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Led Zeppelin LZ Riders In AZ

zep_rider_azFrom collectorsmusicreview.com

Community Center, Tucson, AZ – June 28th, 1972

Disc 1 (47:25): AZ drone, Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Black Dog, Over The Hills And Far Away, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Stairway To Heaven

Disc 2 (62:35): Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp, Dazed & Confused, What Is And What Should Never Be, Dancing Days, Moby Dick

Disc 3 (35:25): Whole Lotta Love (incl. Boogie Chillun’, Let’s Have A Party, Stuck On You, Hello May Lou, Going Down Slow, The Shape I’m In), Rock & Roll

In the rising heat of Tucson, Arizona, Led Zeppelin ended their eighth US tour. The audience recording of the June 28th, 1972 first was pressed on silver by Empress Valley on Crashing Revelry (EVSD-249/250/251) in 2003. It is a fair to good recording with a fair amount of distortion in the upper frequencies.

Five years after Scorpio pressed Get Back (Scorpio LZ-08013-1/2/3), utilizing a fan remaster sounding cleaner than the Empress Valley. Wendy label quickly copied the Scorpio and released Get Back To Where You Once Belonged (wecd-118/119/120) (along with bonus tracks from Long Beach).

LZ Riders In AZ claim to use The Piano Guy’s Sony cassette. There is a photograph of two cassettes included in the insert which could be the actual masters. The sound on Tarantura is significantly cleaner and better than the Scorpio, lending some weight to their claim. It is still a bit deteriorated, but the distortion is nowhere near as intrusive than on past releases. Tarantura have produced the definitive version of this show.

After the blow out of the Los Angeles and Long Beach shows, Tucson is a bit more laid back. They band are obviously tired from the intensity of the tour, and cut it a bit short. Not only do they play only one encore, but they even reduce the acoustic set from four songs to only one, “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp.”

After the opening drone “Immigrant Song” and “Heartbreaker” is used as the opening salvo for the final time, two years to the day when it was introduced at the Bath Festival. Plant dedicates “Black Dog” to an audience member named Terry Hanson before giving the standard story about the black lab at Headley Grange.

Before playing “Over The Hills And Far Away” Plant tells the story about their last visit to Arizona in 1970. “I collapsed. Everybody went home and left me in Phoenix, and I just can’t get hot weather together at all coming from the mountains and things like that.” The song is played for the fourth time and sounds much tighter than before.

“Stairway To Heaven” is “a little song that came one night when all was lost.” This would be the final performance of the song with JPJ substituting the electric piano for the recorders at the beginning. When they tour Japan in October, he will use the mellotron to add a more authentic sound.

The acoustic section of the show, which grew to four songs over the past year, is reduced to only one on this night, dropping “That’s The Way,” ”Going To California” and “Tangerine” leaving only the up-beat “Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp.”

“This is the only song that we do sitting down today cause we’re so generally fucked. We’re coming to the end of our tether. We’ve been on the road twenty one days, and we’re had four days off, and, well, the next album’s called Burn That Candle, so you can tell what’s been going on.“ He calls on Bonzo to help sing “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp” with him. The band would continue playing only this song as an acoustic interlude until the European tour in March 1973.

“Dazed & Confused” is twenty-eight wired minutes as typical from this tour with the Houses Of The Holy track “The Crunge” making an appearance during the lengthy improvisation. “What Is And What Should Never Be,” which was introduced into the set list in the summer of 1969, is played live for the final time.

The “Whole Lotta Love” medley includes the rarely played Elvis hit “Stuck On You” with John Paul Jones playing accompaniment on the piano. Jones also plays an important part on “Going Down Slow,” taking a solo before Page ends the piece. There are several instances where Jones played keyboard during Page’s theremin exercises but this is perhaps the only time he played piano during a medley number.

“Rock And Roll” is the only encore of the night. The taper Piano Guy contends there were more encores (which he’s still hoarding), but they sound more like hubris instead of anything legitimate. He claims that “Since word is out there of extra encores for the 6/28/72 Tucson show, I thought you would like to know about them direct from the taper, me. There were extra encores. After ‘Rock And Roll’ the house lights came on for a few minutes so I started walking out, but before I got to the door the house lights went back off and John Paul Jones came out alone. He from there sat down on the organ and play a solo of about 3-4 minutes and then he played the opening of ‘Your Time Is Gonna Come’ and then the band joined him and they played the song complete.

“From there they went into ‘Thank You’ without an organ solo. Then they left the stage again and the house lights came on very dimly and went off again after 30 seconds. From there they came back on stage for a medley of ‘The Ocean/ Communication Breakdown/ Bring It On Home’. ‘Bring It On Home’ doesn’t have any harmonica. The way the encores were played in order is as follows (with times):

“Organ Solo/ Your Time Is Gonna Come (7:24)

Thank You (3:52)

Then they left the stage for 1:48

Then the medley of:

The Ocean/ Communication Breakdown/ Bring It On Home

“It seemed like when JPJ started going into ‘Your Time Is Gonna Come’ Page, Plant, and Bonham looked at each other like ‘What?’ but they played it anyway and played it very well. It was all good. I never released these encores. They are not out there at all. Only in the bank vault.”

It would be great if the claims were true, but nothing on the tape suggests this is true.

LZ Riders In AZ is limited to 200 numbered copies, packaged in a little box with an insert. It is such an improvement that it stands as definitive for this show.

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February 21, 2013 Posted by | Led Zeppelin LZ Riders In AZ | , | Leave a comment

Led Zeppelin Snowblind

zep_snowblind0001From collectorsmusicreviews.com

Pacific Coliseum, Vancouver, BC, Canada – March 20th, 1975

Disc 1 (54:57): Rock and Roll, Sick Again, Over The Hills And Far Away, In My Time Of Dying, The Song Remains The Same, The Rain Song, Kashmir

Disc 2 (57:52): No Quarter, Trampled Underfoot, Moby Dick

Disc 3 (73:47): Dazed and Confused, Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, Heartbreaker

The final two weeks of March, 1975 represent offer some of the heaviest Led Zeppelin concerts on record. Not only do the shows from the Pacific Northwest and Los Angeles all push three and half hours, but they all have interesting variations and improvisations unique to these performances.

About once or twice a year a new soundboard recording from Led Zeppelin’s mid-career tours surfaces. Last summer the March 17th, 1975 Seattle show surfaced on Haven’t We Met Somewhere Before? (Eelgrass EGL-20241/42/43) and was very enjoyable. Snowblind, the latest soundboard to come out, documents the marathon Vancouver show on March 20th.

The second night in Vancouver on March 20th has been in circulation for more than twenty years in a fair to good audience tape and can be found on Pleeease (Silver Rarities SIRA 126/127/128) and three box sets grouped with the first night, Physical Vancouver Farewell (Tarantura (#PV-001,002,003,004,005,006), Ladies And Gentlemen (Sanctuary TMOS-97501-6) and Prisoners of Rock & Roll (TDOLZ Vol. 92 & 93).

Like the other tapes from this week, Snowblind is an excellent and very enjoyable soundboard recording. In general it is well balanced between the instruments, but it is nice for emphasizing the rhythm section.

These two shows were almost cancelled because of a strike by radio station CKLG-FM. The press reported that “CUPE local 1004 (Canadian Union of Public Employees) at the PNE and two other unions involved would have boycotted the concert if CUPE local 686, representing the CKLG strikers, had so wished. But CUPE spokesman Ole Johnson said the concert is ‘definitely on….We felt it was in the best public interest to allow the concert to be held,” he said, “We aren’t interested in hurting the over 20,000 people who have already bought tickets.”

Zeppelin were slagged in the press for this performance. Don Stanley, reviewing the shows in the Vancouver Sun, begins his review by saying “some groups are humbled and damaged by the Pacific Coliseum’s hockey rink vibes. A Led Zeppelin show in enhanced.” The proceeds to slag the music, saying it “is as impersonal as the faceless multitudes that disappear in the haze at the top of the blues, as ugly as the process of frisking girls at the turnstiles, or the rows of fat, competent bouncers before the stage. Zeppelin fans include well-meaning critics who don’t want to lose touch with the masses, and intellectuals at parties who mouth words such as ‘atavistic.’ But I think it’s fair to say that the typical Zeppelin fan, the….is a teen-ager as much interested in the event as the music.”

“Musically, Led Zeppelin are all their fans could desire: numbingly direct, loud enough to rattle the brain pan, and mysterious, or at least portentous.

He then goes on to attack the band themselves. He calls John Bonham’s solo “boredom refined to torture!” Page’s weaknesses are “awkward transitions, which mar even the masterful ‘Stairway To Heaven,’ and of course the heavy handed approach which make Led Zeppelin record unnatural and forces.” And ripping into Plant, he calls him a “poser, who holds on to the belt buckle of hi slow-slung jeans as though to prompt the fantasies of jaded groupies.” John Paul Jones escapes his attack. It is striking that even at the height of their popularity both Led Zeppelin and their fans were subject to such attacks in the press.

Despite the review, this is one of the better shows from the tour made even more enjoyable with this fantastic new recording. The audience tape only hints at the prowess the band showed this night and the good times they had.

The tape picks up right at the beginning of “Rock And Roll” (the announcement of the “Canadian return of Led Zeppelin” is omitted), and after the segue into “Sick Again” Robert Plant rambles on a bit “amidst the perfect smells that are rising towards the stage, we’re gonna try and maintain coherence ourselves, while you, while you get stoned and stoned and stoned, unless it’s just my nose.”

“Over The Hills And Far Away” from Houses Of The Holy follows, sounding extremely fluent in the song’s improvised middle section. This is one of the songs that really improved as the tour progressed from the disjointed versions in Chicago.

Page’s adventurous spirit can be heard in the following song “In My Time Of Dying.” Although the arrangement of this piece normally remained the same from night to night, at about the seven minute mark Page throws in a reference to a tune who wrote in 1970 titled “Flashing Lights” which appeared on the Lord Such And Heavy Friends album. He also throws in a short reference to the unreleased “Jennings Farm Blues” here as he does in the “Flashing Lights” studio recording.

The intensity of the performance seems to cause some commotion up front. Plant addresses the “amateur wrestling in the audience” before mentioning roadie Benji Lefevre’s sickness and dedicating “The Song Remains The Same” to him.

Before they play “Kashmir,” their new epic from Physical Graffiti, Plant mentions the disastrous show in Vancouver on July 18th, 1973 (which could be heard on No Firecrackers (Electric Magic EMC-009A/B)). “I think the last time we came here was about two years ago, eighteen months ago. Was anybody here then? It was quite a peculiar show actually. … Something strange happened to me that evening. I found the light show to be amazing, and I wondered what the name of the group was. So I should dedicate this to that state of mind. Long may it come at my moments of ease.” The song almost falls about four minutes in, but they pull it together with Plant joking “wasted, wasted land … EVERYONE WASTED!”

“No Quarter” reaches twenty-five minutes this night. Unlike other performances, Jones’ piano improvisation is both creative and purposeful. He plays a gentle little melody pregnant with expectancy and hope before Bonham comes in with drums and Page on guitar. Jones returns to that theme later in the song, after Page’s guitar solo leaves the audience devastated.

“Dazed And Confused” is the other epic marathon, reaching almost thirty-five full minutes. Page favors a pastoral melodic tune before the “Woodstock” section, and the long improvisation is very intense.

The encores begin with the short reference to “Whole Lotta Love.” In the ensuing improvisation Page plays the riff that he would later use for “Ozone Baby,” recorded in Stockholm in 1978 and released in 1982 on the final Led Zeppelin album Coda. Page then plays the theremin, gets into some heavy-metal funk and leads the band into “Heartbreaker” (instead of the expected “Black Dog.”) The rest of the band seem caught off guard by the change, but quickly get into it.

This tape was first released by Empress Valley coupled with the previous night’s soundboard in a horribly expensive edition. They also released the show individual in very flimsy packaging at a high price. Eelgrass offers the tape at a fraction of the cost in a sturdy jewel case and is the recommended edition.

February 21, 2013 Posted by | Led Zeppelin Snowblind | , | Leave a comment

Led Zeppelin Celebration Day (2012)

untitled6From seattlepi.com

December 10, 2007, Led Zeppelin played one the of the most anticipated concerts ever, at London’s O2 Arena. Reportedly there were over 20 million requests for the 16,000 tickets, and the audience came from all over the world. The band have sold over 200 million records since their debut in 1969, and that number will just continue to rise. I mention these numbers to emphasize just how big an event this performance was.

The set-list has been available since the night of the show, and there have been numerous cell-phone bootleg videos of the concert posted online as well. But none of this comes close to preparing us for just how brilliant the band were that night, as captured on the newly released DVD/CD package Celebration Day.

When Led Zeppelin’s drummer John Bonham died of alcohol poisoning in 1980, Jimmy Page (guitar), Robert Plant (vocals), and John Paul Jones (bass) decided to call it quits rather than attempt to carry on without him. Before the O2 concert Led Zeppelin had played a few songs at both Live Aid and at their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Neither performance was considered especially noteworthy though. At Live Aid, they had Phil Collins and Tony Thompson play drums, and for the Hall of Fame stint, they asked Bonham’s son Jason Bonham to sit in.

It was with Jason Bonham in the drum chair that they performed the London concert, and he did an admirable job in filling in for his father. In fact, after six weeks of rehearsals, the whole band were absolutely on fire. They performed 16 songs that night, including the encores.

The concert opens with “Good Times, Bad Times,” which just happened to be the first song on their 1969 self-titled debut. It sets the tone for the night perfectly, and also is a subtle display of the genius of the band in when it comes to structuring a set. As the set continues, one realizes that their talent for pacing remains perfectly intact.

“Good Times, Bad Times,” is followed by “Ramble On,” and “Black Dog,” before Robert Plant addresses the audience with his trademark “Good evening.” With this three-song introduction of classic Zeppelin tunes, the band and the audience have crossed over whatever initial trepidation surrounding the big night that may have existed. True to form, it is at this point that the group choose to up the ante.

The fourth song is “In My Time of Dying” from the Physical Graffiti album, and it is an awe-inspiring display of musical talent. The studio version clocked in at 11:04, and was one of the most intense tracks on that sprawling masterpiece. Thirty-two years later, Led Zeppelin’s courage of conviction regarding their music is unwavering, and the live version runs 11:01. Zep could have easily played a two-hour set with nothing but sure-fire crowd pleasers, but they chose to really stretch out, and this song is unbelievable.

Prior to Bonham’s death, there was only one officially released concert film and album, The Song Remains the Same. It was filmed in 1973 at a concert in Madison Square Garden, and released in 1976. The show came at the tail end of the tour, and their performance was good, but not great. Physical Graffiti had not been released yet, so “In My Time of Dying” is a song I had never seen them play. At the O2 Arena, their performance is a revelation. Jimmy Page’s slide work, and Plant’s vocals are simply awesome. And, as he does throughout the show, Jason Bonham hits the drums with everything he has. John Paul Jones is right there too. It is an early transcendent high-point, of which there will be many more to come.

Once again, the pacing of the show is revealed to be brilliant as the band proceed from “In My Time of Dying.” In what could be considered a set-within-the-set, they highlight the period of 1975-1976, and the two albums that marked (for some of us at least) their peak. The albums are the aforementioned Physical Graffiti, and the vastly overlooked Presence.
With the amazing guitar virtuosity Page displays during “In My Time of Dying” the crowd is rightfully stunned. Yet the band are just warming up. This night may have been nostalgic, but Led Zeppelin were out to do everything they could to make it much more than simply reliving the glory days. Apparently they had never performed “For Your Life” (from Presence) onstage before, as Plant introduces the song by saying “This is our first adventure with it in public” “For Your Life” is again dominated by Page’s guitar, and it is a smoking blues number.

For the first time in the show, John Paul Jones trades his bass for the keyboards as he launches into another Physical Graffiti classic, “Trampled Under Foot.” The band then revisit Presence for “Nobody’s Fault But Mine.” Although I did not recognize it at the time, both of these songs have a bit of a rockabilly flavor to them, as heard through the one-of-a-kind Led Zeppelin filter.

“No Quarter” has always been a showcase for John Paul Jones, and it remains so here. I am not sure if it qualifies as a “ballad” per se, but “No Quarter,” and “Since I’ve Been Loving You” do slow the pace momentarily, allowing everyone to catch their breath.

That 16-minute interlude is definitely the calm before the storm to follow. “Choosing songs from ten different albums, there are ones that had to be there,” says Robert Plant by way of introduction. The camera then turns to Jones, and as his bass intones the famous descending bass notes of “Dazed and Confused,” and the crowd are on their feet again.

If there is one track that defines the whole black magic aura which once surrounded Zeppelin, this is it. When Page pulls out his violin bow in the middle of the song, it is almost unbelievable. I really did not expect it to happen, but that was a case of underestimating their resolve to play a true Zeppelin concert. It is a wild sight, and the sounds he gets out of it are about as “satanic” as anything I have ever heard.

The one-two punch comes with the follow-up, “Stairway to Heaven.” The only thing missing here is Plant asking “does anyone remember laughter?” In the introduction to “Misty Mountain Hop,” Plant talks about how the elder Bonhams used to sing together all the time, then mentions that Jason has inherited the talent. Jason sings back-up vocals on the tune.

With no introduction necessary, the band then delve into “Kashmir.” This is another song that I had never seen them perform live, and watching them play it is fantastic. As I have mentioned, Jason Bonham does a stellar job behind the drum kit, but I think his finest moment comes during this song. The drums are such an integral part of it that John Bonham was given a songwriting credit, along with Page and Plant. Jason’s playing is as ferocious as his father’s was on the original.

As Plant said in his introduction to “Dazed and Confused,” there are certain songs that had to be a part of the set, and “Whole Lotta Love” is another. Watching Page play some kind of crazed guitar-theramin device during this is incredible. The sounds are other-worldly, as is the sheer spectacle of him weaving his arms around the magic box to create them.

“Whole Lotta Love” was the first encore, and the second and final encore of the night is “Rock and Roll.” Again, the symmetry is beautiful. “Rock and Roll” is a classic Zeppelin song which opened the concert filmed for The Song Remains the Same. It also just happens to be a great tune, and the perfect summation of what the night was about.

After seeing just how well the four of them played together, it is no surprise that there was a lot of talk about a full tour afterwards. Plant decided against it, which is too bad. I absolutely respect the group’s decision to disband after the death of Bonham, but with his son in the drum-chair, it worked incredibly well. As we know now though, a tour was just not in the cards.

The Celebration Day package contains the concert on a single DVD, which offers audio options, but no extra material. The set also includes the concert on two CDs, which feature all 16 songs, and a booklet with ruminations from all four members.
I will close by quoting some of the poignant words from Jason Bonham in his section of the booklet, “We closed the show with ‘Rock and Roll,’ and my dream was coming to an end. I felt a certain closeness to Dad.like he was there with us, and was one with me. I had fulfilled my dream – to play drums on stage with Led Zeppelin, the greatest band of all time. It was good, really good!”

February 21, 2013 Posted by | Led Zeppelin Celebration Day | , | Leave a comment

Led Zeppelin Celebration Day (2012)

untitledFrom premierguitar.com

A tribute concert is as close as we’ll probably ever come to experiencing the “magic in the air”epic-ness and mystery surrounding the legendary group of musicians that make up Led Zeppelin. About 18,000 souls were lucky enough to witness John Paul Jones, Robert Plant, and Jimmy Page perform with Jason Bonham (son of the late original drummer John Bonham) at London’s O2 arena in 2007 to honor Atlantic Records’ Ahmet Ertegun, the producer who first signed the band.

Director Dave Carruthers’ live concert documentary is downright porn for guitar players, or really any music enthusiast. At one point the camera cuts to the POV of Jones, and a highly inspired Jason Bonham is seen obliterating his skins through the mid-level break in Jones’ two-tier keyboard. The camera cuts to Page, convulsing and communicating with his mates through smiles and hand gestures, while unleashing an inner musical beast onto his signature burst Les Paul. Page is a nucleus around which all other vibrations orbit. You can see the beads of sweat rolling off his chin: He is literally dripping with mojo.

Carruthers expertly gets the moments. Plant and Page stomp their feet at the same time on the same note. Bonham grabs his hi-hat at one point and everything stops on a dime, signifying the seamless musicianship in the groove. Page breaks out the slide on “In My Time of Dying,” then things get really interesting. They go deep on “No Quarter,” Page presents the bow on “Dazed and Confused,” and then brandishes the EDS-1275 double-neck on “Stairway.”

The classics you’d expect in a two-hour, 16-song span are there, but all real-time and heartfelt. Plant—whose belt has lost some highs, but gained refined, soulful power—called “Trampled Under Foot” a “Zeppelin version of Robert Johnson’s‘Terraplane Blues.’” For those of us who weren’t there to see the band in its heyday, this footage gives us better than front-row seats. Basically, we’re onstage the entire time, and all circumstance considered, it simply can’t be beat.

February 21, 2013 Posted by | Led Zeppelin Celebration Day | , | Leave a comment

The Rolling Stones A Bigger Bang (2005)

untitledFrom sputnikmusic.com

A Bigger Bang is not what you’d expect from the Rolling Stones on the new millenium if the albums after the 1970’s taught us anything it was that, the thought of a really great Rolling Stones album was long gone. But with “A Bigger Bang” that has changed. This album delivers hard riffs (Rough Justice), catchy melodies (It Wont Take Long), heart-felt ballads (Streets Of Love), and straight up blues numbers(Back Of My Hand).

1.) Rough Justice – 5/5

What a way to start the album! It starts up with a straight up rock riff and when the bass and second guitar come in you may think your listening to an AC/DC song. Then we get into a blues shuffle and in comes Mick Jagger! “Once upon a time I you were my baby chicken, but now you’ve grown into a fox! Once upon a time I was your rooster! But now im just one of your cocks!” And you can tell that this is a good old fashioned rock tune! Sleezy lyrics, hard riffs, and a catchy chorus! Makes this one hell of a song! And one that may be stuck in your head for a long time to come!

2.) Let Me Down Slow – 4.5/5

Starts off with a mid-tempo riff which is quickly followed by Jaggers vocals talking about his girl looking a bit too good for just a walk in the park! And when we get to the chorus we find out that he’s afraid she’s gonna let him go! And he asks her to let him down slow! In a great sing along chorus! This tune will be stuck in your head for a while! Theres nothing to special about the guitar in basically is just a background noise to Jaggers singing, that is until we get to the solo. It’s nothing to hot and fancy but it is more melodic. All these ingredients make for a real good song!

3.) It Won’t Take Long – 5/5

Yet another song that will be in your head for a long time! This is just a kickass rock song! It sounds very modern without losing the stones sound. We get a sweet rock riff before Jagger steps in with “And it wont take long to forget you, time passes fast! It’ll all be over in a minute, you’ll be in the past!” Which we later find out is the extremley catchy chorus. The guitar riff is the same for the most part being a catchy rock riff backing the vocals, and in the chorus we get to some nice strumming. At the solo we find yet another good solo, no shredding just some great playing that adds to the song. You can also find many fills throughout the song.

4.) Rain Fall Down 3.5/5

Turn up the funk! The song immeditatley starts with a jazzy/funky guitar riff that is heard many times throught the song. Then Jagger comes in to tell us about some filthy place where he made sweet love with a woman who may or may not also be filthy. In this song you’ll probably be remembering the riff more than the chorus, since the melody isnt very strong. It’s not a bad song, but it’s definetley not one of the best Stones songs.

5.) Streets Of Love – 5/5

This song is perfect! The lyrics arent the most innovative or deep, but the melody is one of the most memorable you may ever here. Jagger seems more sincere here than he ever has! This song stands up there with the other great ballads written by the stones including Beast Of Burden and You Cant Always Get What You Want. There’s a very quiet and simple acoustic guitar in the back behind Jagger’s emotional voice. The first time I heard it I was listening threw headphones and I actually got chills. You can really feel the sadness in Mick’s voice. And the chorus is instantly unforgetable! This is my favourite song on the album, I can’t get enough of it. This song stands up there with the best ballads of Both the Stones and The Beatles! “I I I I walk the streets of love! And there drenched with tears! I I I I walk the streets of love for a 1000 years!” This is the ultimate rock ballad.

6.) Back Of My Hand – 4/5

Did someone put in a (insert 50’s blues musciians name) record in? That’s what you’ll think when you hear it! It kicks off with a riff that sounds like Muddy Waters or B.B. King would have played in there prime. Then we get some harmonica in the background, and Jagger comes in singing with a sneer like no other. It actually reminds me of Bob Dylan at some parts. For any blues lover check this song out! It seriously sounds like it should have been written 50 years ago.

7.) She Saw Me Coming – 5/5

This is a definite Stone’s song! This sounds like it could stand up on any of the Stone’s 70’s album! We get a hard riff which is followed very quickly by the catchy chorus! “She saw me coming” We soon realize this is not a good thing! “She saw me coming bow did I get screwed!” This is another one of the songs on this album that will be in your head after only one listen! This is just a good old fashioned rock n roll song that were used to hearing from The Stones!

8.) Biggest Mistake – 4.5/5

This song has a slow R & B groove to it. We kick off with some falsetto “Ooo’s” which goes into the verse with Jagger singing over Keith Richards acoustic guitar. Jagger tells the story off how he left his girl and then goes on to think he’s made the biggest mistake of his life which he reveals with yet another sing along chorus. This song also brings up the Bob Dylan resemblence this time it’s not in the vocals it’s the melody and the way he tells the story.

9.) This Place Is Empty – 3.5/5

It’s time for Keith Richards to step up to the mic! It starts out with a little piano riff! Then Keith comes in with the voice of what sounds like an 80 year old. It’s a well written song, but I cant really seem to get into his voice and his spoken word style verse’s. His voice may remind you of Johnny Cash/Bob Dylan in there later years and the style of writing may remind you of Bob Dylan and Cash. Im sorry Richards but I just dont think there was really any need for you to sing on this track.

10.) Oh No Not You Again – 4/5

Charlie Watts favourite song on the album! We get a bluesy rock riff and Jagger sings out like it’s an arena rock anthem! The lyrics are the generic rock n roll lyrics! “Oh no, not you again! ***ing up my life!” This is jut a great fun Stones song, loud guitars, sing along vocals, this is a song you want to listen to when your hanging out with friends.

11.) Dangerous Beauty – 4/5

Here we get a basic Stone’s song. But the vocal performance from Jagger is what makes it so enjoyable. He just sings with some great rock n’ roll passion, and the guitar’s will defenitley remind you of the 70’s!

12.) Laugh? I nearly died – 4.5/5

Here we slow down the pace once again with a bluesy ballad. The vocal performance on this song is really amazing. He’s got some great reverb on his vocals! And it mimicks the guitar riff…which is always great! And the vocals feel really heartfelt here with passion in both the way he sings and what he sings “I’ve been to Africa, Looking for my soul, and I feel like an actor, looking for a role.” Once again this song will remind you of the past. Which for a band like The Rolling Stone’s is a great thing.

13.) Sweet Neo Con – 4/5

No we get to the song that everyone is talking about! The attack on George Bush!

“You call yourself a christian,
I think that you’re a hyporite,
You say you are a patriot,
I think that your a crock of ***!”

To add to the hurtful lyrics, Jagger delivers the lines with such aggression that you can really feel the hate for Bush. Another good section is

“It’s liberty for all,
Democracy’s our style,
unless you are against us
Then it’s prison without trial.”

This song has already been gathering some contriversy, and now the album is out it will probably be getting alot more! This is a really gritty blues rock song, that come with something that is rarely seen being the rolling stones talking about politics! I prefer the verse melodies to the chorus in this one.

14.) Look What The Cat Dragged In – 3.5/5

This is a generic Stones song. Cocky rock lyrics, delivered with the swagger that is Mick…Jagger, and we’ve got some real hard funky riffs/fills behind the vocals that make for a nice touch.

15.) Driving Too Fast – 4/5

Kicks off right into a modified blues shuffle with Jagger delivering some more energized vocals that make you forget he’s not too far from the grave! This is just a great rock n’roll song. That will make for a great sing-along at concerts! “you’re driving too fast, hang on for your life, i think your gonna crash” not exactly poetry…but it doesnt need to be!

16.) Infamy – 3.5/5

Here comes Richards on the mic again! This time his vocals sound a lot better, and he doesnt sound so damn old. But he still reminds me of Bob Dylan/Cash. I dont think there’s anything to special about this song, but I dont skip it/turn off the cd when it’s on.

Overall: 4/5

If your a Stone’s fan and are looking for some new songs that kick ass get this album! If your not a Stone’s album, but love the 70’s blues rock sound get this album! If you’ve got an open mind and enjoy Blues, Folk, Rock, and Acoustic Ballads you will enjoy this album! And if your a sucker for Ballads like me…Streets Of Love just may be your new favourite song.

February 21, 2013 Posted by | The Rolling Stones A Bigger Bang | | Leave a comment

Neil Young On The Beach (1974)

MI0002178817From clashmusic.com

It began with a Lincoln Continental and a bottle of Mateus Rose. It ended in a drug-addled implosion that signified LA noire’s final trippy comedown, writhing on its belly like a hallucinogenic serpent, baying for blood.

What transpired in between these two fabled bookends is the story of Neil Young’s seasick salute to the demise of the Sixties, in all its glory/glorious failings. ‘On The Beach’ would be released to an apprehensive and critical audience, led by a Rolling Stone headshake that labelled the record “one of the most despairing albums of the decade.” Thirty years later its demented deterioration of sound would come to define Young’s knife-edged spirit in the face of critical acclaim, spurring over five thousand fans to sign an online petition in 2000 calling for the release of the album on CD. In 2003, their prayers were answered…

Released before the demonic cackle of ‘Tonight’s The Night’, ‘On The Beach’ was deemed a bleak follow-up to the critically acclaimed smooth sounds of bestseller ‘Harvest’. In all respects, this was Neil Young’s statement of intent: an unforgiving one-fingered salute, brought to life by opening track ‘Walk On’, a vitriolic mix of world-weary cynicism and focused drive that would spur Young to keep moving, whatever the cost. “I hear some people been talkin’ me down / Bring up my name / Pass it round,” he gnarls. “Walk on,” he concludes. It’s an anthem that still continues to define the lone wolf’s career…

‘On The Beach’ came to being at the Sunset Marquis Hotel, suffocating beneath Hollywood’s bleak underbelly at the close of 1973. Porn star Linda Lovelace was a regular visitor to Young’s congregated players, as were the Everly Brothers, who would often prop themselves up amidst a sprinkling of Playboy bunnies. As bassist Tim Drummond succinctly put it, the hell-raising sessions embodied “Hollywood Babylon at its fullest”.

In 1973 the sleazefest was fully in session, fuelled by ‘honey slides’, a homemade concoction of sautéed marijuana and honey, labelled by Young’s own manager Elliot Roberts as “much worse than heroin…within ten minutes you were catatonic.”

As guitarist Rusty Kershaw’s wife Julie cooked up the debilitating psychedelic goop, wolfed down by Young and co in-between regular trips to Dr. Feelgood for B12 “popcorn” shots, Neil Young turned his attentions to flesh-eating feelings of antagony and disintegration. No stone was left unturned: what with his marriage to actress Carrie Snodgress on the rocks, vampire sucking oil tycoons/Richard Nixon/CSNY weighing on his mind and baying critics on his back, the singer was hardly starved of inspiration. Defined by his own distinctive take on the blues, ‘Revolution Blues’, ‘Vampire Blues’ and ‘Ambulance Blues’ act as soulful psalms amidst the chaos.

Whereas ‘Vampire Blues’ launches a millionaire rock star’s attack on the blood-sucking exploits of the oil industry, the concluding knell of closer ‘Ambulance Blues’, inspired by Bert Jansch’s ‘Needle Of Death’, addresses fractioned feelings of antagonism towards critics, Richard Nixon, and even fellow collaborators CSNY (lamenting lyric “You’re all just pissing in the wind” is a direct quote from manager Elliot Roberts regarding the inactivity of the quartet).

Crucially, ‘Revolution Blues’, inspired by Charles Manson, who Young met in his Topanga Canyon days, best sums up the record’s juxtaposition of fiction and reality, as musician-and-ringmaster Rusty Kershaw bewitched the track’s recording, instigating chemically in-balanced anarchy during recording: Kershaw bizarrely claimed to be possessed by animal spirits and slithered like a snake on the floor, even managing to spook chief hellraiser David Crosby and Graham Nash, who contributed to tracks ‘On The Beach’ and said ‘Revolution Blues’.

The circus-act wasn’t lost on Neil Young, who adopts a demented Manson persona during the song as he manically rants the couplet, “I hear that Laurel Canyon is full of famous stars / But I hate them worse than lepers and I’ll kill them in their cars.”

As the sessions became increasingly frenetic, the shambolic goings-on proved too far-out for engineer Al Schmitt who walked out on the session before its completion, amidst exasperated exclaims of “what the fuck is goin’ on?” Good question: what the fuck was going on?

Simple: Neil Young was making his escape. The iconic album cover speaks the only truth you ever need know: trailer trash patio furniture is strewn under the grey breezy sky as a 1959 Cadillac fender rises out of the sandy rubble. The day’s paper is discarded on the anaemic sand, reading ‘SENATOR BUCKLEY CALLS FOR NIXON TO RESIGN’.

Someway in the not-too-distant horizon, a windswept Neil Young stands with his back against the world, staring out to sea in a yellow and white polyester suit. Subversive when you bear in mind the album’s defining mantra: “The world is turnin’ / I hope it don’t turn away.” With that, Young’s pre-emptive strike against the world is complete… Half a heartbeat before the world dares contemplate turning its back away from him…

February 21, 2013 Posted by | Neil Young On The Beach | | Leave a comment

The Who Tommy (1969)

untitledFrom sputnikmusic.com

There are certain albums from the 1970s the brilliance of which must be taken on trust by listeners of today. If you weren’t in the neighbourhood of Ladbroke Grove in 1976, The Clash’s first LP sounds fairly far from revolutionary. If you weren’t around to hear the Ramones emerge as the fastest band in the world – before Bad Brains came along, that is – then the New Yorkers’ self-titled debut sounds slower than a solar-powered milk-float on a December morning. But certain albums of the time have managed to retain their untamed quality. Never Mind the Bollocks is one; Quadrophenia is another.

Available here in an almost pornographically sumptuous box-set edition, featuring the original 1973 album, two CDs worth of demos, a 5.1 surround DVD mix, a poster and a beautifully presented 100-page hardback book which also features a brand-new essay from Pete Townshend (there is also a cheaper two-disc version for anyone not looking to blow 70 sheets five weeks before Christmas – said set’s tracklisting, to the left), this is the album that refuses to die. For while Tommy may have made it all the way to Broadway, it is Quadrophenia which has aced the test of time better than any other album released by The Who.

Thematic if not quite conceptual, the original double-LP – which in freshly re-mastered form sounds both sharp and clear – frames England in an time of uncertainty: the uncertainty of the class system, the uncertainty of youth as it greys into older age, the uncertainty of an economy in its first shudder of industrial decline. As befits an album bursting with conflict and even violence – “I’ve seen my share of kills,” sings the narrator of the impossibly brilliant I’ve Had Enough – Quadrophenia’s music is performed by a band who seem to be not just at odds with their country but also at times with each other.

These are songs with very little space in which to breathe – when the denouement of a fully-aerated Love Reign O’er Me does arrive, the effect is almost cleansing – all played out to a backdrop of psychiatrists, priests, furious fathers, amphetamine-filled teenagers, fallen idols and enough sharp suits to cut open a whole army of greasers on the seafront at Brighton.

Soon to celebrate its 40th birthday, Quadrophenia is one of the few albums of its time that sounds as good today as it must have done then. For once, the term ‘masterpiece’ is not sold on the cheap.

February 21, 2013 Posted by | The Who Tommy | | Leave a comment

The Who Quadrophenia (1973)

gvpnFrom BBC Music

There are certain albums from the 1970s the brilliance of which must be taken on trust by listeners of today. If you weren’t in the neighbourhood of Ladbroke Grove in 1976, The Clash’s first LP sounds fairly far from revolutionary. If you weren’t around to hear the Ramones emerge as the fastest band in the world – before Bad Brains came along, that is – then the New Yorkers’ self-titled debut sounds slower than a solar-powered milk-float on a December morning. But certain albums of the time have managed to retain their untamed quality. Never Mind the Bollocks is one; Quadrophenia is another.

Available here in an almost pornographically sumptuous box-set edition, featuring the original 1973 album, two CDs worth of demos, a 5.1 surround DVD mix, a poster and a beautifully presented 100-page hardback book which also features a brand-new essay from Pete Townshend (there is also a cheaper two-disc version for anyone not looking to blow 70 sheets five weeks before Christmas – said set’s tracklisting, to the left), this is the album that refuses to die. For while Tommy may have made it all the way to Broadway, it is Quadrophenia which has aced the test of time better than any other album released by The Who.

Thematic if not quite conceptual, the original double-LP – which in freshly re-mastered form sounds both sharp and clear – frames England in an time of uncertainty: the uncertainty of the class system, the uncertainty of youth as it greys into older age, the uncertainty of an economy in its first shudder of industrial decline. As befits an album bursting with conflict and even violence – “I’ve seen my share of kills,” sings the narrator of the impossibly brilliant I’ve Had Enough – Quadrophenia’s music is performed by a band who seem to be not just at odds with their country but also at times with each other. These are songs with very little space in which to breathe – when the denouement of a fully-aerated Love Reign O’er Me does arrive, the effect is almost cleansing – all played out to a backdrop of psychiatrists, priests, furious fathers, amphetamine-filled teenagers, fallen idols and enough sharp suits to cut open a whole army of greasers on the seafront at Brighton.

Soon to celebrate its 40th birthday, Quadrophenia is one of the few albums of its time that sounds as good today as it must have done then. For once, the term ‘masterpiece’ is not sold on the cheap.

February 21, 2013 Posted by | The Who Quadrophenia | | Leave a comment

The Who Who’s Next (1971)

98zfFrom BBC Music

The Who’s fifth album is one of those carved-in-stone landmarks that the rock canon doesn’t allow you to bad-mouth. It was pretty rad for its day. Here’s the twist: it still sounds ablaze. As C.S.I. fans will vouch, there’s not much that isn’t thrilling about Won’t Get Fooled Again and Baba O’Riley, which howl and kick like they were born yesterday.

Like many near-masterpieces, it wasn’t meant to turn out like it did. Pete Townshend had one of his ‘futuristic rock opera’ ideas, and recordings began on a work called Lifehouse. It wouldn’t gel, so The Who made the most of the random songs that did. Upon release in 1971 it blew away critics and fans alike, bar a few Who diehards who thought larking around with things called synthesizers and modified keyboards was, like, selling out.

Glyn Johns had replaced Kit Lambert as producer. Still, the sleeve wasn’t exactly bland, picturing the foursome pissing on a slagheap. (Other contenders for the cover had included a group of obese naked women and a shot of Keith Moon in black lingerie. Be grateful for small mercies.)
Baba O’Riley makes a spectacular opener, its hypnotic drone disrupted by power chords that are parachuted in off the backs of meteorites. Dave Arbus’ subtle then frantic viola solo raises it another gear.

There has rarely been a more durably evocative refrain than “teenage wasteland”. As ever, Daltrey’s ragged voice brings humanity to Townshend’s over-thinking. Moon is typically hyperactive: any drummer playing like this today would be ordered to rein it in. Bargain floats on the tension between acoustic guitar and the brave new synth. Like most of the album, it’s melodramatic without – as with later Who – fattening into pomposity. The Song is Over oozes poignancy and Getting in Tune and Going Mobile are simply great songs. Behind Blue Eyes is a soul-searching ballad which bursts into belligerence, reflective then urgent.

The climactic (and how) Won’t Get Fooled Again stretches itself and chews its restraints until it becomes much more than a riff and a scream. It’s on fire. In “meet the new boss, same as the old boss” it nailed the bleeding heart of protest-pop. Who’s Next is The Who’s best.

February 21, 2013 Posted by | The Who Who's Next | | Leave a comment

Led Zeppelin Presence (1976)

MI0001859287From classicrockforums.com

For the longest time, I had my doubts about Led Zeppelin’s album “Presence”. I initially judged it on how many easily recognizable songs were in its track listing, without taking the time to really listen to them all. But as I did some research into the songs, I realized that it really wasn’t half bad, and that maybe I had misjudged the album entirely.

The album features numerous great tracks, many of which most non-hardcore fans of Led Zeppelin wouldn’t even recognize. The only one I had heard of before looking into “Presence” was Achilles Last Stand, which I wasn’t really too fond of at the time. But when I got the album, I discovered the greatness that this song held. It was something different from what I was used to in Led Zeppelin’s repertoire: fast-paced, driving beats featuring heavy use of the bass guitar. I often hear from fans of the band that Achilles Last Stand is one of their favorites, but I found a song at the end of the very same album that I enjoyed more: Tea For One.

Tea For One reminded me so much of Since I’ve Been Loving You (from “Led Zeppelin III”), with it’s softer, more mellow sound and the somber electric guitar. One of the best things about these two songs in particular is that, in addition to being so great, they are also long, giving you more to enjoy and appreciate (Achilles Last Stand is over 10 minutes long, and Tea For One is over 9).
But let’s not forget the middle portion of this album. Candy Store Rock was sorta funky, in my opinion, and seemed like another subtly dirty song (akin to Houses of the Holy and Trampled Under Foot from “Physical Graffiti”).

And how about Nobody’s Fault But Mine? When they break into that great jam midway through the song? Fantastic! The harmonica combined with the rockin’ guitar and Bonham’s eccentric and lively drumming, it’s impossible not to love.

Then there’s the ominous song For Your Life, a hard rock song about the dangers of excessive cocaine use, particularly in the music industry. I really felt the highlight of this song was Plant’s vocals. Very soulful and passionate. Seeing as how there wasn’t much for solos, his singing shone through much more. It was classic Plant at its best.

Overall, while still one of my least favorite Zeppelin albums (kinda hard to top greats like “Led Zeppelin I” and “Physical Graffiti”), it proved to be a much better album than I initially expected. It did prove to me that the foursome could still be creative and rock hard even in their later years.

February 21, 2013 Posted by | Led Zeppelin Presence | | Leave a comment