Led Zeppelin - Bbc Sessions
The album itself is a superb example of how the band sounded before they became so big that they could do anything they wanted and get away with it. These were rock gods before anyone worshipped them. This is just one step away from small clubs and provincial theatres. This is as far away from the stadium rockers they eventually became as it is possible to be in a professional musician environment. The BBC is to be commended for putting this out - it is a rare insight into the band's early, bluesiest years. It provides you with an insight into the development of tracks, especially their live versions, which were to become so prominent a few years after this was recorded. For instance, the medley incorporated into "Whole Lotta Love" begins here, and the extended bowed guitar solo from "Dazed and Confused also gets an early outing.
But there are some fascinating vignettes of future studio tracks as well. Given that the second part of this double CD was recorded between the release of Led Zeppelin III and their classic fourth album, tracks from the latetr are given an early airing on a fresh audience. What strikes me about this is that when Robert Plant announces, some months before it is due to be officially released on IV, that the next track is called "Stairway To Heaven" the audience claps politely as you would if you were listening to something you had never heard before. That's the point!!!!! No one had heard it before. Think about it, this is rock radio's most played song ever being played live before anyone had ever heard it! You can actually judge the song on its merits, putting aside the hype, for the only time ever.
There are other examples of how the band managed to mix things up. "Black Dog", unreleased at the time this was recorded, starts with the intro from "Out on the Tiles", surely in itself one of the most underrated of all Led Zeppelin tracks in my opinion. And of course there are the unreleased songs such as Robert Johnson's "Travelling Riverside Blues", Eddie Cochran's "Somethin' Else" and "The Girl I love She Got Long Black Wavy Hair" which were live staples in the band's early years but, as far as I know, were never recorded properly in the studio, if at all.
The result is a marvellous album and one well worth getting, especially if you are a fan of Led Zeppelin. I really wish that someone (are you reading this, Jimmy) would dig out some of the tapes that must be sitting in someone's basement somewhere, and put together a compilation of live sets covering "Kashmir", "Achilles Last Stand", "Ten Years Gone", "Tea For One", "Carouselambra", "Trampled Underfoot" and so on. The DVD containing them issued a few years later is fine as it is, but a lot of those tracks really belong on a good CD compilation in their own right. Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease :-)
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on 2013-01-15 SolitaryMan Said:
Awesome review. These guys were essentially one of the world's premiere jam bands, and they proved it with their outstanding live performances. The endless legion of acts they inspired include many who attended these shows and were highly impressed with what they saw.