Tag Archives: Truth

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 #61: The Jeff Beck Group – ‘Truth’ (1968)

Rocks In The Attic #61: Jeff Beck - ‘Truth’ (1968)It took me a long time to track this down on vinyl. If Led Zeppelin albums are numbered, this could almost be titled Led Zeppelin 0.

Released a couple of months before Led Zeppelin (I) was recorded, this also features heavy blues arrangements by an ex-Yardbird (Jeff Beck), and a soulful white singer (Rod Stewart) providing vocals. It also features a reworking of the Willie Dixon song You Shook Me, which would also grace the first Zeppelin album.

Apparently Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page fell out over that one – with Beck claiming that Page stole his idea to do a heavy blues version of You Shook Me. You can understand this – even if Jimmy Page did come up with that idea first, Beck beat him to the punch and Page simply shouldn’t have put it on the first Zeppelin album.

Rounding out Beck’s  band are Ronnie Wood on bass, and noted blues explosion drummer Mick Waller.

You can’t help but compare the two albums – they’re very similar – but for me the first Zeppelin album is slightly more cohesive, but only just. Page even features on the Truth album, credited as the writer of Beck’s Bolero – an instrumental with Beck and Page on guitar, John Paul Jones on bass, Keith Moon on drums and Nicky Hopkins on piano.

At the end of the day, I’m not a huge fan of either album. There’s something very dirge-like about both albums, as though both architects are trying to outdo each other with a (very) heavy blues album, and without the adequate quantity of light (to balance out the shade), they can both be very hard to listen to.

Hit: Shapes Of Things

Hidden Gem: Beck’s Bolero