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The Song Remains Better Than Ever

24 October 2007 1,734 views No Comment

31 years ago this week was another golden period to be a Led Zeppelin fan.

For this then 20 year old it was an incredibly exciting time. On the afternoon of Thursday October 21 1976, I anxiously tore open the box marked Warner/ Elektra/ Atlantic Records at the WH Smith record shop where I worked to reveal for the first time the gatefold sleeve of, as the label spine gloriously put it ‘’The Soundtrack To The Film The Song Remains The Same‘’. All that and the prospect of attending the premier of the long awaited film in two weeks. Boy life was good and a whole lot less complicated back then.

The only downer was some of the rather unkind reviews of the album and film. So incensed was I at Nick Kent’s review of the film, I promptly fired off a letter of complaint which was printed in the next week’s NME.

In those innocent days I was completely immune to any criticism of the boy’s work. Hindsight and age has of course made for a more objective view (though not that much some might say!). That original soundtrack live album had it’s flaws and with so much other examples of their live work available via bootleg and more recently officially (BBC/How The West), in recent years it has never been high on the playlist.

The imminent arrival of the newly reworked double CD soundtrack set due out on November 19 will change all that.
Jimmy and engineer Kevin Shirley have painstakingly revisited the original 1973 Madison Square recordings to rework the set into a cohesive and constantly thrilling aural experience.

The sound quality is so much more alive and vibrant rendering the old recording completely redundant. It really is like listening to a whole new live album.

The six new to CD performances include a wonderfully fluent Over The Hills And Far Away, a breathless Heartbreaker and a take of Since I’ve Been Loving You right up there with the best live recorded moments of their career.

As Jimmy put it, this is as good as it gets on the Zeppelin wish list (though you can add to mine an Earls Court box set and Complete Knebworth please!) and coupled with the release of an expanded version of the film on DVD and a certain event at the end of the month – is set to make November 2007 just as remarkable as that November back in 1976.

In short The Song Remains Better Than Ever.

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