64 of 66 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 2004
Led Zeppelin's "BBC Sessions" is a great treasure trove of live material the group recorded for the BBC between 1969 and 1971. Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham were one of the rock world's greatest live acts, as this live set clearly shows. Granted, several songs are repeated, like "Communication Breakdown" (3 versions), "You Shook Me" and "I Can't Quit You Baby" (2 versions), but who's complaining? One of Zeppelin's live trademarks was never to perform any song the exact same way, so each version of "Communication Breakdown," for example, differs somewhat from the other versions, as the band wanted to jam on it in a different, fresh way each time. And it works. Other goodies include a smokin' version of "Travelling Riverside Blues," and a brilliant performance of Zeppelin's signature song, "Stairway To Heaven." I also love the band's extended workouts on display here, including an 18 1/2 minute jam on "Dazed And Confused" (with Page getting some truly wild sounds out of his guitar), and the nearly 14-minute blast through "Whole Lotta Love," in which Zeppelin also insert some blues favorites like "Boogie Chillin'" and "That's Alright Mama." So, what are you waiting for, Zepheads---"BBC Sessions" totally deserves a place in your Led Zeppelin collection.
37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on November 11, 2001
when i first popped the first cd in my cd player i was really surprised. i didn't expect much from it for some reason, but whatever reason that was, it was wrong. this album revitalized my enduring enthusiasm for led zeppelin, the band that could play the same song several different ways.
speaking of playing the same song different ways, bbc sessions has 3 versions of communication breakdown, 2 versions of you shook me and i can't quit you baby, 2 versions of dazed and confused and whole lotta love, i think i covered everything. :O
if you're a new zepp fan, then you'll love the rhythm and ferocity at 80% of their tunes on here - it harkens back to their early days of their first 4 albums.
it also contains the phenomenal, The Girl I Love She Got Long Black Wavy Hair and Travelling Riverside Blues! Truely missed classics, not on any lone album (i do think they are in one of the box sets).
trust me, if you're looking for a great rock album from a band that you thought you heard it all from, then pick up this album -its a welcome breath of fresh air.
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on September 9, 2002
The "BBC Sessions" showcases the awesome musical ability of all four members of the 70's rock titan Led Zeppelin. Disc 1 is mainly composed of heavy rock and blues familiars from their first two official releases. "Communication Breakdown" is found during three different points during this album, with each track showing the vast improvement of Zeppelin's playing ability in just three short months of touring in 1969. This is also effectively displayed with the inclusion of "You Shook Me" and "I Can't Quit You," played from the first "Top Gear" BBC Sessions in March of 1969 and during the "One Night Stand" BBC recordings from August of the same year. The blues drenched standout "Travelling Riverside Blues" features white hot Blues riffing by Page, and includes song writing credits that are typically documented as produced by Page, Plant, and Robert Johnson, who was one of many mysterious "fifth" song writers of Led Zeppelin. For those who aren't hardcore Zep heads like myself, Led Zeppelin was a band notorious for stealing lyrics directly out of old blues favorites. My only complaint about Disc 2 is that Robert Plant's voice cracks during the opening track "The Immigrant Song" and the then-yet-to-be-released "Black Dog," which kicks off with the opening drum beat of "Out On the Tiles." Outside of those two weak moments, Disc 2 delivers the goods and then some. Led Zeppelin flexes their heavy metal muscles on a rip-roaring version of "Whole Lotta Love," which was also one of the first live performances of this song. The 60's flower power side found on "Zeppelin III" or "Zeppelin IV" is also displayed with perfection on "Going to California," "That's the Way," and "Thank You," which is a great way to end a concert. Outside of a couple of dips in sound quality caused by Father Time and an inept mixing board, "The BBC Sessions" is a perfect collector's item for Led Zeppelin fans. It is a perfect reminder to those who have forgotten how awesome Led Zeppelin was when they were playing together.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on July 25, 2006
Though these recordings are not a truly live concert (and there is probably a flashing "APPLAUD" sign for the audience), it is still amazingly brilliant. Robert's singing was especially deep, raunchy, and emotional. The version of "Thank You" is the absoulute best version EVER...the solo is absoulutely saccharine on electric guitar, nothing like the studio version on Led Zeppelin II, which is acoustic. There are 2 "Dazed & Confused" versions, but I should hope that any Zeppelin fan prefers the longer one, with the violin bow solo and all. What is really unique and enthralling about the 18-min or so version of "Dazed & Confused" is that the solo is enchanting and eerie...because there is no screaming crowd to interrupt, and the dead silence of the entire place allows the solo to be very echoey and very mysterious, like Pagey himself.
"The Immigrant Song" has defintitely been served its justice on this album, more rock-able than the studio version for SURE! And one of my favorite things about the song "What is and What Should Never Be" is that during the song's ending, while Robert sings, "Everybody I know seems to know me well but they really didn't know that I move like..." he changes "move" to something else...haha I shall leave you in suspense. It's quite cute really, and will make you laugh if you pay attention. And even though there are two versions of "Whole Lotta Love," how can anyone not like the medley version, which is extremely bluesy, thanks to the incorporation of "Boogie Chillun" and "That's Alright Mama?"
One last thing I would like to point out is that the versions of "Going to California" and "That's the Way" are very serene versions. They do not sound like the studio versions, but that's what's so nice about them; they are a different side to the songs. The mandolin is more prominent in "Going to California." Also, "That Girl I Love She Got Long Black Wavy Hair" is absent from any studio album and it's a groovy blues song with a raunchy riff.
"BBC Sessions" is a most enjoyable album and I highly recommend it to all fans...but if you are a more wilder fan that needs to hear them live n' loud you should try "How the West Was Won" instead. It is one of the few sources we have of Zeppelin captured live, and each song is different than the next. Don't miss out on Percy, Pagey, Jonesy, and Bonzo doing what they do best! YOU DON'T KNOW ZEPPELIN TILL YOU'VE HEARD 'EM LIVE!!!
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on May 11, 2005
I am not a die-hard Led Zeppelin fan. But I have come to have enormous respect for the quartet of Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, and John Bonham. I have come to realize that the efforts of a great work ethic have produced some of the stuff that legends are made of - and Led Zep takes the cake. At the same time, I have always been a fan of the music that has been a part of the "BBC Archives". These archives contain legendary live recordings, exclusive studio sets, and documentaries that are a must for any music fan. Since there is a well-known shortage of official "live" albums by Led Zeppelin, when I found out that "Led Zeppelin BBC Sessions" was being made available, I was most interested in this collection. While I don't consider a lot of the material, Led Zeppelin's "best" material - I just continue to have more and more respect for what was one of the all-time great bands.
When I review a live album, I usually prefer the album to basically be a full recoding of a concert. I normally am not one for edited concerts or live compilations. However, with "Led Zeppelin BBC Sessions", I felt I had to adjust my thinking. This compilation is attempting to surface material that was broadcast back from 1969 through 1971 - and has basically been "lost" (except for those who had bootleg recordings). The important thing to note is that the emphasis of the material is going to be from Led Zeppelin's first four albums - or what I term "the early days". The collection includes material that were broadcast on three separate BBC Radio programs: John Peel's "Top Gear" (Broadcasted 3/23/1969 and 6/29/1969), "Chris Grant's Tasty Pop Sundae" (Broadcasted 6/22/1969),"BBC Rock Hour" ("One Night Stand") (Broadcasted 8/10/1969) and Radio One's "In Concert" (Recorded 1/4/1971).
"BBC Sessions" is broken up into two CDs. The first CD focuses on material from "Led Zeppelin I" and "Led Zeppelin II". The shows that derive this material are "Top Gear", "Tasty Pop Sundae", and "BBC Rock Hour". The one thing to note is that much of this material is going to focus on Led Zeppelin's Blues days. While I am not the biggest fan of the Blues, I had enormous respect for the quality of the music that Led Zeppelin created in this genre. The one thing I don't like is that the music is mixed up. I would have preferred the collection to have the music in the order by which the shows were broadcasted. It seems the "Pop Sundae" material was broken up - disrupting the flow. If the collection preserved the originaln chronological broadcast order, I think this would have allowed us to see how Led Zeppelin progressed from their Blues roots into a Hard Rock band. It is worth noting the material from the first "Top Gear" broadcast ("You Shook Me", "I Can't Quit You Baby", and "Dazed and Confused") comes entirely from "Led Zeppelin I".
The second CD is devoted entirely to the "In Concert" broadcast. While the first CD had much more of a Blues feel, this one is going to have much more of a Classic Rock feel. (even though there is a Blues medley for "Whole Lotta Love"). This CD includes a good cross section of material from the first four Led Zeppelin albums. This also has much more of a feel for a true concert as opposed to the first CD, which has more of a feel of a broadcast of live songs. As mentioned above, I normally would not like this, but I feel the intent of this was to basically bring the stuff "out of the vault". The second CD also includes "Thank You" - this particular song was not broadcasted on the "In Concert" recording.
One thing that is very important when considering this collection is the sound quality. Prior to the release of "BBC Sessions", much of this material was basically available from bootleg. Also, keep in mind - this stuff comes from a 25 month period from 1969 through 1971. While we all know that Jimmy Page is a legendary guitarist, he must get enormous credit as a record engineer. Page remasters this collection as brilliantly as I have ever heard any mastered. There are many references that "BBC Sessions" shows Led Zeppelin in "raw" form. I couldn't agree with that statement raw. The amazing thing is - as you listen to this CD, you can almost pick out every sound that is made. In other words, you can hear Jimmy Page's guitar, John Paul Jones' keyboards and bass, and John Bonham's drums in a most intricate manner. Of course, don't forget the incredible and unique vocals of Robert Plant. While "Stairway to Heaven" may be one of the all-time overplayed Classic Rock songs, the version that is included on the second CD will just completely blow you away.
One thing worth mentioning is that you will hear different variations of the same song on this collection. This is truly one of the major strengths of this collection. This shows the versatility and talent of Led Zeppelin as a band for being able to pull this off. Multiple versions include: "Communication Breakdown", "Dazed and Confused", "Whole Lotta Love", and "You Shook Me". As for Led Zeppelin being seen in a "Jam Band" style: "How Many More Times" (1st CD) and "Whole Lotta Love" (2nd CD) are terrific while "Dazed in Confused" (2nd CD) was a bit overdrawn.
The liner notes include a terrific 2-panel write-up by Luis Rey in regards to Led Zeppelin and the BBC broadcasts. As mentioned while this isn't my favorite Zeppelin material, it still is of very good quality. It's too bad they didn't have material taken from the mid 1970s - the period that I consider the most creative of Led Zeppelin's career. Still this is good stuff - and definitely worth checking out.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 23, 1999
For those of us who are too young to have experienced Zeppelin live (or never got a chance to), this album is essential. It gives the listener the raw power of Led Zeppelin in their early years. Also, this album has a couple of songs that were never released and abstract, long versions of Zeppelin classics such as an 18 minute Dazed and Confused. If you love Zeppelin like I do, buy this album. It gives one a different, less refined version Led Zeppelin.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2000
Wow. What an album. This is my favorite Led Zeppelin album, and I own them all. With disc 1, it is a bunch of their earlier, kinda bluesy, stuff from different shows. The first version of "Communication Breakdown" is the best of the three. The highlight of this disc, in my opinion, is "Travelling Riverside Blues," which is probably their best song that was never released on an official studio album. (Between this and Hey hey What Can I Do) It features the raw sexuality of Robert Plant and some awesome guitar work from Jimmy Page. The second disc is all from the same show. It starts out with "Immigrant Song." It is a good version but not as good as the studio one. "Heartbreaker" is the second song. Better than the studio version, it includes a mind boggling solo from Jimmy Page. Definitely a classic. "Since I've Been Loving You" is Led Zep's best blues tune. The power in Robert Plant's voice in this song will blow you away. They put so much emotion into all of their performances, this song especially defines that. These recordings took place about 8 months before the untitled album came out. Bonzo and Jimmy fool the crowd with their "Out on the Tiles" intro. They then jump straight into "Black Dog," the first of three sneak peeks into their new album. "Dazed and Confused," although EXTREMELY long, still is not bad. The crowd will then get the second look into Led Zep's fourth album with "Stairway to Heaven." This is the first time anyone other than those associated with Led Zeppelin heard the song. What a way to introduce the best song of all time. Jimmy's solo is plainly remarkable. It is odd to hear a band so in synch with each other at a live performance as Led Zeppelin is on this song. I like this version better than both the studio version and the TSRTS version. Their last look into the upcoming album comes with "Going to California." A beautiful love song with good guitar work yet again. "That's the Way" features Robert Plant's voice at it's best. People often criticize him for his voice, in my opinion, he has the best voice ever. (in rock that is) The "Whole Lotta Love" medley is nothing short of phenomenal. It is cut in half by ten minutes of pure blues jamming. This one seems to be the crowd's favorite. "Thank You" is a great way to end the performance. John Paul Jones' keyboard work is great on this one. The first time you listen to this you will be expecting the same mellow version that is on "LZII." It is up until Jimmy's solo that is unbelievable. It is his best solo on the album. Bonzo also stands out on this song. The second disc in particular features Led Zeppelin entering their prime. Pretty good for the best band ever. Ignore everyone that says Led Zeppelin is an over rated band. You cannot rate the best band of all time. Buy this album, it will blow you away.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 1, 2001
The "BBC Sessions" is a blistering live set recorded between 1969 and 1971. The first disc features songs two takes of "You Shook Me", "I Can't Quit You Baby", and three takes of "Communication Breakdown". Three new songs surface on this set, "The Girl I Love She Got The Long Black Wavy Hair", "Something Else", and Robert Johnson's "Travelling Riverside Blues". There are also a few lines from Robert Johnson's "Kind Hearted Woman" in "...Riverside Blues".
The second disc is a full feature concert recorded in 1971. Besure you have a fire exstinguisher close to your home entertainment system, you'll need it to put out the fire. This set is feverous from start to finish. "Immigrant Song" starts the set which includes a guitar solo; Page gives an audio symposium on "Heartbreaker", ("Out On The Tile")into/"Black Dog" and "Dazed And Confused".
"....P>The liner notes will tell you this is the first time Zeppelin plays "Stairway To Heaven" and that "you can 'see' Page switch from one neck to the other" on this two-neck Gibson. The silence is deafining at the end, it seems to be "warmly received".
This set features a short acoustic set with "Going To California" and "That's The Way". Don't get lulled to sleep because a feverous rendition of "Whole Lotta Love" which feature three blues covers. I read somewhere that Page had to edit out two other covers to get this track on the cd.
The second disc closes with a wonderful electric rendition of "Thank You".
This is an essential recording for your cd library without question.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 9, 2001
This live raw cd captures one of the greatest bands in rock and roll history on the verge of their prime(tracks on cd1 recorded in 1969 and cd2 live at Paris Theatre in London 1971) and is worth cherishing by , not just Zeppelin fans , but rock fans in general. This is history captured on two cds.
You hear the band in its raw awesome element without studio enhancements and yet there are some live versions of songs here that seem better than studio versions or at least adds some delightful nuances to songs that you have loved for a long time.
Personally , I just can't get enough of "Stairway to Heaven" on this cd(2). It is generally the same as the studio version but just the slight delay of the beginning of Page's guitar solo was interesting to hear. Page starts off the guitar solo playing different chords for about 10 seconds. The solo intro starts off lightly then Page just rips into the intro with a heavier sounding chord then he goes into the traditional solo. It's somewhat amazing to hear when you realize that you are listening to the first time "Stairway to Heaven" was played in front of a live audience and played powerfully. Ironically , the song recieved polite applause at the end. No typical hooting , hollering , or whistling. Just respectful applause. That track alone is worth buying the cds.
"Dazed and Confused" on cd 1 is close to the studio version with little improvising. But "Dazed and Confused" on cd 2 has a great deal of improvising in it. BOY does it have improvising in it(the song alone is 18:36) and Plant is terrific in it. When you compare the first "Dazed.." to the second "Dazed.." you hear the evolution of the band.
"Whole Lotta Love(Medley)"(cd2) shows off the bands versatility. The middle of the song has a medely of blues songs(Boogie Chillun' , Fixin to Die , That's Alright Mama , A Mess of Blues). The first half before the medely is so fun to listen to because there is a great moment when you hear the whole band with all guns blazing , just crazily rockin' away for about 20 seconds(reminds you of "My Generation" a little). The medely itself receives applause at the end from the audience because the audience really saw the depth and versatility of the band going from hard rock to classic blues. Plus they played it excellently. A fine moment.
One of Jimmy Page's best solo's is in "Thank You". A strikingly rich , sharp , clean sound to his solo in this track. It is just fine guitar playing by one of rock's guitar gods.
"Led Zepplin:BBC Sessions" is just a classic piece of work. A must have for any rock and roll fan , let alone Zeppelin fans. It captures one of the most versitile , influential , and greatest rock bands during the very early raw stages of their legendary career.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 13, 2000
This collection of songs recorded from BBC sessions is a quite oustanding collection showing Zeppelin as a young fire breathing blues band. The first side contains a powerhouse of tunes with numerous versions of "communication breakdown" and a couple of versions of "i can't quit you baby". This was zeppelin showing the kind of raw power and danger of their first two albums and many of the versions of the songs on this colleciton actually outdo the original studio work, the sound is tougher and louder encompassing this period of Led Zeppelin better. The songs are also extended with dramatically lengthened versions of "i can't quit you baby" and "dazed and confused", the first of many classics the group would do. Travelling Riverside blues, a robert johnson cover is brilliant and is probably one of the best songs never to get onto a zeppelin studio album thanks to Page's excellent guitar playing.
The second side is an actual live show done for the BBC which was done around mid '71 taking in the more electic focus of Zeppelin 3 and ZOSO with a slightly tamer but still immensley powerful attack to the songs. It is clear though that Zeppelin have matured from the first side and the performance they give is something quite special. The medley at the end is an obvious standout but it's the quieter songs such as "going to california" which shows us the leaps and bounds by which zeppelin have acheived since their earlier work. Their effort of "stairway to heaven" is also a defining moment and is a great introduction to one of the all time great songs. Black Dog is another great song, and by using the "out on the tiles" intro, nobody saw it coming. What continues to amaze from this release is their ability to play live, there is not a moment where they seem to lose the rhythm or go out of time to each other, making the "greatest live band" tag easily theirs. The other thing is on the alternate versions of the studio songs, even though they may be drastically different, they still clock in more often than not at the same time, showing their ability at transforming a song without sacrifice.
Basically this album is excellent and shows clearly that as a live group they were loud and they were untouchable