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LED ZEPPELIN – THE FIRST THREE REISSUES: THE TBL COUNTDOWN IS AT AN END – MORE INITIAL FEEDBACK

2 June 2014 1,596 views 3 Comments

underground

The TBL Countdown to the Led Zeppelin Reissues is over..

Led Zeppelin Reissues over London June, 2014 – underground tube poster as seen this morning – pic by Steve Livesley

It started back in the middle of March and finally here we are in early June ready for this incredible outpouring of Led Zeppelin music…

Over the next couple of days, countless fans across the globe will be in receipt of the first three Led Zeppelin reissues and will be experiencing, as I have been lucky enough to do, the thrill of assessing the contents of these amazing initial three Led Zeppelin reissues.

As mentioned previously, my three super deluxe box sets arrived on Saturday afternoon. It quickly became evident that the unboxing of the contents is not to be rushed. Yesterday I decided to wallow in the prospect surrounding myself with the relevant memorabilia (as can be seen!) and just..well getting in the zone in preparation. The good lady Janet was on hand take the pics  – after over 30 years of all this, she knows it’s a little bit important and allowed me to disrupt the house somewhat!

Finally in the early evening, I opened up the contents of the Led Zeppelin 1 super deluxe box set…and super deluxe it is too …with the reproduction of the first Atlantic press kit, the Live at Olympia Paris double vinyl, the remastered vinyl and the two CD’s – plus individually numbered album cover art print..and the superb hardback book with many rare photos. This is indeed a thing of real beauty…

As I say, this unveiling cannot be rushed – today I intend to fully assess the music on the first set – re acquainting myself with the debut album and getting right into the Live at Olympia concert companion audio.  Then I’ll be collating my  thoughts to relay on here on the TBL site in due course.

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That process will then be repeated for the Led Zeppelin II and Led Zeppelin III sets over the coming days. I want to devour every nook and cranny of these releases and the way to do it is thoroughly and carefully album by album – I advise you do the same as like me, I am sure you will want to savour every moment of this unique listening experience….

And in the end…

This unique listening experience has been created by one man…

Whilst of course Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham were collectively responsible for creating this catalogue of timeless music.. it has been Jimmy Page’s vision and diligence that has brought this reissue project to fruition. As we have heard explained in the many interviews he has conducted, Jimmy has painstakingly remastered (with John Davis’ invaluable assistance) and searched out the additional material that will tell us so much more about the creative process that went into making these albums what they are.

The interviews…has any musician worked so tirelessly hard, given so freely of his time and conducted himself with such grace and dignity as Jimmy Page has during the lead up to these releases as Jimmy Page…I think not.

These interviews have been an absolute joy, as Jimmy has relayed his thoughts and enlightened us all on the working process that has enabled us to enjoy this incredible outpouring – the latest examples being the Kerrang and Planet Rock radio interviews aired at the weekend (see below).

Hearing him talk with such enthusiasm and passion only enhances our understanding of why we as fans, invest so much of our own time in this wonderful band…

His pride is our pride…

Listening to him on Planet Rock last night talking with such warmth and reverence in just what Led Zeppelin and these reissues mean to him (and incidentally I had a tears well up lump in the throat moment when Thank You was played – it won’t be the only one this week), I was reminded of something the journalist Tony Palmer wrote in the The Observer that was reproduced in the original Earls Court programme back in May 1975

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”If we need heroes”, wrote Tony Palmer, ”then rather Jimmy Page than political buffoons or sporting apes, rather the shy nervous steely youth whose songs are inspiring a generation”

Nigh on 40 years on from that statement – Jimmy Page and the songs of Led Zeppelin are still inspiring my generation, your generation  – and a few more besides…

And in the end – a new beginning..?

 

Amongst all the recent interviews, Jimmy has stated on a fair few occasions his intention to get back out playing -this quote in the Telegraph from Friday being one such example:

”It’s time for me to be out there playing again. I’ve got music, various different sorts of constructions and colours. But it doesn’t matter what I’ve done at home. I’ve been involved in all the Led Zeppelin stuff, and its whetted my appetite. I’ve got be seen and heard. I’m looking forward to it”

So as much as we look back, what a prospect there is to look forward to fresh music and live appearances from Jimmy Page – here’s hoping that will not be too far ahead.

Meanwhile…..get ready to renew your Zeppelin vows and stay forever young in mind by the unique eternal quality to be heard on these three initial Led Zeppelin reissues…   

And give thanks to the founder, guitarist, producer and visionary of the musical pheneomenon that is, was and always will be Led Zeppelin…. 

Dave Lewis – Monday June 2nd, 2014.

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Led Zeppelin The First Three Reissues – More Initial Feedback:

Here’s some more initial feedback:

First impressions…this is how to do a reissue programme properly!  The anticipation has been quite disabling at times – the last few weeks in work have seen my mind wander more than once about what these releases will actually look like and now the waiting is over…here we go…

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News of production delays and stock shortages started filtering through mid week so until I actually had them in hand I was trying to manage any disappointment in advance. Thankfully there was nothing to worry about and nine superdeluxe boxsets were waiting at our local-ish record dealer who had promised to put them aside for me and two buddies Martin and Bill. Even seeing them just sat in anonymous cardboard boxes on the shop counter had my heart racing!  In addition to the super deluxes, I’d opted for the deluxe vinyl editions (you don’t want to see my credit card bill this month!) so we took the opportunity to get a photo in the shop before heading home for the grand unveiling…

So what are they like?  I can’t imagine anyone being disappointed.  Led Zeppelin records have been out of print for far too long and the time and effort that’s gone into getting these done right is obvious.

The mastering is the best that it’s ever been, the companion discs are way more than curiosities, and the books will add further flesh to the bones of their remarkable story.  There’s so much to explore!

Initially I was disappointed that everything wasn’t being released simultaneously.  Now I know the staggered release schedule is absolutely the right decision, giving us time to digest and immerse ourselves in these fabulous releases – just as we used to do before this age of downloads and instant gratification.  Everyone will benefit from investing time in  a manageable batch of 3 for a few months, rather than flitting between 9, which would just be too much.

Audio-wise, the vinyl is as flat as a pancake, and silent.  There are noticeable differences in the audio compared to both the original Barry Diament mastered CDs and the 1990  versions done by Jimmy and George Marino.  Digitally, Led Zeppelin has never sounded so good!  Unfortunately, I’ve got noticeable surface noise on Moby Dick on both the super deluxe and the deluxe vinyl versions which is a bit disappointing, but that’s my only complaint.

As a group of friends who are music fans first, and audiophiles a close second, we’d planned to spend a fun day listening to all three of these in order, so a 7 hour Led Zep shootout (is there a better way of spending a Saturday?) was convened yesterday – more on that for another time!

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It’s impossible to go into detail as there’s so much here to enjoy, but (as if anyone needed telling) you can buy with confidence, and know that if you thought you’d heard Led Zeppelin, not like this you haven’t!  Suffice to say that these releases do justice to the name and legacy of this extraordinary band.  If this is a last hurrah, everyone involved can be justly proud.  Indeed, it makes me proud to call myself a fan.  The journey is just beginning…ever onward.

Richard Grubb – Cardiff

Here are my thoughts about the reissue of the first 3 Zeppelin albums.

I bought the albums back in early 1971, when was 10 years, started with the third, followed by LZ II, and then the debut album. Zep were the band who opened lots of floodgates for me. I heard the first blues with SIBLY, „Bring it on Home“ , „You Shook Me“ and „I Can’t Quit You“, country blues with „Hats off to Roy Harper“, James Brown type funk with „The Crunge“, world music with „Kashmir“ and „Friends“ and got the first Jazz guitar chords from Jimmy Page. They still sound strange, foreign, powerful and, well, totally alien after all these years. Throughout the years I became a listener to Jazz, with the „help“ of John McLaughlin’s first Mahavishnu Orchestra and Miles Davis, the period from 1969 to 1975, and avantgarde stuff, I have all the Super Silent stuff, I know that group before they played with JPJ, but there are still a few rock group that I listen to, beside Zeppelin Yes, King Crimson, Allman Brothers Band, Living Colour and 70s The Who.

I bought the 2 CD sets of all 3 albums from a local record store, I don’t want to support amazom. I like it, but it is hard to get the CD itself out of the box, an ordinary digipack might be a better idea..

The artwork is well done, the remaster is very good, you can hear much more details, it has a greater clarity and it sounds more „musical“. In my opinion, the running time could be a bit longer.

The companion discs:

LZ I:

Great concert, very powerful, best version of „White Summer/ Black Mountain Side“ ever, very exciting and a bit strange, it was about time to get an official concert from the very early period, although „As Long As I Have You“ is missing.

LZ II:

Although I hoped for some outtakes like „Sugar Mama“ and the single version of „WLL“, which was the starting point for me to listen to music and to Led Zeppelin, it is very interesting to listen to the rough mixes of well known tunes, the rough mix of „WLL“ is quite exciting and I really like „LaLa“, which really bright and cheerful, great organ work from Jones, I also like the short version of „Moby Dick“, interesting arrangement, not too long solo drum parts.

LZ III

Same with LZ II, I also hoped for some outtakes like a tune from the „Studio Daze“ bootleg (I hope my memory serves me right) called „That’s allright Mama“ and „Hey Hey What Can I Do“ , but the version of SIBLY is absolutely brilliant, completely different, very „tight but loose“, I love it, and interesting to listen to „Out on the Tiles“ without vocals, to „Jennings Farm House Blues“ although it is not unknown to some collectors. ,and to „That’s the Way“

Wolfgang Seidel –  Germany

I only discovered Zep when I was 13 in 1978 , so the only new release albums I was actually on board for were In Through The Out Door  and of course Coda. These additional discs for me are like being transported back to that time. Here I was walking into my local record store to get new versions of Zep 2 and 3 and pretty much a live version of Zep 1 and I was on the same playing field as all those lucky buggers who were around at the time these albums were first released and experienced the buzz and excitement of hearing it all the first time round.

This time I was there too!

When I got in store fortunately my mate that works there had copies put aside for me as everything was sold out and the shipment had only arrived that morning and I thought , Wow , it really is 1970!

Now to the albums themselves. The original albums of course sound sublime but probably what we’ve all been looking forward to are the bonus discs and they do not disappoint. The sound on the live Olympia Paris 1969 Zep 1 disc is beyond what I had expected. JPJ is front and centre to me. Is this the best official live recorded performance by JPJ ever? His playing on Dazed and How Many MoreTtimes is just incredible and the fact that he’s so forward in the mix just adds to the excitement.

Zep 2 sounds like it was recorded last week. My favourite moment has to be Ramble On , without all the overdubs it takes on a completely different feel. I was dancing to it the first time I heard it! La La is just so groovy as it takes off in new directions as new textures are added again and again.

The new versions of Whole Lotta Love and Heartbreaker  frankly rival the originals! My only regret about Zep 2 is that sadly it would seem no other version of Lemon Song remains in the vault.

Zep 3 is probably my pick of the bunch with just simply outstanding new versions of Since I’ve Been Loving you , Celebration Day , Immigrant Song , That’s The Way and Gallows Pole. Again the sound is superb , driving back from the store with Since I’ve Been Loving You  blazing away, it sounded like Robert was on the back seat singing for his life. Incredible.

So that’s my quick little run down. I look forward to reading everyone elses reviews as we celebrate these new additions to our Zeppelin collections. Roll on Christmas and the next round of releases!

Andrew Johnson –  Christchurch, New Zealand

Many thanks to the above for relaying their initial thoughts –  you can post your feedback, pics etc on the TBL Facebook page or email them to me at davelewis.tbl1@ntlworld.com -or use the TBL website comments facility. . I look forward to hearing your thoughts as the first three releases  find their way across the globe over the next few days…

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What a time it is be a Led Zeppelin fan…

Enjoy this incredible outpouring…

Dave Lewis – June 2nd, 2014.

Interview Round up:

My Planet Rocks. Series 9 – Liz Barnes  Interview with Jimmy Page

https://soundcloud.com/ana-gomez-33/my-planet-rocks-series-9-interview-with-jimmy-page

Kerrang Radio! Louise Molony Interview with Jimmy Page (June 1, 2014)

https://soundcloud.com/ana-gomez-33/kerrang-radio-louise-molony-interview-with-jimmy-page-june-1-2014

Thanks to

https://www.facebook.com/ledzepnews

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Until next time…have a great week

Keep listening, keep reading…

Dave Lewis/Gary Foy – June 2nd , 2014.

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3 Comments »

  • Dave Morton said:

    A nice Zeppelin feel to Newcastle’s HMV store when I popped up from work for my goodies at lunchtime on Monday.

    There was an impressive window merchandise display – picture to follow – and once over the threshold, racks of new T-shirts featuring the Zep I, II, and III album covers. (I fancy the Zep I offering for my hols!)

    Bron-Y-Aur stomp was blasting on the shop sound system when I walked in and, by the time I walked out, it was Good Times Bad Times – as they were clearly playing the three albums in rotation, along with promotional video footage on TV screens.

    (Any One Direction fans in the shop might have been a bit bemused).

    I’m afraid I’m having to slum it with the Deluxe versions, although the lad behind the counter pointed at a pile of impressive looking boxes when I asked if many people had ordered the Super Deluxe.

    The chap in front of me in the queue, who looked well into his 60s, was also buying the CDs, and further back down the line a teenage lad in a Zep Mothership T-shirt looked to be doing likewise.

    A nice touch from HMV was a high-quality print – on card – of the Zep I album cover if you pre-ordered with them.

    Sadly, due to work and domestic preoccupations, I’ve only had time to flick through the discs. A full “immersion” – complete with headphones and a bottle of wine – will take place later this week.

    But, nearly 35 years on from buying the then new album ITTOD on the day of release at a shop on the same Newcastle street, for me the Zeppelin buzz is as strong as ever…

  • Mark Harrison said:

    So the first three albums are here…. As Jim himself has ALWAYS insisted. “It’s about the MUSIC. And hasn’t that always been the case and so right? This morning I have been transported transfixed and shaking my head in disbelief. Transported back to my own youth. Transfixed by the utter genius of this man who has given me so much. He’s made the familiar songs sound so very different. This is LED ZEPPELIN as they SHOULD be heard. Many a tear has been shed this morning and I expect will continue to do so over the coming days and weeks. I SHUDDER to think about what he’s done to the other albums……
    YET ANOTHER complete triumph. Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, Jimmy Page has other ideas.
    Mark Harrison

  • andrew R said:

    Dave big box waiting in work!!! Covered in sellotape and bent!
    Please no? Unpacking interior boxes, marked, as are all 3 box sets
    Courier must have been auditioning for 2014 penalty shoot out!
    Amazon replacing but not the point! to say i am royally gutted would be an
    understatement. However, what i have seen of the content looks top quality
    I must say!Any review of mine will therefore have to wait.

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