Coda (1982)


 
1. We're Gonna Grove 2. Poor Tom 3. I Can't Quit You Baby 4. Walter's Walk 5. Ozone Baby 6. Darlene 7. Bonzo's Montreaux 8. Wearing and Tearing

 

After John Bonham unexpectedly died, the band wisely decided that they would call it quits. It was soon discovered that Led Zeppelin was not a band that had a ton of leftovers sitting around in music studio vaults. This album was basically an effort to clean out their remaining strong tracks that, for whatever reason, hadn’t been released before during the sessions for the particular album. It’s a relatively thin collection in terms of volume – only 8 songs. Yet the 8 songs are all quite powerful. The record does feel a bit scattered, and it doesn’t sound like any effort was really made to clean up the tracks and make this thing a proper album. The tracks are all well, but they do seem a bit rough around the edges.

Two songs here are actually recorded from a 1969 concert – yet the crowd noise has been filtered out. Probably a good thing. We’re Gonna Groove is a great old Ben E. King song that the band would use to open their shows back in the early days. It was always a great opener to a show, and it proves here to be a great opener to an album as well. Strangely, they also include one live version of a song that they had already released. I Can’t Quit You Baby is a nice inclusion, but it seems a tad out of place since it’s the only thing here that is recognizable. It makes one think that the vaults were half-empty at best. The fact that it’s live doesn’t really add that much variety to what fans have already heard.

The other six cuts are all quite prime. In a weird way, it almost seems as though the band was paying homage to John Bonham as his drums seem rather strong within the mix of the tunes. Poor Tom has an incredibly strong bonzo riff that stands out far better than anything else on the song. Not to be outdone, there’s actually a drum “solo” piece here - Bonzo’s Monreaux. Unlike Moby Dick from years ago, this thing actually sounds planned and carefully crafted. There’s lots of percussion instruments woven into the tracks that accompany Bonham’s playing that makes it sound as if it had a purpose all along, and not just some improvised solo.

The three other songs on Side 2 - Ozone Baby, Darlene and Wearing and Tearing are all outstanding. Strangely, these are all from the In Through The Out Door sessions, and would have made that finished product a tad better had it included these songs. Again, the tracks are all lacking the polish that would have made them sound in the exact same vein as the other songs that did make the cut, but they all rock quite hard and are also a lot fun. This was the main thing that was missing from the songs that did make it on In Through The Out Door .

There would be a couple more unreleased cuts that would make it on box sets and on future expanded cds, but give the band credit for picking the best of the best for this release. It’s a welcome “coda” to what is already a stellar collection of albums.

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