Led Zeppelin – Black Country Woman

• “Black Country Woman” set to a picture of the housing album cover. Thanks to Led Zeppelin.

7.7 “Great Blues Rock / Soul Rock from England”

From their album “Physical Graffiti” (Swan Song SSK-89400) released in 1975.

(note: the majestic “Kashmir” is clearly the major appeal of this album but since I had long since  collected that, it cannot appear on this blog.)

Their tenure at Atlantic now at an end, “Physical Graffiti”, delivered in February ’75, was the first on the band’s own label, Swan Song. Cock-rock-riffage dominates, despite the oft-repeated claims that this set is some sort of dazzling pot-pourri of pop, funk, blues and folk with several sub-genre offshoots. According to Robert Plant, of all the albums Led Zeppelin released, Physical Graffiti represented the band at its most creative and most expressive, and is his favourite Led Zeppelin album.

Initially intended as an 8-track single LP, the runtime was so great that it was decided that they’d be better making it a double, giving a platform for favoured tracks which had not made the cut on previous releases. There was one outtake from Led Zeppelin III, three from Led Zeppelin IV, and three from Houses of the Holy, including the unused title-track itself. Interestingly, some of the best tracks on this set stem from these afterthoughts, including my featured track today.

I care very much for the casually glorious aspect of Led Zepp’s psyche; they’re a joy to hear when they’re stripped back and irreverent; such is the case on “Black Country Woman”, which was recorded way back in May ’72, during the Houses of the Holy sessions. An aeroplane can be heard above, prompting recording engineer Eddie Kramer to ask “Shall we roll it Jimmy?” to which Robert Plant replies: “Nah, leave it, yeah.” Relaxed and informal, the mandolin-led stomper is a sure-fire winner all-day long. Bobby Gillespie seems to agree with me – he got tore in about it for his “Country Girl” classic several years back.

You can read my full review for this LP in my album chart of 1975 featured here.

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