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Led Zeppelin Blueberry Hill 35th Anniversary Edition (LA Forum, September 1970)

zep_blueberryhill_taranturaFrom collectorsmusicreviews.com

The Forum, Los Angeles, CA – September 4th, 1970

Disc 1 First source/ stereo audience recording (vinyl source only in circulation): Live At The Los Angeles Forum 9-4-70, Rubber Dubber 70-007-01A/02B/03C /04D (TCD-30) Bring It On Home, That’s The Way, Bron-Yr-Aur, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Organ Solo, Thank You, What Is And What Should Never Be, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown

Disc 2 Second source / TMOQ mono audience recording: Live On Blueberry Hill, Blimp Records EV-666A/B &664 C/D (TCD-31): Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Dazed And Confused, Bring It On Home, That’s The Way, Bron-Yr-Aur, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Organ Solo, Thank You

Disc 3 (TCD-31-2): What Is And What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown, Out On The Tiles, Blueberry Hill

Disc 4 Third source / stereo audience recording: Live On Blueberry Hill, Cobla Standard And Mud Dog (TCD-32): Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Dazed And Confused, Bring It On Home, That’s The Way, Bron-Yr-Aur, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Organ Solo, Thank You

Disc 5 (TCD-32-2): What Is And What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown, Out On The Tiles, Blueberry Hill

Disc 6 Fourth source / stereo audience recording: From The Midnight Sun, 2005 First time release source (TCD-33): Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Dazed And Confused, Bring It On Home, That’s The Way, Bron-Yr-Aur, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Organ Solo, Thank You

Disc 7 (TCD-33-2): What Is And What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown, Out On The Tiles, Blueberry Hill

Disc 8 Fifth source / mono audience recording: Live On Blueberry Hill, 1997 Tarantura Blue Card Cover Release (TCD-34): Introduction, Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Dazed And Confused, Bring It On Home, That’s The Way, Bron-Yr-Aur, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Organ Solo, Thank You

Disc 9 (TCD-34-2): What Is And What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown, Out On The Tiles, Blueberry Hill

Live On Blueberry Hill wasn’t the very first Zeppelin bootleg, but it certainly became the most famous from the very early days of the industry. It was recorded and released about a year after Great White Wonder and was one of the first concerts taped intentionally (after The Rolling Stones’ November 9th, 1969 Oakland tape). It has been suggested this is the very first concert where there was competition involved. The TMQ people (makers of Great White Wonder and Live’r Than You’ll Ever Be) were up against the Rubber Dubber people and their version Live At The Lost Angeles Forum 9-4-70. Thirty five years and many different reissues in various degrees of completeness and collectability leads to this insane box set by Tarantura.

Disc one documents the Rubber Dubber source for the first time on pressed cd. Some claim this is the best sounding of the five but that is debatable. The main advantage is has over the TMQ is being in stereo, but it only captures part of the performance. “Immigrant Song”, “Heartbreaker”, “Dazed & Confused”, and “Moby Dick” are missing from the main set. More significantly “Out On The Tiles” (the first of only two known performances of the song) and “Blueberry Hill” are missing from the encores. Also there is a big cut in “Whole Lotta Love” eliminating a significant section of the medley.

Disc two and three cover the famous TMQ source and is the tape that was originally dubbed “Blueberry Hill” and is the basis of a majority of cd releases. The vinyl release is Live On Blueberry Hill (Blimp EV 664-666A-D) with the acoustic set surfacing on Caution Explosive (WRMB 329) and Three Days After(TMOQ 72016). The very first cd version of this show comes from this tape and was released as Live on Blueberry Hill Part 1 & 2 Neutral Zone (2CD, NZCD-89019/20) complete with the wrong, vinyl track sequence.

This was copied as Live At Los Angeles Forum 1970 Vol. 1 (BPCD 059) and Live At Lost Angeles Forum 1970 Vol. 2 (BPCD 060) on Black Panther, Blueberry Hill Part I (PYCD 035) and Blueberry Hill Part II (PYCD 036) on Triangle released in 1990, I Saw Him Standing There on World Productions (WPOCM 0990 D 056-2) released about 1991, Blueberry Hill (LLRCD 085/086) on Living Legend from Italy in 1990 and Live On Blueberry Hill on Seagull (CD 014/1-2) and Blueberry Hill(LZCD522/2) on Roundpin Productions out of Luxembourg (missing “Moby Dick” but includes “How Many More Times” from Dusseldorf , March 12th, 1970).

Two tracks, “Moby Dick” and “Out On The Tiles” were included on the Going To California compilation on Alegra (CD 9022) released in 1995. Of the more recent releases Return to Blueberry Hill on Immigrant (IM-033~34), the first two discs of the four disc set Live On Blueberry Hillon Last Stand Disc (LSD-25/26/27/28), Tarantura’s 1993 release Blueberry Hill (T2CD-4) and a majority of the two mixed releases Blueberry Hill on Sanctuary (TMOS-87001A/B) and Live On Blueberry Hill on Wendy (WECD-21/22). This is a very crisp and detailed mono audience recording that picks up every detail from the stage. It favors the upper frequencies at the expense of the lower which is the only criticism collectors have levied against it.

Discs four and five document the source used on Live On Blueberry Hill on Mud Dogs (MUD DOGS-004/005), Live On Blueberry Hillon Cobla (005), the first two discs of Final Statement(ARM040970) on the Antrabata label, Return To Blueberry Hill on Scorpio and discs thee and four of Live On Blueberry Hillon Last Stand Disc (LSD-25/26/27/28). This is a very good audience source that is fairly fuzzy and distorted. The introduction is cut (picking up right with J.J. Jackson saying “Led Zeppelin”) and there is a small cut in the second verse of “Dazed & Confused”, a tape pause during “That’s The Way”, a tape crinkle at the end of “Since I’ve Been Loving You” (segueing right into the organ solo) and a cut in “Moby Dick”. This tape runs a bit slower than the TMQ tape and contains more audience noise around the recorder, people giggling at Plant’s jokes.

Discs six and seven is a brand new source Tarantura titles From The Midnight Sun and makes is debut here. It begins with the opening notes of “Immigrant Song” and is a very good stereo audience recording. It sounds somewhat muffled especially at the very beginning and there is slight hiss present in the quieter passages. The tape speed is also a bit slower than the others but not to distraction and in general is very rich, detailed and enjoyable. “Bron-Yr-Aur” is cut after thirty seconds picking up again when Plant introduces “Since I’ve Been Loving You” (“They did this last time, didn’t they?” someone by the taper says).

The final two discs cover the mono audience source that surfaced on Tarantura’s 1997 release Live On Blueberry Hill (EVCD666/664). Except for the introduction appearing on the Sanctuary release this hasn’t been released since. It is the worst sounding of the five, being distant, fuzzy and somewhat distorted and having some painful cuts, like in “Immigrant Song” right after the second verse (eliminating the middle section running into the guitar solo), and a cut in the first verse of “Heartbreaker”. This source would rate a seven out of ten.

Zeppelin’s show in Los Angeles that night is certainly one of their all time legendary performances. Its status isn’t just because there were so many tapers there that night and all of the releases, but because this is an exciting show as many were on this tour. The audience was very respectful and attentive to material with even Plant thanking them after “That’s The Way”. They were loose enough to play songs like “Out On The Tiles” and “I Saw Her Standing There” which were almost never attempted. But also the band come across as very warm and are very into the show.

For collectors who want the most complete mixture of the sources the Sanctuary release is still worth seeking out, but this box set with the brand new tape source is a stunning and important release by Tarantura and is worth having. Empress Valley has just released their nine-disc box set and it will be interesting to compare the two.

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May 12, 2013 Posted by | Led Zeppelin Blueberry Hill 35th Anniversary Edition | , | Leave a comment

No One Here Gets Out Alive by Danny Sugarman (1980)

Biography of Jim Morrison
tumblr_m0a2i7lUBo1rpp0v7o1_400From amazon.com

Review I first read this book in 1984 and I have re-read it several times in the intervening years. The story of how it came to be published is quite well-known. Jerry Hopkins is a journalist who interviewed Jim Morrison on several occasions during his lifetime. After Morrison dies, Hopkins began work on a biography. Following several unsuccessful years of attempting to get the completed biography published, Jerry Hopkins meets Danny Sugerman. Sugerman was a teenage admirer of The Doors and eventually wrangled an office job out of a sympathetic Morrison (a more complete story of Sugerman is told in his autobiography “Wonderland Avenue”). In any event, Sugerman adds his perspective and personal anecdotes to the story and, helped by the resurgence of interest in the music of The Doors, the book is eventually published in 1980.

I think the argument that the book is hero-worship is only partially true. Certainly Danny Sugerman had feelings for Morrison that were akin to idolatry and that comes across in the book. On the other hand, Jerry Hopkins was a working journalist and his professionalism and research is also evident. While reading the book it is in most instances possible to determine what was written by Hopkins and what was penned by Sugerman. I suppose this incongruity might be irksome to some but the narrative does flow and does not detract from the overall story of the life of Jim Morrison.

In the almost 20 years that have elapsed since I first read No One Here Gets Out Alive I have read everything I could get my hands on that in any way concerned Jim Morrison and The Doors. I have yet to read a more definitive account or one which largely contradicted anything contained in this book. That’s not to say that there aren’t other good books or interesting perspectives, only that this is the wellspring of Jim Morrison-related literature.

This book is of obvious interest to any one who likes the music of The Doors and/or finds Jim Morrison fascinating. I fall into both categories. However, Jim Morrison was not a particularly admirable fellow. He did experiment with drugs, he often treated his friends badly, he was fairly promiscuous (even carelessly impregnating a girlfriend and then shirking responsibility), etc. Of course Morrison did have many good characteristics as well. His love of reading, sense of humour and displays of genuine affection are intermingled with his faults. I believe this book does a generally good job of portraying a reasonable facsimile of Jim Morrison.

For me this book sparked an even greater interest in Morrison and The Doors which continues to this day. At the same time, this book also provides a good antidote to hero-worship. As a cautionary note to those who choose to view Jim Morrison through rose-coloured glasses, I suggest that you don’t read the Hopkins/Sugerman biography. Those that do choose to read the biography carefully will have, as James Joyce wrote, “discovered to their vast discomfiture that their idol had feet of clay, after placing him upon a pedestal.”

Review I just finished No One Here Gets Out Alive, the biography of Jim Morrison, and I am left with a selfish feeling of anger that Morrison killed himself through drugs and alcohol and denied the rest of us the pleasure of work he would never complete. I often feel that way when a favourite author/singer/actor dies prematurely. I cannot help it. But, on a more humane level, am also saddened that he could never overcome the forces that drove him to such self abuse. The authors describe Morrison as a brilliant young man, a student of history and philosophy and film. He was a poet and wanted to be known as a poet but his legacy will be that of a rock-star.

Morrison’s early years, school days and home life are covered. He was an excellent student – when he chose to be. He never seemed to have a good relationship with his father, who was an officer in the US Navy and was therefore away from home a lot. Did this influence Morrison, his attitude toward authority? Well of course, we are all influenced and shaped by our past. But we do not all drink ourselves to death. The authors try to avoid explaining the ‘Why’s about Morrison and just focus on reporting his behaviour and words and allow the reader to try and guess the rest for themselves.

He went west to study film and UCLA but that did not go especially well and his student filmmaking efforts were not well-received. After dropping out, he united with Manzarek, Krieger and Densmore to form The Doors. His tumultuous years with The Doors are covered in depth. After reading this, I realize that The Doors of the commercialized ‘Best Of’ album(s), is a far cry from The Doors in the concert hall. Due to Morrison’s behaviour, especially in Miami, many cities even banned them from even playing.

Morrison was steeped in the rock-star life yet lived a “no-possessions” lifestyle. He abused drugs, moved into alcoholism, slept with many women, could be unpredictable and irrational in the treatment of his friends and ultimately rejected the role altogether. It seems that he may have been turning it around while in Paris but we will never know. It is a shame that he could no pull out of the self-destructive nosedive in time.

This is an excellent biography.

May 12, 2013 Posted by | No One Here Gets Out Alive by Danny Sugarman | , , | Leave a comment

The Who Live 1971 (Dayton, August 1971 & San Francisco, December 1971))

who_live1971From collectorsmussicreviews.com

Disc 1: Hara Arena, Dayton, OH – August 13th, 1971: Love Ain’t For Keeping, Pure And Easy, My Wife, I Can’t Explain, Substitute, Bargain, Behind Blue Eyes, Won’t Get Fooled Again, I Don’t Know Myself, Baby Don’t You Do It, Pinball Wizard, See Me Feel Me, My Generation, Magic Bus

Disc 2: Civic Center, San Francisco, CA – December 13th, 1971: Substitute, Summertime Blues, My Wife, Baba O’Riley, Behind Blue Eyes, Bargain, Won’t Get Fooled Again, Pinball Wizard, See Me Feel Me, My Generation, Naked Eye, Going Down, Magic Bus

Disc one of Live 1971 features an audience source from Hara Arena, Dayton, Ohio in August of 1971 where The Who were still trying out much of the new material from the abandoned Lifehouse project. Many of the songs were featured on the Who’s Next LP that was released right around this time.

The recording can be considered very good and all the instruments can easily be made out. There is a little bit of echo from the venue surrounding the tape but this can sometimes fatten up an audience recording by giving it a slight bit more depth. There are cuts between some of the tracks but much of the colorful between song banter is still present.

“Love Ain’t For Keeping” and “Pure And Easy” are songs that wouldn’t have much longevity in the live set but both are exciting to hear in a live setting. Keith Moon does the introduction for “I Can’t Explain” which was always appropriately heavier than its studio counterpart. They almost lose the timing at the beginning of “Bargain” caused by Moon’s late entry but return with great versions of “Behind Blue Eyes” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again” which contains a brief drop in volume about half way through.

Pete praises the fact that “Baby, Don’t You Do It” is “turning out to be one of the best live numbers we do” and is the first track that the band seems to really stretch out and improvise on. “Pinball Wizard” and “See Me, Feel Me” are unfortunately all that’s featured from Tommy. Townshend launches right into “Magic Bus” at the conclusion of “My Generation” and the track unfortunately fades about five minutes in, cutting off any encore. A set list from this show confirms “Naked Eye” was played as the encore but it is unclear if it was recorded or not.

Disc two features a soundboard recording from the San Francisco Civic Center on December 13, 1971. This is the second night in this venue and Pete confirms this by addressing “anyone who was here last night”. For a soundboard, the recording is thin and the tape is noisy with hiss and background hum most noticeably between songs and my guess is that this comes from a high generation copy. Drums and vocals are higher in the mix with the guitar and bass more distant.

Roger mentions that “I Can’t Explain” was played before “Substitute” but this track is missing from the recording. “Summertime Blues” suffers from a bit of intermittent tape deterioration but settles down before the end of the song. Daltrey introduces John Entwistle “known affectionately by the band as The Ox” and the recording cuts into the beginning of “My Wife” missing the first few seconds.

Before “Baba O’Riley” Roger explains they will be playing to a taped keyboard track that was played by Pete and says “it’s like having two Pete’s” only to hear Keith Moon in the distance shouting “one’s enough”. “Bargain” from this show has been previously issued as part of the official Who’s Missing compilation and later as part of the 30 Years Of Maximum R & B box set.

This show was nearing the end of the tour and “Bargain” has a few rough spots for Daltrey. The pitch begins to waver slightly in “Won’t Get Fooled Again” caused by inconsistent tape speed and Daltrey’s scream overloads the tape. A cut leads into the very beginning of “Pinball Wizard” possibly missing “Baby Don’t You Do It”, “Overture”, “Amazing Journey”, and “Sparks” according to some set lists from this show.

There is also a small cut in “See Me, Feel Me” just before the “Listening to you” section. Pete sounds like he is toying with a riff from Buddy Miles’ “Them Changes” during the jam in “My Generation” and is brief but interesting. “Naked Eye” sounds inspired while “Going Down” is a very loose attempt and from what I’ve read wasn’t rehearsed. A portion of this show, “I Can’t Explain”, “Substitute”, “My Wife”, “Behind Blue Eyes”, “Bargain”, and “Baby Don’t You Do It”, can be found on View From A Backstage Pass available only to subscribers of http://www.thewho.com.

1971 is one of my favorite eras for The Who and one wonders how they could ever top a masterpiece like Tommy, but in my opinion, they did it with Who’s Next. Live 1971 is an excellent no-label release that gathers two performances from this time period in one convenient package and is definitely worthwhile for The Who collector. The audience recording from Dayton is the centerpiece for me in this set but the San Francisco soundboard, although has its issues, is also nice to have.

May 12, 2013 Posted by | The Who Live 1971 | , | Leave a comment

The Who Charlton 1976 (May)

who-charltonFrom collectorsmusicreviews.com

Disc 1 (42:36): I Can’t Explain, Substitute, My Wife, Baba O’Riley, Squeeze Box, Behind Blue Eyes, Dreaming From The Waist, Magic Bus

Disc 2 (55:34): Amazing Journey, Sparks, The Acid Queen, Fiddle About, Pinball Wizard, I’m Free, Tommy’s Holiday Camp, We’re Not Gonna Take It, Summertime Blues, My Generation (including Join Together), Won’t Get Fooled Again

The Who’s set at the Charlton Athletic Football Ground in London in 1976 was their second appearance there in three years. During a long and rainy day which saw Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Little Feat, The Outlaws, Streetwalkers, and Widowmaker play, The Who put on an epic, blistering set before 80,000 (or 60,000 depending on the source) fans. This show is also among the very last Who shows in the UK with Keith Moon (after this they would play shows on June 5th in Glasgow, June 12th in Swansea and December 15th, 1977 show at Kilburn in London for the film The Kids Are Alright).

There was some violence and confusion at the venue due to forged tickets and gatecrashers. Many with real tickets were not admitted and, for compensation, were given a free ticket to the Swansea show instead. The Who’s set was delayed when a few in the crowd attempted to scale the lighting towers in the hope of gaining a better view.

Charlton is well known in the machismo discussion of rock and roll prowess since they played using a 76,000 watt Tasco PA built for them which helped them to set record in the Guinness Book Of World Records as the loudest band in the world. The sound level fifty meters from the stage measured 120 dB and they would be surpassed in the eighties by Manowar.

With such power the taper was able to produce a very good and clear recording of the event. He sat about two thirds of the way across the pitch and to stage right. On this recording the crowd nearby the taper can be heard clearly singing along and one guy obsessed with “Bellboy,” but don’t really detract from the music and the only serious cut is after “Magic Bus” cutting off the opening notes of “Amazing Journey.”

Pete Townshend runs on stage playing the opening notes to ”I Can’t Explain” and the band run on stage after him. According to eyewitnesses Roger Daltrey slips on the wet stage. After “Substitute,” in a sarcastic tone Townshend says, “thank you for getting wet” and after a nasty version of “My Wife” he taunts the audience, saying “so you’re wet.”

“Well you ain’t!” someone by the taper shouts. Another song from Who’s Next “Baba O’Riley” follows and Townshend apologizes for no violin. ”Squeeze Box” is introduced as their latest single from Who By Numbers and gets the wild audience singing along with the chorus, something many audience had difficulty in doing.

A ten minute version of “Magic Bus” filled with cutting jamming closes the first set and Keith Moon gets into a long introduction for the second half. “Shut up!” he shouts at Townshend. “You’d think you’ve got some kind of vested interest. I’ve seen your vests, and they stink…underneath this I’m totally nude, Peter! I don’t need any of your great flowing poncey robes. I don’t need all your glittering sequins to be a star! I don’t need to jump in the air, flash what little crotch I’ve got. And I must admit I’ve had no complaints.”

The Tommy section lasts for about a half hour of the total show time. Townshend’s guitar in the transition between “Amazing Journey” and “Sparks” is among his best. Moon does his “Uncle Ernie” bit in “Fiddle About” and “Tommy’s Holiday Camp.” During the finale “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” when they hit “See Me Feel Me” the lights are dimmed and a notable light-show occurs. With smoke coming out from behind the drums, there are approximately six lasers shooting through the smoke to the mirrors on the light towers around the entire stadium.

Then a red tracer beam hits the first light and simply bounces off the other lights and returns towards the stage and when the song reaches its climax spotlights from behind Moon light up the sky. The full force of 80,000 people clapping and singing along produces one of those amazing moments of magic that are beyond words. The five minutes of “See Me Feel Me” along are worth it. “Fuckin’ brilliant” someone by the taper says afterwards.

“Summertime Blues” sounds banal after that, but the long jam on “My Generation” is classic Who as they get into “Join Together” and a segueway into the closing number of the night “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” The opening chord, keyboard and laser show at the beginning again fire up the audience as they clap and sing along.

It’s funny to hear them imitate Daltrey’s famous scream at the end of the song and even a crowd that size can’t diminish the power of Roger’s voice. They stretch out the final crashing note and leave the stage. “Thanks, good night” Daltrey says as they leave the stage.

There are two minutes of the crowd chanting “we want the Who” afterwards and although they rarely did encores, they didn’t come back out. An mc is audible at the very end of the tape thanking everybody for coming. Given the rarity of this show, Charlton 1976 is a tremendous release, one of the best to come from the no label people.

May 12, 2013 Posted by | The Who Charlton 1976 | , | Leave a comment

Led Zeppelin Super Session At Tivolis Koncertsal (Copenhagen, March 1969)

zeppelin_super_session_tivolisFrom collectorsmusicreviews.com

Tivolis Koncertsal, Copenhagen, Denmark – March 16th, 1969 (afternoon show)
Setlist: The Train Kept A-Rollin’, I Gotta Move, I Can’t Quit You, Dazed And Confused, White Summer/Black Mountain Side, How Many More Times (incl. Communication Breakdown, The Hunter

Super Session At Tivolis Koncertsal brings together two very different tape sources for the afternoon show on March 16. The four song Led Zeppelin radio broadcast from Copenhagen, “I Gotta Move,” “I Can’t Quit You,” “Dazed And Confused,” and the beginning of “How Many More Times” has been in circulation since the seventies, having appears on Spare Parts (Toasted Records 2S913), Led Zeppelin (K&S 074) and its reissue 10th Anniversary (Help). Compact disc releases have been plentiful and it is usually found as bonus tracks or paired with other material to fill out the rest of the space on the disc. One of the earliest versions in this format is of the broadcast is 20 Years Train Kept A Rollin’ Vol. Two (Living Legend LLRCD 026).

Other titles containing this material include Stockholm (Kaleidoscipic KM CD 1), The Best Live In Concert 1969 (Double Time Disc DTD 006), Many More Early Times (Insect IST 20), Shenandoah (Aulica A.125.100), Shenandoah (Missing In Action ACT*1), Radio Appearances (World Productions WPOCM 0789 D 030-2), Kicks (Tarantura K&S 974), as bonus tracks on Hampton Kicks (House Of Elrond LZCDJPN69), and Missing Links (The Diagrams Of Led Zeppelin TDOLZ Vol. 81) where it appears with two songs from Bath 1970 and the Clearwell Castle rehearsals from 1978. “I Gotta Move” appears on Riverside Blues (The Swingin’ Pig TSP-CD-024).

The sound quality of this fragment is crystal clear and has an immediacy suggesting it was recorded yesterday and superior to many of the sessions from the BBC. It is a shame that the entire concert wasn’t broadcast and that the tape runs out during “How Many More Times.” It has never been suggested that the rest of the show or the evening concert is sitting in some vault somewhere so it is realistic to assume this is all that will ever exist. The only silver release of the complete audience recording is on the box set Rock Of Ages (The Diagrams Of Led Zeppelin). Distant and distorted, it ranks with Denver 1970 as one of the absolute worst sounding audience recordings ever to be released. The tape sounds as if it were recorded in the lobby of the venue with the echoes bouncing off of the venue walls having the most clarity.

The idea of editing together one of the best sounding radio broadcasts and one of the worst sounding audience recordings seems like a strange idea. However Empress Valley’s version of the audience tape, while still very distant, sounds noticeably better than the version used by TDOLZ. It runs at the correct speed (Rock Of Ages runs horribly slow), and is not unbearable to listen to. What is important is that the events transpiring on stage are audible. The editing job between the two sources is very smooth and natural sounding. There is still another band’s music faintly heard on the audience tape in the left channel though.

So the disc begins with the audience source and a rather long introduction by a Danish promoter as he introduces the band before the opening song “The Train Kept A-Rollin’.” The music distorts the tape and there is a significant drop out between 2:10-2:18 in the track. The song ends with Page out of tune and there is a break in the set. At this point the radio broadcast tape fades in for the second song, a cover of Otis Rush’s “I Gotta Move” played by Plant, Jones and Bonham as Page gets his guitar repaired. A snippet of the audience recording is used for the applause before the broadcast is edited back in for “I Can’t Quit You” and continuing onto “Dazed And Confused.” “Dazed” lasts eleven minutes and is very close to the studio version released on their first album. Bonham provides a beat and Jones plays some notes while Page plays the guitar with the violin bow and Plant adds his moans to the tones being produced. In the future the other musicians would leave Page alone and this segment of the song would be only Page with Plant adding accompanying moans.

The audience recording comes back for a surreal version of “White Summer/Black Mountain Side.” Perhaps it is the timbre of the recording, but there are strange sounding runs during this piece making it sound even more foreign that it normally is. The radio broadcast comes back in for a minute and a half of “How Many More Times” before the audience recording is edited at 1:48 to the end of the tape. Page plays a bit of “Smokestack Lightning” when he is introduced. This concert is also early enough to where Page is still including the violin bow on guitar part of this song in live performance instead of the band playing a long medley. A small reference to “Communication Breakdown” can be heard after the violin bow segment and the song concludes as it does on the first album with “The Hunter.”

It can’t be concluded definitively if this is the complete set since it isn’t known if there were any encores played after this song. Super Session overall is a good release worth having. The audience recording is still pretty bad but is at least listenable and the editing job is excellent. This is also the first time the tracks from the radio broadcast have been presented in their correct order. Empress Valley use some of the Jørgen Angel photos from both the September 7th, 1968 and the March 15th, 1969 Gladsaxe Teen Clubs shows that have received heavy circulation since they surfaced several years ago.

May 12, 2013 Posted by | Led Zeppelin Super Session At Tivolis Koncertsal | , | Leave a comment

Light and Shade: Conversations with Jimmy Page by Brad Tolinski (2012)

light___shade_jacket_image1From amazon.com

Being a dedicated Led Zeppelin Fan and Yardbirds fan before that, means I have a continued interest in all things Zeppelin, including the individual members and the music long after the end of the “golden era” of their albums. I bought the first single Atlantic vinyl 45 of Communication Breakdown b/w Good Times, Bad Times, then bought all their albums, then the first CDs, then remastered CDs, DVDs, and live recordings. I saw them 3 times in concert, including the great Long Beach Concert in the early 70’s now on CD. I stood above Jimmy Page in the second tier and don’t think my ears recovered for three hours after the concert was over. Wow. Great performance I obviously will never forget (the other two concerts I attended were the earlier Los Angeles Forum after III came out and Kezar Stadium Golden Gate Park San Francisco Houses of the Holy album tour).

Of course I had to have this book and I think any fan will have to have it. I am not trying to talk anyone out of reading it, it’s not bad but not great either. A bit of a disappointment to me overall. I read the inside jacket information before purchase, much of which I now think is “hype” (excuse the term – early reviews said Led Zeppelin was all “hype” with little talent, then there is the Superhype Music name). The positive of the book is that you hear the actual words from Mr. Page rather than a writer who may be prejudiced for or against him and the group. However, out of the 300 pages, less than 100 pages is actual interviews of Page, the rest is the author’s writings about Page, Led Zeppelin, later projects and “musical interludes” which are sometimes interesting but are not Page. The “oral autobiography” I expected is not that but an incomplete look into the group and other projects. So much has not been covered.

One thing as a musician that I had expected more of and was talked about on the jacket was that the book “encompasses Page’s entire career beginning with his early days as England’s top session guitarist”, but in my opinion there is little detailed information about that time, there are references to much of that work but not specifics, it says for example that he worked on Donovan’s “Hurdy Gurdy Man” which is true but by not spelling out exactly what he did implies he was lead guitar, he was not. And from other readings I have done, he was not lead guitar for many of the records he is credited to as being on, like the early Kinks, yes he played on their records also with The Who, but did not play lead, same for the recording of the movie Goldfinger theme. I don’t need him to be lead, it would just be nice to have more exact information instead of vague references that imply the wrong information.

Next, the cover says the book does this: “Examining every major Led Zeppelin track” – it depends on your definition of “major.” There are maybe five or six tracks that are talked about in some detail but not enough information for anyone wishing to know how songs got created, the inspiration, how chords changes and other musical phrases were worked out, things like that. There is a little about alternate tunings for guitar which I liked to know and I did find it fascinating that Page would purposely play every concert solo differently at different times so that it would be a new challenge for him and so it would not get boring for him or the audience. He talks about lyrics and how Plant evolved into a major lyricist for the band. But what do certain lyrics mean? Not there. Some information about album artwork. There is an interesting interlude about the equipment Page used: primary guitars, amps, and effects. (Recommended: It Might Get Loud, a DVD with Page, The Edge, and Jack White.)

Some of the book’s other “musical interludes” seem unnecessary, maybe put in due to lack of interview material (not only is there less than 100 pages of interviews, the book uses a not so small type size giving the impression that it is a larger book than it is, also when the first question of a chapter is posed, does it really take a whole page to do that? Very dramatic, black page with white lettering, but a waste of space.) The interlude on “fashion” was not something I felt I had to read, I thought this book would be about the musical genius of Jimmy Page (is he known for fashion? I think he is mostly known for playing guitar, songwriting and producing.) Some of the other interludes might appeal to others, but not to me. The interview with Jeff Beck with Jimmy Page seemed to be from separate interviews and put together, were they in the same room at the time? I have no idea. The interlude with Yardbird Chris Dreja went on too long, I stopped caring and skipped over the end of it. Interview with Eric Clapton? Not here. A chapter on “The Astrology of Jimmy Page”, huh? A long interlude with Paul Rodgers, who I have enjoyed in his many groups, but why here? An interlude with Led Zeppelin publicist I also found unnecessary. I need books that inspire me, that make me want to read throughout the night to finish it, books I HAVE to read. This wasn’t one.

I know that I have read much of this material before, not sure where – I suspect from a small sized book about the album IV (my personal favourite and I’m sure for many fans, it has everything, every song is well done. I still listen to it regularly after 40 years). I found at least some of the interviews have been published before and this is not unique material.

Having read other books about the group which go into detail about the legendary nightlife of the group and was not something I wished to rehash, I was looking for something new, something with more in depth material about Page’s early works and the creation of the Led Zeppelin music, how and why he played what he did. I was frankly disappointed in this book. Oh well, as a fan I guess I might be disappointed in anything less than the full picture. This is not bad book and is fine if you don’t expect too much.

May 12, 2013 Posted by | Book Light and Shade: Conversations with Jimmy Page by Brad Tolinski | , , | Leave a comment

Led Zeppelin Graham’s Superb Vol. 1 (San Francisco, April 1969)

lz042669_frFrom collectorsmusicreviews.com

Winterland Ballroom, San Francisco, CA – April 26th, 1969

Disc One: 1st Set: Communication Breakdown, I Can’t Quit You, Dazed & Confused, You Shook Me, How Many More Times (including Smokestack Lightning, Roll Over Beethoven, The Hunter, Girl Of The North Country and others I’m not familiar with) Total Running Time for Disc 1 is 58:30

Disc Two: 2nd Set White Summer/Black Mountain Side, Killing Floor (including Lemon Song and That’s Alright Mama), Babe I’m Gonna Leave You, Pat’s Delight, As Long As I Have You and the encore of for the 1st time ever played Whole Lotta Love. Total Running Time for Disc 2 is 62:31

This has become one of my favorite shows over the years cause it breaks so many grounds. Firstly it’s the first use of Jimmy using his theremin!!! Wow, what a job he did with “Dazed & Confused” as well as “How Many More Times”. Secondly for an encore it is the first time that “Whole Lotta Love” is ever played live!! Much different then later versions when he uses the theremin. The sound quality is overall very good throughout for the standards of the day in audience recordings and is well balanced.

You can hear the instruments clearly as well as Plant’s voice. They really put out all the moves during this show. Disc 1 starts with the soundcheck for the 1st set with Jimmy playing part of Bouree, then the M.C. Bill Graham himself announcing Led….Zeppelin. They start a roaring version of “Communication Breakdown” clocking in at 5 min 46 sec, which surges straight into “I Can’t Quit You” a very bluesy piece lasting 6min 57 sec.

Plant is so pleased to be playing a bigger venue bringing many more people to see them than the previous night and thanks them and continues to put on a show that will be the beginning of making California their home away from home. Then comes “Dazed and Confused” with the 1st time ever use of the theremin and wow is all I can say. What banter between Jimmy and Robert how exciting a duel it is, totally awesome. If I only were there. It lasted for a total of 15min 42 sec.

They finish off the 1st set with rousing versions of “You Shook Me” and (Plant then introduces the band and its members) before going into another dramatic version of of “How Many More Times” clocking in at 10 min 51 sec and 10 min 6 sec respectively. The crowd goes wild wanting more. What an end to an amazing first set. But it’s not over they come out to a more laid back 2nd set. With a few big surprises on hand!!

Disc 2 the 2nd set starts off with a more laid back bluesy affair with a nice long version of “White Summer/Black Mountain Side” which is well appreciated by the audience since its probably the first time the crowd has ever heard it. It then moves on to “Killing Floor” another great version (with the Lemon Song and That’s All Right Mama included in the melody, then Plant introduces the next song as being “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You,” another great bluesy song lasting 7min 22 sec. Robert then introduces John Bonham on drums for his solo of “Pat’s Delight,” a song written about John Bonham’s wife a short but sweet drum solo lasting only 6 min 23 seconds.

Page states that they have enjoyed their stay here but must go before playing “As Long As I Have You“. The audience shouts more more more til the band come out and play for the 1st time ever “Whole Lotta Love“!! Very interesting since the 1st album hasn’t been out long and the 2nd album which has Whole Lotta Love is on it won’t be out until almost the end of the year. There is no theremin in this version of the song as in future. That is the show folks. In my opinion the show that broke them wide open in California and also for the rest of the world, regardless what Rolling Stone magazine had to say about them.

There are a few other titles out there with this show such as The Avocado Club on Empress Valley, Led Set/Psychedelic Ballroomon Tarantura, Psychedelic Explosionon TDOLZ and Smokestack Lightningon Black Swan. The 2 best versions are the Tarantura set and Image Quality which I am describing here in full. This version comes in a Fat Boy Jewel Case with B&W photos on front and back cover with back cover having song lists but nothing special inside. They are both very similar but the difference in sound quality is very minimal. You can’t really tell the difference, so if you can still get a hold of either one good luck since they have been long out of print for many years. The Image quality is less expensive. Good Luck

May 12, 2013 Posted by | Led Zeppelin Graham's Superb Vol. 1 | , | Leave a comment

Hot Burritos: The True Story of The Flying Burrito Brothers by John Einarson and Chris Hillman (2008)

4149312From amazon.co.uk

Review This book is timely, and to those who have an objective understanding of the subject matter, a searching analysis of the facts taken from many sources and key participants over the accumulated mythology that has accrued since September 1973.

As a fan of the band and the key players since 1972,( when nobody was very much bothered in a defunct band) it is interesting how the lack of objectivity became manifest, and this current work can be seen by some as a “character assassination”. I looked forward to the 1974 release of the A&M compilation “Close up the Honky Tonks” which I bought on import.

At that time, Nick Kent in the NME reviewed the album and described the partnership of Parsons and Hillman as “A consummation of the gods”. He quantified the elements of what he called “Rock, spark and drive” and suggested that people should get listening to the Burritos. At that time, critics would describe Chris Hillman – using the word “thaumaturge” – his involvement in any project facilitating wonders.

Parsons was seen more as a “Mad Professor” creating a mixture of ingredients that might just blow up in you face- or be the source of some strange alchemy, but “his race was run”- or so it appeared. Anyhow, in 1976 there was a major two page feature in the NME under the headline “So you want to be a Cosmic Cowboy” ( where have we heard a similar heading before?) which began to question the nascent Parsons mythology which was just beginning to build up a head of steam.

The writer (in my eyes) made the heretical statement that Parsons couldn’t sing- he couldn’t hold a note, and if you wanted “ground-breaking” country music, then Waylon Jennings and his album “Honky Tonk Heroes” was the way to go.

Anyway, this was too much for me, but shortly afterwards, A&M released “Sleepless Nights” most of the recently released stuff from “Close up the Honky Tonks”-plus the Reprise out takes, and some very patchy covers of rockers and country classics- with Parsons in an obvious state of disarray, and singing in some “distress”. Perhaps, the critic was on to something? Well, this book takes us through the history of those short years, and the reader can decide on conspiracy to undermine, or just simple forensic analysis.

The 1974 compilation had this to say about Chris Hillman. “..the cornerstone and an exemplary musician who took charge when it needed to be taken…Chris knows how to hang in there and do whatever has to be done very well….Ironically enough, when the time came to step out, he fell in with Stephen Stills and found himself just out of the spotlight one last time, pulling a disparate situation together while someone else got the billing”.

The liner notes are favourable to Gram although the telling sentence “At times, he couldn’t seem to get his mind and body going in the same direction for long enough to get something really big together” does rather nail the underlying problem which Chris Hillman has described quite simply as a lack of discipline, and a dereliction of the essential commitment to others- band mates, record companies, the audience etc. Mind you, it’s been timeless matter across the years, the destructive nature of large inheritance in the hands of the young.

A&M did not need to be objective- they had invested in the band, but I can’t help feel that Jim Bickhart’s liner notes from 1974 identified all the salient points long before it became a matter of faith or passion.

Review John Eirnarson is a name with which I’m familiar as he wrote a groundbreaking biography on Byrds founder Gene Clark.

That book seemed to be very even in its analysis of the books subject. Whilst Gram Parsons isn’t intended to be the main subject of this book he , somewhat ironically given the books slant, ends up once more stealing the limelight even if that is bathed in negativity.

I have long admired Chris Hillmans ability as a songwriter and musician and it is a shame that he has allowed the main author to steer this work into a lets have a pop at Parsons tomb. I don’t doubt a lot of what is said about Gram is true and he was flawed in many ways but as Bernie Leadon lets slip at some point there was an element of genius about Gram which others did not have , though they may have been better musicians.

That said I unreservedly enjoyed this book and any aficionado of country rock will not feel they’ve wasted their money. The bands story is well told and clearly illustrates what a different era that was. These days the Burrito Brothers would have lost any recording contract before the ink was dry, but back then record companies were prepared to back mavericks and seemed to actually care about music rather than bucks. By doing so they gave the Burritos a career and all these years later the reason for this book.

It is over the top in its criticism of GP and that’s why I wont give it 5 stars but it doesn’t stop it being an enjoyable read.

Review This book tells the whole story of the Flying Burrito Brothers, starting before the two founders left The Byrds and covering the post-Burritos careers of the members.

Most importantly, it demythologises Gram Parsons as the sole creative force in the band. Parsons had talent, both for writing and for singing, but both have been exaggerated by the cult around him since his death. Listen carefully to Parsons, especially on Burrito Deluxe, and you hear a cracked and out of tune voice. Listen to his solo albums and discover that there are only about a half dozen songs that he wrote that are special.

A very meagre output has been parlayed into a myth. Don’t get me wrong, I actually quite like Gram Parsons, and own everything he recorded with the International Submarine Band, The Byrds, The Burritos and solo. But his actual influence is about half due to his recorded output and half due to the romantic and bizarre way he died.

This book sets the record straight, and although it can be repetitious and dry, it tells a story about another era and offers fascinating insight into the relationships and the environment the band inhabited. Hillman’s contributions dominate, but Chris Etheridge, Sneaky Pete Kleinow, Bernie Leadon and Rick Roberts offer remembrances and perspectives.

Leadon’s is interesting in that he suffered from a similar problem to Parsons–the inability to stick with anything for very long. Leadon left band after band and eventually left the big success with The Eagles because he disliked touring and felt his contributions weren’t given enough attention.

This book has its flaws, but it fills a big gap in the history of that scene, and is well worth reading.

May 12, 2013 Posted by | Book Hot Burritos The True Story of The Flying Burrito Brothers by John Einarson and Chris Hillman | , | Leave a comment

Won’t Get Fooled Again: The Who From Lifehouse To Quadrophenia by Richie Unterberger (2011)

Won_t_Get_Fooled_Again_The_Who_From_Lifehouse_To_Quadrophenia_Richie_Unterberger_psychedelic_rocknroll_book_coverFrom amazon.co.uk

This is a very engrossing account of what I regard as The Who’s golden era. In the wake of “Tommy’s global success around 1969/70 the band, especially Pete Townshend, were clearly at a crossroads personally and artistically.

The writer, a rock historian of some pedigree, examines and clarifies what lay behind Townshend’s “Lifehouse” rock opera concept (a visual, musical and cinematic depiction of the spirituality and power behind rock music), how those around him found it all rather obtuse and how both band politics and the technological limitations of the time meant that it never came off and had to be shelved in favour of laying down Townshend’s best Lifehouse inspired compositions for a conventional album release in 1971 “Who’s Next” – arguably, alongside “Tommy”, their finest work.

The writer draws from his exceptionally well researched source material, mostly contemporary interviews with the rock press and recollections of band members and their immediate circle, to set out the whole fascinating story. And there are plenty of curiosities highlighted throughout, for example why “Pure and Easy” was not included in “Who’s Next” even though its lyrics were central to the Lifehouse idea, a decision that Townshend appears now to regret. And why “My Wife” ended up on the album when it bore no relation to LH and why Entwhistle didn’t reserve it for his (rather poorly received) solo album at the time.

I was rather amused by some of Daltrey’s quotes from old interviews, for example when he was asked by Rolling Stone about “Who’s Next” scaling back on LH: “..Who’s Next holds up much better [than Tommy] but nobody wanted to take it seriously because it was just nine songs and not some great thing about a bloody spastic”.

The second half of the book covers the conception and delivery of Townshend’s other career rock opera masterpiece “Quadrophenia” which although a fine record also fell far short of the band’s expectations. In a particularly interesting chapter the author recalls the rather mixed critical reaction at the time, partly because the Mod storyline didn’t translate that well for the US market and because the live shows were handicapped with technical problems in getting across Quad’s more ambitious soundscapes.

Indeed, towards the end of that particular tour only 4 Quad songs made it onto the live set, including the historic concert at Charlton Athletic in 1974. All this happened when Townshend was drinking a lot of brandy, Moon had a hit a career high as hotel wrecker par excellence and Daltrey was using his fists a lot backstage, on one celebrated occasion putting Townshend in hospital after being smacked with a guitar. It was interesting to learn that Daltrey has never liked the echo on Quad’s vocal mix and believed that you could only listen properly to the album with headphones on.

The book is peppered with quotes from those involved in the record who argued that it was devoid of catchy hooks, that the Mod story behind Townshend’s songs was actually a bit flat and that it was more his solo album than one from The Who as a group (ie quite the opposite of “Tommy” on all three counts).

I enjoyed Townshend’s 1994 quote to Q magazine when he explained how he needed to put across some rather frail emotional concepts associated with Quad’s central character “Jimmy” to a band with The Who’s power and intensity: “however poignantly I put the thing together, however direct, however right, however honest and true it was, I then had to hand it to this XXXXing war machine and it would be churned out like Wall’s pork sausages”.

May 12, 2013 Posted by | Book Won't Get Fooled Again by Richie Unterberger | , | Leave a comment

Led Zeppelin Stuck On You (Glasgow, December 1972)

12_04_72_stuckonyou_fFrom collectorsmusicreviews.com

Green’s Playhouse, Glasgow, Scotland – December 4th, 1972

Disc 1: Rock And Roll, Over The Hills And Far Away, Black Dog, Misty Mountain Hop, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Dancing Days, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, The Song Remains The Same, The Rain Song

Disc 2: Dazed And Confused, Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love (includes Everybody Needs Somebody To Love, Boogie Chillun’, Let’s Have A Party, Stuck On You, I Can’t Quit You), Heartbreaker

In what would be Led Zeppelin’s last proper tour of the UK, two nights were scheduled at Green’s Playhouse in Glasgow in the first week (not the Apollo as listed on the cover). The December 3rd show was not taped, but the second night on December 4th was and is documented on Stuck On You on The Diagrams Of Led Zeppelin. Released in February 1997, this is still the only commercially available edition of this tape. It is a fair audience recording taped a distance from the stage that really appeals to Zeppelin collectors only. Once the ears adjust it does become quite listenable.

The sound quality is similar to the Wings tape recorded at the same venue six months later and is probably the work of the same taper. There is a strange beeping noise in the left channel at 2:50 in “The Song Remains The Same” that lasts for about a second, and there are cuts at 18:09 in “Dazed And Confused” and at 10:30 in “Whole Lotta Love” right between “Let’s Have A Party” and “Stuck On You” in the medley. Finally eyewitness reports say, in addition to playing “Heartbreaker” in the encores, they also played “Immigrant Song” and “Communication Breakdown.” There is no evidence on the tape, but judging by the insane response of the audience it is most likely true.

The sound quality is an obstacle to this being counted among the greatest Led Zeppelin concerts on record. Maybe it is because Glasgow are so vocal in their appreciation, but the band deliver an extremely tight performance. “Rock And Roll” is the open number and is segued with “Over The Hills And Far Away” which was the custom at this time. Page plays some slow and majestic riffs in the latter’s solo. Plant tries to speak during the loud audience response and can be heard saying, “…in Glasgow and…the second time in four an a half years. It seem it’s a bit overdue. We’ve been here for thirty-six hours and already we’re in some trouble.” He gives the introduction for “Black Dog.”

“Misty Mountain Hop” is dedicated to ”the Central Hotel.” The middle section of the set list is devoted to the new numbers from Houses Of The Holy with Plant introducing “Dancing Days” by saying facetiously, “didn’t know anybody was here. Despite the fact that we were a bit late in coming to sunny Glasgow. We’ve been very busy. We made a new album. I’ll be learning to sing in American. Anyway, without further ado, this is a track from the new album. It’s called ‘Dancing Days.’” Even the acoustic number is greeted with the rowdy audience yelling and whistling. “Shut up. Hang on. Listen. This is a very important aesthetic point in tonight’s proceedings. Shut up!…so this is a song that was conceived in the almost pure environs of the Welsh mountains, it’s a good place to be after a war….it features John Paul Jones, who sometimes plays the mandolin…’Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp.’”

“Dazed And Confused” is about a half hour long and doesn’t yet have the “San Francisco” interlude. The do get into “The Crunge” in the middle of the improvisation and an eyewitness describes how Page, Plant and Jones lined up on stage and all gave a coordinated kick as a dance step. You can hear exactly when they do it too because the audience cheer them on! “The Crunge” being included in “Dazed” began during their American tour and is a strange little interlude, a self-conscious dance number in the middle of the long and heavy workout.

On later tours it would be included in “Whole Lotta Love” which fits a bit better. The ”Whole Lotta Love” medley includes a rare cover of “Stuck On You” and one of the most insane Jimmy Page solos during “I Can’t Quit You Babe.” Stuck On You is packaged in a glossy cardboard gatefold sleeve with a concert photo of the band taken in Montreux the previous October and represents all that was good about this label. Great packaging, no overzealous remastering and the presentation of a rare but listenable tape make this worth having.

May 12, 2013 Posted by | Led Zeppelin Stuck On You | , | Leave a comment