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Old 06-18-2010, 03:47 AM   #169 (permalink)
TheCellarTapes
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Location: Mancunia
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Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin
(1969)



Tracks

1 Good Times Bad Times 2:47
2 Babe I'm Gonna Leave You 6:41
3 You Shook Me 6:27
4 Dazed and Confused 6:26
5 Your Time Is Gonna Come 4:34
6 Black Mountain Side 2:12
7 Communication Breakdown 2:29
8 I Can't Quit You Baby 4:42
9 How Many More Times 8:28

In the summer of 1968, one the great chapters from the previous decade was sadly coming towards its inevitable close, but thankfully a new one was just about to begin.

Yes, The Yardbirds whose members once included Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton were on their last legs. Joining the band in these uncertain times was a young Jimmy Page, who in August of 1968 found himself in the bizarre position of being the only one left and had possession of the name rights plus all remaining contractual obligations surrounding The Yardbirds, this included a series of gigs in Scandinavia the following month. In a matter of weeks, Page had recruited the services of three musicians to fulfil The Yardbirds’ touring commitments, had arrangements for a set combining new songs with old favourites, and crucially opted for a minor addition to the existing name with The “New” Yardbirds now being used.



No longer signed to any label, in October of 1968, The New Yardbirds entered Olympic Studios in London and recorded an album, funded by Page and band manager Peter Grant. This album actually only took 36 hours to record and mix, this was due to the nature of how the band was formed, choosing to do their album rehearsals and fine tuning on the stage in Sweden; this in turn gives the album a really raw and honest feel. The sound and nature of the music was very much the brainchild of Page, a man who knew exactly how he wanted the album to turn out and probably got his wish.

Following heated correspondence with former members of The Yardbirds who were a little unhappy with the name Page had originally opted for, and before the release of their debut LP, The New Yardbirds went for one final name change, going with Led Zeppelin instead. And finally, after signing an agreement with Atlantic Records, the self titled debut album from Led Zeppelin was released in January 1969, making history as one of the finest landmark debuts ever conceived.

The heaviness on this album is quite abundant throughout but there is also a healthy mix of songs and moments with more subtle tones. Sure the album contains standard Led Zeppelin notoriety, songs like Communication Breakdown, Good Times Bad Times and Dazed & Confused really do set this album apart, and such songs really do stand the test of time for their quality and intensity. But on the flip side there is the sheer beauty of Black Mountain Side to counter, which is just lovely.

In all areas, like with the band itself actually, this album just ticks all boxes, and that is thanks to the people involved in its making. Jimmy Page is a given, it’s Jimmy Page, but the rest of the band weren’t bad either. When we talk about vocal power, one name always springs to mind and that is Robert Plant, not many voices can match his range of moods and quality, just marvellous. John Bonham is rightfully heralded as one the greatest drummers ever and when I think of musicianship, I automatically think of John Paul Jones.



As an album, this debut must rank with the all time greats. Combining the rough edges of any of its 68/69 counterparts (The Stooges, White Light/White Heat etc), but at the same time it still remains very sophisticated and in line with albums like Abbey Road and The Village Green. Not only that but it manages to take all the best elements of folk and injects it with a reinvention of the Blues not heard before, cracking stuff! And it has a happy ending too, following a solid groundwork tour in the US and much hard work generally during its launch period, this album has grossed considerably more than it cost to produce. And not only that Cellar Dwellers, it also proved to be the perfect debut for setting up what was to come, a decade filled with more beauty wrapped in a blanket of rawness and heavy blues. This album has literally taken what Clapton started in 63 and has took it up a gear, quality, quality stuff!
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