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6 June 2014 10,939 views 14 Comments

paris lpLed Zeppelin Reissues: More Feedback:

Many thanks for the many feedback contributions via the TBL site and TBL Facebook page -here’s a few more to soak up

Firstly my my musings on the  Led Zeppelin Live At Olympia Paris 1969 companion bonus disc:

THEN: It had long been presumed that this 1969 concert had been broadcast at the time – French Zep expert Christophe Le Pabic indicating during the time of the first Concert File book.  It was then ascertained that a 78 minute edit of the show was first aired on November 2nd 1969 as recorded by Europe 1 radio for the Musicorama programme.

Left  to languish in the radio station’s archives for some 38 years, it was re broadcast on December 7th 2007, just three days before the band’s reunion concert at the O2 in London. The recording was subsequently bootlegged, most versions with the French DJ introductions left in and unevenly mixed. I acquired this version on the CD bootleg on the Black Dog label early in 2008.

NOW: So to the Led Zeppelin Live At Olympia companion audio as presented on the double vinyl with the super deluxe box

Overall this is a much punchier mix than the bootleg version. To accommodate the formatting , there are some edits and the whole presentation clocks in at just under 70 minutes. There is no band introduction and much of Robert’s between song chat is edited. As for the actual songs themselves, Good Times Bad Times/Communication Breakdown ,I Can’t Quit You Baby, Dazed And Confused ,White Summer/Black Mountain Side ( missing the ‘wanking dog’ Plant reference !) are relatively uncut from the original broadcast.

Heartbreaker is edited to a very compact 3 minutes.49 – during the solo just as the recording goes into that weird echo effect of the radio broadcast. Jimmy avoids that sequence and cuts it straight into the up-tempo solo – it all clocks in at a compact 3 minutes 49.

The previously unheard Moby Dick clocks in at 9.21 – it can assumed that there has been some editing on this as Bonzo’s showpiece of the time was clocking in at around 15 minutes. This is the real revelation here for me. There’s a slightly unorthodox intro to the piece as Jimmy comes in slightly later with the riff, behind Bonzo’s tympani playing. After the riff comes back in at the end, Bonzo undertakes a final percussive flurry with a boisterous shout and then a 50s riff from Jimmy brings it all to a close.

How Many More Times is scaled down from the 22 minute original performance to 11 minutes 14. There is some chat from Robert prior to the track – it then omits the onstage band member’s introductions during the intro as was custom at the time and cuts straight to the riff. Thus,there’s therefore no room for Aynsley Dunbar reference or the Lemon Song/Boogie Chillun’ sequence featured on the broadcast  – however the Oh Rosie/Steal Away (backed by a distinctive Whole Lotta Love riff) and The Hunter is in there  – in effect this version is in a similar arrangement to that of its studio counterpart. A final goodbye and namecheck for the players brings proceedings to a close.

Overall highlights: The opening Good Times Bad Times/Communication Breakdown salvo with John Bonham doubling up the bass patterns to whip them into shape. The pure blues attack of I Can’t Quite You Baby and You Shook Me – the latter providing a loose framework for a lengthy improvisation , the aforementioned Moby Dick and the How Many More Times finale which carries the listener along on an irresistible adrenalin rush.

paris lp 2

What this Paris Olympia show vividly demonstrates is Led Zeppelin’s progression as a unit during their first year together, in particular the growing confidence of Robert Plant – his shrill vocal attack adds real vitality and spark to the proceedings.

After completing another US tour in the fall of 1969, they would go on to revise the act for the opening gigs of 1970.

This Paris performance is therefore a welcomed official representation of the band at this point – with a set list still full of Zep I vitality nurtured during the countless gigs they performed that year – and now maturing with the introduction of new material from the about to be released Led Zeppelin II.

This then is an energetic snapshot of the often wild abandonment performances of this era. Whilst the bootlegs serve their purpose, when it comes to the officially sanctioned live album releases (of which How The West Was Won would be a template), I feel there’s a real sense that we are hearing Led Zeppelin as its original founder perceives it.

Playing it loud and proud today, Live at the Olympia 1969 sounded like the true live Led Zep gospel according to Jimmy Page – and that is more than good enough for me.

Dave Lewis  – June 5th  2014


It was with a bit of frustration that I went to the record store on Monday night, just before midnight, to try to buy LZ I Super Deluxe at the top of the hour. Alas, they hadn’t gotten it yet, I was informed.

“We got Led Zeppelin II Super Deluxe and Led Zeppelin III Super Deluxe, but not Led Zeppelin I.”


However, I was advised it was probably going to be in Tuesday afternoon’s mail. While running errands Tuesday afternoon, I called them to see if it had, in fact, arrived. Sure enough, it had! When we got there, we took pictures of their Zeppelin display. I had built up a ton of store credit and used almost every bit of it to pick up LZ I Super Deluxe. When it was rung up, I had just under $7.00 to spare.

Once I got it home, my wife took the requisite images that I posted on Tight But Loose. I opened the packaging, started ripping the CDs and played the vinyl. She had suggested, and I agreed, that I listen to all these remastered rereleases on vinyl first, if for no other reason the purity of the medium. I stand by that decision and I recommend that all of you do the same. If you’re worried about the quality of sound, don’t be, particularly the live LPs. Which brings me to….

 The thing that stands out for me is the sustained howl/shriek by Robert Plant at the very beginning of “I Can’t Quit You Baby” on Disc 4 of the companion vinyl from Paris, 1969. The raw passion for which all four musicians attack that early gig from 45 years ago is palpable. Another thing that stands out, musically, is the ephemeral “White Summer/Black Mountain Side” instrumental by Jimmy Page. If possible, it’s even better than the same tune from the Prince Albert Hall gig on the LZ DVD.

Zeppelin were on the way up and yet still something of an unknown quantity back in 1969. However, they broke down that barrier quickly as evidenced by the preponderance of tour dates listed in the back of the LZ I companion book. I really appreciate the fact that they list all those gigs. It gives us an idea of how hectic and dynamic the schedule was for touring musicians in those days. When you think of bands releasing one or even two quality albums per year and touring amongst and around all of that, well, that just doesn’t happen any more.

The overall quality of LZ I remastered is good, but, in my opinion, not as good as LZ II. (In fairness, I’ve been receiving these out of order. I got LZ II in the mail the day before yesterday, I bought LZ I at my record store yesterday, as mentioned above, and I’m expecting LZ III in the mail today!) That said, the standard is very high, and as I understand it, the bit rate for the difference in quality of LZ I vice LZ II is technologically driven.

The quality of the live gig at Olympia in Paris is phenomenal! There’s just enough of a resonant echo to give appreciation to the fact it’s a live performance. And what a performance it is. I’m listening to “How Many More Times” as I type this, particularly the lyric, ‘They call me the hunter’. How can you not just adore this gig? It begs the question, how many other gigs were recorded this way that convey the raw passion and the sense of urgency of doing it live?

greg 1

I flipped through the LZ I book and supporting the materials and saw some of the correspondence between Peter Grant and Atlantic and the famous telegram from Peter to Robert Plant inviting him for a tryout with the New Yardbirds. Also interesting were the early press releases from various publications like Hit Parader and the San Francisco Examiner at the very beginning of Zeppelin’s first tour of the U.S. One thing that amuses me is how often, in the early days, people actually misspelled the word Zeppelin!

As I mentioned above, though, I’ll be getting the LZ III Super Deluxe set today, and I’m going to give the Paris ’69 albums another listen between now and then. Oh, yes, and I checked the runoff groove again, as I did on LZ II, and saw the same ‘JD’ initials as on LZ II.

I can’t imagine how the next in the series of reissues is going to go, but if the two I have so far are any indication, we’re in for a helluva ride. Enjoy!

Greg Frazho Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

I am 47 years old

Led Zeppelin was a band I only heard of in name in the 1970s & seeing some posters of some bloke with a double headed guitar. My first musical interests as a kid were Elvis, The Marc Bolan show, Darts , Showaddywaddy !!!!! I knew nothing I had flares , long hair & was getting off on the Six Million Dollar Man & Rentaghost!!!!! My parents got divorced & in 1979 I heard the music of Sex Pistols = MIND BLOWN.

I wanted to know everything about them. And rightly or wrongly when I read interviews they seemed to have it in for Led Zeppelin!!! The claim was they travel around with bodyguards, limos play stadiums, charge too much for their concerts and were out of touch with people on the street. To be honest with you in 1979 pictures of Robert Plant having hair as long as Charlies Angels was laughable to me . I once heard in 1983 a bit of The Immigrant Song off Led Zep 3 around a mates house (his sisters copy) and I confess I laughed my head off! By the time I heard Friends I said , ” Bloody hippies get this off!”. Zep was in fashion as much as Tony Blair!!!

Fast forward 1985 I’m 18 my favourite band was Killing Joke a friend insisted in playing me this record at my house . Grey cover , old man on front, ” What is it?” my friend ,” Shut up & and just hear it. You will like it” Like it I did , Who are they???? LED ZEPPELIN = MIND BLOWN!!!

A valuable lesson I learnt that day THINK FOR YOURSELF.

I bought Led Zep 4 on CD and bought all the albums within a year (CDs were very expensive then). All my mates from all walks of life got into Zep as well.

Anyway Monday June 2nd . Got up 6.00 am very excited. At Sister Ray record shop 10.20 am & bought Led Zep 1 , 2 & 3 on double CD & single 180g LP. Got home early & did some boring chores made some dinner then from 4.00 I listened . First the CD of the original album , then the LP. SUPERB!!! Sound quality is an improvement for the better. I took a break to watch Eastenders just to calm down & finished off with Led Zep 3 on headphones. Last night I played Paris on cd . Loved it . Drifted off to Led Zep 2 outtakes on headphones . I haven’t played Led Zep 3 outtakes yet but one things for certain I won’t be saying bloody hippies!

Stanley Patel

Had reserved the super deluxe editions at a local shop only to be called and told the shipment did not arrive as planned. Ensuing panic had me leaving the job early and in time to catch the last of each at another shop in town. Apparently the super deluxe editions were in short supply in the US due to some printing screw ups with the cover art. Some things never change!

A heavy purchase in more ways than one as this was clearly a two handed carry out the door these things are massive), extra promo goodies such as beer coasters, art prints, and a super cool LZ3 reverse image turntable felt flat in hand as a bonus.

The race home to queue it all up on the big rig and the choice for me was…the Brown Bomber! Yep, bypassed I for II with the anticipation of the outtakes overruling the already known Paris Par Excellence show on the EV boot. Once we get that throat clearing rasp there is nothing left to do but bask in the sonic glory once again. Then, follow this up quickly with the outtakes disc. The raw version of Whole Lotta Love is too much as are the rest. A short break and then it was off to the races with I. I have to say, the packaging is top notch insofar as the cases and the book are concerned.

Minor niggle for me are the lightweight LP and CD covers. They could have taken notes from the top reissue labels and upgraded the card stock to be thicker given the lovely vinyl each sleeve holds. Versus the last Simply Vinyl 200g versions, these covers pale in comparison. But overall, no complaints!

 Chris Serratella


HD Tracks: Exclusive TBL discount offer for US readers:

The good folks from HD Tracks have been in touch to offer an exclusive 10% discount on your first Led Zep order via HD Tracks – note this offer only applies to US users.

Here is all the info:

HDtracks is the world’s leading digital download store for high-resolution music This is definitely the ultimate way to hear Zeppelin and will bring any listener closer to how it was actually intended to sound.

In fact the reason the catalogue is being remastered now is to take advantage of the significant advances in mastering technology that have occurred since 1991.

Here is a quote from the founder of a very popular computer audio site. “It isn’t an accident that I’ve gravitated to the new 24/96 remasters. I simply like the sound better than any other version of Led Zeppelin I, II and III I’ve ever heard. Period.” – Chris Connaker, Computer Audiophile

Hear how great Led Zeppelin can sound in pristine high-resolution audio from HDtracks!

Easy to download, playback and enjoy, You Will Hear The Difference. 

Use promo code  TBL10 to receive 10% off your first Zeppelin order from HDtracks.

*This code expires on 6/16/14 at midnight EST. Please remember to click ‘apply discount code’ before checking out. This code can only be used once per customer.


Led Zeppelin Reissues: Chart Action: The Led Zeppelin reissues look set to enter the top ten album charts both here and America:



Robert Plant and Sensational Space Shifters in Morocco: Here’s a link to interviews from Robert Plant gave ahead of his appearance at Mawazine Festival in Rabat Morocco

You Tube clip of the show below…


Many thanks to


Knebworth book Review: The perfect Fathers Day Gift:

rec coll one

Here’s a review of the Then As It Was Led Zeppelin at Knebworth book from this month’s Record Collector. This is the perfect Fathers Day gift -request yours now!

Order at


DL Diary Update:

This has turned into some week – there’s been a simply amazing worldwide reaction to the Led Zeppelin reissues – it’s been quite awe inspiring wading through the daily input of  Feedback reports and pics as fans across the globe have eagerly snapped up the varying configuration of formats –  and what joy they are bringing. It really has felt like another true communal event as we all share this incredible passion for the music. One message has been clear – Jimmy Page has more than accomplished his mission to present a portal for us to enter a previously uncharted world of Led Zeppelin. And this is only the start…

I did say earlier in the week that the unveiling of the three super deluxe boxes here would not be a speedy process.  I really do want to devour the contents as intensely as possible. So far I have given dedicated listening time to the Led Zeppelin 1 album and Live In Paris companion disc. I will be taking on the might of Led Zeppelin II and Led Zeppelin III in the coming days and will be reporting back my findings.

One thing that has occurred to me is that these reissues demand dedicated listening time – you literally do need to switch off and concentrate fully on the music.

It struck me how little I actually do that now – a lot of my listening is done to the accompaniment of other tasks be it writing text, packing orders etc. That is of course all well and good but to get the best out of a listening experience you need to really tune in and soak it up properly.

Back in more simple days that was quite easy to do, particularly when I was a much younger fan back in my Zep shrine of a bedroom in my late teens early 20s. However, I’m determined to try and find time to do that more often and select an album perhaps every few days or so to intently listen to for 45 minutes with no distractions. Given all the every day stuff that goes on here that wont be easy -but I am going to make an effort – the rewards of doing so, as re discovered with listening to the Led Zeppelin reissues these past few days are tangible. You really do appreciate the music so much more.

Soaking up the contents of these three releases has also put me right back in the zone of the early Zeppelin years – I know this is going to inspire me to search out and rediscover a whole lot more of their output from 1968 through to 1970 – those early Fillmore shows, the first album Olympic Gold outtakes, the Zep II multi tracks CDs, Zep III rehearsals, the Studio Daze Zep III versions, BBC Sessions, Royal Albert Hall, Live On Blueberry Hill – there are playlists to build all incorporating material from the Companion Audio Discs  -this really is going to be the summer of Led Zeppelin 2014 – and these three initial glorious releases will re affirm just what an extraordinary period those first three years were for the band. I’m sure you will be similarly inspired to go back to that amazing period and search out more from the days when Led Zeppelin simply transformed the entire face of rock…

There was one downside to all the Led Zep reissue activity here this week – on close inspection I found that two of my super deluxe box sets had tears in them. This was plainly due to inadequate packaging by Amazon  which I had bypassed in my excitement to get to the contents. This led to a call to Amazon to order replacements which are due to arrive in a day or so.  I am not the only one to have suffered this inconvenience – Andrew Ricci mentioned a similar dilemma on a TBL  feedback comment. Given the weight and size of the boxes, Amazon should clearly have done abetter job in that department.

As expected with all this activity it’s been more than full on here. On Wednesday I did an interview archivist and psych rock specialist Richard Morton Jack for his excellent Flashback magazine – more on this soon – it was the first opportunity to talk to someone and really assess the arrival of the Zep reissues now I am in receipt of them and we waxed lyrical for nigh on an a hour. Much food for thought.

Outside the world of Zep,the World Cup is upon us and Wednesday night’s 2-2 draw with Ecuador had me trading emails with Jose Manaul Parada TBL’s man on the spot in that country. It was a fair result  and here’s hoping Roy’s boys can do us proud come the tournament. On a more sombre note, watching the 70th anniversary commemorations of the D Day landings has been incredibly moving – and there will be some moving moments ahead today. Lest we never forget their sacrifice..

Once the dust settles here with the current Led Zep reissue activity, I need to assess a variety of TBL projects ahead including the next TBL magazine and various other initiatives that need firming up. It’s going to be a very busy summer and autumn ahead.

Before all that, there’s some respite at the weekend as the good lady Janet and I are travelling to London to visit our Sam who has just celebrated her 24th birthday. Talking of which…

A DL story:

 It was 24 years ago on Wednesday:  Mother and baby doing well – Robert Plant at the Hammersmith Odeon here I come!
I’ve told this story many times before but with each passing year of Sam’s birthday, it seems ever increasingly a crazy tale…here goes (again)…
sam pic 2
These are the circumstances Samantha Elizabeth Lewis entered the world in 1990 and yes you’ve guessed it, there’s something of a Led Zep related association involved.
24 years ago on Monday June 4th 1990 I awoke with the prospect of a couple of Robert Plant gigs ahead over the next two nights. These were the London dates Robert was playing in support of the Manic Nirvana album. Tickets were sorted, arrangements made – I was going with my good friend Terry and a couple of the boys I worked with and planned to hook up with Gary Foy and the TBL crew in Hammersmith.
The good lady Janet was pregnant and our first born was due in July. Well it didn’t quite work out like that. On that morning of June 4th twenty four years ago, Janet informed there were stirrings… and sure enough there were.So of we went to Bedford North Wing hospital where we were informed that our forthcoming bundle of joy was ready to enter the world. With all notions of the gig ahead banished (honest!) I steeled myself for a lengthy labour (well not me as it were!)
Things moved quickly and at 2.30 pm with impeccable timing our daughter Samantha Elizabeth was born.
A lot of you out there know the rest… Sam is tiny and beautiful….mother and baby are doing well…anxious new father will only be in the way and heads on the train for …yes you guessed it Hammersmith Odeon – arriving to the shock of Terry, Gary, Krys J etc… just in time for the gig.
This was the only time I’ve ever seen R. Plant upstaged – as good as he was he didn’t quite match the afternoon proceedings!
Pushing it a bit more – I was back the next night for gig number two with Terry celebrating Sam’s birth with a large intake of Directors ale. Later in the month I was at Knebworth with Mr Foy for the Robert & Jimmy’s reunion. What with the World Cup Italia 90, World in Motion at number one (Cue the John Barnes rap : ‘’You’ve got to hold and give – but do it at the right time – You can be slow or fast but you must get to the line’’) – that June of 24 years ago was some month….
sam pic 1
24 years on in the light of current proceedings …nothing much has changed!Looking back it was all a bit crazy of me .…no wonder Sam wasn’t too interested in my A Celebration book signing a year later!…but she soon realised this Zep caper was a little bit important to her Dad !
Happy Birthday Sam!
And finally some you tube clips:
Robert Plant with the Sensational Space Shifters in Morocco:

 Here’s the latest Jimmy Page interview you tube clips:


Jimmy Page Radio 2 Simon Mayo interview

Jimmy Page Planet Rock interview: Part One Jimmy Page Kerrang interview:

Led Zeppelin Reissues – official TV advert:


Until next time…have a great weekend…

Keep listening, keep reading…

Dave Lewis/Gary Foy – June 6th , 2014.

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  • Ken Winovich said:

    Review of the Led Zeppelin I HD Downloadable audio by Ken Winovich 06/30/14

    These files which can be downloaded from the website are as good as it gets. They are the finest Led Zeppelin you can possibly hear on the entire planet. I was completely blown away by the remasters whether album or CD. Now I am utterly speechless as to what I am hearing in these HD tracks. First off, I had trouble getting the codes to work. Whether the site was down or the band didn’t want HD downloads to start until after a certain point I don’t know. I even emailed them about it. But once I got them, wow! The files arrive on your PC (you cannot download to a tablet or phone as they are zipped) in ZIP format and once unzipped, they are in FLAC format. Zep I was 1.78 GB and took about 11 minutes to download to my Toshiba Intel Core 2 notebook. As a guitarist, I immediately noticed a difference when compared to the remastered album or CD. They are a few steps up in extra clarity (if not more) noticed with regards to things like guitar pick strikes on a guitar string, Bonham’s cymbals and other noises that occur such as when grabbing a microphone or placing your hand on all six guitar strings to stop them from resonating. Non-musical sounds are easily picked up by the microphone. To the average listener, these might go un-noticed. But if you have ever recorded music, you know microphones pick up just about everything. If you grip a microphone very hard, it can pick up your finger tension tightening around that microphone so much so that it records the fingers occasionally slipping or changing their position by even an eighth of an inch or if you put both drum sticks in one hand while you take a breather at a given point in a track that requires silence other than say the guitarist, you hear the wooden sticks click together and it’s these type of sounds that can be heard. Since I never heard these sounds this clear on the remasters, this means you are hearing the best clarity possible to this Zeppelin music. And I have to commend Jimmy Page yet again for accomplishing this. He’s raised the bar even higher. Twice now with this Deluxe Box set, he’s exceeded my expectations. I may never play those companion discs the rest of the year because there is so much to discover here on the originals that you’ve never heard before. I downloaded and played “Whole Lotta Love” to see if Zep II was just as good and it is. While listening to it, my computer chair was interrupting the music by creaking and I thought “that mid-section noise sounds like it’s actually a squeaky chair!” Sure enough, I got the Shure SM58 mic out and recorded the darn thing and after mixing it I found it MATCHES some of the noises heard on Zep II in the mid-section and if you record it for about 6.5 minutes trying different weight angles on that creaking chair, you’re able to get the right notes hit-or-miss! If Page broke a guitar string on this album and he left it in the recording, I could tell you exactly where it is. It’s that scary! I can’t wait to do some serious listening sessions on these. On the remastered albums and CD’s, I could hear Bonham place both drum sticks together when he didn’t have anything to play during those lighter shades of a Zeppelin track where only Jimmy is playing but on these HD tracks, you get to hear everything humanly possible. If Plant scratched his forehead, you can probably hear it. Whatever the Olympic studio mics recorded, you’re gonna get it. It is these tracks that I will be spending hours and hours of time listening to. Right off the cuff, without messing around, I went straight to “Dazed And Confused” because it’s got a solid spectrum of blazing input from each band member and I found what I was looking for. Loads of details that really help one understand the construction of the songs but even further – new revelations like the flick of a guitar 3-way toggle switch or an accidental bump noise from the cello bow having run out of bow hair on it’s bottom end. And what a treat these are. And it’s here that any musician who loves Led Zeppelin can get down to business. And I can see where this is going for all the tribute bands. You’re sure to hear things like “That’s not what Bonham is doing there….if you listen, he’s actually…”. So be forewarned! But it’s got some pluses as well. I recorded some Zep vocal demos to give to the band to prove I could handle backup vocals and I got “Wow. I can’t believe it. You sound so much like Robert Plant. You sound just like him.” Here’s where these tracks will come in handy if you’re in a band and doing Zeppelin songs. Write the lyrics out phonetically, not as you would read them. Example:

    “Good Times Bad Times”
    In tha dayeez uv m(eye) yooth
    I wuz tow-ld whad id meens to be uh may-en
    Now uv reached tha age
    I’ve trieed ta do all thoze thingz tha best I ken

    And now it’s even better because you can actually sing a slurpy “z” to get it down pat in addition to the raspy vocals one hears on “The Rover” or “Trampled Underfoot”. The same principle would apply if you are a bass player or drummer. You can get a better handle on these songs. And if you possibly missed something you never heard before on this album because your headphones shorted out or your speaker wires needed recut and clean with fresh copper ends, you’ll have no trouble hearing it now assuming any and all stereo issues at your end have been resolved. And before you start it couldn’t be a better time to invest in the best headphones you can and to clean the wax out of your ears with a Q-tip.

    “Good Times Bad Times” – So clear. You can hear the last vocal line well on the fadeout with no trouble “I feel good when I look at you…your eyes.” You can hear Plant’s slurpy “z” on “I’ve tried to do all those thingZZZ the best I can”. Drummers will know exactly when to tap the cowbell and those points where it starts or stops. Listen to Jimmy’s hand slide down the string in your left ear on the overdub as his Leslie effect guitar solo is firing away and it’s details like this that seem to be standing out.

    “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” – More detail. After Plant sings the very first “Baby….(listen here as he takes in a deep breath, then licks his lips)….baby baby I’m gonna leave you” or the microphone ‘pop’ on the “B” in the second verse at “I said…B(right here)aby……you know…I’m gonna leave you”.

    “You Shook Me” – Great to hear the harmonica solo in stunning detail to see what notes he’s breathing in on or out on.

    “Dazed And Confused” – Great separation right off the bat between Jones’s opening bass notes and Bonham’s simultaneous kick drum strikes along to those bass notes.

    “Your Time Is Gonna Come” – I never noticed Page opens this song with an upstroke rake across the guitar strings a half a second after Jones’s opening organ note. Also nice to hear how hard to patt down on the strings using your entire right hand at 02:34 thru 02:40

    “Black Mountain Side” – Even the tabla drums had overdubs.

    “Communication Breakdown” – Wow. The ‘shoebox’ blazing guitar solo at Supro amp breaking point never sounded better!

    “I Can’t Quit You Baby” – Page’s fingers caught in between the strings really sounds clear.

    “How Many More Times – Can hear another microphone ‘pop’ (these usually occur when a word starts with the letters “p” or “b”) on the “p” in “Rings…Pearls in all”. Another great song to hear Plant’s microphone vibrato near the end at “Well I got to get to you BAY…BEH(right here)….Woh-oooh-oh…..please tremble(trample) off”
    I’m not going to review the live HD companion disc as it’s 48KHz / 24 bit.

    June – 2014. The finest listening session of Led Zep I I’ve ever had. Nuff said.

  • Ken Winovich said:

    Review of the Companion audio to Led Zeppelin III Remasters by Ken Winovich 06/29/14

    “Immigrant Song” – Page counts in the track at the beginning with “2-3-4”. The Vocals are on the right, center and left channels in your headphones. You can hear a weaker ending at the end of the word “shore” at 00:56. Plant delays singing the word “tales” (of gore). The phrase “In spite of all your losin” sounds rough and edgier which gives one the impression this might still be at the 50% phase of completing the track as they might have wanted a rougher attack in the song since we’re talking about Viking warriors here who were synonymous with raping, killing, pillaging and gore and the band wanted that mood to come across. The ending fade out is what is radically different from the official release. Although nice to hear, it really didn’t quite work and I agree the band made the better choice on the official cut. In the end, a very nice piece to hear.

    “Friends” – Nice clear beginning and it does not include Plant’s “f#$%” swear word at the beginning. The bongos sound very clear and are a pleasure to hear much louder and towards the front than on the official release. Jimmy’s low guitar string is really buzzing and that means he’s strumming very hard. At 02:23, you can hear some strange bass notes in the mix and even a couple of whistles. Was Plant trying to get Bonham’s attention? After closer inspection, it is actually string noise from Page’s hands as he used wound acoustic guitar strings and may have changed to flat on the official release. There is no orchestration added to the track yet either so another fine piece. This one is also a backing track so you can sing along!

    “Celebration Day” – This song is a disappointment only for the fact that we still don’t know how it originally began when we learned that the beginning was wiped off. Page’s fingers get stuck in between the strings as you hear a muted sound so this is probably an early construction. The bass is crystal clear and it’s strings sound like they are long rubber bands. Very nice. In this one, the word “And (she wonders if they’ll dig the view)” stands out more. Not only is an electrified banjo used on the track but a slide was used on it as well. I’ll have to try this out at home. The real treat is Bonham’s drum beat was made to stand out in the track. Very nice!

    “Since I’ve Been Loving You” – This song is a gem on this disc. Page’s guitar is very different from the official release. He’s experimenting more and taking chances. There is no squeaky hi-hat on this track either. The organ is cutoff and subdued by Jones into short snippets. Different lyrics such as “Baby what can I do now” occur throughout. Jones finally lays the organ on solid and that approach works better. So this is probably a first take. Different vocals again with “So now I’m gonna tell you what I’m gonna do yeah.” Very different. As he sings this song again on the next few takes, the emotion of the song will come more into focus until they arrive at the official release. A fine gem to include on this companion disc and this makes the third album my favorite companion disc of the three I’ve heard so far. A different verse of “I’m gonna stop my crying over you yeah” was cool as was “It breaks my heart losing you darlin. Oh! Yo!” The guitar solo here sounds similar in start to The Song Remains The Same live movie soundtrack. Nice “I hear them fallin….fallin.” The ten second “Ahhhh” was nice to hear. “I know you don’t mean me no harm baby” was nice as is the intense buildup after the different guitar solo. There’s a bad note at 06:39. This one is a real treat!

    “Bathroom Sound” (“Out On The Tiles”) – This one was also a real treat. You get to hear the guitar and bass very clearly on the riff where as on the official release it’s not as clear as Plant’s high pitched vocals are on top. This one is a backing track and will be put to good use in karaoke bars.

    “Gallows Pole” – The vocals on this sound muddy so this confirms it is a rough mix. There’s a cough or noise in the left ear at 00:52. At 00:06 and 00:07, you can hear Plant gripping the microphone and since this is a rough mix, it was not removed from the vocal track (I always have to remember to remove mine on my recordings). When the bass comes in it’s a real treat. There’s no banjo yet at “Sista I emplore ya…ta take him by tha hand”. No guitar overdubs either. This is a very nice bare bones track and it really makes me like this companion disc as my favorite. No “ahhhh….ha’s” yet with the rest of the band on backup vocals. Still don’t know at 4:45 why that vocal cuts in like it was spliced in or the tape cut. To get that effect, did Page press a studio button to “enable” it to come in that way? Nice to hear the song stop with Bonham still playing and Page on the right. A real treat!

    “Tangerine” – This song was left off the companion disc.

    “That’s The Way” – The mandolin in the right ear sounds very nice. A second mandolin strums in the left ear with Page’s Martin in the center and right center channel in the headphones. What’s nice about this cut is you get to hear the vocals very fine. Always wondered how Page got the acoustics to come in vibrant after the descending “Ah..a….ah….ah….ah’s”. Another nice cut.

    “Bron-Yr-Aur-Stomp” – this song appears in electric form under the name “Jennings Farm Blues” below.

    “Hats Off to (Roy) Harper” – This song was left off the companion disc

    “Jennings Farm Blues” – You can hear the drum kit rattle as the song starts. This track has been on the earliest of bootlegs and it’s great to hear it mixed by the pro. I can’t wait to add vocals to this electric flavor style to see what emphasis ramblings I might add from the acoustic version. Nice solo guitar notes a la “Travellin Riverside Blues”. This one only confirms this companion disc is a real winner! The tambourine shakes actually sound like a rattle snake! Kudos to Plant! Make sure you hear it! It ends with a vocal “Hey!” Outstanding!

    “Key To The Highway”/”Trouble In Mind” – This last combo is the top gem as we’ve never heard it before. A nice blues song with harmonica with added tremolo effect on the voice. Fine blues harp by Plant. Nice lyric “Life ain’t worth living if you ain’t with the one you love”. “Trouble In Mind” begins at 02:56 and this combo may have also included “Hats Off To Harper”, “Fixin To Die” as well as other blues standards. One can only wonder what other blues acoustic standards they were toying around with at this session. What’s interesting about this combo is it’s close in similarity to “Operator” by Alexis Korner and Robert Plant. Go dig it out and compare!

    In summary, my only minor disappointment with this companion disc was it could have contained a couple more tracks. I’ve seen some CD’s include as high as 16 tracks. So the left off “Tangerine” and “Hats Off To Harper” suffer because of this and we know Page would not have placed “Fixin To Die” on here since it came out on bootleg. When I first heard that these alternate takes were coming out, I figured we would get to hear the other two tracks that were done compared with the official track being the best of the three. Instead, we find there is one track each with a couple omissions. Of course “Key To The Highway”/”Trouble In Mind” are awesome to hear.

    It’s also a real pleasure to note the specific days these songs were recorded and in what studio as shown in the booklets as they again allow us serious Zep heads to rearrange our yearly play schedules to mark the anniversaries when the songs were recorded! What’s really lacking on this disc is what did the original beginning of “Celebration Day” sound like before the tape crinkled? But overall, by far my favorite companion disc! So now the waiting begins….for IV, Houses and Physical! Maybe the bootleggers will now scramble and fill in all the blanks I and others have mentioned.

    5 being the best:

    Product 4.97
    Satisfaction 4.99
    Audio 5.0

  • Ken Winovich said:

    Review of the Led Zeppelin II Companion audio by Ken Winovich 6/11/14

    Before I get knee deep on this, I have every scrap of the bootlegged studio outtakes. And again, expectations are not high here. And also noticing that the first Deluxe Box Set had a live companion disc and not studio outtakes, I expect my review ratings to fall on this Box set. How much so I won’t know till I get through this one. But after reading current and past Jimmy Page interviews, I expected these remasters would include the other 2 takes (Jimmy said they do three takes on every song and pick the best of the three) of at least the hits. Having just listened to this, that didn’t happen. Is it me or could these discs have included more? Did that perhaps present any legal problems? Who knows. And who among us (serious Zep fans who own bootleg studio outtakes) can honestly say that getting hold of “campfire sessions at Bron-Yr-Aur cottage” or “Stairway sessions” or even “Battle of Evermore”/”When The Levee Breaks” different versions didn’t top this? Before I open my mouth any further and realize I should have also put my foot in it, I’ll hold off for now as we don’t know what’s gonna be on that last Coda disc. That’s gonna be the one. That’s the big one here because Jimmy has the opportunity to empty the studio vaults. But I hate to wait and get my hopes up high and that Deluxe Box Set ends up for me like this one. But there’s a touch of disappointment so far. “Pat’s Delight” in embryonic form-if such a thing exists-should be on here. Some studio chatter could have been fitted on like Bonzo’s ideas on why he re-arranged “Pat’s Delight” to “Moby Dick” or even something in the flavor of Physical Graffiti’s end of “In My Time Of Dying” with “Cough! That’s gotta be the one I say!” But I will say this – if Page says in an interview “Well, we’ve got three versions of “Stairway To Heaven” that were not live and three say of “Since I’ve Been Loving You” and basically three of every song they ever did, we’re all in trouble! And we’ve all been here before. How many times have you bought software to do something in particular. The side of the box says it can do it for you. Yes it can. But not like you expected. Is it false advertising? No. It’s a mis-alignment of expectations. And it’s usually on the “spoiled” side (us!).

    Up first is “Whole Lotta Love” rough mix with vocal. At this stage in it’s development in the studio, it does not contain the backwards echo guitar slide nor a chorus. So we are hearing this song in ’embryonic’ form. There are no bongos yet added to the midsection or sonic treatments by Page and Eddie Kramer. There’s more theramin than on the official release and it’s crystal clear. When Jones’s bass starts working it’s way back in to start the end of the middle section, you know the guitar solo spot is near but it’s not on this track. A fine example of how Zeppelin laid down the foundations to a key track in their hits catalog before the added enhancements and treatments were added. It’s interesting at 5:36 to hear John Bonham do a 4-note drum lick to stop the track on the fade-out.

    “What Is And What Should Never Be” – rough mix with vocals is next. The track sounds pretty much like the original. But at the start of the slide solo, there’s a rough beginning to it which will be edited out. So it shows the track’s basics where laid down well and just a few things like a vocal bit here removed or the rough slide start cleaned up and it shows the band kept it simple and it works. Reminds me of Bono’s (U2) comment once that “Notes are precious and you should only use them when you have to.” Simplicity works and getting a good “live in the studio” basic foundation track down is a must. If you can’t achieve that then the song needs more work on the arrangement.

    Next is the “Thank You” backing track. A backing track is usually a track that’s missing some component-vocals, guitar, bass or drums and in this case, it’s the vocals. You get to hear this love song’s musical-instrument construction. It also is missing the nice delicate classical style guitar solo in the middle and the fade out and fade back in at the end of the track as well. At this stage I found myself looking to confirm the only two tracks left off the companion disk as I noticed the songs are in original album order and these left-off tracks are “The Lemon Song” and “Bring It On Home”. Whether one of them had no alternate takes or the other with only one or two tracks laid down could be a possibility but the band make room for “La La” instead to fit on this release.

    The hit “Heartbreaker” – rough mix with vocal is next and that’s a good move. We find the drum track may have been replaced with another vibrant one as it’s different than the album and the guitar solo is a “raw” first attempt to remind Page the direction to take it in when he returns to it to redo it alone in the studio by himself. The track has the harmnoic feedback beeps in it as the songs speeds up after the guitar solo which I’ve always liked. What’s really cool is the 3:30 point in the track, reminiscent of the rave-ups the Yardbirds used to do and it’s different which made it an excellent choice for this disc.

    “Living Loving Maid (She’s Just A Woman)” is a backing track minus vocals. These are neat for those of us that are in bands to practice their Plant singing or for bars and taverns to avoid botched karaoke attempts because of poor quality backing tracks. So these backing tracks should be received well.

    “Ramble On” rough mix with vocal was next. We can see the song’s basic construction and that Page will add some embellishments to it. The 2:30 point in the track sounds very nice. Also some backup vocal overdubs are missing. Very nice to hear these type tracks to see how Zeppelin polished them as they are “bare-bones” tracks.

    The “Moby Dick” backing track is how the song was originally recorded. As the song stops where the “drum insert” would go, there’s a pause and we hear Bonham count out “1-2-3-4” and the ending riff begins confirming what we’d been told if you don’t have the bootleg. The real treat was the extra power chord at the end with a rough slide down and right off the fretboard! Lovely!

    The new treat bestowed on Zeppelin fans in this box set is the never-before heard track “La La”. It begins with an enticing keyboard hook that draws you in. The whole band comes in and what stands out is the 60’s style song is the acoustic guitar strumming by Page that we all loved so well from the likes of Roy Orbison, The Everly Brothers, Johnny Cash to Donovan to name a few. At 0:50, the songs tempo changes reminiscent of Page’s Zep III era composition “Swan Song” before it goes off into another direction as Bonham and Page convert the song momentarily into an electric song but stop soon after. It’s John Bonham’s drumming that holds the track together as a foundation. Very nice descending acoustic chords by Page and we find the track has metamorphosized into electric. This would be a nice piece for those countless tribute bands to slip in to finish an acoustic song. Once again, at 2:13, we find another tempo-flavor change as only Zeppelin and Rush have ever been able to convincingly do. For much of the song to this point it had you questioning if it really even was Zeppelin music as it’s so different to anything you’ve heard but it is Page’s slide work here at two and a half minutes in that confirms it. Bonham slows it all down at 3:06 and Page continues to close out the track with some fine bluesy slide guitar. It’s very similar to “Travelling Riverside Blues” but arranged with a different flavor. And it’s the close-out track on this new companion disc.

    So having now arrived just past the half way point in these three new releases, a close look at the statement in the box set liner notes of “The material on the companion disc presents a portal to the time of the recording of Led Zeppelin II is a work in progress , with rough mixes, backing tracks, alternate versions and new material recorded at that time” is accurate. And with these releases we have our ‘second peek’ if you will, into how that work progressed after having had our first peek with all the bootleg outtakes that came out. Great to see these new 2014-technology remasters finally come out after Page had mentioned in guitar magazine interviews of their existence. Great stuff for the serious Zeppelin fan so there’s something for everyone on these new box sets whether you choose to hear finely remastered tracks updated with the latest technology to enhance them or to step back into the past to see how the band laid down their songs. Don’t know why and this is only the Zep II companion review but I’m thinking this summer of doing a campfire/fire pit session at night with these discs. I used to get my telescope set up and play every Rush album sunset to sunrise and that was always great and even did that with the entire Zeppelin catalog as well. It would be neat to listen to the Zep III material like they started constructing it – around a campfire. Disappointed a little but not much overall and found it still well worth the money. So it’s on to the Zep III Deluxe Box set and I may take a tip from another Zep fan to wear white gloves during that one as that package would get dirty otherwise.

    Scale 1-5 with 5 the best:

    Product – 4.5
    Satisfaction – 4.2
    Audio – 4.7

  • Ken Winovich said:

    Review of the Led Zeppelin II Remasters by Ken Winovich 06/11/2014

    I remember when this album came out. I, like just about the rest of the world, grew up watching The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show and around that time it was still all Beatles! Beatles! Beatles! But then one got word of a possible breakup and of Paul being dead. So there was this “bad vibe” lingering in the air when Led Zep II came out. A friend and I got into ice hockey in the late 60s because that’s when our Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team arrived (1967) so we were playing hockey as much as we could to learn the game and even in the summer (field hockey which is not played on ice). And he always had the radio on. I so well remember hearing “Whole Lotta Love” for the first time. We both agreed to get that album. Sure enough, Carl had bought it. I took one look at the cover and thought all of them were in the band as I had seen several bands on TV with more than 3-4 members. And I must admit I am GUILTY in saying “I don’t think so” and it’s because of some of the silly looks on those faces! And just like Peter Grant expecting mispellings of the bands name, I wondered if one of the guys in the pic was ED ZEPPELIN! So the band and it’s music was set aside by me at the just turned ripe age of 9. After all, I was happy with my 45 rpm collection anyway and didn’t really like these new “huge” albums. They were bulky and their corners always got bent. It’s interesting looking back at all the formats Zeppelin has gone through. I liked cassette tapes but I thought the 8-tracks were odd and when one of them got tangled up in a friends car, that did it for me. But then I gravitated to imported albums. When CD’s first came out, I didn’t like the price. But I bought the whole Led catalog again any way ‘just in case’ albums disappear and they did! Or so I thought. Then came bootleg CD’s and all the books and I was in Zeppelin heaven! But back when this was originally released, album-oriented radio stations were only starting to appear. Hearing an entire album played front to back was at first not well received but it soon caught on. First off, to hear this ground-breaking album poorly remastered would be a sin. But it’s not. And I am happy not to hear any new sounds added in for emphasis which I feared would happen. These new remasters just Shine. Vibrant. Clear as if made in 2014. They have a polished quality, they glisten and they are rendered free of any technological bugs or limitations we’e been used to depending on our age. How Jimmy was able to do this when they were recorded with sticks and stones technology is beyond me but he did and were Peter Grant alive today he would have been ecstatic and crying. Those tapes at the studio must really have sounded superb. In comparing all 3 box sets, if I was short on cash, which one or two of the three would I buy if I had to let go of 1 or 2 and in what order? In case you are after new material which I was, “La La” was a must. But I gave Zep I top priority for the rare studio pix. That period was so unknown and mysterious till now. But then Zep III had “Key To The Highway” and “Trouble In Mind”. So my order of preference was I, II then III.
    Again-the music shines brilliantly and sounds like it was recorded today with new instruments and new amplifiers but yet it’s 45.5 yrs old! It’s a miracle! What a bold adventure for a band. These box sets contain ‘virgin’ material if you will allowing us to peer inside what it was like being a member in this band constructing these gems. It’s just a very fine album. You get a bass lesson, drum lesson, hear two killer guitar solos and this new theramin unit. It’s so heavy you wonder why “Ramble On” and Thank You” are even on here at all till you hear classical Spanish style acoustic guitar which really sounds nice in remastered version. I still have problems with a couple mumbled vocal lines that never show up in the official sheet music and I have concluded that’s just the way it was recorded. I make a note to myself that I would like to separate the two stereo tracks and then listen to them each in stereo and listen for clues! I realize that if Jimmy does heed the recommendation to release these on 5.1 surround sound DVD, order isn’t that important so II, IV and Physical Graffiti should be given precedence. But let us recover from empty bank accounts first! Maybe by next years holiday season! Another word of warning – DO NOT accidentally play these with buttons on your stereo in MUTE and then accidentally un-mute it! You could tick off your significant other or even blow the whole side of the house out. They are that good! So after the world of rock was stunned by the arrival of Led Zeppelin I, Led Zeppelin II rewrote the rules and laid rocks deadliest, heaviest and meanest album of all time (at that time) down with “Whole Lotta Love”. Hard to believe this album was written while they were on the road and yet that’s exactly what we’re hearing. A band firing on all cylinders. Exactly why all the bands can’t top it. They tour and then go away and rest. Then they get back to work. Wrong! You tour and compose while you’ve got adrenalin running amok and well rehearsed. Listening to these you can feel that energy and it’s remastered in crystal clear audio. What a treat! It’s hard to keep the lid on a boiling hot kettle that’s been heated from two albums and the start of a third, four US tours, 3 UK tours, multiple BBC slots and appearances in France and Germany. And then there’s Atlantic records. Struggling because Cream had broke up. Cash register almost empty. Wondering-“What are we going to get next from Jimmy Page”? “Get on him”! So Ahmet Ertegun asked. And Jerry Wexler came back with “That is the best white blues rock I have ever heard in my life.” Atlantic was saved. How fitting the original cover was known as “the brown bomber” because once again from the sky, Zeppelin dropped a really heavy one on us despite their lighter than air tag. No horsing around here. Zeppelin were absolute masters at slaying you with their lead-off tracks. I thought “they’ll never top this again” after I heard this opening track in “Whole Lotta Love”. Then came “Immigrant Song” a year later. Followed by “Black Dog” two years later. “Just who do they think they are?” (sound familiar?) By then it was very clear. These guys are the best. Everybody knows it. Everybody tried to top it. A few bands got close. But none consistently. This second offering was so heavy, it laid down a new set of rules on what a band has to do to properly rock. So much so, it quickly pushed The Beatles aside. Yes. The Beatles! We all thought they were untouchable. To date, nobody has been able to top Zep. And if they came close, they themselves imploded before they could. To hear this album, remastered and delivered within a new technological frame, you wonder how you even got the honor to do so. Because of new advances in technology and the hard work of Jimmy Page, you can, rather than dream what people in the future will think of your hey day music as you now do with Beethoven or Mozart. Straight off, the opening riff of “Whole Lotta Love” sounds awesome. The opening riff is so heavy. It doubles in weight as the bass is joined to it. Plant warns a woman he’s not foolin. We’re on pins and needles, waiting. He’s sending her back to schoolin. As he reaches way down inside, Bonham comes in and the track is so heavy under it’s own weight, something’s gotta give. And it does from 0:37 to 0:38 with a reverse echo slide to bring you back down on the ground to ‘safe’. It’s not a bird. It’s not a plane. It sounds like a drag racer going by but in slow motion and like you’ve never heard it before! It’s something rock has never heard. It’s Led Zeppelin. Masters at their craft. You’ve just been assaulted by a guitar, a bass, vocals, drums and the wizardry of it’s producer in Jimmy Page! I never noticed this before but Bonham, in the middle of the mix, is laid back just enough so that when the chorus and descending slide come in, you get the message. Especially on this new mix. And if you can’t handle it, turn your dial to light rock and hang it up. Then the song takes a twist. There’s a reason for that. While you’re off swirling around in strange sounds and theramin mayhem, lost in a bongos jungle, running from something…..and you don’t know what….they’ll make sure you make it back. And rule number two (number one was play as loud, and rude and raunchy a guitar solo as possible a la “Communication Breakdown”) for a rock solo is play the lowest note the whole band can (“E”) and have it’s guitarist cut through the air like lightening, with crisp high E notes as hard as lead. And while you’re coolin (after Plant’s “Ahhhhhh” at 3:42 gives you the implication you and he were burned), you get to hear rule number three – what’s the best way to end a rock track? With an org***(sensored) as-mic vocal yell that runs the entire scale legnth three times as if it fell off a steep cliff! Wait till you hear it remastered! And it’s never sounded better like this! Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis did it on their pianos to close out the fifties. But sadly, those recordings fail to equal your experience because they were recorded with primitive sticks and stones. Jimmy Page has brought your ears up to date in 2014 with the best technology has to offer. And Led Zeppelin also did it to close out the sixties. Keep a coolin cause there’s more.

    Up next is the slow bluesy “What Is And What Should Never Be”. The drum cymbals are brought out clear and give you the impression of a soft rain, very crisp and bright and the ‘imitation’ wood block (it’s actually the stick tapping the side of the drum rim) never sounded better. I thought the whole band came in on backup vocals but that’s not the case. They are all Robert Plant. The whole band comes in for the “Woooooos” and it’s on to verse two. Again as I heard on the remastered Zep I, the remasters are so clear that you can hear Bonham place his sticks together in your left ear during the silence the moment before Plant starts with “And if you say to me tomorrow”. This song is a classic Zeppelin light-and-shade track. One minute it’s quiet and soft with the light taps on the cymbal and then the whole band comes in hard. The slide guitar solo sounds so smooth and sweet, you almost feel like laying down. Again, you hear one of the successful rules of rock – a guitar slide all the way down the neck and it never sounded better than on these remasters. As they start to close out the song, the back and forth panning on the guitar chords hasn’t sounded better. These remasters are worth it. Don’t believe it? Count how long Bonham’s first gong strike sounds out beginning at 3:35. It won’t be as short as your old Zep II format of choice was. Jimmy’s palm muted guitar chords sound crisper than ever plus you get a pan left to right and back. Really great to hear these kinds of details crisp and sharp which allows you to all the more appreciate the best rock your hard earned dollars can buy.

    Now we come to the big test. “The Lemon Song” which is a bass guitar lesson. And John Paul Jones is your instructor-the best your money can buy. And he knows the rules of rock his band is laying down on this record. And it’s his turn. As he dances up the scale, can the new remasters handle it when he jumps to the bottom? Again, Bonham hits his gong to open the song and with these new remasters, you can forget about counting how long it resonates because you can’t hear it stop once the band comes in. And a word of warning! DO NOT place your beverage of choice on top of your speaker! This bass is so heavy, your beverage will quickly vibrate along and topple off! I’d love to tilt my speakers flat on the floor and dump a handful of Mexican jumping beans onto the woofer just to see what happens! And I can tell you the exact spot to conduct your experiment! Throw them on starting at 3:00! These new remasters reveal Robert Plant yelling “Ay!” as his band lays down a smoker at 1:58-59 in your right ear. Jimmy’s echoed slides in the right ear sounds great on these remasters at 3:03. After Plant says “ good…stupid….\\\off (sensored)” you hear strange noises on Page’s Les Paul at 3:25-26 – probably the ball ends of the guitar strings rotating around at the bridge. And keep listening. There’s more. Make sure you catch Bonham purposely hitting the top tightening screw on one of his crash cymbals at 4:49 so you don’t think you chipped a tooth. It’s that clear! And he does it twice again at 4:55 with Plant’s “Yeah!” approval. If your stereo is good enough, you can even hear Plant yell over to Bonham “John!” at 5:47 in your right-ooops-left ear! Caught my R and L headphone ears backwards! I’m going to have years of fun with this remastered track.

    “Thank You” is next to close out side one of the original album. The remasters really bring out Plant’s tenderness on this track which he dedicated to his wife. Listen to what I mean right at “loving you”. And the word “crumble” is brought out very well. And the whispered “there would” really hits home. It’s fine-tuned details like this and discovering in your right ear that Jimmy is using classical nylon low E and A strings with metal D-G-B and E strings on his classical sounding guitar for this tracks solo that come into sharper focus for dedicated Zep fans and that will provide years more of listening pleasure. And it’s a sure plus for all the bands who try and play Zeppelin music. They now will have no trouble understanding all those tablature books which show Guitar#1, #2 & #3. They’ll have no trouble locating it.

    “Heartbreaker” is the other smash hit off this album along with “Whole Lotta Love” and it’s a real treat. You’ve never heard it better and that’s just great because it’s riff is one you never want to forget. Classic Zeppelin slayer. Killer opening guitar as the rhythm sections joins in. One of Zeppelin’s formulas for success. Strings are buzzing here and it’s great to hear the details. You almost want to take your headphones off to make sure there’s not a bumble bee in them! Jones’s over-driven noisy bass sounds so cool struggling out of his amp. I wouldn’t be surprised if a studio hand who was there back then posts on a message board that yes indeed “he put two slits in each speaker with a razor”! Best place to “confirm” it is 00:33-34. It’s so clear now that it sounds like it growls on the prowl! And you can almost bet these new remasters will have countless teens running down to their local guitar stores with their parents to buy a bass. That’s what Zeppelin music does. I know. It did the same thing to me back when I was their age. And I haven’t fell off the wagon forty five years later, not with these new remasters around! It’s all in the mix. You’ve got to hear crisp cymbals, Bonham’s hi-hat, acoustic metal strings, harmonica notes and snare drum all anchored solid with deep bass and kick drum sounds or it’s back to the drawing board. And Page has certainly delivered which is why his band continues to draw people in. I never forgot it. And new listeners will not either. It’s that good. At 1:34, the growling bass party is over and that’s because you’re about to get hit with a cascade of guitar notes all over your head. Jimmy slams these frets so fast you can hear the ball ends of the strings squeek again while held back in their bridge! For me, years ago I couldn’t wait to pull my friends frantically over to the speakers to hear the guitar harmonic whistles at 2:55 and again at 2:57. Plant’s “Ahhhh….ha” at 4:05 sounds great and the song ends with a nice crisp cymbal crash stopped quickly by Bonham’s hand. This one definitely requires further listenings.

    “Living Loving Maid (She’s Just A Woman) is next. Great to hear Page’s wah wah in my right ear churn out those muskrat or should I say cat “rrrhhhhrrs”! Somebody other than Plant adds backup vocals in the middle at 00:30-32 and will require further listenings to determine the culprit. The “Ah you got it man” at 1:37 is really clear and brings a smile. And now for the first time, you get to hear crystal clear how Plant takes the “n” in the word “better lay your money dowN” and steps down two semi-tones on the musical scale at 2:15-17! What singers do you know of today that do that other than him? That’s why record sales get sluggish now and then till Zep come along and prop them back up again. And exactly why we hard core Zep fans desire to hear anything this band does from Page’s echoed theramin notes on either end of the scale to Jones’s scratchy bass amp to Plant breathing in on his harmonica and sounding an inhale note to Bonham adding doublets and triplets when other drummers are just struggling to keep time. Great to hear the clarity in Plant’s voice as he does another tongue vibrato with ‘Li-li-li-li-li-li-vn…..she’s just a woman!” at the very end.

    By now it’s clear why this album is one of the fan favorites. And just when you think you’ve got it down, along comes the remaster of “Ramble On”. It’s another classic light-and-shade Zeppelin track. Soft in the beginning with “Leaves are fallin all around…” and then all hell breaks loose with “Ramble On!” It’s been a real pleasure hearing these various tablas, congas and bongos on these remasters and this track is a good example. Before, this song had us tapping our pencils on our notebooks at school much to the annoyance of our teachers. But here, they sound as they should. There’s no mistaking it. They have a paper-like quality to them which is why we weren’t taping our wooden desks. The Les Paul flute-like sounds in the middle of the song really sound better in this remaster. And on this remaster, this song will have to require several more listens because of the Plant comments that go back and forth in our headphones. Especially as the song winds down and we hear the infamous “bluebird” lyrics on the fade-out.

    We now come to Mr. Bonham’s showpiece. “Pat’s Delight” will never sound like this. Not unless Jimmy releases the Fillmore West shows from April 1969. And this should be a great experience. It all gets underway with a very crisp cowbell. At times, so crisp you can slightly tell it’s shifting or coming loose while anchored to it’s stand. What’s strange about this song is how Page plays the riff. It sounds odd and he is clearly using upstrokes on the low strings for a different flavored riff. The remaster is so clear you can confirm he’s using wound strings. Right off, I expect to hear some classic Bonham yells. These are so clear that if one of the bandmembers had any coins in their pocket, you would easily hear their change rattling about! There wasn’t a single yell heard from Bonham but as we know “live” was a different story. And you would never know this song had it’s solo patched in between the opening and ending riffs unless you already heard it on the Zep II studio outtakes. Very nice hearing Mr. Bonham in 2014 technological sound!

    “Bring It On Home” closes out the album and it’s a real pleasure to hear the harmonica intricacies here. After hearing the opening Sonny Boy imitation done very well even to the point of imitating missing teeth, Jimmy and the rest of the band come in to the song so hard in your left ear that you would swear a plate was dropped and shattered. What’s great is Page brought Bonham’s little tappings at “What you tryin’ ta do?” in the lyrics out nicely in your ears. The remasters bring out all these little intricate details and we get to really hear how well they really worked. And you get to hear with clarity what makes the world’s greatest rock and roll band sound so good and why. It’s what helped separate Zeppelin from scores of other bands.

    In summary, a fine disk and it definitely requires multiple listening sessions because it is chalk full of a variety of sounds and lessons.

    Product – 4.97
    Satisfaction – 4.98
    Audio – 4.97

  • Ken Winovich said:

    Review of the Led Zeppelin II Deluxe Box Set by Ken Winovich 06/11/2104

    Here we have the album that toppled the Beatles off the top of the charts. It’s Volume #2 of what I am calling my new growing Led Zeppelin Encyclopedia Music set. These remasters are beyond expectations and remind me of something Robert Plant once said when Zep I was recorded and I am paraphrasing here: “What I heard coming back to me from the cans (studio slang for headphones) was better than the finest chick in all the land”. And here we are, in Robert’s very shoes, 44+ years later, hearing the actual master tapes that had him say that and they must have been darn good with ours remastered in 2014 by the groups leader who cares about his band’s legacy. Knowing that each Deluxe Box Set should have it’s own distinctive color, the band chose a brownish hue for this second offering. The open fold slipcase is again made of fine coarse material similar to “The Photographers Zeppelin” book. I again used an artists knife to cut a rectangle out on the bottom wrapper to allow me to slide the cellophane wrapper off while preserving it with the upper left-hand sticker in place as I had done back in the 90’s with my Crop Circle Box set. Before handling, I again washed my hands and placed the box set on top of a piece of white foam board. I made a mental note that I better be careful with the Led Zep III Deluxe Box Set as it is white which is up for me to get under it’s hood next! After carefully slicing it open with an artist knife, I was again greeted with the same smell I had from the Zep I Deluxe Box Set of inks and glues. And serious Zep fans remember this stuff. I still have etched in my mind very clearly the smell of popcorn in the movie theater when I saw “The Song Remains The Same” for the first time. Having practically studied ceremoniously the “each Box contains..” info posted on the bands official website earlier in the year, I knew this set would not have anything extra that the first one did with that Press Kit so my expectations were “the book better be good”. I was glad to see this box set’s inside has the same depth as Zep I.

    The 90-page hardback book is the first thing to greet me with it’s Zeppelin II era cutout allowing some of the front cover to peek through. Nice touch. Again, there is nothing on the side of the book spine and it likewise could have had something akin to “Led Zeppelin II Era”. The pages are thick and as large as an album. The book takes you back to the era when this album was under construction. I felt once again that the back of the box set should have included the back of the album cover however in this second offering’s case, there’s not much to see which shows us possibly why it was left off of the first box set. Would have been nice to get a repro of a tour programme like say the Bath Festival or the one with Jimmy’s hand outstretched I thought, to follow the pattern like the Zep I press kit but no biggie. So when I didn’t see a separate tour program I worried. Before I open the book, as a serious Zep fan, what am I expecting? 1. The top two choices of album cover artwork for the band to choose from (Can’t wait to see the tennis racket one for Houses Of The Holy where Jimmy told the artist ‘Get Out!’ after “Don’t you get it? This music business is a racket.”). I didn’t see the one Plant said was the original Zep II album title – “THE ONLY WAY TO FLY”. 2. More studio shots – GOT THEM!. Hearing that Jimmy was given a Gibson flying V to try out during the recording of Zep I really gets us gear heads going so more studio shots would be great – GOT THEM! 3. Articles about Zep unseating the Beatles which was one hell of an accomplishment – Swing and a miss! 4. Good BBC related artifacts – Swing and a miss. 5. More on that shelved documentary and some of the photos of the bands home life from it – GOT THEM! 6. Original WWI photo used for the Led II cover – GOT IT! So compared to the first box set book, I was happier. Without giving too much away, I note some of the book highlights: Inside cover – promo group shot with wavy lines behind them. Things get cooking on page 2 with photos. Excellent listing of all the studios used to make this record on page 3 and it was great to see that. Pages 4/5 have nice shots of each band member in the studio. Page 6 has a never before seen photo of Jimmy in the studio reaching over to his VOX CO2 “Long Tom” Echo. Page 7 shows some of the band in the control room. Page 8 is the familiar “Arby’s” photo of Jimmy working in the studio. Page 10 was shot at A & R studio. Page 11 was shot at Groove studio. Great to see another original lyrics sheet in “Ramble On”. Pages 12/13 show studio bills from A & R for “Heartbreaker”. Pages 14 & 15 show us the cover of the master tape boxes! Excellent! Page 16 has the original World War I photo that was used to design the cover. Page 17 a Led Zep “Whole Lotta Love” 45 not for sale white label pressing copy. These are followed by more live pix, 45 covers, adverts, articles, etc. An excellent photo of the Albert Hall is on page 30. Great pix from the LA Forum which gave me a flashback to hippie days and the tension with the cops. And finally, there it is! A reproduction of the 1969 tour book! That was a very good move! I felt page 48 was wasted. They could have squeezed a half-page photo in there but it causes confusion. Page 83 had the nice detailed recording information. Page 86 shows their live concert listings with a date range of 8/8/69 thru 4/23/70. I spotted the first error in my box sets after looking for my city’s show in Pittsburgh on 3/30/70. Regarding the Philadelphia listing on 3/31/70 – the date should have been bold font and the rest of the text on the next line. As it is, it looks like a second show added to Pittsburgh which did not occur.

    The new pressing of the original album was done well and is the gem of the package for me next to the book. Mine is in perfect mint condition. It has the new “R” catalog numbers. The album foldout is nice with the David Juniper ancient Parthenon style architecture revealing the band member monument platforms in gold also spotlighted. The album again is made of very thick and sturdy 180-gram vinyl which allows your turntable to really get into it’s grooves. I thought I’d seen the last of my album days but I now find that’s not the case and that is about to change. The white album sleeves have a see-thru plastic sheath glued inside.

    The companion album to this remasters deluxe box set has the new light blue cover and I like it. Each disc in these box sets whether album or CD have the holographic LED ZEPPELIN SRTS style-font lettering with angel sticker. The proof-of-purchase sticker reminds you that you are handling an official Led Zeppelin product. I quickly place these albums in new heavy plastic album sized covers to protect them. The albums were made with the original Green/Orange Atlantic style label in the center.

    Next was the serial numbered print made on fine stock paper. Mine has the serial number #18567 / 30000 but this one wouldn’t have had me worried that I might have cut it too close to ensure I got my hands on it and it makes me wonder who the lucky chap will be who will get serial number 00001 / 30000 if not the band members and their families. I also wonder if the higher end of the serial numbers were distributed first to make us appreciate the fact that we are one of the lucky 30,000 but they needn’t have worried there.

    The brown HD Download card was next with it’s code. I forgot to mention in the first review that the back of the card is white.

    The light blue companion CD was next. It is just a cardboard sleeve and does not fold out. I only slit the side to keep it protected by it’s wrapper. It’s see-thru plastic sheath was not wrinkled.

    The original Led Zep II reamstered CD was next. I only slit the side open likewise to keep it new. I didn’t care to see the inside foldout but I actually should look at it in case it’s defective. Both the companion and remastered CD’s have a holographic sticker on the back. This CD was a mess inside as the CD in plastic sheath was shoved in the white sleeve and it was badly wrinkled which really irks me. I made a note to see if the song credits or titles were changed regarding “Whole Lotta Love” and “The Lemon Song”.

    So overall I was very pleased with this box set. The band reproduced the 1969 tour program and that was great to see even though I already have a repro from Merit Adventures and it adds a nice touch to the box set since the first box set included the original reproduced press kit. Plus I like having it bound into a book. Again, two recessed cutouts with thumb cut to allow easy retrieval of the CD’s from the bottom of the case. But that’s not where I found them when I finally got to the bottom. As with the Zep I box set, I trimmed 1/4″ off the ends of the “L” shaped contents card that was on the back so it will fit inside the box. I appreciate the band went to the expense to print those as who knows what might be missing if we had no idea. Thank You Led Zeppelin and speaking of thanks – you guys deserve a round of applause and a thank you because these remasters and the various packaging are much appreciated!

    I kept all of the plastic wrappers inside. For this box set, I noticed some minor damage – first with the case getting dented slightly at the top center. It may have been dropped in the store. The companion album spine was cracked as they dropped the heavy 180-gram vinyl album into the fold, the Zep II remaster album center hole showed signs they had problems boring it and the Zep II remaster CD plastic sheath was wrinkled from having been shoved in. ‘Any letdowns with this box set’? I asked myself after looking at the first box set? Just the “swing-and-a-miss” items I mentioned earlier but this book was more in line with my expectations. My favorite surprises were the master tape covers and the studio bills for “Heartbreaker”. I liked it and enjoyed again the recording details at the end of the book. Serious Zep fans play the catalogs in non-stop marathons, we replay everything in our collections in chronological order and we observe anniversary dates. So that helps when April thru June rolls around every year rather than playing Zep II on it’s release date in your country (US was 10/12/14). The companion album is a real joy but I’m biased as blue is my favorite color. I like it better than the brown bomber. I’ve never referred to Zep II that way nor am I belittling it as it is one of my top 3 Zep album favorites. And any shortcomings I notice with this box set book, I smile knowing I am glad I bought those new scrapbooks (I forget the author – the ones with folded posters, etc. inside) Nice job! It will make up for any shortcomings in these kits. I am very careful handling all the contents and I must point out, I came close a few times to dropping the heavy side of the Zep I box in my lap and realized if the lighter LH side of the box cover would have latched on to something, it could have easily been torn off or damaged. So mint condition fans beware! All in all, a very fine, impressive package and I get another shiver up my back just wondering what effect the Zep IV’s deluxe box will have on me. I wouldn’t want to have been in the room trying to decide what was in and what was not! I never knew why but regarding Zep music and the weather, I really love overcast clouds with very green trees and now I know why. It’s the Zep IV cover and England’s rainy weather as you see on Zep IV. Can’t wait to get the 4th deluxe box set and I think I will sit under a tree for that one with umbrella of course and I don’t mean the rain. What can I say? This box set will always be remembered for the blue cover and “La La”. It would also be a good marketing strategy for the boys to release an official book with all the Deluxe Box Set books all in one book for those who may have missed it.

    Scale 1-5 with 5 the best:

    Product – 4.95
    Satisfaction – 4.98
    Audio – 4.97

  • Stephen said:

    I don’t want to come across as a party pooper, but for me the “bonus” material, bar WLL and SIBLY, is disappointing. The majority of tracks are almost the same as the release, minus the vocals or a few overdubs. Before I get fans jumping down my neck, I just want to clarify that I am a massive life-long Zep fan. Back in the early 90s I used to pay £30-40 for soundboard concerts and dubious 10th gen copies of Knebworth, Seattle and Earls Court on VHS. The re-issues sound better than ever mind you, a great investment. The reality is that all the best outtakes were already used on Physical Graffiti and Coda. Now were left with predominantly alternate mixes. I would be excited if these were radically different from the final version, but most of them aren’t. I think Page’s “quality control” got in the way of us enjoying embryonic versions of songs that would be far more interesting. I hope the reissues improve with the later albums. The best unreleased Zep song ever is Swan Song from Physical Graffiti. There’s a killer version on YouTube with no vocals. Here’s hoping he’s got the same one with vocals! But I’m still enjoying the reissues. Thanks Jimbo.

  • Ken Winovich said:

    My Deluxe Box Set reviews incorrectly mention David Juniper as the artist for the Led Zeppelin I alternate cover design on the back – small square at the bottom. It should refer to George Hardie. -Ken-

  • Ken Winovich said:

    Review of the Paris Olympia companion disc to the Deluxe Box Set Led Zeppelin I

    Before I start, as a serious Zep fan, I have heard every live recording any Zep fan can get their hands on. And I have all of the live releases the band has officially put out. So expectation-wise, mine are not that high. However, bearing in mind the Danish show from seven months earlier, which is their second earliest official audio recording and which appeared on DVD, was done on TV. And the BBC recordings were so vibrant and very exciting so they will be hard to eclipse. This show should still catch a very young Zeppelin in just over their first year since birth, introducing at least one newly released Zeppelin II song into the set. Only one? There’s a reason for that. This creates a problem for the band as they for the first time face the dilemma of having to make an adjustment to their live set. So it’s clear we are about to hear their last attempt to showcase numbers off the first album before the adjustments to their live show begin.

    The show starts off with a Bonham 1-2-3-4 count. Nice segue by the band from “Good Times Bad Times” into “Communication Breakdown” and we’re off! Plant misses half a verse but he’s also holding two microphones taped together. You can hear at times that each band member would like to cut loose and go off on their own tangents by themselves but they resist the temptation and contain it. We have to remember this band is just over a year old and they like any band are tempted to overplay by each of them over-indulging. The crowd is rather quiet and probably studying this band they’ve heard so much about. The improvisational changes on this show are not as fluid as they will be by 1971-72 with the band finally settling in to what I call the early stages of the perfect organized rock show set list which Zeppelin led the way for all other bands to follow from 1973-77 from a stadium platform when Zep settle all alone into their prime at the top of their game.

    “I Can’t Quit You Baby” is a joy to hear again after countless poor quality bootlegs. Plant’s 10-second note hold around 00:45 was enjoyable as we had seen in the “Since I’ve Been Loving You” flavor from 1977 shows and this 1969 one was a personal favorite to hear which sets it apart from the sound check one on Coda. It’s Zep getting down to it’s roots in the blooz. Excellent tongue/mouth vibrato by Plant at 01:52 which I have rarely ever heard any other singer do.

    “Heartbreaker” is awesome. It kicks off like it just escaped out of jail with the police in chase as the Zep II album had just been released twelve days before this show in the US. Although too short, it was a definite show highlight.

    “Dazed And Confused” starts with a nice steady bass from John Paul Jones. An excellent example of a youthful Zep as I expected. The “Ju-de, ju-de, ju-de” bit in the middle was cool and then here it comes! The tour-de-force of the whole disc. Zep explode after the violin bow solo. Urgent. Frenzied. Tense. On edge. Explosive. Eruptive. Zep at their finest. Some echo in there as Page begins to close out the song by stepping on a guitar pedal. He discards his first feedback attempt as the note was too high and adjusts his 3-way guitar toggle switch and nails the right feedback note! Brilliant!

    “White Summer/Black Mountain Side” has very nice harmonics from the Danelectro guitar. You can hear a cough on the tape which is probably Plant. Finally the bongos arrive as I saw them in the booklet but had not yet heard them causing me to check the bootleg version to see what was dropped from this recording. Another cough in the audience or by Plant. At the 7:00 point in the song, it takes a nice change of flavor and the song closes out with a nice hammer-on by Page.

    The band quiets down nicely as Plant’s harmonica is showcased on “You Shook Me” and he has never been given the credit he’s due as a fine harpsman. Bonham tries some delayed cymbal crashes late in the song that didn’t quite work but he’s not afraid to explore new territory either and as they are only a year old, who cares. We would see the results of these Bonham experimentations succeed in Zeps later years. Plant’s vocals hit a raunchy hoarse note which he cleverly sustains which was another personal highlight and the song comes to an end with a little bit of a loss of volume near the end. Not bad for 1969 PA sound equipment but there is a little bit of hall echo causing the sound to be too full with a lack of clarity. I am hoping this recording sets a precedent of further live show releases to fill in the blanks in the bands career. As any Zep fan is compelled to do, we start to wonder what we’d like to see next now that this is out and that would be a good 1971 live show (Japan maybe?) as well as a good recording from their last ever tour of Europe in 1980. That’s not likely to happen as there are sure to be plenty of items to fill that Zep IV companion disc and Page could choose to empty the vaults with official releases of “Sugar Mama”, “Sunshine Woman”, “Fire”, “Say You Gonna Leave Me” or even the elusive “Slush” on the Coda companion disc rather than an 80’s live show. Same goes for all the early rock hits heard at the Chicago 1973 sound check. Another in-demand official live release that would be great would be the Fillmore West shows from April 1969 to close out a good thorough look at early Zep. Only Jimmy knows what surprises he has in store for us since he’s listened to everything.

    “Moby Dick” gets started as Bonham gets the crowd going. You can hear John yell at 6:55 and 7:01 and he comes in later with an improvisation that worked well that we’ve never heard before! Very nice! Especially when followed by his take-my-time tease at the end to close out the song with a final yell. And the French audience agrees!

    “How Many More Times” has that familiar Plant “ring(s)-pearl(s), ring(s)-pearl(s), ring(s)-pearl(s)” line at 01:32. Jones has a late start with his bass after Plant’s “Steal Away” bit. Plant leads the band to close out the show. Fantastic!

    So to sum up the Deluxe box set, it was a pleasure especially after seeing numerous bootlegs slapped together which have either a great front and back cover with good sound but poor photo booklets or great photo booklets and cover but a poor recording. The booklets and companion discs were a great opportunity for the band to continue to offer their fans more which they didn’t even have to do as these remastered discs would have easily stood well by themselves. Did this box set deliver? Yes indeed!

    Product – 4.3
    Satisfaction – 4.3
    Audio – 4.2

  • Ken Winovich said:

    First audio impressions Review of the Led Zeppelin I Remaster by Ken Winovich

    Although I was still too young to have enjoyed the exact release date of this momentous album, it shortly thereafter did impress me even at the age of 9. Within one year, Led Zeppelin had my undivided attention along with the rest of the world. With the poor quality of CD releases issued by their label in the early 80’s, Jimmy Page immediately went to work bringing them “up to snuff”. And again, 20+ years later and without hesitation, he has given Zeppelin fans yet another unparalelled gift – the finest quality recording of the original album you can hear to date. Right from the first few sentences of lyrics if not sooner, you realize you have a front row seat if you will in brilliant vibrancy of this band’s debut. Several critic reviews of their albums in the past went right over the critics head. And I as a fan I must plead guilty that when Page told us he was remastering the music, that went over my head as well as this has by far exceeded my wildest expectations. The clarity is unreal. The first listening experience had such an effect on me, I found I lost my interest in the companion disk and prior to receiving the new discs, the companion disc was what I really cared about! It’s the original Zeppelin debut album, but like you’ve never heard it before. It leaves one with the impression that it is brand new because of the shine and lustre of the remastered music. It’s beyond scary! When I read an interview by Jimmy Page that he was going to be adding treatments, etc., I worried I would be hearing echoed sonic booms panning left to right in my headphones which weren’t on the original recordings. It was none of that. What it is is a crystal clear diamond-tipped gold plated recording that has had any impurities burned away by crimson laser. I have never heard an acoustic guitar or stringed instrument sound this clear on ANYTHING else, via CD, airwaves, etc. Not like this. Welcome to 2014 – the year the latest technology in sound and music was finally delivered. You have to tip your hat off to Page. For him to have done this he would have had to have been kept up to date on all the latest technologies and I can’t even do that with my own computer and I build my own systems and even solder components if I have to! If you’re in a band, play guitar, bass, drums or sing like I do and you’ve not always found it easy to learn the Zep catalog because of all the sonic bombardment, you’ve arrived at clarity Mecca! We know these guys have unearthly talent but now you will easily hear the bass on it’s own channel, guitar and even every single overdub and with no muddiness. It’s all been laid wide open for the world to hear. In addition to never hearing an acoustic guitar like this, you can add harmonica, drums, bass and anything they placed in the original in crystal clear form. And the experience get’s even better. You can hear drum kit rattle when the music comes to a stop in the song and you will hear cymbal crashes resonate long after they were hit. Little vocal mumblings lost in the background of the music on past product can now easily be deciphered. You’re just stunned. Should it really be surprising in this year of 2014 with all the technology available? Then you realize Led Zeppelin are always first in line as they were in 1969, to once again shake the world of rock. Jimmy Page never disappoints. He is the ultimate caretaker of Zeppelin’s legacy one could ask for. Everything he has done and everything this band puts out is miles above the rest. If you are a serious Zep fan and have tons of bootlegs in your collection, you will be laying those aside for quite awhile. They pale in comparison to the lustre of these sounds. It’s that good. The stuff on here smokes so red hot that there should be a warning label on the package “Proceed at your own risk” and that they are not responsible for blown speakers, tweeters, sub-woofers, shattered windows, broken end tables, etc. It is so clear, I jokingly posted “have an ambulence on standby” over the internet! In fact if these ever come out on 5.1 surround sound DVD audio, I don’t think there’s a stereo on this planet that would be able to handle it. No matter what you hear, you would swear it was done on a brand new instrument or amp. It’s that simple. Although it is 46 years old, it sounds brand spanking new and new in the sense of the word that it hasn’t been heard before. Yet it has. All I can say is…..enjoy! You’ve arrived at the cusp of sounds ushering in a new era.

    Product – 20.0!
    Satisfaction – 20.0!
    Production – 20.0!
    Audio – 20.0!

  • Ken Winovich said:

    Review of the Deluxe Box set packaging by Ken Winovich

    This one is it. The sonic bomb that was dropped on the world of rock to close out the sixties and pave the way to Zeppelin’s dominance of the 70’s. I thank Jimmy for choosing black for the first deluxe case. It works well and compliments the cover. Right off the bat, after you’ve opened the case cover, you can see this is any serious Zep fans ultimate complete package. Could it have been done different ways? Obvious. But would that have been cost effective? No. The care taken here to ensure you’ve got the foundational block in two formats of album or CD all in one package makes it worth it. I got rid of my old stareo’s long ago from the 70’s and early 80’s once CD’s came out but I still have the last one. Unfortunately, it was not the stereo that had tubes (valves to Brits) in it. As any guitarist knows, “tone” is achived by careful pickup selection and the “tubes”. Jimmy said in interviews that he loved to see them glow. The best way to hear Jimmy Page’s guitar then is with a tube stereo and ever since I got rid of that 60’s tube stereo, I have never been able to hear the finest bootlegs for example of Seattle 73 or NY 75 in all their glory. If I replace my current stereo, it would be nice if I could get one with tubes but good luck. As I saw from photos of those lucky enough to pre-order thru Amazon, the box is DEEPER than expected. There is an official holographic Led Zeppelin proof-of-purchase seal on the back of the case. The case material is very nice and textured which brings out fine detail in the original cover artwork. The 72-page hardback book is the first thing in my hands. It’s hardback cover has a tilted Zeppelin I angle blimp cutout with the first album artwork peeking through. Nice and brought a smile to my face as did just about everything in this “survival kit”. I caution you – because we shed dry flaky skin all the time, handling the book multiple times will allow these to get trapped into the cover, causing lighter thumb and finger smears. So you might want to wash yours hands before handling! I intend to enjoy this product for the rest of my life. Immediately, I secured a heavy duty vinyl album plastic sleeve for the hardback book and it fits well! The only problem – a burr at the 4-5 o’clock position on the front cover of all places. Out of the band’s control but a definite bummer to a serious collector who only accepts mint condition and settles for nothing less. Because only 30,000 were made, that ends that. There is nothing written on the spine of the book. It could have had “Led Zeppelin I – 1968 – 1969 era, period, or whatever you like but no biggie. Open the book and the original Zep I cover reminds you this is where the journey for millions of fans began. Sadly, the back cover photo was not on the last page of the book. I also felt a sheet of that transparent tissue on top of this would have added that extra touch of elegance, but again, no biggie. The thought of accidentally wrinkling that would have been a disaster. Great band shots in their infancy which you can tell by the legnths of Plant and Jones’s hair adorn the next page. The pages are thick and you get the impression you’ve grabbed two at a time but find that’s not the case. That is a plus which enables more time of enjoyment rather than lost time fumbling to get the pages separated as the telephone rings! The photo of Grant, Page in awesome white velour sport coat with textured Zep I era shirt and Ertegun, with Jimmy signing on the dotted line, to the Atlantic and not it’s Atco label, sets the tone of the book and I thought ‘not in blood’ (as was rumored) with the most important man at Atlantic smiling as well. No messing around here! Peter Grant is smiling because he’s just got the band a 5-year deal. Jimmy’s smiling as he’s got artistic control in a vise grip and Ahmet is smiling because he’s got Jimmy’s band signed which includes two of London’s former top session men (master tapes and artwork were handed over this day). Nice handy track listing and release date/studio reference. Now the fun begins from page 4 onward. There’s original articles, easy to read, telegrams, contracts, photos, letters, ads, promo albums, 45’s, etc whch take you back almost as if they’re one of those time capsules you leave behind that you see on the news with somebody in the future to open it. These allow you to feel the momentum Zep are gaining. The earliest articles tell you how it came about and the journey forward continues with more pictures and illustrations. There are illustrations of all shapes and sizes, in vibrant color and presented with care, allowing one to travel back in time to the period of the launching of Led Zeppein in 1968 and on through 1969. I was let down because of no photos from Olympic first album recording sessions or even a rare gem of a Pangbourne rehearsal shot or one from first rehearsals at Gerrard street. But from the article headlines, it’s clear, the band was off and running. And rising fast! The weekly worksheets softened the blow of no Pangbourne/Gerrard street photos because they document a band not sitting on their laurels but already working on Zep II. New never before seen photos keep your interest. By the middle of the book, the band is already receiving awards after their huge impact on the world of music. Sadly, no photo of Dusty Springfield who helped get the band signed. I’ve seen photos of Jeff Beck also at the signing but the focus is on Zeppelin. The very important Bath Festival gig is documented. There are ticket stubs and programmes. Great photo of long lines around the corner at The Rock Pile. There could have been more smaller photos from various cities to show this band worked their tails off what with 4 US Tours, several in the UK, a tour of Scandinavia and even jaunts to Paris and Germany. This is compromised with bigger photos in nice color, still effective. Seven nice pages document the Paris Olympia show since it is on the companion disc-a good move. Good details on the companion tracks near the back of the book. I really enjoyed the handwritten recording info on pages 66 & 67. This provides detailed info on when the Zeppelin recording process started in their 12 year history with new revelations (“Sugar Mama” is a Zep I outtake, when overdubs likely occurred and a track labelled “Blues I”). The Tour Itinerary at the back was an added bonus as it confirms a band working very hard and provides a handy reference to shows in any town. Sadly, my city’s show at the Hunt Armory was left out which makes any fan in any city feel as though they are a part of Zep history when they stormed into your town. Sadly, I never saw them live. My first chance was 1973 at Three Rivers Stadium. But a fan was found dead in the river at a Z Z Top/Aerosmith show just a week or two before. Coupled with rock/hippies being dirty words to parents and at 12 years of age, you can forget about it junior! The band took 1974 off to launch their label. I was grounded in early 1975 and the tour was announced around the time I ticked my parents off so there I was, February 1, 1975, weighing whether to sneak down to the Arena irregardless or ‘wait’ for the next time. So I waited. A Zep fans worst nightmare. About the only thing that helps because I will never have peace is knowing that Jimmy Page missed his chance to see Hendrix live. I saw the city lights that rainy night wondering if I made a mistake and I did. That was my best opportunity. In 1977, Zep were to play the Pittsburgh Civic Arena twice. I bought tickets to show one down on the floor close to the stage and I had tickets in the first section off the floor for the second show. They were to open the Arena roof. But sadly, Plant’s son died with a little over a week to go! My friend and I could feel an urge to see them and we were thinking of flying over to England for Knebworth but the airfare for a couple of high school teens at $700 was a bit too much. Instead, I mailed some money to a great fan in Michigan who went and she got me the programme, poster and a few other goodies. I felt it would never happen but then the 1980 US Tour was announced. I secured BACK STAGE passes as I worked at a mens clothing store and one of the salesmen dated a girl who worked for DeCeseare-Engler who promoted all the shows here in Pittsburgh. But as we all know, that never happened. The closest I ever came was Page/Plant in 1995 & 1998 and I saw them in Cleveland as well for both tours. I finally saw John Paul at Rosebud several years later. Getting back to the box, photo credits are referenced on page 70 and the book winds down with Jerry Wexler of Atlantic, congratulating the band on their GOLD RECORD awards in just under one year since their birth! Quite an accomplishemnt.

    Up next is the reproduced Led Zeppelin I album, on very sturdy and thick 180-gram vinyl. You won’t hear any slurry sounds coming out of your speakers because of thin, warpy albums of yesteryears! Which means a very fine album listening experience indeed! The album has the original orange/green Atlantic center label. I was glad my white inner album sheath was not bent from having been just shoved into the album jacket. A holographic Led Zeppelin seal reminds you that you are handling an official Zeppelin product. The back Chris Dreja album photo sepia toned color photo has been slightly modified more towards an orange hue. As the reproduced letter inside the book from Peter Grant to Atlantic indicates his preference for a sepia toned color and this may indicate what the band originally was after. My holographic seal was placed over the tiny alternate original Zep I cover artwork submitted by David Juniper which was a tiny square at the bottom. What irks me is it was placed on crooked. I quickly place the album in a thick plastic vinyl protective sleeve. The album is inside a white envelope and includes a glued-in-place see-thru plastic sheath inside of that

    Up next is a very nice serial-numbered print of the original artwork cover. Mine reveals serial# 25618 / 30000 making me immediately wonder if I just got lucky in securing one of the last remaining copies!!!!!!!! Also on sturdy paper, it would look well in an elegant frame, mounted in me house but that’s another battle I may have to wage in the future till I’ve delved into the new music and remasters.

    Up next is a nice reproduction of the original press kit. For those of us who already have this in the Crop Circle box set, it would have been nice to see a repro of Peter Grant’s business card attached to the inner press kit pockets or say Ahmet’s business card. The kit is still nice here and includes the informative band dossier and memos. My “Led Zeppelin – The Beginning” 3-page documents by June Harris were xeroxed crooked, and slant downhill to the right. I’ll get over it. But the one that got me mad was the document “Led Zeppelin – Background”. It was stapled right below “ATL” letters in the red Atlantic symbol in the upper left-hand corner and it is a struggle to read since the staple is so low. The pages were wrinkled giving me the impression the manufacturing plant was behind schedule and had to pick it up getting these out on time. Thank goodness the two 8 x 10 B & W prints look great. But the black Atlantic logo bottom right-hand corner to the group photo with Page standing in the back, was crooked. But with the overall press kit closed and placed in front of me, it is in mint condition. I quickly placed the serial numbered print and the press kit in vinyl plastic sleeves.

    Up next is the new negative-print companion album which comprises two, sturdy 180 gram albums. The cover from a distance doesn’t look so great until you hold it in your hands up close! I wonder if I would have liked the original Hindenburg fire photo or this one. Album I Side I includes “GTBT/Communinication Breakdown” and “You Shook Me”. Side II “Heartbreaker” and “Dazed And Confused” itself clocking in at 15:01. I’m very fussy as side I should be on top in the white album sleeves at the top where the top of the jacket sleeve has a cutout to allow grabbing the album. So I had to switch the second album which had SIDE FOUR on top instead of three. A lot of these fine intricasies mean nothing to other fans who aren’t that fussy but as a serious Zephead, having my collection in order was always very important which saves many a listening session from wasted time jostling sleeves and jackets when you have a craving to hear this or that smoking live version of a particular song. This way, when I have a craving for say “Dazed And Confused” live from Paris 69, I know when I grab album I out of the companion jacket, it’s the side touching my hand which means all I have to do is flip it over. Serious Zep fans have been thru this as I have what with the problem of choice (of thousands of bootlegs or official releases) and I harken back to all my bootleg album misfile days. There was nothing worse than albums misfiled because a friend came over and I had to leave and “I’ll sort this mess later” and “later” finally comes or the bloody phone rings just as you took that Plant picture disc out of it’s protective cover! The companion album has the official holographic seal on the back. The plain black cover on the back with just white reference print seemed to give me the impression it was done on purpose so as not to look like a typical bootleg or vice-versa. I felt a Paris 69 live action shot slightly dimmed or perhaps the front or back door to the Olympia venue would have been nice. This album as well was placed into a protective vinyl plastic album sleeve by me. I was overjoyed that with protective sleevs in place, there was still just enough room left over to close the box cover. But we’re still not done.

    Up next, the two CD’s. I use an artist knife to cut any Zep product open so as to leave the plastic cellophane wraps on to protect them. Since I want these items to stay in mint condition, I placed them each into plastic bags from a Pat Cataan’s craft store. The CD’s come in a white sleeve jacket which also has a plastic thin sheath inside. These are NOT glued in place like the album ones were. The CD’s were pressed with the Green/Orange Atlantic album label style. The holographic Led Zeppelin SRTS font holographic seal was placed again over the David Juniper artwork square that is below the back album cover song info which irked me as the companion CD’s was not. It was up in the upper RH corner. Which brings me to the next item.

    The Companion CD. It’s plastic sheath was shoved into the CD cover in a hurry and when I removed it the first time, it was a wrinkled mess which always irked me back in my album days. I flattened it out. An iron set on very low should straighten that out or I can try my friend’s shrink wrap machine but if I screw up, I’m cooked so I decided I’ll live with it. I also placed that CD in a durable protective bag. The bottom of the box set had two recessed cut outs to enable the CD’s to be pressed into place. But they came loose and were shaking around in the box before I even opened it. I am thankful the corners were not bent. There is a thumb cutout on the left to allow easy removal.

    The last item was a black download card with code good for ONE DOWNLOAD. So purchaser beware! Make sure your tablet or device is fully charged and you are not attempting this during a thunderstorm where the power may get knocked out! A website address was provided for the download. I placed this card into a plastic sleeve as well.

    I save all of the original cellophane wrappers complete with stickers and barcodes as I can put them back on if I ever intend to resell it and buy another one never opened.

    Finally, the back of the Deluxe Box set had a nice “L” shaped paper sleeve listing all the contents inside. Because the cellophane was removed and stored inside the box in favor of a heavy home-made vinyl protective cover, I decided to trim 1/4″ off each side proportionately so it would fit inside the box to keep it from getting mis-handled. In conclusion, because this deluxe box set was so masterfully produced, I intend to keep it in mint condition. Already, the pointed corners have started to show lightening in white so I need to work out a way to minimize going in and out repeated times so I ran out and bought the 2CD disc packages as well as I know how much I will be playing these based in reference to past experience!

    A very fine package and an absolute must for serious Zeppelin fans. One gets the sense that this is the first of a ten volume encyclopedia set and I have already begun planning exactly where they will sit! I was very impressed. It was worth every penny and I was not disappointed overall when compared to some of the pompous bootleg packages we’ve all seen and I commend the band who continue to produce product with excellence! I shall follow up shortly with my first impressions of my first listening experience with the new discs and then a final serious review which will be done in a pitch dark room, with no sensory distractions, well into the early morning hours with no threats of interruptions and focused completely on the music.

  • andrew R said:

    Byron is that the box set or the deluxe tri fold vinyl?
    Seems to be a shortage of both from what i am told.
    Good call buying from spillers although the new shop hasn’t got the
    charm of the old one. Cheers

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Michael your time is gonna come! Look forward to your feedback!

    Byron Whole Lotta Love has been officially sanctioned for use on the Doir Homme fragrance advert

  • Byron Lewis said:

    Spillers Records in Cardiff have now sold out of the three re-issues and so have their suppliers, apparently. I just managed to get the last Zep 2 copy.
    The vast majority of my Zep collection would have come from Spillers over the decades, it adds to the pleasure to update from a place that carries a history/pedigree.

    Did I see a perfume advert with a Whole Lotta Love soundtrack on TV this week?

  • Michael in Melbourne said:

    Great commentary, as ever, Dave. I’m still down on this killing floor waiting on the delivery here in a Melbourne, but reading your comments and those of the other recipients only serves to further whet the appetite. M

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