June 5

Led Zeppelin Houses of the Holy – Deluxe Edition Vinyl:

Still great package with a LZ promo photo in front of The Starship, the infamous flying party barge used by many touring acts in the 70s.

Again, the companion disc tracks the original record nearly song for song, omitting only D’yer Mak’er. The trend of presenting 80%-90% finished tracks with minor differences or minus vocals continues.

The Song Remains The Same was basically the original version including all the guitar overdubs, many of which were deleted from the the final.

Again, hearing the many layers of overdubs and instrumentation without the distraction of vocals and lyrics was very interesting… especially on No Quarter. All the small details, the keyboards, the distant echo electronics, the things I take for granted while listening to this song on the original LP are brought into focus.

So, that’s it… my week of Led Zeppelin out-takes and backing tracks, live recordings and never before heard material. Was it worth it?

Leaving out the original LP remasters… which Jimmy Page promised easily trump the sound of the original albums and previous CD masters… is it worth the extra $72.93 for the packaging and the companion discs?

Yes and no.

The additional photos were a plus. The live recording included with LZ I is a nice novelty that may come out again if another LZ fan requests it. The LZ III Jennings Farm Blues and Keys To The Highway/Trouble In Mind make that particular disc worth the extra expense…

But, if Page was trying to emulate what the Beatles did with Anthology, he fell a bit short. I would have preferred to have less polished studio out-takes, more band banter, maybe some general jamming… guitar tuning… a few clams thrown in for a laugh.

The remasters of the original albums do sound great, especially when compared to the beat up, scuffed and scratchy copies I had in The Collection. The companion discs sound great too, but I don’t think there is enough new, enough interesting, enough red meat, to justify the added expense.

If I had it to do over again, I think I’d go bigger. I think I’d go for the Super Deluxe Edition Box Set(s). Those five would have set me back $566 (instead of the $182.36) but come with the CDs, HD downloads, individually numbered album cover art, replica press kit and a 50+ page booklet. I still kick myself that I didn’t buy the MoFi Beatles box when it came out… will I feel the same about this in another 30 years?

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