Monday, February 16, 2009

Black Zeppelin

An interesting article from Mark Levine in the Huffington Post (and elsewhere) claiming Led Zeppelin as the first black rock group (as in funk, not as in skin color).

I can remember when Led Zeppelin were regarded as the whitest group of all. I guess the years of reappraisals that led to John Bonham being recognised as a swing drummer has also led to descriptions like this one:

The great funk, blues and jazz musicians have always known this about Zeppelin. At one of Zeppelin's early festival shows, James Brown's rhythm section reportedly watched stupefied as these long-haired white kids from England played the meanest funk imaginable, with John Bonham's drums in particular blowing them away. I've been fortunate to meet or work with many well-known funk and blues artist, and invariably in discussions of music the subject would turn to Led Zeppelin. Few of them didn't shake their heads when asked how they managed to be so funky, bluesy and so intensely rock n roll at the same time.
It beats me, no pun intended, that people now say these things, but why argue? Clearly The Crunge (listen here) has gone from being the not-at-all funky song that no-one can dance to, to a song that is known to have deliberately taken funk a step further to make it post-modernly undanceable. (The jury's still out on whether that's a funny enough joke to make it worth taking up space on an album.)

Lots of examples in Levine's article. YouTube videos and stuff. Go read.

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