29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
time for a re-evaluation
, 19 Nov. 2007
This review is from: Presence (Audio CD)
Having got into Zeppelin at the time of Physical Graffiti, i was greatly excited with the news of the impending release of their next album. But when Presence finally came out in Spring 1976 I was pretty disappointed. I quite liked Achilles but I didnt think that or the other songs matched up to their previous works..Perhaps I was too young to appreciate the change of sound - Presence doesn't really sound like any other Zeppelin album even now.. Despite the guitar overdubs, the sound is still quite basic and stripped down and maybe that was the problem?
Fast forward 30 odd years and I've just purchased Presence again on CD this time. Either my musical tastes have broadened or the CD sounds far better than the vinyl ever did (no longer have the LP to compare)-I'm not sure. All I know is that I now love this album. There's rock, blues, rockabilly, funk. The key tracks for me are Achilles Last Stand, For your Life, Nobody's Fault but Mine and Tea for one. The other tracks are also excellent and as I listen more to this album they are definite growers. 'Tea for One' is a beautiful slow smouldering blues that perhaps owes more to Peter Green's 'Love to Burn' than the oft compared 'Since I've been loving you' from the third album. Jimmy Page's guitar work throughout is incredible. Listen to his solo in Achilles for example. And just listen to those drums. Bonham really was the best. All the band are on top form. Robert Plant recorded his vocals from a wheelchair following a near fatal accident in the summer of 1975. His singing does at times sound more subdued than usual but the vocals fit perfectly to the songs.
Although Presence doesn't quite reach the standard of Graffiti or indeed maybe some of the earlier albums, it is still a majestic album and certainly worth purchasing. It's interesting how opinions alter over the years. In the mid '70's, it was Led Zeppelin 2 that was the favourite followed closely by no. 4. Critics hailed Graffiti as the best since Zeppelin 2. Led Zeppelin 3 and 'Houses of the Holy' were the lesser albums, both getting mixed reviews upon release. Houses of the Holy was thought of as a letdown after the fourth album.
Within a year of the release of Presence it was all punk and zeppelin weren't in favour for many (well we were only 16)...but their music really has stood the test of time, unlike many of the punk bands. Long hair and bare chests aside, Zeppelin had the songs and virtuoso musicianship to back it up. To see and hear how good they were live, I recommend the DVD 'Led Zeppelin'. The same goes for the live cd 'How the West was Won'. And all the original Zeppelin albums are a must have - though to this day I haven't listened to the whole of 'In through the Out Door'....maybe next week...........
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