ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 1, 1994
By Steve Newton
It’s sort of surprising that Jimmy Page and Robert Plant would name their reunion album No Quarter, since the former Led Zeppelin member who cowrote that tune and played its haunting keyboard parts doesn’t even show up on the new disc. Perhaps, since John Paul Jones has been gallivanting around the globe with quasi-operatic banshee Diamanda Galas of late, Page and Plant forgot to call him when they recorded this self-produced batch of Zep oldies and three new tunes in places such as London, Marrakech, and Snowdonia, Wales.
Page’s inimitable electric guitar shines as of old on versions of crusty classics such as “Thank You” and “Since I’ve Been Loving You”, but on the latter tune he makes the irritating mistake of inserting a full symphony orchestra where Jones’s Hammond organ used to be. The lads enlist an 11-piece Egyptian ensemble here and there, but if I really wanted to experience Middle Eastern instruments like the merwas and the bendir I’d make the trip to Cairo myself.
And while new compositions like “Yallah” and “City Don’t Cry” might interest fans of Moroccan music, something fresh for the band’s sizeable hard-rock contingent would have been nice. Dabbling in the folk music of exotic cultures is fine, fellas, but don’t forget your blues-metal roots.