Wednesday, February 25, 2015

MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: LED ZEPPELIN - PHYSICAL GRAFFITI



The reason you don't find a lot of out-takes from Zeppelin albums was because of Physical Graffiti. The 1975 double album came about because the album sessions produced a bit too much for one album, so the group emptied its files and came up with another seven works-in-progress from past sessions, bringing this up to a double-vinyl collection. That's why you find the cut Houses of the Holy here, rather than on the previous album of the same name, and Bron-Yr-Aur, an acoustic sibling to Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp from Led Zep III way back in 1970.


It's also why the bonus tracks on all these Zeppelin reissues have been so dull. Instead of unreleased gems, we have been getting ho-hum early mixes and minor alternate versions of cuts. They may help the biggest fans and scholars understand the recording process of the group, and find some of the building blocks that led to the final versions, but in the end, you'll just go back to the regular albums for your listening pleasure. To my ears, the big bonus is the excellent remastering job overseen by Page, everything sounding so full and current.


Physical Graffiti also benefits from a broad range of styles and interests of the band, thanks to its collection from various sources. There are the usual blues belters, but some softer acoustic material as well, Trampled Under Foot shows a funky side, and there's the grand Kashmir, the best Eastern-influenced track in the group's repertoire. Plant really gets to stretch with all the different styles, and the album stands as the favourite for many discerning Zep fans.

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