Strange Tales From The Road (STFTR 001-008)
Disc 1 (70:38): C’mon Everybody, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown, Something Else, Bring It On Home, How Many More Times (Royal Albert Hall, January 9, 1970), The Song Remains the Same/Sick Again, Nobody’s Fault But Mine (Chicago, April 9, 1977)
Disc 2 (61:20): Since I’ve Been Loving You, No Quarter, Ten Years Gone (Chicago, April 9, 1977), Who’s To Blame, Carole’s Theme (Death Wish II soundtrack), Merry Hopkins Never Had Days Like These (B side of PJ Proby single), The Song Remains the Same/Sick Again, Nobody’s Fault But Mine (Tampa, June 3, 1977)
Disc 3 (61:21): The Song Remains the Same/Sick Again, Nobody’s Fault But Mine, Over The Hills and Far Away, Since I’ve Been Loving You, No Quarter (New York, June 14, 1977)
Disc 4 (51:39): Ten Years Gone, The Battle of Evermore, Going to California, Black Country Woman/Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, White Summer/Black Mountain Side/Kashmir (New York, June 14, 1977)
Disc 5 (65:30): Bring It on Home, How Long, Got My Money, Stormy Monday, Splanky, Big Boss Man, Whole Lot of Energy, Love & Money, Invitation, Jimmy Page solo, King Of All I Survey (Nottingham, June 5, 1984)
Disc 6 (22:45): Got My Mojo Working, Every Day I Got the Blues, Hoochie Koochie Man (Nottingham, June 5, 1984)
Disc 7 (37:52): White Summer/Black Mountain Side, Kashmir, Achilles Last Stand, Stairway to Heaven (May? Sept?, 1980)
Disc 8 (49:29): Santa Claus Is Back in Town (NBC studio, Christmas 1984), Spaghetti Junction (Scream For Help soundtrack), Black Dog, That’s The Way, Dazed and Confused (Osaka, September 29, 1971)
This is a straight transfer of the old vinyl set onto compact disc, this is a laudable effort for those of us who were never able to obtain this on vinyl. The only part which is not sourced from the original vinyl is the Royal Albert Hall material, which comes from the soundboard that surfaced in the mid-nineties.
This is a joint project between TDOLZ and The Smokin’ Pig, and it sounds as if they found the noisiest vinyl copy they could find. The pops and the clicks become irritating after a while. And did they have to take this so literally? Instead of just copying the vinyl release, couldn’t they have maybe expanded on the concept? Maybe include other “strange tales” which came to light since the original release, like the Nuremberg show in 1980, or the Milan show from 1971?
That aside, it is interesting to hear some of these shows. The Chicago tape, which was cancelled after Jimmy Page collapsed from food poisoning, is very interesting. It really shows that, despite Page’s ill health, it still sounds decent! They use only the older tape source which misses Plant’s and Richard Cole’s announcements. The Tampa show is the one which was rained out after three songs, and the taper running for cover is audible.
The New York material from June 14 was previously released in Tarantura’s A Week For Badgeholders where it is used for the June 22nd, Los Angeles concert. The playing is inspiring, but the only thing “strange” is the human heartbeat you hear at the end of the “No Quarter” solo. But this is still one of the only ways to get this show on silver disc. The best part of the set is on discs 5 and 6, where Jimmy Page plays in the Alexis Light Orchestra for the Alexis Korner tribute broadcast on Radio Trent. We hear a band composed of Ian Stewart, Jack Bruce, Charlie Watts and others playing blues and jazz standards.