BluesyTuesday Episode 6: Celebrating Led Zeppelin's Black Dog
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In this week's episode of Bluesy Tuesday we discuss and disect Led Zeppelin's Black Dog.
The main riff was composed by Led Zeppelin Bassist John Paul Jones and is organized around a call and response pattern. The song begins with Robert Plant singing accapella followed by the band "answering" him with Jones' riff. The song got it's name from a black labradore retreiver that the band found wandering around their Headley Grange studio.
The main riff is derived directly out of the blues scale and is often mistakenly thought to be "polyrhythmic". The confusion comes in because the way that Jones phrases the riff. Instead of hard resolutions on the predicatable downbeat, Jones creates a looping feel with the phrases that circle back on themselves in less predictable places giving Black Dog it's signature feel.
Surprisingly, Black Dog wasn't always a staple of Zepplen's live show. They played it off and on through out the 1970's. By contrast, it's become a signature song of Robert Plant's solo bands and he has performed many wildly different versions of the classic over the years, including a blue grass flavored version with country singer Alison Krauss.
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