Wanna whole lotta love? Beth Hart does Led Zeppelin – gonna make you sweat, gonna make you groove.
Release Date: 25th February 2022
Label: Provogue/Mascot Label Group
Format: CD / Digital / 2LP
So Beth Hart does the decent thing and covers the mighty Zep. Many have in one form or another be it in cover versions or adapted versions – too many to mention, that’s another story – or as with Jimmy Page & The Black Crowes, doing a great job with the legacy. And it is a legacy too; one to be treated with respect and due consideration to consider when setting up your own arrangement and interpretation.
The backroom team includes producer Rob Cavallo (Green Day, Linkin Park, My Chemical Romance) and engineer Doug McKean (Goo Goo Dolls, Adam Lambert). The A-list musicians of include Cavallo on guitar along with Tim Pierce (Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner); on bass was Chris Chaney (Rob Zombie, Slash);on keyboards was Jamie Muhoberac (Bob Dylan, Rolling Stones); on drums was Dorian Crozier (Celine Dion, Miley Cyrus, Joe Cocker), and Matt Laug played drums on Stairway To Heaven (Alanis Morissette, Alice Cooper). Orchestral arrangements were by David Campbell (Muse, Beyoncé) with just the one thing to factor in – the voice.
Beth doesn’t stray too far from the template – what our Jimmy would call the same picture in a different frame – and she’s genuinely as good a choice as any when you want to hear someone have a go at the Zep’s classic material. “This Zeppelin album allowed me to get all my rage out, and for that, I’m really grateful,” she says. And what a selection from which to choose and vent your spleen. Granted she plays it fairly safe, playing a couple (or three) of aces early doors, and seeming to favour Houses Of The Holy, not one of the albums that always rank in the upper echelons when it comes to that sort of thing.
She adds a confident delivery and quiver on the opening Whole Lotta Love where she has some live history and while it’s practically impossible to match the might of the original Kashmir, she manages a dry and dirty twist on the familiar tale of yellow desert streams and Shangri La. Having dusted off those two and Stairway complete with orchestral embellishments at the close, she contrasts the James Brown funk of The Crunge (where she’s right at home and surprisingly effective – or it could just be that it’s a track that many use the convenience of the CD scanner to skip past) with the hard rock swagger in Black Dog and Good Times Bad Times.
A couple of numbers stitched into medley form see the impossible to top When The Levee Breaks dropped into Dancing Days. A moody and nicely orchestrated No Quarter segues nicely into Babe I’m Gonna Leave You in very much the same way that Page & Plant would successfully do, given the chance. Hard Rock aside, it’s hard to go wrong with the huge ballad of The Rain Song. One maybe more suited to her cabaret lounge moods as she swings from a cool to intesnes amidst the gentle guitar and swirls of strings.
Talking about the music and legacy of Zeppelin, she says, “it’s so beautifully done, it’s timeless. It will go on forever. Sometimes people come along, and they’re from another planet, and they make these pieces of art which will forever be.” Genuine affinity and respect and she does herself (and the Zep) proud.
Here’s Beth doing the first song off the first album: