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Christopher Lees

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Everything posted by Christopher Lees

  1. I think Page's peak was 73, Europe and the end of July, but a close second is 1971. On another day, I might have said 1971 was his peak, especially the Japan tour. I agree with those who said he started playing sloppy in 1975 and beyond. I noticed this right away, as soon as I started listening to my first 75 boots way back in the day. I was disturbed by his slop. He was this towering figure in my life, the ultimate guitar hero, my musical idol, and I was suddenly faced with the reality that Jimmy was human, all too human, when I listened to his playing in 75 and beyond. In fact, it wasn't until many years later when I started picking up lots of boots from 75 (because of the internet), that I finally came across a few shows that showed me Jimmy still had the spark of genius in him. I was so happy to hear his playing on 2-14-75, and I had the version from TDOLZ, which was a nice audience version. Then I heard the show from March 27, 1975 and was blown away by the NQ. It was great to see these flashes of greatness return here and there. But in 1973, Jimmy played at an inspired level almost every show, with just a few exceptions. His playing was fresh, inventive, aggressive, sharp, articulate and fast. He was very energetic. Same can be said for 69-72. In 1975, I found him drifting and repeating some used up boring licks over and over again. I found him incoherent at times, like he forgot what he was playing and had to reorient himself on stage in the moment. I do not see it as Jimmy "exploring" and being "inventive". I can tell the difference. There's simply a level of slop that crept into his playing after 73. To me, it sounds like he stopped practicing. He probably wasn't as hungry as he was in 69-73, when he had something to prove. He was always on tour and always recording. That keeps the rust off. After an 18 month break from 73 to 75, he sounds like he came back really rusty and slowly got back in shape, somewhat, during the tour. When you stop playing for a while, you lose your vocabulary and your technique both, and that's what Jimmy sounded like to me. There are a number of notable exceptions in 75, but in general, I think he was consistently less great than in 73. Not to mention, if he was getting drunk then forget it. The fingers do not behave. And once the heroin became a problem, well, then there's no time at all for discipline and practice. A top musician is like a top athlete: they must train and train hard to maintain their top form.
  2. Back around 1990 I caught a live version of Communication Breakdown being played on the Zep set. Pro quality sound, must have been a BBC bootleg. They went into It's Your Thing (do what you wanna do - I can't tell you, who to sock it to...) with excellent wah pedal work. It was kind of funky sounding. Really great. I can't find it anywhere on YouTube. Does anyone know for sure what show this was from and what the deal is with not being able to find it?
  3. It's rather poignant that Zeppelin's last studio album song is a blues. I think it's the best song on ITTOD and has Jimmy's best solo since the early albums, up to HOTH.
  4. I agree that the show is sluggish on the whole, but I think Page's solo in OTHAFA is excellent. Smoking. Love the descending g-string lick in the solo. Really effective on this show.
  5. Thanks for your response. What would we call this effect nowadays? I want to search for it so I can edit some vids and try to do this same thing, but I don't even know how to describe it or look for it. Any clue?
  6. Houses of the Holy. Growing up, it was either 4 or 2, but these days, I'm liking the originality of Houses of the Holy. The guitar work on TSRTS is phenomenal. I was a little underwhelmed by this album when I first picked it up. Before that, all I had were 1, 2 and 4, plus a copy of the BBC sessions when they were still boots (1988). I was looking for another Black Dog, or WLL, or Heartbreaker, or Stairway, so when I heard HOTH I felt a little disappointed because the material was much lighter fare. TSRTS was lacking riffs, the Rain Song was a little long and boring, OTHAFA was more my style. It was like a song on any of the earlier albums and same is true for The Ocean. I hated the Crunge with a passion, but Dyer Maker was okay by me. I thought the riff in Dancin' Days was hypnotic and effective and NQ was cool, good solo. I see it totally different these days, some 33 years later. I realize now that Zeppelin, for once, didn't rely on some old blues riffs to revamp, or old blues tunes to cover their own way. They went in an entirely fresh direction and wrote all of the material themselves this time, and the sophistication of the music is up a level from earlier albums. Not sure if that really matters, but I notice it. I also love the bright, happy vibe of the album on the whole. This albums strikes me as, perhaps, the most original one of them all. I think ITTOD is like a distant cousin to this album in terms of originality (and used to hate ITTOD with a passion, gross keys, boring songs, Plant has no range, questionable solos from Page, no riffs, no magic). I can see Carouselambra as an extension of TSRTS. These days I have much more respect for ITTOD. I like it now.
  7. What is that film effect called during Dazed when the band moves in super slow motion and the colors change to red and blue, a different color on each down beat? It starts exactly here:
  8. 1 - Good times bad times 2 - Heartbreaker 3 - Since I've Been Loving You 4 - Stairway HOTH - Over the Hills and Far Away PG - The Rover Presence - Nobody's Fault but Mine ITTOD - I'm Gonna Crawl CODA - Darlene
  9. I think I answered this question before, but before I could possibly run across my old response, I ranked them all again today, just to see how my opinion might have changed. I'll share my geeky method. I ranked each song by an idea, rather than just by number. Yes, I overthought this AND played a psychological trick on myself (successfully) at the same time. Here are my ranking labels. All Time Great (in my book) Excellent Very Good Good Fair It's Okay (I guess) Don't Like It I thought about how I felt about each song and labeled it. Then I want back and numbered those labels 1-7 (7 being all time great). I put the correct number next to each song based on the label and calculated the average for each album and then put them in the following order: Led Zeppelin I Led Zeppelin IV HOTH Led Zeppelin II PG ITTOD Led Zeppelin III Presence CODA For those interested in what my album averages were, remember the highest rank is 7, not 10. Led Zeppelin I 5.8 Led Zeppelin IV 5.8 HOTH 5.6 Led Zeppelin II 5.3 PG 5.3 ITTOD 5.1 Led Zeppelin III 4.9 Presence 4.7 CODA 3.3 There were no ties. I rounded up but actually, but the tie breakers were in the hundredths column.
  10. Interesting order. Why did you choose HOTH? I have my own ideas but I want to hear yours and other's first.
  11. It was 1987 and I was kind of new to seriously listening to music. I became of fan of Whitesnake, especially their song In The Still Of The Night. My mother heard me watching it on MTV from the other room and said, "Oh, that's Led Zeppelin." I told her it wasn't but she argued with me. "I KNOW what Led Zeppelin sounds like. That's them." She came in and watched the video with me and sure enough at the end it said Whitesnake. She told me it was a dead ringer for Zeppelin. I figured if Zeppelin sounds like Whitesnake, they must be pretty good, even though they're OLD! A few day later my cousin gave me a cassette copy of Black Dog, Rock n Roll and Stairway. I was blown away, even though I thought they were OLD (even in 1987, Zeppelin were already OLD). I listened to those three songs so many times, I lost count. Black Dog really got me into them. I consider that song quintessential Zeppelin. Around this time I started playing guitar and had the music to Black Dog from Guitar Magazine. I learned the riff and I was hooked. Then I read Hammer of the God's and was REALLY hooked!
  12. Profoundly true! I still remember the first time I heard it. I got a bootleg from someone in high school (in the late 80s) and couldn't wait to get home and listen to it. It was Berlin 1980. At this point the only other bootlegs I had were Osaka 71, Blueberry Hill and BBC (when it was still a bootleg), so I had high expectations. Well, I could barely get through it. It sounded as bad as Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary, which was bad, bad, bad. Jimmy sounds so uninspired on the Berlin version. To make a comparison to boxing, Jimmy in 1980 was like Muhammad Ali in 1980.
  13. I loved Hammer of the Gods! A friend showed it to me in the library on school vacation. I was about 14 and just got big into Zeppelin. Only had a couple cassettes, so when I was reading the book, I wondered what all these songs sounded like. I hadn't even heard WLL yet. I had Zeppelin 1 and Zeppelin 4 and that's all I had for quite a while. Anyhow, I started reading the book and it drew me in hook, line and sinker. I learned so much about 60s rock and blues music that I otherwise would never have known, and even about Robert Johnson and Paganini (selling their souls etc...). I thoroughly enjoyed it and it helped cement me as a life long Zeppelin fanatic. Funny thing, I remember reading about Lori Maddox and how she was only 14. I was 14 too and I was thinking, "so what?" Needless to say, I think differently now at 47 than I did at 14! When I got the book, it had only been out a couple years. I think I was reading it in 1988. Years later I read how Jimmy and Robert didn't like the book and said that a lot of it was invented. I don't know. I've seen the both of them say contradictory things in interviews over the years. I bet most of the stuff in HOTG was true but they were embarrassed about it later. Who wants to admit to the Shark Incident when they're 70 years old?
  14. Yep. It's getting worse instead of better. The media tells people how to feel, and then they feel that way. I've never seen anything like it. Wasn't like this when I was growing up in the 80s.
  15. +1 I can't stand the dog worship that has taken over American society! What is wrong with people? I'm walking down the sidewalk and coming right at me is some chick with like three dogs. They're pulling her off balance, all around, she's struggling with them, raising her voice to them, pulling them along, yanking on their chains, and they're all over the sidewalk. They take up the whole thing.
  16. +1 Obsessing over "theory" is a thing nowadays. It sells instructional books and videos I guess. Jimmy learned a ton of songs when he started out on guitar. Then he became a session musician and learned the ins and outs of a million more songs, on a professional level. After some time, wax on, wax off...he knew how a song went. He knew the parts. He knew the chords that people used in songs and wrote Tangerine with simple chords. I believe it's just a four chord song: Am, C, D, G and the odd F on the ending, which you can always take liberties with, but basically just a four chord song in G, like so many others. Best thing to do is empty your head of all that intellectualism and just learn tons of songs. Music isn't necessarily an intellectual endeavor and when it is, it's usually boring for the listener. Music is simple. If you can make the audience tap their feet, you're winning.
  17. It's in G major. The verses sound like the Dorian mode and the chorus is straight up G. All the chords are diatonic to G. Tangerine is the first song I learned to strum and sing at the same time. Jimmy wrote it years before during his time with the Yardbirds. It had a different title at first: "Knowing That I'm Losing You"
  18. When I first got these two albums, I was a little disappointed with Presence and extremely disappointed with ITTOD. To me, Zeppelin was Black Dog, Stairway, Heartbreaker, Immigrant Song and the like. Plant's voice on Black Dog and the band's riffs were the most exciting thing I had ever heard in music, while the poignancy and imagery contained in songs like Stairway, Ramble On and Going to California were the other side of the coin for me. With Presence, I did not get my fill in either way with any of the songs. I did like Nobody's Fault right away and Achilles was good but too long for me. The rest of the songs were not quite as good as the ones mentioned previously, although I did kind of get stuck on For Your Life, but even that was too long. None of the solos on Presence really smacked of the Page lightning that had so captivated me in the early albums. The solos on Presence struck me as workmanlike. They were the product of a skilled, experience musician, but not the product of sheer inspired genius, which is how I thought of his solos on the early albums. ITTOD left me astonished in a bad way. "Sha-na-na-na, Sha-na-na-na" sounded like I was watching the movie Grease. I hated SBS with a passion, especially the cheesy vocal harmonies. Page played the same B.B. Box licks that he plays when he runs out of ideas. In the Evening struck me as very good, but the rest were way too 80s-cheesy-keyboard driven for me. Plant lost his early Zeppelin voice and Page lost his early Zeppelin riffs and solos. Hot Dog created massive cognitive dissonance in my mind. My favorite band playing this stuff? Horrible. Fast forward 30 years. I like both albums a whole lot more. ITTOD especially. In fact, I like ITTOD more than Presence because Presence gets a little long with all the songs sounding kind of the same. The guitar tone on Presence never really changes. Still, I now really like some songs I hated, like Candy Store Rock and Royal Orleans. ITTOD has some excellent Page solos, like I'm Gonna Crawl, which is his best playing in the studio since, in my view, Houses of the Holy. The structure of that solo is genius and it conveys so much feeling. SBS is actually one that I will play over and over again now. I saw a cover band play it once and they knocked it out of the park. I thought wow, this is a great song. It's happy and fun. Hot Dog, I think it's great. Fun story, crazy solo and overall good vibe. Carouselambra, I can still take it or leave it. Fool in the Rain, awesome and again, one of Page's most inventive solos. I give the nod to ITTOD.
  19. This is an awesome video. They all did an amazing job, but I think Eric Johnson's solo was probably the best.
  20. I've learned how to appreciate this album over the years. When I was a kid I was the biggest Zeppelin fanboy in the world, and ITTOD was the last album I got of theirs. It took me years to get all the albums and when I got ITTOD, I had to admit for the first time ever that I didn't absolutely love something Zeppelin did. Soon, I realized that I didn't really like this album and wondered how they could have put this out. Looking back now, I think I can name a few things that rubbed me the wrong way. 1. Cheesy keyboard sound. It was all over this album like way too much cheap perfume. 2. Cheesy vocal harmonies that sound like they were done with some kind of effect. Think the choruses to Southbound and Hot Dog for example. Hated it. 3. Hot Dog - boy did I hate this. I was never a country fan and back then, no one was listening to country that I knew. It sounded so corny. Horrible. Hated it. Plus Jimmy's super sloppy playing. 4. The lack of a hard rock, album defining, classic Zeppelin riff like Black Dog, Heartbreaker, Kashmir, Nobody's Fault, Immigrant Song, WLL, The Ocean. Where was the "Zeppelin" on this album? 5. Robert's new limited range and grating voicing that almost sounds off pitch in some songs. Where was the best-in-the-world Plant voice of WLL, Black Dog, Dazed and Confused? I became of fan of Led Zeppelin after being introduced to their early albums. It was the swaggering riffs, Plants unequaled rock vocals and range, Jimmy's enthusiastic, sharp, kick ass solos and the well placed hooks that make you listen to the songs over and over again. The early Zeppelin had great lyrics fully of imagery and mystery. It was the most perfect music I ever heard. I started with Zeppelin 4 and then got 2 and 1 soon after. I had just those tapes for about a year. Then I got HOTH and about 6 months later I got 3. This was Zeppelin to me. ITTOD had almost none of that! Now I realize it is a strong album none the less. ITE is a classic, rocking Zeppelin tune with a great riff, inventive solo and the intro has that mysterious quality that we've heard on earlier Zeppelin, like In The Light or even the bow solo in DAC or HMMT. Fool In The Rain has an outstanding guitar solo on it. No one can agree if it's just a sloppy mess of a flash of genius! I tilt toward the latter. I'm Gonna Crawl has the best Page solo since the HOTH album. Zeppelin fans know that Page lost his mojo by 1978. We know from listening to the live boots that Page never quite captured lightning in a bottle like he did between 71-73, but I'm Gonna Crawl just might do it. It's dripping with feel. That first bent note of the solo has more feel in it than 10 Clapton solos. The whole song captures a sophisticated feel and it's impressive. Hot Dog grew on me. It's a fun song and I like it. Why do I have to be so serious? Southbound has a great chorus and nice guitar riff there. Carouselambra still doesn't quite do it for me, but I can appreciate it as a sort of part 3 of a continuing epic: The Song Remains the Same ---> Achilles ---> Carouselambra. All My Love captures poignancy perfectly. Not easy to do. And it's proved to be one of Zep's most enduring and popular tunes. Fool In the Rain is still played on the radio and people love it, even regular folks who aren't Zeppelin fans. I think the album would have been better if they replaced Carouselambra with Ozone Baby and Darlene.
  21. I think Jimmy needs to put out his own autobiography. He's got either an excellent memory or took excellent notes on his early career going all the way back to his first gigs. He updates his Facebook page daily (sometimes Sharon does it for him) and has fascinating little stories about what he did on this day in 1964 or whatever year. He's got tons of pictures too. Really cool stuff. He digs deep into his studio career with interesting anecdotes galore. I'm sure he could reveal some insights about how he approached composition, his knowledge of music theory, his approach to production, how he practiced his guitar and so many other interesting things. Jimmy is at that age where you can go at any time. That's life. I hope he gets this stuff out soon. That goes for the other members too. I bet JPJ could have a 1500 page biography himself!
  22. This sounds great! Please send me the link. Thank you.
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