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TBL 38 DUE SOON/JIMMY PAGE ON FRENCH TV/LED ZEP IV AND HOUSES REISSUES FEEDBACK/DL DIARY UPDATE

30 October 2014 4,248 views 15 Comments

art print 2

TBL 38 on the way soon:

The TBL distribution preparation for the forthcoming TBL issue 38 is well underway here with envelopes and stamps to sort…and the 10 x 8 art print which every subscriber will receive, has also arrived and it looks very good indeed.

The magazines themselves are imminently due. This is one of the most important issues in the magazine’s long history. At 50,000 words, it’s easily the most packed issue text wise and the centre piece is the interview with Jimmy Page. Suffice to say, my challenge is to get this issue seen my the widest possible readership. So I make no apology in reiterating the following:

If you previously subscribed all subscriptions ended with issue 37. Now is the time to re subscribe. There are still a fair few regular subscribers who have yet to come back on board. Don’t miss out!

There are three ways to acquire the forthcoming TBL issue 38:

1: You can subscribe for the three issue TBL 2014/15 subscription which ensures you receive issues TBL 38, 39 and 40 as published – all subscribers also receive a free 10 x 8 print of Jimmy Page on stage in Frankfurt on the 1980 Over Europe tour – perfect for framing. To subscribe go to this link and order via paypal:

http://www.tightbutloose.co.uk/subscribe-now-to-the-tbl-201415-magazines-and-receive-a-free-10-x-8-led-zep-art-print/

2: You can order TBL 38 as a standard cover single issue with the Jimmy Page cover shot. To order go to this link:

http://www.tightbutloose.co.uk/tbl-38-latest-issue-with-exclusive-tbl-jimmy-page-interview-and-much-more/

3:You can order TBL 38 with the limited edition John Bonham cover – this is a special collectable cover edition available in a run of just 300. To order go to this link:

http://www.tightbutloose.co.uk/tbl-38-special-limited-edition-collectors-edition-with-john-bonham-cover/

In summary: if you love Led Zeppelin…you will love this magazine…and TBL 38 is not so much a magazine…it’s more a mini book…invest and enjoy!

More details of all this to follow.

Many thanks in advance for your support in advance.

………………………

Jimmy Page in Berlin and Paris:

berlin jimmy roger

Jimmy was in Berlin last week and Paris this week on more promotional work for the Zep IV and Houses of The Holy reissues and his book – pic here is Zep mega magazine collector Roger Berlin with Jimmy at the Berlin book event. Jimmy was also interviewed on the Le Grand Journal French TV  – when handed an acoustic guitar he performed a tantalising brief run through of the intro of Ramble On – I got quite chocked up watching this…because that is surely what we all crave – you can view it on the YouTube clip below – the acoustic guitar segment is from 14 minutes 19.

………………………

Jack Bruce:

It was very sad to hear the passing of Jack Bruce age 71. I’ve been listening to his music for over 45 years. In 1993 I was commission to interview Jack for Rock CD magazine. He was outspoken feisty and great company. His Songs For A Tailor album remains a constant playlist favourite. RIP.

Barrington Colby:

It was also very sad to hear the passing of Barrington Colby. Barrington was the artist responsible for The Hermit illustration to be found on the inside cover of the Led Zeppelin fourth album. RIP.

………………………………………

Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin IV and Houses Of The Holy reissues – Your Feedback:

Here’s a round up of feedback as requested – and there’s some interesting comments…  

Houses and four retail one

On to the newly released IV and Houses Of The Holy.

Unpacking

The unpacking alone is a thrill, an excitement only Santa can give you, and it is not even Christmas!

Okay, after the thrill of unpacking comes the reading of the books, reading is not the right word, but just looking at the pictures taken during tours  gives you an idea about the band at the time.

To my astonishment there are some photos of Led Zeppelin in Amsterdam 1972, well, as a Dutchman you can imagine my enthusiasm!?

Then the artwork…

When I have the vinyl version of “IV” in my hand, it is a replica not well printed, it is not focused right, I think, not sharp is a better word maybe? It could be that there are no original printing files available, but it is a bit disappointing…when looking at the original first pressing…

And with “Houses Of The Holy” I have another concern, mainly, if you take the wrap off the sleeve, so you can play the record (or cd), in no way I can get it on the sleeve again.

On to the audio (Vinyl/ Compact Disc)

I have never, never heard this music in this way before, wow, what a job well done, it sounds like it was recorded yesterday! I thought the old remasters were good, but this is amazing!

I have listened to it over headphones, but also through normal speakers, on the computer etcetera, this is so beautiful, I am lost for words right now…

Now the companion discs (Vinyl/ Compact Disc)

Only the true fan will appreciate those tracks butl, yet again the fan gets an inside look into the progress of the art.

Marcel Gootjes.

Some observations about the packaging from Bucks Burnett:

Okay I’ve examined every detail of both boxes. Lots to love! But a few important details have been altered, to the worse, for super hardcore fans like me. Here’s what I don’t like:

The ink on the outer boxes is so easy to scratch off I hesitate to handle it.

The deluxe version of the LP and CD both have the alternate covers on the back, and Gatefolds with three panels which is great. But these versions eliminate entirely the back cover of each album; they are not included in any capacity. If some kid new to Zeppelin buys this version, he may have no idea he’s getting only half the picture. They could’ve at least included somewhere in the deluxe CDS or LPS a reproduction of the original outer covers in their entirety.

Te band themselves have eliminated half of the very covers they fought so hard for. It is a misstep which strikes me as a disrespect to something very important.

The inner sleeves for both are not actual sleeves, just paper panels. The inner sleeve for IV is printed much lighter and weaker than the original.

Lastly, a very important detail most will never notice or care about.

The outer covers for both LPs never had any information printed on them, inside or out, thus creating the first covers ever that were pure 100% art without info.

This was a purposeful statement and as a young art student it inspired me. Not even anything on the spine!  On both, there is now a catalogue number printed on the bottom of the spine. To me this disrespects the original intent.

Also on the spine of the fourth album and elsewhere, the album is referred to with a proper title of Led Zeppelin IV. The band has always maintained that that was never the title. Led Zeppelin IV appears as the proper title only occasionally, including the spine of the box set version of the LP.

Minor details to most, but important to me.  But for the most part, stunning and beautiful!!

 Bucks Burnett

With the box sets, deluxe vinyl and CD’s duly ordered way back when first announced I cannot contain the excitement when I get the email from Amazon saying that they will be delivered today! Unfortunate early evening meeting means I get home late in the dark to find… nothing. I check my email again and it says they have been left in a safe place. Find torch and start exploring front garden, bins, recycling box but still nothing. Just about to send furious email when there is a knock on the door and my new neighbour duly hands over said package. Open up as carefully as excited hands allow only to find wrong version of LZ4 vinyl has been sent. Another email sent off and return label printing complete I settle down to LZ4 deluxe CD in what remaining time there is left of the evening.

 First impressions? Well, LZ4 is my favourite album of all time and I was initially slightly disappointed with the remastering of disc 1, not as much bass as I heard on the LZ2 remaster for instance, but then I realised what I loved about this album was the original production and this has definitely been preserved so I guess I am OK with that. What was a real revelation though was companion disc 2. The mixes hear are definitely harder and rawer for the most part and I really liked them. Stand-outs were Stairway – I love that mix – something more ethereal and heavy about it and, strangely Going to California which almost sounds better than the original with vocals! Four stick too is heavy and raw – more of a live sound. So in general I believe this is the best of the companion discs so far. That’s it – hopefully Houses will get played tonight and I hope to provide feedback asap.

AJ 

 I am a life-long lover of Led Zeppelin and consider their music a personal friend (however weird that may sound). With that said, I want to express something to the intimate Led Zep world just to see if I’m missing something. Is it just me or are the alternate tracks on these reissues sorely lacking in impact? My favorite from the whole bunch, hands down, is Four Sticks, which I understand is one of the few that has appeared before on bootleg. Was Page’s attempt to not avoid duplication in fact counter-productive to the fan?

HOUSES RETAIL 2

Jim Long

I just picked up the super deluxe edition of IV. This was the first time I’ve listened to vinyl in over 25 years, but if anything demands to be heard on vinyl, it’s the fourth album.

I’ve got an older brother who is your age, and when I was really, really young back in the 70’s — 6 or 7 — we listened to side one of IV all the time. Being so young, something like “Black Dog” really made an impression. To young ears, “The Battle of Evermore” was extremely haunting, especially how it faded in, then out.

As for “Stairway”…even at a young age, it has always had a huge impact on me. The sound of Page’s guitars astounded me.  And listening to “Stairway” on vinyl reminds me why: the chime of Page’s 12 string electric has so much depth and clarity.  As does Bonzo’s entry into the song.

One thing I think kids are missing out on today is the whole experience of listening to an album front to back, especially when looking at the artwork and the inner sleeve of IV. Even after listening to that album literally thousands of times, the artwork radiates mystery.  It’s great to own it again on vinyl.

Jimmy did a great job on the remastering. I suspect he knows this is the last time he’ll get the chance to put his fingerprints on the catalogue sonically, so he made that opportunity count.  Personally, I would have liked to have seen more live stuff, but maybe he’ll do that down the road.

Tim Coffey

 I have to admit I was really looking forward to buying / hearing the new reissues, in particular the middle period albums which are my favourites of their output.. So, I dive straight into Houses of the Holy, bypassing LZ 4 even, to listen to these new recordings. At the onset of this project Jimmy said that the companion discs were there to demonstrate and highlight LZ at its creative peak as a working band in the studio environment.

Sadly, what I hear is slightly altered mixes of the original recordings and nothing more. The Rain Song, one of my all time favourite songs, minus Piano mix.. basically the fader for the piano is turned off.. ?? just as an example. The recordings give very little insight into the creative process or how these songs were developed and how they came into being. Where’s the studio banter, the studio discussions, the false starts, the home demos and the real outtakes? This project could have been amazing for the real fans, the hardcore fans, but instead I feel it’s tailored towards producing something that is more palatable for the wider audience.

I am a massive Zep fan and feel disappointed so far so let’s hope that the next release offers more.. The Beatles Anthology was the benchmark for these kind of releases but sorry Jimmy this comes no where near..

Wayne Bennett

I’ve just been listening to the Reissues today, in particular the Companion Audio discs (I have bought the Deluxe Cd version of both albums). I have to say I’m disappointed with both. The alternate mixes offer such minimal differences to the official album versions. I was really hoping we’d get to hear the two alternative guitar solos Jimmy trialled for Stairway – what better vehicle to let these be heard than the Companion disc? This would have been a point of massive interest, but instead we get the Sunset Sound mix which is just a slightly thinner sound than on the eventual finished masterpiece . I’m loathe to admit it, but Robert was right when he said the companion audio offered ‘Nothing of relevance, not to me anyway.’ Of course the albums are classics, and I love the packaging and the alternative cover art, but unlike the first batch of reissues, the companion audio discs here have a serious feel of ‘Emperor’s new clothes’ about them. Be interested to hear what others think.

Simon Webber

Here’s my thoughts:

Firstly in assessing the companion audio track listing for Led Zeppelin IV and Houses Of The Holy – this is very much in line with the policy adopted for Zep II and Zep III – in so much that the content is intended to act as a companion to the versions we all know and love.

It’s Jimmy’s vision to present working mixes and alternate versions to as he put it ‘’to hear a mirror of the tracks as you know them…some were reference mixes for us at the time…others completely different in approach.’’

Call me easily satisfied, but I for one am very much enjoying hearing things like the Sunset Sound mix of Stairway To Heaven, The Battle Of Evermore mandolin/guitar mix, The Song Remains The Same guitar overdub reference mix etc – for me these work in progress versions paint a fascinating previously unseen sketchbook to what would evolve as the finished official releases.

However, this time around there is not anything quite as revealing as the takes of Whole Lotta Love, Since I’ve Been Loving You and Gallows Pole – or any previous unreleased tracks such as La,La and Key To The Highway/Trouble In Mind.

It of course would be great to hear unreleased gems from this era but the simple fact remains that Jimmy can only work from what is in the archive and of releasable quality.

We are of course only half way through this reissue programme – there is much more ahead and Jimmy has hinted at further surprises – he was quoted recently as saying he had found a couple of things at the end of a reel of a mix of the Presence album. We are all I am sure, eagerly awaiting how Physical Graffiti will pan out in terms of their respective companion discs.

In effect…let us give the man a chance to fully present the companion audio discs for the rest of the albums ahead before passing overall judgements of this reissue programme. There is a long way to go yet…

I fully respect the opinions above but in my view this is not a case of emperors new clothes. More one man’s vision. It was clear from the off that this reissue programme was not going to be about randomly selected outtakes and work in progress rehearsals. I love that sort of stuff as much as anyone but clearly that is not the intention.

The other criticism I’ve seen levelled is the lack of any live material being made available.

Jimmy did employ the Paris 1969 recording as the bonus companion audio on the Led Zep I reissue. This was included as he felt there was insufficient outtake material to fill a Zep I studio companion disc. This initiative was not intended to act as a precedent.

Live material as I see it, is not the priority with the reissue programme ahead – that’s not to rule out a potential live set of releases as a separate project in the future although of course nothing is cast in stone on such an idea at this moment in time.

In summary, as I said before, I think we need to be realistic in our expectations about what can be offered by way of companion audio – there may not be that much in the way of off the cuff surprises in the vein of Key To The Highway/Trouble In Mind and La La this time out. However, I still feel the companion audio presented on Led Zeppelin IV and Houses Of The Holy offers plenty of scope for us to hear and enjoy the working mix down process that went into shaping the songs that have been ingrained on our brains for over 40 years.

I am off to put the Led Zeppelin IV and Houses of the Holy companion discs on again …you gotta love ’em…well I do anyway!

……………………….

DL Diary Update:

40 years ago this week on Monday October 28th 1974, aged 18, I commenced working at WH Smith as a record department sales assistant. Thus began a career in music and entertainment retailing that would span the next 35 years.
I had previously held down a job in the stock room at British Home Stores but music was the passion – I really wanted a job like my good friend Phil who worked in the local Carlow’s record shop. When the opportunity came up in Smiths I got right in there -and soon found my niche – selling records, talking about records – it was a dream job…From 1974 to 2009 I loved every minute of it -11 years at WH Smith (where I met and married the good lady Janet!) , 17 managing the Our Price store in Bedford and another 7 managing areas of the Virgin Megastore/Zavvi in Milton Keynes

dave forty years retail

Throughout that period I witnessed countless changes in the industry –from LP to cassette and onto VHS video, the CD and DVD revolution and into widespread entertainment and lifestyle retailing that took in Games and mobile phones. Had it all not gone pear in early 2009 with the collapse of Zavvi, I probably would still be doing the job today…but it was not to be…

During that retail era, I had the pleasure of working with many amazing people, many of whom I am still in touch with today.

The Zep writing and TBL mag had always been my other job, so after a brief spell at Borders (2 weeks!) when I realised the retail game was up, I established the TBL publishing business and it’s been ever onward since then. Being self employed is a whole different ball game of course and I do miss the camaraderie of the shop atmosphere – because boy we had some fun.

It does seem a bygone era and with the TBL books and magazines I now have a whole different set of challenges – although fundamentally it’s still about providing the products that people desire (in the latest case the rather splendid TBL 38) just as it was when I sold my first record (which was How Long by Ace) in WH Smith’s record department in Bedford all of 40 years ago …

The pic above was taken in 1983 in WH Smith – me age 26 –the book on the counter is my first ever book publication Led Zeppelin The Final Acclaim and I’d say that’s a 12 inch single of Robert Plant’s In The Mood. Led Zep and related artists were never far away from the counter during those years!

………….

Last Saturday’s Bedford Record Fair staged by VIP Fairs turned out to be an excellent day. The TBL stall did a fair bit of business ( thanks to Nick C for his support) and it was great to see a few old faces who I used to serve in the shops and a couple of people who I used to work with namely David Crane and Ian Dixon. Also great to see legendary Led Zep ticket collector Cliff Hilliard – along with the tickets, Cliff is now targeting original 1960s singles that Jimmy played on – and he did well at the Bedford Fair picking up amongst others, Mickie Most’s The Feminist Look on Columbia and a one sided acetate of The Nashville Teens Google Eye.

On the day my good friend Phil Harris handed over a couple of items he had picked up for me while he was on hol in South Africa – an original Led Zeppelin II South African pressing with laminated sleeve on the red Atlantic label –plus The Honeydrippers Vol One on red Atlantic…vinyl beauties for sure! Tom invested in a very nice and obscure 1971 sampler Heads Together/First Round on the Vertigo swirl label which I had noticed in between a rack of soundtrack albums. It was during an after Fair pint in the pub that the sad news came through (via Cliff’s phone) of the passing of Jack Bruce.

Back here on the player aside from the obvious Zep and Jack Bruce’s Songs For A Tailor LP, it’s been The Best Of Traffic and Bob Dylan Another Self Portrait – and I am looking forward to picking up the Wings At The Speed Of Sound reissue with the brilliant version of Beware My Love with John Bonham – in fact last Sunday at short notice, I contributed some words on the subject for an arts programme on Radio Five Live.

On Monday I was in London on TBL business – I took the opportunity to check out how the two new reissues were being raked in the central London stores. HMV had some very nice posters instore while Fopp had a full colour window poster.  It was great to hear the albums being played in both stores. I’ve also been assessing a replacement bike and many thanks again for all the support I’ve received. More on that soon.

Elsewhere a bit of a tricky week here with visits to the eye clinic and a diabetes check plus I was well washed out with a cold earlier in the week.  The old black dog has also reared its head for a few reasons . Anyway – there’s TBL distribution to get right on top of to ensure this forthcoming TBL magazine get’s to all those who have subscribed and pre ordered as soon as possible….

DL October 30th, 3014.

 YouTube clips:

Jimmy Page Interview on Le Grand Journal French TV  – a tantalising brief run through of the intro of Ramble On from 14 minutes 19… 


The official video clip for Rock And Roll (Alternate Mix)


Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters – Little Maggie on Later With Jools Holland:

 

Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters – Turn it Up on Later With Jools Holland:

Until next time…

Keep listening, keep reading…

Have a great weekend

Dave Lewis/Gary Foy – October 30th, 2014.

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15 Comments »

  • Ken Winovich said:

    Review of the new Remastered Led Zeppelin ‘Presence’ album by Ken Winovich 10/01/15

    Oh how I remember the day this album came out! I remember venturing out after we had another long cold snowy winter when warmer temps hit our area and my neighbor yelled out “WDVE is about to play a track off the new Zeppelin album!” ‘Fitty’ (a nickname that’s close in comparison to his last name) had me come up to his room to see his new stereo and that’s when they premiered it. And they kept talking on and on, building us up into a frenzy! “So, here it is…..brand spanking new…..fresh out of the box……and we’re the only ones who have it……this is brand new from Led Zeppelin…..(yeah, c’mon c’mon!)……and they recorded this album in…Munich Germany…..(c’mon! Cut the bull and let’s hear it!)…..brand new. This is Led Zeppelin….from their new album…..it’s called ‘Presence’…….and it will be out in just two weeks. (Come on!!!!) This is…..a track from it…..titled….’Nobody’s Fault But Mine’. Brand new from Led zeppelin. Right here on WDVE.” Silence for three seconds (after 10 minutes of teasing). Then POW! What a killer beginning! I didn’t know what to do with myself! I was stunned. It was so cool! I realized…had I been a fan from the very start in 1968, I would have went through this same emotion for “Good Times Bad Times”, “Whole Lotta Love”, “Heartbreaker” and “Black Dog” no matter which album side. It was just so powerful! That night, after dinner, I tuned in to WDVE again and they played “Achilles Last Stand”. After Robert’s accident-with the rest of the 1975 U S Tour cancelled and Zep’s future uncertain, they came back with a vengeance! Like all their album releases, I was completely floored. And Mick Jagger once complained in the past of “too much emphasis on guitar” which was the reason Zep was eliminated from their ‘Rock And Roll Circus’ movie. It’s fine just the way it is, thank you! That comment was probably made by him to see if Jimmy Page was stupid enough to heed his advice in order to allow the Stones themselves to play catch up with their two or three guitarists. “Tea For One” was another treat and I always hoped that Zep would combine it into a medley with “Since I’ve Been Loving You” on the 1977 U S Tour but they never did. When “I’m Gonna Crawl” came out, I thought the same thing. Imagine a medley of all three! But I needn’t have to wait for cool medleys as they started “The Rover” and segued into “Sick Again” several months later on the 1977 tour anyway! Although “Achilles Last Stand” gobbled up a lot of precious Zeppelin acetate, it was well worth it! Save for Pink Floyd, the only other band I have ever seen get away with a long track was Iron Butterfly with ‘In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida’. Jimmy just kicks ass on the track as does the rest of the band and that includes live. But it’s John Bonham who really lays it down and it was something to hear let alone behold. And I remember the excitement as Jimmy was just about to finish the guitar intro to “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” that I remember thinking “what’s gonna happen when the rest of the band come in?” All manner of thoughts entered my mind. Will it be like “Black Dog” after Plant’s vocal intro? “Heartbreaker”? “Since I’ve Been Loving You”? And then it happened after the last “Ahh…ah…ah..ah..ah..ah” from Plant and bang! They all joined in! I had a smile on my face for the rest of that song! “Holy f@!%!” What I did notice at that time was that I could not memorize the exact song orders beginning with ‘Physical Graffiti’ on-wards. I thought because they were all Swan Song releases that that might have something to do with it. But I finally have the answer. When bootlegs entered my world and all the Zep books, I was ‘overwhelmed’! And every serious Zep head’s been through this. You start memorizing key Zeppelin bootleg titles, songs that were on them and the song orders on the official releases ‘neglect’ begins there. Important events in the band’s history like “Bath”, “Roundhouse”, “Wembley”, etc. and that’s why. With a plethora of Zeppelin books, imports, fanzines, live tapes, etc., I needed a computer! Only in the past ten years have I finally got the song orders for the entire Zep ‘Swan Song’ catalog down other than the double live soundtrack album and that’s only because I played that album so much I went through (10) ten (yes count ’em)….ten copies! The guitar tone on that movie soundtrack album is the holy grail of guitar tone! After the 1977 U S Tour was cut short on the death of Robert Plant’s son Karac, there was much talk about whether they would even continue. But seeing’s they bounced back after 1975, I had no doubt whatsoever. And no news was good news. As long as that memo from Peter Grant saying the band was over failed to come, it was still on! Why wouldn’t they have continued when what I was hearing coming out of my speakers was so powerful?

    The real ‘bonus’ for me on the album was “Royal Orleans”. That high note on the high ‘E’ string at the 12th fret just floors me and is a fine example of Jimmy Page at his best!

    And then there’s the ‘object’. Having seen Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001:A space oddyssey’ and it’s sequel, I immediately got it but many of my high school friends were lost so I had some explaining to do.

    Onto the Super Deluxe Boxed set package design.:

    The cover in any color other than white was a good move by the band because these Super Deluxe Box Sets are very hard to maintain in mint condition. The more you open and close the cover, the more it ‘whitens’. It will eventually become worn and tear off at the fold line so that you will have a separate ‘lid’ instead of a lid attached to the base. I noticed that starting with ‘Physical Graffiti’, the box sets were made sturdier than their predecessors. Various angles from a photo shoot for the front and back cover photos are included. These help fans get into the process by which Zeppelin worked with Hipgnosis on their album cover artwork. The real gems are the master tapes. Seeing each side in it’s own box with the final track listings, times and catalog numbers. The ‘object’ only added to the Zeppelin mystique. If you don’t get it, watch the film 2001: A Space Oddyssey with the clip where a bunch of apes cautiously approach the black obelisk in the opening sequence which went back in time with the sun and moon alignments overhead. Zep showed us all that they had fully recovered from the first of several blows that fate delivered. Plant was now ‘recovered’ from his auto crash and the band were back with a vengeance.

    Next was the 88-page hardback book. It starts off with early examples from Hipgnosis of the central theme of the ‘object’ appearing in old Time-Life photos. These books are great as they are about as ‘good-as-your’re-gonna-get’ scrapbooks which include nice little gems like receipts for 1,000 ‘Objects’, the ‘finalists’ for album covers which the band had to choose from and rare never before seen photos of the band from their hey day. What is readily apparent is the continuing rise in their popularity. Zep weren’t just selling out shows, they were now selling out entire weeks of shows in several cities! Unprecedented. I remember thinking “it’s really gonna get interesting” as cities tried to cope with a Zeppelin onslaught every time the band toured. They really were continuing to grow in size and reach around the world. The illustration captions, live show listings and detailed recording information in the back provides Zeppelin fans with years of enjoyment.

    Up next is the original album in 180g vinyl and these things feel much sturdier than what we had years ago. As I write this I myself am just about back with my vinyl setup and am in the process of ordering two new styluses for my stereo turntable. One will be used only with old, used records and the other will be reserved for the new albums. Zep embossed the cover with the band name and album title as well as an embossed Swan Song logo on the back of the cover. Fine tough of class then and now. The proof-of-purchase stickers are again slapped on crooked. When you open the albums gate-fold, the photos just leap out at you and that’s because the album is made on heavy card stock. If you didn’t get one of these 30,000 copies, you can expect cheaper cost-cut versions in the future. Readily apparent in the photos is the fact that the ‘object’ casts no shadows which only adds to the mystique! Instead of an inner album sleeve, the front and back were re-printed onto a piece of cardboard and the album was placed into a white sleeve. These white sleeves are lined with a poly-urethane liner to protect the album. Some of the white album sleeves have cut corners while some are completely square on previous reissues. One that I saw on the internet had cut corners on the original and no cut corners on the companion album. I again checked my album for ‘production plant issues’ regarding the central hole punch through 180g of vinyl. None on this one which results in a sigh of relief.

    The serial numbered print is always a beauty and really helps you enjoy the cover artwork as it’s placed on fine card stock with a lovely white border. My serial numbered print is 15898 / 30000.

    The companion album cover is also embossed but on the front only. I am not nuts about the dark charcoal gray on the front and the pale lime green on the back. I originally thought the cover photo was ‘larger’ than the original album one but it is not. What I found out was that my original U S pressing from 1976 has a photo that is slightly bigger than the new remaster. It’s less than a quarter inch. Now no Zeppelin Super Deluxe Box set is ‘complete’ without the official 45 rpm A & B single. A good place to place your 7-inch singles is in the back where the CD’s are as they can be pushed further down in their recess pockets to make room for the single. With that, your Zeppelin ‘Presence’ time capsule is complete!

    Next I find my HD-Download card and this is what every Zep fan needs because it unlocks the 96 kHz hi-definition audio FLAC files which you can download from the official Zeppelin website. The unzipped files are the purest, cleanest, brightest Zeppelin your ears can possibly get in the entire cosmos! What struck me is the download codes. They are shorter for these last series of releases.

    The original CD is just a fine piece. It’s also printed on heavy card stock and the fine attention to detail is what counts. I am most impressed with the CD’s with the albums a very close second. The CD’s come with a thin poly-urethane protector sleeve and the cut-corner production sleeve cardboard is also on heavy card stock.

    They even embossed both the original CD and the companion CD!

    On to the long awaited remastered ‘Presence’ music:

    “Achilles Last Stand” – Bonham’s playing is just outstanding on this track. Listen to the fine detail of his snare drum. Page’s guitars sound ‘chimey’ which add to the mystique of the track. The drum bit at 02:32 is awesome as is the drum riff at 04:09. Page’s sustained guitar note at 05:01 sounds awesome. The drum cymbals flurry at 05:28 is especially a delight. The fade-out to the song really complimented the ending. If you are a drummer then this album will be a showcase for you! The ending fade-out reminds me more and more as if the listener is switching time dimensions. It’s got this sinister chime to it and you realize there’s nothing you can do about it so you just suck it all in. It’s got me smiling. I can see it as the soundtrack to the science fiction TV series ‘The Time Tunnel’ and I can easily picture Doug and Tony tumbling back or forward in time with that swirl of colors after they walked into the time tunnel to be transported ‘elsewhere’. This single opus off this album will for me forever be directly linked to the ‘object’ on the front cover by a simple ‘sonic/visual’ connection.

    “For Your Life” – A classic rhythm section from hell opening and John Bonham adds to it like no other. Plant plays some interesting tambourine here. This track has that classic ‘wrist-to-snare-drum’ swagger that only Bonham has. It’s almost as if Bonham let’s his drum stick lazily bounce up & down a 2nd time on the snare but it doesn’t. It’s probably plate reverb. Make sure you don’t miss Bonham’s snare effect when the band stops playing at 04:08. Plant’s adenoid/snorkles at 05:30 are brought out much clearer. I like how Plant sings the last verse as ‘For…your..ee-ah…li-heef’.

    “Royal Orleans” – A classic Zeppelin Bonham/Page drum-to-guitar connection. They follow each other. It’s on tracks like this that if you ever wondered whether another drummer could have ever filled John Bonham shoes after his death that you learn the answer is ‘no’. This is one song you could have picked to watch them fall apart. The snare drum is awesome at 00:57, 01:01 and 01:06. At 01:54 comes the remastered moment I have been waiting for in the Congas! What a palette of guitar tones and sounds Page employed throughout this album. This had to involve numerous amps and pedals.

    “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” – The opening guitar on this track cuts through the sky like cracks of overhead lightening till they reach the other end of the sky with in thunder! The drum rolls like at 03:07 & 03:19 are why Bonham is ‘numero uno’. Plant’s harp playing on this track is outstanding and makes all of us step back to realize what a fine harmonica player he truly was like his predecessor in Keith Relf (Keith who? Zep were formed out of the remnants of the Yardbirds and Keith was their singer for those wondering). Notice that Bonham’s playing during Page’s guitar solos actually makes them sound even better because he lays down the perfect ‘finesse canvas’ for Page to smother it with blazing guitar notes.

    “Candy Store Rock” – I’ve heard many say that there was no acoustic guitar on the ‘Presence’ album but sorry folks. It’s on here. Page strums away on an acoustic to give the track a wonderful rhythm. The break at 01:52 is awesome plus at 02:59. Bonham is tapping his sticks off the side of the snare rims.

    “Hots On For Nowhere” – Another spot-on bass and drums kickoff. Page has a nice bumble-bee rhythm guitar going on. At 00:42-00:45, There’s that nice laid-back Bonham swagger again! It’s hard to believe Bonham played outstanding power-house drums on this album which was recorded in just two weeks.

    “Tea For One” – Nice Bonham start at 00:03. He plays a superb jazzy cymbal feel at 00:21 a-la the opening of ‘How Many More Times” which is why this track has a ‘Led Zeppelin I’ feel to it. It’s anchored in the blues. There is great ‘distance-makes-depth’ employment on this track by the master himself, Jimmy Page. The track stretches and breathes to ever corner of the Musicland Studios in Munich. There is a nice kick stomp from Bonham at 03:54 & 04:04 with that classic Bonham ‘knocking-at-your-front-door’ kick drum! At 09:23, the strike by Bonham closes out a rough but crucial album by Zeppelin. In conclusion, if you are a John Bonham fan, these remasters are especially for you and it’s through them that you realize you’ve got plenty of work to do! Just go back and have another listen again to ‘Nobody’s Fault But Mine’.

    In conclusion, another fantastic long awaited remaster which is sure to provide decades of listening pleasure to Zep fans the world over!

    [Please see my separate companion album review for ‘Presence’. Sorry for the delay after an ‘ear ache’ from hell disabled my listening pleasure for two months!]

    Scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the best:

    Content: 4.9
    Audio: 5.0
    Satisfaction: 4.9

  • Ken Winovich said:

    Review of the new ‘Five Glorius Nights’ Dave Lewis book by Ken Winovich 6-30-15

    Rarely does a book come along that actually fully captures a monumental moment in history. But with the new Dave Lewis Led Zeppelin Earl’s Court book, it’s as if you are actually there with a front row seat! Dave’s left no stone un-turned. The book reminds me of the best of those Kennedy Assassination books where every photo, every angle, every nook and every cranny of Dealey Plaza was uncovered on that fateful day in order to document what unfortunately in that case would become the saddest event in American history. In contrast, the Dave Lewis book is again, a celebration. I immediately get that perspective with this monumental book. Right off the cuff, you get the feel of the buildup to the gig as the trucks pull up, unloading stage scaffolding and chairs even before the band’s equipment arrival!

    There’s ticket stubs, articles, set lists and reviews. You name it! But most importantly, photos from each of the five shows. And lots of ’em! And they’re not the usual far away shots, blurry, in-cohesive and foggy. They’re right up close and personal.

    Led Zeppelin’s 1975 Earl’s Court shows were the band at the top of the rock and roll mountain where literally no other band hand gone before them. They are firing on all cylinders. At their best, no other band could touch them. Argueably, many might feel the 1973 U S Tour captured the band at the top of their peak. Some fans may even feel that 1977 was better or flip-flop back and forth between 1973, the 1975 Earl’s Court shows or the 1977 U S Tour…like myself. Nevertheless, this is Led Zeppelin at their best. Confident, in full swing and explosive!

    The book is a nice compliment to the 2nd printing of Jimmy Page’s photographic biography. It has all the set lists and concert summaries as well as important tidbits from newspapers and reporters plus their quotes regarding these shows. You get a full spectrum of observations by many who witnessed these shows. This wasn’t just slapped together with “we’ll go with what we have” type of setting. It’s so full of gems, one would hardly think there’s anything left to add for a revised and updated version in the future! Not unless the former band members themselves would show up and say “I’ve been wanting to show this to the fans for years..” type of momentos.

    If you are a die-hard Led Zeppelin fan, this book will give you the clearest look at the band ever. Even better than anything the band’s record company could possibly slap together and would be neck and neck with anything the band members themselves would put out and that’s what’s nice about it! You can easily tell that this was produced by a dedicated Led Zeppelin fan. All of Dave’s books are still used by me on a daily and weekly basis and this one is right up there with them if not eclipsing them all. From the care, planning and assemblage, it’s all here! It’s not only Dave’s perspective or account of the five London shows from May of 1975 since he attended them all. But there are quotes and articles from many others which prove this was a monumental event for London’s Led Zeppelin fans and those from other countries lucky enough to attend.

    Many of the pictures are so close we can actually see the band members facial reactions and grins during the show. There are countless great shots of Page’s iconic black dragon suit, their equipment, Jones’s stand-up bass and more and I must say it’s going to take months if not years to thoroughly process all of it. Many Zep fans are musicians and we take the time to study Page’s guitars or Bonham’s drum kit and how it’s mic’d. It’s the best thing there possibly is short of the band actually releasing a DVD of these five epic shows. It’s Led Zeppelin….captured in the apogee of flight! The book includes all of the classic shots we’ve come to love and many more new ones! This is as good a non-video documentary as you could ever possibly hope to get! Fantastic!

    Scale of 1 to 5 with ‘5’ being the best: 5-star rating! Utter quality! Well done Rufus Stone and Dave Lewis! Thank you!

  • Steve Harrison said:

    Just go TBL 38,another well put together magazine , fantastic and interesting interview with Jimmy, nice job Dave and all concerned with putting it together.

  • Stephen said:

    I think Andrew R has hit the nail on the head.
    The companion discs have been mis-marketed and over-hyped. Fans expected, quite rightly, outtakes in the spirit of the Beatles anthology and other classic rock bands.
    Our expectations we’re sky high, after years of waiting, and we got alternate mixes not alternate takes, unreleased material and works in progress.
    I feel Page got the call wrong, and on this occasion, his legendary quality control stopped him from providing what the fans really wanted.
    Although, the remasters themselves, sound superb.
    I wonder if Page was under pressure from the record label to offer fans something extra and he sort of ended up giving us a halfway house.
    I think the general sentiment with the companion discs is opportunity missed.

  • Mick Judd said:

    Well said Dave M; you reflect more clearly what I think I was trying to get across below. All said and done, it whets my appetite for Physical Graffiti and Presence in particular, and please please please Jimmy, include some different takes, live material and recording ‘banter’ between the band. We all know how brilliant the band was, and there is no doubting that. What we the diehard fans are after is a better feel for what was going on in the background during those sessions. Cheers Mick

  • Byron Lewis said:

    The Metro freebie newspaper had this interview with Jimmy today;

    http://metro.co.uk/2014/11/03/the-sonic-sorcerer-jimmy-page-interview-4932151/

    Disclaimer – The views expressed in this newspaper are not in keeping with me own thoughts!

  • Andrew r said:

    the one fact that seems to be getting lost in all hoopla
    about “what should have been” is that sonically they are the best
    sounding modern versions currently available,they have been overhauled
    painstakingly by the man who conceived the sound of Zeppelin in the first place.
    If jimmy deserves criticism, its that he oversold the project with all the
    talk of portals etc and without Robert and John Paul along to give balance
    (now there’s the real disappointment for me!)the project became overhyped.
    I can only talk vinyl but there is really beauty in the handling of new Zeppelin product and the “silence” of these pressings blows me away.

  • WOOLS said:

    Dave, well done on your communication of excitement on the two new releases. I too anticipated these additions and eagerly can not wait for Graffiti and Presence! I have found on the two new issues that listening deeply is paramount because I can hear all/some/most of the differences and nuances that are presented. It’s almost as if Jimmy Page has presented these different mixes to the Led Zep fans as a thank you!
    2015 will be a change in direction for Jimmy Page and I look with much anticipation towards seeing and hearing this new direction.

    Wools

  • Ken Winovich said:

    ‘First Impressions’ review of the new Led Zeppelin IV Deluxe Box Set by Ken Winovich 11/02/14

    Well, for the next releases, I expected an announcement in early September 2014. Jimmy would hold a preview similar to Paris around November 15th and the release date would probably be just in time for the holidays. Christmas came early! Since Page picked the first site in Paris to preview the first three releases, the fourth release would be suspect to hold a special event at Headley Grange if he follows that pattern. As for the companion disc, it would be neat to get a second version of “Stairway To Heaven” with a different guitar solo. I would also love to see that alternate version of “The Battle Of Evermore” released and mixed better than the bootleg but Page indicated he wanted to pick stuff that wasn’t on bootleg and yet “Jennings Farm Blues” was released anyway. What I am really looking forward to is maybe “Saint Tristans Sword” (a supposed outtake, not the actual)! Eye candy and details in the hardcover book would be say Grant’s letter to Atlantic “There will be no name, no title, no Atlantic logos, no nothing on the cover or back”! Photos of Bonham’s kit in the hallway at Headley Grange. The Black lab wandering the grounds at Headley Grange. Belfast pix showing the first live performance of “Stairway To Heaven”. The Back-To-The-Clubs tour. Radio One. Scarlets birth. The Vigorelli Stadium riot. Montreux. Grant nabbing a supposed bootlegger in Vancouver. Cigarette lighters lit at the LA Forum during “Stairway”. Honolulu, Japan, Wembley, Australia and Page’s beard gets shaved off.

    So right off, I am disappointed. And of all the re-releases, this is the one I couldn’t wait the most for. My hopes of hearing “St. Tristan’s Sword” or perhaps another new unheard of track from this period went right out the window. However, in light of the significance of this album on the world of rock, maybe it’s just as well which I’ll explain shortly. Robert Plant has been saying all along that he doesn’t want anything to ‘tarnish’ the legacy of Led Zeppelin. Nor would the other two surviving members. So guess what? Neither would I. Page stated in a recent interview that he didn’t want to ‘re-write’ history. When he made that statement just before the re-release of IV I knew I was in trouble. No new tracks. No alternate guitar solo on “Stairway To Heaven” and the companion disc is mainly tracks with minor differences than the official release. We learned from a guitar magazine interview from Page a few years back that he always recorded three solos and took the best of the three. Unfortunately, they will not be released here and probably not any time soon. Why would the band hold out beyond this point? Your guess is as good as mine. Bearing in mind that the first fans to jump on board with Zeppelin as their balloon took flight in the late 60’s are now themselves in their 60’s. And those of us who hopped on in mid flight (myself) are now in their mid to late 50’s. Of what possible worth will all these possible ‘treasures’ be to fans who hopped on after the end of the group in 1980 with release dates beyond 2020? If you’re in say a Zep tribute band, love karaoke or play mandolin, guitar or bass, then the Companion tracks with no vocals will be welcomed by you.
    Could any newly unreleased track from the time this was recorded have eclipsed the eight original songs on here? Not a chance. They chose the best. Around the time this record was made, there were discussions of putting out (4) four EP’s. So it’s reasonable to assume they had extra tracks. But as we all know the rest went to Physical Graffiti. All of them? Who knows. I still have the 80-page booklet to fall back on to enjoy with it’s recording date revelations and the front/back shots of the master tape boxes and sure enough they are in here as are the exact recording dates from late 1970 to as far as May 1971. And to hear this masterpiece in all it’s glory, remastered, it was still well worth the wait. Stunning. The good news is the Physical Graffiti re-release will have at least one unreleased track in “Lost In Space” and Presence will have two! That more than makes up for this shortfall. Perhaps my ratings will go up slightly in my In-Depth Review to follow shortly. And perhaps even better a handful of unreleased tracks will make it onto Coda’s companion disc. But with the pattern I’ve seen so far, that’s not likely to happen.

    Content: 4.5
    Audio: 5
    Satisfaction: 4.3

  • Dave M said:

    Mixed feelings, for me, about the latest two re-issues.

    It’s fantastic to still be enjoying new official Zep product – especially as it’s the handiwork of Jimmy Page.

    But as others have mentioned, it maybe does seem a bit of a missed opportunity.

    Where, for example, are the alternative guitar solos from Stairway, which Jimmy tantalisingly mentioned in an interview a few years ago? And what about live performances? Or in-studio chat from the band?

    Having said that, and even though there are no new performances this time round, for me the companion discs were like listening to the albums again after having my ears syringed!

    Like others on here, no doubt, I know every musical nook and cranny of LZIV and HOTH, having listened to them both many hundreds of times.

    Listening afresh, simply re-affirmed how utterly brilliant and ground-breaking Zeppelin were as young individual musicians and as a collective unit.

    So bring on the rest of the re-issues. I’m especially intrigued about what might be in store when we get to the Presence re-release.

  • Sheldon Cole said:

    The instrumental version of The Song Remains The Same in itself makes Houses Of The Holy an essential purchase.

  • Mick Judd said:

    Hi Dave….have duly bought both reissues and have just listened to the companion disk for IV and am now listening to IV itself. On one hand it’s great to have more clarity especially with the vocals in places. I admit to being a bit disappointed with the companion disk because there was so much opportunity presented to really portray to us diehard fans what was occurring in the background with banter between band members at Headley Grange etc and it has been lost. What we get is, more or less, slightly different takes on the released tracks. Not sure what you think but like you I am a Zep freak and I wouldn’t be critical unless necessary. Maybe I need to listen to it again then listen to Houses of the Holy before passing judgment? Cheers mate, Mick Judd, Perth, Australia

  • AJ said:

    Initial thoughts then on the “Houses” release. I like the new mix, better instrument separation and the acoustic guitars sound great. Good bass sound on “No Quarter” too. The companion disc is less interesting than the LZ IV one. I quite like “The Song Remains” and “Over the Hills” without the vocals as you can hear in more detail the complex guitar parts. I’m hard pushed to see a difference on “The Rain Song”. The track that really stands out though is “No Quarter” – I almost like this as much as the original as it reminds me of some live versions I have heard.

    I would also like to echo the slight disappointment in the covers for the deluxe versions of both CD and vinyl that others have expressed in not having the back cover. It was present for the LZ III deluxe so I don’t know why they couldn’t find room for it on these, given the trouble that had getting those originals done.

    So what is my half time view overall? I like the new remasters, but I think there is a missed opportunity here. Just imagine if they had given us a live disc contemporary to the albums release; what a great package that would be and it would fit in with Jimmy’s vision of the chronological live album he has talked about in the past. Just look at the fantastic King Crimson box sets where they have added over 20 discs of live material to match the album – and at about the same price as these LZ deluxe box sets. Perhaps we have to wait for the 50th anniversary editions for that.

  • Graham Rodger said:

    What a shock, I can’t believe that Jack Bruce is gone. His playing and singing on Spoonful, Tales of Brave Ulysses and Sunshine of Your Love are totally mesmerising. I grew up listening to a handful of scratched LP’s that belonged to my dad, which totally turned me on to blues/rock (Are You Experienced and Then Play On in particular) and Cream was a huge favourite.

  • Ian in New Zealand said:

    Excellent film to Rock and Roll.

    And French TV can be a bit random, but 15 minutes prime time for a foreign guitarist – chapeau!

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