"Discovering" Jimmy Page's music

Recently I was shopping in the only type of store I cannot resist: second-hand music & media shop. As I was going through the hundreds and hundreds of used CD's, I found two Jimmy Page albums that I had not seen before. And since Page is my favourite guitar player (in my opinion the best of all lead guitars in rock) buying those CD's was a no-brainer, so I left the store with the two albums plus two others from Bryan Ferry, but that is a story for another time.

I was really surprised when I listened the first album Coverdale - Page (from 1993). It was like finding some new recordings from Led Zeppelin that had been left behind in some attic or old chest after they disbanded. Whoever likes "heavy" rock or Led Zeppelin will very likely enjoy this album as well. After doing some research on David Coverdale, it turns out that he was the lead singer of Deep Purple (in their last years) and the founder and lead singer of Whitesnake. All the songs in this album were written by both of them. It really is such a pity that this record did not get more recognition and acceptance. It is great!

The second album I bought was completely different. It has a very strong influence from the blues, which I also like a lot as well, but no traces of any of the "typical" rock sounds from Page. As a matter of fact, at first I thought the disc was a mistake; it had to be from another CD that was mixed up with this one. Specially since the CD cover was this:

This image was so incongruous with the music. When Page was playing his famous double-neck guitar, his music was very different and it has nothing to do with the music in the album per se. But the music in the album I bought is very good and almost pure blues, which is the basis for so much of rock'n roll. However, it is not rock, let alone heavy rock.

Given these inconsistencies, I proceeded to find out more about the album and now, thanks to Wikipedia, I know that what I bought was the disc number 2 of a two-disc compilation titled "Hip Young Guitar Slinger (jimmy page and his heavy friends)". This album is made of studio recordings made before Page was part of Led Zeppelin as the songs were recorded between 1962 and '66. The compilation itself was produced in 2000. So I now know that Jimmy Page was working as a studio musician and producer of blues records before he became lead guitar of one of the best rock'n roll bands.

One good thing for me about this finding, among others, was to confirm that my sense of music and time are still working fine. Somebody or some record company decided to sell the two records separately and used one of the famous Page photos to sell the album. The image below is the one that appeared in the original album sleeve:

This is totally congruous with the music inside, and not only that, but one can learn that he was recording and playing with very good company from the beginning. This album (disc 2) has 3 songs of John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers. Other 7 songs are with Eric Clapton and two more with Jeff Beck. Another thing that surprised me was to discover that Jeff Beck, as well as Jimmy Page, started playing the blues. It is well known that Clapton was "formed" by the blues, but now, it is clear that the influence of the blues is much more extensive than I had imagined. In the songs on this disc it is evident how much rock owes to this genre. I really recommend this album, especially if you happen to like the blues.

Wikipedia tells us that two of the songs with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers ("I'm Your Witchdoctor" & "Telephone Blues") were produced by Page and that Clapton is the person actually playing the lead guitar. Now, I do not know for sure the role that Page had in other songs of this album (whether he was the producer or one of the guitars). Unfortunately the CD has no further details other than the song names. Would someone know in which songs Page played and/or which ones he produced?

In any case, this disc 2 of the "hip young guitar slinger" is a fascinating example of the musical beginnings of these "heavy friends" of J. Page and a very interesting example of the British blues from the first part of the '60s.