Category Archives: The Yardbirds

Rocks In The Attic #84: Led Zeppelin – ‘Led Zeppelin’ (1969)

Rocks In The Attic #84: Led Zeppelin - ‘Led Zeppelin’ (1969)Although this is only (only!) the 84th entry in the Rocks In The Attic blog, this is actually the 100th disc I’ve reviewed, taking into account all the double- and triple-albums that I’ve wrote about so far.

A few weeks ago I covered the Truth album by Jeff Beck – released prior to this debut by Led Zeppelin, and an album Jimmy Page must have had at the front of his mind when planning and arranging this.

This was a very cheap album to make. Zeppelin’s manager Peter Grant paid for the 36 hours of studio time himself, and then sold the tapes to Atlantic Records. A studio cost of just £1,782 led to the record grossing more than £3.5 million. Not a bad return for a record company.

If I had to choose one album over the other, I’d go with Zeppelin’s debut, only because the songs fit together that little bit better. Led Zeppelin and Truth are very similar though. They even share a cover – You Shook Me – but the majority of the songs could be interchangeable. Both albums have soulful vocals, by Robert Plant and Rod Stewart respectively. The guitar work on each album (both players are ex-Yardbirds) is of a higher quality than most players at the time (and more in line with the likes of Hendrix and Clapton); and the bass is top-notch (by John Paul Jones on Led Zeppelin, and future Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood on Truth).

The real point of differentiation is the percussion. There’s nothing wrong with the drums, by Mick Waller, on Jeff Beck’s album. They keep time, as they should. But they’re not a patch on Bonzo’s debut. The opening track on Led ZeppelinGood Times Bad Times – could almost be renamed How To Play Drums by John Henry Bonham. You can ignore everything else about that song and just concentrate on the drums – they are the very definition of a perfect drum track.

Hit: Dazed And Confused

Hidden Gem: Black Mountain Side

Rocks In The Attic #15: John Mayall With Eric Clapton – ‘Blues Breakers’ (1966)

The only reason I have this on vinyl is down to my good friend, Moo. I was searching frantically for this in every record shop in Manchester until Moo let me have his copy – a very good copy, too – in exchange for a newly remastered copy of the album on CD.

I can’t remember why I wanted it so much at the time, but it takes pride of place in my collection, alongside Clapton’s other key moonlighting appearances (outside of his solo stuff, Cream and The Yardbirds): the eponymous Blind Faith album, and Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs by Derek And The Dominoes.

The album is very easy to listen to – similar to early Fleetwood Mac in scope (and general reverence to the blues), and Clapton’s guitar sound is awesome. This marks the first time a Gibson Les Paul had been recorded through an overdriven Marshall amplifier. Smoking!

Hit: All Your Love

Hidden Gem: Ramblin’ On My Mind