delicious LZ leftovers

Boxed Set2 (Atlantic)
Led Zeppelin

By Bob Bahr

It has been my longstanding belief that no matter who you are, I can find a Led Zeppelin song that you will like. Maybe it will be the acoustic guitar vortex of "Bron-Yr-Aur." Maybe the revisionist funk of "The Crunge" will get you, or the English hippie ethic of "Down By The Seaside." Blues fans might dig "I Can't Quit You Baby," and progressive rock listeners might like the lush "Carouselambra." Others might want to check out the customized do-wop of "Darlene," or the righteously ragged groove of "Royal Orleans." But I'll find one for ya.

All of those songs, sort of the B-sides to Led Zep's glorious AOR "hits," are on Boxed Set2, an absolute necessity for Led Zeppelin fans and a solid piece of rock history for anyone else. These are the deep cuts, as the radio stations say. After you burnt out on "Whole Lotta Love," "Heartbreaker," "Dancing Days" and "Black Dog," these are the songs that became your favorites.

What makes this collection invaluable is the digital remastering that the 31 songs (plus one previously unreleased cut, the Honeydrippers-like R&B cut "Baby Come On Home") have been treated to. Comparing the sound of this box set to the CD releases of Led Zeppelin's albums is like looking at a print of a painting in an art book instead of looking at the real thing in a museum. Some highly unscientific studies in my office revealed a dramatic sonic difference. The music has been completely remixed by Jimmy Page, and he's learned a lot since 1980.

Boxed Set2 picks up where the wonderful 1991 Led Zeppelin boxed set left off, wrapping up all the studio tracks that were left out of that four-disc set. While that means you get goodies like "The Lemon Song," "The Rover," and "Living Loving Maid (She's Just a Woman)," it also means you're stuck with "Hats Off to (Roy) Harper" and "Bonzo's Montreux."

But let's put this in perspective. This two-disc package is basically a collection of Led Zep leftovers. To have a few dogs on it only means that the overwhelming majority of the songs are solid. Boxed Set2 is way solid, both as a casual listening piece and as a document proving Led Zeppelin's amazing musical flexibility.