May 5, 2008
Tribute albums rarely rate much wow factor, but this one is interesting in that along with a bunch of modern players doing instrumental versions of classic ’Zep tunes (including Chris Mahoney, Randy Coven, Doug Doppler, Leslie West, Greg Rapaport, and Brian Tarquin) it features several bonus tracks from 1970 that feature Jimmy Page and John Bonham backing the notorious English rock singer David “Screaming Lord” Sutch. On three tunes lifted from the ’70 release Lord Sutch and Heavy Friends (which was produced by JP), Page pulls no punches as he riffs with pretty much the same mix of intensity and trippiness as he was doing with his own band at the time. Why Page wanted to work with such a grating singer as Sutch is a mystery—Jeff Beck, Noel Redding, and pianist Nicky Hopkins also performed on his Lordship’s record and apparently regretted it. A fourth R&B-flavored track from 1968 called “Burn Up” features Page, John Paul Jones, and Hopkins in league with Keith de Groot on vocals, Clem Cattini on drums, and Chris Hughes on tenor sax. You have to take this old stuff for what it is (and Led Zeppelin it ain’t), but it’s fun to hear nevertheless.