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The Complete BBC Sessions

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Led Zeppelin 9/16/2016

Review

Back in 1997, Led Zeppelin released BBC Sessions, the band's first attempt to chronicle its heavily bootlegged live recordings for the British Broadcasting Corporation. That double-disc set didn't contain all of Zep's BBC Sessions: a full nine songs from 1969 were left behind, including three songs recorded in March -- a session highlighted by the otherwise unavailable original "Sunshine Woman" -- that were believed to be lost. The 2016 triple-disc set The Complete BBC Sessions adds those songs as a third disc to a remastered version of the original 1997 compilation, an addition that doesn't greatly alter the overall picture of Zeppelin's BBC Sessions but offers a whole lot of additional value. Without those sessions, the compilation remains a stellar showcase of Led Zeppelin in ascendancy but with them the portrait deepens, particularly in how "Communication Breakdown" winds up being a place for the bandmembers to stretch their legs, incorporating covers or even interpolations of their own songs; it's a place where their intensity is married to their thirst for adventure. Elsewhere, there are plenty of extended blues jams -- "I Can't Quit You Baby" and "You Shook Me" from the lost March 1969 session are condensed and sound all the more powerful for it; similarly, the woozy rearrangement of Robert Johnson's "Travelling Riverside Blues" resonates because it's concise -- but the music that hits hardest remains the live-wire rockabilly ("Somethin' Else") and revved-up blues-boogie, the latter coming to the forefront on the otherwise unavailable "The Girl I Love She Got Long Black Wavy Hair" and that unearthed "Sunshine Woman," a throwaway raver that shows just how loose, muscular, and invigorating Zeppelin were at the outset. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 You Shook Me [23/3/69 Top Gear] Led Zeppelin 5:13
  3. 2 I Can't Quit You Baby [23/3/69 Top Gear] Led Zeppelin 4:22
  4. 3 Communication Breakdown [22/6/69 Pop Sundae] Led Zeppelin 3:10
  5. 4 Dazed And Confused [23/3/69 Top Gear] Led Zeppelin 6:36
  6. 5 The Girl I Love She Got Long Black Wavy Hair [22/6/69 Pop Sundae] Led Zeppelin 3:0
  7. 6 What Is and What Should Never Be [29/6/69 Top Gear] Led Zeppelin 4:19
  8. 7 Communication Breakdown [29/6/69 Top Gear] Led Zeppelin 2:40
  9. 8 Travelling Riverside Blues [29/6/69 Top Gear] Led Zeppelin 5:8
  10. 9 Whole Lotta Love [29/6/69 Top Gear] Led Zeppelin 6:5
  11. 10 Somethin' Else [22/6/69 Pop Sundae] Led Zeppelin 2:4
  12. 11 Communication Breakdown [10/8/69 Playhouse Theatre] Led Zeppelin 3:5
  13. 12 I Can't Quit You Baby [10/8/69 Playhouse Theatre] Led Zeppelin 6:21
  14. 13 You Shook Me [10/8/69 Playhouse Theatre] Led Zeppelin 10:14
  15. 14 How Many More Times [10/8/69 Playhouse Theatre] Led Zeppelin 11:35
  16. 1 Immigrant Song [1/4/71 Paris Theatre] Led Zeppelin 3:20
  17. 2 Heartbreaker [1/4/71 Paris Theatre] Led Zeppelin 5:16
  18. 3 Since I've Been Loving You [1/4/71 Paris Theatre] Led Zeppelin 6:56
  19. 4 Black Dog [1/4/71 Paris Theatre] Led Zeppelin 5:18
  20. 5 Dazed and Confused [1/4/71 Paris Theatre] Led Zeppelin 18:37
  21. 6 Stairway to Heaven [1/4/71 Paris Theatre] Led Zeppelin 8:50
  22. 7 Going to California [1/4/71 Paris Theatre] Led Zeppelin 3:55
  23. 8 That's the Way [1/4/71 Paris Theatre] Led Zeppelin 5:44
  24. 9 Whole Lotta Love [Medley][1/4/71 Paris Theatre] Led Zeppelin 13:45
  25. 10 Thank You [1/4/71 Paris Theatre] Led Zeppelin 6:36
  26. 1 Communication Breakdown [23/3/69 Top Gear] Led Zeppelin 2:59
  27. 2 What Is and What Should Never Be [22/6/69 Pop Sundae] Led Zeppelin 4:12
  28. 3 Dazed and Confused [10/8/69 Playhouse Theatre] Led Zeppelin 11:5
  29. 4 White Summer [10/8/69 Playhouse Theatre] Led Zeppelin 8:19
  30. 5 What Is and What Should Never Be [1/4/71 Paris Theatre] Led Zeppelin 4:41
  31. 6 Communication Breakdown [1/4/71 Paris Theatre] Led Zeppelin 4:50
  32. 7 I Can't Quit You Baby [14/4/69 Rhythm & Blues Session] Led Zeppelin 5:27
  33. 8 You Shook Me [14/4/69 Rhythm & Blues Session] Led Zeppelin 4:8
  34. 9 Sunshine Woman [14/4/69 Rhythm & Blues Session] Led Zeppelin 3:6

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