Recorded at The Anderson Theater on the lower east side of Manhattan on March 30, 1968. Upon it's initial 1971 release by Epic Records (E 30615), Jimmy Page sued Epic - though ownership of this recording (along with 5 songs recorded at Columbia Studios April 3-5, 1968) reverted to the 4 members of the group upon their breakup which included: Chris Dreja, Jim McCarty, Keith Relf and Jimmy Page. Even though Page only had legal ownership of 25%, his status with Led Zeppelin at the time caused the label to withdraw the LP one week after it's release. In 1976, the Columbia Special Products division of Epic released it again - and were promptly sued again by Page on his own and the album was withdrawn a second time. This time it was assured that all the materials that were utilized in pressing the LP were destroyed and according to CBS paperwork, Moorland Street Records cites that the tape of the final mix of the album was sent to Jimmy Page.
In 2000, a small CD Label out of Connecticuit called Mooreland Street Records produced what they felt was the definitive version of the LP that included some brief snipets not included in the original Epic version along with 2 soundcheck takes and expanded liner notes. The disc was available through mail order only and marketed in organic fashion via the blossoming internet. It was only available for about 6 weeks or so before Jimmy Page's lawyers came knocking once again and Mooreland Street Records was forced to shut down it's distribution of the title. Thus another collector's item was born!
Jumping to the present, the Scorpio and Watchtower Labels pooled resources late Summer of 2007 to bring this newest disc to market. Pressed under the Rock Archives moniker, we have quite the clean sounding transfer of a very pristine specimen of the original Epic LP. What is immediately noticeable is the fact that Rock Archives was able to achieve a seemingly wider stereo separation by simply cleaning up much of the mid-range white noise that Epic introduced by heavily overdubbing the audience into the their production. The effort is much more successful the further into the CD you get as the first to tracks present some noticeable treatment. Comparing this to the Mooreland Street version there is an incredible difference in warmth and sharpness to the Rock Archives CD. I honestly didn't expect this to warrant much attention or interest by me but I have to say that I much prefer the audio presented here vs. my cherished Mooreland CD. If you can find a copy of this one, I'd pick it up.
The replica cardboard mini-LP slipcover is nicely reproduced even though you will need a magnifying glass to read Lenny Kaye's original liner notes on the back cover. The disc is stored in a rice paper sleeve and also included is a CD cover size cardboard double-sided insert featuring the a print of the original Epic LP labels, both sides 1 & 2. So this is actually a thoughtful and worthwhile release.