(All Album Reviews by AdmKirk)
In 1990, 11 years after the last proper studio album, 10 years after the last live performances and 8 years after thier last official release, Led Zeppelin released thier first compilation album. Not merely a greatest hits collection, since the band rarely released singles, Led Zeppelin took advantage of the box set craze that started in 1985 with Bob Dylan's Biograph set. 6 LP's spanned Led Zeppelin's entire career, and since the band had never released a compilation, Jimmy Page took the opportunity to mix up the familiar order of the songs. Chronological order is thrown to the wind. So if you are used to hearing "Rock and Roll" after "Black Dog" then you will find that the sometimes startling juxtaposition of songs brings out new insights and also highlights the importance of track sequencing.
Page also took the opportunity to digitally remaster the entire Zep catalogue, and did a wonderful job of it. When Atlantic Records initially released the 9 Zep albums on compact disc, they were done poorly. For example, the end of "In My Time of Dying" was chopped off, and little thought was put into the packaging. Atlantic just put them out without much thought doing a disservice to the band and it's legacy. Page set out to right these wrongs and his care and hard work are immediatly apparent.
Not every cut the band recorded showed up, the remaining studio tracks would appear on Box Set 2. This set does cover the most of what is considered the most important tracks of the bands history.
A few bonus were included: A version of the Page solo guitar piece, "White Summer/Black Mountain Side", a BBC version of "Travelling Riverside Blues", a John Bonham tribute fusing "Bonzo's Montreux" with "Moby Dick" and the first official album release of "Hey, Hey What Can I Do".
The cover featured a wheat field complete with on of those peculiar crop circles as the shadow of a Zeppelin passes across. The obligatory book has some great essays and terrific photography. While many would be dissapointed that there was not more unreleased material, the set is well done and perfect choice for someone who wants the bands most important songs without buying each individual album.