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"Shall we roll it, Jimmy?"
"We're rolling on, what, one?"
"Not one again! (laughs)"
"Gotta get this aeroplane off."
"Nah, leave it, yeah."


Imagine driving a steamroller down a flight of stairs with a big microphone dangling in front of it. Imagine the desire of every two-year-old to beat on pots and pans, the intense tribal fury of a harvest bonfire dance, the cool perfection with which Neo swats aside the agent's blows at the end of The Matrix. Now put on Led Zeppelin's 1975 album Physical Graffiti, and listen to this track. Around the 1:33 mark, you will understand why John Bonham is the most-sampled drummer ever.

Jimmy Page plays a fairly simple picked blues riff on his guitar, and I'm guessing that's Robert Plant backing him up on mandolin--I could easily have them switched. Then with almost no warning, those drums. The descending scale gains a strummed feel, and as soon as Bonham decides to mix it up a little, the song cuts a little more loose and Plant starts to sing like the beast he is. Once the harmonica cuts in at about 3:10, the song gets as authentic delta blues as four white guys from Great Britain can make it. Which is to say, quite a bit, except for the bit about them not being from America.

Oh, and I've no idea where the Black Country is, but listen to those lyrics--if a girl tells you she's from there, forget her.



Hey, hey, mama, what's the matter here?
Hey, hey, mama, what's the matter here?
You didn't have to tell me that you love me so;
You didn't have to love me, mama, let me go.
Hey, hey, mama, what's the matter here?
You didn't have to make me a total disgrace!
You didn't have to leave me with that beer in my face!
Hey, hey, mama, what's the matter here?
That's alright, it's awful doggone clear.

Hey, hey, baby, why you treat me mean?
Hey, hey, baby, why you treat me mean?
{drums!}
You didn't have to crucify me like you did!
You didn't have to tell me I was just your kid!
Hey, hey, mama, why'd you treat me mean?
You didn't have say you'd always be by my side--
Y' didn't have to tell me you'd be my blushing bride!
Hey, hey, mama, why you treat me mean?
But that's alright, I know your sisters, too...

You didn't have to tell me that you love me so!
You didn't have to leave me, mama, let me go!
Hey, hey, mama, what is wrong with you?
You didn't have to leave me like a total disgrace!
You didn't have to leave me with that beer on my face!
Hey, hey, mama, what is wrong with you?
But that's alright, I'd be the same way, too...

You didn't have to crucify me like you did!
You didn't have to tell me I was just your kid!
Hey, hey, mama, what's the matter here?
You didn't have to tell me you would be my own--
You didn't have to tell me, baby, then let me go.
Hey, hey, mama, what is wrong with you?
That's alright, I know your sister, too.

bluesy breakdown--ad lib over last strains of mandolin:
What's the matter with you, mama?

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