This is an album that gets overlooked when discussing the amazing catalogue of music by Led Zeppelin, and perhaps understandably so. Zep's "Odds and Sods" album, Coda, was compiled and released in 1982 by Jimmy Page to fulfill a record contract. Dubious reasons perhaps for releasing an album, but Page manages to compile an excellent retrospective of the songs that didn't quite make it for Zep's other 8 studio albums, and provide the bookend to the Led Zeppelin legacy.
The album starts out with the energetic "We're Gonna Groove", recorded all the back in 1969 during the sessions for the 2nd album. This song is a real hoot, with a glimpse into how amazing this band was in their early years. Page also added something called "Sub-Octivider" to the song later on.
Next comes "Poor Tom", a fast-paced drum-driven acoustic leftover from III. While a good song, its easy to see why it was left off that album, as it's frantic pace would have killed the mood. Next comes an amazing version of "I Can't Quit You Babe" from a soundcheck at the Royal Albert Hall (around the same time the film was made that would ultimately show up on the Led Zeppelin DVD--if you compare "I cant..." from Coda and the DVD, they are fairly similar!). Unlike the version that appeared on the first album, this is an amped-up heavy metal blues song.
"Walter's Walk", from the Houses of the Holy sessions in 1972, may be the most "leftover" sounding song on the album, as it really tends to ramble on and on. A part of the guitar riff from this song would eventually end up in "Hots on for Nowhere" in Presence though. "Ozone Baby", the first of three leftovers from 1979's "In Through the Out Door", is as poppy as Led Zeppelin ever got, except for maybe "Good Times Bad Times". Again, Page lays on the "Sub Octivider". "Darlene" (also from "In Through the Out Door) , a blusey stomp, comes next. This song is much in the same vein as "Hot Dog", but much less goofier. John Paul Jones turns in a rollicking piano performance, and Plant really wails hard here.
The penultimate song is John Bonham's "Drum Orchestra" entitled "Bonzo's Montruex". Recorded in 1976 as a one-off with Jimmy Page providing "electronic treatments", this lost song really showcases the groove and power that Bonham had. This is not just a drum solo ala "Moby Dick", but an actual song crafted by Bonham using nothing but what he could pound with his hands or feet.
Lastly comes the powerful "Wearing and Tearing", with Zeppelin coming pretty close to speed-metal. This is a song that the band proclaimed at the time would put the punk-rockers in their place, and was going to be released as an EP with "Darlene". Although that never came to pass, fortunately this song popped up on Coda. With the recording date of 11/21/78 given in the album's liner notes, "Wearing and Tearing" has the dubious distinction of being the final song Led Zeppelin ever recorded--and what a way to go out!
With Coda only running at 33 minutes, one can't help but wonder what else Jimmy Page could have put on here; obviously, the b-side "Hey Hey What Can I Do" would have been a great choice, and perhaps the leftover BBC session "Travelling Riverside Blues". It's no matter though, the few songs remaining did eventually pop up on the Box Set in 1990, and the BBC Sessions disc in 1997. But I also can't help but wonder, with three of the eight songs being leftovers from "In Through the Out Door", how drastically different that album might have been if "Wearing and Tearing" or "Darlene" might have been inserted instead of some of the more criticised songs like "South Bound Suarez" or "Hot Dog". But if anything, Coda proves that Zeppelin, even on their "throwaway" songs, were certainly never barren of great music.