Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music, My Stories

1976 – Part 3.4: Led Zeppelin – Presence

I was never a Led Zeppelin fan growing up. I didn’t even know that “Get In On” referenced “Kashmir” until I purchased the “Remasters” album in the early 90s.

And after that purchase I also heard many other songs from 80’s bands in Zeppelin’s music.

And what a weird cover for a rock band, with a family staring at an unfamiliar object around the dinner table.

So if i based my purchases on how the cover looked, this album wouldn’t even make the list.

Achilles Last Stand

One of my favourite cuts.

It’s long and repetitive, but there’s something about the bass groove, Page’s inventive playing to tweak the riffs each time and Bonham’s thundering drum sound that doesn’t make it boring.

Led Zeppelin hated being associated as one of the forefathers of Heavy Metal, but this cut begs to differ. Hell, I would even associate it with Progressive Metal. And at 10 plus minutes it definitely qualifies.

For Your Life

The Blues Funk grooves are back. It’s not a celebrated cut, but goddamn press play to hear the syncopated grooves of the bass, guitar and drums.

There is this middle blues fusion section which feels like a “roll the tape” moment.

The solo is Page abandonment, he’s phrasing is off, his atonal in some sections, exotic in others and aggressive and somehow it all works.

At 6 plus minutes it could have gone through the John Kalodner editing filter, but no one was going to tell Led Zeppelin how to do anything. They told you instead.

Royal Orleans

It’s like a jazz blues fusion cut. It doesn’t really go anywhere, and serves more as a short filler.

Nobody’s Fault But Mine

One of my favourite cuts and I had no idea that it was a cover song from Blind Willie Johnson who released it in 1927.

Because the song credits in the album are shown as Page and Plant.

The Bluesy Intro is that good that Jimmy Page sped it up and used it for “Shake My Tree” with David Coverdale.

And my ears tell me that the Bluesy Intro came from a John Renbourn acoustic cover of the song in the mid 60s.

So it’s a cover of a cover.

The vocal melody is from the original and the musical interpretation borrows heavily from the John Renbourn adaption.

But I still like it and Zeppelin brought the song to the masses.

Candy Store Rock

It’s a blues shuffle which doesn’t really go anywhere and the “oh baby” and “yeahs” are just too much.

Hots On For Nowhere

It reminds me of Van Halen during the Roth era and I believe David Lee Roth would model his vocal style.

Listen to the verses if you don’t believe me.

Tea For One

As soon as I saw the title I made up my mind that I hated the song, because I’m a sucker for a good title. And this ain’t a good title.

But man.

What a riff to start it off.

It then goes into a slow blues solo, like “Since I’ve Been Lovin You” and then Plant chimes in.

And the album wasn’t well received and it’s still the lowest selling Led Zep album but I think that more had to do more with the previous albums still selling like crazy.

They also didn’t tour on this album due to Robert Plant recuperating from serious injuries he had sustained earlier that year in a car accident.

While the second half is weak, there is a lot of good material here to dismiss the album.

Crank it.

Standard

9 thoughts on “1976 – Part 3.4: Led Zeppelin – Presence

  1. I have two Zeps on vinyl, this one and Coda. I like this one and as you pointed out maybe its for the reason it did not sell as much and is never featured in conversations about Zep. Perhaps thats the charm finding and digging into stuff that the masses missed.

  2. It does have a few cool songs on it but I’ll admit I often overlook this one when I’m thinking of the band. The first one and Physical Graffiti are my go-to records with them.

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