Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Robert Plant guest vocal on Buddy & Julie Miller album now available

Robert Plant's guest vocal on Buddy and Julie Miller's song "What You Gonna Do Leroy" is now available for listening and for purchase.

The song, which can be heard in the embedded video above, is available not only on the Millers' album, Written in Chalk, but also as a $0.99 MP3 download.

Buddy Miller, who is recuperating from open heart surgery after a recent heart attack, conducted an interview that is used in an electronic press kit issued by his record label, New West Records (see below).

In the EPK, Miller describes how the collaboration with Plant came about. He says it started with a conversation during Plant's tour last year with Alison Krauss, on which Miller was playing guitar and singing backup:
"Robert just happened to ask, 'Oh, how's it going with the record?' And he said, 'Anything you want me to do? I'm glad to help out. So, I thought about it for a good half-second.

So, I brought out a bunch of mics on the tour, and -- I think it was in Toronto, we had a nice-sized dressing room. So, after our soundcheck at the venue, I asked the guys, 'Hey, can you bring stuff up to the dressing room?' And we moved the pool table out of the way and set up some mics, and he set up a couple of little drums and a bass, and we sang it live, and that's the way it went down. It felt great."
Lyrically, this song echoes the recurring theme present throughout Led Zeppelin's "The Lemon Song," "Black Dog" and "Black Country Woman." Here, again, is the lovestruck protagonist who brings home his hard-earned pay and gives it to the woman who turns around and gives his money to another man. She's spent his money, took his car. She didn't have to leave him a total disgrace. And the guy, all the while, takes it. He has all the evidence before him saying she's been seeing another man, and yet he can't seem to up and quit her. He admits he should have quit her a long time ago.

"What You Gonna Do Leroy," which bears a traditional country sound, adds some new specifics to the plight of the protagonist, whose name in this instance is Leroy. His woman is getting all fancied up to go to the grocery store when the cabinets were already full. And then there's no word from her by the middle of the night, and she hasn't gotten home. Then she announces she's going to leave home to stay with her mother for a week, but her mother can't confirm this. But instead of leaving this woman (or, perhaps, dumping this never-ending, nagging, doubting woman for another -- for instance, her sister), Leroy finds it sufficient to keep on loving her. His refrain: "Whatcha gonna do when you love a woman like that?"

Miller and Plant trade vocals on the track, sharing and trading off lines and verses. They are joined by fellow touring mates Jay Bellerose on drums, Dennis Crouch on bass, and Stuart Duncan on fiddle. Adding lap steel to the track is Gurf Morlix, who once said the following about Plant:
"My theory is if we could somehow remove Robert Plant from the fabric of time, it would therefore remove all the heavy metal stuck-pig-squealing vocals we've been subjected to over the years. Robert Plant was possibly the single most powerful influence on heavy metal. Now, I actually like Robert. I loved the first few Led Zeppelin albums a lot. I think he currently makes good music. He sings well, and is so at ease on stage. He seems very comfortable in his body. I have a lot of respect for Robert.

"We are, of course, speaking hypothetically about cause and effect. I don't think the effect would be all that good for Robert."
On a final note, I find the varying perceptions of Plant among these American musicians hilarious. For all the fun Plant attests to have playing with American musicians, it's funny to find out what they thought of him before they met -- such as in the case of Mike Seeger, who joined Plant and Krauss in recording the final track on Raising Sand. I'll never forget that Seeger told me he didn't know who Plant was before they met in the studio.

1 comment:

  1. LOL been a long time, since i logged onto "Lemon Squeezings". I noticed that people arent bothering to post anymore Steve so....since this has completely become the Robert Plant blog/shrine, you should take down The Big Led Zeppelin concert display on the mast head.BTW, congrats to planty on the shared grammys. the academy salutes you mr plant. tough break on losing best male vocal performance to Justin Timberlake tho..but hey, maybe next time.One more thing, I sure hope that when the Zep reunion rumors surface,after the next plant - kruass thing comes out,that its PAGE AND JONES who shoot it down immediately, and unequivocaly.


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