June 1

Led Zeppelin – I Deluxe Edition Remastered Vinyl.

The companion disc for this record is a bit of an odd duck, which makes it a horrible place to start. Most of these deluxe edition companion discs are made up of studio outtakes or alternate versions. For Led Zeppelin – I, Jimmy Page told Mojo:

“There simply wasn’t enough studio material to make that work… The material that was left over from the first album is already out. It’s just fragments really, which you couldn’t really put out. There wasn’t really even enough to pull something together for Record Store Day, so it made sense to look for something else from around that time.”

Instead, the companion disc is a two LP version of a live show from the Paris Olympia in October of 1969. This recording was originally recorded for French radio and was broadcast in November of 1969.

So, how is it and is it worth the $20 I shelled out for it?

Like many live recordings (those without a post-recording studio whitewash, anyway) this recording is rough in spots, with a few brilliant moments elsewhere. The concert opener Good Times Bad Times/Communication Breakdown was a typical opening song… meant to get the crown going while the band is getting it’s sea legs for the rest of the show.

The gems are notable more for their extended jams than their sound quality, a 15 minute version of Dazed and Confused and a 12 minute version of You Shook Me (with some very suggestive groans and grunts from Robert Plant) were show stoppers. An early version of Heartbreaker was a welcome treat.

The deluxe packaging includes some band promo photos and an interesting photo taken from a great balcony seat at the 1969 concert:

Could you imagine having that seat for a LZ show?

I’m glad to have the companion disc, although, due to the recording quality, I doubt it’ll get much play on my turntable.

here’s an interesting aside for you. Ten months before this Paris show, a little known band, billed as Len Zefflin, was set to open for the band Vanilla Fudge at Spokane’s Gonzaga University. This was three weeks before Led Zeppelin I was released and only those “in the know” had any idea who this band was or would be.

This was the 5th U.S. concert by the band and some industrious kid snuck a cassette recorder into the show… this turns out to be the earliest ever recording of Led Zeppelin!

Here’s a YouTube of that 1968 recording:

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