Led Zeppelin – Summer Jazz (Golden Eggs EGG 133)

Led Zeppelin, ‘Summer Jazz’ (Golden Eggs EGG 133)

Introduction / The Train Kept A Rolling’ / I Can’t Quit You Baby / Dazed And Confused / You Shook Me / How Many More Times / Communication Breakdown / Long Tall Sally (63:55)

Newport Jazz Festival, Newport, Rhode Island. July 6th, 1969.

My first experience of this tape was on Tarantura’s, ‘Jazz But Rock’ – so explosive, I can recall where I was when I heard it (Relaxing in the bath) and remember thinking, “Now, THIS is a bootleg!”. As reedy and unstructured as the ‘69 Stones boots that me and my friend binged on when I took the train to visit him.

The taper, there for the seriousness of the occasion, but with suitably unprepared equipment which would highlight the struggle of the sound system and the fact that the ordinary concert goer wouldn’t fully consider packing a fresh set of batteries just in case. It was 12 long years ago when the T2K label put out their version, noted on this site by GSparco as superior to previous releases on Tarantura and Empress Valley, it was a mix of two different sources, this new version appears to be another composite – Though I’m sure someone will tell us for certain – The Tarantura 2000 version is long out of print, was it the right time for the Golden Eggs label to put out a remaster for our collections? This one purports to iron out the creases of the original tape and bolsters the sound a little more, giving it a little more bass to the bottom end.

To this end, the sound is thicker and more full, the anomaly that pushed Jimmy over to the left on the original recording is panned out a little more evenly over the stereo, however, for it’s remastering, it comes over a sludgier and less bright. Normally not a problem but because of this, you end up losing a little of the rhythm as it’s condensed a little too tightly. There are also elements of air on the tape on the GE version that are much quieter on the T2K version (Witness, ‘I Can’t Quit You’) which comes at the expense of the audience noise. Robert’s microphone suffers some serious problems through out the concert – An issue that no amount of remastering can fix.

On the GE version, there’s a grab of static between a member of the audience saying “You wouldn’t do that to me” and the beginning of ‘The Train Kept A-Rolling’ that sounds like a pneumatic-drill, this is absent on the T2K version.

The packaging already had me excited, a deluxe looking black and white with red script for a front cover, a distant, artfully blurred red-chromatic image of the band on the back. The inside features a plethora of shots from the show (Mainly of Robert) and a neat little write up of the show and it’s recording by ‘The Rover’. It’s a cool looking set up.

Conversely, there’s elements of the both that I’m happy with, the shallow sound of the T2K tape sounds good to me, there are elements that can be more clearly heard, on the unprocessed tape, there are parts of the remaster that bring a sharpness out in the concert that you might miss otherwise.

Unfortunately, I’m going to still suggest that you need both the T2K and Golden Eggs versions – As subjective and as definitive we try to be, there’s a lot to be said for having them both.

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