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Old 09-14-2012, 02:28 PM   #21 (permalink)
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06. Grand Funk Railroad Grand Funk 1969 (Capitol)
Blues Rock-Hard Rock
Keep on jamming you bastards! Part.2


Overview

Straight after the huge success of their debut album also released the same year and positioned at no.8 on this list. Grand Funk Railroad released their highly impressive sophomore set aka 'The Red Album' which again focused on excessive volume. The band on this set would aim to steer away from the excessive jamming of the debut in favour of tighter song writing, as the excessive jamming had been something that had gained them critical derision from some quarters. The jamming would still be there of course especially on the B-side, as Grand Funk Railroad without jamming just wouldn't work. Mel Schacher's bass which had been dominant on the debut was also pushed back in the mix and Mark Farner's guitar became a lot more dominant in turn. Despite the tighter song structures featured on this album, the band still pushed out another album touching in around almost 50 minutes. Also the band around this time, were on the verge of becoming one of the biggest box office draws in the USA.

Mark Farner- Guitar/Vocals
Mel Schacher- Bass
Don Brewer- Drums

Production- Terry Knight

Album
Got This Thing on the Move- Perfectly sets out the tone for the rest of the album and Mark Farner sounds even more self assured than on the debut. Please Don't Worry- One of my all favourite songs by the band, a great tune. High Falootin' Woman- The blues influences in this band were always very strong and this is a great example of that. Mr.Limousine Driver- Blues based track that is an absolute killer and sticks in yer head, a song that I still hum to after all these years. In Need- The band revert to old habits here and put out one of their great jamming tracks which clocks in at almost 8 mins, love it baby! Winter and My Soul- Starts off with various sound effects before moving into one of the band's most harmonious efforts again a winning track. Paranoid- No not the Sabbath song, but an excellent track and great vocals by Mark Farner and one of those great overlong songs. Inside Looking Out- The closing track is a cover of an Animals song and unsurprisingly they chose to cover one of the longest songs that the Animals ever put out.

Verdict
With its tighter song structures wrapped up in their already trademark jamming sound. The Michigan based band probably released their strongest ever studio effort in this set, even though 1973's We're An American Band could give it a run for its money. Mark Farner sounds great on this album and his two compadres were on the top of their game as well. What's great about this album is the combination of melody, raunch and jamming which unlike the debut album, is achieved without sacrificing song structure for the most part. As impressive as that is, the real strength of this album though, actually lies in its catchy melodic tunes which are littered throughout the album and play around in your head long after you've finished listening to them. I was actually amazed several years ago, when I read just how influential this album was on various bands in the 1970s and 1980s, I never realized that so many reputable artists dug GFR. The album features some great boogie blues that pre-dates those great 70s efforts by ZZ Top but ZZ were never quite this heavy though. On a footnote, anybody not liking their heavy music with such a blues influence should give this album a wide berth.

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If you can't deal with the fact that there are 6+ billion people in the world and none of them think exactly the same that's not my problem. Just deal with it yourself or make actual conversation. This isn't a court and I'm not some poet or prophet that needs everything I say to be analytically critiqued.
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Pounding Decibels- A Hard and Heavy History

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Old 09-14-2012, 04:04 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Cool stuff!

Re: The Deep Purple album - One of the saddest things about the release of their third album was that their first US company was slowly going out of business even with a couple of Top 40 hits by Purple ("Hush" being the king) and a couple of albums by co-owner Bill Cosby. After two Top 100 albums in the US, their third would only inch up to 162, possibly due to the lack of funds for promoting it. Although you could say that it was at least better than what did in the UK (All of their first three missed), but you could feel the disappointment. Thankfully, most of that album went on Purple Passages.
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Old 09-15-2012, 11:22 AM   #23 (permalink)
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05. MC5 Kick Out the Jams 1969 (Elektra)
Detroit Rock-Hard Rock
When the **** hits the fan!


Overview
Kick Out the Jams Motherfuckers! That line would become synonymous with this Detroit band, whose debut album and a live one at that, would become one of the most controversial albums of its time. In fact the so-called offensive word would be supplanted by the far milder "Brothers and Sisters" which kept in line with the true ethos of the 1960s. The album was essentially a hard rock album that relied on the energy of the Detroit rock sound and the album would go on to become an integral part not just of hard rock history, but also as an essential proto-punk release where its actually held in even higher esteem! As for the recording of the album, MC5 decided not to bother trying to emulate their live power in the studio, but instead went for a live album and producer Bruce Botnick was drafted in. Bruce Botnick had previously worked with luminaries such as the Doors and Love, so he knew his stuff. This live album was recorded at Detroit's Grande Ballroom and set out to capture the band's riotous acid-fuelled live show in its full glory. The album is complete with their famous public interaction sections that are littered throughout the album.

Rob Tyner- Vocals
Wayne Kramer- Guitar/Vocals
Fred "Sonic" Smith- Rhythm
Michael Davis- Bass
Dennis Thompson- Drums

Production- Bruce Botnick

Album
Ramblin' Rose- Brothers and sisters, let us start the revolution...... as Rob Tyner's voice kicks in and starts proceedings. Kick Out the Jams- The unforgettable title track and one of the stand-out tracks on the album. Come Together- Might be the best track on the album and Keeps the energy ticking over, and at times frontman Rob Tyner and the rest of the band sound like they're on the verge of exploding! By now the album should be a real experience for the listener. Rocket Reducer No.62 (Rama Lama Fa Fa Fa)- Kick butt name and sounds like like something that the Stooges could've done around that time. Borderline- A filler track that is enhanced with the band's live energy. Motor City Blues- The most bluesy track on the album. I Want You Right Now- One of the longer tracks on the album and a highlight of the B-side. Starship- An almost space rock number clocking in around 9 minutes, where the band have totally flipped out and the song serves as the perfect finale to this whole experience, this is the type of song that Hawkwind would turn into a fine art a few years later.

Verdict
So how does this album rank up? From a music perspective its probably the weakest album of the ten I've selected, BUT where it gains its plaudits is in its sheer energy and attitude which it has by the bucketload, this was a band that knew how to inject a real dosage of power into a somewhat average song, of which there are a number of on this album. At times the album feels literally on fire and has the whole thunderous experience of a band that are truly espoused with their rabble rousing ideas of both revolution and struggle, which were truly opposed to the love and peace ethos of many of their 1960s brothers and sisters. The guitars on the album were tightly interlocked and were combined with the blazing rhythm section, which was the envy of the Detroit music scene at the time. The album even today is widely acclaimed as a icon of its time and a member of "Rolling Stone's Top 500 Albums List". It also ranks along with the Who's My Generation as one of the hardest hitting debuts of the 1960s making it a vital part of any music collection. As a footnote to any of these modern day metal bands out there when it comes to being controversial.....just check out this album out as this was being controversial! Their follow-up studio album Back in the USA is another essential listen as well.

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If you can't deal with the fact that there are 6+ billion people in the world and none of them think exactly the same that's not my problem. Just deal with it yourself or make actual conversation. This isn't a court and I'm not some poet or prophet that needs everything I say to be analytically critiqued.
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Pounding Decibels- A Hard and Heavy History

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Old 09-15-2012, 04:24 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Cool stuff!

Re: The Deep Purple album - One of the saddest things about the release of their third album was that their first US company was slowly going out of business even with a couple of Top 40 hits by Purple ("Hush" being the king) and a couple of albums by co-owner Bill Cosby. After two Top 100 albums in the US, their third would only inch up to 162, possibly due to the lack of funds for promoting it. Although you could say that it was at least better than what did in the UK (All of their first three missed), but you could feel the disappointment. Thankfully, most of that album went on Purple Passages.
Purple Passages is a very good compilation album and a double as well. I know it was released for the US market only.

I think around the time of their third album. Deep Purple were moving in a more obvious hard rock direction either out of choice, or in order to sell far more albums. They must have felt under quite a bit of pressure after not achieving the expected breakthrough after three albums.
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If you can't deal with the fact that there are 6+ billion people in the world and none of them think exactly the same that's not my problem. Just deal with it yourself or make actual conversation. This isn't a court and I'm not some poet or prophet that needs everything I say to be analytically critiqued.
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Old 09-16-2012, 12:59 PM   #25 (permalink)
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04. Humble Pie As Safe As Yesterday Is 1969 (Immediate)
Blues Rock
A sweaty sounding crawler.


Overview
Fronted by the diminutive Steve Marriot who had already achieved fame in the Small Faces, Humble Pie would be the project that would take him onto a much heavier sound and greater all round artistic freedom. He was joined by ex-Herd guitarist Peter Frampton who would of course go on to become one of the most famous guitarists of the 1970s. Greg Ridley from Spooky Tooth (an early purveyor of heavy music) and session drummer Jerry Shirley. Right from the word go, Humble Pie were in the loose sense "A Supergroup" but with a very workmanlike attitude. The group even before they recorded, were a major influence on the then emerging Led Zeppelin, who would lift so much of the Humble Pie sound and make it their own. In fact Led Zep guitarist Jimmy Page had been so impressed with Steve Marriot as a vocalist back in his Small Faces' days, that he made Steve Marriot the benchmark for when he was looking for a vocalist to front Led Zeppelin. In fact the ties between the two groups ran even deeper, because back in their Small Faces days, Robert Plant was a hanger-on around the band and would usually run-out on errands for them, I wonder what for!!! Anyway, the debut album by Humble Pie was unique in its mixture of heavy blues rock and pastoral folk with American roots music.

Steve Marriot- Guitar/Organ/Vocals
Peter Frampton- Guitar
Greg Ridley- Bass
Jerry Shirley- Drums

Production- Andy Johns

Album
Desperation
- A Steppenwolf cover and the perfect introduction into the crushing rock sound of the band. Stick Shift- Peter Frampton penned and probably the weakest track on the album. Buttermilk Boy- Loud and fun as the band crank it up again and I'm certain Deep Purple lifted elements of the song for "Anyone's Daughter". Growing Closer- Almost Jethro Tull in style with its flute. As Safe As Yesterday Is- The title track and typical of the slow burning style of the album, and highlighted by its heavy outro. Bang- One of those filler tracks, but still catchy when it wants to be. Alabama 69- Practically a Southern Rock song with Peter Frampton on slide guitar. I'll Go Alone- A 6 minute penned Peter Frampton song. A Nifty Little Number Like You- One of the best tracks on the whole album. What You Will- One of the band's more heartfelt compositions. Some versions of the album have the single "Natural Born Bugie" which reached number 4 in the UK singles chart.

Verdict
The album is often seen as a mixture of musical ideas rather than one cohesive effort, but I often disagree with that and think the band were right there with their sound from the word go and quickly introduced us to their sweaty sounding blues based style of hard rock. But what I will agree with, is the fact that the album order can be found wanting at times and could've been arranged better. The album is actually a very original sounding piece of work, despite the fact that its heavily indebted to the 1960s and moves along at a very slow pace at times, which may put some listeners off, but that was the style of the band. The more you listen to this album, the more you realize that a number of future glam rocks acts of the 1970s had also lifted chunks off it as well. In terms of popularity, the group had been beaten to the line in 1969 by Led Zeppelin who had stolen the march on them and back then position and getting somewhere first seemed far more important than it does in today's music industry. Humble Pie would go on to become one of the big hard rock acts of the 1970s, but they wouldn't achieve the mega-famous status of fellow British luminaries such as Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. They would though, occupy the next strata in popularity just below, along with bands such as Free, UFO and Uriah Heep etc. Amazingly just a few months later, the band would release their sophomore set the impressive Town and Country (finished outside my top 10) which was largely an acoustic set and remains the atypical release in the band's discography. Humble Pie were always a band that needed repeated listens to really appreciate the quality of their work.

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If you can't deal with the fact that there are 6+ billion people in the world and none of them think exactly the same that's not my problem. Just deal with it yourself or make actual conversation. This isn't a court and I'm not some poet or prophet that needs everything I say to be analytically critiqued.
Metal Wars

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Pounding Decibels- A Hard and Heavy History

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Old 09-19-2012, 02:11 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Up until now, all the albums listed have been more or less on the same level and on a different day some of their positions would probably change. The top three though are imo the next level up, two bands feature in the final three places.

03. Free Tons of Sobs 1969 (Island)
Blues Rock

Hard rock and melody! Well it starts right here!

Overview
An album that was actually recorded in 1968 but released in 1969, thus qualifying it for this selection of albums. Free were essentially a heavy blues rock act that emerged from the shadow of power-trio Cream and their debut album Tons of Sobs was a delicious chunk of heavy orgasmic blues, that was powered by the liquid gold guitar of Paul Kossoff and the soulful vocals of Paul Rodgers, along with the rhythm section of Andy Fraser and Simon Kirke. Free were in essence cut from the same cloth as heavy blues counterparts Led Zeppelin, but both bands had a very different interpretation of that blues sound. Whilst Led Zeppelin filtered famous blues tunes into their own style and sound, Free performed these songs as a mark of homage and respect to their blues peers. The other area where they differed was in their execution of the music. Led Zeppelin went all out with a sonic assault that was full of extravagant power, whilst Free preferred a far more subtle and melodic approach to their sound. Free throughout their career often reminded me of a wild dog that was always firmly kept on his leash, you knew the aggression was there but they always kept it firmly under control, not an easy thing to do! The album is produced by Guy Stevens who had built up a reputation with his R&B background and went on to work with bands such as Procul Harum, Mott the Hoople and most famously with the Clash on London Calling. Paul Rodgers would write the bulk of their material with the rest of the band gradually gaining more influence as time went by, especially Andy Fraser.

Paul Rodgers- Vocals
Paul Kossoff- Guitar
Andy Fraser- Bass
Simon Kirke- Drums

Production- Guy Stevens

Album
Over the Green Hills Pt.1- The listener is instantly greeted by the soulful voice of Paul Rodgers which leads straight into......Worry- With its menagerie of instruments melding together and Rodgers singing over the top. Walk in My Shadow- Orgasmic blues that is so friggin dense sounding. Wild Indian Woman- Another stunning track, as the band just breeze through another number. Goin' Down Slow- A cover of the James Burke Oden blues song and clocking in at 8+ minutes, gives the band a chance to show-off a bit and show us what they can do. Just check out Paul Kossoff's guitar on this track. I'm a Mover- The band in one of their more commercial moments. The Hunter- One of the best songs on the album and a cover of the Albert King song, which had also been covered by numerous other bands in the 1960s. Moonshine- Slow Burning and one of the best tracks on the album. Sweet Tooth- Another vocal display from Rodgers backed by some great thumping piano. Over the Green Hills Pt.2- The album finishes with a reprise.

Verdict
one of the most essential albums in the development of heavy music at the end of the 1960s and it would be the most bluesy album that Free would put out. Every aspect of this album cries out to be listened to and then to be slowly inhaled, at times the guitar of Paul Kossoff just sounds amazing on this album, without doubt one of the greatest guitarists to grace rock. The album though, amazingly didn't chart on either side of the Atlantic and is often overlooked with the emergence of the Led Zeppelin debut also released the same year. Like their counterparts Led Zeppelin and Humble Pie, Free also managed to release their sophomore effort the same year under the moniker of the eponymous Free. It seemed a popular thing to do then and that was to name a second album after the band name. At times their sophomore effort lacked the spontaneity and musical freedom of the debut but it was still a great album, despite just missing my top ten list. Paul Rodgers would of course go onto become a household name in the 1970s due to his involvement with Bad Company, but he was so much better with Free and his voice at times was just so special, as it welded so well with the precocious talents of his fellow band members. This album is a gem and its still an album that I can enjoy at any time.

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If you can't deal with the fact that there are 6+ billion people in the world and none of them think exactly the same that's not my problem. Just deal with it yourself or make actual conversation. This isn't a court and I'm not some poet or prophet that needs everything I say to be analytically critiqued.
Metal Wars

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Pounding Decibels- A Hard and Heavy History

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Old 09-20-2012, 10:08 AM   #27 (permalink)
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As I mentioned never enjoyed the rest of their albums that much. Glad you're enjoying the journal.
c'mon how can you not like D.O.A. - it's the first rock song with death metal lyrics and it's ****ing creepy
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Old 09-21-2012, 12:30 PM   #28 (permalink)
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c'mon how can you not like D.O.A. - it's the first rock song with death metal lyrics and it's ****ing creepy
As the 1970 album list should be coming up in about a weeks time, I may well give that album a re-listen and see what I think of it. D.O.A is a very influential song.
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If you can't deal with the fact that there are 6+ billion people in the world and none of them think exactly the same that's not my problem. Just deal with it yourself or make actual conversation. This isn't a court and I'm not some poet or prophet that needs everything I say to be analytically critiqued.
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Old 09-23-2012, 06:34 AM   #29 (permalink)
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02. Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin II 1969 (Atlantic)
Hard Rock
Gritty hard rock written on the road.


Overview

With the Zeppelin bomb already having landed on their debut album and through the shrewd management skills of Peter Grant, the follow-up album by Led Zep would go on to top the album charts on both sides of the Atlantic. It was on this album that the band would go from being a power blues outfit to a fully fledged hard rock band (the heavy blues influences would still be there of course but less obvious) and in many people's eyes they would gain the dubious honour of creating heavy metal through the song "Whole Lotta Love". This album like a lot of sophomore's at this time, had been rushed to build on the band's debut album. This album though would be more than just another sophomore, as it would gain the honour of being possibly the ultimate "hard rock" album in many people's eyes, largely due to the fact that it is heavily laden with juicy guitar riffs from beginning to end. It was largely written on the road due to the bands constant and hectic touring schedule and the album more so than any other recording in the Led Zep discography, would reflect their hard living and excessive lifestyle at its fullest. The album would go on to become a virtual blueprint for hard rock music throughout the 1970s and 1980s and is usually described as the band's most indipensable effort.

Robert Plant-Vocals
Jimmy Page- Guitar
John Paul Jones- Bass/Organ
John Bonham- Drums

Production- Jimmy Page

Album
Whole Lotta Love- The song that 'officially' gave birth to the term 'heavy metal' with its brutal riffage, a true sledgehammer of a song. What Is and What Should Never Be- Things quieten down a bit after the onslaught of the opening song...for a while anyway. The Lemon Song- "The way you squeeze my lemon babe" another one of those heavy blues staples that are synonymous with the band. Thank You- A reflective sounding song, that more than any other song they recorded at this time, indicates the future direction of the band. Heartbreaker- One of the heaviest tracks on the album and famous for its amazing guitar riff with its improvised feel laid down by Jimmy Page. This leads straight into......Living Loving Maid(She's Just a Woman)- Led Zep at their most catchy, as the song just seems to flow seamlessly from beginning to end. Ramble On- Folky with acoustic touches but still gets heavy. Moby Dick- An instrumental track that is highlighted by John Bonham's drum solo, when played live this track could often last upto almost 30 mins! Bring It On Home- Another Willie Dixon cover serves to close the album, with some great harmonica work by Robert Plant. The song would also end the first phase of Led Zeppelin, as they would gradually move in a different direction for their next album.

Verdict
After just two albums, Led Zeppelin had blasted most of the competition out of the water with the intensity of their sound and on this album they took a major step forward in the development of heavy music at that time. What's actually amazing about all this, is that most of the material on this 'Such A Revered Album' doesn't hold that much originality at all and most of the material is just re-worked old rock and blues numbers, that the band had up their sleeves for a rainy day. All proving that the old adage of "It's not what you wear it's how you wear it" to be most true in this instance and Led Zeppelin wore those clothes better than anybody else around at that time, with their collection of itchy blues numbers and metal barnstormers! The album is full of tension, by a band that were red hot at the time and they also got the tracks laid down in a very limited time period due to time constraints (there was no months in the studio nonsense for this band) The end product is a direct and at times brutal display of hard rock, meshed in with some folky and acoustic moments to mellow things slightly. Overall the album serves as the perfect example of a crunching hard rock display, something that only a few other bands would actually manage to match throughout the following decade.

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Pounding Decibels- A Hard and Heavy History

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01. Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin 1969 (Atlantic)
Blues Rock
Now this is where you go to 'spank your plank'


Overview
Unlike any other band and album on here so far, Led Zeppelin arrived like a nuclear bomb and played louder than any other band around at that time. It was obvious from the word go, that they had a musical chemistry more electrifying and dynamic than any other rock 'n' roll band that had gone before them. This had a lot to do with the diverse musical background of its band members, as both Robert Plant and Jimmy Page had come from a heavy blues and R&B background, and had featured in bands such as the Band of Joy and the far better known Yardbirds, which had also served as a base for guitar maestros Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck. Whilst the rhythm section of John Paul Jones and John Bonham had come from a jazz and soul background. In fact the band were originally known as the New Yardbirds, but quickly adopted the far more original Led Zeppelin moniker. From the word go, it was obvious that the band had an amazing grasp of dynamics that put most of their contenders into the shade and each band member wielded their instruments like a weapon. The band also had an enviable live show that was often highlighted by musical solos and band improvisation, that would quickly turn into legendary musical events and like any great heavy band of the era, they were hugely disliked by the musical press, an opinion that would later change after the true impact of the band had been revealed. The amount of best ever albums list that this band would make, would be an enviable record in the history of rock.

Robert Plant-Vocals
Jimmy Page- Guitar
John Paul Jones- Bass/Organ
John Bonham- Drums

Production- Jimmy Page

Album
Good Times Bad Times- We're quickly introduced to the groovy and bluesy shuffles of the band. Babe I'm Gonna Leave You- One of the most mesmerizing songs ever recorded with its stunning dynamics, gentle acoustic sections, all of which contrast with the louder pummelling sections, along with Robert Plant getting all hot and bothered throughout. You Shook Me- A Willie Dixon cover, its heavy and sweaty blues at its very best and some great work by John Paul Jones. Dazed and Confused- Psychedelic blues and the showpiece track on the album with a career defining display by Robert Plant and with Jimmy Page's guitar trawling the depths of black despair throughout, all this combined with the trademark pummeling rhythm section of the band. Your Time is Gonna Come- With the drums and guitars working in perfect unison, this song kicks off the B-side. Black Mountain Side- An instrumental and introduction to the folky leanings of the band, something they would explore on later albums. Communication Breakdown- A power drill delivery by the band with its frenzied attack. I Can't Quit You Baby- The second Willie Dixon cover on the album and one of those legendary heavy blues tracks by the band. How Many More Times- The 8 minute finale to the album where the band probably indulge for a bit longer than they should, but who cares when they sound this good.

Verdict
Not only is this one of the best and most blistering debut albums ever recorded, along with the Doors and Jimi Hendrix Experience debuts that had been recorded a couple of years earlier, but it's also one of the best albums ever recorded in the history of rock regardless of genre. In just thirty hours studio time, the band had laid down a collection of power drill rhythms, climactic blues and blazing riffs that would be the hallmark sound of the band. Jimmy Page as guitarist and producer combined his joint duties to startling effect and in Robert Plant they instantly had one of the most recognizable vocalists around, with his orgasmic bluesy wail that often sounded all hot and moany. In hindsight, this album ushered in a new benchmark for all albums at the heavier end of the musical spectrum with its sweaty power blues sound. Furthermore, the album is actually more diverse than initially meets the ear, because throughout the heavy onslaught, diversity such as psychedelic blues and folky leanings can all be detected, making this musical masterpiece a slightly eclectic affair at times. Even today I would still pick this as my personal favourite Led Zeppelin album and it easily makes my top 10 all-time favourite albums list. Hell this album is just pure sex for the ears, with Robert Plant moaning and groaning his way through proceedings!

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Pounding Decibels- A Hard and Heavy History

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