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Led Zeppelin - led Zeppelin 2
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Led Zeppelin move into world-domination status, this second long-player topping the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. It seems to me they've played it fairly safe. Well, not safe as such - just that they've taken the bits people liked from the debut and made a whole album out of those bits. But, they've not done it quite right. There's no let-up here, less variety. There's less sense of highs and lows, and highs and ( relative ) lows can actually help an album. The blues material contained on the debut Zeppelin album helped shine greater light on the other material - material that sounded astonishingly powerful and fresh, and still does. 'Led Zeppelin II' just sounds, well, commercial. Tight, purposeful - yet commercial. Having said all of this however, and saying right now that this album sends less chills down my spine than the debut - this is still a remarkable set of performances. A damn consistent set of songs and performances that just beats you into the ground with its sheer unrelenting assault on your senses. It's nearly all-out rock music, this time. The blues thing is still there, but just contained in certain moments, certain sections, certain vocalizations, etc. Led Zeppelin are now LED ZEPPELIN!!! and there's no looking back. You can hardly argue with it, really. 'Whole Lotta Love'? What a fantastic song introduction, great ROCK lyrics, fantastic riff. The drums kick in, the bass kicks in ably supporting. Beautifully supporting. Led Zeppelin, and it hardly even needs to be said, had a damn fine bass player. Still, the attention tends to be focused on Plant, Page and Bonham. How about a hand for that John Paul Jones fellow? He deserves it, dammit. 'What Is And What Should Never Be' starts all deceptively soft, before going all out with guitars and roaring vocals - good stuff! Even 'gooder' stuff is the fantastic 'Lemon Song' where the sound of Led Zeppelin, that separation, that thing where each musician does their thing, both individually and for the collective, and you can HEAR IT - really is noticeable. I like my Led Zep this way.

It seems silly going about trying to describe such famous songs, but you know. Maybe just saying, "Hey, this is great!" isn't quite so useful. Of course, we can all assume that almost everybody in the western world is familiar with Zep and many of the songs on this album - and they probably ARE - but I like to come into these things fresh, so to speak. I'm lucky in a sense that the UK has no classic rock radio whatsoever. If I buy a Doors album, a Black Sabbath album, a Led Zeppelin album - chances are - i've heard only one or two songs from it before. I know Beatles fans who've never heard 'Abbey Road' and couldn't even recognize 'You Never Give Me Your Money' as a Beatles song! Which seems astonishing, but when only the VERY famous songs by a particular artist are known here in the UK to the general music fan at large, this kind of thing happens. A Beatles fan, or Zep fan - maybe has a hits set, and one of the most famous albums, and that's it! The UK is a funny place, sometimes. I wish to god we did have some good classic rock stations. Even a bad one would be nice! Anyway, back to the matter at hand. 'Heartbreaker' has a riff to die for and it don't need nothing else! It has other things, notably a Mr Plant going for it - moving and grooving as only he can. 'Living Loving Maid' makes me want to headbang a little - bit silly as i've always either short hair, or curly Bob Dylan/Tom Baker styled hair. Can't headbang very well like that, but it makes me wanna shake and shimmy and shake my head up and down in any case. Ah, i'm sure there's other stuff here..... Well, duh. Of course there is, there's bloody 'Moby Dick' and 'Ramble On'!

So, why not a '9' or higher? Well, too little variety. The highs here arguably aren't as high as those on 'Zep 1', although the highs here are still pretty high. There are less lows - and perhaps another grade of '9' would be fair, except I don't feel this works as, dare I say it, a work of 'art' quite as well. This is just good fun, party time, let's have sex whilst we're at it and fuck each others brains out. It's music that makes you feel that way. Seems to me, the debut has a little more depth about it. But, this is still damn fine anyway. But, enough! I'm off for a hair-transplant. 

Whole Lotta Love / What Is And What Should Never Be / The Lemon Song / Thank You / Heartbreaker / Living Loving Maid / Ramble On / Moby Dick / Bring It On Home


[Image: led2.jpg]
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