The Battle Of Baton Rouge (Empress Valley EVSD-336/337/338)
LSU, Baton Rouge, LA – February 28th, 1975
Disc 1: Intro, Rock And Roll, Sick Again, Over The Hills And Far Away, In My Time Of Dying, The Song Remains The Same, The Rain Song, Kashmir
Disc 2: No Quarter, Trampled Underfoot, Moby Dick
Disc 3: Dazed & Confused, Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, Black Dog
Led Zeppelin’s Baton Rouge tape first surfaced on vinyl on Led Astray on the Artemis label. The earliest compact disc version was discs five through seven of the Mad Dogs box set and on the original Tarantura label, who issued Freeze! (T3CD-2) (named after the taper) with a picture of Jimmy Page on the cover, both in 1993. Tarantura reissued Freeze! again the following year but with a picture of Robert Plant on the cover. The date on Tarantura was erroneously listed as from February 13th and also made the claim it was sourced from the master reel-to-reel. Silver Rarities in Europe released Led Astray (SIRA 194/195/196) in 1995 and the Immigrant label released Blaze (IM-040~42) about the same time.
Capricorn released this show except for “Dazed & Confused” on Bon Soir, Baton Rouge! (CR-2028/2029). The last release of this tape was on Hang On To Your Heads (Vol. 95) on The Diagrams Of Led Zeppelin which is a box set limited to three hundred copies pressed on gold discs. It also includes a twelve-page booklet with many photos from Earl’s Court. The tape is a slightly distant but very dynamic stereo audience recording that emphasizes the bottom end but without any distortion. It is one of the more interesting tapes in existence with some of the most massive sounds ever captured on tape. The Battle Of Baton Rouge, the new release on Empress Valley, is the same generation tape that was used by other releases which, according to Zeppelin tape experts, is no better than a second-generation copy of the master.
They worked on reducing the loudness of the bass and place the top and bottom end on a more even keel. Their work is commendable and a worthy addition to the collection but it is a matter of taste. It makes the sound more sharp and defined but I feel loses its particular character. Empress Valley utilizes their infamous cardboard cut out sleeve design for this release. It was first introduced early on in their production with such releases as Deep Striker. With everything else about this release, it’s a matter of personal taste. Some love it, some hate it. Whatever your opinion is though, this is a good opportunity to pick up this show.