My Experience: Nirvana ~ The 2 Days Punk Went Mainstream…& My Time W/ Kurt Cobain

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My Experience: Nirvana ~ The 2 Days Punk Went Mainstream…& My Time W/ Kurt Cobain

 

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Many of you know by now from previous posts, how I was involved in the music industry so I am not going to go over all that again. If you are new and you would like to know then you can read a lot of posts on just this subject from the last few months at this website. Many more of these will be presented here over time and I hope you get some enjoyment in reading them. This one in particular has been painful to reexamine but I am looking at it as a sort of catharsis, and a way to organize my emotions that have been quite tangled over the years just thinking about it. I was affected by it, and I don’t know how far I will go to explain why.

I have fought my emotions over and over as to whether I should publish this for two reasons; I did not want to write about someone who became a mega cult figure in the world of music just to gain readers, and two for a long time I thought I should let sleeping dogs lie. There are portions of this story that I was aware, and in the middle of, that have caused major shit storms in the media in the past and a lot of people were hurt emotionally. I will have to walk a fine line here so as to not sensationalize this piece, meaning that some things will be spoken of in generalities where people will know what I am talking about, and also may have to leave some specific details out as they are just dirt and have been well covered by the mainstream press.

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My experience of the two days punk went mainstream took place in three small clubs in Boston in the fall of 1991, where the first show on a Monday in late September was in every sense of the word pre-punk mainstream and the next day literally “Oh well whatever, Nevermind”. I decided to write about my experience as an ode and a sad goodbye to my cultural guide for many years, a free weekly entertainment and lifestyle paper which served as my source of news (The Boston Phoenix), and a farewell to it’s sister radio station 101.7 FM WFNX Boston.  This week the final issue was sent to press and the word came down, even as a surprise to workers, that the complete media group would be shutting down for good after a decade of trying to reorganize to save the iconic presence that it held in the difficult media space that we find ourselves in. Ladies and gentlemen this is the death of not only an era for Boston but more importantly the continuation in an age of 092391.0003superficiality that has been brewing for a long time. As Holden Caufield would say we live in a phony time.

I find it akin to Nirvana and all the other great bands at that time wiping the slate clean of decadence and bringing with it heroin chic and doom and gloom. None of the bands were at fault as we know that music in any time period is a reflection of the society as we know it  If the 80’s were all about fun and excess, then the 90’s were about introspection and cutting the fat. Both era’s felt really powerful and exciting, while at the same time courting death as if it was an old friend on standby just waiting to fill the void. The big difference was that in the 80’s seemed without consequence, where the 90’s were all about celebrating the damage that had already been done. They were both thrillingly dangerous coupled with the excitement of endless possibilities. Now the danger has accelerated to  a new level of pharmaceutical purity and as I said a disconnect of virtual 092391.0002superficiality where everyone is a “rockstar” whether everyone else around you knows it or not. It takes “fake it till you make it”, to new levels of obscenity and vulgarity.

So Nirvana was coming to town from Canada and they arrived on September 22, 1991 (the day prior the WFNX Party but were not present at the clubs that I knew of until the next day), they had played a show in Montreal the night before. The reason that Nirvana was coming to town was a result of a number of serendipitous reasons as well as some hard work by a DJ at the local alternative radio station in Boston WFNX. It just so happened that Nirvana had Boston on their minds inadvertently for a long time as big fans of the amazing Boston band The Pixies. Second WFNX was one of the few radio stations that was playing Nirvana early on, well before they were famous. WFNX happened to hold 092391.0004a birthday bash every year where all the clubs on Lansdowne Street hosted up and coming bands as well as some headliners that were on the verge of some trajectory of stardom.

I think the DJ at WFNX I am referring to was Kurt St. John, he ended up doing some interviews with Nirvana (Not the one live on air done at this party) but a few which would be the first, if not only, CD interview with the band released officially by Nirvana’s Label. Earlier in the summer of 1991 St. John basically begged  Nirvana management to play the WFNX birthday bash in September 1991. After some wrangling and persistence by St. John he convinced them to agree to Headline the party at Club Axis. At this time Nirvana only had the album “Bleach” out, as well some singles that would eventually end up on “Incesticide”. A few people had advance promo copies of Nevermind (WFNX being one of them) on cassette and probably CD and I seem to remember hearing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” played on WFNX in the afterhours, at the time 61EZcegYhCL._SY300_not knowing exactly who it was. I had already seen Nirvana play once before with Chad, and it was also the first time I met Kurt…we finished off a bottle of my …. ….. Not proud of it but it happened.

So when I heard they were coming to town for the WFNX bash, I was excited but I had no idea. I had seen many bands that got my attention early on and after they had received some commercial success only to fizzle out or just maintain a cult following…so this was how I imagined it would go as well. I was going or working at every show I could any day of the week because it was essential to me to hear the latest and the greatest of what was to come. Because I was around the clubs most of the day in the preparation stages of setting up and on days like the WFNX Birthday…officials from the record labels as well as radio representatives would be there along with members of the crew and the bands. Being in this position I saw almost everyone that was coming or going throughout the day.

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This was the point where the sound engineers would be consulting with the bands as to what the they required for setup for them to play. Amplifiers, guitars, drums, etc. were brought into the clubs. Each club had it’s own security and crew setting up for the evening festivities. One thing that was different this night is that Nirvana was going to be performing a sort of record release night. The night of the WFNX bash was the day before the release of “Nevermind” and of course few if anyone knew what was about to happen ( at least how big ). On days like this there was always a heady excitement in the air…so I look back and remember that I recognized it was to be special night as everyone was running around like chickens with their heads cut off.

At some point in the late afternoon Smashing Pumpkins arrived as did Nirvana and the other two bands that were opening that night, it was the first time seeing their new drummer Dave. Kurt was with his “girlfriend” at least I thought it was his girlfriend she was around the whole two days and they seemed more than just friends. I did not give any more attention to it friend or girlfriend, they were close I’ll put it that way. So Nirvana did their sound check and they tore the roof off…I thought holy shit, I don’t remember them being this good. I do remember thinking their new drummer hit the skins as hard as John Bonham…no joke he was that good. Soon after their sound check I ran into Kurt and he remembered who I was because he walked up to me and I said something like…’The new drummer holy shit.’ Kurt replied…”That’s Dave he’s great”. I said I’ll be around for the duration if you guys need anything just let me know. Kurt said “Thanks, I’ll see you later.” I then went to get dinner on Boylston Street and stopped by Tower Records and I knew someone who worked there and after telling him I was going to the Nirvana show that night and I can’t wait to get the new album. He said I have something for you…he gave me the “Nevermind” cassette without a cover or artwork, I was on cloud nine to say the least. After a quick meal it was back to Lansdowne for the night.

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The best thing I remember about the two days was just being around to take it all in(I know that sounds camp)…I look back on it now and I remember bumping into Kurt several times over the two days and having a smoke. He was very shy but personable. At one point he seemed to put me in a psych corner, asking me what music I listened to. I told him everything from Metal to Classical to Jazz and Punk. He said something about “Macho”. I was not shy and I told him “I Fucking hate Machismo…” I said ‘I joke about the Men Men Men thing, but I get along better with women than men. Not in a sexual way, I have a lot of girls that are friends, more than guys. I know it sounds cliche but I remember having short chat about gays as well because I worked at the gay nights although I was not gay (not that it mattered anyway but that’s how it came up), I’m comfortable in my sexuality.’ (I said with a smile) Kurt was like ok, smirking “I get it” as if a tip to calm down. I remember vividly thinking he’s probably going to ditch me now. He did not, we just had a smoke and I remember him also saying to me “Boston is a great city.” He was always on the move and had a lot of people shuffling him around. So I had chats with him when we found ourselves standing near each other off and on over the next two days.

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Kurt wasn’t around a lot…I found out later that he was hanging out with his girlfriend, would’nt you do the same. Dave and Krist were around most of the time doing promotional stuff. I found it funny that Kurt just ditched it. Of course what we know of Nirvana now it 092391.19was not a stretch to see Kurt disappear on all the phonies. Krist and Dave were funny to watch and were constantly joking around. When Kurt was around he was selectively responsive and short in conversation with others in an ironic way. Depending on who he was talking to he could switch right into sweet and kind mode. It was interesting just watching him talk to people, he seemed to have a very active intuition about people…he would take in the vibe and then return with a similar response on a dime. He was definitely an interesting person, and as I found a joy to be around.

Now to logistics, if you’ve ever been to Axis you would know there really is not any backstage, just a small area to the side of the stage House Right Stage Left speaker avalonaxis 11 lstacks. There is a door there that leads to a fenced in alley between what was then Axis and Club Venus De Milo. This is were people would hang out and smoke or catch a breath of fresh air. The backstage for Axis was either the second floor up one of two stairwells as well as a door that led to a room off the second floor above the stage of Avalon Club. The bands, crew, and security would wander between the three clubs as food was being served. A while later they did an on air interview with WFNX which I did not see, but then they went onto the stage at Bill’s Bar and MTV was there where they filmed all the bands playing Crisco Twister. Krist was the most outgoing slathering himself up in Crisco (See Video). Kurt, Dave, James Iha, and Billy Corgan jumped in as well.

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Next was the show for the first night, I heard the Smashing Pumpkins go on so I went in the side door. They were amazing but way too short. Bullet Lavoltta was great as well…at that point I was really excited for Nirvana the place was sweaty and packed! The crowd was like the tide going in and out, undulating to the beats and harmonies. Axis Club which 092391.16was a black hole (even when empty and the lights on) and smelled of piss and rubber latex, but that night had turned into a black mass. The altar on which legends are made, and the crowd was lovingly violent. The floor in front of the stage only held several hundred people and all the wings were standing room only. I remember thinking why did they not have this at Avalon. I didn’t go on about it because I was in…I did wonder how many of the masses of people lined up down the street got in. There were three shows going on at once, one at Venus, one at Axis, and one at Avalon. How it would work is, you had to get into the club you wanted early because if one was full, as Axis was, you could wait for people to leave or go to one of the other clubs. In this case that meant being shut out and have to settle with another venue.

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I remember talking to people later on that had no idea who Nirvana was and went to the other clubs instead. Major fail, as we say today. It took a while for Nirvana to go on and when they did it was just Dave and Krist…Kurt came a bit later, it seemed like forever.  When they ripped into their first song, the place went absolutely mental. The songs that stood out for me were, Drain You, “Jesus Don’t want me for a sunbeam” (their first known performance of this) and “Rape Me” which would not be out for a few more years on “In Utero”. I was mesmerized and in love, all the talk was that this band was going to be huge. Now thinking back it reminds me of how Lemmy of Motorhead described what it was like before and after rock and roll. Lemmy said somewhere that he ‘remembers what it was like before Rock and Roll’. All there was and I’m paraphrasing here, ‘was your mothers Rosemary Clooney Records, then all of a sudden there was Elvis, Little Richard, and Jerry Lee Lewis.’ When I heard him say this all I could think of was these Nirvana shows. Exactly how it felt…there was before and after, like a demarcation in time, as if that time had stopped for a while and then started again. Everything was somehow different. I’m not trying to be dramatic here, it’s just how it was.

Nirvana: Live at the Axis Nightclub – September 23, 1991
Intro
Aneurysm
Drain You
School
Smells Like Teen Spirit
Come As You Are
Sliver
Jesus Don’t Want Me For A Sunbeam
Floyd The Barber
Polly
About A Girl
Breed
Rape Me
Blew
Been A Son
Negative Creep

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After the show was over I was pretty hopped up so I went to a friends house that was having a late night party. When I got there I told people what I had just witnessed and I said you have to hear their new album…so I put the cassette in a boom box and played “Nevermind” in full. The reaction was negative from everyone, I think the words used was, “hated it” and this was a crowd into new and heavy music. I was stunned, they did not get it. It’s safe to say that a month later they were all listening to “Nevermind” on repeat. I never mentioned the cold greeting it got when I first played it that night. Not only that I did not pursue any of them to go the next day to the second show as a result of their reaction. So I got fired up that night on chemicals, alcohol, and my beloved cough syrup. What a blur!

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Photo Courtesy of Doc! Oh Well, Whatever, NEVERMIND!

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Woke up the next day early afternoon and shook off the cobwebs and head back to Lansdowne for the second early show. They had decided to add another show that day September 24, 1991 because the first show was 21+ this way younger people could get in. It really seemed like everyone in the band was having a great time here in Boston. I was quite proud of that. That Boston could stand tall against bigger markets in terms of music quality, with top shelf audio engineers, crew, and staff second to none.

Again it was another blowout  It was magnificent, the sets were a little different, on order especially. The standouts were Come As You Are, .Breed, Pennyroyal Tea, and my favorite song Dive. I only remember the setlist because I have the recordings of these shows. Thank God someone realized that this was history in the making and knew to record it. I’ve recorded some great shows as well but this was before my rogue recording career was in full swing.

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Nirvana: Live at the Axis Nightclub – September 24, 1991

Jesus Wants Me For A Sunbeam
Drain You
Floyd The Barber
Sliver
Smells Like Teen Spirit
Come As You Are
Breed
About A Girl
Satisfaction
Territorial Pissings
Pennyroyal Tea
School
Blew
Negative Creep
Been A Son
Dive

When It was all over it really took years to sink in as to how great that moment was. Now I am able to look at it with a smile. Nirvana was not on my mind, although I do remember thinking it would be great to see them again. So when I was in the UK the next year I saw them at the Reading Festival…I was now just a face in a crowd of hundreds of thousands it was weird but still fun. The thoughts of the guys in Nirvana just walking around unknown, flashed in my memory and now this. OMG! My next recollection in regard to this time that would cause me to sink into the very lowest point in my life. It was April of 1994 and I was driving through Kenmore Square in Boston, and I heard over the radio that Kurt had died of a self inflicted gun shot wound to the head. I went into a trance it seemed, like I had been punched in the gut. I almost got in an accident pulling over to the side of the road in busy traffic. I was gutted.

The next few days I reflected on my life what was important family, etc…and I had a mean drug habit as well. This is why it was so hard to even begin this piece. I was one of the lucky one’s. I was able to clean up quite fast, still at such a young age, and sad to say that it had to take something like this to happen. I probably would have straightened out eventually anyway…it was in my thoughts already. I was using hard and not getting high anymore no matter how much I tried, I think what saved me was that I never hit the needle. Too many of my friends are dead from guns and drugs so much pain for the families left behind…so much freaking wreckage!

There seems to be a cult following of Kurt today and he was not a superstar first, he was not a God, he was just a person. Nirvana was really something special and for a moment in time it felt like we could fly….Two for the ages!

 

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Up the Irons, Droogies! 🙂

 

Thanks, as always, for your support.

RIP~ Tommy Ramone!

 

Enjoy, more interesting articles to come!

Cheers and Bless Bless!

 

CM ☕

 

 

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The Best Of The “Led Zeppelin” Catalog Pressings…[Post Special] [Second Pass Edit 07/02/14]

Today Up On Christmachine Audio Reference Music Server :

 

The Best Of The “Led Zeppelin” Catalog Pressings…[Post Special]

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You will not find underground compilation lists like this anywhere else on the worldwide web. Christmachine Audio Reference Music Server Exclusive!

It’s what I call Guerrilla Listening Sessions…I’m on Fire here!!!

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

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The Best Of The “Led Zeppelin” Catalog Pressings…[Post Special] Part 1 of 2

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

This first section was written early on, I have returned to edit to make it seemless with part two, no latency here. I do not yet know how this mega post review is going to be laid out yet. I know that sounds strange, but I know what releases make the grade, just not sure how I will lay it out here. So this should be interesting. I have been listening to only Led Zeppelin for two weeks now and I am ready to lay it all on the line. Well almost, I had to listen to other stuff like The Black Crowes first three albums in Hi-res to rest my mind. OMG The Black Crowes in Hi-rez (listening now) & The Black Sabbath Dio Albums as well (I’m In good hands fo’ sho’!!!) Obviously that is not to say that this list did not take many years of listening to compile. I had my favorites, but I had to take into account the Deluxe Reissues released at the beginning of this month. This includes the first three records of the catalog reissues, in all three formats available, including CD’s, 24Bit/96kHz Hi-Res, and vinyl.

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

At first I had a very hard time being as subjective as possible because although there are the releases that I clearly prefer. There were also many releases that had decent quality, although I still did not prefer them (or find their sound quality better) over my original favorites… some were close but clearly not superior. Therefore different from the few reviews I have done so far, I decided to add some new factors into my decisions specific for this review based on availability, price, and reputation. Of course sound quality will always be the number one determining factor, but there are releases (especially the Original and early Vinyl) that come very close to the best although they are still inferior IMHO.The thing is many people do not know the difference, so I build this guide with you in mind so you can go directly to the pressings recommended and know you are getting decent sound quality even if you have to settle with sources farther down the list. Still although there is lots of good, the bad is still quite bad…I expose the comparable sources with easier availability at a better price and acceptable sound quality to boot. The Law of diminishing returns is in full effect.

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

What it came down to here fundamentally was what sound signature each listener is used to. So I am happy to announce there are a lot of choices for the general listening public, it depends a lot on what you know as “The Led Zeppelin Sound” as well as your budget and dedication to the craft of mastering and pressing. For example some reviews I am able to wipe out a whole swath of choices because say there were no good quality CD releases. That is definitely not the case here, with some searching It is possible to find an excellent quality CD in the used CD bins at any record store (or online) on the cheap, as long as you know what the specific years, mastering, and pressings from which the CD or vinyl for sale was cut.

 

 

Here is the Led Zeppelin Discography Referred to throughout this review:

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

Led Zeppelin (1969)
Led Zeppelin II (1969)
Led Zeppelin III (1970)
Led Zeppelin IV (1971)
Houses of the Holy (1973)
Physical Graffiti (1975)
Presence (1976)
In Through the Out Door (1979)
Coda (1982)

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First We’ll Start with the CD’s:

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

For the CD’s there were two early masterings… The Original 1980’s Atlantic Barry Diament/ Joe Sidore’s and the 1990’s Marino/Page Remasters. It does not matter which countries for the Diament/Sidore’s (US, German, Canadian, Japanese, etc.) the specific year of release is more important as it varies sometimes by one or more years depending on country. Although Barry Diament has stated publicly that he can hear a difference in CD sound quality from one pressing plant to the next. You probably will not be able to tell the difference unless you are a super fan and have multiple copies of which to compare, if at all.

Recommended CD’s Original 1980’s Atlantic Diament/Sidore Example:

http://www.discogs.com/Led-Zeppelin-Led-Zeppelin/release/895323

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

So my standard recommendations would be to look for any of the 1980’s Original Atlantic Diament/Sidore CD’s, they have the punch and dynamics to be highly recommended here. The only caveat would be Led Zeppelin IV (the only title to be mastered by Joe Sidore only), It is well known that he had a sub par copy of the Original Analogue Masters. You would think that with the importance of LZ IV they would get it right, but he only had access to inferior tape. Then again on the other side of the coin they have never made available the Original Analog Master Tapes of Led Zeppelin IV, or any other release ever from Zep, other than for the Original Vinyl from the Complete Catalog, but that’s another story. This is not a killer for me as I still prefer the 1980’s Original Atlantic Led Zeppelin IV mastered by Sidore. If you’re feeling dangerous then try 1990’s Zeppelin IV George Marino Remaster (cheap used) and compare it against the 1980’s Original. Also the Marino Zep IV’s suffer from early fades, unforgivable by some. Get both on the cheap and compare yourself, you’ll see what I mean.

Overall none of the 1990’s Marino Remasters are recommended here as they Distort when turned up loud. They are a victim of “The Loudness Wars” and they do not have 20974_1074039588034_3176351_nthe same tight punch that the 1980’s Diament/Sidore’s have. One other problem to note on some of the early 1980’s Diament/Sidore’s, from a few pressing plants have the channels reversed, so be aware if you are a long time listener. This is not restricted to CD’s, it affects vinyl as well. Again if you don’t know the difference, just listen and enjoy!

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

Here we can jump on quickly to the June 2014 digital remasters of the first three records just released this month. All of the formats (24Bit/96kHz Hi-res, CD & Vinyl: All Digitally Sourced) were sourced from  24Bit/192kHz digital transfers of the original analog tapes. They were then mastered, compressed, and dithered down to their respective formats. IMO I still like the 1980’s Diament/Sidore’s over these 2014 remaster CD’s, however they are an acceptable CD pressing (espcially over the 1990 Marino Remasters) and if your not hung up on the sound of the Original 1980’s CD’s you will still get good sound and that is great news for all. Dynamically speaking they are not as good as the 1980’s Originals, you will find an prime example here where a lower DR is not the be all end all for the sound quality. Remember kids it’s all about the mastering!

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

Coming from the same source as the CD’s, with the added improvement of higher bit depth and sample rate, the Hi-Res 24Bit/96kHz although different in many ways and (IMO) a step down in sound quality from the Original 1980’s CD’s. The 2014 Deluxe Reissue vinyl is included in this, I could not hear much difference between the 2014 Hi-Res and the 2014 vinyl, except for the added warmth typical of vinyl. The 2014 remasters have superior detail over the 1980’s Diament /Sidore’s but I still prefer raw sound of the original 1980’s CD’s. One complaint that I can render from all these 2014 remasters is that they have a more clinical sound signature. So if your a vinyl hound and are not on an endless search for a clean copy of the original vinyls then the 2014 Remastered Vinyl and Hi-Res are a worthy and easily accessible format. With that said I still believe that the 1980’s Diament/Sidore Mastered CD’s are better than all formats of the 2014 Deluxe Reissues. When I mentioned a step down that is subjective opinion on my part, as I said earlier what you make of these 2014 digital remasters will depend on what the “Led Zeppelin Sound” is to you. Many will hear the clarity and detail of the remasters and say they are better. Food for thought.

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

The last angle has to do with price and availability. The Original 1980’s Japanese Diament/Sidore mastered CD’s have excellent sound as well, the problem is their availability and price. Add in the Original Red OBI and the price goes up significantly. So unless you are a collector or find one of these CD’s on the cheap I would just go with the other 1980’s Diament/ Sidore’s recommended. One last thought stay away from the 2008 SHM Japanese Releases either in the original box set or separately. Here is an incidence where Japanese does not mean better sound. They are said to be sourced from the 1990’s remasters, and when I heard them, all I got was louder and more compressed in a bad way. They may be no different from the 1990’s Marino CD’s but just a tad louder. You know how I feel about “Louder”. Next!

Recommended CD’s Original 1980’s Japanese Atlantic Diament/Sidore Example:

http://www.discogs.com/Led-Zeppelin-Led-Zeppelin/release/3864824

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

 

The Best Of The “Led Zeppelin” Catalog Pressings…[Post Special] Part 2 of 2

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

CD Vs Vinyl Vs Hi-Res Digital Vs. Hi-Res Vinyl Rips…

Read this well articulated piece on Led Zeppelin Vinyl, before reading on…my previous concerns are touched on here as to value and the Law of Diminishing Returns:

Taken From The “Every Record Tells A Story” Blog…Link Below Excerpt,

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

“in contrast to the general rule of record collecting that if you buy an early pressing from the country of origin of the artist, you are most likely to be nearer the source tapes, and therefore the sound ought to be better. It seems Led Zep are an exception: they had such great success in the USA that this generally fairly reliable guideline doesn’t hold true – after the first album at least. I didn’t know it at the time, but my US pressing was pretty early and has excellent sound – probably better than an equivalent UK version.”

http://everyrecordtellsastory.com/2014/03/03/led-zeppelin-a-vinyl-buyers-guide/

Now that I’ve got that out of the way, I can get back to form with the Original Vinyl as well as the Classic 45 Reissues and others. How I will do this is start by listing each record of the full Led Zeppelin Catalog. With each record I will list in order IMHO what the best pressings / releases are, and I will incorporate the Original 1980’s Atlantic Barry Diament/ Joe Sidore releases as well as the 2014 Deluxe Remasters.

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

You can feel safe knowing I’m in the ballpark after listening to no less than 138 Led Zeppelin Vinyl Sources over the last two weeks. I already had my favorites but had to make a few swaps here and there after some aggressive A/Bing as well as some recent acquisitions. ADHD helps in this regard.:) Also I heard someone say in another forum vinyl rips are not the same as listening to vinyl….bullshit, if your sources drivelines and methodology are the best anywhere, whatever is on that vinyl will come through so transparent and quiet with very limited post processing. Therefore I can say with complete confidence that this technology does not just reveal limitations of the source tapes…it enhances them!

 

 

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

 

Led Zeppelin I (1969) Best Releases / Pressings:

L1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Led Zeppelin – I (1969) (Original US George Piros/Monarch Pressing) Ans2TheMstr Vinyl Rip > transferred to 24Bit/48kHz ALAC .MP4 [Hi-Rez]

2. Led Zeppelin – I (1969) (German Strawberry Pressing) Mach5 Vinyl Rip  > Transferred to 24Bit/96kHz Lossless Flac [HI-RES]

3. Led Zeppelin – I (1969/2006) (Classic Records 45 RPM Reissue) FnlMstr (NC) Vinyl Rip > Transferred to 24Bit/96kHz Lossless Flac [HI-RES]

4. Led Zeppelin – I (1969) (Original UK Plum LP) Early AT33PTG Vinyl Rip   > Transferred to 16Bit/44.1kHz Lossless Flac

5. Led Zeppelin – I (1969/1987) (1987 US Atlantic Barry Diament/Joe Sidore Mastered CD) 16Bit/44.1kHz Lossless Flac

6. Led Zeppelin – I (1969/1987) (1987 Barry Diament/Joe Sidore Japan Atlantic Mastered CD) 16Bit/44.1kHz Lossless Flac

7. Led Zeppelin – I (1969/2014) (2014 Deluxe Digital Remaster) Vinyl Rip  > Transferred to 24Bit/96kHz Lossless Flac [HI-RES]

8. Led Zeppelin – I (1969/2014) (2014 Deluxe Digital Remaster) HD Tracks 24Bit/96kHz Lossless Flac [HI-RES]

9. Led Zeppelin – I (1969/2014) (2014 Deluxe Digital Remaster CD) 16Bit/44.1kHz Lossless Flac

This is the list for Zep 1 but as I said before, don’t fret if you can’t get a hold of any original Zep Vinyl…you will go broke. Just reach and search for the pressings/releases farther down the list.

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

 

Led Zeppelin II (1969) Best Releases / Pressings:

L2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Led Zeppelin – II (1969) (Original US Robert Ludwig Pressing) Ans2TheMstr Vinyl Rip > Transferred to 24Bit/96kHz Lossless Flac [HI-RES]

2. Led Zeppelin – II (1969/2006) (Classic Records 200 Gram Reissue) LegMstr Vinyl Rip > Transferred to 24Bit/48kHz Lossless Flac [HI-RES]

3. Led Zeppelin – II (1969/1987) (1987 US Atlantic Barry Diament/Joe Sidore Mastered CD) 16Bit/44.1kHz Lossless Flac

4. Led Zeppelin – II (1969/1987) (1987 Barry Diament/Joe Sidore Japan Atlantic Mastered CD) 16Bit/44.1kHz Lossless Flac

5. Led Zeppelin – II (1969/2014) (2014 Deluxe Digital Remaster) Vinyl Rip  > Transferred to 24Bit/96kHz Lossless Flac [HI-RES]

6. Led Zeppelin – II (1969/2014) (2014 Deluxe Digital Remaster) HD Tracks 24Bit/96kHz Lossless Flac [HI-RES]

7. Led Zeppelin – II (1969/2014) (2014 Deluxe Digital Remaster CD) 16Bit/44.1kHz Lossless Flac

 

The Original US Robert Ludwig Mastered Vinyl Blows all others away. Clarity, Control, and punch…unsurpassed. From which all other Led Zeppelin II’s are judged!

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

Led Zeppelin III (1970) Best Releases / Pressings:

L3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Led zeppelin – III (1970) (Original Canadian Pressing) FnlMstr (NC) Vinyl Rip > Transferred to 24Bit/96kHz Lossless Flac [HI-RES]

2. Led Zeppelin – III (1970/2006) (Classic Records 45 RPM Reissue) ZxAryMstr Vinyl Rip > Transferred to 24Bit/96kHz Lossless Flac [HI-RES]

3. Led Zeppelin – III (1970) (Original UK Atlantic) Vinyl Rip > Transferred to 24Bit/96kHz Lossless Flac [HI-RES]

4. Led Zeppelin – III (1969/1987) (1987 US Atlantic Barry Diament/Joe Sidore Mastered CD) 16Bit/44.1kHz Lossless Flac

5. Led Zeppelin – III (1969/1987) (1987 Barry Diament/Joe Sidore Japan Atlantic Mastered CD) 16Bit/44.1kHz Lossless Flac

6. Led Zeppelin – III (1969/2014) (2014 Deluxe Digital Remaster) Vinyl Rip  > Transferred to 24Bit/96kHz Lossless Flac [HI-RES]

7. Led Zeppelin – III (1969/2014) (2014 Deluxe Digital Remaster) HD Tracks 24Bit/96kHz Lossless Flac [HI-RES]

8. Led Zeppelin – III (1969/2014) (2014 Deluxe Digital Remaster CD) 16Bit/44.1kHz Lossless Flac

I could not find a clean Original US Atlantic Vinyl Rip, if I could it probably would rank high on this list from what I’ve heard from others. Conjecture of course.

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Bron-y-aur!

 

 

Led Zeppelin IV (1971) Best Releases / Pressings:

L4

 

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1. Led Zeppelin – IV (1971) (Original US Pressing) FnlMstr (NC) Vinyl Rip > Transferred to 24Bit/96kHz Lossless Flac [HI-RES]

2. Led Zeppelin – IV (1971) (Original US Pressing) Mach5 Vinyl Rip  > Transferred to 24Bit/96kHz Lossless Flac [HI-RES]

3. Led Zeppelin – IV (1971) (Original US 1841 Broadway LP George Peckham “Porky” PECKO DUCK Matrix) Early AT33PTG Vinyl Rip   > Transferred to 16Bit/44.1kHz Lossless Flac

4. Led Zeppelin – IV (1971) (ZoSo) (Rare UK 1st Stamper) Vinyl Rip > Transferred to 24Bit/192kHz Lossless Flac [HI-RES]

5. Led Zeppelin – IV (1971/2006) (Classic Records Reissue) LegMstr Vinyl Rip > Transferred to 24Bit/48kHz ALAC .MP4 [HI-RES]

6. Led Zeppelin – IV (1971/1985) (1985 US Atlantic Joe Sidore Mastered CD) 16Bit/44.1kHz Lossless Flac

7. Led Zeppelin – IV (1971/1985) (1985 Atlantic Japan Joe Sidore Mastered CD) 16Bit/44.1kHz Lossless Flac

8. Led Zeppelin – IV (1971/1994) (1994 Atlantic US George Marino/Jimmy Page Re-Mastered CD) 16Bit/44.1kHz Lossless Flac

 

As I said earlier that this is the only CD that was Originally Mastered by Joe Sidore only with an inferior copy of the analogue tapes…I still prefer it over the 1994 George Marino Re-Master but others go for this remaster even with the unforgivable early fades, overly compressed, and loud mastering. Uncrankable without distorting and ear fatigue city. Not much choice other than the vinyl and hopefully the coming 2014 Deluxe Reissues. See for yourself.

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

 

Led Zeppelin – Houses of the Holy (1973) Best Releases / Pressings:

L5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Led Zeppelin – Houses Of The Holy (1973) (Original UK “Porky” George Peckham Pressing) Ans2TheMstr Vinyl Rip > Transferred to 24Bit/96kHz Lossless Flac [HI-RES]

2. Led Zeppelin – Houses Of The Holy (1973) (Original US Robert Ludwig Pressing) Ans2TheMstr Vinyl Rip > Transferred to 24Bit/96kHz Lossless Flac [HI-RES]

3.  Led Zeppelin – Houses Of The Holy (1973/2006) (Classic Records 45 RPM Reissue) FnlMstr Vinyl Rip > Transferred to 24Bit/48kHz ALAC .MP4 [HI-RES]

4. Led Zeppelin – Houses Of The Holy (1973/1987) (1987 US Atlantic Barry Diament/Joe Sidore Mastered CD) 16Bit/44.1kHz Lossless Flac

5. Led Zeppelin – Houses Of The Holy (1973/1987) (1987 Barry Diament/Joe Sidore Japan Atlantic Mastered CD) 16Bit/44.1kHz Lossless Flac

 

 

UK George Peckham Porky Beats out US Robert Ludwig IMHO. This is my favorite Zeppelin album with II right at it’s heels!

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

 

Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti (1975) Best Releases / Pressings:

L6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti (1975) (Original US Pressing)  Ans2TheMstr Vinyl Rip > transferred to 24Bit/48kHz ALAC .MP4 [Hi-Rez]

2. Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti (1975/2006) (Classic Records 2LP 200gr Pressing) Vinyl Rip > Transferred to 24Bit/96kHz Lossless Flac [HI-RES]

3. Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti (1975/2006) (Classic Records Reissue) LegMstr Vinyl Rip > transferred to 24Bit/48kHz ALAC .MP4 [Hi-Rez]

4. Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti (1975) (UK) Early AT33PTG Vinyl Rip   > Transferred to 16Bit/44.1kHz Lossless Flac

5. Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti (1975/1987) (1987 US Atlantic Swan Song 2XCD Barry Diament/Joe Sidore Mastered CD’s) 16Bit/44.1kHz Lossless Flac

 

If you can get hold of 1987 US Atlantic Swan Song 2XCD Barry Diament/Joe Sidore Mastered CD’s it is highly recommended.

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

 

Led Zeppelin – Presence (1976) Best Releases / Pressings:

L7

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Led Zeppelin – Presence (1976/2006) (Classic Records 45 RPM Reissue) FnlMstr (NC) Vinyl Rip > Transferred to 24Bit/96kHz Lossless Flac [HI-RES]

2. Led Zeppelin – Presence (1976) (German Second Pressing) Ans2TheMstr Vinyl Rip > transferred to 24Bit/48kHz ALAC .MP4 [Hi-Rez]

3. Led Zeppelin – Presence (1976/1987) (1987 US Atlantic Swan Song Barry Diament/Joe Sidore Mastered CD) 16Bit/44.1kHz Lossless Flac

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

 

 

Led Zeppelin – In Through the Out Door (1979) Best Releases / Pressings:

L8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Led Zeppelin – In Through The Out Door (1979) (Original US Pressing) Ans2TheMstr Vinyl Rip > Transferred to 24Bit/96kHz Lossless Flac [HI-RES]

2. Led Zeppelin – In Through The Out Door (1979/2006) (Classic Records Reissue) LegMstr Vinyl Rip > transferred to 24Bit/48kHz ALAC .MP4 [Hi-Rez]

3. Led Zeppelin – In Through The Out Door (1979/1988) (1988 US Atlantic Swan Song Barry Diament/Joe Sidore Mastered CD) 16Bit/44.1kHz Lossless Flac

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

 

Led Zeppelin – Coda (1982) Best Releases / Pressings:

L9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.Led Zeppelin – Coda (1982/2006) (Classic Records Reissue) LegMstr Vinyl Rip > transferred to 24Bit/48kHz ALAC .MP4 [Hi-Rez]

2. Led Zeppelin –  Coda (1982/1988) (1988 US Atlantic Swan Song Barry Diament/Joe Sidore Mastered CD) 16Bit/44.1kHz Lossless Flac

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

 

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Final Verdict Overall: I recommend that if you cannot get a hold of the Early Vinyl, you search out the 1980’s Barry Diament/ Joe Sidore Mastered CD’s. They are the unsurpassed digital version of the RAW Led Zeppelin “Sound”. As you can see from my rankings all versions of the 2014 Deluxe Reissues fall behind the 1980’s Diament/Sidore Masterings. As I said earlier you may love the 2014 Deluxe Reissues. Whether or not that is the case is up to you. This may be a good time to start to get a trained ear by acquiring different pressings as you probably already have one or two releases. If not and want to just save your cash, you now know which releases to go directly after and enter bliss.

I hope this gives you some reference information. I will be updating it over time as the music continues to evolve. The next batch of Deluxe Issues are slated for Early Fall 2014. Thank you all for you questions, comments, and words of wisdom. Do What Thou Whilt!

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So there you have it…thanks for reading and your massive support.

Bless Bless!

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

 

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