Various Artists

Early Blues Roots of Led Zeppelin

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This was a great idea. Certainly Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page made no secret of the fact that he had been deeply influenced by blues and that Led Zep was going to be a modern day outlet for the form of American music that inspired him to become a guitarist in the first place. And early Zep certainly borrowed deeply from both blues and folk traditions, albeit they made their tunes a lot heavier. There are a number of obvious choices here, tunes the band actually covered, such as Memphis Minnie's "When the Levee Breaks," "Gallis Pole," by Leadbelly, which means the same thing as "Gallow's Pole," and Blind Willie Johnson's "Nobody's Fault But Mine." But there are 14 other absolute gems from the Delta here, and not one didn't directly or indirectly influence Page's playing and hence the band's sound. Emotionally, most of these songs are devastating, but there are others which are simply driving and constant such as John Lee Hooker's "Boogie Chillen" and Bukka White's "Shake "Em on Down," or sexual in the case of Blind Boy Fuller's "I Want Some of Your Pie." Add Robert Johnson's monster "Traveling Riverside Blues" to direct cops by Page for his own purposes. This is simply a great blues collection of early material, and for the price can be enjoyed simply for what it is.

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