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the body electric

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  1. Over time I have become increasingly convinced that Kashmir is one of the great masterworks of Western Civilization.

    Yes I am a proud Zeppelin fanboy given to flights of hyperbole.

    Getting to know this great song is like peeling back the layers of an onion. One consistent thread for me with this song is the deft, subtle nature of the arrangement for strings and horns. The more I listen to it, the more maddening it is to precisely separate which instruments are weaving in and around the drums, bass, and guitar.

    Being a big Beatles fan, I had an epiphany a few years ago when I realized that one of the crucial aspects of their creative hot streak between June 1967 and November 1968 was the marrying of rock music and instruments (oboe, clarinet, etc.) most commonly associated with orchestras. The epiphany came when I realized that someone (George Martin?) had to physically hand-write the scores that would then be played by other musicians. A bold blend of rock and classical instrumentation. But someone had to write the scores. If this individual was Martin (as I doubt any Beatle had the ability to write musical notation
    at that time,
    though I could be wrong), then his stature grows even larger to me as a presence with this band.

    Which leads me to Kashmir. Searching the archives here for an answer to who wrote the sheet music to Kashmir, I came across this entry a few years back:

    “12.) Regarding Kashmir and the ghost track of the orchestra parts. Has there been any information regarding the names of the session players for the left over ghost track that remains? Is the handwritten sheet music put together by JPJ that was dated November 10, 1976 been located since it’s sale? Any idea who Chris was who drew up that sheet music?”

    I was unable to find an answer to this individual’s question. So, I wonder:

    1) what is this “ghost track,” exactly?

    2) was the sheet music actually written by Jones?

    3) who sold the sheet music, and to whom?

    4) who is Chris?

    Hey Steve A. Jones, can you help a brother out?

    Anyway, a great use of strings. Bonham and Plant always blow me away.

    While on the topic of the instruments involved in the recording of this track, I wanted to pose a second question. Is it a mellotron that is heard in the left channel between 3:25 and 4:21? And also in the right channel from 6:43 to the end? To me, Jones’ parts here are crucial to the middle-eastern feel of the song.

    While on the topic of the mellotron, I found this recently. It contains photos of Jones’ mellotrons:

    I searched the archives and found that this page has not yet been posted or referred to.

    Third and final question. Is the distortion on Bonham’s single-stroke snare roll at 8:07 the same synth that was used on his timpani/kettle drums on the 1977 tour?

    If no one can help with the orchestral instrumentation, I might send Kashmir on disc to my uncle, who was Costa Rica’s symphony conductor in the seventies. I am sure he can sniff out what is buried in there.

    Thanks for the help. I love Kashmir. One of my favorite songs by any band.

    In The Light since 1972.

    Trampled Under Foot. My life with Led Zeppelin.

  2. I used to subscribe to Proximity. I was in high school. God this brings back memories.

    I got the following on cassette through some mail-order in the classified section:

    Berlin 1980

    Oakland 1977

    4th Album Rehearsals

    Van Halen Paris 1978

    Van Halen Tokyo 1979 (two scorching shows)

    Doors Miami (or was it New Haven? A clearly drunk Jim Morrison tells the audience "You're all a bunch of fucking idiots," and their response was the perfect progression of "YEAAAAH!!!" followed instantaneously by "WHAAAA???" In the process becoming something like "YEAAAAA!!!!AAAAHHHHH??!!???!!? Totally hilarious.)

    And more...

    When I received the list of shows I could order, it came back as dozens of pages, typed single-space. It was every band you could think of, in every possible venue, all over the world. To this day I marvel at how, pre-internet, one individual could possibly amass such a collection. How could all of these tapers, going back to the late 1960's, somehow communicate and organize via snail mail?

    Bizarre. I never solved the riddle.

    In The Light since 1972.

    Trampled Under Foot. My life with Led Zeppelin.


  3. Presence does contain Page's best electric & Bonham is a powerhouse per usual... but it is a downer of an album in comparison to any of their other albums. In places the sound is very stripped & stark such as "For Your Life" & "Tea For One", the lyrics are bleak on those two as well as angry on "Hots On For Nowhere", Plant is in a wheelchair, not a strong writing from JPJ to be found, a lack of light & shade, and... Page is spiraling heavily into heroin. Outside of "Candy Store Rock" & "Royal Orleans", the albums weakest tracks, what's light about the album? It's just totally intense.

    While clearly not their best effort, I think the starkness and sludginess of Presence is what appeals to a lot of us, at least to me.

    In The Light since 1972.

    Trampled Under Foot. My life with Led Zeppelin.


  4. My favorite from back in the day is Destroy All Monsters. My favorite Godzilla-foe was the Smog Monster. I always felt he was kinda cute and ultimately just misunderstood.

    Didn't Godzilla have a son? I remember something like a son of his who got his foot stepped on and emitted a radioactive blast out of his mouth for the first time.

    In The Light since 1972.

    Trampled Under Foot. My life with Led Zeppelin.


  5. Sometime just before Presence was released I read a blurb in the "what's new" page in Creem Magazine. There was a box on the page was related to new recordings coming out. One of the lines read:

    Have you heard the new Led Zeppelin record?

    It sounds like H-O-R-S-E.

    "H-O-R-S-E" is a basketball game generally played with two players. It is also Seventies-era slang for Heroin.

    At the time, I remember being stunned that Creem would seemingly throw this band under the bus, given their apparently awesome relationship with this band (an extension, perhaps, of their less-than-stellar one with Rolling Stone).

    I wonder if anyone else out there remembers reading this in Creem around this time.

    In The Light since 1972.

    Trampled Under Foot. My life with Led Zeppelin.


  6. Hot Dog

    Black Mountain Side

    Carouselambra (agree with the after five minutes thing)

    Living Loving Maid (once read an interview with Plant where he said that he and Page "wince" when they hear this on the radio)

    South Bound Saurez

    Over The Hills And Far Away (I know. I'm an idiot.)

    Moby Dick (studio)

    The Rain Song (studio)

    Hats Off To (Roy) Harper

    It kills me when people don't like Tea For One, D'yer Mak'er, or In The Evening.

    Trampled Under Foot. My Led Zeppelin Tumblr essay.


  7. All I really want from Jimmy at this point is a DVD of Pontiac, or something (anything!) from '77 to be officially released. After all the big deal that was made about the DVD and HtWWW, I don't understand why he wouldn't think "hey, there's a lot of demand for LZ concert albums, I should put out some more!"

    I agree with this. Release some earlier U.S. tour live stuff. Pleeeeese.

    Trampled Under Foot. My Zeppelin Tumblr essay.


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