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zeppelincheetah

What are your opinions on Walking into Clarksdale?

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The songs sound better live. Steve Albini was the WRONG choice in my opinion. Their prior 2 albums Coverdale/Page & Fate of Nations were flat out sonic masterpieces. Albini's dry style and lack of production does not work with Page and Plant.

I wonder if he produced The Window and Rude World or if Jimmy and Robert did that on their own?

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The songs sound better live. Steve Albini was the WRONG choice in my opinion. Their prior 2 albums Coverdale/Page & Fate of Nations were flat out sonic masterpieces. Albini's dry style and lack of production does not work with Page and Plant.

I wonder if he produced The Window and Rude World or if Jimmy and Robert did that on their own?

Look at what Albini did to Nirvana. Nevermind sounded incredible thanks to Butch Vig. Cobain then decides to bring in Albini for the next record and it sounded like complete shit! What a huge mistake that was.

I have a feeling it was Plants idea to bring in Albini, but Page should never have let that happen.

Personally, I can't listen to WITC, primarily because of the vocals, they're just awful sounding to me.

And yes, the songs sound 'much' better live.

Major dissapointment.

Edited by snapper

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Consisdering it's Jimmy and Robert I was a bit disappointed. There are some good songs on there but it's nothing amazing about it, nothing 'Wow this is an album to remember' that's just my own opinion.

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Look at what Albini did to Nirvana. Nevermind sounded incredible thanks to Butch Vig. Cobain then decides to bring in Albini for the next record and it sounded like complete shit! What a huge mistake that was.

I have a feeling it was Plants idea to bring in Albini, but Page should never have let that happen.

Personally, I can't listen to WITC, primarily because of the vocals, they're just awful sounding to me.

And yes, the songs sound 'much' better live.

Major dissapointment.

If you're talking about "In Utero", I think that sounds fine. Better than the mastering on Physical Graffiti, IMO.

And as far as tunes from WIC sounding better live, maybe, but they played second fiddle to the Zeppelin numbers in concert in 1998. The sets could've done without them and I wouldn't have missed a thing.

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I remember buying "Walking into Clarksdale" the day it was released. I loved it then and still love it to this very day. Like someone already mentioned, it is not a "Led Zeppelin" record but a "Page/Plant" record. If someone had the expectation of hearing "new" Led Zeppelin music when they bought or heard this album, than maybe I could see their disappointment. However, I knew that this was a new Page/Plant collaboration and anticipated it as such. And I was not let down.

My question is to those who were disappointed: How or why or could you be disappointed with anything that Jimmy Page and Robert Plant ever released? I only wish that they would continue in some form or another. Obviously, the ultimate would be to remember John Paul Jones' phone number and get Jason behind the drums again.

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Albini is a live band guy. It takes road work to make a good "live feel" type album like Surfer Rosa was for the Pixies. Robert in particular didn't do the road work that it took to correctly apply his vocal range and energy until well after the record was out. By the time I saw em' in Boston and Mansfield, the vocals were loud and proud. At Mansfield, of the three new songs they played, 2 were treated like highlights of the show by the audience, Most High and WiC. If Albini had a band that sounded like the Mansfield band, then he would have had a multi-platinum animal in the recording den.

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Never liked the album, never will. Never got the vibe. The magic was gone - and it's probably a good indicator of why Zep shouldn't reform and try and make new music. Individually, the ex-members have created far more interesting work.

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Steve Albini's production ruined what could have been an otherwise enjoyable album and it sounds even more dated and muddy today than it did ten years ago. This is one release screaming to be remastered.

I agree that this album should be remastered. I just bought it yesterday, after debating whether or not to spend the money on it after such tepid reviews from board members, and I do like it but Jimmy is way too far in the back for my liking. He is my all time favorite guitar player and his sound should never be be so subdued in the mix.

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Missed this thread first time around and I'm frankly amazed by some of the posts. I absolutely love this album, as much as many Zeppelin albums and more than any of Jimmy's solo stuff. It's wonderful. It makes my heart leap.

Wow. I really, REALLY don't get the lukewarm/hating responses. :blink:

Edited by Knebby

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I am very happy that I bought it. It's a great album, I just want to hear Jimmy thrash it a bit here and there. And I agree, the material is much better than Jimmy's solo stuff. He just works really well with Robert.

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I am very happy that I bought it. It's a great album, I just want to hear Jimmy thrash it a bit here and there. And I agree, the material is much better than Jimmy's solo stuff. He just works really well with Robert.

This seems to be a common opinion, and I get what you mean :)

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Like Knebby, I missed this thread the first time around.

As I stated in my Page/Plant Hollywood Bowl thread I liked that album a lot upon its release in 1998. So much, in fact, that I was disappointed they didn't play more from the album on the 98 tour.

Yes the production by Steve Albini may take some getting used to, but to my ears, the guitars on "When the World Was Young", "Walking into Clarksdale" and "Burning Up" are anything but subdued and buried in the mix.

Listening to Jimmy tear it up on "Burning Up", I find it incomprehensible that they didn't make this part of the setlist on the 98 tour!

Jimmy's guitar is subtle when it needs to be subtle, like on "Blue Train" or "Please Read the Letter". I don't need him to do a screaming solo on every song.

Robert writes some of his best, and vulnerable and mature lyrics on this album, too.

My only complaint is that it suffers the same flaw as most albums of the cd age...it's too long. Just because a cd can hold 60-70 minutes doesn't mean your album has to be that long.

The two tracks that I skip over are "Upon a Golden Horse" and "When I was a Child", two turgid tracks that ruin the flow of the album. "Upon a Golden Horse" just sounds a mess, and it has a ridiculous title, almost like Robert was taking the piss of people who said he had a Tolkien-fixation.

"When I was a Child" is just an inferior rehash of "When the World was Young", and again Robert lays on the kings and castles references a little too thick. More crucially, "When I was a Child" interrupts the closing momentum of the album, that was gaining steam with "Burning Up".

Take out WIWAC, and the album closes with three great and kooky tracks: Burning Up, House of Love, and Sons of Freedom, where Plant channels his inner David Byrne.

Take out both UAGH and WIWAC, and you have a solid 10 songs around a listenable 50 minutes in length.

But even with those 2 momentum stoppers, "Walking into Clarksdale" is a great album and should have been the springboard to many more to come, if only Jimmy wasn't so obstinate back then about trying to pretend it was still 1973.

One last note: Sarah Vowell may be all high and mighty and beloved with the NPR set these days, but she wrote one of the most clueless and ill-conceived record reviews in history when Spin magazine assigned her to review "Walking into Clarksdale".

Edited by Strider

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I haven't listened to it in years, but I am going to dust it off and put it in the car tonight. I just remember being in love with the atmosphere of "Shining In The Light", back when it came out. What a beautiful picture Jimmy can paint with his guitar and arrangements!

B)

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Sorry Sean. I reread what you wrote and I had misread it the first time around. I thought you were saying that I was wrong about Jimmy's guitar playing instead of telling how you felt about it. I was rushing to judgement. buttsmack.gif Shame on me.

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I haven't heard the album for a long long time, but remember that I had to get used to it soundwise.

As for Strider mentioning Burning Up, here is the only live version I ever heard of that one:

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^^^Thanks reswati and Black Dog for that info.

All I can say is that they should have played it at Irvine Meadows and the Hollywood Bowl...hell, they should have played it at every show.

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I loved the album when it was first released. It looks forward but also back a bit at the same time. I wish they had done more stuff like this. Blue Train and Most High are classics.

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I think it's an excellent example of their songwriting. There are 2 to 3 songs I don't like as much but that happens. Putting WIC in context with their entire careers I think it stands up well.

I also miss the Page solos, but I think the playing is very tasteful and in some ways a nice change.

I'm gonna pass on the particulars about the producer but overall from a production standpoint I thought it was a tasteful piece of art.

Also, i'll add the 98 tour was outstanding and i'm very glad i got to go, but since we're on the subject I like the Clarksdale material enough to say I think it would have been quite interesting to see them play in smaller more intimate venues with the Clarksdale material and only a few zeppelin songs as opposed to the other way around in stadiums.

Edited by boggie woogie

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I also need to revisit it before commenting but the fact that I've shelved it for so long probably speaks for itself.

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For me I view the CD as a Plant Solo effort with Page guesting. I mean, its Plants solo band to begin with and its clear he was calling the shots. I like the CD ok. It's not great but I do like the ending of Burning Up and do think Most High is a keeper. I think Page was happy to be with Plant playing in front of large crowds after the seldom discussed Coverdale / Page ticket sales bomb that lead right in to the American tour being cancelled.

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