Disc Review: Led Zeppelin I, II and II Deluxe Edition Reissues (Atlantic) - The Buffalo News
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Disc Review: Led Zeppelin I, II and II Deluxe Edition Reissues (Atlantic)

It almost seems as silly as pointing out the fact that water is wet, but I’ll say it anyway - Led Zeppelin crafted music of such stunning dynamic depth, soulfulness and musicality that it entered into the realm of the timeless almost as soon as it was released. The ravages of time, the changing of the trendiness guard and classic rock radio’s dogged insistence on beating it into the ground have not managed to deflate the mighty Zeppelin. With the release of the first installment in a full-catalog remastered deluxe version campaign, we are reminded once again that Zeppelin was much more than a heavy blues-rock fusion or, as so many have so wrongfully asserted, a proto-heavy-metal act long on bombast and short on substance. Folk, blues, funk, R&B, classical music, rock ’n’ roll, country - Zeppelin channeled the influence of all of them into their own heady hybrid. Lovingly remastered by Zeppelin founder and guitarist Jimmy Page, the deluxe editions of Led Zeppelin I, II and III arrive with companion discs offering previously unreleased studio tracks, rough mixes, unused songs and alternate versions. For the Zep-head, all are worth hearing, for they provide an aural snapshot of the time period when Page, Robert Plant, John Bonham and John Paul Jones were crafting the beginnings of a canon that would tower over that of all others, save the Beatles. Page has done a fantastic job with the remasters – these recordings have never been heard in such crisp clarity. It’s almost as if Page has invited you into the studio and given you a seat right between Bonham’s bass drum and Jones’ bass stack. The inclusion, with the deluxe edition of “Led Zeppelin I,” of the full set played by the band at the Olympia in Paris on Oct. 10, 1969, is an absolute must-have. This is the group at its primal best, tearing through its radical reworkings of blues tropes with fury, yes, but subtle musicality as well. Each reissue comes with a book stuffed with period-specific photos, too. The album artwork has been dealt with as lovingly as has the music within. Page also remastered the three albums for vinyl, and not surprisingly, they too sound fantastic. You have options: there’s a single CD version of the remastered original album; the deluxe editions, with the remastered original album, plus a disc of bonus material; the deluxe edition on vinyl; the digital download; or the deluxe boxed set, which packs all of the vinyl and disc editions together, and throws in a card for a hi-def digital download, to boot. Buy them for yourself; Buy them for a friend; Buy them for your kids. But by all means, buy them. 4 stars for all three (Jeff Miers)

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