“Lez Zeppelin I” by Lez Zeppelin

Artist: Lez Zeppelin
Title: “Lez Zeppelin I”
Label: Pie Records
Release Date: 9/7/2010
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 3.5/5

Before I begin this review I need to ask the readers a question. Are you one of those Rock fans that feels the sacred canon of bands like Led Zeppelin should never be tampered with and that doing so if not only an affront on the bands material but also a sin that is only punishable by the most insidious designs known to man. If this is you to the letter then please stop reading now and pretend we are like two stranger passing by on a busy street with no reason to stop and explain pleasantries. If you are a little more open to suggestion then by all means continue along with me as we discuss the album “Lez Zeppelin I” by the band that calls themselves Lez Zeppelin. If your not paying attention the name might trick your eye, but yes indeed it does say “LEZ ZEPPELIN” and they are an all female tribute to the legendary Gods of Hard Rock. Before getting my hands on this release I could only count a single track that I heard as a part of a compilation release of similar female focused acts to other bands of note and I will admit that they did stand out over their competition. These days it is no longer special or different to have a full female lineup paying tribute to the likes of KISS, ACDC or even Judas Priest and Motley Crue but there seem to be more bad than good among these numerous acts and instead of delivering an amazing aural experience, most are just concerned with the whole sexy attitude and flash with little substance. Thankfully, Lez Zeppelin are not of this kind and something with a lot more grit.

“Lez Zeppelin I” is their sophomore album and it is a tune for tune homage to the original Led Zeppelin debut album “Led Zeppelin I” and I had to say that they were pretty much on point with every single note and melody. The first thing that hit me about the band outside of the music was that they dispensed with silly names like “Joan Bonham” or “Jaime Page” and instead go under their own monikers and they should be applauded for that because it breaks the mold of what many expect in a tribute act. As an almost life long Led Zeppelin fan I listened with a critical ear as they played through and barring some minor personalization, the album seemed to be a deftly-executed note for note presentation of the classic release. Some might criticize their doing it in this fashion, but I felt it brings your mind back to a particular influential time of Hard Rock’s history and lets you enjoy the legendary work with new artisans doing their best at it. Over the years I have heard some fine Led Zep tributes done by Great White and even Zebra who are exceptional at the form and I think that with what the ladies are doing on this, are adding another solid chapter to the book of music history. My favorites that the group does on the release are of course the opening rouser “Good Times, Bad Times”, “You Shook Me” and “Your Time Is Gonna Come” but let’s face it – there isn’t a bad tune on the debut opus by Led Zeppelin anyway, so gauging a preferred order is a tad difficult.

The musicians involved in the group are Steph Paynes (lead guitar), Megan Thomas (bass), Leesa Harrington-Squyres (drums) and Shannon Conley (vocals). The musicianship presented on the recording is spot on, with Paynes being a fantastic emulator of Jimmy Page and Leesa really doing some justice on the drums and showing that this is not only a man’s detail in a Rock group. The bass of Megan is solid enough but when it comes to the vocals of Shannon Conley the listener will realize that she does not attempt to mimic the pipes of Plant but instead lets her own register shine through. She has a powerful and sometimes soaring range, but it is her own and that might jostle the purists a little bit. To me she called to mind Ann Wilson and Pat Benetar in some sense and these two ladies are not bad to be compared to. The band has been together since 2004 and tours extensively. The CD comes packaged in a digipak foldout that offers up some cool band photos from studio and live settings. There is no booklet with the release. The question remains is did we need to find this album being released, and depending on what your view about tribute bands getting such an opportunity will be your answer. I had to say that I would rather see Lez Zeppelin release several albums than some of the other tributes I have caught in my lifetime but I digress. This is likely more suited for the listener who has either heard the band before or has some curiosity about doing so much more than it is for the original Led Zeppelin diehard because I don’t think they are too objective about the presentation of these tunes but on the same token it is absolutely perfect for those folks who wonder just what the world would be like with a female Led Zeppelin in it. I enjoyed it enough to say that I would catch them in concert and I can safely applaud them for a stand up job. Good luck ladies.

Track Listing:
1. Good Times, Bad Times
2. Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You
3. You Shook Me
4. Dazed And Confused
5. Your Time Is Gonna Come
6. Black Mountain Side
7. Communication Breakdown
8. I Can’t Quit You Baby
9. How Many More Times

Official Website: http://www.lezzeppelin.com

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