Classic Rock Review

The home of old record and bootleg reviews…

Led Zeppelin – Haiwatha Express (1985)

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One of the things that frustrates collectors to no end is a bootlegger who fails to provide recording dates. That still happens today, although not as often as it did in the 1970s. One glaring example is Hiawatha Express, a Led Zeppelin bootleg that Ze Anonym Plattenspieler (ZAP) provided around 1975.

No recording dates are given, and even the informative 1970s bootleg reference guide Hot Wacks had no idea where this vinyl LP was recorded. ZAP’s cover art implies that Hiawatha Express was recorded somewhere in the Midwest, but for all we know, it could have been recorded in Sweden or France. Some collectors suspected that it was recorded at different shows in 1972, although they couldn’t say for sure.

Now for the good news: Hiawatha Express boasts generally excellent sound quality, and Zep is in fine form on favorites that include “Whole Lotta Love,” “Heartbreaker,” and the great, if overexposed, “Stairway to Heaven.” So even though vinyl collectors were, in 1975, cursing ZAP for not giving any recording dates, they applauded the sound quality and the performances.

Although not for casual listeners, Hiawatha Express is a bootleg that hardcore collectors were glad to get their hands on in the 1970s — regardless of how much the lack of recording dates infuriated them.

June 10, 2010 Posted by | Led Zeppelin Haiwatha Express | , | Leave a comment