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Music: Led Zeppelin – Timeless Classic Mothership

Led Zeppelin redefined rock in the Seventies and for all time. They were as influential in that decade as the Beatles were in the prior one. Their impact extends to classic and alternative rockers alike. Then and now, Led Zeppelin looms larger than life on the rock landscape as a band for the ages with an almost mystical power to evoke primal passions.

It’s rare that a group can truly rock todays world, but the arrival of MOTHERSHIP, the first-ever comprehensive 2CD Led Zeppelin compilation with the soon to follow re-release of The Song Remains The Same on CD & DVD and a concert event reuniting Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones qualifies. Produced by Page and mixed by Kevin Shirley, MOTHERSHIP’s 24 monolithic tracks were selected and sequenced by the band, who also oversaw the painstaking remastering.

Spanning their epic career, the unprecedented collection pulls immortal songs from all eight of the bands classic studio albums, one of the 20th century’s most enduring bodies of musical work. Arguably the most influential and innovative rock band ever, Led Zeppelin has sold over 200 million records worldwide. They continue to inspire successive generations with their passionate, groundbreaking, genre-transcendent, mystic, heavy and blues-infused rock n roll. Forty years since they formed, the song indeed remains the same.

The short guitar bursts on “Good Times Bad Times” that open this firecracker debut in 1969 could be viewed as a forewarning of great songs to come, some of the most historic moments in rock and roll. These four guys were actual musicians who, as a collective unit, created a sound that was unmatchable at the time. And they didn’t just blast away at their instruments, either. “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” showcases gentle acoustic guitar at first, then later driving riffs that could inspire anyone to play air guitar.

Even on their first record, Zeppelin weren’t afraid to draw out their songs (some would say overstay their welcome), and four of the nine tunes last (and blast) for over six minutes. Like The Doors, Zeppelin had a keen interest in the blues; underneath all the raw rock on this album is a soulful, bluesy sound and aura with two Willie Dixon covers that the band “Zeppelinizes” to the max. Nothing, however, tops the segway from “You Shook Me” to the blazing “Dazed and Confused,” which sounds amazing, raw and blistering.

The organ work of John Paul Jones is truly beautiful, sounding like a church hymn on a rough-and-tumble rock and roll album. Undoubtedly, these British lads mixed sonic beauty and thrashing rawness to create an art form that still resonates today. “Black Mountain Side” is a busy acoustic ditty that sounds positively charming next to its follower, “Communication Breakdown,” but that’s Zeppelin’s style in a nutshell — heartlifting to raw in a matter of seconds.

These rocking songs come off as urgent and passionate. Lyrically, the album is all blues as Plant wails majestically about one heartbreak after the other, moaning about his lost women and unabashedly feeling lonesome and sorry for himself. No matter, he’d have plenty of time to attain more women in the future. This is the work of a band ready to take on the world on its own terms.

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