Classic Rock Review

The home of old record and bootleg reviews…

Led Zeppelin I (1969)


Led Zeppelin I (1969.), Led Zeppelin’s first studio album

Over the years there are bands which have completely revolutionised rock n’ roll. One of the most important of these bands is the mighty Led Zeppelin. The quartet of Robert Plant (vocals), Jimmy Page (lead guitar), John-Paul Jones (bass) and John Bonham (drums) have gone on to become one of the biggest selling album bands of all time; second only to the Beatles. This is even more phenomenal when you consider the band did this with just nine studio albums and a few extra releases. Led Zeppelin originally formed in early 1968 and released this album in amazingly quick time. The public’s response to this new band was ecstatic and this album was quickly hailed as a masterpiece, and still is for that matter. So is this a deserved tag to be given to Led Zeppelin’s mammoth debut?

Led Zeppelin’s debut is a capture of the band at their most rawest and blues based. However, this is part of why this album is so revolutionary (and the Led Zeppelin II follow up for that matter) because the sheer power and strong riffing to a bluesy sound was something pretty new at the time. Other bands such as Cream and the Who had developed a somewhat hard rocking sound but Led Zeppelin literally took the concept into unchartered territory with this album. Jimmy Page’s guitar playing is inspired throughout, Bonham’s drumming is thunderous, John Paul Jones’ bass play is assured and pronounced and Robert Plant’s powerful wails resonate with brilliance. Indeed Plant’s style has become a blueprint for many vocalists to follow him over the years. However, what makes the band playing even more awesome, from this album onwards, is how all four player’s miraculous ability all comes together to make mind a basis for some of the songs on their early albums but at the same time what is more important the actual sound which Led Zeppelin had; it was revolutionary … no dispute. You cannot deny the band’s importance. What makes Led Zeppelin I an even more phenomenal debut is in the fact that the band recorded the album in just 30 hours of studio play; over 9 days. For an album of such quality, it speaks volumes for the band’s ability as musicians and as a unit.

Led Zeppelin’s debut kicks off with the crunching, strong chords of ‘Good Times, Bad Times’. This song is a great opportunity for all the band members to shine and we see racing guitar solos from Page, catchy bass hooks, inspired drumming and striking vocals from Plant. The injection of heaviness in the first song gives the album the jump start it needs to belt out more Zeppelin style guitar based rock. However, there is a slight change of pace with ‘Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You’. This 6 minute song is a blend of passionate acoustic melodies with heavy crunchin verse. Plant’s vocals are at their most emotional on this song and he gives a chilling performance. ‘You Shook Me’ follows, another classic slow blues staple. Plant’s wails of ‘Babe!’ echoed by Page’s guitar are classic, as is the mouth organ sequence mid-way. Then for me, comes the best track of the album and a big fan favourite in ‘Dazed And Confused’. This is a Jimmy Page written piece which starts with a brooding riff from John Paul Jones’ bass then moves up a gear for the solo, in which Page takes his trademark violin bow to the guitar for the first time in a quite experimental sequence. The hard rocking sequence late on in the track is ear-crunching and Bonham’s pounding drumming is legendary.

Opening up the second half of the album is the clinical organ sequence played by John Paul Jones in ‘Your Time Is Gonna Come’. The song, after a minute develops into a ballad styled rocker which is a great listen. For acoustic mastery, we have ‘Black Mountainside’. Some of the sequences Page plays are awesome and it goes to how really how good a guitarist Page is. The background tabla drums give the song good effect. ‘Communcation Breakdown’ is next. If you really think Led Zeppelin couldn’t do heavy riffed songs, think again after listening to this gem. The fast paced and aggressive riffs of this short length track are amazing. This song rocks hard. Then we have more classic hard rock-blues with ‘I Can’t Quit You Baby’. Classic slow riffs, coupled with an emotional vocal performance from Plant see this track home. Finally, we have the closing epic in the 8 minute ‘How Many More Times’. This is a lengthy, high energy exit and a classic finish. The spontaneous melody contains more violin bow solos from Page and more timeless riffs.

Led Zeppelin’s debut is a timeless classic. This album is revolutionary to say the least and was the launch pad for plenty of later and again influential classics from the great band that are Led Zeppelin. This debut for me is the band’s heaviest album and their rawest but its part of the work’s charm and gives it a great edge. Many would even go as far to call it the band’s best effort (I wouldn’t personally) but you can see why with the albums foreboding, passionate and inspired bluesy tunes. If you don’t own this album, you simply haven’t got a proper rock collection; it’s a must buy.

May 3, 2013 Posted by | Led Zeppelin I | | Leave a comment

Genesis Perfect “Three Sides Live” (Uniondale, November 1981)


Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY – November 29th, 1981

Disc 1 (47:31): Opening rehearsal, Behind The Lines, Duchess, Dodo / Lurker, Abacab, Me And Sarah Jane, Misunderstanding, No Reply At All

Disc 2 (60:49): Firth Of Fifth, Man On The Corner, Keep It Dark, Follow You Follow Me, Turn It On Again, In The Cage/Cinema Show/Slippermen, Afterglow, Dance On A Volcano/Los Endos, ending Genesis dressing room

The only major radio appearance for Genesis during the Abacab tour in 1981 was the “Supergroups In Concert” syndicated broadcast of April 10th, 1982. Produced in conjunction between ABC and DIR (the production company behind the King Biscuit Flower Hour), several shows in New York were recorded including the November 28th show at the smaller venue The Savoy Theater and the November 29th show in the much bigger Nassau Coliseum.

Both shows (as well as the December 23rd show in Birmingham and even the May 7th, 1980 Lyceum concert) contributed to the live tracks for the 1982 release Three Sides Live.

Several silver releases in the early nineties protection gap era were released with material from this tape. Perpetual Soundwave (Oh Boy 1-9098) is a one disc title with twelve songs all out of sequence and was copied onto Limbo (Living Legend LLRCD 160). Fiaba (Buccaneer Records BUC 017/2) is a two disc set with with more songs and dialogue from the dressing room at the end of the show.

Perfect “Three Sides Live” on Highland came out several years afterwards. It’s similar to Limbo but adds the opening soundcheck and dialogue and four additional songs, “Man On The Corner,” “Keep It Dark,” “Follow You Follow Me,” and “Turn It On Again.” The sound quality is excellent and sourced from a very clean vinyl copy of the syndicate transcription discs from the early eighties.

Obviously, this does not present a complete Abacab set nor is it all from the November 29th Nassau Coliseum show. The first track starts with the Westwood announcer speaking about the band, calling each Genesis show a “masterpiece” of sound and musicianship. There is a short snippet of the band rehersaing “Into The Cage” followed by the band relaxing before the show. “Phil Collins can be found practicing his trumpet, and Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford could be found playing air hockey.”

The promoter can be heard speaking to the band, asking them to play some ethnic songs. “There are lots of Italians here” he tells them, and asks if they know the “Hava Nagila.”

The opening three numbers, “Behind The Lines,” “Duchess,” ”Dodo / Lurker” and “Abacab” are also from the Nassau show.

It is thought the next three songs, “Me And Sarah Jane,” “Misunderstanding” and “No Reply At All” are from the previous evening at The Savoy Theater in Manhattan. There is a short instance of canned cheering (common to DIR productions), the sound sounds slightly flatter and the muted whistles and cheers indicate a smaller venue.

“Firth Of Fifth” is from Nassau. The Savoy Theater performance is notable for Phil forgetting the final verse, but this performance is perfect. ”Man On The Corner,” with fade at the end, is from The Savoy Theater just like the version from Genesis Archives Vol. 2.

The following two songs don’t even come from the Abacab tour. “Keep It Dark” comes from one of the two Philadelphia Spectrum DIR broadcasts from 1983. None of the various permutations of this broadcast contains this performance, so it must have been inserted by Highland themselves. It’s a nice performance, but it’s presence is a mystery. ”Follow You Follow Me” dates from the Lyceum in London in May 7th, 1980 and is included on several versions of the DIR discs and the Three Sides Live LP.

Afterwards, the recording reverts back to the Nassau Coliseum for the rest of the show. “Turn It On Again” was used for the officially video of the song released with the album and played incessantly on the early days of MTV.

The final track is a three minute candid recording of the band talking about the performance and the promoter congratulating them on a fine show and the closing radio show’s credits.

Perfect “Three Sides Live” is a very good sounding release but is neither complete nor definitive. Hearing good audience tapes from the Nassau Coliseum and The Savoy Theater shows would make a very good release covering these concerts. Despite that, this is the best version on silver disc of these Abacab radio shows and is worth hunting down.

May 3, 2013 Posted by | Genesis Perfect "Three Sides Live" | , | Leave a comment

Genesis Daryl’s Birthday Party (Tokyo, November 1978)


Kosei Nenkin Kaikan, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan – November 27th, 1978

Disc 1 (54:29): SE / Opening, Eleventh Earl Of Mar (Wind Wuthering), In The Cage (The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway), Burning Rope (…and then there were three..), Ripples (A Trick Of The Tail), Deep In The Motherlode (…and then there were three..), One For The Vine (Wind Wuthering)

Disc 2 (66:45): Squonk (A Trick Of The Tail), MC, Say It’s All Right Joe (…and then there were three..), The Lady Lies (…and then there were three…), Romeo & Juliette, The Cinema Show (Selling England By The Pound), Afterglow (Wind Wuthering), Follow You Follow Me (…and then there were three..), Dance On A Volcano, Drum Duet, Los Endos (A Trick Of The Tail), I Know What I Like (Selling England By The Pound)

Trying to adapt to the new musical landscape, one that held progressive rock groups like Genesis with suspicion, the band attempted to become more accessible on their newest album …And Then There Were Three…. Their change in sound is a bit overblown in retrospect. The new songs were still musically challenging and told little fairy tales as before, but they were shorter and exhibited more concern for catchiness than before.

Another sign of change is Genesis’ willingness to branch out live by performing their first (and only in the seventies) tour of Japan in late November and early December.

The first date was on November 27th at the Kosei Nenkin Kaikan in the Shinjuku section of Tokyo, Daryl Stuermer’s birthday. An older very good sounding audience recording was utilized on discs one and two of G Men ’78 (Ayanami 047) and on Drunken Joe In Tokyo (Sirene 011), two titles on professional CDR.

Daryl’s Birthday Party on Tarantura is the first silver pressed edition of the show, and the first Genesis release on the august label. It uses a previously unreleased Mr. Peach recording, and like many other releases is generally excellent stereo but with slight distortion in very loud and busy passages. The remastering by ZERO-FIGHTER is very light and improves the enjoyment of the recording.

The tape begins with the pre-show taped music before the lights go down and the band come onstage to play “Eleventh Earl Of Mar” from Wind & Wuthering. It’s an exciting way to start the show and the audience give them a loud roar of approval afterwards.

Some of the later shows on this tour are a bit difficult to listen to because there is a huge disconnect between the audience and artist. The most glaring example is the December 2nd show in the Sun Plaza. But this show is generally very effective. The audience is responsive to the band and the performance is much better for it.

Phil Collins stumbles a bit on the Japanese introductions and spends half his time speaking in English. The audience don’t seem to mind, and applaud his effort.

After Collins’ introductions, they follow with “Into The Cage” from The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, perhaps Genesis’ most popular LP in Japan. Tony Bank’s organ chugs intently in what will be the only number from the double album to be played in the set. They follow with the “Burning Rope,” the first new song of the night. It is one of Banks’ best songs and, at over seven minutes, one of the longest from the new album.

After “Ripples” they follow with “Deep In The Motherlode,” another new song. Afterwards Collins introduces Daryl Stuermer, who was new to the band at the time, and bids him happy birthday before they play the Banks epic “One For The Vine.”

“Squonk” sounds extremely heavy in this recording and sounds very much like their intended Led Zeppelin tribute. Much like “Eleventh Earl Of Mar,” it receives one of the biggest ovations from the audience all night. Afterwards they follow with two songs from the new album.

Both tunes are heavy with on-stage dramatic interpretation. “Say It’s Alright Joe” has Collins enacting the song’s narrative at the bar. Before the next song, Collins spends a lot of time trying to teach the audience their parts, when to cheer and when to boo. He tries hard to articulate the Japanese he’s reading on a music stand (you can hear him flip the pages of the paper). The audience sound a bit befuddled, however, and the tune loses its dramatic impact.

Collins has much more success with the “Romeo & Juliette” story. Speaking mostly in English, the audience follow along and giggle. “The Cinema Show” is played perfectly as is the segue into an majestic version of “Afterglow.” They follow with the last of the new songs, the popular “Follow You, Follow Me,” with the audience clapping along very loudly.

The set ends with the massive A Trick Of The Tail suite with “Dance On A Volcano,” the massive drum duet of Collins and Chester Thompson, and “Los Endos.” For the encore they play “I Know What I Like” which includes the “Stagnation” interlude and Collins’ tambourine games in its nine minute duration.

The set list is identical to that used on the US tour. It would have been nice if Genesis were to have expanded it to include more songs from the earlier albums to celebrate their first and only visit to Japan. Other shows on the tour included “Down And Out” from the new album and “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway” and parts of “Supper’s Ready.”

Nevertheless this is one of the best concerts from an uneven tour. Daryl’s Birthday Party is a great Genesis release worth seeking out.

May 3, 2013 Posted by | Genesis Daryl's Birthday Party | , | Leave a comment

Jimi Hendrix Radio One (1992)


Review If you don’t have at least one Jimi Hendrix album in your CD collection, you really need to rethink your musical priorities. I don’t think I need to explain the revolutionary legacy of Hendrix to anyone, so I’ll just get right to the content on this particular CD. The year was 1967, and Hendrix’s career had just blasted off in the UK, when The Jimi Hendrix Experience (Hendrix, Noel Redding, and Mitch Mitchell) came together for several recording sessions for BBC Radio. You will find a number of Hendrix’s most memorable songs in this collection, but they differ from the versions most fans are familiar with. Alongside these more familiar tracks are a number of very interesting covers and blues-oriented recordings, a few of which could and should be considered true rarities.

Appropriately enough, this collection starts out with an anthem song, Stone Free. With the funk established, it’s time to jam. Hendrix standards emerging from these early recordings are Fire, Foxy Lady, Purple Haze, and Hey Joe. Hendrix pulls out all of the heavy guitar stops on the short but enervating Killing Floor. This killer track is then followed by what is still, as far as I am aware, the only live version of the classic Love or Confusion. Hendrix’s mastery of the guitar is made most evident in a scintillating performance of Drivin’ South.

I find the background vocals on Wait Until Tomorrow somewhat questionable, but this track is a real treat indeed, as this was a song Hendrix never performed on stage. You get a somewhat light version of Hear My Train a Comin’, infused with a lot of interaction with the small studio audience. Spanish Castle Magic is pretty faithful to the later studio version, but this is probably the earliest recording made of this standout song. Yet another significant recording is Burning of the Midnight Lamp, a much different version from that which appeared on the Electric Ladyland album of the following year.

Radio One Theme is a playful bit of filler, really, a half-joking new theme song for Britain’s insurgent Radio One rock station. Hendrix’s cover of the Beatles’ Day Tripper takes the song to heights never imagined by the team of Lennon and McCartney. The novelty of this cover still pales in comparison to that of Hound Dog, which comes complete with all sorts of barks and howls from band members.

For me, the best this album has to offer are the blues-oriented recordings, in which Hendrix pays tribute to some of the strongest influences of his youth – the legendary Muddy Waters, in particular. Catfish Blues is great, but Hoochie Koochie Man is easily my favourite song on this album.

All told, these 17 early recordings showcase the variety of musical styles that Jimi Hendrix made his own, and the entire album has a fresh and jubilant feel that differs from the heavier sound of Hendrix’s later career. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend Radio One as someone’s first introduction to Jimi Hendrix, but Hendrix fans will definitely love every one of the 59 – plus minutes of this album.

Review Radio One is a collection of material recorded by the Jimi Hendrix Experience live in the studio for various BBC Radio shows during 1967.


There is one BIG difference between what you would have heard with those original radio broadcasts, and what you hear with this CD today. The original recordings were created (and broadcast) in mono. This modern CD uses digital trickery to turn that mono into fake stereo, and the result is certainly NOT for the better.

The manner in which producer Alan Douglas seems to have achieved the fake stereo effect was by splitting the frequencies, the higher frequencies to one speaker and the lower to the other. This has resulted in the album being almost unlistenable through headphones because it gives the impression of the bulk of the tracks being “lopsided”, with the sound coming out of one speaker or being noticeably off-centre. Out of the 17 tracks on this compilation only about 5 sound normal, properly centred. The effect is so bad that the first time I heard this CD through headphones I thought the headphones themselves were faulty.

Heard through regular speakers this strange “wonkiness” isn’t really noticeable – but because of the fake stereo effect the sound is somewhat flat and at times lacking in definition.

Only a couple of years after this CD was released an American radio station named Westwood One broadcast the original mono mixes of these same recordings (which have since also appeared on at least a couple of CD bootlegs). In mono all of this material has more punch, energy and definition than can be found on these fake stereo alternatives. Quite simply, in mono these tracks sound more “alive”, more powerful. The difference really is extreme, one of night-and-day.

Why on earth Alan Douglas decided to reprocess the mono tapes in a manner which degraded the sound quality and sonic impact is a question only he can answer. I can think of no justification for converting this material into fake stereo other than simply converting it for the sake of converting it. The mind boggles.

The music itself can’t be faulted. Recorded live in the studio, these sessions catch The Jimi Hendrix Experience during their initial rise to stardom. So what you largely get are raw and raucous 3 minute (or less) versions of Are You Experienced material, interspersed with some impressive extended bluesy numbers (the latter clearly showing the direction in which Hendrix and the band would develop onstage over the following couple of years).

There are also a couple of covers where Jimi is clearly having fun, Hound Dog and Day Tripper (the latter NOT featuring John Lennon on backing vocals, as the myth claims. It’s Noel Redding), and Drivin’ South (of interest because it’s an instrumental which Hendrix originally played in his pre-fame days with Curtis Knight’s band. This Experience version ups the tempo and turns into a tour de force of Hendrixian guitarisms).

It’s not an understatement to say these BBC recordings are essential for any fan of the Are You Experienced period. There’s none of the brain-twisting or mellow psychedelia of his latter years. This is almost garage-band Hendrix, knocking it out rough and ready, pure Rock and Roll, Proto-Rock, Rhythm and Blues or however you choose to label it. It’s the nearest you’ll today get to actually attending a live Experience concert in one of London’s small nightclubs in 1967.

So how would I grade this album?

Well, the music on this CD (and the manner in which its performed) I’d grade a solid 5 stars. But simply down to the recordings having been fudged into fake stereo, I have to give it an overall single star rating.

The tragic thing is that when Experience Hendrix re-released these sessions (with extra material) a few years ago, they also used the fake stereo masterings. A few of the tracks on that double-CD set were the original mono, but some also had added modern reverb. And of course that release has compression missing from this edition.

So if you wish to hear the best official release of Hendrix’s BBC material, it’s a toss-up between two evils because there is currently no official version of this album available which matches the original untampered mono tapes for impact. If you want to hear this stuff sounding at its most powerful and in its best quality, the record company have left you no choice but to seek out unofficial and illegal product.

That’s a shameful state of affairs. This set DESERVES better. It captures Hendrix at a crucial time in his development, playing some unique material. It’s screaming out to be released in full, in the original MONO mix. Only when that day comes will the true majesty of these BBC recordings be unleashed.

Maybe when those handed the care of the Hendrix legacy divert their attention from branding his image upon tin boxes, plastic mugs and air fresheners, to refocus completely upon presenting his music in the best possible manner, we will get to see that day. Maybe.

May 3, 2013 Posted by | Jimi Hendrix Radio One | | Leave a comment

Led Zeppelin The Drag Queen Of New Orleans (May 1973)

LZ The Drag Queen Of NO frontFrom

Municipal Auditorium, New Orleans, LA – May 14, 1973

Disc 1: Rock And Roll, Celebration Day, Bring It On Home Intro/Black Dog, Over The Hills And Far Away, Misty Mountain Hop, Since I’ve Been Loving You, No Quarter, The Song Remains The Same, The Rain Song

Disc 2: Dazed And Confused, Stairway To Heaven

Disc 3: Moby Dick, Heartbreaker, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown

This show in New Orleans was ten days into the first leg of Led Zeppelin’s American Tour and the band were really hitting their stride. Plant’s vocals are a little rough in spots but he does improve as the show goes on, however, there are many occasions where this adds emotion to his performance. The band more than make up for it as this is one of those nights where they just clicked and the performances keep getting better as the night progresses. New Orleans is also among some of the better sounding soundboards to surface from Zeppelin’s 73 tours, having a nice balance between the instruments.

Some of the first releases to compact disc were Live And Led Live and Live And Led Live Again from Flying Disc, Johnny Piston & the Dogs on Thin Men, and Drag Queen on the original Tarantura label. New Orleans 1973 on TDOLZ came out in 1999 and like all the others was exclusively from the soundboard. In 2006 a virtually complete audience source became available and both Bourbon Street Renegades on Empress Valley and The Witch Queen on Tarantura were released as 6CD sets containing both the audience and soundboard sources. The Drag Queen Of New Orleans from Godfather is the latest presentation of the New Orleans show this time in a 3CD format that gives priority to the soundboard with the audience source used to fill a couple gaps.

Godfather use the excellent audience source for the first two minutes of “Rock And Roll” and transition to the soundboard just before Jimmy’s solo. The overall speed of the board tape runs slightly slower and isn’t really off by much so it isn’t a factor. The show is not without its problems. They band can’t seem to get the venue to turn the house lights down and after “Over The Hills And Far Away” Plant mentions the police presence and the fact that people are in the aisles. A really good “Since I’ve Been Loving You” is marred only by Plant’s vocal breaks. The first is almost disastrous but he makes do and the break after Jimmy’s solo is painful to hear him try and push it.

“No Quarter” is a highlight and Jones’ keyboards sound great in this recording. The Mellotron is also very prominent in “Rain Song”. No attempt to fill the gap in the soundboard source at the end of “Rain Song” due to the fact that the audience source is cut here as well. “Dazed And Confused” contains brief references to “Crossroads” and “Cat’s Squirrel” before settling into the “San Francisco” section. Page’s “Stairway To Heaven” solo is very smooth and Jimmy really develops some nice riffs here. John Bonham is introduced as “the Drag Queen from New Orleans” before 20 minutes of “Moby Dick”. Plant calls for “The Crunge” and “Cold Sweat” in the improv section of “Whole Lotta Love” but unfortunately doesn’t get it. Jones plays some impressive stuff under the Theremin solo and he and Bonham are really locked in. The audience source is used again to cover a gap in the “Whole Lotta Love” medley and the cross fades are almost seamless and are handled very well. “Communication Breakdown” has the “Cold Sweat” reference again in the middle jam and Robert’s vocals have somewhat improved for this track but what stands out here is Page’s blistering solo, proving the night belongs to him.

When compared with The Witch Queen, Tarantura got a livelier sound out of the audience source but the soundboard I thought was a bit better on Godfather. It is a bit crisper in the highs and the bass has a nice definition without overloading the recording. Bringing up the highs also brings up the hiss a little more so it comes down to personal preference. Either way, Godfather did a great job with the EQ and brought some life into the recording that is lacking in a lot of 73 soundboards.

As always, Godfather has some of the best packaging utilizing the triple gatefold paper case again, packed with photos and a short essay. The Drag Queen Of New Orleans from Godfatherecords is an excellent way of obtaining the (almost) complete performance without having to shell out for the more expensive six disc sets and can be easily recommended.

May 3, 2013 Posted by | Led Zeppelin The Draq Queen Of New Orleans | , | Leave a comment

Led Zeppelin In A Delirious Daze (Seattle, July 1977)


Kingdome, Seattle, WA – July 17th, 1977

Disc 1 (70:20): Introduction, The Song Remains The Same, Sick Again, Nobody’s Fault But Mine, Over The Hills and Far Away, No Quarter

Disc 2 (63:54): Ten Years Gone, The Battle of Evermore, Going to California, Black Country Woman, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, White Summer/Black Mountain Side, Kashmir

Disc 3 (69:51): Moby Dick, Guitar Solo, Achilles Last Stand, Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, Rock And Roll

Led Zeppelin’s show in Seattle in 1977 is one of their most well documented. With a complete videotape, video soundtrack, bonafide soundboard and three audience recordings, there are a lot of sources to watch and listen to. But before the complete professional sources surfaced there was only a soundboard fragment with the final song and the encores and two audience recordings.

The earliest recording is a fair but distant audience tape that was pressed on Kingdom Of Zep (Silver Rarities SIRA 131/132/133), a four disc set with the soundboard fragment as bonus tracks. Equinox released In A Delirious Daze in the summer of 2000 and features a better sounding, but incomplete audience tape. This source captures the show at the beginning and runs to 6:42 in “White Summer.”

The Silver Rarities tape picks up from there and runs through “Achilles Last Stand.” The video soundtrack fragment then is used for “Stairway To Heaven” and the encores. The older audience tape is also used to fill holes in “Over The Hills And Far Away” (from 1:14 – 1:17) and “Going To California” (3:47 to 3:49). Although the professional sources would be the preferred tape to listen to, this release provides an interesting perspective of the event.

The Kingdome in Seattle was noted for is horrible acoustics and the recording gives the impression of the band playing in a vacuum, struggling to achieve some kind of intimacy with the sold out crowd and despite the negative reviews the show generated, there is a great deal of excitement coming from the audience in response to the music coming off of the stage.

After Equinox released In A Delirious Daze a third incomplete audience surfaced, the complete video soundtrack, the complete video on DVD and a legitimate soundboard recording on Tarantura’s Jupiter And Saturn. With the wealth of sources, it would be easy to overlook this recording. Equinox utilized a ”TDOLZ” style cardboard gatefold sleeve with simple graphic and a photo of each member of the band on the panels.

There was quite a bit of excitement when these titles hit the market because they offered nice sounding tapes, great package and were normal priced. Collectors hoped Equinox would continue production, but instead disappeared without a trace. All of their releases are worth having and are still floating around.

May 3, 2013 Posted by | Led Zeppelin In A Delirious Daze | , | Leave a comment

Led Zeppelin Stroll On! (Milwaukee, July 1975)


Midwest Rock Festival, State Fair Grounds, Milwaukee, WI – July 25th, 1969

(52:49): Train Kept A-Rollin’, I Can’t Quit You, Dazed & Confused, White Summer/Black Mountain Side, How Many More Times, Communication Breakdown

During the summer of 1969 Led Zeppelin were primarily booked to play in festivals all across the country. The documents of these performances are among the most intense and exciting on tape and every one of them can be considered to be essential to own. Their set at the Midwest Rock Festival in Wisconsin exists in a very good and clear audience recording. It seems to capture the entire set, although some sources claim that “You Shook Me” was played before “How Many More Times.”

The bottom is a bit thin with slight distortion but nothing too noticeable. An early vinyl release called West Allison State (Grasshopper GH 104 A-B) contains the performance but is missing “White Summer.” On compact disc Secret History Of Led Zeppelin (Scorpio) contains “Train Kept A-Rollin’.” The entire show was pressed on Stroll On (Green Frog Records) and on State Fair (Digger Productions DP-2676).

TDOLZ came out afterwards and represented a significant improvement over previous releases. There are little cuts scattered between most of the song and what seems like a big and painful one at 12:39 in “How Many More Times.” It is packaged in a single mini LP cardboard sleeve with various Fillmore East photos on the front and back from the first tour (Page with the telecaster, although by the summer he had switched to the Les Paul).

On the bill with Zeppelin were Blind Faith with Eric Clapton on their only US tour who played the following day in the festival. This was the first time Clapton saw Zeppelin live and, when journalist Richie Yorke asked his opinion later in the year replied: “I don’t know about them. I’ve heard their records and I saw them play in Milwaukee – we were on the same bill. They were very loud – I thought it was un-necessarily loud. I liked some of it I really did like some of it. But a lot of it was jost too much. They over-emphasized whatever point they were making, I thought.”

The tape begins with the mc saying “…Zeppelin!!” Plant does a short sound check, “A bit more treble” and sings “Three four and away we go, and we’ve never ever done these things before.” “Train Kept A-Rollin” segues into “I Can’t Quit You” in a perfect light/shade contrast, setting the tone for the evening. Afterwards, as a jet flies over the site, he says, “Right, in that case, we’d we’d like to do with the assistance of Mr. Echo. We’d like to do a thing off the first album. This is a thing that we got a lot of enjoyment doing. This is called ‘Dazed and Confused.’” A spectacular thirteen minute version of the piece follows, already greatly expanded from the Led Zeppelin prototype.

Plant says cryptically, “Phantom of the Opera stool. Good point” before introducing “White Summer” as “a combination of two things.” Page creates controlled havoc during the dramatic eight minutes of the solo piece. “How Many More Times” closes the show. Reaching sixteen minutes on the recording, it contains references to “The Hunter” and ”The Lemon Song” as usual. Page throws in a riff from The Yardbirds’ “Over Under Sideways Down” (about 8:27) during the long improvisation.

The cut at 12:39 is particularly painful since it comes at the climax of the song, but after the cut Plant comes down and quotes Frank Sinatra, saying, “I got youuuuuuuu under my skin” and cracks up the audience. A lightening fast four minute ”Communication Breakdown” is played as the encore. Given the fantastic atmosphere of this recording, it is a wonder that no other label has reissued this tape in the decade since TDOLZ released Stroll On! Since this is an improvement over the older silver pressings, this remains the definitive version of this highly charged concert and is worth investigating.

May 3, 2013 Posted by | Led Zeppelin Stroll On! | , | Leave a comment

Led Zeppelin Knebworth Masters (August 1979)


Knebworth Festival, Stevenage, England – August 4th, 1979

DVD 1: Introduction, The Song Remains The Same, Celebration Day, Black Dog, Nobody’s Fault But Mine, Over The Hills And Far Away, Misty Mountain Hop, Since I’ve Been Loving You, No Quarter, Ten Years Gone, Hot Dog, The Rain Song, White Summer/Black Mountain Side, Kashmir

DVD 2: Trampled Underfoot, Sick Again, Achilles Last Stand, Guitar / Bow Solo, In The Evening, Stairway To Heaven

DVD 3: Audience, Rock And Roll, You’ll Never Walk Alone, Whole Lotta Love, Heartbreaker. Knebworth Extras: 8mm Cine Films, BBC Radio at Knebworth Park, Rock And Roll – DVD off-cut, Heartbreaker – Alt Camera Mix, Heartbreaker – Solo Camera

Knebworth Masters is hopefully the final word on Led Zeppelin’s first Knebworth show in 1979. A little bit of footage from this show circulated for almost twenty years, from the Swan Song video for “Hot Dog” and for a two-song fragment, “Ten Years Gone” and “Heartbreaker,” being taken from the Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary show in 1988. After the footage was utilized on the official DVD in 2003, the entire concert surfaced thanks to Watchtower on the two DVD set Secrets Revealed.

Watchtower was pricey and hard to find however. A more viable option was The First Night (Boogie Mama) released soon afterwards. Boogie Mama utilized DVD9 dual layer disc technology to fit the entire show onto one disc. But is also had some issues with pixelation in the darker pictures on the video.

Knebworth Masters claims to be from the master video which may be true. Unlike the other two prior titles, the pictures is almost perfect all the way through the entire show. The colors are a bit off in some of the brighter moments but overall the picture is sharp, detailed, colorful and very lively making the two and a half performance a joy to watch. Since the video was geared for the large screens above the stage to give those sitting in the back a view of the action, the shots favor intense close ups of faces, fingers, guitars and pianos. It is funny to see some of the strange faces Jimmy Page and Robert Plant make to one another, a subtly probably missed by much of the audience that night.

The bonus material on disc three includes 8mm footage of the event, a BBC radio report by DJ Tommy Vance and several “works in progress” footage of “Rock And Roll” and “Heartbreaker” from several angels. It works well as a bonus to give one a historical context in enjoying the show and to hear what the press were speculating regarding Zeppelin’s Knebworth shows. This three DVD set now stands as the definitive version of this video.

The importance of these shows is best summed up by author Dave Lewis, who wrote: “For many in attendance it was their first ever concert experience. For many it would be the only time that they would get to see Zeppelin perform live. For that reason alone it holds a special affection in their live history. The first show in particular, with so much riding on it, was perhaps the most important they ever played.” (Led Zeppelin: Celebration II: The ‘Tight But Loose’ Files).

The two warm up shows in Copenhagen revealed a band who were not quite ready to headline such massive events, a point that Robert Plant stated shortly after the two when he said: “Knebworth was useless. It was no good at all. It was no good because we weren’t ready to do it, the whole thing was a management decision. It felt like I was cheating myself because I wasn’t as relaxed as I could have been. There was so much expectation there and the least we could have done was to have been confident enough to kill. We maimed the beast for life, but we didn’t kill it. It was good, but only because everybody made it good. There was that sense of event.”

Journalist Chris Welch, fifteen years afterwards, observed: “Fans [at Knebworth] were still supporting the band, but there was definitely a feeling [Led Zeppelin’s] days were numbered. Audience reaction at Knebworth had not been overwhelming and many seemed content to stand and stare, like mesmerized spectators at an alien ritual, a far cry from the hysteria of earlier shows. Robert Plant seemed perplexed at the silence between songs, when you could practically hear a pin drop in that vast, cold field. It wasn’t until he led the way into ‘Stairway to Heaven’ and ‘Trampled Underfoot’ that roars of appreciation began to echo around Knebworth. Robert’s only comment at the end of the last show was a guarded ‘It’s been quite good.’” The soundboard tapes caused a general re-evaluation of the event which was given another boost when much of the August 4th show was used on the official Led Zeppelin DVD.

The video tape begins with the pre-show canned music before “The Song Remains The Same” and “Celebration Day” both sounding very intense and afterwards Plant sounds very excited greeting an audience in England for many years: ”Well, I said Well. ah ah. I said Well. Good evening. Good evening. It’s nice to see you again. I told Pagey that one or two people would be here, but he said he doubted it very much. Well I can’t tell you how it feels. I think you can probably, you’ve got a good idea anyway, but it’s great.”

“Black Dog” in 1979 sounds very light and punkish compared to versions in the past. “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” is referred to as the time they “went to Munich and made an album called Presence which had a track on it Charles Schaar Murray really liked…he’s still taking the pills.”

One of the highlights of the show is “No Quarter” where Plant introduces John Paul Jones as “the man from Casablanca…some say a man in his own right, other say Royal Orleans” because of his white suit. At eighteen minutes long, Jones plays a tasteful solo on the electric piano recalling the same unified vision of the Earls Court performances capped off by one of the best solos by Page of the evening. “Ten Years Gone” is also tight. This is also the final time it is played live by Led Zeppelin since it will be dropped the following week.

Before “Hot Dog” Plant addresses all the people who came, from “Comharden, Newcastle, Birmingham, Kidderminster, Freddie Bannister” and laments the delay of the new album, “so the album that came out two weeks ago unfortunately got delayed again. First it was a fortnight ago, and then it was a week ago, now it’s next Friday. It just goes on and on and on. This is a track from it that we should dedicate to trials in America.” He is surprised that people know the title already, “How come you know what it’s called? You’ve been reading about the Swedish and the Danish, hey?”

After the tepid performance he becomes defensive, saying “Yes, still got a sense of humor….So we got all the way here, and now the equipment blows up. Never mind. It’s got to be better than Earls Court. Who’s the person who owned that goat and the little wagon that we saw out there two nights ago, camping out there? Just come round the back with us afterwards, and write an acoustic set with us.”

The guitar solo before “In The Evening” is a bit longer than in Copenhagen with the same fanfare Page used on the 1977 tour. The Götterdammerung introduction is very effective as a prelude to the new track which has its rough patches but is a great live vehicle. Before the final number Plant thanks the crowd for coming, saying “well all you people who’ve come so far, it’s been like a blind date, if you like. We’ve even loosened up and laughing. This is a song I guess we should …so many people who’ve helped us over the years, and no people more important that yourselves who come here on a blind date. This is for you.”

There is no editing in the tape after “Stairway To Heaven” so several minutes of chanting and cheering in audible before the encore set. Each of the Copenhagen shows received one, but both Knebworth shows got three. “Rock And Roll” is the first and following which the crowd serenade the band with “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” Plant joins and in twenty years afterwards, in an article in Mojo magazine, Page is quoted saying, “there were tears in the eyes” during that event.

“Whole Lotta Love” is played in the same arrangement premiered in the second Copenhagen show and although Page stumbles at bit in the transition from first verse to middle, comes off fine and “Heartbreaker” closes what is one of the most important gigs in Zeppelin’s career. Plant’s assessment is correct. It is a very good and professional performance that hints at their former prowess but their two year layoff is all too apparent.

May 3, 2013 Posted by | Led Zeppelin Knebworth Masters | , , | Leave a comment

Jimmy Page Interview With Dean Goodman (2003)


I interviewed Jimmy Page four times, twice on the phone and twice in person. The first time was by accident, and it annoyed me.

I was on the phone with Robert Plant in 1998 talking about his latest Page and Plant collaboration with his former Led Zeppelin colleague, Walking into Clarksdale. About five minutes in, there were some clicks on the line, and then a voice. “Hello Dean, this is Jimmy Page.” I should have been thrilled that a rock god actually wanted to speak with me. But it threw me. I had questions prepared for Robert, not for Jimmy, and some of them were about Jimmy. I had a rhythm going with Robert and now I had to change key and bring Jimmy into the jam. Classic Led Zeppelin-style improvisation was required in the remaining minutes. I got through it OK, and then slapped myself on the side of the head for not appreciating my great gig.

The in-persons were for the Grammy lifetime achievement awards in 2005 and for the 2008 guitar documentary Page did with Bono and Jack White, It Might Get Loud. During the latter we bonded over the fact that we both have Brazilian wives.

The following transcript is from a phoner in 2003 to discuss the release of two live recordings: a self-titled Led Zeppelin DVD featuring footage from shows at the Royal Albert Hall (1970), Madison Square Garden (1973), Earls Court (1975), and Knebworth (1979), as well as bootleg clips; and a CD, How the West Was Won, taken from a pair of Los Angeles-area shows in 1972.

Jeff Beck once told me that Page was “a dark horse,” which I ran by Page for comment. “Slippery” is probably better. And “defensive” at times, especially if the questions are inane. He basically hasn’t done much since Led Zeppelin broke up in 1980 following the death of drummer John Bonham, when Page was 36. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. He’s richer than god, and can do whatever he wants. I tried to get him to discuss it, but my questioning was muddled and he pounced.

** (March 2013) This is the full transcript. I previously published highlights **


The only thing that there was … From the 1977 tour we had a visual reference with something in Seattle but there was no multitrack of it. My plan was to actually film that tour. Normally we would film the tours at the end, although we only did it twice beforehand! Once at Royal Albert Hall (in 1970) and the time when we did it at the end of the ’73 tour, which is Madison Square Garden, and that became The Song Remains The Same. The way that we were playing and the intensity of it, and actually the visual aspect of it as well, had taken on a whole element that was screaming out to be filmed, actually. But of course, you have to set out with recording trucks and all the rest of it, and we just actually never got around to filming that because that was the tragic time when Robert lost his son (Karac, to an infection, aged 5 in 1977), so enough said about that really.

It would have been nice to have had more footage, but in actual fact there wasn’t. Maybe that was a little bit off-putting from the past, but it got to the point where I thought, “No, I want to go in.” We reacquired the material of Royal Albert Hall. There were 10 canisters of that, which actually was quite a lot compared to what else we had around. We had Madison Square Garden numbers that didn’t make the film, and then the rest of the sources were video sources that were just relative to what was going on on the screens, on the gigs. We’ll talk about two venues there for Royal Albert Hall and Knebworth (1979), with multitrack recording as well.

We didn’t have very much. It got to the point for me, where we reacquired this material, and we had to pay for it from the Royal Albert Hall, and the rest of the band said, “Well, we gotta put it out. After all, we paid money for it (he ignored my question about how much they paid), so let’s see if we can get a bit of a return.” But when I went in to look for the multitrack tapes, the audio, I went, “I can see all this other stuff in there and I thought I’m not sure what sort of condition all the rest of this is in, in the audio format or the visual. But even if we have even less than what it looks, it’s got to go out.” It’s a journey really, right from the beginning, right to the end. Otherwise the Royal Albert Hall material would have preceded, chronologically, the Madison Square Garden by three years. So I thought, “No, we’ve got stuff from 1977, the last concerts we played in England. I see this in a much bigger picture, and I’m gonna recommend that this is what’s done.” And I went in and did it.

We have very limited footage of, what we actually had. We were so busy doing the concerts. You had to plan these things ahead. The ’77 thing would have been done. The ’73 one was done. We weren’t doing things like that. We didn’t have a documentary crew going round with us all the time. What would we do it for? We weren’t a television band. That sort of stuff’s for television. We didn’t do that.


I don’t look at it like that at all. I don’t see about what improves one way or the other. It all mutates from one thing to another. It’s just how you interpret things and how you play things at one point in time to how you interpret and play them in another point in time. The whole fact is that with a band like Led Zeppelin, if we had a number in 1970 that lasted five minutes long, and we did that same number in 1979 it wouldn’t be five minutes long because it wasn’t exactly the same. It would change all the time, just insomuch as I’m talking about a group endeavor there, and a group “collusion” so to speak. Individually as far as my own interpretation went, every night it would change because that’s what was bringing out a lot of the new departures and the new riffs. I was coming up with stuff all the time. That is something that is relative to being inspired by playing with other musicians which were really, really amazing to be playing with. All four of us played together, and we played beyond ourselves, jointly.


We haven’t really had a chance to see that much of each other. There were a couple of times when the other members individually came in to have a listen to this or check that out, sound wise or whatever. There was more coming together actually afterwards on the covers and the artwork. But that’s it. It’s really more a question of coming together for that, more in a business capacity than in a social capacity. The thing is – you’ve gotta understand and I’m sure you do and I’m sure everyone else understands it too – that since 1980 when we lost John and everyone continued living their own lives, shall we say? And an interpretation of that may be the music and how they presented themselves musically in their various formats and incarnations. Everyone grows, and that’s life. What I do know, what you have to understand that in the first place, there were four very different personalities anyway in Led Zeppelin, very different personalities. But when they bonded musically, the four elements joined together, took on a fifth element – a thing which is totally intangible and it can’t be charted, which was that magical element.


I don’t think so. The thing is in the passage of time and the way that music has changed, there’s still the element of music that’s made across acoustic and electric instruments – OK, we call the drums an acoustic instrument. There’s also the element of music which is made purely on computers, using samples and electronic processing and imagination. There’s those two forms. Now anyone who plays an instrument has got an access point at some point or the other with Led Zeppelin. There’s that element to see musicians who are just actually almost at the point of shall we call it jamming? Or shall we just call it total inspiration? Or whatever you like. It’s what that is. It doesn’t seem to be something which is passé. OK, certainly you can see by the sorta clothes that we wear that it’s of its moment! But nevertheless the fact that it’s on the edge of what is being played and there’s so much spontaneity that is there all the time. There’s no way you could go on stage with Led Zeppelin, and a) know what was going to happen between the time you walked on and you walked off because things were going to change and go in so many directions; or b) go on there and start thinking about something else. You had to be totally, totally involved. It’s like a sacrifice you were there for. And that’s how it is. That’s why the music is what it is and what it was, and why each concert, each venue was different to the one before, because there were just so many different elements that would happen.


If you said to me, “I grew up to Led Zeppelin,” I’d say to you, “It might surprise you but I grew up to Led Zeppelin as well. I just happened to be one of the members.” That’s the only difference. But when we lost John and because we had this musical bond of being able to improvise at any point, you couldn’t bring at that point in time another drummer in to fulfill that role. Because what would you do? Would you actually play them something that was improvised, and say, ‘Well look, we improvised that. Can you learn it because then we’re going to play it the same every night?’ Of course not.

I don’t know what you mean about being out of a job. I was no more out of a job than anybody else. Of course I wasn’t out of a job … I did film scores, and I had a band with Paul Rodgers. If you wanna go back a couple of years I did a tour with the Black Crowes (in 1999) and I did something with Puff Daddy (the widely reviled “Kashmir” remake for the Godzilla film soundtrack, though Jeff Beck dug it). I don’t consider that being out of work.


That would be totally unrealistic to think at any point that you were gonna have something which is going to be – I don’t know what you’re implying – almost competitive relative with Led Zeppelin. That would be totally unrealistic and that would be absolutely foolish to think that. However if you’re making statements within another area or whatever, and if it’s music, then it’s totally valid, at least to yourself. Because if you believe in what you’re doing musically, that’s the most important thing. If you don’t believe in it, then quite clearly you might feel sort of not very comfortable about going out on stage or whatever it would be. But for me, I’ve never had a problem. I’ve just really enjoyed playing music and creating new music as well. For me, it was new music anyway. Or even if it’s same picture but a different frame. I just really enjoy playing. When I did the project with the Black Crowes I was having a whale of a time. I just really enjoyed playing … And I tell you what, I really enjoyed playing their music too.


I have no idea what their conceptions or their misconceptions are.




– I don’t know how regular I am. As a kid or whatever, I was never quite like one of the others. But that didn’t bother me. I didn’t have a problem with that, and I still don’t.


Chris Robinson, yeah. I had a great … We could just talk music and source music, and we were all coming from the same point. So that was great. We didn’t mention Led Zeppelin once.


No, no. We were talking about blues.


What was a manufactured band?




How can it be professionally put together? The way that it came together was so organic that that really surprises me. I thought he was quite an intuitive person, really. The only thing I’ve heard before that has ever reached my ears about Keith and Led Zeppelin was the fact that he liked the music, but he didn’t really enjoy Robert’s singing. Well that’s just a matter of taste really, whether you do or you don’t. But I’ve never heard him being quite so scathing, and that’s quite interesting because I’ve actually played with Keith in the past, and I’ve had some good times with him, so I don’t really understand what that’s all about really. That’s one of those things that’s a bit confrontational just to see whether I’ll rise to the bait, but I don’t.


That’s a good point. When you play, for example, for 3-1/2 hours there’s got to be some areas where there might be a wrong note played! And there was the occasional fix here and there. But believe me it was really kept to the minimum. The whole idea of this really was to try and keep it in the essence of what it was. So there was no instruments or such overdubbed, but there might have been the occasional fix where it was absolutely necessary, but in the scale of the overall, believe me it was quite minimal. If there was a wrong chord at the end of a number or something, I might have took it from earlier on in the number and replaced it… You can’t fix music like that. The thing is, it’s changing all the time. It’s what it is. It’s not like the thing of verses and choruses, so you can just suddenly put an instrument on because he’s playing the same thing every night anyway. It wasn’t like that. That’s the beauty of the thing.


That’s all we had. When I loaded all the live material, which is what I did at the beginning of this – because I wasn’t quite sure how the visual stuff, the condition of that and how we were gonna have to put this together – I loaded all the live tapes that we had and actually the two sets of those were the two L.A. performances from 1972. The only other thing that got loaded was something from a university that was done for a bit of a laugh, and it actually sounded too much of a laugh to actually wanna ever put that out and be measured up by it, because that was something that had a quite a few mistakes on it. We were playing numbers when we had just sorta recorded them and maybe played it for the first time and it was a lot to remember in the set. Consequently you’re gonna come unstuck a little bit. And it’s just something that will never see the light of day. That’s all there is. There’s just one other performance. Everything else is now out that we had live-wise. Isn’t that great? It’s not like, “Oh yeah, there’s a whole sequence of this stuff coming.” There’s not. This is it. That’s why it’s all being done right now, as it is. It gives a full chronological live audio and visual of the DVDs and the little gems and nuggets that come from the West Coast performance in 1972 where that L.A. crowd were really drawing it out of us. Fantastic. That’s it. Live-wise that is it.


I remember every aspect of it because of course a lot of it was just improvisation. I remember all the concerts that we’ve actually got there very well. To actually go through it bit by bit and hear sections of it, you go, “Yeah, yeah, that’s really good” or “I played really well there” or “My god, that’s embarrassing, that bit I just played then.” So it goes.


“If Page and Plant are on ice, how about Page and Jones?” Why don’t you ask Mr. Jones about that? Who said Page and Plant are on ice? … Robert Plant and I were working together, right? And then Robert Plant went back to being solo again, and he’s been through 3 different incarnations of what he’s doing in his solo thing, and that’s great. That’s all right. I think that’s brilliant, good. If I do something musically, it will probably be something which will be quite surprising to what you would expect me to do. And I won’t tell you what it is because otherwise it won’t be a surprise. You’ll have to wait and find out what it is.


I want them to see just how much fun we were having. Actually, how much fun and how much freedom we had.

May 3, 2013 Posted by | Jimmy Page interview with Dean Goodman 2003 | , , | Leave a comment