Monday, June 25, 2007

album of the day

Led Zeppelin (latterly known as Led Zeppelin I) by Led Zeppelin.

Debate rages as to which is the best Led Zep album - some say Led Zep IV (the "runes" album) because it's got Black Dog, Stairway To Heaven and When The Levee Breaks on it. Some say Physical Graffiti because it's a double album and their most diverse album musically. Some go for the folkier Led Zep III....anyway, I say, fine as these others are (Physical Graffiti in particular) their very first album is the best.

What other debut album starts with the the sort of in-your-face ballsiness of Good Times, Bad Times? A couple of battered out chords from Jimmy Page, a thunderous drum fill from John Bonham, and Robert Plant wailing out "In the days of my youth I was told what it means to be a man....". Then we get the pumped-up folk-rock of Babe I'm Gonna Leave You, almost a sort of proto-Stairway in its quiet-loud-quiet-loud dynamic, the massive harmonica-driven Muddy Waters riff of You Shook Me, and the proto-metallic live staple Dazed And Confused. Then we get a quieter interlude with Your Time Is Gonna Come and its church organ intro, the Bert Jansch-influenced acoustic Black Mountain Side, the frenzied Communication Breakdown (a big influence on The Ramones, apparently) the more orthodox (and slightly less interesting) blues of I Can't Quit You Babe and then the closing How Many More Times, where Page and Plant nick countless old blues standards, glue them together and dose them up with elephant steroids.

What makes this such a winner is the improvised, bluesy, live, anything-could-happen feel of it all. It couldn't be more different from the later epics like Kashmir and Achilles' Last Stand, but this is where it all started.


The Black Rabbit said...

The only Led Zep album I've got.
After your recommendation years ago.

electrichalibut said...

Well, I'm not saying don't get the others. In fact I'm saying do get the others. I did. And it never did me any harm. Apart from these terrible headaches.

The Black Rabbit said...

I'll stick with WHITESNAKE thanks.
They make "Led Zep" sound like Boyzone.

With a satisfying "PLOP!", the fat ragworm lands forty yards from the bank.
I adjust my hat settle back, watching the fluorescent orange float gently bob up and down, up and down, up and down on the mirror-smooth surface of the water...

electrichalibut said...

Whitesnake make Boyzone sound like Led Zeppelin. No, hang on - Boyzone make Whitesnake sound like Girls Aloud. No - Earth Wind And Fire make Napalm Death sound like Whitesnake. Oh, I dunno.