Led Zeppelin – New Source Collection 1971 (Graf Zeppelin LZSC-871EX)

New Source Collection 1971 (Graf Zeppelin LZSC-871EX)

(79:48) Stairway To Heaven (fragment), Gallow’s Pole, Whole Lotta Love (fragment), Rock And Roll (fragment), Introduction, Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Black Dog (+Source 1 patching), Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Black Dog, C’Mon Everybody (cuts in), High Heeled Sneakers, Communication Breakdown 

Over the course of the past several months there have been a couple of interesting recordings come to the Led Zeppelin community. The Graf Zeppelin label has collected them together as New Source Collection, part of their Gift series of releases. 

Pacific Coliseum, Vancouver, BC, Canada – August 19, 1971 

Stairway To Heaven (fragment), Gallow’s Pole, Whole Lotta Love (fragment), Rock And Roll (fragment) 

There is a long story about the release of this fragment from the first night of the 1971 North American tour. Long story short, the taper recorded most of the concert and was shopping his recording, to confirm the recording was legit there were samples that were eventually leaked to the public. The original tapes have been sold to an unknown buyer and their whereabouts are not known, the possibility of the full recording surfacing is slim. 

The sound samples are lossy which many purists may scoff at but I would rather at least have this than nothing. The sound is easily very good. Jimmy’s guitar and the vocals are clear in the mix, the bass is muddy and Bonzo’s drums are low in the mix all of which are typical of recordings from this era. There is a bit of distortion as one would expect, the bass has a boomy sound to it, all in all a really nice recording. The Stairway To Heaven fragment is 3 minutes long, begins just before Robert sings the first line of the song. Gallow’s Pole clocks in at 5 and a half minutes and is an absolute joy to hear. Like most versions it sounds a bit tentative but once they get into it the tempo picks up nicely, it’s interesting to hear Jimmy’s picking technique on the twelve string portion of the double neck. He also plays a real nice solo and the song finishes high energy. Whole Lotta Love clocks in at just over 3 minutes and features the beginning of the song, Robert imploring the audience to clap along…”I Can’ t Hear Ya” while Jimmy plays a chunky riff variation before finally beginning the song proper a minute in. The recording cuts half the way through to the beginning of Boogie Chillun’. The Rock And Roll fragment is the most fragmented, full track time is 30 seconds with actually only 16 seconds of the very beginning of Rock And Roll, all one can tell is it sounds like it was a storming version. 

The Forum, Inglewood, CA, USA – August 21, 1971 

Introduction, Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Black Dog (+Source 1 patching) 

This is the third source for Led Zeppelin’s first night in Los Angeles on the 1971 tour, there is a unique story to the origins of the recording that appeared on Youtube directly from the taper himself. This is all that the taper recorded, he was sitting front row and was spotted taping, it is reported that Peter Grant came to him and told him to stop recording and took his gear, which surprisingly was returned to him after the concert. This interaction can be heard albeit more difficult as Graf decided to use a portion of a three source merge of the entire concert, I would have preferred to have just the new recording. You can hear the exchange at the 4:38 minute mark of Black Dog and the last 40 seconds of Black Dog is from source 1. You can clearly hear the interaction between the taper, it is certainly not Peter Grant, most assume it is more likely Richard Cole. 

The sound of this recording is very good but is from a lossy source as well. Bonzo’s drums are the loudest instrument yet thankfully the guitar, bass, and vocals are just behind in the mix making for a very powerful sound. Most know of this concert from the widely circulated first source which has appeared on such titles as Walk Don’t Run (Tarantura T4CD-1), DXI-X (Mad Dogs MADDOGSDX3/4), Wild Weekend (The Diagrams Of Led Zeppelin TDOLZ Vol-38), and Fire Crackers Explosion (Empress Valley Supreme Disc EVSD-305/306). The three source mix can be found on L.A. Forum 1971 1st Night (No Label). 

There is more to the story, the taper also attended the September 4, 1970 Blueberry Hill show and took 8 mm footage of it. He has also shared that footage which has been dubbed with the excellent Nite Owl matrix version of the audio. The footage is on YouTube and is essential viewing, it contains the story directly from the man himself, Eddie Vincent and his story of the concert is incredible. For those who have not seen it, prepare to be completely blown away. 

Madison Square Garden, New York City, NY, USA – September 3, 1971 

Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Black Dog 

The Madison Square Garden recording is source 2 taken from an unknown generation of the tape from the collection of Sean the Bootlegger which was shared by The Dogs Of Doom in early 2021. Source 2 has only been released a few times, It’s Been A Long Time (Graf Zeppelin (LZSC-014A/B/C/D) and Madison Square Garden 1971 (Neverland NL-011/012/013/014) both feature both recordings on deluxe 4 CD sets. 

Source 2 is a good recording of a powerful performance. The vocals are the cleanest in the mix, the guitar, bass, and drums are all discernible in mix although the sound is muddy at the beginning it clears up nicely as it goes on, by Since I’ve Been Loving You it is clear and enjoyable. The version here is a small but nice upgrade to the version I have on It’s Been A Long Time (Graf Zeppelin (LZSC-014A/B/C/D). The sound is more detailed and clean with a wider range of frequencies that really allows the recording to breath. The Graf sounds a bit more harsh compared to this version, it would be nice to have the entire source pressed to silver. 

Festival Hall, Osaka, Japan – September 28, 1971 

C’Mon Everybody (cuts in), High Heeled Sneakers, Communication Breakdown 

The final fragment comes from a fresh transfer of the Source 2 master tape of the Osaka September 28, 1971 recording. It has been reported that the taper did not push record properly and did not notice until the end of the concert hence its short 15 minute fragment of the end of the concert. Thankfully the taper managed to capture what the three other recordings did not, the complete High Heeled sneakers and Communication Breakdown ending. The recording is fair to good, it is rather distant and thin and murky sounding. The vocals and guitar are the clearest in the mix, the bass and drums are far difficult to discern and most of the time lost. While the recording has circulated for decades, this transfer was first released in 2018 on 928 Complete Edition (No Label) and is a slight improvement over previous transfers. 

This is certainly a very listenable recording that has been used in virtually all of the source mixes, Come On Everybody (Mud Dogs-008/009/010), The Bachelor Boys First Stand In Osaka (Empress Valley Supreme Disc EVSD-516/517/518), Please Please Me (Tarantura T3CD-4-1~3), C’Mon Everybody (Tarantura TCD-188-1/2/3), Please Please Me (Wendy WECD710928), 928 Complete Edition (No Label), and most recently on the incredible How The East Was Won (Tarantura TCD-220~225) box set from Tarantura covering the entire 1971 tour. 

The inserts have live shots of Led Zeppelin from 1971 plus a couple versions of the Vancouver gig poster making for a pleasing visual presentation. I have seen some negative comments about the Vancouver and Los Angeles recordings being from lossy sources, since this is what currently circulates for these recordings it is the best that is available for now. This is a nice compilation of material from 1971 that can be acquired with a little bit of hunting. 

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