Untitled Zeppelin post (take 5)We’ve got today the Tropical Storm Fay edition of my temporarily recurring feature here at the Licorice Pizza: The Ultimate Led Zeppelin Sessions disks.
This is a particularly different group of recordings. While I was listening to these tracks, something came to light that I had not known before. Apparently, during the Houses of the Holy sessions in 1972, Page and Plant made some recordings with the Bombay Symphony Orchestra.
The first 18 tracks of today’s post are from those sessions, which were never officially released. The songs are heavy with tabla drums and sitars. When I listened to them for the first time, I thought someone had pranked me and those were actually outtakes from the No Quarter album. It turned out the recordings were never used because Page was unhappy with the results. He reportedly complained that the orchestra didn't keep time in the Western style and some of them drank a lot.
What is interesting about these takes is the markedly different version of “Friends.” A lot of the takes are just the orchestra noodling around, trying to get the song down. You can also hear a lot of back and forth in Hindi. But the introduction of an Indian symphony changes the song in a dramatic way.
Page and Plant also worked on a version of “Four Sticks” with the orchestra. There is a take here that includes Plant’s vocals.
Of the remaining tracks, the seven versions of “No Quarter” come from June 1972 sessions at Electric Lady studios in New York, where Zeppelin went to complete recording the Houses of the Holy album. Take a listen to track 26 and you can hear some slight differences from what would be the final version of the song.
“Walter’s Walk” was recorded May 1972 at Stargroves in England. It remained unreleased until 1982 when it was included on Coda. The date of Plant’s performance on the song is debatable, according to Dave Lewis’ The Complete Guide to the Music of Led Zeppelin. Plant's tone in this track is far more reminiscent of In Through the Out Door than the rest of the material recorded during the Houses of the Holy era, Lewis says. He further suggests Plant's vocals may have been recorded at Jimmy Page's Sol Studios in 1982. It is quite possible that the song existed only as a basic backing track until Coda was assembled.
Again, because of the number of tracks and the amount of just tuning up and fooling around, I’ve posted just a few individual songs then made the entire disk available via the magic of zip.
Complete Track List:
12. Four Sticks
16. Four Sticks (Take 1)
17. Four Sticks (take 2).mp3
18. Four Sticks (Take 3)
19. Walter’s Walk.mp3
20-25. No Quarter
26. No Quarter.mp3
Unzip the whole thing here