Of the early Zep albums, the only one I did not grow allergic to following my massive overdose is this one. Mostly because it did not seem to get played at parties quite as much as the other albums did (or should I say that only one side got played), the second acoustic side most likely repelling the young rockers. Graced with an elaborated artwork, with its spinning disk, this album is a bit schizophrenic with two distinct facets of the group opposed with each its own side of the wax.
With the first side an electric affair, starting out on the vibrant Immigrant Song (another short effective Communication Breakdown and Sab's Paranoid-like scorcher), the highlight is the lengthy blues epic, Since I've been Loving You where Plant manages so much drama that the same kind of spine chills run down your body as there was with the debut Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You. But while the cold-feeling Celebration Day and the acoustic Friends are a bit overshadowed, they retain their qualities.
It is mostly the acoustic second side that kept me spinning the vinyl throughout the 90's (no more than once a year is my guess) and the folk rock developed here can appear progressive, with most of the tracks enthralling and exciting as the Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, and the intriguing Hats Off To Roy Harper and the lovely Tangerine. One of Zep's most secretive vinyl side in their discography.
Often overlooked (compared to other Zep albums) by rockers of my generation, This album is ultimately the most rewarding of their career. And with this album, it was really clear that they were close to their maximum potential.
By: Sean Pane