It was quite a long ago, when I offered new content, but hopefully, I can present some interesting materials in compensation! The Rat Salad Residuals series will continue, but for now, I’d like to present a new Covered in Obscurity post, where obscure bands covered the tracks of well-known artists.
The debut album of Led Zeppelin rightfully earned its’ success and fame, as a milestone for the hard rock, heavy metal and to the rock music in general. One of the perfect albums of the history of music, where every song were superb both on their own and together as an album. Talented musicians played in top form and with their innovation technique and virtuose playing, all the four of them became major influence of hundreds of thousands. More importantly: their creation and themselves became one of the legends and their heritage lives on and influence music lovers all around the globe decades after the original release.
As usual, you can see the list of the bands and tracks. Also, you can listen the original version (as a comparison) here!
- Good Times, bad times – Kenny and Friends (from live bootleg, 1972)
- Babe, I’m gonna leave you – Ugly Custard (from Ugly Custard, 1971)
- You shook me – Apollo (unreleased track from c.a. 1970)
- Dazed and Confused – Cosmic Dealer(from live bootleg, 1970)
- You’re Time is gonna come – Sandie Shaw(from Reviewing the Situation, 1970)
- Blackwaterside – Flibbertigibbet (from My lagan Love, recorded between 1968-1978)
- Communication Breakdown – Ibix (from live bootleg, 1969)
- I can’t quit you, baby – Dirty Blues Band (from rehersal bootleg, 1968)
- How many more times – Yuya Uchida & the Flowers (from From Pussies to Death in 10,000 Years of Freak Out, 1995)
Let’s celebrate this classical album with a collection of unique covers by obscure classics!
As an opening, let me present an exciting jam version of the opening track by a young university band “Kenny and Friends” from 1972. Almost no information is available about them, except the name of the members (Ken Koga – Guitar, Gary Heusler – Drums/Vocals, Julian Tresnak – Bass) and the recording was made at Hayward, California. Further research uncovered, Ken Koga still continued to play covers in different formations (he is still active!), while drummer/vocalist Gary Heusler served by the Navy Seabees and played at various country/pop cover acts to earn a bit of extra money.
As for the performance, it is a short, but energetic cover of the classic opening track, where all the band members fits very well to Page & Co’s shoes. Especially true this to Heusler, who solved both the vocal and the drummer task at the same time. Have fun!
2. Ugly Custard – Babe, I’m gonna leave you
Moving on to the first real “power ballad” of the first album, Ugly Custard’s instrumental cover has to be introduced here. This band name covered four, highly skilled british session musicians (Alan Parker – Guitar, Roger Coulham – Organ, Clem Cattini – Drums and Herbie Flowers – Bass). We shall meet with some of these members later regarding other obscure acts.
The musicians gathered to a project and recorded an instrumental, progressive rock album, which contained both covers and two original songs. The result has been released in 1970 in Spain and West-Germany, also in the UK in 1971. Although the album showed their high musicianships and original songwritings (listen Scarborough Fair or the Zeppelin cover below), the members did not recorded a follow-up and thus, the project remained one of the obscure treauses of the early 70’s.
3. Apollo – You shook me (all night long)
Moving from Anglo-Saxon bands to North-Europe, Apollo introduces themselves with the very faithful cover of You shook me. It is surprising that the musicians followed Led Zeppelin’s version note by note; although they formed the very first progressive rock band of Finnland, the drummer Martti (Edward) Vesala was an accomplished avantgarde jazz composer (we shall meet with his name later about Blues Section and Tasavallan Presidentti) and singer Harri Saksala’s (Kalevala) performance suggest that the band could easily step through the boundaries of the recording.
Actually, they did – only slightly, but if you focus on it, an accordion can be heard in the background; giving a bit more unique feeling to this song.
More to read:
4. Cosmic Dealer – Dazed and Confused
Netherland’s Cosmic Dealer formed originally from Hawks’66 (the early formation was still called The Hawks) in 1968 to play guitar driven, psychedelic-progressive-hard rock. They did so and recorded two fine albums in 1971 and 1973 (surviving some changes in the line-up). We shall return to these recordings in a later post.
However, before their first album, the group played different covers in numerous locations in West Germany and Netherlands, which proved perfect opportunity for the musicians to rehearse and develop their style which we can enjoy on their album. One of the regular covers by the band was Dazed and Confused (among with King Crimson’s 21st Century Schizoid Man), which you can listen in detail below. The band (Frans Poots – vocals, Jan Reynders – guitar, Adrian Vos – drums , Angelo Noce Santoro – bass and Bas van der Pol – guitar) was in great form (althought at some point they got a bit off from the rythm) and their style feels even more acid-taste than the original.
More to read:
5. Sandie Shaw – Your Time is gonna come
Sandie Shaw (born as Sandra Ann Goodrich) was a pop star in the UK during the middle-late 60’s, who gained fame as the most successful female british singer of her era (she was also popular at other parts of Europa as well, as she released albums french, german, italian and spanish languages), she won the Eurovision, played at Czechoslovakia, regularly appeared on TV and had her own fashion line.
Based on this description, she shouldn’t have anything to do with this blog and Led Zeppelin. However, at her first self-produced album (Reviewing the Situation) she decided to cover such groups, which made a great impact on the music of the 60’s. However, by looking at the list of the original artists (Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, The Bee Gees) it seems, she was a visionar as well – these groups made lasting impact decades beyond their original recordingins and still worldwide considered as the most influental entertainers.
Sandi’s cover of Your time is gonna come was a surprising, but a good choice. Surprising, because Zeppelin themselves played rarely it (only one bootleg version is known about it) and this song sticks out from the debut album. However, it’s lighter tone and stlye fits perfectly to Sandi’s character and with the the addition of flutes and Sandi’s voice, the song magically transforms into a nice pop (in the good sense) song. Enjoy!
More to read:
6. Flibbertigibbet – Blackwaterside
Flibbertigibett is a chuckoo’s egg from several reasons. First of all, as an acoustic folk formation, they provide the most lighthearted cover in our blog. Also, they don’t directly cover Led Zeppelin’s Black Mountain Side, but the traditional song, which was covered by Bert Jansch and Anner Briggs, which was covered by (and get famous through) Jimmy Page.
Apart from these, this song has a place here. Similarly to the Black Mountain Side on Led Zeppelin’s 1st album, this track helps to clear out our heads and recover from the hard rock classics. Also, the recording itself is an obscure one and (probably) been recorded around or somewhat later than the release of Led Zeppelin’s debut album.
More to read:
7.Ibex – Communication Breakdown
Ibex is really count as an obscure band from Liverpool, due to its short lifespan (was founded in 1969 but went through a name change and disbanded at the same year) and lack of official recordings. However, the lead vocalist (Freddie Bulsara) made his first steps here towards a professional career, which he reached after joining with the members of Smile and forming Queen (and changed his name to Freddie Mercury)
8. Dirty Blues Band – I can’t quit you, Baby (+ She’s the one & Bring it on home)
I can’t quit you, Baby (or babe) was written by Willie Dixon and recorded by Otis Rush – and almost every bigger band covered it from John Mayall and Eric Clapton, through Led Zeppelin and (recently) The Rolling Stones, till Gary Moore.
Now, the following cover is not the cover of Led Zeppelin’s version. However, this recording has the same feeling as Zeppelin’s recording (listen for example Rick Lunetta’s solo) – the magic is here as well. However, the singer Piazza’s lower tone and harmonica skills and the trombones gave this version a more late 50-60’s Chicago-blues vibe.
As a bonus, you can listen “Bring it on home” here as well.
9. Yuya Uchida & the Flowers – How many more times
If you’ve taken notice about it, every one of the covers came either from the USA or from Europe. Yuya Uchida & the Flowers however, can be originated from Japan. They were one of the many (usually short-lived) late 60’s garage groups, who covered the then actual british and american hits.
However, this specific group was a bit more important than their contemporaries. First of all, their cover of Led Zeppelin’s How Many Times is very energetic: the band applies the advantage of two lead vocalists (Yuya Uchida & Remi Aso), while the other members of the band give them very solid base (Hideki Ishima – guitars; Katsuhiko Kobayashi – lap steel guitar and Joji “George” Wada – drums). In addition, they made their version even more unique by adding some Hammond B3 riffs in the background.
Although this group was short-lived (they released only one album in 1969 from their original songs and covers), guitarist Ishima and drummer Wada took up the flag (including the “Flower” name) after the disbanding in 1970 and formed Flower Travellin’ Band, which was (and still considered) one of the most influentenl hard rock/proto-metal/psychedelic rock groups of Japan. Hence we shall have a closer look on them in a future Rat Salad Residuals post.
All the best!