Classic Rock Review

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Led Zeppelin Live On Blueberry Hill (LA Forum, September 1970)

Comparing the different versions of Live On Blueberry Hill



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A total of five different sources have surfaced from this very amazing, legendary performance.

Almost all cd titles that have ever released this show with the tracks properly sequenced are represented in this text. The old European and American vinyl titles and cd titles normally/usually copied from vinyl (ceasing by 1994~), resequenced or not, have been excluded.

Two assumptions about vinyl releases are as follows… The TMQ/TMOQ label first released this show, in monotone. The Rubber Dubber label was the second release of the show, using a different tape, in stereo. The true chronological release of these two vinyl titles isn’t important for the following analysis. Importance is placed on the identification of unique bootleg tape sources for this concert.
All sources have been highly compared, studied, reviewed, and then compared again with each new release of this show. Properly identifying the separate sources, without error, has been extremely important. It is absolutely key in understanding these many sources. They have some very similar and identical background noises, such as whistling, talking/muttering, replies of “Good Evening,” laughing, etc.

Source 1 = Immigrant / (TMQ vinyl)
Source 2 = Tarantura2000 TCD-30 / (Rubber Dubber vinyl)
Source 3 = Mud Dogs
Source 4 = Tarantura2000 TCD-33
Source 5 = Tarantura’s 1997 blue sleeve release

Please refer to this TABLE to view sources used on cd titles.

Immigrant and the first two discs of the LSD four disc release use the first tape source, presumably the tape used for the famous TMQ vinyl. LSD has a faked introduction by moving a dozen seconds of tape from after Heartbreaker. Empress Valley’s cds 1&2 (“Blimp Records / TMOQ” of the 9cd and 4cd titles) are based on the TMQ tape. It’s introduction is source 5. Later parts of the title use sources 3 and 4 too. The title offers more of source one between songs and after the show than any other cd release of this show. The title also has at least two cut/repeats in the Tarantura2000 fashion. It’s sound is not near as clear as the others.

Tarantura2000’s TCD-30 introduces the second source to cd for the first time, also known as the Rubber Dubber tape. Empress Valley’s final cd also releases this tape, but hasn’t been cleaned up as anywhere near as well as Tarantura2000.

Mud Dogs and Tarantura2000’s TCD-32 are strictly source three. Mud Dogs’ is missing the opening one second, misses several seconds before Since I’ve Been Loving you and Moby Dick, misses 2:13 of Moby Dick, misses several seconds after Whole Lotta Love, and misses a few seconds after the show. It’s left channel is much weaker than it’s right. Tarantura2000’s isn’t missing the tape sections noted above and it’s channels are both as strong as Mud Dog’s right channel. Empress Valley’s cds 3&4 (“TMOQ Alternate Source”) is based on the Mud Dogs’ source. It has no fewer than 23 source changes. During the constant tape switching, a few seconds of the primary source are lost. It’s introduction is mostly source 5. Later parts of the title use sources 1 and 4 too. The title also has at least one cut/repeat in the Tarantura2000 fashion.

Source four was finally was released in it’s entirety for the first time on Tarantura2000’s TCD-33, although the title is not strictly from this source alone. Pieces of this source have been used regularly on many older titles. TCD-33 doesn’t have an introduction but does have the most tape available after the show. One or more of the other tapes of this show have been used for several seconds of Immigrant Song and then for one or two split second occasions after Moby Dick. Unfortunately, edits have been made at several places where dropouts would be found in the tape. The fashion of edit used creates a semi-microscopic cut/repeat at each dropout. The split second of blank tape (dropout) is removed, throwing off the timing of the song, then a split second of tape before the drop is repeated. It’s a highly annoying result.

Empress Valley’s cds 5&6 release source 4 too. They refer to it as the “Cobra” source, since that’s presumably the first title to use the tape, however little amount of it. It’s introduction is source 5. Later parts of the title use sources 1 and 3 too. The title also has at least two cut/repeats in the Tarantura2000 fashion.

The fifth source was originally issued on Tarantura’s 1997 release. Tarantura2000’s TCD-34 releases a poorly edited version of it. (Edits were made in the same manner as TCD-33.) TCD-34 runs a tiny amount faster than the other title. Sound quality is similar between the two releases.

Empress Valley’s cds 7&8 release source 5 too. They refer to it as the “Antrabata” source, since that’s presumably the first title to use the tape, however little amount of it. Source 1 is mixed into the title. The last several seconds of the tape have a strange reverb affect added for no good reason. The title also has at least six cut/repeats in the Tarantura2000 fashion.

Tarantura’s 1993 release uses sources 1 & 3 but still doesn’t complete Moby Dick. The last two discs of the LSD title is a three source mix. It relies mainly on the third tape source and borrows from the first and fourth tapes to complete. Source four is used for Moby Dick, but it is missing 82 seconds. The Cobra and Cobra Premium Series releases contain the exact same mixture of sources 1, 3, and 4. However, the CPS is not simply a copy of the Cobra. There are trivial differences. Antrabata relies heavily on source three, but uses three other sources for songs too.

After using these four sources, Antrabata is the least complete mix available. The no label (possibly Scorpio) title in the blue gatefold sleeve is a copy of Antrabata. Sanctuary uses the fifth source’s introduction. It relies heavily on the first source but also uses three and four for songs too. They’ve made every effort to present full songs and talk between songs. Wendy’s two titles differ from each other and are just more of many mixes available. Their constant source changing becomes annoying. Tarantura2000’s TCD-31 relies mainly on source 3 and uses source 4 to avoid some of the source 3 problems.

The first 8 cds of Empress Valley are multiple source mixes. Those four versions are each founded on different sources, but the constant source changing leaves the listener with nothing less than 4 mixes of the same show, in the same box. The listener can only guess what tape they’re truly hearing during playback. The liner notes are deceiving. Tarantura2000 left plenty of room for improvement, but EV didn’t bother to take full advantage. They did include the TMQ source, but that was expected.

Empress Valley’s first reissue came two months after the box set, using the first four cds from the box. The 2cd reissue was offered two years after the box, using cds 3&4 from the box. Their second 4cd reissue arrived in 2010, reissuing the audio from the first four cds of the box.

Empress Valley never isolates separate sources in boxes in which they repeat the same show over and over. They’re entirely missing the point. It’s a bigger crime than their mixing two different shows together and passing it off as a single show.

Between all of these titles, speed and sound quality differ slightly. Some titles have louder music than others, but they also have louder background noise that comes along with amplifying.

May 4, 2013 - Posted by | Led Zeppelin Live On Blueberry Hill | ,

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