The Roots of Led Zeppelin

The Roots of Led Zeppelin


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It's not much of a secret that Led Zeppelin (and the whole heavy metal genre that arose in the group's wake) had their roots deep in the blues, and there are several sets like this on the market that explore those roots, collecting source 78s and performances that influenced the band, whether they were acknowledged or not (anyone who thinks that Robert Plant and Jimmy Page actually wrote that line about lemons and squeezing them really needs to check out a set like this one). The Zep had collective good taste, though, and any compilation that has old blues classics like Booker White's "Fixin' to Die Blues," Leadbelly's "Gallis Pole," Memphis Minnie's "When the Levee Breaks," and Sleepy John Estes' "Girl I Love, She Got Long Curly Hair," as this one does, is well worth a listen. But the real highlights of this disc are the final two tracks, "Psycho Daisies" and "Dazed & Confused." The former was the B-side of the Yardbirds' single "Happenings Ten Years Time Ago," recorded late in that group's legacy when both Page and Jeff Beck were members (Beck actually takes a rare vocal turn on the track), and it exhibits a fun, hard sound that somewhat prefigures where Zeppelin would do on their debut album in 1969. The version included here of "Dazed & Confused" is from 1968 and it is fascinatingly sung and performed by the man who wrote it, Jake Holmes. In Zeppelin's hands it morphed a bit, pumped up on metal DNA, but Holmes' version is the obvious blueprint. Play this set and then listen to Zeppelin's Atlantic debut immediately after it. It's all clear. Nothing comes out of thin air.

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