A rare thing: mostly successful reimaginings of mostly obvious selection from the classic catalogue.
It’s so difficult that Tortelvis’ approach might be the best: ZEP’s meld of blues, hard rock and folk and hard rock remains so unique that homage albums usually fail to conjure even the slightest approximation of their magic. VANILLA FUDGE’s attempt was solid enough on the single-band basis, but when covers by artists from different walks of life are bound together, the legacy gets thin. Not on this collection, though, where most of the participants thread something special through the obvious.
A pity, there’s no indication of full line-up for each track that has only the prime mover listed, but it’s guitarists’ vision that works the best, from Steve Morse’s spanky take on “Heartbreaker” and Brian Robertson’s wah-wah-wailing attack on “Good Times, Bad Times” to Steve Lukather’s shredding romp through “Rock And Roll” and Pat Travers roughing it up for “Houses Of The Holy” and “Whole Lotta Love”, the latter with Afro-Cuban groove. On the vocal front, the late Jani Lane swings wildly on “The Ocean” while Joe Lynn Turner emotes desperately, almost unrecognizably, on the flamenco’ed “Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You”, yet Jack Russell’s reading of “Dazed And Confused” sounds quite insipid, unlike Walter Trout’s injection into “All My Love” and “You Shook Me” that adds piano jive to the howl and harp of WET WILLIE’s Jimmy Hall.
Elsewhere, LYNYRD SKYNYRD’s Artimus Pyle pushes the New Orleans factor of “When The Levee Breaks”, and the minefield of “Stairway To Heaven” is ploughed delicately by Dweezil Zappa who, unlike his much less respectful dad, crystallizes the epic’s folk-baroque facet rather than its vertiginous scale. These different angles are what makes “No Quarter” interesting, and finally, the collection’s title proves good when aimed at the listeners.