This compilation features vintage jazz and blues sides -- mainly circa the 1920s and '30s -- all of which would inform Led Zeppelin's most revered reworkings and even a few compositions they initially claimed as their own. In fact, over the years many of these sides have been erroneously credited to either Jimmy Page and/or Robert Plant. The authenticity becomes instantly evident from the copious surface noise taken from the original 78-rpm source materials. That caveat aside, there is unquestionably vital music here that could be considered the rock & roll of its era. The majority of the titles found on this volume are easily associated with their obvious counterparts, cases in point being the 1929 "When the Levee Breaks" by Kansas Joe & Memphis Minnie and Bukka White's "Shake 'Em on Down" from 1937 (the latter was dubbed "Custard Pie" by Led Zeppelin for inclusion on Physical Graffiti in 1975). Although the title "That's No Way to Get Along" may not immediately click with rock fans, many will inevitably know the same tune as "Prodigal Son" by the Rolling Stones, and it is among the cuts that Robert Plant would refer to during the extended "Whole Lotta Love" medley. A majority of these classics were lifted and electrified into more straightforward interpretations. Examples include Howlin' Wolf's "How Many More Years" and Tiny Bradshaw's "Train Kept A-Rollin'" -- a holdout from the Yardbirds that was brought into the fold by Page and revived on Led Zep's final tour. Even Robert Johnson's rarely performed "Traveling Riverside Blues" is included here, presumably for the sake of completeness.
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AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer