Classic Rock Review

The home of old record and bootleg reviews…

Led Zeppelin II (1969)


Review This album is a prime example of why Bonham, Jones, Page, & Plant are legends in the Rock & Roll industry. It has everything a R & R fan could possibly want. A bluesy feel, tight Guitar riffs, solos from the soul, well constructed songs, layers of music, & passionate vocals. For me the true cohesion comes from the rhythm section. Bonham’s drums drives the band ever forward while JP Jones is ethereal on the keyboards & perfect on the bass Guitar. There are no duds on this their Sophmore album.

These are my seven favourites in no particular order. “Heartbreaker,” opens with a classic riff. The midsection flows to an improvisational section with a fine Guitar solo. Here the lyrics & music blend easily. I have always liked this one more than the more publicized “Whole Lotta Love.” “Moby Dick,” is a fine instrumental with Bonham’s drum midsection carrying it. “Living Loving Maid,” is often paired in direct succession with “Heartbreaker.” It’s an upbeat rocker with a memorable riff & a contagious melody.

“The Lemon Song,” has one great bass line as JP Jones moves smoothly throughout as the crescendo than picks up & takes flight. “What Is And What Should Never Be,” is a very different type of song that is hard to classify. I have been told by musicians that this is one of the harder Zeppelin songs to learn. Here the interesting lyrics play as a melodic counterpoint to Plant’s vocals. “Ramble On,” is the driving other side of the latter song representing moving on from the angst of love. This is one of the most underrated of Led Zeppelin’s songs. “Thank You,” clearly is the bands best ballad until “In Through The Outdoor’s All My Love.” This one is smooth & brings out the romantic in the listener.

This is one of their three best albums. Buy it, you won’t be disappointed.

Review After toiling the summer of my 14th year, I finally saved enough money to buy my first turntable (an $88 Pioneer which, I am pleased to say, I still own and, 23 years later, it runs like a champ). Soon thereafter, I began assembling my record collection. Led Zeppelin II was my first purchase. Over time, I bought all the Led Zep albums, and listened to them all until the vinyl was pretty well worn out. However, Led Zep II always remained my favorite Led Zep album. Special memories of Led Zep II include the time that I invited a special young lady over to my house and, to impress her (dumb, I know), I cranked up Whole Lotta Love for the guitar jam following the relatively quiet stuff with the violin bows, only to have most of the speaker componentry of my father’s hand built Heathkit speakers explode into a useless, spasmodic pile of writhing, twitching cardboard-like material and coils. It took me about four months to save enough pesos to buy a new pair of speakers.
Anyway, on to something Amazon readers might find useful:

Led Zep II is a classic rock and roll album, but what makes it particularly good is the way each song works so well with the songs around it. I’ve noticed other reviewers have made similar comments. You could not pull this material and drop it into a “Greatest Hits” album and have it work. Imagine going from Whole Lotta Love, straight into Stairway to Heaven! No way! Another key is to have the right stereo equipment. It is my opinion that stereo equipment is designed to complement the music of the day. Hence, one would be best served to find a vintage amplifier or receiver to play this music. You don’t want some amplifier-on-a-chip setup. Also, milquetoast speakers are out. A simple rule of thumb is, if you can lift your speakers, they are insufficient for this album.

One negative, the sound quality on Led Zep II is pretty poor. Not as dreadful as on Led Zep I, but not up to today’s standards. Of course, Michelangelo’s cracked and faded painting of the Sistine Chapel doesn’t exactly exhibit the highest “signal-to-noise” ratio ever, but it’s still a classic. The reason why I bring this up is because I just bought the “digitally remastered” CD to replace my older “original CD” version of Led Zep II. In doing side by side comparisons, the improvement in sound quality is remarkable. Particularly in the quiet parts of Moby Dick, the background hiss of the older CD is much more apparent than in the new. Hiss is still there, but much less noticeable. For purists, the new mixing does not eradicate the rawness of the original. Bottom line: if you own Led Zep II, but in the older CD version or, God forbid, on vinyl, you owe it to yourself to upgrade. It’s worth the money.

Finally, the obligatory ranking of my favorite Led Zep albums in order: II, I, IV, Houses of the Holy, Physical Graffiti.

As I mature and mellow (or more accurately, get older), I like III much more.


May 4, 2013 - Posted by | Led Zeppelin II |

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