Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Led Zeppelin - How the West was Won

Ah, it's good to be back. With all the time I'm spending at work plus the hectic job of having an 18-month old, it's hard to listen to much new music. I write for the covers site, so really the only new music I hear are covers; in fact, I'm introduced to a lot of new music by hearing the cover first. So lately I have been catching up on stuff I wanted to hear before the end of the year as I make my 2011 Best Albums list, which is obviously not optional. Plus, it's Christmas season, which meant that the week after Thanksgiving I had already gone through my 10 hour playlist of Christmas music. So until I listened to this album, it had been over a month since I heard an entry from the 1000 Recordings. I knew I left off on a good one, though, and was excited to get back to it.

Artist: Led Zeppelin
Album: How the West was Won
Recording #492

Everyone has heard of the Zep, but hearing a bunch of songs on the radio and being familiar with their music are two different things, and in the past couple of years I have gone back and listened to all of their albums. And holy crap, these guys are awesome! I mean, you probably already knew that, but I was shocked at the songs I didn't know and how good they were. Hit after hit after hit rolls off their records. So I was really looking forward to hearing more from them.

This one doesn't disappoint. In fact, by the time you get to the guitar solo on "Heartbreaker," the third track, you should be pretty well hooked for the rest of the 3 disc live recording. I heard Kyle Gass of Tenacious D play Bach and had no idea it was referencing Page's incredible solo work (maybe it goes even farther back than that, but I don't know). The whole band sounds great on this but Page plays guitar like a god! The most interesting fact to me is that this came out in 2003-- the recordings themselves are from two shows in 1972, but this was their first official release. It hit #1, but is one of the worst selling #1 albums of all time. I guess there is some sense to this; if you were a Led Zeppelin fan you obviously would have gone out and scooped this up right away, but the wider public wouldn't necessarily continue the buying trend.

My son's favorite track is "Moby Dick," which is mostly drum solo... for NINETEEN MINUTES! But you can't argue when an 18 month old is bobbing his head and drumming on stuff-- there is something primal in that. Anyways, if you are unfamiliar with Led Zeppelin's work, start with some of the self-titled albums (IV is probably your best bet), but if you are already a bit of a fan, I think this is going to be a must-have for you. Listen to the whole thing below, and let me know your thoughts.

Read Tom's entry
Buy it at Amazon

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