Led Zeppelin: Led Zeppelin IV – 5 stars
Within eighteen months, three British musicians went from virtual obscurity
to being part of the best known rock band in the world. By the end of 1971,
world domination was such that Led Zeppelin could afford to release a fourth
album without any sleeve notes and with no band image or song titles on the
sleeve either. It has since been called by fans a variety of names, from
the obvious “Led Zeppelin IV” to the less obvious “Runes” after its many
Lord of the Rings references, to ‘Four Symbols” or “Zosa”, after its inside
cover motif, or plain old “No Title”. Still, on pre-sales it went to #1 all
over the world, being released on November 8, 1971, and it stayed at the top
of the charts well into the new year.
Mott the Dog (left) breaks bread with Led
Zeppelin guitar legend Jimmy Page at Jameson’s Irish Pub in Pattaya.
Over the following decades this album
has probably generated enough income from sales to run a small country. It
has also won just about every accolade out there; voted the best rock record
ever in such illustrious magazines as Classic Rock Revisited,
Rolling Stone, Q, Mojo, and even the Pattaya Mail (we just had a
vote and Toto, Ron the Wizard, Rick of Bryant, Editor Martin and Led
Zeppelin experts Lars Faeste, Colin ‘Mottman ‘Powell, Dai Coe and the Dog
said it was a unanimous decision.)
If you had wanted to put together a
super group in 1971 all you had to do was call up Led Zeppelin, and there
you had it. Out of the ashes of the Yardbirds the band’s last remaining
member Jimmy Page created Zeppelin (well, he had to, all the others had
left) and the new band did one tour of Scandinavia as ‘The New Yardbirds’.
Page originally joined the ‘Yardbirds’
as bassist, but switched to lead to give the band a duel pronged guitar
attack with a certain Jeff Beck on the other axe. Page had long been a top
session player and he was the man who gave Led Zeppelin the initial vision
as well as musical gravitas. Here was a guitarist who could shred the
wallpaper off your walls one second and be as gentle as a snowflake the
Robert Plant quickly became the
template of what a singer in a rock band should look and sound like. His
unique style of whoops, whines, and yells became his trademark and in
between all this, with his clear vocals, he could always put across the
stories he wanted to tell in his song writing partnership with Page.
Like Page, bass player John Paul Jones
also had a previously successful career as a session player but was
completely unknown outside the inner music circles. His quiet nature, his
bass playing skills, keyboard work, and help with the song writing were
integral parts in the band and essential to its well being.
Then behind the drums was the man to
set standards of rock ‘n’ roll to the present day, even after his tragic
death more than twenty years ago, Mr. John Bonham (I mean even his name
sounds like a drummer.) This ‘God of Thunder’ only got the job because he
went down with Robert Plant to keep him company on his journey from
Birmingham, England, to audition for the band. The rest - as they say - is
Is Led Zeppelin’s fourth album as good
as its reputation? Has it stood the test of time? Stupid questions I know,
of course it has. You get eight tracks here, all of which are classics.
The opening one-two also allayed any fears fans may have had that the band
might delve back further into its folksy roots after the rather laid back
“Led Zeppelin III” of the previous year. But the year of constant touring
had honed their natural rocking instincts.
As soon as Robert Plant leads the band
off with those immortal lines: ‘Hey, Hey Mama, said the way you move,
Gonna make you sweat Gonna make you groove, My, My child when you shake that
thing, Gonna make you burn, Gonna make you sting’ ....you know you are
off into totally politically incorrect rock ‘n’ roll heaven.
The band comes in with the thunderous
riff of “Black Dog” and off they fly, roaring straight the way through
without giving you a second to catch your breath, then straight into the
opening drum intro to “Rock and Roll.” And what do you expect to get with a
title like that? Page just peels off one riff after another, building them
up to a shattering crescendo and John Paul Jones backs this up with some of
the busiest fret work ever laid down in a studio by a mere mortal of his
chosen profession. As for John (Bonzo) Bonham, he is a man at the height of
his powers having the time of his life.
Other tracks include the wonderful
“Four Sticks”, so called because Bonham gets the sound he wanted, drummed
with four sticks simultaneously (obvious when you think about it.) and an
acoustic ballad in “Going to California”. Then there is the keyboard
orientated rocker “Misty Mountain Top”, which on any other album, by any
other band, would be the centerpiece of any collection. However, here it
sometimes gets overlooked by its surroundings, but comes across as a real
delight in the context of the album.
There is also a raging folksy tale told
with Robert Plant giving full reign to his Tolkienesque whims in the
wonderful “The Battle of Evermore”, accompanied by some dexterous mandolin
playing from Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones. Plant is able to display his
vocal chops in his duet with Sandy Denny (ex-Fairport Convention), who in
her illustrious but tragic career had probably never sung so sweet.
The album closes with one of the
darkest songs Led Zeppelin ever recorded, “When the Levee Breaks”, a blues
as only Led Zeppelin can play, with Plant’s vocals and harmonica play and
Page’s guitar to the fore as the others lay down a rock solid spine to the
This was Led Zeppelin’s finest hour,
and therefore rightly holds the claim to #1 album of all time.
Oh, by the way, it also includes
“Stairway to Heaven” (Does anybody remember laughter?)
Jimmy Page - guitar and mandolin
Robert Plant - vocals and harmonica
John Paul Jones – bass, mandolin and
John Bonham - drums
Rock and Roll
The Battle Of Evermore
Stairway To Heaven
Misty Mountain Top
Going To California
Note: Written by Mott The Dog
and Hells Bells. Mott The Dog can usually be found in his kennel at
Jameson’s Pub, Nova Park, Soi AR, North Pattaya.
Judas Priest - ‘Painkiller’ – 5 stars
British heavy rockers Judas Priest.
By the release of Judas Priest’s 12th studio album,
“Painkiller”, they were already musical superstars and considered amongst
the top live acts in the world. Their breakthrough originally came with the
album “British Steel” (1980) with its three smash hit singles; “Breakin’ The
Law (a song now synonymous with heavy metal throughout the world with its
rebellious lyrics and heavy riffing guitar), “Living After Midnight”, and
“United’ (used by many football fans as their team’s anthem... well, at
least the ones called United.)
After that there were
more hit albums, with “Screaming For Vengeance” (1982) being particularly
popular in America. Their stadium tours were automatic sellouts and Judas
Priest were not shy at giving bands on the way up a helping hand either,
including Iron Maiden.
But after great success
in the Eighties, the Priest decided on a slight change of direction. Out
went technically brilliant drummer Dave Holland and in came the hard-hitting
goliath of a percussionist, Scott Travis. Also discarded were the
synthesizers which Priest had been using to fill out their sound, both in
the studio and in live concerts. The results were stupendous and
“Painkiller” is internationally recognized as one of the top heavy metal
albums of all time. In most charts it’s up there in the top 3.
The opening title song
“Painkiller” sums up the whole album. Beginning with the power of Travis’
drums, the temperature suddenly rises with a rattling K.K. Downing guitar
break as the whole band come rolling in with one of the heaviest sounds
Rob Halford’s vocals
are a step up from what anybody else has ever tried, nobody else has that
range, and the dual guitar rampage by Glenn Tipton and Downing takes the
whole twin-guitar thing to a new level. Ian Hill must be close to mashing
the strings of his bass guitar as he rips through them, thundering the
opening song along while Scott Travis makes the Judas Priest drum-stool his
own and cements his place as one of the ‘heaviest’ drummers the world has
There are several
memorable moments during the 6 minutes and 7 seconds of “Painkiller”. Rob
Halford’s screams at 1 minute and 27 seconds, again at 4 minutes, and 19
seconds, and the final scream of triumph at 5 minutes 28 seconds are all
earth shattering, whilst the dual guitar break, which takes the whole song
into another gear at 2 minutes and 15 seconds, is unlikely to ever be
repeated for pure excitement.
If after listening to
this track you are not a 100% heavy metal fan, smashing your head into
walls, shaking your hair uncontrollably, and have not already broken three
strings on your air guitar, then you are never going to be a heavy metal
monster and please go back to one-hit wonders and listen to what Simon
For those who choose to
follow the righteous path however, rest assured you are not alone. So far
the band has sold close to 50 million albums worldwide and over 100,000
people turned up to see them rock the joint at the Rock in Rio music
festival in 1991.
Just by reading the
song titles you will be able to get a pretty good idea of what the rest of
the album offers, “All Guns Blazing” being a prime example (and yes, they
most certainly do). Only on “Night Crawler” do the synthesizers make a
return, giving a house of horror opening before the band coming raging back
in. “Battle of Hymn” is just a short snippet of under a minute and used for
over a decade as introduction music for the band’s live sets. Apart from
that, expect no respite.
Rob Halford- vocals
K.K. Downing- guitar
Glenn Tipton- guitar
Ian Hill - bass guitar
Scott Travis - drums
All Guns Blazing
Between The Hammer
and The Anvil
A Touch of Evil
Battle of Hymn
One Shot at Glory
Written by Hells Bells and Mott The Dog, who can often be found banging
their heads together at Jameson’s Pub, Nova Park, Soi AR, North Pattaya.
‘Frampton Comes Alive’ -3½ stars
This was not intended
to be a bad review, but come on. After four solo albums that went nowhere,
Peter Frampton suddenly brings out a live album and everybody rushes to the
Now released as a two
disc CD set, the concert was originally recorded in San Francisco and,
according to legend, is pretty much what the band played that night with no
jiggery pokery going on in the studio to tidy it up afterwards, as was the
habit back in the day. So from that point of view, so far so good.
You cannot argue with
the sales figures either after the album was released in January of 1976.
It only took until mid-April to reach the top of the American Billboard
charts, where it stayed in the number one slot for ten weeks, and remained
in the top one hundred for ninety-seven weeks.
Three singles were
released along the way, all of which were smash hits and you could not move
in America without one of the songs from this album blasting out at you on
the radio. In all, the album sold eight million copies in the States and
eleven million worldwide.
But then we get to the
nuts and bolts. The tracks on the album include the terribly annoying “Show
Me The Way”, with its use of a talk box that enabled Frampton to ‘magically’
make his guitar talk. But this was nothing new as many people had been
using talk boxes for years. In fact Jeff Beck had used one to devastating
effect on his album “Blow By Blow” (1975) and by the time “Frampton Comes
Alive” came out Beck had all but given up using his.
After a quick
introduction and a great reception, Frampton and his band break into the
pretty upbeat “Somethin’ Happening”, which opens things up quite nicely.
But after that it all turns a bit soulless. I mean, who calls a song
“Doobie Wah”? The music here also starts to show up the limitations of the
backing band, who, while all being competent musicians were nothing
startling, and did you ever hear of them doing anything individually after
being in Frampton’s band?
To a man they had to
rely to a large degree on Frampton for the razzle-dazzle. And this again
tends to disappoint as he very rarely gets his guitar playing to the fore –
something you would expect with his reputation as a renowned axe slinger.
Frampton was also not really known as a great singer either, pleasant maybe
but eleven million albums?
Things do drag on a bit
on the first CD, reaching a point of boredom on “Just The Time of Year” when
Frampton is alone on stage with an acoustic guitar and sings about “suddenly
yawning” and “wake me up I’m sleeping.” From here on though it does get a
lot better, with the band starting to get in a bit of a groove, although
never with the crunch or power of Frampton’s previous band Humble Pie, who
had also recorded a successful double live album, “Performance Rockin’ the
By the time we get to
the second CD you can almost see why the album was so popular, with a fine
almost fourteen minute version of “Do You Feel Like We Do”, including some
good audience participation and a roaring Frampton guitar solo (alas the
talk box does make another appearance.)
Just when it feels like
Frampton and band are coming into the home straight they then make a
complete hash of the last fence as they try and pile into “Jumpin’ Jack
Flash”. It sounds like a hotel lounge act has been asked to play some
Rolling Stones and without rehearsal gives it a bash. Peter Frampton is no
‘Keef’ and certainly no Mick either.
A couple of bonus
tracks have been tacked onto the new updated version of the album but to be
honest, they should have been left off.
Peter Frampton –
guitar, vocals and talk box
Bob Mayo - rhythm
guitar and keyboards
Stanley Sheldon - bass
John Siomos – drums
Lines on My Face
Show Me the way
It’s a Plain Shame
Wind Of Change
Just The Time of
Penny For Your
Baby, I Love Your
I Wanna Go To The
Nowhere’s To Far For
(I’ll Give You)
Do You feel Like We
White Sugar (bonus
Jumpin’ Jack Flash
Day’s Dawning (bonus
Written By Hells Bells and Mott the Dog. Mott and his cronies can often be
found talking old Rock’n’Roll music in Jameson’s Pub, Nova Park Hotel, Soi
AR , North Pattaya.
The Who: ‘Live at Leeds’ - 5 Stars.
Originally recorded at Leeds University
in February 1970 and in the record shops by May of that year, there were
many reasons for this album. The Who had been out on the road for a year
promoting their rock opera “Tommy” and had no new material to release at the
time, so a live album seemed a good idea, which is why two gigs were set up
in northern England once the band had returned from Europe.
(from left) John Entwistle, Keith Moon, Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey.
The first of these concerts took place
in Hull and the second at Leeds. There were a few problems with John
Entwistle’s sound at Hull so the Leeds show was used (Live at Hull just
doesn’t quite have the same ring to it anyway, does it?). One of the other
reasons for the release was that The Who were such a good live band that it
made it much easier for the bootleggers to record them, hence this official
When the album came out in 1970, it
appeared in what was supposed to look like a bootleg cover of the era
although it was a gatefold sleeve and in the inside covers were many extras
for the fans to pore over. The first edition also only had 6 tracks on it,
even allowing for the fact that “My Generation” came in at nearly 16 minutes
long and “Magic Bus” at just under eight. These numbers had been edited
down to allow for the limitations of vinyl.
The album was released again on CD in
1985, again in 1987 and then once more in 1995 with extra songs and more
banter between the band members. Finally it was released in its entirety in
2001, but this time with the whole of “Tommy” on the second CD whilst all
the other songs were compiled together on the first CD. It was not until
2014 that the entire concert was released in the correct running order and
with the complete banter between all band members.
But back to the gig and what a show it
was! The concert starts with the John Entwistle written “Heaven and Hell”
where The Who stretch their musical muscle, then playing a few more numbers
to really get the blood levels up before we get a string of their early hits
thrown in for good measure. We are treated to an outing from the first
little mini-rock opera - a story of a naughty old engine driver and a young
lass who makes a slight error, but is forgiven by her returning husband. It
was a bit of fun before Pete Townshend calls The Who to order and off they
go, rampaging through “Tommy” for the next hour.
Certain liberties have been taken with
the running order and a couple of numbers left out to fit better the
electric stage version of “Tommy” (or Thomas as Pete Townshend refers to
it.) But this is The Who at their best. John Entwistle’s bass literally
pops along, holding together each song, whilst Keith Moon is Keith Moon,
never was there a drummer like him and never will be again. Roger Daltrey
had by this time become a classic rock singer and here he never falters as
he belts out each tune. But it’s the man himself, Pete Townshend, who
blasts the band through with some literally violent and gifted guitar work
and drives them on to many peaks. His vocals when his turn comes are also
pitch perfect. At times you can almost hear and feel Townshend’s arm
windmilling on his guitar strings.
When the opera comes to an end, band
and audience enjoy themselves with some old rock ’n’ roll numbers. The Who
hymn “My Generation” includes some false endings, with Townshend dragging
the band back in again to carry on cleverly and getting the opening riff to
“The Seeker” to bounce off the back of the University hall wall. There are
also snippets of “Naked Eye” a reprise of “See Me Feel Me”/”We’re Not Going
To Take It” and a slice of the underture not played in the opera. To finish
of course we are all taken off in the “Magic Bus”.
The Who were one of the best rock ’n’
roll live bands in the world from 1969- 1978, before poor old Keith Moon
succumbed to his hedonistic lifestyle.
This album is a fine monument to the
The Who on this album were:
Pete Townshend - guitar and vocals
Keith Moon - drums and vocals
John Entwistle - bass guitar and vocals
Roger Daltrey - vocals
Heaven and Hell
Young Man Blues
I’m a Boy
A Quick One While He’s away
It’s a Boy
Eyesight To the Blind
Do You Think It’s Alright?
Tommy, Can You Hear Me?
There’s a Doctor
Go To The Mirror
Smash The Mirror
Tommy’s Holiday Camp
See Me, Feel Me, Touch Me, Heal
Me/We’re Not Going To Take It.
Shakin’ All Over
Note: Written by Mott the Dog
and Hells Bells. Mott the Dog and crew can often be found composing a rock
opera or two round the table at Jameson’s, Nova Park, Soi AR in north