Since I've had the opportunity to hear these tracks in the making, it gives me pleasure to be able to share my written impressions with y'all (with Big Wreck's blessings - of course). I can't wait 'til we can ALL share our thoughts on this and all the others. I'll have MUCH more coming.... never been this excited!
Yep, it's the one we all know, but on an incomparably different plane....
used to love this track called Hangman's Jury by Aerosmith. It starts
out on a backwoods porch just harmonica and an old slide acoustic and
progresses through a modern treatment, building instruments, vocals and
power as it grows; acknowledging it's Rn'R roots while infusing it with
raw power. Well, Hey Mama started out as a straight up Zep tribute back
when it was a solo demo by Ian, leaked in '02. While the original demo
had tons of heart (a fan favorite) it only hinted at what would become
of this track.
THIS is the game changer IMHO. Many times a demo
is infused with an immediacy that gives it life and then it gets mushed
in rendering it to final. Full production robs it of it's original
vibrancy and power. Well not so with this Mama! The rootsy guitar
pattern, the droning background chords, the tasty mandolin echo the same
Appalachian mountain music that inspired Zep originally. Ian rasps "Hey
Mama, hear me holler! Hey Mama, watch me pray! I buried you out in the
backyard, I hung you high in a tree, yeah that was ME". This is some
creepy backwoods drama about to throw down. Shadowing the vocal lines
the guit/mando/drone heaps layer upon layer until a MASSIVE stuttering
drum beat kicks it to life.
So full, so powerful…. background
vocals or effects laden guitar patterns fill in behind the lines "An
empty house on a hillside, An empty boat on the sea" and it's bouncy,
familiar and otherworldly all at once. Like when Jimmy Page played that
boogie pattern in the beginning of Celebration Day on Zep III. It was
just sooo from-another-planet yet firmly based in the delta blues. Mama
continues this Celebration tradition in the BEST possible way. You can't
help but dance along while the song goes on about betrayal and loss.
Chuck's furious drumming and absolutely bouncy baseline (Dave McMillan
channeling JPJ) gives this track a life not heard from Big Wreck since
The Oaf. As a matter of fact, I think it out does The Oaf in it's pure
As it hits it's stride "She forgot about forever,
and I'm stuck in yesterday" what's that?… Beatle-esque Octopuss's Garden
"la, la, las" or guitar lines? Whatever it is, it adds soo much body
and mood! You cannot help but get up and just ROCK!
screams "HEAR ME HOLLAR!" the band does one of those Pagian throwaway
breakdowns just to loosen your spine. At full bore now this track hums
along until a clipped "I'm STUCK in YESTERDAY!" spews and the first
hair-stand-on-end moment comes.
Big Wreck have uncovered the most
amazing lost Zep riff of all time. It's a down turning, elevating BEAST
of a riff! You will head-bang and rock to this reflexively. And it's
delivered with all the majesty, mystery and MASS that it deserves. All
you want to do is hear it MORE… LOUDER…. and then…. tease…. the band
drops into this sweet little slide eddie… just because they can…. light
and dark… tight but loose…. nice warm summer vocals and mandolins…. the
baseline to walk us out…. but, what happened to that riff? Where's that
confounded riff?… Ian's was "stuck with yesterday" but now he launches
into a mega "I'M STUCK WITH TODAY!" over the top of… THAT MASSIVE RIFF!
riff is such a behemoth. It's the culmination of years of distilling
Zep's essence, of playing the Immigrant Song in shows, of exorcizing
that Pagian possession that Ian sang of in Overemphasizing and Defined
by what We Steal. It has the majestic power of Kashmir, but DRIVES like
the Immigrant Song.
The power thrown by the whole band into this
ending is indeed worthy. The riff stomps, grinds, moans and groans over
furious badass bass and Bonham-righteous drum flourishes while
Plant-like guitar wails on the high end. The final chord rings on in
afterglow with feedback and vocal like the last heaves of Godzilla. THIS
is what Big Wreck is all about. THIS is what every Zep tribute from
Heart's Barracuda to Rival Sons Pressure and Time ascribes to be. THIS
is the 2 million hit youtube song. THIS is what my best bud (1st
generation Zep-fan) said "If they had survived, THIS is what Zeppelin
would be playin'!" You can't ask for a better endorsement. 'Nuff Said.
- ▼ 2014 (9)