BBC Sessions review by Led Zeppelin

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  • Released: Nov 11, 1997
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.3 (98 votes)
Led Zeppelin: BBC Sessions

Sound — 10
First off, Led Zeppelin. What more to say? I've been impressed with pretty much everything the band, as well as the individuals have ever done. The blending of blues/rock is superb, with each band member contributing their own particular style of music. Robert Plant had/has such a raw voice, which is the perfect kind of voice to have in blues. Jimmy Page had a pretty solid blues and rock background, forming LZ after the breakup of the Yardbirds. John Paul Jones had classical music training as a pianist/organ player, and quite a bit of experience as a studio musician (bass, organ, piano, God knows what else). Last but not least, the Almighty of percussion, John Henry Bonham. Bonham played in various rock bands in the early '60s, where he met Plant, and through Plant, Page. His experience was mainly with small shows, and emulating his idols, such as Ginger Baker of Cream. If I remember correctly, the album was recorded at the BBC, for a live radio show promo, but was never aired. I think the timeline was '69-'70, but the album wasn't released until '97.

Lyrics — 9
The lyrics on this album are pretty standard early Zeppelin. Women (Somethin' Else), devil women (Dazed And Confused), loose women (Travelling Riverside Blues), and problems with women (Communication Breakdown). Par for the course in content. As far as performance goes, unbeatable. Robert Plant, young, raw and untamed just about sums up most of the lyrical performances. Some of the cool things about Plant's lyrics on the album is that there is a good bit of improv, which points to the blues roots of Plant, and the band itself.

Overall Impression — 9
I think that this album can stand up against most of Zep's other records, in that it shows a pretty much unseen side of the band. BBC Sessions was recorded before Zeppelin got very big anywhere. Page already had a bit of notoriety from the Yardbirds and his studio work. Bonham and Plant were pretty much unknowns in the mainstream, but had a bit of a following in the bar/club scene. Jones on the other hand, really only had fame in the studio. I think some of the better tracks are Travelling Riverside Blues, Somethin' Else (which I've only found on the DVD set, other than this), Dazed and Confused, and the Blues Medleys. Again, it goes back to these guys showing their beginnings. I like hearing Jones soloing on the piano in Somethin' Else. Also, most of the guitar tracks sound like Page was still using his custom painted Telecaster, which is cool, because the Tele gives a whole different sound to the songs, as well as there being some subtle nuances in Page's playing that changed when he switched to a Les Paul. I would definately buy this album again if anything happened to it. It is an indisposeable part of my music collection.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I LOVE love love BBC Sessions. I wish it had a few more songs like Moby Dick and Kashmir