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*1.19-LADY JANE (Rolling Stones)

Brian Jones
Brian Jones

LISTEN

[Intro]

My sweet Lady Jane
When I see you again
Your servant am I
And will humbly remain.

     Just heed this plea my love
     On bended knees my love:
     I pledge myself to Lady Jane.

My dear Lady Anne
I've done what I can.
I must take my leave
For promised I am.

     This play is run, my love.
     Your time has come, my love.
     I've pledged my troth to Lady Jane.

[Break]

Oh my sweet Marie
I wait at your ease.
The sands have run out
For your lady and me.

     Wedlock is nigh my love.
     Her station's right my love.
     Life is secure with Lady Jane.


AftermathThe album Aftermath was the first by the Rolling Stones to consist entirely of their own compositions. For the first time, courtesy of Brian Jones, exotic instruments are featured in several of the album cuts: a sitar in Paint It Black; a dulcimer in Lady Jane and I Am Waiting; marimbas in Under My Thumb. But Aftermath is not entirely psychedelic and made its mark in other ways as an album other than being experimental with sound. The collection is frequently noted for its strident misogyny, particularly in songs like Stupid Girl and Under My Thumb. And it should be noted too that Goin’ Home, following the example of Dylan’s folk sounding Desolation Row and Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands, is among the first pop music cuts to extend beyond ten minutes (if we ignore the Mothers of Inventions’ comedic The Return of the Son of Monster Magnet on their Freak Out! album). Goin’ Home, though serving merely as extended R&B, would turn out, after passing through Love’s Revelation on their De Capo album, to facilitate two great psychedelic works of the Doors: The End and When the Music’s Over.

The lyrics to Lady Jane coordinate with the delicate Elizabethan feel of the music, full of courtier language, evoking Lady Jane Grey, Ann Boleyn and Marie Antoinette, all powerful women of politics who were decapitated. The courtier is explaining to Ann and Marie that he has chosen to marry Jane. The lyric is not historically accurate, as the three women lived in different eras, but it does communicate well the psychedelic period’s love of sounds and poetry and fashions from previous periods, not done purely but often mixed together in a postmodern pastiche. With so much melodic brilliance to the material, the lyrics don’t need to rhyme. In performance, the song gave Mick Jagger the opportunity to mimic courtly behavior, and Brian Jones is featured yet again, seated with another exotic instrument, this time the dulcimer.

Richard Fariña, before his death in 1966, had built his musical career around the dulcimer with Joan Baez’ sister, Mimi Fariña, but the sound was largely limited to the Appalachian folk tradition. Brian Jones had the sense to know that the instrument had also been used, centuries ago, in Elizabethan music and put the sound in another context which would be fresh and not carry the backwoods connotations of Fariña’s work. On this song, Jones plays the dulcimer with considerably more subtlety and range than he had displayed on the sitar, and builds an intricate melody with Keith Richards’ picked guitar and Jack Nitzsche on harpsichord. This is the second harpsichord piece of the psychedelic period, but it’s a long way from the hammering of chords heard on the Yardbirds' For Your Love. The break to this song is crystalline, one of the most intricate moments in psychedelic music; even if one might judge the lyrics as being a bit too effete. No attempt is made, as in previous exotic songs of the period (such as Heart Full of Soul [Yardbirds], See My Friends [Kinks], and Paint It Black) to refer back to rock and roll; a mood outside the realm of usual popular music is held onto throughout. The song did not chart well, but is considered a rather anachronistic gem of the Rolling Stones repertoire today.

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