Hey, Folk’s this review is for CB and for the person who called me Coda Face! haha! Cheers, 2 ya!
Two years after Bonzo‘s passing in 1980 came the contractual record obligation in the form of Coda.
Led Zeppelin had to fulfill their commitments and deliver one more studio album to finish off their record contract with Swan Song Records.
It doesn’t matter that one of the best rock drummers of all time passes away a contract is a contract.
Coda for some is a throw together an album of odds and sods. For others, it has some great tracks and for myself its the tracks that matter.
Zep broke up as 1980 ended. I was 13 at the time and immersed in KISS/Cheap Trick/AC-DC/New England/Queen. Led Zeppelin was not even on my radar at that time. Course I knew the name but I had no real idea about who they were.
As 1982 rolled around a pal in highschool (John Young-M.I.A) had gotten Coda and when I heard what was my first song which was Ozone Baby I was hooked.
BAM! A slap right across my forehead. I took to this album right away. I mean listen to the sonics of those drums! Holy Shit they were LOUD!
I quickly went out and purchased Coda on cassette and from there I started picking away at the Zeppelin back catalog. I even got on board with Robert Plant‘s solo career as well buying all of his 80s output on cassette tape except for the brilliant Now And Zen album which needs to be heard on vinyl.
Coda, I was able to pick up recently sealed for $20 which was a steal as far as I’m concerned.
Nice Gatefold layout with a ton of pics and the cover is simple yet effective. 8 songs make up Coda which clocks in under 34 minutes.
Side 1 features 4 songs from the 1970 -72 period. Opener We’re Gonna Groove is a great track as Bonham drives the drums and everyone else follows. Kinda interesting that this song is actually a live version but the crowd was removed and Jimmy Page dubbed some guitars so the song would fall under the studio album contractual obligation which is wild, to say the least.
More Bonham on Poor Tom as the boys once again follow his lead. Almost a shuffle like track. Great track and Plant tosses down a superb vocal.
I Can’t Quit You Babe is from a soundcheck and Page sizzles the fretboard while Bonham and John Paul Jones lay back and let the chill groove come to them.
Walters Walk ends Side 1 with some cool ax work from Jimmy and drums from you guessed it…Bonham. Walters Walk is a pretty decent track that was leftover from the Houses of the Holy sessions.
Side 2 features tracks recorded between 1976-78.
Ozone Baby leads off and I will go out on a limb here and say its easily in my all-time Top 5 Zep Tunes. Ozone Baby features driving drums/walloping bass line along with Plant singing for his supper! Goes to show you how Zep had such stellar tunes sitting in their vault.
Following the brilliance of Ozone Baby comes Darlene which is another great track that has some cool piano and how about that tempo change which almost goes back to the 50’s rockabilly shuffle. Another superb track.
Bonzo’s Montreux is John beating the crap out of his drums with a pretty innovative solo and man, just listen to the superb sonics. Production is crystal clear.
Wrapping up things on Coda is another stellar Zep tune in the form of Wearing And Tearing which ends the album on a blistering pace. So good as this one just wants you to reach over and turn the volume knob way up! Another one that sat around in the crazy vault. Plant played Wearing and Tearing at Knebworth 1990 (with Rob’s solo band) which is on YouTube if you are interested and Jimmy Page even shows up and this kick this tune into another dimension!
Coda even all these years later is an album that I love as it shows you how good the 4 members of Zep were and the fact that they had so much strong material that these were considered leftovers.