Showing posts with label Led Zeppelin I. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Led Zeppelin I. Show all posts

Led Zeppelin I - Review

Album: Led Zeppelin by Led Zeppelin (1969)

Produced by: Jimmy Page for Atlantic Records.

The Band: Jimmy Page ( Guitars and Backing Vocals), Robert Plant (Vocals, Harmonica) John Paul Jones (Bass, Organ, Backing Vocals) John Bonham (Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals).  

Songs: Good Times Bad Times, Babe I’m Gonna Leave You, You Shook Me, Dazed and Confused, Your Time is Gonna Come, Black Mountain Side, Communication Breakdown, I Can’t Quit You Baby, How Many More Times.

Best Song:  The Trilogy: Babe I’m Gonna Leave You/You Shook Me/Dazed and Confused.

Type of Music: Hard Rock and Blues mixed with bits and pieces of Progressive Rock and Folk.

Extravagant, Loud, Decadent, Uncompromising, Bombastic, Heavy. All these qualifications come to my mind when thinking about the music of Led Zeppelin. Although they could also be precise and subtle demonstrating their obvious love for the acoustic guitar and English folk music. They were glam-rockers, punks and abused booze, drugs and hotel rooms. They were not particularly good at song-writing and ripped off old blues songs and folk originals. But Jimmy Page and Robert Plant did manage to transform those songs in dark and mystical works of art. Many bands have tried to copy their style in the seventies and eighties but none was able to come close. The combination of Page and Plant simply was unique!

Like so many bands in the late sixties and early seventies, Led’s debut album was heavenly influenced by the blues with lyrics that tell the tale of lost love, treason and loneliness. And three of these blues songs, I Can’t Quit You Baby written by Otis Rush, How Many More Times by Howling Wolf and the obscure You Shook Me form the basis for the album and are surrounded by a couple of fast and furious pop rock songs, a folk instrumental, an acoustic ballad and some psychedelic prog- rock.
The combination of songs however makes it a nearly perfect listen and Led Zeppelin I (One) will always remain one of my favourite classic rock albums.
As so often happened, the band would struggle to match the quality of their debut album. They would surprise us with many great songs in the years to come but they would never again make such a coherent album.

So let’s have a look at the individual songs:

The album starts of with the single Good Times Bad Times (Nr. 80 Billboard). It’s really a simple but agreeable pop song dressed up as hard rock.

But then we are surprised with around 20 minutes of absolute heaven for classic rock lovers. The trilogy starts off with the acoustic blues ballad Babe I’m Gonna Leave You. Never again Robert Plant would sound so honestly and convincingly depressed as here. You can almost feel his broken heart although I’m not quite sure he’s leaving her in the end. Later on in their career, Robert would overdo the wailing and the songs would almost become parodies. But not so here. Great song!

It is followed by the first and best of the three blues songs You Shook Me. The band plays extremely tight on this one. They almost sound like a  machine, with pounding drums, great bass lines and the perfect interplay between Jimmy’s guitar and Robert’s voice. And watch out for those organ and harmonica solos as well!

To finish the trilogy we get Dazed and Confused the heaviest track on the album. It’s bluesy and psychedelic and fast and furious sometimes. It’s amazing!

None of the following tracks come close although none of them is really bad. The first one is Your Time is Gonna Come and the organ intro played by John Paul Jones is the best part of the song really.

The following Black Mountain Side is an instrumental folk song with some Indian influences creating an atmosphere not unlike some of George Harrison’s later work with the Beatles.

Communication Breakdown is hard rocking and to the point and I Can’t Quit You Baby is the second great blues song. It’s more relaxed and less compact than You Shook Me but still great.

And the album closes with the blues-shuffle How Many More Times that starts of quite gentle but explodes later on. It’s probably the only song on the album I could live without although it has its moments.

Rating: ********* (9 out of 10)

Black = Good Songs
Green = Great Songs
Red = Could Be Better

Sound Quality: Excellent. Be sure to get the re-mastered version.

Chart Success: The album made it to number 10 in the Billboard Album Top 200.

Who should buy this Record:  Everybody!!  Led Zeppelin’s Best Album and one of the true Classic Rock Albums of All Time. Get It Now!

Jan van den Ende , 2010