‘Babe I’m Gonna Leave You’ is a song written by American Folk singer Anne Bredon, but recorded and immortalized by Joan Baez, another great singer of the 1960s folk guard. The lyrics to this song are quite beautiful. Though the song has that lucid romanticism that could be seen in many songs of the early ’60s, it has had a major impact on rock music when it was covered by Led Zeppelin on their 1969 untitled debut album.
I’m going to post Baez’s version as well as Led Zeppelin’s fantastic cover/remake. Baez is a lovely singer, but Plant, in my opinion, really brings the song to a whole new level of greatness.
Joan Baez version
Led Zeppelin version
Babe I’m Gonna Leave You
Babe, I’m gonna leave you
Tell you when I’m gonna leave you
leave you when ol’summer time,
summer comes a-rolling
leave you when ol’summer comes along
Babe, the highway is a-callin’
the old highway’s a-callin’
callin’me to travel on, travel on out the Westward
callin’me to travel on alone
Babe,I’d like to stay here
you know I’d really like to stay here
my feet start goin’down, goin’down the highway
my feet start goin’down, goin’down alone
Babe,I got to ramble
You know I got to ramble
My feet start goin’down and I got to follow
my feet start goin’down, and I got to go
“There must be some way out of here” said the joker to the thief
“There’s too much confusion”, I can’t get no relief
Businessmen, they drink my wine, plowmen dig my earth
None of them along the line know what any of it is worth.
“No reason to get excited”, the thief he kindly spoke
“There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke
But you and I, we’ve been through that, and this is not our fate
So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late”.
All along the watchtower, princes kept the view
While all the women came and went, barefoot servants, too.
Outside in the distance a wildcat did growl
Two riders were approaching, the wind began to howl.
Part I in a series of long fairy tale poems I wrote on one of the most captivating figures in folklore.
At the Gates of Dawn
Once upon a time, not too long ago
In a village that sat adjacent to a mountain
Lived a people modest and humble.
Crowded and small, the village was barricaded by a wall.
The stone wall had saved the village many a time
From the travesties of medieval life.
Threats were thwarted from the valiant Teutonic Knights of the Old Order –
Warriors of God, pious beasts that preyed on the flesh of the unholy
A couple of miles west of the village ran the River Weser,
Serving as a natural sentinel of the fortuitous population.
Calamity had not befallen the village until one strange day it grew.
A horde of plague-ridden rats had invaded the village,
Ravaging the food-supply and infecting the once-prosperous villagers with the plague.
Days after the takeover the village had finally given up.
The fright against these tiny monsters proved fruitless.
On the dawn of the first Monday of that fateful October
The Mayor convened an assembly of village elders
Where he called upon the villagers to center the village square.
Here he exclaimed that he was willing to pay half of village’s treasury
In gold and silver to the first man to get rid of the rats,
The pestilent creatures that have brought the peaceful village to the cusp of starvation.
A great deal of villagers had spoken of migration,
Something the wealthy Mayor was not willing to risk.
The sun had set, and no one had yet found a way to help the village.
The following dawn a the village guards heard a knock on the wall.
Ringing the bell tower the Mayor had awoken, along with most of the villagers.
The Mayor climbed the stairs of the wall to see who had knocked so early.
Standing majestically in front of the gate was a young man
Dressed in a pied robe with red and black stockings and a cap with a dangling feather.
In his hands he held a flute.
The Mayor called at him, asking him what he could do for him.
Looking up at the Mayor, the man replies,
“I have come to cleanse this village of plague.
Of course, for the price you had promised.”
Jovial, the Mayor accepted the help of the man and allowed him into the village,
And so entered a Piper at the Gates of Dawn,
Seeking to help the villagers in exchange for gold and silver
The Piper picked up his flute and started playing.
Come, come with me
To a far away land
Close to the sweet blue sea
Encompassed with white glittery sand
Come to peace, come to joy
Leave your family, leave your home
Enter a life bedazzled by a toy
Perfected with each blow, a smooth tone
Follow me into the hill
Do not fear nature’s wrath
No doom awaits the Piper’s will
A master of the devil’s craft
He seeks to enlighten those with reason
Charming melodies synthesizing the sounds in your mind
Shifting the moods like the changing seasons
The intellect knows no limit in the bounties it may find
Carry on, come along
Open up your ears to the words of my song
I know a way to ease the feeling of pain
Raising you back on your feet once again
Come through the bustling grove
Open your eyes to the new mode
Keep on going, desert me not
For now I’m here, and I’m all you got