Led Zeppelin II (2014)

The Preamble:

Once again, there’s nothing I can add about Zeppelin or this album that hasn’t already been said, and by better writers.

The Album Proper (1LP):

I mean, this is the Brown Bomber for crying out loud. You know it like a best friend, at this point. We all do. It’s so full-sounding… Seriously. You know this beast already. All I can say is that this 2LP release is a beautiful thing. It sounds so bloody good.

The Companion Audio (1LP):

Whole Lotta Love (Rough Mix With Vocal) actually ain’t a whole lotta different from the album version, except the breakdown part, which is very different indeed, and there’s no guitar wail when restarting… I missed it, totally should have been there. The lyrics are a little bit different afterwards too, and I get it for the sketch that it is, but I prefer the album track on this one.

What Is And What Should Never Be (Rough Mix With Vocal) is a little different in the harmonizing bits, but otherwise it’s essentially unchanged from the album track. Unless I missed something here? And if so, fair enough.

Thank You (Backing Track) made my brain strain to hear Plant’s vocals. I’ve heard this song so many times, my mind was filling in all the blanks. Until I realized: this is the Ultimate Karaoke Track! You know all the words, so step up to the mic and give ‘er!

Heartbreaker (Rough Mix With Vocal) is not all that different from the album track, except in the guitar solo, which is way crazier than the album version. In fact, I might prefer this one, it’s awesome!

Living Loving Maid (Backing Track) is another perfect karaoke ripper. Even taking away Plant’s indelible vocals and letting the band do the talking proves just how hugely awesome this song really is. Interestingly (and most pleasingly), somehow isolating the vocal line out of this track has made the bass more prominent, and I love it.

Ramble On (Rough Mix With Vocal) is missing electric guitar parts in a couple of key (album version) places, even though my brain was waiting for them. Also missing were some vocal overdubs… Actually, I prefer this track played this way.

Moby Dick (Backing Track) is a brilliant bookend effort. It’s basically just the beginning and ending parts of the song without any drum solos at all. You can even hear him counting 1-2-3-4 at one point…  [UPDATE: I was saying to Scott in the comments that this track is the equivalent of seeing them live and they start up this song, so you go get a beer or take a leak, and come back in time to hear the ending! So true. Hilarious!]

La La (Intro/Outro Rough Mix) is an unreleased instrumental track. Boaby must’ve been off having a nap, for this part. Happy chording becomes an acoustic bit before the full band comes back, then repeat. It’s actually a fascinating jam track, with lots of ideas crammed into its short minutes.

In Sum: 

It’s the fucking Brown Bomber. What am I supposed to say, at this point? As for the companion audio, it was a true pleasure to get to hear the different versions. I do still wish that this had had a live albu with it (like LZ I) instead of studio tracks. Ah well.

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Posted on October 10, 2014, in posts by aaron and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Yeah I agree with you I wish all these reissues came with a live recordig from that tour of which ever release it was. Glad to see you reviewing Zep! That’s wickedly cool!
    Brown Bomber..hahaha

    Like

    • Thanks Deke! It’s quite daunting, honestly. I mean, we all have so much invested in the output of this band, we’ve all had lives spent hearing them. So what can I add, at this point? CORRECT ANSWER: Not a damn thing. But I was given these glorious (GLORIOUS) remasters on vinyl for my birthday, and I wanted to get them up here and try to do the gifts justice.

      Absolutely, a missed opportunity not having live stuff in all of these. I’d find it hard to believe there isn’t useable live stuff from all of these years.Even if it’s not a full show, tracks from here and there pasted together to make it seem like one show would still kick a whole lotta ass.

      Yeah, Brown Bomber. That’s a nickname for the album. This is from Wiki:

      “The album sleeve design was from a poster by David Juniper, who was simply told by the band to come up with an interesting idea. His design was based on a photograph of the Jagdstaffel 11 Division of the German Air Force during World War I, the famed Flying Circus led by the Red Baron. After the picture was tinted, the faces of the four members of the band were airbrushed on from a 1969 publicity photograph. Other faces added, according to Juniper, were either Miles Davis or Blind Willie Johnson, a friend of Andy Warhol (possibly Mary Woronov) and astronaut Neil Armstrong, although it is actually fellow astronaut Frank Borman. The cover also pictured the outline of a Zeppelin on a brown background, which gave the album its nickname “Brown Bomber”.”

      Interestingly, Brown Bomber was also Joe Louis’ nickname. But for the life of me I can’t see what Zeppelin would have to do with boxing, so it must be the other thing.

      Like

  2. Hahaha..the other thing for sure!
    Even though these albums have been reviewed a million times before it’s always good when actual,music lovers dig it as opposed to some writer who digs it but gets a million freebies of music a month.
    We are the hardcore,so it never gets old ..
    Keep em coming Boss!

    Like

    • Oh yeah man, I am total hardcore!! Hahaha But I do love Zeppelin, and I think it’s great that, even after all these years, it’s possible to get so excited about these records. Timeless, really!

      I would love to be a writer who gets a million freebies a month. That sounds AWESOME!

      Like

      • Well regardless job well done! I’m really waiting for Physical Graffiti! That’s my all time fav and also Presence(which I never have taken the time to divulge in but with the reissue coming I think it will be time to,explore that one more closely)

        Like

        • PG is a great one (and it’s gonna make a bee-yoo-tiful vinyl reissue on top of that!). I’ll admit I don’t get to presence or Coda as often, so I’m in the same boat as you. I may get to them before their reissues though, ‘cos it may well be a year from now that they get around to putting those out!

          Like

  3. The first Zep album I got into. Add per my comments on the last review, it doesn’t do much for me any more. I’ve actually not bothered listening to the bonus disc either. I’d much rather have got more live stuff.

    Like

    • Yeah I get that. It is just the same old thing, remaster or not. I could see how a person could burn out on Zep… they get so much airplay, and everyone loves them. I get that. They also did not do NEARLY enough black metal for your tastes. 🙂

      The bonus disc is worth at least one spin, even if you’re not bothered, just to hear the different versions. I liked the Ramble On better than the album! It’s more raw. And the Moby Dick cracked me up, it’s just the beginning and end, no drum solo. It’s the CD equivalent of seeing them in concert and they start that song, and then you go get a beer or take a leak and come back in time to hear the ending! Hahaha. Man I shoulda put that in my review. I just might yet!

      Definitely would have been better with live stuff. Big-time. Still, these are cool versions to have for the archives.

      Like

  4. It’s the fucking Brown Bomber.

    Like

  5. Sabbath have done bonus discs like this, that amount to little more than rough mixes of stuff. I find it hard to slog through repeatedly, but that’s why it’s a bonus disc I guess!

    Like

    • These mixes sound reall good, like they were one step away from a finished album version. Little changes mostly, though some of the guitar stuff is way different (and brilliant). Plant changes up his vocals sometimes too. It’s like listening to a work in progess that’s aaaallllmost done.

      Like

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