Classic Rock Review

The home of old record and bootleg reviews…

Led Zeppelin Presence (1976)


In 1969, Jimmy Page, a seasoned session muscian, decided upon creating a band after an experience in a supergroup, Beck’s Bolero. He picked Robert Plant, from an unknown Band of Joy for lead singer, fellow session musicians John Paul Jones and John Bonham for bassist and percussion, respectively. Even though the band was sure to “fail like a Lead Balloon” they had become one of the most influential bands in history.

Fast foward to 1976. Just after creating Physical Graffiti, Robert Plant had gotten into a car crash in Rhodes and spent his recovery creating the songs which would be grouped together as Presence. This album is unique in all of Led Zeppelin’s discography, as it’s the only one without keyboards nor acoustics. And now let’s begin with the review:

1. Achilles Last Stand – Phenominal. Excellent guitar work by Jimmy Page, he used the same “army of guitars” technique that is used with Blackdog, and it’s used to great effect. John Paul Jones is thumping away with his bass the whole ten minutes, never missing a beat. John Bonham is pounding away with exceptional fury, but keeping a militant theme throughout. Robert Plant sings his best here in my opinion, and the lyrics he wrote are majestic too. It’s ten minutes of bliss to me, and I’d strongly recommend you to buy the album for this song alone. 5/5

2. For Your Life – Bluesey. That sums up the song well enough. Robert Plant is lamenting about drug-addicted friend, and the melody certainly adds to the atmosphere. It’s not bad, but does tend to repeat itself. 3/5

3. Royal Orleans – This song is about a certain member of Led Zeppelin, most likely John Paul Jones, who ends up taking home a drag queen. Royal Orleans itself was a favored hotel of the band. The song starts out with a powerful riff, and is certainly not the norm for Led Zeppelin. Alright song, but like For Your Life it repeats itself. 3/5

4. Nobody’s Fault but Mine – Another great song on the album, this one starts out with a distorted guitar solo, followed by Plant humming to the melody of the riff. Then comes the bass and drums, and we have a song. As the title suggests, this song is about Plant trying to save his soul. Just as this song is about to become stale, Plant goes into a truly wicked harmonica solo. 4/5

5. Candy Store Rock – First real rocker on the album, and this it does well. Lyrics are not Plant’s best, but it’s made up by the guitar pounding nonstop. 3/5

6. Hots on for Nowhere – This is about Plant’s frustrations towards the confinements of his situation and Jimmy Page. It’s the only song of Led Zeppelin’s to have the f-word within, too. “Recycles” the riff from Walter’s Walk, which was written before although released later. Uses an unusual stop-and-start timing, I rather like it. 3.5/5

7. Tea for One – Final song on the album, and it’s a good way for it to close. Goes back to the blues, and is about Plant’s feeling of loneliness from being on the road so much. It’s slow and sad, and while not the most impressive musical technique on the album, it definitely is filled with emotion. Great way to slow down a hectic day, even if it does leave you a bit more reflective in the end. 4/5

With an epic like Achilles Last Stand, and some impressive blues works, this s a must own album for any Led Zeppelin fan. Also, the entire album feels rushed as it was made in less than a year in less than desirable conditions, but that adds a certain flavor that makes this unique. If you’ve been wondering which album to get lately, make sure to pick this one up.

February 21, 2013 - Posted by | Led Zeppelin Presence |

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