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When the Levee Breaks
– originally from Led Zeppelin IV

Creating a faithful cover of When the Levee Breaks represented quite a number of challenges. The original Zep track was played in open G tuning and subsequently the tape was slowed down which gives it that thick, plodding sound. Together with Bonham's epic drums which were
recorded in an open, two level circular stairway at Headley Grange, these elements give the song a unique sonic landscape which serves as a foundation for the remaining musical layers. "I decided right from the start that we weren't going to do the 'slow-down' thing with our version.
Since we weren't recording to tape, I wasn't confident that digitally slowing down the track would have the same affect." The main guitar track is played on my double-neck Gibson ES-1275 in an open F tuning. There is plenty of reverse reverb on the guitar as well as the harmonica and we even recreated the backwards guitar riff/solo towards the end. To accomplish this, I listened to the Zeppelin track played backwards, to hear what Jimmy actually played. I played the riff and then we reversed it. It worked like a charm." Jon learned to play harmonica for our tribute. This track represents his very first recording on the instrument! His harp went through a Fender Deluxe 85 guitar amp to give it that gritty, old-time feel.

Lyrics

If it keeps on rainin', levee's goin' to break
If it keeps on rainin', levee's goin' to break
When the levee breaks, I'll have no place to stay

Mean old levee taught me to weep and moan, Lord
Mean old levee taught me to weep and moan
It's got what it takes to make a mountain man leave his home
Oh well, oh well, oh well

Don't it make you feel bad
When you're tryin' to find your way home
You don't know which way to go?
If you're goin' down south
They got no work to do
If you're going down to Chicago

A-ah, a-ah, a-ah

Cryin' won't help you, prayin' won't do you no good
No, cryin' won't help you, prayin' won't do you no good
When the levee breaks, mama, you got to move, ooh

All last night sat on the levee and moaned
All last night sat on the levee and moaned
Thinkin' 'bout my baby and my happy home

Ah-oh
Ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah
Goin'
I'm goin' to Chicago
Goin' to Chicago
Sorry, but I can't take you, ahhh
Goin' down, goin' down now
Goin' down, goin' down now
Goin' down, goin' down
Goin' down, goin' down
Goin' down, goin' down now
Goin' down, goin' down now
Goin' down, goin' down now
Goin' down, goin' down-down-down-down-down