THE COMPLETE ROCK PILE TAPES
|The Chronicles Of Led Zeppelin TCOLZ 031/032/033/034/035
|The Rock Pile, Toronto, Ontario, Canada - February 2, 1969/August 18, 1969
|45:37, 52:39, 53:05, 29:03, 79:22
|Fatboy jewel case
|The Complete Rock Pile Tapes front
SOUND 7.5 / PACKAGING 9
/ PERFORMANCE 9
Disc 1: February 2,1969 - Introduction, The Train Kept A Rollin', I Can't Quit You Baby, Dazed And Confused, You Shook Me, Killing Floor, How Many More Times
Disc 2: August 18,1969 1st show -
Introduction/The Train Kept A Rollin', I Can't Quit You Baby, Dazed And Confused, You Shook Me, How Many More Times
Disc 3: August 18,1969 2nd show (1st source) - Introduction, The Train Kept A Rollin', I Can't Quit You Baby, Dazed And Confused, White Summer/Black Mountain Side, You Shook Me
August 18, 1969 2nd show (1st source continued) - How Many More Times, Communication Breakdown
Disc 5: August 18, 1969 2nd show (2nd source) - The Train Kept A Rollin', I Can't Quit You Baby, Dazed And Confused, White Summer/Black Mountain Side, You Shook Me, How Many More Times, Communication Breakdown
The Complete Rock Pile Tapes from The Chronicles Of Led Zeppelin collects all previously available tapes from the Rock Pile in
Toronto and includes for the first time a new audience source for the August 18th second show.
Disc one contains Led Zeppelin's first Canadian appearance from
February 2, 1969. This tape comes from the first of two sets and was first released on CD as
2-2-69 (Totonka) but was missing "Killing Floor". Absolutely Gems (Sanctuary) included this with the August 18th Rock Pile shows in a 3CD set and was the first to feature "Killing Floor". Rockpile Tapes (Badgeholders) followed and while it had the same content as Sanctuary, Badgeholders had some editing errors.
This tape is a good to sometimes very good sounding recording that does suffer from some tape problems. There are a few brief drop outs and some areas of muffled sound. The overall level of the music fluctuates a bit and background noise and hiss are sometimes more prominent than others. "Train" has a brief drop out at the start and "I Can't Quit You" has a tape problem near the beginning where a few seconds of tape are lost. "You Shook Me" is missing the first few notes and has a larger cut near the end. "Killing Floor" has a cut before and after it and is played faster and more vigorous than what would be recorded for "The Lemon Song". "How Many More Times" closes the set and contains references to "Fever", "The Hunter", and "Money". In comparison TCOLZ is more powerful than Sanctuary and has a deeper sound. Sanctuary is geared more toward the higher frequencies and is very hissy with more tape noise present. Totonka and TCOLZ are more similar in sound but TCOLZ does sound a bit cleaner to me. TCOLZ is missing about six seconds at the tape problem in "I Can't Quit You" that so far have only been found on Totonka.
Zeppelin returned to the Rock Pile in August and played two shows on the 18th. Both sets were featured on Complete Rockpile Shows (The Symbols), Absolutely Gems (Sanctuary) in slightly improved sound and also on Rockpile Tapes (Badgeholders). The first set was slightly shorter due to the fact that Zeppelin started late but by the way they stretch out some of the numbers they don't seem worried about time restraints. This is a very muffled sounding recording with some level problems and is the poorest source in this set. It does clear up some after the first two tracks but there are more problems throughout the tape.
The playing is excellent and Page really opens up during the solo in "I Can't Quit You Baby". By "Dazed And Confused" the sound seems to have stabilized some and becomes more enjoyable but at
7:56 there is a five second gap missing some music and the sound worsens with a lot more background noise present. Luckily, it does clear up some during "You Shook Me" where Page plays some really cool slide in the main solo and is an outstanding version that makes me wish the sound quality was a little better. The playing however in "You Shook Me" and "How Many More Times" more than makes up for the lack in sound quality. TCOLZ has not been amplified as much as The Symbols and Sanctuary and is a little less distorted and less hissy as a result. TCOLZ is also closest to actual speed where Sanctuary is a tad slow and The Symbols runs very slow. Badgeholders has the metallic sound which is very noticeable in places.
The first source for the August 18th second show on discs three and four are the best sounding of the set here having more of a fuller sound than the rest of the tapes and can be considered a very good recording for the era. The first show was good and helped the band loosen up for an outstanding late show. They seem more confident in their delivery of the material. A few seconds of "You Shook Me" are missing at
4:26 but otherwise the tape is pretty complete. "How Many More Times" is one of the longest versions so far and includes "The Hunter", "Trucking Little Mama", "Needle Blues", and "The Lemon Song" among other obscure references. "Communication Breakdown" is the only encore and features a bass solo from none other than "King John Paul Jones" as Plant introduces him. TCOLZ's version is again un-tampered and sounds a good deal quieter than Sanctuary and The Symbols. Sanctuary sounds good and bright but has been a little over amplified and can be harsher on the ears.
The real curiosity here is the new source for the August 18th second show on disc five. This is a very good audience source with some distortion in spots and is almost on par with the older source. The tape cuts in during the last ten seconds of "Train" and is also missing some time between tracks allowing it to fit onto one disc. There is noticeable tape deterioration during "You Shook Me" but overall the tape is in decent shape. This new source is enjoyable and is another very welcomed document to add to the Zeppelin catalog.
The Complete Rock Pile Tapes
from TCOLZ is packaged in a fatboy jewel case that houses the five discs. The photos used are excellent early shots and are used to make up a nice little collage on one of the inner sides (nicely done). Overall, I feel this is another awesome comprehensive set to satisfy the Zeppelin collector. Technically, this could have been squeezed onto four discs but considering TCOLZ is a budget minded label the price for an extra disc is irrelevant.
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Feb 22, 2009 - 8:29:51 PM