, mainly because this song has never captured me or excited me. I am sure there are Zeppelin fans out there that will disagree and probably find many things positive about this song, but for me, it always seemed a bit….forced.

Perhaps then, that is why it never saw the light of day until Coda, track five, clocking in at 3:35, “Ozone Baby.”

The track begins with some energetic drumming by John Bonham, and some very upfront and tasty bass lines from Jonsey. Jimmy’s riff is separated into two main sections, the ascending riff, which lasts from 0:00-0:02 and then the multi-tracked slur of chords from 0:03-0:05. This repeating riff is mixed nicely, deeper in the mix and gives plenty of breathing room for the drums and bass. It is one of Page’s trademarks to always do what is best for the song. In this case, his riff isn’t one of those blow your mind riffs, and he is perfectly content to let the rhythm section carry the meat of this tune.

I hear you knock on my door
I ain’t been saving a thing for you honey
Don’t want you ringing my bell
It’s too late for you to be my honey
Ooh…it’s my love ooh, ooh; it’s my own true love
Ooh…it’s my love ooh, ooh; it’s my own true love
My own…

There is something about Plant’s vocals on this song that just do absolutely nothing for me. And I love the way Robert sings. But here, he sounds, to my ears anyway, tired. It has been widely known for a while that some of the vocal tracks for Coda were actually done after John Bonham passed away. “Walter’s Walk” is one of the tracks that springs to mind having had the vocals laid down post-1981 and it is my feeling that the same has happened here. For whatever reason though, “Ozone Baby” lacks the fire and passion that “Walter’s Walk” has.

There also seems to be some sort of effect on Robert’s vocal, and perhaps this is the reason this song just doesn’t work, because whatever is being attempted, simply fails.

 

Don’t want ya wastin’ my time
Tired of ya doin’ the things that you do…
It’s no use standin’ in line
My own line you better follow queue…

 

This second verse presents another problem for me; the first and third line is sung with a vocal track, but the second and fourth lines are double tracked. Why? This sounds so cheesy. How many bands have followed this same, lethargic formula? Led-Zeppelin was always better than everyone else, but here, and perhaps because they felt the pressure of a deadline to get an album out for contractual purposes, they just follow a well-worn path that has been beaten to death.

I feel that what makes this song so difficult to digest is the fact that it was surrounded by far superior material. Who knows, under differing circumstances this song might have had some appeal, but when asked to stand next to “Walter’s Walk.” “Wearing and Tearing,” “Poor Tom” and “We’re Gonna Groove,” as well as a powerful “I Can’t Quit You,” it just falls flat.

Jimmy runs through a hyper, tension-filled guitar solo that harkens at times back to “Hot Dog” and then another run through the chorus brings this short piece to a merciful close. Is this a disaster? Of course not. Hey, there are a lot of bands that would love to have an up-tempo, energetic song like this in their catalog. But by Led-Zeppelin standards, it just doesn’t measure up to the expectations held by many.

Here’s a question for you; what if Jimmy had decided to release Coda with “Baby Come On Home” instead of “Ozone Baby?” Now that would have been something special. It could have simply been placed in the same spot as “Ozone Baby” and would have been a pleasant, unexpected respite between “Walter’s Walk” and “Darlene.”

As the saying goes…things happen for a reason and fans of Led-Zeppelin would have to wait another decade to hear the unreleased gem that is “Baby Come on Home” and ultimately, I feel, Coda suffered for it.

Until the next one…

Jeff

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