6.10-GOMPER (Rolling Stones)

Rolling Stones


By the lake with lily flowers
Wile away the evening hours.
To and fro she's gently gliding
On the glassy lake she's riding.

     She swims to the side.
     The sun sees her dried.

     The birds hover high.
     I stifle a cry.


     The birds hover high.
     She moans with a sigh.


Gomper suffers, like the reprise to Sing This All Together, by a lengthy freakout that extends a song that is less than two minutes into over five. It is best to edit the jam out. The song is much better without the interminable instrumental at the end. The Stones certainly recorded better jams (Can’t You Hear Me Knocking from Sticky Fingers springs to mind), but the first part of Gomper is one of the best of their handful of dulcimer songs.

I find the song itself lovely in the courtly manner of Lady Jane, and the electric dulcimer makes an unusual sound. The lyrics sound as if the singer has been swimming with a lady friend in a lake, and afterwards, while drying in the sun, the pair make transcendent love, their spirits flying high. The sense of the lyric is sketchy at best, but interest is sustained by instrumentation that seems to borrow from raga.

I have no clue why the song was called “Gomper”. The Urban Dictionary seems to be the only site online that has an entry on the word, the description of which centers around being ugly either in appearance or behavior. Was this someone’s comment on the out of control instrumental that follows this pretty little song?