Album Review - Led Zeppelin . Led Zeppelin
It seems a long time since the last time I posted on the "Go Review that Album" thread. Actually it doesn't just seem to be, it actually was on mid-July 2009 when telephone_junkie asked me to review this album. Back then I had just bought Led Zeppelin from my second hand CDs store, I thought I ought to give it some more listens before I reviewed and then I forgot about this, or simply lost interest, so without further delay, here I go:
The image of the Hindenburg disaster occurring on May 6, 1937 might as well have a better place in history, not as the event which took the life of 36 people, as well as preventing you from flying on one of those (unless you work at the stadium for Good Year), but because not only it gave the name to one of rock's most influential bands, but also an image for it's debut record. But, does it deserve the praise and high regard it has collected over the years?
This 9 track album starts with "Good Times, Bad Times", one of the first Zeppelin songs I consciously heard because it was transcribed on a magazine I somehow got hold of some years ago. This track is pretty much the band's attempt at a hit single, however a pretty good one, and probably the best pop song from the band. "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" has a great instrumental background, and breaking middle part, however it seems messy, to say the least. "You Shook Me", a song originally recorded by Muddy Waters and even by ex-Yardbird Jeff Beck some months earlier, is my favorite song on the album. With a reverse echo effect on Plant's voice, and the best guitar solos as well as some nice harmonica, well, manage to scare me. Based on that song and the next one, Zep's first well-deserved classic output "Dazed and Confused", this might as well be a Halloween album, a psychedelic nightmare one at least. Nice way to close the first side.
The next side starts with "Your Time is Gonna Come", a song whose main highlight are the organ which open up, as well as some choral arrangement (mainly Plant's voice) which remind me to some extend of what the Stones did on Beggar's Baquet's closer a year before, and on You Can't Always Get What You Want a year later. "Black Mountain Side", the shortest song on the album and also one of my favorites, contains a clever musical arrangement, which is mainly an instrumental interlude into the next song, "Communication Breakdown", which is pretty reminiscent of the sound which will be featured on their next album. Second cover on the album, "I Can't Quit you Baby" is basically a conversation between Robert and Jimmy's guitar, needless to say Jimmy wins. Finally, album closer "How Many More Times" fails in comparison in memorability, and they might have come out with a better album closer on the before mentioned tracks.
We have to understand this is Led Zeppelin's debut, and what a debut to say the least, however, even thought the music prodigy of Jimmy's and Johns' is present (I can understand if Robert's screaming annoys some people out there), the band still lacks a clear direction, and at times seems to be more a show-off of Jimmy's expertise than an actual band attempt. In my opinion, they were still a little messy, and where some years from reaching the epic sounds achieved on Led Zeppelin IV and Houses of the Holy. A well deserved classic record though.
Led Zeppelin - You Shook Me