Led Zeppelin – Alts & Takes LZ4 – PG (Boogie Mama)

Alts & Takes LZ4 – PG (Boogie Mama)

(78:14):  Led Zeppelin IV:  Black Dog (alternate mix), Battle Of Evermore (different vocals), Four Sticks (alternate mix), Four Sticks (alternate mix), When The Levee Breaks (alternate mix), When The Levee Breaks (different vocals) (Headley Grange, Hampshire, England – January to February, 1971).  Houses Of The Holy:  No Quarter (instrumental) (Electric Ladyland Studios, New York, NY – June, 1972).  Physical Graffiti:  Kashmir (instrumental), In The Light (alternate vocals), Trampled Underfoot (alternate mix 1), Trampled Underfoot (alternate mix 2), Custard Pie (alternate mix) (Headley Grange, Hampshire, England – January to February, 1974).  The Wanton Song (FM broadcast)

The third of Boogie Mama’s three volume Led Zeppelin outtake compilation focuses upon the band’s mid career output from the four album to Physical Graffiti.  Arguably the height of their compositional skill, they wrote some of their best and most interesting songs.  Like the two other volumes there is no new material, but the sound quality and layout are exceptional and and worth having to those do not otherwise have this material.

Alternate studio takes of songs from the fourth album occupy the first half of the disc.  The first track “Black Dog” is the same as the final version except John Bonham’s counting on his sticks is audible throughout the recording and the guitar solo is a bit longer.  The following track “The Battle Of Evermore” contains a different recording that is found on the LP.  Accompanied by the acoustic guitar and mandolin, Robert Plant sings alone without the aid of Sandy Denny.  The lyrics are also quite different.  

The first “Four Sticks” begins with Bonham drumming and complaining it sounds “too African.”  The second is a pure instrumental take.  The tracks for the fourth album end with two versions of “When The Levee Breaks.”  The first alternate mix first surfaced on Empress Valley’s The Lost Mixes EP Vol. 1 (EVSD 89).  “When The Levee Breaks” begins with inaudible studio chatter and the opening drums are missing, beginning with the first verse.  Absent also is the second verse and some guitar overdubs.  The bass and drums are louder than the final mix.  The second alternate take comes from Akashic’s The Smithereens collection.  There is less echo and there are some alterations in the lyrics. 

The lone Houses Of The Holy era outtakes is an instrumental version of “No Quarter.”   

The balance of the disc contains alternate versions of tracks from Physical Graffiti.  “Kashmir” is a straight up instrumental run through of the commercial version.  It’s followed by the alternate “Elizabethan” arrangement of “In The Light.”  The two “Trampled Under Foot” takes are different mixes of the final commercial version.  

Afterwards is a mix of “Custard Pie” with a different harmonica solo at the end.  (Boogie Mama erred in listing this as “The Wanton Song.”)  The disc ends with the WPLJ recording of “The Wanton Song” which surfaced several years ago.  Overall this is a very nicely assembled and handsomely produced title with interesting Led Zeppelin outtake material.

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  1. Boogie Mama included the Presence era demo on Countdown and came out with In Through The Outdoor and Coda outtakes last year. The Boogie Mama series are by no means comprehensive (all of Zeppelin’s studio outtakes and rehearsals would fit onto about 20 CDs), but these are nicely though out with outstanding sound quality and attractive packaging. I honestly don’t know what they are planning next, if anything.

  2. Thanks for these solidly interesting reviews. Anyone possibly know whether this is the end of Zep studio material by Boogie Mama, or is there possibly another volume or 2 in the series still to (eventually) come? Although “Presence” is prob. my least fave Zep studio album, it seems to be the only one remaining that Boogie Mama may have not yet covered, and I think the only Zep boot CD that I have in my modest Zep boot CD collection that covers “Presence” studio material is the “Brutal Artistry II” 1CD by the Midas Touch label (if I’m remembering correctly) – the one that comes in just a simple cardboard sleeve. So anyone possibly know anything? Thanks again.


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