Artist: Led Zeppelin
Song: Traveling Riverside Blues
Album: Led Zeppelin Box Set
The Led Zeppelin box set was the absolute best gift I can remember receiving on Christmas day 1990. I was beginning an obsession with Led Zeppelin. I had purchased cassettes of Led Zeppelin IV and Houses Of The Holy during my last week of eighth grade, earlier in the year.
I'm not exactly sure how I caught the Led Zeppelin bug, but when I was hooked, I was hooked for life. I'm sure it had to do with a mixture of WCKG (a local classic rock station at the time), the bow playing of Jimmy Page, Christian television propaganda and the music.
I guess I should offer an explanation about the Christian television propaganda. I'm not a churchgoer. That's fine for people who are, but it's just not for me. There used to be a television show on the Christian stations about the evils of rock n' roll music. They would feature videos of mostly hard rock bands. The show would show this seemingly harmless clip and post the lyrics. Then they would show the same clip backwards and interpret what lyrics supposedly said.
I found the show absolutely hilarious. Led Zeppelin's song was "Stairway To Heaven" on the show. I always found it funny that the show used the live version of "Stairway To Heaven" to illustrate its point instead of the studio version.
Anyway, when I heard that Led Zeppelin was coming out with a box set, I immediately started saving money and also put the set on my wishlist. I didn't get it for my birthday, but Christmas turned out to be the jackpot.
I was waiting to hear the two new tracks. "Traveling Riverside Blues" was one and a mash-up of two of John Bonham's drum solo songs was the other. Unbeknownst to me at the time, "Traveling Riverside Blues" was a song by Robert Johnson. The King of the Delta Blues and the musician who supposedly sold his soul to the devil originally played this.
I played this over and over again. I think I wore out my cassette copy. Years later, I would purchase a used copy of the CD version of this set. This song has been a mainstay in my musical rotation ever since its release.
Hey, that's right
Asked sweet mama, "Let me a-be your kid"
She said-a, "You might get hurt if'n a-you don't a-keep it hid"
Well, uh-huh, I know my baby if I see her in the dark
I said, I know my rider if I see her in the dark
Now, I'm goin' to Rosedale, take my rider by my side
Still barrelhouse 'cause it's on the riverside, yeah
I know my baby, lord, I said-a, beware, there's something wrong
I know my mama, lord, a brown-skin but she ain't no plum, ah-ha
See my baby, tell her, tell her, "Hurry home"
Had no lovin' since my baby geen bone (sic), yeah
See my baby, tell her, "Hurry on home"
I ain't had, no, my right mind since my rider's been gone
Hey, promises-a she's my rider
I wanna tell you, she's my rider
Blow your mind, she's my rider
She ain't but sixteen, but she's my rider
I'm goin' to Rosedale, take my rider by my side
Anybody argue with me, man, I'll keep them satisfied
Well, I see my baby, tell her, tell her the shape I'm in
Ain't had no lovin', lord, since you-know-when
Aww, yeah, my, my, my, my
Ah, why don't you come in my kitchen
My kindhearted baby, ya studies evil all the time
She's a kindhearted woman-a, studies evil all the time
Squeeze my lemon 'till the juice runs down my leg-a
Squeeze it so hard, I'll fall right outta bed
Will you squeeze my lemon 'till the juice runs down my leg
I wonder if you know what I'm talkin' about
Ah, well, the way that you squeeze it, girl-a
I swear, I'm gonna fall right outta bed
Aw, she's a good rider, hey-yeah
She's my kindhearted baby
I wanna take my rider by my side, yeah
I said, her front teeth are lined with gold
She got a mortgage on my body, got a lien on my soul
She's my brown-skinned sugar-plum
She makes me