Last week, we had some fun...I think...offering albums that would have been perfect if not for that one clinker that grinds the listening experience to a halt. One reader suggested doing the opposite.
By 1988, my Led Zeppelin withdrawal was at its peak. Two mediocre records from The Firm, Jimmy Page's collaboration with Paul Rodgers, a lousy soundtrack to "Death Wish II" and Robert Plant's listenable, but arguably anti-Zep solo records. And then, Page drops "Outrider," his first proper solo record, with songs and musicians. I could not wait to tear this baby open and hear what I had hoped would resemble a Led Zeppelin record.
Mortified isn't a strong enough word for what I was feeling. This was a collection of third rate Zeppelin riffs, with hookless melodies and some of the worst singing I have ever heard. I know Chris Farlowe is known as a somewhat legendary British blues belter, but he is atrocious on this record. His over-enunciating is painful. And the one "reunion" song with Plant on vocals is quite frankly garbage.
BUT...as bad as all this sounds, there are two reasons I keep this record in my collection.
The first is the cover of Leon Russell's "Hummingbird," which is almost ruined thanks to Chris Farlowe's delivery. But it is saved by one of Page's most beautiful guitar solos. Listen to the first verse, just to hear Chris Farlowe sing the line, "Ah geeve huh awl ah have to-uh gee-uhve," then you can fast forward to Page's solo which runs from 3:34-4:40.
The second, is the Page original instrumental "Emerald Eyes," which I love from top to bottom, and would have fit beautifully on "Physical Graffiti."
One of the worst records of the 80's, and I will never get rid of it because of that one song.
So, what's the one stinker you keep around because it has one gem?