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BGS

What is this CD version?

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I just bought Led Zeppelin I from Ebay.  I wanted the latest official remaster but I think I got something else.

It lists the UPC as: 4607147916506 and has 3 extra songs on disc one (We're Gonna Groove, I Can't Quit you Baby, Baby Come home).  There is the second disc with the bonus Live at Olympia.

What did I just get?  Are there different versions for different countries.

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I understand this pirate is very good, however check the back of it these fake copyrights should be there

Fake company credits from back cover: 
This reissue ℗ & © 2014 Atlantic Recording Corporation, a Warner Music Group Company. 
Manufactured & Marketed by Warner Music Group. Made in EU. 

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This cd does sound good compared to my earlier CD from the 1990s. 

How does the sound quality sound compared to the official release?

I do see the fake copyrights mentioned. That is a shame.  I was hoping for a legitimate copy.  

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Very interesting! I would guess the mastering is a clone of the official 2014 reissue - however, I would guess the mastering for the 3 extra tracks is taken from the 1993 George Marino-mastered CD of Coda from the Complete Studio Albums box set, because that's pretty much the only place you could get "Baby Come on Home" as of 2014. The track of course appeared on the recent Coda reissue, but that came out in 2015, so it was not available to the Russian bootleggers (or anyone else) in 2014.

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Posted (edited)

Inspired by this thread - thanks @BGS! - I went to discogs and looked at all the Russian bootlegs of the 2014/2015 Zep CDs. (I have already purchased all the official deluxe CDs and the Super Deluxe sets, so my conscience is clear.)

I went ahead and got Coda and Zep III. I got Zep III because it adds Hey Hey What Can I Do and Poor Tom as bonus tracks on the main album, and Hey Hey What Can I Do instrumental version and the Feel So Bad medley as bonus tracks on the companion disc. These are great additions and make for a very cool listen. (The main album also includes the June 1969 BBC performance of White Summer/Black Mountain Side, which doesn't really belong with Zep III but works fine to close out the disc.)

Coda does not add any extra tracks, but it combines both of the companion discs onto a single CD, and I find that a tremendous convenience when listening to that material on disc - no interruption of the flow, and no getting up to swap the discs.

The other Russian fakes are interesting, but they don't have any appeal to me: They don't have enough bonus tracks (or none in the case of Presence), or else most of the bonus tracks don't really go with the album in question.

Sonically, Coda is a bit-perfect digital clone of the official release. So the sound is great.

Zep III also is a bit-perfect digital clone of the official release, when it comes to the tracks included on the official release - so it sounds great too.

For Hey Hey What Can I Do, Poor Tom, and White Summer, however, this Russian version does not use the new remasters. The reason is simple: When this was made in 2014, the new remasters of those three tracks were not yet available (Hey Hey and Poor Tom came out in 2015 on Coda; and White Summer came out last year on the Complete BBC). I haven't tracked down the sources, but they clearly are not vinyl rips, so therefore Hey Hey has to be from the 1990s George Marino mastering (in the box set or the 1993 expanded Coda). Poor Tom probably also is the 1990s Marino mastering (from Coda). Theoretically it could be from the 1980s Barry Diament mastering of Coda, but it doesn't sound like it to me. As for White Summer, I think it might be from the Empress Valley Supreme Disc bootleg, because it's the full version, whereas I believe all the official versions have a small bit edited out. The particular show that this track is taken from, happens to be the best-sounding of all the 1969 BBC sessions, and the bootleg is pretty close sonically to the official release. So it still sounds nice.

So IMHO the sonics of these three bonus tracks are fine, but not as good as the newly remastered versions we got in 2015 and 2016. However, Hey Hey does not have the early fade-out that the 2015 Coda version has, and White Summer does not have the edit that the 2016 BBC version has. So you do get slightly more complete versions of those two, which is nice.

The two bootleg tracks on the Zep III companion disc - Hey Hey instrumental, and Feel So Bad medley - are impossible to source precisely, but they sound as good as the best bootleg versions I've heard.

Finally, the packaging and discs. This is a mix of better and worse than the official releases.

Better than the official:

  • Digipaks with clear plastic trays to hold the CDs, as opposed to the official releases' too-tight paperboard slots
  • Nice, glossy finish to all the paperboard parts
  • Digipak format makes for wider, easier to read spines that stand up better on the shelf and are less likely to get creased
  • Translucent plastic track-listing that was on the shrinkwrap of the official releases is part of the rear printing here - so you have an easy-to-access track listing
  • Discs play and rip perfectly, no errors

Worse than the official:

  • No booklets
  • Zep III cover does not have the spinning disc - just a flat image
  • Coda's cover is not textured, just flat, and the cover background color is off, having a beige-yellowish tint instead of the proper brownish grey
  • Silkscreening on the discs is inferior - colors are washed out, especially on the green and orange Atlantic label on Zep III (the Swan Song label on Coda is closer to the official version)
  • "2 CD Deluxe Edition" hype sticker with barcode is part of the front printing here - kind of cool but also detracts from the look of the front album art
  • Discs rip and play fine, but they seem to rip slightly slower than the official discs, and they take slightly longer for my CD player to initially read when I insert them. So it's possible the manufacturing quality, while fine, is not quite as good as the official releases.
Edited by tmtomh

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One update: I've since realized/discovered that whomever made the bootleg Coda companion CD inserted (probably accidentally) an extra 2-second gap between each song. Because of this, I can't recommend this version any longer - for me, it interrupts the flow too much.

 

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