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Led Zeppelin – Studio Magik Sessions 1968 – 1980 (The Godfather Box G.R. Box 18)

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18Gr_Cover

Studio Magik  Sessions 1968 – 1980 (The Godfather Box G.R. Box 18)

While I have numerous titles containing Led Zeppelin Studio Outtakes I do not collect them as much as I do their live music. Years back I bought the Scorpio Studio Sessions Ultimate title as kind of a final word and up until now was a (for me) defining release of this material. Upon the official announcement that The Don would be attempting to produce a definitive collection of this material did I think, time to upgrade?  One only has to look at the scope of this collection, every known bit of out take and rehearsal material known to circulate among collectors. The new set is prepared in chronological order, each CD has its own subtitle and the set comes with an excellent 60 page booklet with detailed notes on each session from the incomparable Paul De Luxe and The Hermit. There are six gatefold sleeves that house the CDs, all have the track listing on the back and are beautifully adorned with studio shots of the band during the era found within the compact discs. The box itself is striking in its simplicity, a Black box with gold lettering with the Swan Song logo and individual band member signs on the cover; of course it is slightly thicker to accommodate six sets as well as the booklet. The care shown in the sets creation and its accuracy in detail are second to none, and for now this must be considered as definite as it stands at this time, for we do not know what will be unearthed in the future. The massive 18 disc set just so happens to be Box number 18 of an incredible line of box sets that has garnered praise from collectors.

Doing a review such as this is a daunting task and one that can include some pains to produce and I was incredibly lucky to have some superb references along the way that must be acknowledged. Firstly to Gerard’s excellent review of the Scorpio Studio Sessions, since that set came with a flimsy sheet with only basic information I long ago printed a copy of his review to use as a reference guide. Secondly to the Led Zeppelin Data Base and Argenteum Astrum, a site with a massive amount of information and a vast help for this review and also for my general collecting needs. Of course Led Zeppelin Live by Luis Rey and Dave Lewis’ Concert File are always excellent resources and inspiration in not only how I write a review but thanks to Luis how I listen to these tapes, both the studio and live material.

18GrABC

Disc 1 (65:59) Led Zeppelin I and II SessionsOlympic Sound Studios Barnes, London England September 27,1968; Babe I’m Gonna Leave You (take 8), Babe I’m Gonna Leave You (Take 9 stopped), Babe I’m Gonna Leave You (Take 9 complete), You Shook Me. Olympic Sound Studios Barnes, London England October 10, 1968; Baby Come On Home (AKA Tribute To Bert Berns / Take 1 stopped), Baby Come On Home (AKA Tribute To Bert Berns / Take 2 stopped), Baby Come On Home (AKA Tribute To Bert Berns / Take 3 Complete. Olympic Sound Studios Barnes, London England October 1968; Guitar Organ Instrumentals (Take 1), Guitar Organ Instrumentals (Take 2), Guitar Organ Instrumentals (Take 3), Guitar Organ Instrumentals (Take 4), Guitar Organ Instrumentals (Take 5), Guitar Organ Instrumentals (Take 6), Guitar Organ Instrumentals (Take 7). Mirror Sound, Los Angeles, California between May 4-6 1969; Moby Dick (intro & outro), Drum Solo. Morgan Studios, Willesden, London England June 1969; Sugar Mama. Morgan Studios, Willesden, London England June 25, 1969; We’re Gonna Groove

These outtakes can be found in parts on the titles Olympic Gold on Scorpio (LZ 92-SC), Gems + Jams (ZELCD101), Studio Haze (Laughing Skull), Anyway You Want (KFM 008), Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You (Dynamite Studio DS92J031), Hairway To Steven (Invasion Unlimited IU9645-1), Early Days (Refinded Masters), Studio Sessions (Antrabata), and Studio Sessions Ultimate (Scorpio LZ-07001~12). “We’re Gonna Groove” is found on Different Mixed Coda (POT), The Lost Sessions Volume 8 ~ Led Zeppelin In The 80′s Coda Advance Tapes (Empress Valley Supreme Disc).

The sound quality of the material when compared to the Scorpio set is not as amplified as much so there is less hiss and has a warmer sound. Plant’s raw vocal on “Babe I’m Gonna Leave” is superb as well as is his vocal improvisations. I enjoy the “Baby Come On Home”, throw the backing vocals out and blues it up just a little it would have been an incredible song, I love the sound of Page’s guitar as well. The “Guitar Organ Instrumentals” are also good, Page’s playing is simply wonderful, it would have been interesting to here parts of this during his “White Summer / Black Mountain Side” showcase in the live shows. The “Moby Dick” outtakes are a very nice upgrade is sound versus the Scorpio titles as is “Sugar Mama”, there is still tape hiss present but they sound clearer. The version of “We’re Gonna Groove” was later released on Coda, this was not found on the Scorpio title but thankfully added to this set.

Disc 2 (72:28)  Led Zeppelin II Multi TracksRehearsed and assembled during the bands second American Tour in 1969 with basic framework recorded at Olympic Sound Studios London May 1969 with additional overdubs added in Los Angeles. Final mix by Eddie Kramer and Page over two days at A&R Studios, New York City, NY. August 1969; Whole Lotta Love (main guitar bleed), Whole Lotta Love (guitar overdubs bleed), Whole Lotta Love (bass bleed), Whole Lotta Love (drum right bleed), Whole Lotta Love (drum left bleed), Whole Lotta Love (tympani tambourine bleed), Whole Lotta Love (vocals bleed), Whole Lotta Love (vocals overdubs bleed), Whole Lotta Love (multi track mix down version 1), Whole Lotta Love (multi track mix down version 2), Whole Lotta Love (multi track mix down version 3), Whole Lotta Love (multi track mix down showcase)

Disc 3 (58:11) Led Zeppelin II Multi TracksRecorded June 1969 at Groove Studios New York and Olympic Sound Studios London. Mixed at A&R Studios New York; What Is And What Should Never Be (main guitar bleed), What Is And What Should Never Be (bass bleed), What Is And What Should Never Be (drum right bleed), What Is And What Should Never Be (drum left bleed), What Is And What Should Never Be (main vocals bleed), What Is And What Should Never Be (vocal overdubs bleed take 1), What Is And What Should Never Be (vocal overdubs bleed take 2), What Is And What Should Never Be (guitar and vocal overdubs), What Is And What Should Never Be (multi mix down version 1), What Is And What Should Never Be (multi mix down version 2), What Is And What Should Never Be (multi mix down version 3)

18GrDEF

Disc 4 (72:31) Led Zeppelin II Multi TracksRecorded and mixed in A&R Studios New York City, NY. May 30, 31, 1969; Heartbreaker (main guitar bleed take 1), Heartbreaker (main guitar bleed take 2), Heartbreaker (bass bleed), Heartbreaker (drum right bleed), Heartbreaker (drum left bleed), Heartbreaker (guitar bass drum bleed), Heartbreaker (vocals bleed), Heartbreaker (vocals and guitar bleed), Heartbreaker (multi track mix down version 1), Heartbreaker (multi track mix down version 2)

Disc 5 (61:41) Led Zeppelin II Multi TracksRecorded in Juggy Sound Studio, New York in June 1969 and mixed in A&R Studios in New York; Ramble On (acoustic guitar bleed), Ramble On (electric guitar bleed), Ramble On (guitar overdub bleed), Ramble On (bass bleed), Ramble On (drum right bleed w/tympani), Ramble On (drum left bleed w/tympani), Ramble On (vocals bleed), Ramble On (vocals and guitar bleed), Ramble On (multi track mix down version 1), Ramble On (multi track mix down version 2), Ramble On (multi track mix down version 3), Ramble On (multi track mix down version 4), Ramble On (multi track mix down version 5), Ramble On (multi track mix down version 6)

All Our Love (Beelzebub Records), Alternates And Outtakes I & II Volume 1 (Boogie Mama), The Black Bomber – The Recording Sessions (Beelzebub Records), Countdown (Boogie Mama), Early Ramshackle Days (Beelzebub Records), Led Zeppelin II Multi Track Mixdowns (Empress Valley Supreme Disc), The Lost Sessions Volume 2 (Empress Valley Supreme Disc), The Making Of Led Zeppelin II (Empress Valley Supreme Disc), Royal Albert Hall 1970 (Wendy Records). The most recent of Zeppelin outtakes to see the light of day, early in this millennium. They provide a fascinating glimpse into not only the mixing but how the songs were written and constructed. While sometimes some of the bleed tracks can get tedious other times you marvel at some sounds or parts you never heard before. I have always enjoyed the Classic Album series on VH1 (and on DVD) for this reason. The ensuing multi track mix downs are superb and offer a different glimpse at these songs we all know so well. The sound quality on all is impeccable stereo perfection and these outtakes are considered essential. The “Whole Lotta Love” mix down version 3 has an incredible ending. The mix downs for “What Is And What Should Never Be” have many added guitar snippets with version 2 and 3 being very enjoyable. The last “Heartbreaker” mix down version 2 has a much different guitar solo and some accented slides as well as some vocals snippets and is a superb mix up. The “Ramble On” disc is particularly interesting; the acoustic guitar bleed brings to light a lot of the depth of the song you don’t usually hear and notice due to the eventual prominence of the electric guitar. “Ramble On” has the most multi mixes, all variations of each other with extra vocals and guitar and drum snippets scattered throughout.

Disc 6 (71:38) Led Zeppelin III SessionsRecorded at Olympic Sound Studios, Barnes, London England November 1969; Jennings Farm Blues (take 1 stopped), Jennings Farm Blues (take 2 stopped), Jennings Farm Blues (take 3 stopped), Jennings Farm Blues (take 4 stopped), Jennings Farm Blues (take 5 stopped), Jennings Farm Blues (take 6 complete basic version), Jennings Farm Blues (take 7 stopped), Jennings Farm Blues (take 8 stopped), Jennings Farm Blues (take 9 stopped), Jennings Farm Blues (take 10 stopped), Jennings Farm Blues (take 11 stopped), Jennings Farm Blues (take 12 complete full mix) Recorded at Bron-Yr-Aur Cottage Machynlleth Gwynedd, Wales sometime between April and May 1970; Untitled Guitar Instrumentals

The Jennings Farm Blues material is an electric take on the Led Zeppelin III acoustic song “Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp”, recorded as a possible single but the song remained unreleased by the band although one can certainly tell that considerable work went into it. It was first found on Jennings Farm Blues (Scorpio) and featured on 1970 Studio Works (Theramin Music), Alternates And Outtakes III Volume 2 (Boogie Mama), The Lost Sessions Volume 6 (Empress Valley Supreme Disc), Scorpio Rising (Akashic), Sessions (Antrabata Reference Master), and Studio Sessions Ultimate (Scorpio). The sound source has been excellent since its first release; again the music does not seem as amplified as the Scorpio Studio Sessions Ultimate and has a warmer natural sound to it.

The “Untitled Guitar Instrumentals” have a long history and are a much valued tape in Led Zeppelin history as they are the only known tape of the band playing at Bron-Yr-Aur cottage in Wales. Long tired of touring in America and the social upheaval that was happening and directly affecting them they retreated to the quiet countryside to compose and the mostly acoustic material that came from it formed a good deal of the third and fourth records. The recordings have a long history with bootleggers going back to the vinyl days of Bootleg LP’s The Alternative Led Zeppelin III (The Swingin’ Pig Records), Best Of Led Zeppelin Vol. 1 (Rock Solid Records), The Final Option (Rock Solid Records & The Swingin’ Pig Records), Led Zeppelin Film Can (Rock Solid Records), Led Zeppelin III Studio Rehearsals May 1970 (RL Records), More Inedits (MLZ), Studio Rehearsals May 1970 (Rock Live), Studio Rehearsals 1967-1971 Part 1 (Grasshopper), & III To Get Ready (Early Times) and on compact disc under titles like 1970 Studio Works (Theramin Music), Another Way To Wales (Black Swan), Led Zeppelin III (Tarantura), Sessions (Antrabata Reference Master), Studio Sessions Ultimate (Scorpio “new”), Tribute To Johnny Kidd And The Pirates (Scorpio “old”), Ultra Rare Tracks Volume 1 (Missing Link), & Ultra Rare Trax Part 2 (Savage Beast Music). The quality found on the Godfather box is very similar to what is on the Scorpio Studio Sessions Ultimate. There are many song references thrown in, my favorite is “Down By The Seaside” and although is just an early run through has many of the laid back components of the yet to be recorded version. Where the Scorpio version has song indexes, unfortunately the Godfather is one long 46 minute track. Another of the really great early tapes.

18GrGHI

Disc 7 (69:40) Led Zeppelin III Sessions (part 2)Recorded at Headley Grange Studios, Hampshire England sometime between May and June 1970; Guitar Instrumental (take 1), Guitar Instrumental (take 2), Poor Tom (take 1), Guitar Instrumental (take 3), Guitar Instrumental (take 4), The Boy Next Door aka That’s The Way (take 1), The Boy Next Door aka That’s The Way (take 2), The Boy Next Door aka That’s The Way (take 3), The Boy Next Door aka That’s The Way (take 4), The Boy Next Door aka That’s The Way (take 5), My Oh My aka Friends (takes 1-2), Guitar Instrumental (take 5), Guitar Instrumental (take 6), Guitar Instrumental (take 7), Bron-Yr-Aur (take 3), My Oh My aka Friends (takes 3-4), Bron-Yr-Aur (take 4), Poor Tom (takes 2-6), Hey Hey What Can I Do (takes 1-2), Immigrant Song, Bathroom Song aka Out On The Tiles. Recorded at Morgan Studios Willesden London England on May 6, 1970; Poor Tom (take 1 instrumental), Poor Tom (take 2 w/ vocals)

The first set of material is a rehearsal amateur tape some have attributed to Bron-Yr-Aur Cottage but it cannot be confirmed so it is label as Headley Grange. It has also been in circulation for a long period, Bootleg LP References are  The Alternate Led Zeppelin III (The Swingin’ Pig Records), Hiawatha Express (Stash) & The Making Of Friends (III) while on compact disc as 1970 Studio Works (Theramin Music), Alternates And Outtakes III Volume 2 (Boogie Mama), Another Way To Wales (Black Swan), Hiawatha Express (Toasted/Condor), Led Zeppelin III (Tarantura), Sessions (Antrabata Reference Master), Stairway Sessions (Silver Rarities), Studio Sessions Ultimate (Scorpio “new”), Tribute To Johnny Kidd And The Pirates (Scorpio “old”), & Ultra Rare Trax Part 2 (Savage Beast Music). Again the tape is similar to the sound of the Scorpio Studio Session Ultimate. Being an amateur style recording there is some notable tape hiss present and at times what sounds like wind moving across the microphones is present but does not detract from the listening experience, just adds to the ambiance.

This is a very intimate tape featuring just Page and Plant giving us a glimpse inside their unique musical bond. “Poor Tom” features some nice percussion from what sounds like Plant clapping along on his legs as they are seated. The many takes of “The Boy Next Door” are wonderful, soft and gentle with some great improvised guitar from Page; clearly his skills on the acoustic guitar are vast. Great to hear the sounds of a dog, possibly Plant’s beloved Stryder adding his own compliment. The early takes of “Friends” include bongos from Plant and we see that musically it is taking shape, Plant sings vocal harmonies of what is to become the lyrics and Page adds harmonized vocals to flesh it out. You can clearly here Robert’s child during Take 3 of “Bron-Yr-Aur”, the addition of “Hey Hey What Can I Do?” with the acoustic guitar from Plant and some mandolin from Page sounds very like something you would hear from The Band. The early band versions of “Immigrant Song” and “Out On The Tiles” are tentative sounding, the latter has the chorus intact but the rest will continue to take shape.

The two takes of “Poor Tom” are excellent sounding outtakes, the final one being what is used on Coda. They sound just slightly fuzzy and are one of my favorite songs from that record. Previously found on All Our Love (Beelzebub Records), Alternates And Outtakes III Volume 2 (Boogie Mama), Coda Advanced Tapes (Boogie Mama), Different Mixed Coda (POT), The Lost Sessions Volume 8 ~ Led Zeppelin In The 80′s Coda Advance Tapes (Empress Valley Supreme Disc), Sessions (Antrabata Reference Master), Studio Sessions Ultimate (Scorpio).

The rest of the record is taken up with excellent quality outtakes of “Celebration Day”, “Hey Hey What Can I Do?”, and “Out On The Tiles” sans vocals. They sound close to the final mixes and have seen compact disc releases as All Our Love (Beelzebub Records), Alternates And Outtakes III Volume 2 (Boogie Mama), The Lost Mixes EP Volume 3 ~ Led Zeppelin 1970-1971 (Empress Valley Supreme Disc), Outside The Door (Beelzebub Records), The Smithereens (Akashic, 1CD & 3CD), incredible as it sounds the story has the tapes being found in the garbage.

Disc 8 (78:04) Led Zeppelin III and IV SessionsRecorded at Olympic Sound Studios, Barnes, London England sometime between May and June 1970; That’s The Way (full mix), Feel So Bad (aka Hats Off To Roy Harper takes 1-2) Medley includes Fixin’ To Die, That’s Alright Mama, Since I’ve Been Loving You (vocal track), Since I’ve Been Loving You (full mix). Recorded at Headley Grange Studios, Hampshire England sometime between January and February 1971; Stairway To Heaven (take 1 instrumental), Blues Guitar / Piano improvisation, Black Dog acoustic (take 1 instrumental), Black Dog acoustic (take 2 instrumental), Black Dog electric (rehearsal), No Quarter, Stairway To Heaven (take 2 instrumental), Stairway To Heaven (take 3 instrumental), Stairway To Heaven (take 4 instrumental), Electric Guitar Improvisation, Stairway To Heaven (take 5 w/ vocals), Stairway To Heaven (take 6 w/ vocals), Stairway To Heaven, Night Flight

The remainder of the LZIII out takes start disc eight, in incredible sound. It first appeared on Studio Daze (Scorpio) and was followed on titles like 1970 Studio Works (Theramin Music), Alternates And Outtakes III Volume 2 (Boogie Mama), Led Zeppelin III (Tarantura), Live On Tour With Led Zeppelin Volume 1 (Beelzebub Records), The Lost Sessions Volume 6 (Empress Valley Supreme Disc), Scorpio Rising (Akashic), Sessions (Antrabata Reference Master), Studio Daze Revisited (Scorpio), Studio Sessions Ultimate (Scorpio), & Ultra Rare Trax Part 2 (Savage Beast Music). The versions are excellent studio mixed version in outstanding quality and are musically a revelation. The song titles “Feel So Bad” is the music of “Hats Off To Harper” with lyrics from “Fixin’ To Die” and Elvis’ “Thats Alright Mama” sung in the “Hats Off” style.  The vocal track of “Since” is good but the final full mix of the song is incredible. It reeks with emotion and passion like no other song in the band’s vast catalog does and the playing was described by Plant as the sound of Led Zeppelin live, if the bootleggers microphones could accurately capture the bands sound, this song would be it.

The IV album outtakes are essential listening, mostly due to the fact that we are treated to several quality rehearsals of “Stairway To Heaven”, as well as other gems to boot. This recording has been out many times on bootleg LP as And IV To Go (Ugly Duckling), Inedits (LZ 1-2), Led Zeppelin IV Studio Rehearsals January 1971 (RL Records), Studio Rehearsals January 1971 (Rock Live), & Studio Rehearsals 1967-1971 Part 1&2 (Grasshopper) and on bootleg CD as All That Glitters Is Gold (Celebration Definitive Masters), The Lost Sessions Volume 9 (Eelgrass), The Lost Sessions Volume 9 ~ All Roads Lead To Headley Grange 1 (Empress Valley Supreme Disc), Sessions (Antrabata Reference Master & The Diagrams Of Led Zeppelin), Studio Sessions Ultimate (Scorpio), Ultra Rare Tracks Volume 1 (Missing Link), & Ultra Rare Trax Part 2 (Savage Beast Music). The “Stairway” versions start off rudimentary and have early versions of “Black Dog” in between, it is great to here Jonesy give direction and Plant improving the lyrics, something he would continue to do onstage. There is an early version of “No Quarter” also, a song that would continue to be worked on until its final form the next year. The history of “Stairway” is one of legend, the music comes to Page and upon hearing it Plant started the lyrics in a blast of semiotic energy between the two, this is a glorified idea but is pretty much confirmed when listening to the versions of the song. The sound is very similar to that of the Scorpio Studio Sessions Unlimited.

The last take of “Stairway” is an excellent studio outtake released as The Lost Sessions Volume 9 ~ All Roads Lead To Headley Grange 1 (Empress Valley Supreme Disc), some claim its legitimacy but Plant’s vocals are slightly different and Page’s guitar solo is total different, he has stated in many interviews that several solo were recorded. “Night Flight” is the full mix of the song minus overdubs done prior to its being released on Physical Graffiti, it has been previously found on Coda Advanced Tapes (Boogie Mama), The Lost Sessions Volume 8 – Led Zeppelin In The 80′s Coda Advance Tapes (Empress Valley Supreme Disc).

Disc 9 (60:26) Led Zeppelin IV SessionsRecorded at Headley Grange Studios, Hampshire England sometime between January and February 1971; The Battle Of Evermore (take 1), The Battle Of Evermore (take 2), The Battle Of Evermore (take 3), The Battle Of Evermore (take 4), The Battle Of Evermore (take 5), The Battle Of Evermore (take 6). Recorded somewhere between January and February 1971; Four Sticks (take 1 instrumental), Four sticks (take 2 w/ vocals), Black Dog, When The Levee Breaks (take 1), When The Levee Breaks (take 2)

One of my disappointments with the Scorpio Session box was that the “Battle Of Evermore” material was not present, save one small outtake. I have always loved this song and am glad to finally hear this music. Of course many collectors have this on titles All That Glitters Is Gold (Celebration Definitive Masters), Alternates And Outtakes Led Zeppelin IV & Physical Graffiti Volume 3 (Boogie Mama), Sessions (Antrabata Reference Master & The Diagrams Of Led Zeppelin), and Studio Sessions Ultimate (Scorpio). I give Plant much credit for this song, he brings in Sandy Denny from Fairport Convention to sing on the song and the vocal mix has the wonderful call and response aspect and his lyrics show his deep appreciation and knowledge of Welsh history combined with the works of JR Tolkein that brings the song to life. The quality of this material varies slightly but is all very good to excellent quality.

The remainder of the material has been found on All Our Love (Beelzebub Records), All That Glitters Is Gold (Celebration Definitive Masters), Alternates And Outtakes Led Zeppelin IV & Physical Graffiti Volume 3 (Boogie Mama), Control Monitor Mixes EP (Watch Tower), The Lost Mixes EP Volume 1 (Empress Valley Supreme Disc), The Lost Mixes EP Volume 3 – Led Zeppelin 1970-1971 (Empress Valley Supreme Disc), Outside The Door (Beelzebub Records), The Smithereens (Akashic, 1CD & 3CD), Studio Sessions Ultimate (Scorpio). They are variations of the final mixes, “Four Sticks” has Bonzo’s drumming in the foreground and has a much different feel to it where the final mix is close to the one found on the record. The most interesting of these is the two “When The Levee Breaks”, both sound as if they are still a mix in process, all the above songs are superb studio quality.

18GrLMN

 

Disc 10 (61:45) Bombay Rehearsals & Houses Of The Holy SessionsRecorded at EMI Studios Bombay, India March 1972; Friends (rehearsing the tune), Four Sticks (take 1), Friends (take 1), Friends (take 2), Friends (take 3), Four Sticks (take 2), Four Sticks (take 3), Four Sticks (take 4). Recorded by the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio, Stargroves Newbury, Berkshire, England and Island Studios London England May 15, 1972; Walters Walk (take 1 instrumental), Walters Walk (take 2 w/ vocals), Walters Walk (take 3 with vocals)

Page and Plant’s trip to Bombay after the band’s legendary Australian Tour is one of legend, they spoke about it in various interviews and finally the tape came to light, and what a revelation it is, one that would certainly come to fruition some 20 plus years later when the duo reformed to produce the Un- Ledded project. Previously issued as All That Glitters Is Gold (Celebration Definitive Masters), Alternates And Outtakes III Volume 2 (Boogie Mama), Complete 1972 Bombay Sessions (Tecumseh), The Lost Sessions Volume 2 – Led Zeppelin In India (Empress Valley Supreme Disc), Sessions (Antrabata Reference Master & The Diagrams Of Led Zeppelin), The Smithereens (Akashic, 1CD & 3CD), Studio Sessions Ultimate (Scorpio). I got my first taste of this tape on the Studio Haze (Laughing Skull), a version that was much poorer in sound and completeness. The sound quality found on this Godfather version is similar to the Scorpio Studio Session Ultimate and is excellent and complete. The music found within is very interesting; if you close your eyes you can almost envision Page and Plant working with the musicians who they have a limited dialogue with. The versions of “Friends” with vocals are incredible; his voice has some echo on it and a very ethereal quality to it that accents the music perfectly. The final mixes of “Four Sticks” are also very nice, although take 4 is not a complete version being cut about a minute in.

The remainder of the disc is comprised of three takes of “Walter’s Walk”, a song that dates back to the Houses Of The Holy era but would not see the light of day until the Coda record in 1982. The band would play the main riff of the song during “Dazed and Confused” and there are many good references to the song from the summer 1972 tour, such as Baltimore and San Bernardino. We are treated to the complete 13 minute tape, parts have been released on 1970 Studio Works (Theramin Music), All Our Love (Beelzebub Records), Coda Advanced Tapes (Boogie Mama), Different Mixed Coda (POT), The Lost Sessions Volume 8 – Led Zeppelin In The 80′s Coda Advance Tapes (Empress Valley Supreme Disc), Sessions (Antrabata Reference Master), Studio Daze (Scorpio), Studio Sessions Ultimate (Scorpio). The quality is superb studio quality, and the final two versions have been remixed sometime in 1982 when Plant recorded the vocals for the song, his last remaining thing he recorded for Led Zeppelin.

Disc 11 (57:00) Houses Of The Holy & Lucifer RisingRecorded at Island Studios London, England and mixed at Olympic Studios by Andy Johns in June 1972; No Quarter (take 1 instrumental complete), No Quarter (take 2 stopped), No Quarter (take 3 stopped), No Quarter (take 4 instrumental complete), No Quarter (take 5 stopped), No Quarter (take 6 stopped), No Quarter (take 7 w/ vocals complete). Recorded at Boleskine House. Loch Ness Scotland sometime between October and November 1973; Incubus, Damask, Unharmonics, Damask (ambient version), Lucifer Rising, Lucifer Rising (percussive return)

There is precious little of the material that encompasses the Houses Of The Holy record, all we have is 25 minutes of “No Quarter” outtakes, the quality is incredible and the final version with vocals is pristine in quality and showcases a mix I think that is superior than the one eventually released. The material was first found on Studio Daze (Scorpio) and then on 1970 Studio Works (Theramin Music), Alternates And Outtakes Led Zeppelin IV & Physical Graffiti Volume 3 (Boogie Mama), The Lost Sessions Volume 6 (Empress Valley Supreme Disc), Sessions (Antrabata Reference Master), Scorpio Rising (Akashic),  Studio Daze Revisited (Scorpio), Studio Sessions Ultimate (Scorpio).

The remainder of the material comes from 1973 and is a four track recording of instrumental music Page produced for Kenneth Angers film Lucifer Rising. Page was late with turning the music over to Anger who was much displeased and made light of the situation in the press. This was Page’s first foray into film, he would again dabble in soundtracks from 1982s Death Wish II. Previous releases include Brutal Artistry II (Midas Touch), Inducted And Possessed (Beelzebub Records), Sessions (Antrabata Reference Master), Studio Sessions Ultimate (Scorpio). Interestingly, Anger did not use any of the material, a true shame as the “Lucifer Rising” track is a 20 minute soundscape of very dramatic themes that have, as the liner notes state “give one the creeps”. If you love Page’s bow solos from “Dazed and Confused” and some of his electronic improvisation, this dark piece is very appealing and the same piece makes its CD debut on this set. The sound quality is certainly better than is what is found on Scorpio’s Studio Session Ultimate title, and is much more complete.

Disc 12 (54:21) Pre Physical Graffiti Outtakes (Part 1)Recorded at Headley Grange Studios Hampshire, England November 1973; Untitled Instrumental. Recorded at Headley Grange Studios Hampshire, England November 1973; Untitled Instrumental, Ten Years Gone (takes 1-12)

Sessions (Antrabata Reference Masters) and Studio Sessions Ultimate (Scorpio) were the only two previous releases, I will defer to the liner notes; This is a real mystery. It consists of Page working out melodies on the acoustic guitar. Some of the melodies introduced on the guitar are then (very occasionally) played on piano. The piano playing is very good and causes questions as to whether or not it is Page playing or someone else. There is no further evidence on tape that he even plays the instrument. Nevertheless some of the melodies are recognizable including the fast break found in 1976′s “Hots On For Nowhere” and an embryonic version of “The Rain Song”. Sadly Godfather chose to leave it as one long 43 minute track. The quality is excellent and a slight improvement over the Scorpio version.

The rest of the disc is comprised of Jimmy working through “Ten Years Gone”, the material has seen previous released as All That Glitters Is Gold (Celebration Definitive Masters), Brutal Artistry (Midas Touch), The Complete Bombay 1972 Sessions (Tecumseh), Studio Sessions Ultimate (Scorpio “new”). Again the quality is excellent, the origin of these could have been to use as overdubs on the final version, one comprised of Page’s guitar army. Sadly, they are just fragments. One of the more boring discs in the set that does get a lot of “air time” on my stereo but is good to own for completeists sake.

18GrOPQ

 

Disc 13 (61:36) Pre Physical Graffiti Outtakes (Part 2)Recorded at Headley Grange Studios Hampshire, England November 1973; Swan Song aka Midnight Moonlight.

The song has seen prior releases on Brutal Artistry (Midas Touch), The Lost Sessions Volume 10 ~ All Roads Leads To Headley Grange 2 (Empress Valley Supreme Disc), Studio Sessions Ultimate (Scorpio). Its origins go back many years, as early as February 1970 as found in Page’s showcase of “White Summer/Black Mountain Side” from the band’s date in Copenhagen on the 28 you can certainly clearly hear the introductory notes and would be played sporadically throughout the years, sadly as these instrumental workouts show, was never completed by the band. As we all know Page would dust of the song and work it into shape for his solo spot on the ARMS tour, one that would find him beginning a collaboration with Bad Company’s Paul Rodgers. The duo would go on to form The Firm and release the opus on their first self titled record in 1984. Again unfortunate that Godfather elected to leave it as one long track as there are numerous places that would have made sense. Quality wise it is similar to the Scorpio Studio Sessions Ultimate in terms of quality.

Disc 14 (72:34) Physical Graffiti Outtakes (Part 1)Recorded at Headley Grange Studios Hampshire, England sometime between January and February 1974; The Wanton Song (take 1), The Wanton Song (take 2), Take Me Home (take 1), Take Me Home (take 2), In The Morning aka In The Light (take 1), Trampled Underfoot (takes 1-9), In The Morning aka In The Light (take 2), Sick Again, The Rover, Untitled Instrumental, ABC Song, In My Time Of Dying (takes 1-7). Recorded at Headley Grange Studios Hampshire, England sometime between January and February 1974; The Wanton Song, Trampled Underfoot

After the meandering of the previous two discs we get into the real meat and potatoes of this set. Thankfully there is a lot of studio material from the Physical Graffiti sessions for us to enjoy in excellent sound quality. This is a real glimpse inside the creative process of the band as they record their masterpiece. The tape has seen numerous releases on Bootleg LP as Alternate Physical Graffiti (The Swingin’ Pig Records), Hiawatha Express (Stash), In Through The Outtakes (White Box & Widget Recordworks), Tangible Vandalism (TV & White Box), & White Summer (Marc & Rock Solid Records) and on CD as Alternative Graffiti (Celebration Definitive Masters), Brutal Artistry (Midas Touch), Headley Grange (Immigrant), The Lost Sessions EP Volume 10 – All Roads Leads To Headley Grange 2 (Empress Valley Supreme Disc), Physically Present (House Of Elrond), Sessions (Antrabata Reference Master), Studio Sessions Ultimate (Scorpio), & Totally Tangible (Blimp). The sound on this material, as stated before is excellent and very close in sound to the Scorpio Studio Session Ultimate.

“The Wanton Song” is much more advanced as found on the 1973 rehearsal tape / sound check. “Take Me Home” sounding like something that came from “The Crunge” with Plant ad libbing lyrics that sound like The Beatles’ “I Wanna Be Your Man”. “In The Morning” is an early work through of “In The Light”, it is interesting to hear Page working on the different riffs and time changes on the guitar, he has the ascending riff down. Even though Plant has some rough lyrical ideas down he seem to put in a great vocal performance and Bonham starts really pounding his set at the songs conclusion, great outtake. The “Trampled” takes are a lot of start and stops and finds Bonzo searching for the right beat, there are some nice spots of chatter between takes that is quit nice. Another “In The Morning” follows, like the other has Plant (?) whistling the melody before the band start the song but the version is tame compared to the first.

The “Untitled Instrumental” is what is described as a groovy jam, one can certainly agree as it is loaded with funk. The “In My Time Of Dying” takes are interesting to say the least, the band try and get Bonzo to get the right beat and it sounds heated. The final two songs are finished mixes, the sound is perfect, they have circulated under titles as Alternates And Outtakes Led Zeppelin IV & Physical Graffiti Volume 3 (Boogie Mama), Alternative Graffiti (Celebration Definitive Masters), Control Monitor Mixes EP (Watch Tower), The Lost Mixes EP Volume 1 (Empress Valley Supreme Disc), & Studio Sessions Ultimate (Scorpio “new”).

Disc 15 (69:29) Physical Graffiti Outtakes (Part 2)Recorded at Headley Grange Studios Hampshire, England sometime between January and February 1974; Ten Years Gone (takes 1-4), Boogie With Stu (takes 1-9), Night Flight (takes 1-11). Recorded at Headley Grange Studios Hampshire, England sometime between January and February 1974; Trampled Underfoot, Kashmir, Custard Pie, In The Light, Swan Song aka Midnight Moonlight (take 1), Swan Song aka Midnight Moonlight (take 2)

The 37 minute tape featuring the “Ten Years Gone”, “Boogie With Stu”, and “Night Flight” outtakes have been circulating on such titles as Alternative Graffiti (Celebration Definitive Masters), Brutal Artistry II (Midas Touch), Studio Sessions Ultimate (Scorpio), & Ultra Rare Trax Part 2 (Savage Beast Music). There are small scuffs during 2:18 and 2:29 of “Ten Years Gone”; they are also present on the Scorpio title, Disc 10 track 8. I do not own other versions of this tape and have to guess it is on the master. The song is in its final mixes and the extensive overdubs are all on there. “Boogie With Stu” was, of course, recorded back in 1971 and dusted off for inclusion on Physical Graffiti, the mixes provide no hidden gem within. Again it would be nice to have que breaks for the songs as some are quick snippets while others are a complete song.

The reminder of the disc has seen the light of day on All Our Love (Beelzebub Records), Alternates And Outtakes Led Zeppelin IV & Physical Graffiti Volume 3 (Boogie Mama), Alternative Graffiti (Celebration Definitive Masters), Brutal Artistry (Midas Touch), Brutal Artistry II (Midas Touch), The Lost Sessions Volume 12 – All Roads Lead To Headley Grange 3 (Empress Valley Supreme Disc), Physical Graffiti Alternate Trax (Tarantura), Physically Present (House Of Elrond), Studio Sessions Ultimate (Scorpio), & Swansongs (Tarantura).

“Trampled” is a virtually complete finished mix. “Kashmir” is a stripped down version with drums, bass, and guitar before the Mellotron was added and is fantastic to hear. The version of “In The Light” is incredible, worth the price of admission alone, this is the “In The Morning” version with different lyrics. The quality is so pristine; one has to wonder why they chose to abandon this version. The last two tracks are full band instrumental version of “Swan Song aka Midnight Moonlight”. The second take is longer and where the first take is like the opening, this take sounds like the possible middle section. It cannot be stated enough, and certainly the hardcore collectors know that the Physical Graffiti outtakes are the most satisfying of this set and is essential listening.

18GrRST

Disc 16 (69:56) Radio Takes, Presence Outtakes, Bonzo’s Montreux Sessions and In Through The Out Door OuttakesRecorded at Headley Grange Studios Hampshire, England 1974; The Wanton Song (WLIR 92.7 radio broadcast), The Wanton Song (WPLJ 95.5 radio broadcast). Recorded at Studio Instrument Rentals (SIR) Hollywood, Los Angeles October 1975; Royal Orleans, Tea For One (Hootchie Kootchie version), Don’t Start Me Talking – All My Loving. Recorded at Mountain Studios Montreux, Switzerland on September 12, 1976; Bonzo’s Montreux (take 1), Bonzo’s Montreux (take 2). Clearwell Castle, Forest Of Dean, Gloucestershire, England May 1978; Fire (Say You Gonna Love Me), Carouselambra (takes 1-4). Recorded at Polar Studios Stockholm, Sweden November 1978; Drum Segment, Carouselambra, Ozone Baby (take 1), Ozone Baby (take 2), All My Love, Wearing And Tearing, I’m Gonna Crawl, Fool In The Rain

The first two tracks are from radio broadcasts and feature outtakes of “The Wanton Song”. The quality is excellent but sounds like it were recorded off of radio, it has seen prior releases as Alternates And Outtakes Led Zeppelin IV & Physical Graffiti Volume 3 (Boogie Mama), The Lost Sessions Volume 12 – All Roads Lead To Headley Grange 3 (Empress Valley Supreme Disc), Relax (Beelzebub Records). Luis Rey stated that if not for some slide guitar overdubs this could pass for a live recording. I agree as it has alot of energy and a live feel too it, this version has DJ comments after its conclusion. The second version is better sounding and similar to the other. Alternative Graffiti (Celebration Definitive Masters), Brutal Artistry (Midas Touch), Sessions (Antrabata Reference Master), Studio Sessions Ultimate (Scorpio). The sound is similar to the Scorpio title and is excellent quality.

Sadly the sessions for Presence yields virtually nothing, all we have is this 8 minute fragment of rehearsal done while the band is in exile in California. The version of “Tea For One” is very nice, certainly not as up and down sounding as the final version is more of a Chicago blues, the “Don’t Start Me Talking” is a really nice jam. Prior releases are Bizarre (Tarantura), Brutal Artistry II (Midas Touch), Countdown (Boogie Mama), Sessions (Antrabata Reference Master), & Studio Sessions Ultimate (Scorpio). Quality is excellent and the tape sounds similar to the Scorpio title.

“Bonzo’s Montreux” was done in the fall of 1976, previously released as All Our Love (Beelzebub Records), Coda Advanced Tapes (Boogie Mama), Different Mixed Coda (POT), The Lost Sessions Volume 8 – Led Zeppelin In The 80′s Coda Advance Tapes (Empress Valley Supreme Disc). The song is very close to what would be released on Coda. Very inventive, one has to wonder why he did not incorporate it into his 1977 solos.

The second portion of the disc is the first glimpses of the band after the turbulent and very sad death of Robert’s son and the cancellation of the 1977 tour and band activities. Early rehearsals are done in England at Clearwell Castle and produce an interesting tape that has seen the light of day as Bizarre (Tarantura), Brutal Artistry II (Midas Touch), In Through The Outdoor Sessions (Boogie Mama), The Lost Sessions Volume 4 (Empress Valley Supreme Disc), Missing Links (The Diagrams Of Led Zeppelin), Sessions (Antrabata Reference Master), & Studio Sessions Ultimate (Scorpio). The quality is a very good amateur style recording, Page is playing very well and the music sounds nothing like what would be eventually released on In Through The Out Door, obviously Jimmy sounds very dominant. The run throughs of “Carouselambra” are simply wonderful, albeit raw. Jimmy’s guitar tone is excellent and Jones’ keys naturally have a dominant place in the mix but as Luis Rey states that Bonzo is the true star of this recording and leaves you wondering if the band would have ever played the piece live. The band has put considerable work into the song and Plant has vocals in place for much of the piece, great stuff.

The rest of the disc has us transported to Sweden and Polar Studios, home to ABBA and the sessions that would produce the band’s final studio album. All Our Love (Beelzebub Records), Coda Advanced Tapes (Boogie Mama), The Lost Sessions Volume 4 (Empress Valley Supreme Disc) are the previous titles featuring this 29 minute tape. I will refer to liner notes as they hit the nail on the head; These tracks are drum mixes of versions later used on the In Through The Out Door album. Stellar quality, you hear a drums view of the songs. We can clearly hear Bonham working on the drums with the tape of the vocals and guitar faintly in the background. It’s a brilliant insight into a brilliant drummer and makes me wish they had released the official album with this good quality. They sound fresh and excited. Bonzo lets out a “fookin’ ‘ell” right before “Fool In The Rain” and it’s a joy to hear. 

Disc 17 (65:29) In Through The Out Door SessionsRecorded at Polar Studios Stockholm, Sweden November 1978; Carouselambra (take 1), Wearing And Tearing, Fool In The Rain (take 1), Hot Dog, In The Evening, Southbound Saurez, Darlene, Fool In The Rain (take 2), Carouselambra (take 2). Recorded at Polar Studios Stockholm, Sweden November 1978; All Of My Love

The majority of this disc is the 58 minute tape and finds the music nearing completion with the final mixes being worked on. It has been much bootlegged starting with the bootleg LP The Complete Outtakes And Rehearsals (Swan Song), In Through Out Door Sessions (Toasted Records), In Through The Outtakes (White Box & Widget Recordworks), & Out Through The Back Door (Amazing Stork & White Box) and on CD as All My Love (Tarantura), In Through The Outdoor Sessions (Boogie Mama), The Lost Sessions Volume 4 ( Empress Valley Supreme Disc), Sessions (Antrabata Reference Master), & Studio Sessions Ultimate (Scorpio). The quality is excellent, professional quality if just a little dull but is equal in quality to the Scorpio set. Again Bonham’s drumming is at the forefront of “Carouselambra”, simply incredible in his fills of what was the last of the Zeppelin epics and one for the new decade. One has to wonder how they chose the material that would make the record, they produced a fast and aggressive rocker like “Wearing And Tearing” and elect to leave it off and make for a possible Knebworth special EP that is of course scrapped. Perhaps too aggressive for the rest of the material but a song that certainly lets you know that the dinosaur still had some fighting spirit left in its old bones. “Fool In The Rain” has some cool count in and some ad libs from Plant. “Southbound Saurez” has a different feel with Jones on the piano and Page’s guitar has a nice fuzz tone to it.

The final track is “All Of My Love”, this outtake is stunning in terms of sound quality and performance. Previously released on All Our Love (Beelzebub Records), In Through The Outdoor Sessions (Boogie Mama), The Lost Sessions Volume 4 (Empress Valley Supreme Disc), Studio Daze (Scorpio), Studio Daze Revisited (Scorpio), & Studio Sessions Ultimate (Scorpio). I remember being blown away by the original Studio Daze Scorpio title and this version of “All Of My Love” as it was much closer to how it was performed live and has a loser feel and features some great playing from Page.

Disc 18 (66:15) In Through The Out Door Sessions & Final RehearsalRecorded at Polar Studios Stockholm, Sweden November 14 1978; Ozone Baby (take 1), Ozone Baby (take 2). Recorded at Polar Studios Stockholm, Sweden November 16 1978; Darlene (take 1), Darlene (take 2). Recorded at Polar Studios Stockholm, Sweden November 21 1978; Wearing And Tearing (take 1), Wearing And Tearing (take 2). Recorded at the Rainbow Theatre, London, England and / or New Victoria Theatre London, England sometime between April and May 1980; White Summer (take 1) White Summer medley incl. Black Mountain Side (take 2), Kashmir, Achilles Last Stand (take 1), Achilles Last Stand (take 2) Stairway To Heaven

The final disc finds different mixes of the three songs recorded during the In Through The Out Door sessions that would eventually be released on Coda. Interesting as we have actual dates for each of the three songs and all are in the finished stages with just minor differences in the mixes. Previously released under the titles Coda Advanced Tapes (Boogie Mama), Different Mixed Coda (POT), & The Lost Sessions Volume 8 – Led Zeppelin In The 80′s Coda Advance Tapes (Empress Valley Supreme Disc). The songs show a possible different direction that the band could have explored on the record and possibly in the new decade.

The rest of the disc has the “final” rehearsal as it originally circulated as being from the time period directly before Bonham’s death. Ultimately it has the more plausible origin of being from rehearsals prior to the bands German tour 1980. It has had a myriad of releases beginning with the vinyl LP The Final Option (Rock Solid Records & The Swingin’ Pig Records), The Last Rehearsal – Bonzo’s Last Stand (Oznob), Out Through The Back Door (Amazing Stork & White Box), Strange Tales From The Road (Rock Solid Records), & Tangible Van-Dalism (TV & White Box) and CD as The Last Rehearsal (Missing Link), The Lost Sessions Volume 11 ~ The Final Rehearsal (Empress Valley Supreme Disc), Rehearsals (Empress Valley Supreme Disc), Sessions (Antrabata Reference Master), Strange Tales From The Road (no label), & Studio Sessions Ultimate (Scorpio). The recording itself is excellent quality, the performances are not really noteworthy but an interesting listening experience as unbeknownst to the band that they were in their final stages of existence.

The last word? Many times previously when companies try to put together something and label it as definitive it always seems to fall short. As massive of a project as this was Godfather simply nails it and delivered what they intended to do; give fans the most comprehensive and complete collection of Zeppelin studio outtakes in the best ever quality. Certainly the most ambitious and best ever box set produced by the label, bar none.

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Led Zeppelin - Studio Magik Sessions 1968 - 1980 (The Godfather Box G.R. Box 18), 4.9 out of 5 based on 17 ratings

9 Comments

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  1. Avatar of sparrow
    sparrow says
    April 18, 2013, 2:01 am

    Tis a wonderful package..only got as far as disc 3 and am going to take my time working through all discs..

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  2. Avatar of yesdays
    yesdays says
    March 29, 2013, 7:16 am

    Let me also say “Thank You!” to relayer67 for the fantastic review.

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  3. Avatar of leedslungs71
    March 27, 2013, 5:21 pm

    A mightily comprehensive and monumental undertaking, Relayer, befitting what looks and sounds like a monumental set. Thanks for the excellent overview and analysis of this landmark package!

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  4. Avatar of mojopin72
    mojopin72 says
    March 27, 2013, 2:10 pm

    I quote the Popesmokes post. Thanks Relayer and thanks Gerard for all he did for this community.

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  5. Avatar of popesmokes
    popesmokes says
    March 26, 2013, 9:43 pm

    Thanks Relayer. Awesome synopsis. Gerard would be proud.

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  6. Avatar of Hager
    Hager says
    March 26, 2013, 3:22 am

    I also thank relayer for this detailed review. As always, I can turn to CMR for the important info about a release I’m unsure about getting, and this certainly qualifies for that distinction given the releases of this sort going back to Cabala. This review ended my uncertainty.

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  7. Avatar of TwentySmallCigars
    March 25, 2013, 5:53 pm

    This set replaces ALL other studio outtake CD’s and LP’s. If you own this one you can toss the rest.

    Toss in the marvelous packaging and presentation and this one is an absolute must-own!

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  8. Avatar of sleonard
    sleonard says
    March 25, 2013, 8:12 am

    I am with you relayer67.I collect mostly the live stuff.My outtakes consisted of lps and early 90s cds.This set is a welcome addition .it makes a one stop solution to my outtakes collection!The presentation and abundance of info make this set most enjoyable.This set tells the story of Led Zeppelin from heavy blues-folk to epic .The contribution of John Bonham shines brighter than ever!

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  9. Avatar of wgpsec
    wgpsec says
    March 24, 2013, 9:18 pm

    Let me be the first to thank relayer for taking on such a massive project and delivering an excellent very detailed review. This is an amazing set from Godfather in both sound quality and superb packaging and is easily their most ambitious project to date. Excellent work!

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