For the un-initiated, Led Zeppelin's vast back catalogue may seem impenetrable and the newly remastered compilation Mothership may be just the place to start. Unlike many of the upstart bands knocking out "Greatest Hits" after two albums, Mothership does much more than merely collate the highlights of a band and leave the albums redundant. It provides a depth gauge for a band with such scope to their repertoire, and rather than serving as a book-end to a band's career it rather serves to suggest more clearly the album you should follow this one with, as you're still yet to discover The Lemon Song, Tangerine, Thank You, Gallow's Pole, In My Time Of Dying, In The Light.....
The pretty even cull of tracks is taken chronologically from the eight main studio albums - with only post break-up Coda missing the boat. Led Zeppelin I provides a hefty chunk to set the scene, and IV and Houses Of The Holy are also well represented. In a minor concession to mix tape etiquette, the songs from each album are not always in the sequence they originally came in (Black Dog follows Rock 'n' Roll for example), and that makes for a more cohesive listen (although in that case I'd probably have opened with Communication Breakdown). In The Evening and All My Love finish things off, hopefully turning more people on to the often overlooked final album In Through The Out Door.
While it's easy to point out how great the albums are and try and ward newcomers away from this kind of thing, it's refreshing to come back and listen to the music in this different context and remind yourself how many of these individual tracks are absolute classics. As the album plays through, track after track gets 10 out of 10, with only the occasional sub-perfect moment - mainly due to the brilliance of the track before or after. Those minor 'dips' are quickly obscured when we hit the tracks from IV. Rock 'n' Roll was always a track for getting the party started and it's no exception here, moving things up a notch from from 10 out of 10, to 11. Awesome.