Review

LED ZEPPELIN Led Zeppelin

Album · 1969 · Hard Rock
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
Nightfly
Rising from the ashes of The Yardbirds this is where it all started for arguably the greatest Heavy Rock band of them all. Recorded in just thirty hours of studio time, often the norm in those days, the band show how tight they already are with a strong collection of Blues Rock. Led Zeppelin immediately state their intent with the powerful opener of Good Times, Bad Times, featuring a great Jimmy Page riff and John Bonham's dexterous kick drum playing. It's Robert Plant's show though showing immediately why he was to become regarded as one of the greatest vocalists in Rock.

Page once stated that his idea for Zeppelin was a band that could combine lots of light and shade, the acoustic mixed with the heavy rock elements. True to his word he suggested covering Babe I'm Gonna Leave You, a traditional folk song he introduced to Plant from a Joan Baez album. They truly do the song justice here with some lovely acoustic guitar from Page and sympathetic Plant vocals before the band pile in full steam for the chorus. Great stuff indeed!

You Shook Me is pure Blues, a Willie Dixon song that the band do an excellent version of here. The versatile John Paul Jones beefs up the sound with a welcome Organ solo as does Plant with his harmonica playing. This is followed by what was to become a live Page showcase featuring his violin bow routine, Dazed and Confused. It's basically a Blues song though veers off the path of true Blues midway into Page's Violin bow routine before speeding up for his guitar solo before Bonhams triplets signal the return to the verse.

Your Time is Gonna Come starts with some great Church Organ from Jones before the band fall in, Page on acoustic guitar. This is one of Plant's best vocal performances on their debut too. This segues into Black Mountain Side, Page's Bert Jansch influenced acoustic and totally instrumental piece. Well placed to follow is the straight Heavy Rock of Communication Breakdown, an early Zeppelin favourite but is rather simplistic and though not bad is the weakest track on the album.

More Blues next with another Willie Dixon Song, I can't Quit You Baby and once again the band do an excellent version of it. However it's left in the shadow of closer How Many More Times. At eight and a half minutes it's the longest track on the album and shows where the band were capable of going with their long extended live jams. Starting with Bohams swinging ride cymbal pattern and Jones walking Bass line the band fall in, full steam ahead before the song deviates into the mid section jam including excerpts from Rosie and The Hunter. Such was the power of this number the band chose to use it to close their early live shows.

So there you have it, one of the greatest debut albums of all time and better than most bands ever produce in their entire career. Not quite the full 5 stars but a well deserved 4 ½.
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