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Encomium: A Tribute to Led Zeppelin

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★★★☆☆
(54 Reviews)

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  • …it is Robert Plant and Tori Amos (Down by the Seaside). A completely different feel. Tori said she thought she should wear her confirmation dress for this one. It is that ethereal. Led Zeppelin can even transform Hootie(Hey Hey What Can I Do) and Duran Duran (Thank You). 4 Non-Blondes and Sheryl Crow are non-original covers. 16 pages of interesting liner notes.

    Posted on February 12, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I rarely enjoy tributes. I’m more of a purist when it comes to my music. So, when I heard about this, a tribute album of Zeppelin greats I was very skeptical.

    Well I listened to this at a listening station at a local bookstore. I was immediately hooked.

    The selection of thse groups to play each of these songs were very well matched to the songs that they’ve played.

    Misty Mountain Hop – 4 Non Blondes. One of the most criticized songs in Zep’s collection is played fairly well by this eclectic collection of souls. They hit the feel of the song.

    Hey Hey What Can I do – Hootie And The Blowfish. Darius Rucker’s voice and the style of the Blowfish, one of the most mis-understood, under-rated groups take on a song that’s so perfectly suited to their style of playing. Rather enjoyable.

    D’yer Maker – Sheryl Crow.Love her or hate her. She’s decent on this Zep Great. I’ve never really liked Sheryl Crow. But, doing D’yer Maker she carries the song well.

    Four Sticks – Rollins Band Once again, not one of my favorite groups. But, this album was a break out for them.

    It’s nice to see that these groups decided to take on some real classics from a bygone era. So often you hear groups these days just play their own music without having the nerve to take on an older style of Rock N Roll. Well I hand it to:

    4 Non Blondes
    Hootie & The Blowfish
    Sherly Crow
    S.T.P
    Big Head Todd and the Monsters
    Duran Duran
    Blind Melon
    Cracker
    Helmet
    Rollins Band
    Never the Bride
    and of course Robert Plant getting together with Tori Amos.

    They looked past their own fears and took on some classic Zep tunes. I’m also glad that they took songs like Down By The Seaside, and Out On The Tiles, songs you almost never hear played anywhere.

    So stop all the crying and complaining about this collection. Listen to it for what it is. It’s modern groups that people know here playing songs that were written before many of the artists featured here were born.

    Posted on February 12, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Encomium:Tribute to Led Zeppelin.

    Out of the gate, I’ll say my personal favorite here is STP’s Dancing Days. The whole understated vibe of it worked. It honors the vibe and feel of the original while STP puts thier subtle stamp on it. Overall, a very cool cover. It reaffirms my belief that STP is one of the most underappreciated 90s rock bands.

    Being a big fan of Zep, its nice to see some bands taking the music in a whole different place. Sheryl Crow not my favorite artists by anymeans does a interesting job with D’yer Mak’er. She makes it more poppy, but keeps it interesting. This does have its limits. Tori Amos along with Plant doing “Down By the Seaside” just didn’t work for me. Its just too far removed from the original to be recognizable to me.

    Others who put on reasonable performances are Hootie and the Blowfish, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Duran Duran and Cracker.

    The stinkers of the album are the Rollin’s band stuff, Helmet and Never the Bride. Henry Rollin’s screaming style and David Yow, just don’t compliment the material. Its my belief when doing a cover try to compliment it.

    As to the song selection it isn’t too bad. The cliche’s are avoided ala Rock and Roll or Stairway. You see some interesting choices like Custard Pie and Four Sticks. I would’ve loved to see someone try to have tackled In the Evening.

    Overall, for what it is its interesting. Shows the creativity of the artists taking the material and putting thier spin on it. That equals some good times and bad times.

    Posted on February 12, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Encomium not only serves as an alternative tribute to Led Zeppelin, it provides a snapshot of the early 1990’s music scene. With the exception of Duran Duran, everybody else was flavor of the month or on the rise.Some are karaoke version remakes, with only a different vocal style. It’s as if the cover artists are playing it safe, staying in a self-asserted comfort zone in deference to Led Zeppelin, so as not to alter the original too much. Hootie and the Blowfish do a near matching cover of the B-side “Hey Hey What Can I Do” and Darius Rucker’s deeper voice does this song justice. Stone Temple Pilot’s “Dancing Days” echoes the original, with Scott Weiland doing softer vocals in contrast to the rough as sandpaper intonations on his solo debut. Big Head Todd & The Monsters’ “Tangerine”, Duran Duran’s “Thank You”, Cracker’s “Good Times Bad Times”, and Helmet/David Yow’s “Custard Pie” are further examples of this play-it-safe stance.Of the differently styled songs, Sheryl Crow gives “D’yer Mak’er” a nice poppy feel and it’s easily the best song here. 4 Non-Blonde’s Linda Perry’s vocals reflect Robert Plant’s own soaring vocals on “Misty Mountain Hop,” especially in the “baby baby baby” section. Blind Melon’s “Out On The Tiles” is passable, with different styled guitars. Come to think of it, Shannon Hoon does have a high-pitched quasi-Robert Plant register, doesn’t he? Henry Rollins’ harder guitars and rougher voice gives “Four Sticks” a unique treatment. The harsh Melissa Etheridge/Janis Joplin-ish vocals of Never The Bride’s lead singer gives “Going To California” a somewhat abrasive treatment, but it’s tolerable. Hey, it began with a piano intro instead of guitar. I don’t know how Zeppelin purists will take to this song. Finally, Robert Plant teams up with Tori Amos for a hushed, slowed down version of “Down By The Seaside,” a contrast to the original on Physical Graffiti, but Tori shines through here, and this is my second favorite song here.Interesting to note is that the songs are all the moderately well-known tracks: none of the real classic tracks like “Kashmir”, “Whole Lotta Love”, or the overplayed “Stairway To Heaven” are present. This is good–it’s better to highlight other songs. (Runes) was the source of most of the songs, as seen below:Led Zeppelin, 1II, 1III, 2(Runes), 3Houses Of The Holy, 2Physical Graffiti, 2non-album B-side, 1A nice effort despite the play-it-safe motif pervading this album. For the next compilation, how about some more innovation?

    Posted on February 12, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • After listening to this tribute album, I was surprised at the variety of genres covering Zeppelin, which obviously says something about the great influence that Led Zeppelin has had on the music world. Also, covering styles ranged from playing the exact song to creating different interpretations of the music. The albums’ best tracks include Misty Mountain Hop by 4 Non Blondes, Hey Hey What Can I Do by Hootie and the Blowfish, and Dancing Days by STP. Each of these groups tend to stay to the format of the original songs, but put their own original stamp on the songs, making it exciting to listen to. The decent tracks include Tangerine by Big Head Todd etc, Thank You by Duran Duran, Out On the Tiles by Blind Melon, and Four Sticks by Rollins Band. Some of these songs tend to stray too far from the original style and format, but for fans of these groups, this might be a good thing. The only truly bad songs are Custard Pie by Helmet and Going to California by Never the Bride. In Custard Pie, the singer sings with no passion and seems very apathetic and reluctant to be there. The cover of Going to California is completely different from the original, and the version is fairly weak. The rest of the songs on the album are very arguable to different people. Those who expect exact replicas of Zeppelin songs will be very disappointed with these songs, and will generally be disappointed by most of the album. However, it should be respected that some artists on the album create different but good versions of Zeppelin songs, particularly Tori Amos and Robert Plants’ version of Down by the Seaside. The album will also be much better if you are familiar with the groups on the album. I doubt that most people over 40 would truly enjoy this album. I think that although this album is widely loved and hated by different Zep fans, most of the groups are competent enough to put enough of themselves and their talent into these songs, and overall, Encomium is a decent album.

    Posted on February 12, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now