April 25, 1977
Rick Coate Master Tapes via JEMS
recording gear: unknown
JEMS 2020 Transfer: Scotch C-120 normal bias cassettes > Nakamichi RX-505 (azimuth adjustment) > Sound Devices USBPre 2 > Audacity 2.0 24/96 capture > wav@24/96 > Adobe Audition (tracking, downsampling, deleting blank tape) > wav@16/44 > TLH > flac@16/44
02 The Song Remains The Same
03 The Rover > Sick Again
04 Nobody's Fault But Mine
05 In My Time of Dying
06 Since I've Been Loving You
07 No Quarter
08 Ten Years Gone
09 The Battle Of Evermore
10 Going To California
11 Black Country Woman/Bron-Y-Aur Stomp
13 Out On The Tiles > Moby Dick
14 Noise Solo
15 Achilles Last Stand
16 Stairway to Heaven
17 Rock and Roll
-The Song Remains The Same: numerous cuts
-Sick Again: numerous cuts
-No Quarter: cuts off
-The Battle of Evermore: cuts off
-Going To California: cuts in
-Bron-Y-Aur Stomp: cuts off
-White Summer/Black Mountain Side: missing
-Kashmir: cuts in
-Over The Top: cut inside
JEMS Notes: JEMS was honored to be asked to transfer this newly discovered second source for Led Zeppelin's April 25, 1977 concert in Louisville, KY.
The 1977 tour seems to be the one where inexperienced tapers made one-off attempts to record shows. This new Louisville source fits the profile: low quality, 120-minute tape; recording a lot of the pre-show; audience chatter; many cut songs and issues throughout; distortion and signal overload due to low-end recorders.
The Louisville taper hit a lot of snags, specifically calling out "The Song Remains The Same" and "Sick Again" as having "technical problems during recording" in the handwritten notes in the cassette j-card. Unfortunately, the issues are more wide ranging, with several missing chunks and dropouts, along with heavy distortion on louder material.
That being said the acoustic set sounds especially good and close, and the distortion can be tuned out on some of the mid-volume material. The louder songs are more challenging. Still, a new Led Zeppelin tape is a new Led Zeppelin tape.
I have never played a tape that needed such a radical adjustment in playback azimuth, which further supports the assumption that the taper was using a low-end portable deck and was likely experiencing tape alignment issues on the night. The azimuth correction moved the recording from useless to listenable despite the aforementioned issues.
I did spend some time seeing if any restoration tools could help tame the distortion, but the results were never good enough to warrant the effort. Maybe someone else can attempt that.
Given the level of detail in the handwritten notes and the fact that these are 120 minute tapes (which almost no one would use to copy a show onto), these are very likely the master tapes. The hand-labeling dates sometime after Bonham's death, as the notes dedicate the recording to the late drummer.
Thanks to Glyn, June72/Vinnie, Ed, ledzepfilm, TAFCIA, Bert13, and Sticks of Fire from The Dogs of Doom for funding the liberation of this tape!
New tape everyone. direct link can't be posted here, but it's up on dime and RO. Enjoy
Edit: the tape isn't sourced from the master, but a first gen cassette.