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Ineteresting take on JPJ

16 posts in this topic

While in a state of alcoholic meditation on the mountain sides of Lookout Mtn in days gone by, a friend of mine had a profound (or not) observation about our band.

He claimed that John Paul Jones was the "sandpaper" that smoothed the edges of Plant and Page.  He explained this as the reason Clarksdale failed as a commercial success and the NQ album made minimal waves.

I doubt his observation can be applied to their solo careers as Jimmy's Outrider and Firm were successful, as well as Roberts highly successful solo career. But when they try to get together, the "alchemy" and magic is not quite there. I can see his point there.

To make gunpowder explode efficiently, you need Sulphur, carbon and an oxidizer in the proper amounts (not minimalizing Bonzo here). Any more or less you get a fizzle or smoke.

So I ask you fellow meditators, was it a mistake to leave Jonsey from the mix in the 90's? Or was that explosiveness never the objective of their projects? Charlie Jones is a good base player, but when it comes to that magic mix, there's nobody like Jonsey.

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Hell Yes! it was a mistake!!

 

Jones's talents are equal to Page's and his input helped round out the songs and made them all they could be.  Think about how cool it would have been to see Jones and Page playing acoustic guitars together! It would have been better than the unledded they ended up with.

Edited by juxtiphi

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It shows that you can't go back in time, no matter how bad we wish they could or would. WIC was Plant at his worst vocally, the whining singing he does on WIC is almost painful. Page is ok on it, but not his usual magical self, he was holding back for some reason. The mix was weird too. When asked about WIC, JPJ said, as a Page fan himself, he wanted to hear more Page on it, not enough Page he said. "WIC", "Most High", and "House of Love" were ok, but the chemistry, power, and atmosphere, or magic, was lacking. Plant even said that Page was coming up with great stuff, while he himself had nothing, although his lyrics were excellent, his singing wasn't. The album still went gold and they won a grammy for Most High, and the tours were killer, Plant was WAY better on the tours. JPJ would've balanced out the album more, but then again Plant did not want JPJ in on it. Page wanted to bring JPJ into the Page-Plant project, but Plant did not, as Plant said it would then be viewed as a Zep "reunion". Personally, WIC was the weakest Page or Plant album after Zep. I felt Deathwish 2, The Firm, Mean Business, Outrider, and Coverdale-Page were better. The vocals on "Yallah" or "Wah Wah" on NQ made my cringe to be quite honest. Page's guitar were pure brilliance on Coverdale-Page, though I wish Plant would've sung on that instead of Coverdale, but then again the songs would not have been the same. Plant sang "Shake My Tree" really cool on the 1995 P-P tour though. 

Edited by Tea41

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∆ good post.   I agree with everything but your opinion of No Quarter.  I loved it but at the same time was so pissed off at how JPJ was treated that I never purchased it. 

I can't for the life of me get into Walking Into Clarksdale either. But I did see the WIC tour in Boston. It was the best I'd seen either Robert or Jimmy perform. Michael Lee was unbelievable.. The WIC material was much better live.. Agree 100%.

 In a way the JPJ snub was a blessing in disguise ... I think it lit a serious fire under his ass.  The end result being the highly innovative Zooma and The Thundertheif.. JPJ was in top form on both releases. Kyma System, Koto, 4, 6,10 &12 string Basses. Bass Lap Steel, Ukulele, Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Organ, Piano, Synthesizers, Electric Mandolin, Mandola, etc.. And a String score for good measure... Top form.. Oh yeah and lead vocals on 3 songs.   Well nobody's perfect.. Truly 2 masterpiece's from Maestro Jones.. 

Edited by the chase

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I will say this:  as much as I love Jimmy, Robert and John Henry, John Baldwin is, in my opinion, the best and most talented Musician of All-Time.  When I say All-Time, I mean in the entire history of the known, civilized world. 

 

Edited by kingzoso

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2 hours ago, kingzoso said:

I will say this:  as much as I love Jimmy, Robert and John Henry, John Baldwin is, in my opinion, the best and most talented Musician of All-Time.  When I say All-Time, I mean in the entire history of the known, civilized world. 

 

JP and JPJ just HAVE to do something together. Something. With Page wanting to be seen out there, what better way to get out there than have "the most talented musician of all time" there to put on a show that leaves people completely amazed.

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I've always said (and believed) that Jonesy was Zeppelin's formidable 'secret weapon'... the heavy artillery behind the scenes not taking the spotlight like Page and Plant.  His contributions, no matter what the actual song credits state, were voluminous, invaluable, and an utterly, utterly essential part of the alchemy that made them the best band of our lifetime (sorry Beatles fans, just my own humble opinion :P).  Because he wasn't a blues man like P & P, coming instead from a jazz background, he brought a texture and color to Zeppelin's palette that otherwise might not have been there otherwise... and certainly wasn't on the Page/Plant project.

What was the exact reason(s), if any, that Jonesy was excluded from said project?  I heard Percy once stated he didn't want it to be a Zeppelin reunion in all but name, and that's why the venerable JPJ was not asked to contribute... I understand that thinking but when you're wanting to give Zeppelin's catalog a whole new eclectic approach, with a veritable array of new instruments now in the mix (requiring new arrangements), and someone as fluent and talented with those instruments and as remarkably talented as Jonesy is at said arrangements, and not  to utilize that talent to the fullest, it's a line of thinking I simply can't agree with and find somewhat perplexing... plus, the whole 'car park' comment was just plain professionally disrespectful in the extreme, even if it probably wasn't meant as such.

Can you imagine how good a Page/Plant/Jones project - both live and in the studio - would have been with Jonesy's influence and talent in the mix?  It would have just killed, alas... all that being said, 'Most High' remains a spectacular song that could have easily fit onto Physical Graffiti... it definitely has that vibe.

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10 hours ago, kingzoso said:

I will say this:  as much as I love Jimmy, Robert and John Henry, John Baldwin is, in my opinion, the best and most talented Musician of All-Time.  When I say All-Time, I mean in the entire history of the known, civilized world. 

 

I was at this show!

 

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No doubt Jonesy was the "Secret Sauce" in Zep.

 

harmonically speaking, Jimmy is very Blues based.  Nearly all,of his riffs and ideas are in the keys of E or A, sometimes G. He uses simple chord changes, etc. this is clearly evident from his post Zep output.   

 

Jonesy added massive sonic sonic and harmonic depth and I am quite sure came up with many of the interesting chord changes and things that colored Zeps music and made it magical.  For example:

Since I've Been Loving You that awesome jazzy turnaround at end of every verse.  That's Jonesy

Over the Hills and Far Away:. On paper, the sudden change to F# for the solo shouldn't work, but it does.  I betcha Jonsey helped Jimmy through that transition.

Listen to Live versions of No Quarter or Dazed and Confused.  While Jimmy pretty much stays in Pentatonic minor scales, Jonesy is all over the place behind him, changing scales, and it gives Jimmys solos more depth because he's giving more sonic options for Pages notes.

Jimmy had the overall big picture vision, which was the most valuable resource in the band, BUT he wouldn't have achieved the stupendous success with Jonesy no question about it because he really gave type music so much more credibility.

 

 

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There's not much more for me to add.  All of you have summed it up quite eloquently how
valuable indeed Jones was to Led Zeppelin's  sound.  
:yesnod: I will only swat away at the
already deader than dead horse
:beat: by adding a few thoughts of my own.

I understand why Plant didn't want Jones on the No Quarter  project,   but the reason is so
damn weak.  I don't care if Jimmy was playing  Achilles Last Stand  on a Swiss alphorn while
Plant was rapping the lyrics in Mandarin Chinese.  You already have the two front men of  Zep
dabbling around with Zeppelin material,  so right away it gets the Zep*ish feel to it.   Leaving
Jones out made very little sense..IF that was the lone reason.  I can understand if the material
had  zero connection to  anything Zeppelin had ever done,  but that was not the case.  Had this
been Plant and Jones  re-working these songs and leaving  Jimmy to "park the car"  O m f g  I
would have  l o a t h e d  that. 

:nuke:
I'll stop while ahead because this thread is not why does Plant do the things he does.  This is about 
sharing thoughts (and agreeing) just how vital John Paul Jones was to the band,  however thinking of
that debacle  really  makes me wish something  would + could have sparked between Jimmy and
Jones after the O2.  

 

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I can understand why Plant was reluctant to include JPJ on the Unledded thing, that would've made it a full-blown Zep reunion. Plant has been steadfast in his mind that Led Zeppelin was Bonham, Jones, Page, Plant. The 02 was different in that it was a tribute to Ahmet Ertegun. 

Walking Into Clarksdale wasn't bad but wasn't great. There are some moments on there.

As for JPJ, I can listen to just his bass playing in isolation and be incredibly impressed. I was listening to Carouselambra today and his bass playing on that is fantastic. There has never been a better bass player in the history of music in my opinion and even that does him no credit as he is an absolutely formidable musician.

The reason Led Zeppelin are special is because they captured a moment and have not traded on past glories like The Stones. It was four musicians at the absolute top of their game and they will never be equalled and are still the greatest band of all time.

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Jonesy's bass playing on the freak-out jam session of 'Whole Lotta Love', Berlin, July 7th, 1980... that is all.

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13 hours ago, morningson said:

As for JPJ, I can listen to just his bass playing in isolation and be incredibly impressed. I was listening to Carouselambra today and his bass playing on that is fantastic. There has never been a better bass player in the history of music in my opinion and even that does him no credit as he is an absolutely formidable musician.

Lately, I have been on a 1975 West Coast kick and JPJ is astonishing in his attack and dexterity. His thunderous playing out rattles "The Ox" at times. I think its the tone he gets from that 1962 Fender Jazz. Damn! I wish he never retired that bass. Also some of the funky shuffling he pulls out of his ass on "In My Time of Dying" captivates me to a full hypnotic trip to where if a bullet would strike me through the heart, I don't think I could feel a thing and my soul would stick it out until JPJ stops playing. I can't get enough of that shit!. I can go on with his thick funky grooves and his fluid jazzy overtones that he injects in "The Song Remains the Same, Dazed and so on... I think Jaco Pastorius was taking notes.

Edited by Jimmy's Dragon Suit

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On 8/9/2016 at 3:21 AM, The Old Hermit said:

Can you imagine how good a Page/Plant/Jones project - both live and in the studio - would have been with Jonesy's influence and talent in the mix?  

I agree , absolutely!  It's not too late. It doesn't have to be a "Zep Reunion" though the dumbass media would characterize it as such. I would think these guys are mature enough to make good fresh music after all these years. Jones was so integral to the musical depth and feel , bringing a sophisticated sense of harmony, time signatures and a Jamerson like improvisatory hard soulful groove. But without Bonzo, the magic alchemy would never have been there IMO. It was his sound and feel that really made it all so extraordinary for me. I think after all these years, it would be a beautiful and fitting honor to Bonzo for Jones , Page and Plant to actually do a record of new music, maybe even without drums. Or not...and just give us more Zep remasters with alternate mixes etc. <_<

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I'm just finishing up a note for note cover of Stairway and let me say that the parts that have most amazed me are Jones' contributions to this song.  Listening to several hours of them working the song up in various sessions and hearing how Jones and Page would basically jam it out - listening to both parts evolve was invaluable.  The little keyboard flourishes are key to pulling off the song and still very "unknown". Search the web - you'll find hardly anyone actually covering the song and playing the keyboard parts correctly.  There's not even a proper as recorded by score that gets them right (or even tries).  My own version is probably 98% in everything but the key parts - those I'm probably at 80% - some of which are still very hard to pull out and isolate. They are like a perfect mix of colors and rhythm that gives an impression as a whole but are hard to figure out their component parts.  And when the bass guitar kicks in with the signature Jones feel? - the song goes to a whole other level.

I love Jimmy Robert and John --- But Jones? That man has a magic that is elusive and entirely unquantified.

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I will add: just find Jones playing slide guitar on Nobody's Fault But Mine on YouTube.  Just incredible!

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