The Lost Sessions Vol. 4 (Empress Valley EVSD 308-309)
Disc 1: All My Love (full mix without keyboard solo), drum segment, Carouselambra (drum track), Ozone Baby (drum track), Ozone Baby (drum track), All My Love (drum track), Wearing And Tearing (drum track), drum segment, Fool In The Rain (drum track)
Disc 2: Fire (rehearsal take), Carouselambra (rehearsal fragments), Carouselambra (alternate instrumental version), unknown, Wearing And Tearing (alternate half mix), Fool In The Rain (alternate half mix), Hot Dog (alternate half mix), In The Evening (alternate half mix), South Bound Suarez (alternate half mix), Darlene (alternate half mix), Fool In The Rain (alternate half mix), Carouselambra (alternate half mix)
Empress Valley’s Lost Mixes series is their attempt to release previously unavailable studio outtakes in the best available quality. The previous releases have been great quality but have been criticized for several reasons. The first volume, for example, clocked in at just under a half hour of new fourth album and Physical Graffiti outtakes. Volume 2 contained the well-released Bombay 1972 sessions with only four minutes of new Zeppelin II outtakes. That release caused controversy in the Zeppelin collecting community since it caused the owner of the hour-long Zep II outtakes to withhold them from release.
Volume 4 is the latest release documenting the sessions for the penultimate Zeppelin LP (and the final new material before Bonham’s death) In Through The Outdoor. The majority of this release on the second disc has been released before. The Clearwell Castle demo contains the unfinished track “Fire” which is great. Dominated by the drums much like “When The Levee Breaks”, it’s a shame Zeppelin never completed the song. The Polar Studio “half mixes” are basically the officially released tracks without guitar solos and tiny details left out of the mix. Lost Session Vol. 4 also contains the great almost final mix of “All My Love”, missing the keyboard solo but containing the beautiful Page solo at the very end that was criminally cut out of the final version.
The center of interest for this release is the half hour of new material found on the first disc. Stellar quality, you hear a drum’s 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 let’s out a “fookin’ ‘ell” right before “Fool In The Rain” and it’s a joy to hear. Overall the sound on this title is absolutely fantastic and this is the definitive collection of outtakes from Zeppelin’s final recording session. (GS)If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)