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Zep in drag

Lez Zeppelin
Lez Zeppelin
By Lez Zeppelin

Emanation Records: 2007

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This review first appeared in Turbula in October 2007.

There are tribute bands and then there are tribute bands. Put Lez Zeppelin atop the A list of tribute bands, if for no other reason than they've taken their passion for the music of Led Zeppelin into the recording studio. The resulting CD will never be mistaken for the original, but it's a fun listen, one that captures the excitement and drama that was Led Zeppelin.

The all-women band does a pretty solid job at laying down a note for note re-creation of Zep's more popular hits: "Whole Lotta Love," "The Ocean," "Kashmir," "Rock 'n' Roll" (and three more, plus one original song that sounds just like Zep). The production (by longtime Zep engineer Eddie Kramer) is superb, with the mix featuring the same right-left channel oscillations, the same echo effects.

The band, too, is tight at finding almost the same groove as the original recordings, with Steph Paynes churning out Jimmy Page's guitar licks riff for riff, and the rhythm section of Lisa Brigantino and Helen Destroy chug-a-lugging right behind her. Then there's singer Sarah McLellan, who inhabits the same vocal range as Robert Plant (as does Ann Wilson of Heart, for that matter, who does a spot-oni knockoff of him). She doesn't really sound all that much like Plant, but she nevertheless manages to capture the spirit of his work with Zep.