According to TAKRL (one of the top bootleg labels of the 1970s), this bootleg LP was recorded live in London in 1972 -- unfortunately, TAKRL doesn't give a specific venue or an exact recording date. That frustrating lack of information brings Ballcrusher's rating down a bit, as does TAKRL's misspelling of John Bonham's name and the fact that the person who did the taping only recorded parts of "Dazed and Confused" and "Whole Lotta Love." Nonetheless, the bootleg's decent sound quality (not great, but decent) and generally strong performances made it an attractive, if imperfect, item for diehard Led Zeppelin fans. Ballcrusher is an appropriate title for this album, for Zep is truly explosive on such jewels as "Immigrant Song," "Communication Breakdown," "Heartbreaker," and "Black Dog." Although heavy metal/hard rock dominates this album, performances of "Going to California" and "That's the Way" serve as appealing examples of Zep's folk-rock side. And on "Since I've Been Loving You," the band really savors the feeling of the blues. Despite its flaws and shortcomings, Ballcrusher is a bootleg that Zep fans were glad to acquire when it turned up at vinyl swap meets in the 1970s.
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