Sunday, December 30, 2007

Led Zeppelin-BBC Sessions

Review By Scott Floman :

Capturing one of the last performances of a very long tour, the band’s only previous official live release, The Song Remains The Same (which accompanied the movie of the same name) too often saw an exhausted band going through the motions. Now that these much bootlegged BBC Sessions have finally been released (with superlative sound quality), any lingering doubts about the band’s live prowess have officially been obliterated. Disc one features three BBC sessions from 1969, and these raw performances focus primarily on Led Zeppelin the blues band - albeit the heaviest damn blues band on the planet. Disc two comes from a single show recorded live at London's Paris Cinema studios (which the BBC used regularly to showcase new and current bands at the time, according to reader David Pearson) on April 1, 1971, and this disc is notable for some spectacular performances (“Since I’ve Been Loving You,” “Thank You”), and for previewing three songs (“Stairway To Heaven,” “Black Dog,” “Going To California”) from the band’s not yet released fourth album. BBC Sessions shows off Led Zeppelin’s improvisational essence, and it’s also cool to hear such an early version of “Travelling Riverside Blues,” or how the riff on their cover of Sleepy John Estes’ “The Girl I Love She Got Long Black Wavy Hair” would soon morph into “Moby Dick” (uncredited, of course). The band also covers Eddie Cochran’s “Somethin’ Else” and interrupts “Whole Lotta Love” with an oldies medley containing songs such as “Boogie Chillun’” and “That’s Alright Mama.” Most of these songs come from the first two Led Zeppelin albums, and the performances are uniformly excellent and incredibly powerful. On the downside, Robert Plant tends to go over the top at times with his histrionics, and the inclusion of multiple versions of several songs (including three takes of “Communication Breakdown” on disc one) amounts to overkill. Granted, there’s some credence to the liner notes’ claim that "the band could play the same song ten nights in a row and come up with ten different versions", and the two versions of “Dazed And Confused” and “Whole Lotta Love” don’t have a hell of a lot in common with each other (and at least they’re on separate discs). But a better idea would’ve been to pick the best versions of each song, though few will find fault with the performances themselves

Led Zeppelin-BBC Sessions @320

Disc one
1 You Shook Me
2 I Can't Quit You Baby
3 Communication Breakdown
4 Dazed and Confused
5 The Girl I Love She Got Long Black Wavy Hair
6 What Is and What Should Never Be
7 Communication Breakdown
8 Travelling Riverside Blues
9 Whole Lotta Love
10 Somethin' Else
11 Communication Breakdown
12 I Can't Quit You Baby
13 You Shook Me
14 How Many More Times

Disc two
1 Immigrant Song
2 Heartbreaker
3 Since I've Been Loving You
4 Black Dog
5 Dazed and Confused
6 Stairway to Heaven
7 Going to California
8 That's the Way
9 Whole Lotta Love
10Thank You

CD1 Part 1
CD1 Part 2

CD2 Part 1
CS2 Part 2


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