Led Zeppelin I, II, and III (Deluxe Editions)
At 2:53 on ‘It’s Up To You’ from their great new album, Turn Blue, The Black Keys lift one of the main riffs from ‘How Many More Times’ on Led Zeppelin I. More than that, they lift it blatantly, unashamedly, lovingly, almost reverently. The new Deluxe Editions of their first three albums are a reminder, if one was ever needed, of why Led Zeppelin are still such an influence on bands like The Black Keys. The power of the songs still amazes, but they’re also chock full of thrilling melodies. On these Deluxe Editions the original tracks remain as stunning as ever and the packaging is something to behold. The extras, though, are a little disappointing. Led Zep II and III are mainly filled out with rough mixes and backing tracks. There are some new sounds, but they’re largely unremarkable. ‘La La’ from II sounds like a Yardbirds outtake. There are a couple of blues standards on III. Only ‘Jennings Farm Blues’ from III has some potential, not least because it sounds like a louder, angrier version of ‘Bron-Y-Aur Stomp’. By now it seems the cupboard is well and truly bare. There is some interest in the extras from I, where the second disc contains a full concert from Paris in October 1969. However, compared with the BBC sessions CD and the 2003 Live DVD, even this material is a little underwhelming. There’s a nice early version of ‘Heartbreaker’, a typically ferocious take of ‘Communication Breakdown’, and ‘Dazed And Confused’ comes alive, but the sound quality is only just above bootleg standard and there’s yet another interminable rendition of ‘Moby Dick’. In the end, though, we don’t need the extras on these Deluxe Editions to remind us how magnificent Led Zeppelin were. Just put on ‘How Many More Times’, lie back, and think of ‘It’s Up To You’.