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Physical Graffiti (Remaster)
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Audio, Cassette, Original recording remastered, August 16, 1994
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After a two-year hiatus, Led Zeppelin returned in 1975 with one of rock's greatest double albums, a sprawling work akin to Exile on Main Street in its loose, offhand brilliance. Includes Trampled Under Foot; Houses of the Holy; Kashmir; Down by the Seaside; Black Country Woman; In My Time of Dying , and more.
This 1975 release came smack in the middle of a long and nearly mythic career. Physical Graffiti is the last great Led Zeppelin title, recorded before the influences of the day (synthesizers, disco) ended Zeppelin's reign as the kings of loud and sexy blues-metal. Playfully experimenting with new sounds, the band blended Middle Eastern rhythms, folk-stylings, heavy blues, and deeply impassioned rock riffs into a two-disc set that sounded as if they were still enjoying their place in the rock pantheon. As sprawling and adventurous as this collection is, there are some tracks so tightly focused--so ultra-Zeppelinesque--that it's tempting to name this as a number one or number two must-have. "Trampled Underfoot" and "Custard Pie" alone are almost worth the double-disc price tag. --Lorry Fleming
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All the years you've listened to 'PhysGraf' the one constant was the AM radio friendly mix; tons of compression and a load of mid range.
That's all GONE. Now you hear John Paul Jones' bass lines growling out of your side speakers, and every distinct vocal tic of Robert Plant's famous wails are distinct, and precise. Jimmy Page's studio work on his various stringed instruments reminds you of why he made great records. His mastery of the recording process has only grown with time.
Everything here is both old, yet new at the same time. The results are that dramatic.
The bonus disc is nice, alternative takes and a track that never made it. Curios, really. But cool to have nonetheless. If you enjoyed this eponymous recording back in the day you will only enjoy this more. Superb recording being played on state of the art stereos can't be beat.
This is a simple review.
If you are a fan this is a must have.
I also installed a new stylus to make sure that was not the problem.
I can not recommend this to others as it is lacking the presence that the original album has in my opinion.
Top international reviews
Oh what a fool I've been!
1. Custard Pie
2. The Rover
3. In My Time Of Dying
4. Houses Of The Holy
5. Trampled Under Foot
7. In The Light
9. Down By The Seaside
10. Ten Years Gone
11. Night Flight
12. The Wanton Song
13. Boogie With Stu
14. Black Country Woman
15. Sick Again
"Custard Pie" is one of those Led Zeppelin songs with a pretty irrelevant title. No matter, it is a solid, riff, drums and slightly funky keyboards bluesy rocker to open with. More industrial strength riffage and power drums introduces "The Rover", which has a big rumbling bass too. It is a bit of an undervalued Zeppelin rocker. It is the band at their muscular, rocking best, chugging and yet grandiose. "In My Time Of Dying" is, of course the bluesy behemoth of the album, over eleven minutes of piledriving blues rock. The guitar/drum/vocal interplay around the four minute mark is a joy to behold. It does suffer a bit from current trends for sprawling things out, though. True Zeppelin fans would no doubt consider that to be heresy, part-time ones such as myself are allowed to say it though :). I have always been irritated by the "oh my jeeder..." vocal from Robert Plant too. Also the way it grinds to a halt with the "cough" bit, making it sound like a demo. Sorry.
"Houses Of The Holy" gets things back on a firm track with one of my favourites from the album - punchy and yet containing a few funky bits, a great vocal and some excellent guitar. Nice one. The quality continues on the excellent funk rock of "Trampled Under Foot", a track the like of which Zeppelin had not done before. Then we get a copper-bottomed Zeppelin classic in the Eastern-inspired insistent rock of "Kashmir". Lots of superlatives have been written about it over the years, so I won't attempt to add to them.
The proggy "In The Light" takes nearly three minutes to arrive, so to speak. When it kicks in its has a big, deep bassy drum sound and a sensual vocal from Plant. Again, like "Kashmir" it utilises new and adventurous string enhancements. I love the second half of the track where it goes into that anthemic keyboard-driven bit. When the drums and guitars come along - wow. One of the best Zeppelin passages of music for me. This also marks the point where the atmosphere of the album changes. The best archetypal Zeppelin stuff is now gone. What comes next are some interesting diversions and innovations and changes in ambience. However, there is a case, for me, that ending a single album after "In The Light" would still have been a great one.
Just when "Led Zeppelin III" seemed a long time away, we get the acoustic strumming of "Bron-Yr-Aur" and the country-folk strains of "Down By The Seaside". The latter ends with some solid rock parts, however. "Ten Years Gone" is an affecting, beguiling slow guitar and vocal-driven almost soft rock ballad. "Night Flight" finds the band even going slightly poppy, with a catchy, lively number. It still has some top notch riffs on it, though, although some of them are almost glammy. "The Wanton Song" is a return to typical Zeppelin riffy rock in some style. It would not have been out of place at the beginning of the album.
"Boogie With Stu" was the result of a 1971 jam with the then Rolling Stones pianist Ian Stewart. It is a loose slice of boogie-woogie piano-led rock 'n' roll, with Plant sounding not unlike Slade's Noddy Holder. Or maybe 1972-era Holder had heard this and sounded like Plant. The track is fun and shows the band's lighter side, something that was not always apparent. The carefree feel continues on the acoustic blues of "Black Country Woman". It also has a "Led Zeppelin III" feel to it, particularly the thumping drum sound together with the acoustic guitar. "Sick Again" is a powerful slice of rock to end this mighty collection of songs. There are "proper" Led Zeppelin fans who no doubt can review this a lot better, but as one who has all their albums but is not an absolute die-hard, I always find this an intriguing and very enjoyable album.
Critics may argue that amid the gold there might be a hint of filler,and maybe (just, maybe)they might have a point.But even the less distinguished material ('Sick Again'/'Down By The Seaside'?)there is always some aspect of the performances to enjoy even if lyrical or musical inspiration occasionally flags.For me this is definitely a desert island set and whilst it may have flaws,it is about as consistently enjoyable and varied as rock albums ever get.
Sadly the Zep would seldom reach these heights again- although 'Presence' has it's moments and 'In Through The Out Door' has glimmers of the old genius, but at least they knew when to quit.'Physical Graffiti' is a fitting monument to a great band,that sounds as alive and dynamic today as it did all those years ago.
Overall, Physical Graffiti is one of the great led zeppelin albums close contender for their best. However, (this is gonna be controversial I know) PG perhaps does not capture a band at their creative peak, but more likely a band past their peak but still have a lot of stuff to put on vinyl. Remember that some songs here were recorded as early 1970, making it more of a compilation. An awesome offering, sadly they would never be this consistently good again.
"Trampled underfoot" is both heavy and seriously funky. "Kashmir" is the musical equivalent of Godzilla, a monster that tramples all before it. The heavier blues numbers -- the 11-minute "In My Time of Dying," the tight"Custard Pie," and the all encompassing epic "The Rover" -- are louder, longer and more senses buffeting than their previous work. Not to mention that it all came packaged in one of those fabulously intricate die-cut sleeves that make all people of a certain age long for a return to the glory days of vinyl.
All in all a great buy and a must have for the music collection irrespective of age (vinyl, download or 8-track)