Godfather’s latest box set is Led Zeppelin Studio Magik: Sessions 1968 – 1980 (Godfather BOX 18).
Their most ambitious project yet, this is an 18 disc collection with every outtake and demo that’s surfaced including those from the Led Zeppelin II era.
The liner notes offer a nice summary of the project:
Led Zeppelin built their reputation on their live show. Their studio recordings were, as Jimmy Page stated many times in interviews, a springboard for further live improvisation and exploration. Many songs (“The Rover,” “The Song Remains The Same” and “In The Light” among others) began as riffs discovered on the stage.
However, one can’t create a masterpiece with inferior ingredients. Two members of the band, Page and John Paul Jones, began their career as studio session musicians and understood how to write and craft good songs in the studio.
Page himself engineered the science of capturing a good recording in studio on Led Zeppelin.
Fans and collectors are lucky. Except for The Rolling Stones and The Beatles, no other band has as much outtake and demo material available for analysis, scrutiny, and enjoyment.
From the initial sessions for the first album in Olympic Studio in late summer of 1968 through to the sessions in Stockholm ten years later for In Through The Outdoor, all of Zeppelin’s albums and eras are represented in one form or another.
The twenty hours of music in this box set extend from extremely primitive cassette demos made in the wilds of Snowdonia to initial rehearsals in Headley Grange to perfectly polished alternate takes and mixes of classic songs.
Several attempts have been made in the past to offer a complete collection.
The first is the classic 11 CD set Studio Sessions on Antrabata. This set collected every piece of tape known at the time and presented them in a chronological, cohesive order. Despite the knock against it for using inferior sounding tapes, it remains a popular and sought after item.
Akashic attempted a comprehensive box set in the winter of 1999 called The Final Option. The project was scrapped after only five discs spread out over three titles, Meet Led Zeppelin, Scorpio Rising and The Smithereens were released. And the Akashic contained spurious Houses Of The Holy outtakes. In 2007 the Scorpio label produced the 12 CD set Studio Sessions Ultimate, an impressive update of the Antrabata set.
In the intervening years, many more tracks surfaced including the legendary Led Zeppelin II sessions and superior sounding versions of already existing tracks. Studio Magik gives a much needed overhaul of Led Zeppelin outtakes.
Not only are the new sessions presented, but all of the older tracks have been given a remastering job from the best available sources and are presented in their definitive form.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)