Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin II

I thought I'd catch up with all of my early Zep's at once here. As I believe I already said, I assume that this is when the band first appeared on my radar - with their huge hit, "Whole Lotta Love". What a blast this was coming out the AM radio! Of course, the hit version was heavily edited to remove some of the wacky effects (Page using his Theremin, this time) and much of Planet's grunts and groans, but still retained plenty of power. And, of course, this was another stolen Willie Dixon song (at least they had good taste in their thievery!) which caused more controversy later. Page's lead coming back into the song, as well as the main riff, are pure classics, though.

"What Is and What Should Never Be" is another tune that alternates from quieter verses to harder choruses, but still retaining a sense of melody and dynamics. Another amalgamation of blues songs, "The Lemon Song" takes bits from Howlin' Wolf's "Killing Floor" as well as Robert Johnson's "Traveling Riverside Blues" and Albert King's "Cross-Cut Saw", and throws it all in the Zep mixer to come up with this bit of ever-changing blues rock. "Thank You" is an interesting, keyboard-led number, with Page adding 12-string guitar and layers of melodies to this semi-ballad.

Then comes the 1-2 punch of "Heartbreaker" and "Living Loving Maid" - two heavy stompers with huge power chords, riffs and leads, trademarked Plant bawdy lyrics, and dynamic starts and stops. These two tunes are so synced together on the album that it sounds weird if you hear one without the other. Great power-rock! "Ramble On" is a bit quieter and is the beginning of Plant's Tolkein lyric phase and Page gets in plenty of guitar effects, as well. Bonham gets his time in the limelight with the instrumental riff-rocker "Moby Dick". Now, drum solos are never a good idea, but are even worse when on a studio album. This was just a continuation of a really bad idea that probably started with "In a Gadda Da Vida". At least it doesn't drag on too long here and it moves directly into the quiet blues of "Bring It On Home" that again bursts into a big riff-rocker.

Yep, this is a classic of the genre - a monster of heavy-metal blooze!