Saturday, April 4, 2015

Track of the Week: Led Zeppelin "Hey Hey What Can I Do"

Thursday night I went out to the store to get a gallon of milk and some fruit for my insatiable toddlers, and something just hit me.  The sun had gone down, but the air was still warm, with a certain sweetness in the breeze.  Finally, after a long, wretched winter, spring was here.  Cruising the aisles of breakfast cereal and frozen vegetables, I walked with a spring in my step and a song in my heart.

Over the years I've developed some seasonal habits in regards to music.  Once spring hits, I break out the Led Zeppelin.  Their combination of feral sexuality and mystical Celtic mumbo jumbo is perfectly suited for the months when nature wakes up and life returns.  People tend to think of them as an electrified hard rock band riding on massive riffs, but some of my favorite Zep tunes are acoustic.  "Hey Hey What Can I Do" is one of my favorites of this genre, a non-album B-side for the much more bombastic "Immigrant Song."  The wall of acoustic guitars and folky mandolin are great, but I love this song for how it show's off Zep's rhythm section.  Bonham's bashing never sounded better, and John Paul Jones' snakey bass is high up in the mix and absolutely glorious.  When the warmth of the April sun heats my car up enough that I need to roll down the window, there's no song I love more to throw on the stereo.

The lyrics are typical hard rock bravado, the song's character talking about falling in love with a prostitute, but then seems to forget emotion by the time of the "keep ballin'" chant near the end.  Perhaps that kept the song off of Led Zeppelin III, but in any case it's living proof that Zeppelin's cast-offs beat the best of what a lot of other bands of their era could muster.


Anonymous said...

Good song and I enjoy this blog. One of Zeppelin's folk influences, John Renborn, died last week. John and Bert Jansch did some amazing guitar work as a duo and with their band the Pentangle in the 60's. Their sound certainly shows up in Jimmy Page's acoustic guitar playing.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Zeppelin's folk influences, one of Jimmy Page's acoustic guitar mentors died last week, John Renborn. John and Bert Jansch did some amazing guitar work as a duo and with their band the Pentangle in the 60's, some of which rubbed off in Jimmy Page's acoustic guitar playing.