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PHYSICAL GRAFFITI WEEK ON TBL / INITIAL FEEDBACK / FACTS BEHIND THE TRACKS/ DL DIARY UPDATE

24 February 2015 2,400 views 7 Comments

feb 23 five

Physical Graffiti Covers City! New Led Zeppelin album released!

Physical Graffiti Week on TBL:

The UK had there turn yesterday…and I spent the day searching out the one we have all been waiting for… 

Today it’s the US that will get the Graffiti of the Physical ..let me know what you think when it comes your way… 

Initial Feedback: By Jack Porter

Physical Graffiti 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition Vinyl Review. PART ONE Jacket, sleeve, packaging, vinyl condition, (Rough mix), Rough review should I say, will be editing, overdubbing and adding…

It is 09:45 on a grim late winter English morning and I hear a sound, the sound of 5 droning capsules flying outside, there is a knock at the door and the supreme demon commander gives me a quick nod and hands me a well packaged parcel, heavily packaged I should say too. His proto type comerades look behind him with a look that says, here’s one done, now for America tomorrow. The drone raises from the ground and flies away, away into the wilderness, the mysticism of Kashmir comes to mind here.

Opening this product I notice Amazon have taken more care than usual to preserve this, there are about 3 layers of solid cardboard, certainly more than the usual one. I stare at it for 2 hours, I think lets open this later, soon enough I just open it. A look at the companion art puts me into reality (for now). The vinyl. The vinyl is packaged in a tight fitting secure, water proof, bullet proof, damage proof layer of plastic. Enscripted on the plastic are details of each number on the record including the companion disc. Where the writing is enscripted I notice the plastic is even tougher. I will be keeping this for sure, the white writing adds to the whole expeirience. Very thorough from Mr Page.

Onto the main article, Physical Graffiti itself, the front is the normal cover which we are all used to not necessarily unamazed by after all these years. On the bottom left corner there is red sticker. On the back is a silver sticker displayng the words “Led Zeppelin” with the Swan Song eagle. The red sticker reads. 40th Anniversary DELUXE EDITION ON 3 LPS (180g). When you see the words “Remastered and produced by Jimmy Page”, you know it’s good stuff! Instantly reconizeable and iconic. Below is a price code. As you slide the sleeves out I notice that a great job has been made at recreating this iconic album jacket, the smell is pencil like, it’s a lot to take in. All the sleeves have the original pictures on and all is in tip top condition, you can see the care and effort that has been put into this part of the project. A very important part in my opinion. The photography credits read “Ray Harper” and BP Fallen”. A nod to Roy and BP Fallon must be given. Great photos. Nice to see the spelling mistakes the same as the original. Another cool feature about this record is the companion disc styled negative cover is on the back of the jacket. This fits better than the previous reissues, everything about this is supreme. I feel like when I first saw this thing again. Now down to the all important VINYL.

The vinyl is in perfect condition, it looks error free, something I notice later on, its physical appearance matches its playback. Something which is not always the case with my expeirience of buying vinyl online. Totally scratch free. Maybe this is because I got it on the release day, I don’t know. Pressing wise my copy is from the top of the line. I appreciate this will vary with other people. The original Swan Song logo which we’re now going to see for next 3 of these gems beams proudly “in the light” of the late winter English sunshine. That logo is always a favourite of mine. On the original 2 lps the year 1975 is printed however on the companion disc the year 2015 is printed, I like that, a nice comparisant of years and a true demonstration of the amount of time Led Zeppelin has stayed in so many people’s hearts. On the companion disc the words “The companion disc” are printed. I like that. The add of the word “the”. Very cool one might say.

Overall the physical product of Physical Graffiti, (it would be a crime not to be that cliche with a twist of words in this case), is a well put together product. The time and effort that the record company have put into this impresses me. This is no bunged out reissue thing! Out of all the reissues this one looks the best and the companion audio art has merged well with the original artwork. When you open this thing you get the sense you are opening one of the most important artistic statements of the modern day and of course right you are. This is only the beginning of the ride 5/5.

Jack Porter via Facebook

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Led Zeppelin London landmarks:

I compiled this for the excellent Londonist website…

http://londonist.com/2015/02/led-zeppelins-london.php

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DL Diary Update:

feb 23 four

Monday, February 23:

Just back from a pretty awesome and emotional day chasing the Graffiti product in London. It was fitting I should share this day with my very good lifelong friend Dec Hickey as it will be our last together for some time as he is leaving to live in Ireland on Saturday. Fitting because his inspiration and influence on me has been vast since we were 17..from Dec queuing for the second row tickets for Earls Court, his sharing of so many of my key life experiences not least Zep at Knebworth 1979 – to his book on the band New Order Heaven To Heaven being a massive influence on my own Led Zep Feather In the Wind book, Dec has cast a wonderful and illuminating shadow over my world since 1974…here is our last pic in the UK taken today in HMV and one of our other greatest days at Earls Court  on the night of May 24 1975 -that’s me and Dec far left. To say I will miss him and our frequent encounters in London and Bedford is an understatement of vast proportions…… track two side one of Led Zep III says it all…Friends…Friends indeed…. In Dec and a fair few others I am totally blessed…good luck mate…

Tuesday February 24:

I feel completely and utterly drained after a day of high emotion in London yesterday…with the final rendezvous with Dec before he goes to Ireland and seeking out the Graffiti of the Physical…as the song says Everybody Makes it Though…In The Light…

feb 23 two

Our search began in the excellent HMV store in Oxford Street. The very amiable floor manager Paul showed us the display and commented they expected to have a very good sales run on the deluxe box set. I was most impressed when he took a few TBL flyers and placed them with the displays. Product placement at it’s best! HMV had some rather nice Physical Graffiti T shirts. We later had a look in Sister Ray and Fopp – there was no sign of the standard double album set on vinyl as yet – that is to follow today the guy in Fopp informed us.

There followed a quick photo call at a couple of Led Zep landmarks – Windmill Street where Dick Barnatt took the famous by the jag car pic in December 1968 and Gerrard Street scene of the first rehearsal in August of the same year. Our next quest was to find one of the Graffiti pavement slabs – a stomp up Wardour Street paid results, for there outside the famous Ship pub near the site of The Marquee club was the slightly fading require slab.  After the photos, we stepped inside said pub for a pint or two ..well it would have been rude not to! There are more photos of the London day of the Graffiti on the TBL Facebook page.

As mentioned above , I feel well weary here this morning but need to get on it as there is a a lot to do with post catch up, projects to get back on track…oh and the not inconsequential task of spinning the four sides of vinyl that contribute the double album with the original catalogue number of SSK 8900…..I’ll let you know my thoughts on it all in the coming days…

DL – February 23, 2015

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Facts Behind The Tracks:

To aide your listening enjoyment – as taken from the Led Zeppelin From A Whisper To A Scream book…

Custard Pie Page, Plant

As well as tapping the Bukka White songbook for the ‘shake  ‘em on down’ refrain, other sources of inspiration can be traced to Sonny Boy Fuller’s ‘Custard Pie Blues’, Blind Boy Fuller’s ‘I Want Some Of Your Custard Pie’ and Big Joe Williams’ version of the song, ‘Drop Down Mama’. This was the song’s working title.

Jimmy Page’s guitar solo is filtered through a then recently acquired ARP guitar synthesizer.

The Rover Page, Plant

This dates back to 1970, when it ’ was rehearsed as an acoustic blues piece before being recorded at Stargroves with Eddie Kramer for the fifth album. When it didn’t make the final ‘Houses Of The Holy’ selection, Page returned to it in 1974, overdubbing and re-mixing the basic track with Keith Harwood.

The curious “Guitar lost courtesy Nevison… Salvaged by the grace of Harwood” sleeve credit would appear to be a reference to certain mixing difficulties they may have had here – Nevison being engineer Ron Nevison.

In My Time of Dying  Bonham, Jones, Page, Plant

This was a traditional song totally reworked. A version can be found on Bob Dylan’s first album,. The lyrics include reference to Blind Willie Johnson’s Jesus Make Up My Dying Bed.

A stunning live delivery of this track drawn from their May 1975 Earl’s Court shows can be seen on the 2003 Led Zeppelin DVD

One the Companion Disc  there is a spacey initial rough mix of In My Time Of Dying.

Houses of The Holy Page, Plant

Left off the album of the same name  but  recalled for the double set. It retired no further re-mixing, having been tied up by Eddie Kramer as far back as the Electric Lady sessions in June 1972.  In order to create the layered guitar intro and fade, Jimmy used a Delta T digital delay unit.

The Companion Audio Disc  presents the Houses Of The Holy Rough Mix With Overdubs version.

Trampled Underfoot Jones, Page, Plant

This has a lyrical theme that highlight the workings of motor car and its relation with the sexual act, a theme explored by Robert Johnson in his 1936 recording ‘Terraplane Blues’. The working title for Trampled Under Foot was Brandy And Coke .

John Paul Jones’ clavinet contribution was inspired by  the use of the instrument  on Stevie Wonder’s Superstitious and Billy Preston’s ‘Outta Space’.

A special limited edition single coupling Trampled Underfoot with Black Country Woman was issued as a promotional tool in the UK at the time of their five Earls Court shows in May 1975.

In the US, Trampled Underfoot was released as a single reaching number 38 on the Billboard chart.

An initial rough mix of Trampled Underfoot under the working title of Brandy & Coke can be heard on the Companion Disc.

Olympic 10

Kashmir Bonham, Page, Plant

This was initially demoed in instrumentals form with John Bonham in late in 1973.

Robert Plant wrote the lyrics on the road to Tan Tan while holidaying in South Morocco immediately after the 1973 US tour, it was initially titled ‘Driving To Kashmir’

It enjoyed further success in 1998 when Page utilized the basic riff of ‘Kashmir’ for collaboration with rapper Puff Daddy. This new version used on the Godzilla soundtrack reached number 2 in the UK singles chart.

This arrangement has been much deployed as TV and radio background link music notably on the UK X Factor TV show.

Kashmir was the grand finale at the Led Zeppelin reunion staged in tribute to the late Ahmet Ertegun on December 10th, 2007.

Jimmy Page can be seen performing and explaining how the song came together in 2008 on a soundstage in front of Jack White and The Edge for the It Might Get Loud documentary film.

A rough orchestra mix  under the working title of Driving Through Kashmir can be hard on the Companion Audio Disc.

In The Light Jones, Page, Plant

Another creation that was honed down from various ideas. Rehearsal versions offer alternate lyrics such as ‘ In The morning’ while another rehearsal take leads with the refrain ‘Take Me Home.’ A work in progress version titled  Everybody Makes It Through  (In The Light Early Version/In Transit) can be  heard on the Companion Audio Disc.

Bron Y Aur Page

A short winsome acoustic solo, was written by Jimmy Page at the cottage in South Snowdonia in 1970 during the preparation for Led Zeppelin III’  It was recorded at Island Stusios. This was used as a background soundtrack in the sequence in The Song Remains The Same movie in a sequence as they traveled in limos to the Madison Square Garden.

It was briefly part of their acoustic set on the sixth American tour in August/September 1970.

Down By The Seaside Page, Plant

Another song written at Bron-Y-Aur in the Spring of 1970. Originally conceived as a Neil Young-influenced acoustic strum – this electric arrangement was recorded at the time of the fourth album sessions.

Robert Plant’s lasting affinity for the song led him to record a new version in 1994 with Tori Amos for inclusion on the official Led Zeppelin tribute album Encomium.

Ten Years Gone Page, Plant

Jimmy page had initially honed the guitar orchestration at his Plumpton home studio ready to record. Robert Plant added the moving narrative about an age old love affair..

It was performed live on stage on their 1977 US tour and at Knebworth in 1979 – the arrangement featured John Paul Jones on a three necked guitar designed by guitar maker Andy Manson.

Night Flight Jones, Page, Plant

This was recorded during sessions at Headley Grange for the fourth album. Lyrically it reflected Plant’s thoughts on the threat of nuclear war.

Never played live during the Zep era, some 23 years after its release Jimmy Page & Robert Plant finally performed it live at their ULU London show on October 30th, 1998 and a few other shows on their European tour of that time.

A version by the late Jeff Buckley can be heard on the expanded edition of his Live At Sin-e album.

 The Wanton Song Page, Plant

Original tape boxes have this track listed as being titled Desiree – possibly a namecheck for Desiree Serino, the future spouse of fellow Swan Song act Bad Company drummer Simon Kirke.

Page’s guitar effects include the use of backwards echo during the solo and refrain, and also playing through a Leslie speaker to create the organ effect.

Boogie With Stu Bonham, Jones, Page, Plant, Stewart, Mrs Valens

A loose jam recorded at the same sessions which produced ‘Rock And Roll’ for the fourth album. The Stu was  Ian Stewart, the Rolling Stones’ tour manager and resident boogie-woogie keyboard player, playing barrel-house piano. Heavily based on Richie Valens’ Fifties hit ‘Ooh My Head’ (check out the La Bamba movie), hence the credit to his widow. The slapping guitar came from an overdub session with the ARP guitar synth. Robert came up with the working title ‘Sloppy Drunk’. The song was credited to all the band plus Mrs. Valens and Ian Stewart. Allegedly, the credit to Valen’s mother Connie Valenzuela was due to the fact they had heard she had never received a royalty for her son’s hits.

An alternate mix of Boogie With Stu from the Led Zeppelin IV Sunset Sound Studios Mixing sessions can be heard on the Companion Audio Disc.

Black Country Woman Page, Plant

Ever on the look-out for off-the-wall recording locations they took to the garden at Stargroves for this session in the spring of 1972. The resulting take was nearly shelved when a plane cruised overhead, but as the opening dialogue reveals, it was all captured for posterity.

Prior to release ‘Black Country Woman’ was sub-titled ‘Never Ending Doubting Woman Blues’. This was a reference to a final spoken tag left off the finished version which had Robert proclaiming, “What’s the matter with you mama, never-ending, nagging, doubting woman blues.”

Sick Again  Page, Plant

A mid tempo-rocker based on Plant’s lyrical observations of the 1973 US tour and the ladies that surrounded them. It’s powered by a series of Page runs and some ferocious Bonham percussion. The live performance of this track , drawn from their Knebworth 1979 shows is stand out moment of the 2003 DVD release.

A short instrumental run through of Sick Again (Early Version) can be heard on the new Companion Audio Disc.

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Physical Graffiti Week on TBL – to be continued…

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Until next time…

Keep listening, keep reading…

Dave Lewis/Gary Foy –  February 24, 2015 

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7 Comments »

  • Dave M said:

    I agree with one or two others who have said this is their favourite re-issue.

    The remastered sound is incredible and a noticeable improvement on the original album, which I always felt didn’t sound quite as razor sharp as its five predecessors.

    The arguments over the merits of this latest – and the other – bonus discs have been well-documented.

    But for me, I’ve just loved listening to a sonically-improved PG with “new ears” this week.

  • Patrick said:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ez7or2XlJNQ

    Night Flight ULU – I had no idea this was filmed !

  • Mike Wilkinson said:

    Mine came yesterday, initial reactions (not listened to it yet).
    In spite of ordering it at 08:30 hours on the morning it was made available, my numbered edition is in the 26,000 area! Disappointed.
    Got it home and unpacked it, the standard album CD’s and inner sleeve were refusing to come out of the sleeve. Eventually managed to remove one disc to discover that it’s the adhesive for the main sleeve keeping them in there.
    Then managed to retrieve the second disc but the inner sleeve flatly refuses to come out. Disappointed again!
    Then I couldn’t get any of the discs to launch in my iTunes after several attempts (my CD player’s not connected up at the moment). Even more disappointment.
    And now I won’t have any free time until Friday evening.
    Dammit, waited so long for total disappointment – just hope the music makes it worthwhile when I eventually get to hear the companion disc.

  • Frank C said:

    Just received PHYSICAL GRAFFITI today. Listened to it twice so far and it’s incredible.
    Think it’s my favorite of the remasters so far. Sound is much cleaner and dynamic than previous versions. Great alternate versions on the third disc.

  • Vonmoishe said:

    Dave, you have to check this out. Even young school kids in America love Zep…

    http://www.npr.org/event/music/388722887/watch-middle-school-kids-play-a-led-zeppelin-medley-on-xylophones

  • roger berlin said:

    Thank you, Dave
    Roger Berlin

  • Lif Strand said:

    Wouldn’t you know it: Tracking shows my PG SuperD box is “on its way” but between the carrier facility where it was earlier this morning (120 miles from me) and me, there is a snowstorm dumping lots of snow. I have waited this long, I suppose I can wait another day if I have to.

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