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Led Zeppelin / Physical Graffiti / deluxe triple vinyl review

Led Zeppelin / Physical Graffiti reissue / 3LP deluxe vinyl

Graeme Piper reviews the last Led Zeppelin reissue.


Re-released 40 years to the day of the original on February 24th 1975, Atlantic Records have just issued the latest in their Led Zeppelin remasters series in the form of the band’s sixth album, Physical Graffiti.

Integrating a host of musical genres from rock and reggae to funk, the album features some of the band’s best known songs with Custard Pie, Trampled Under Foot and the massive, swirling epic of Kashmir capturing Led Zeppelin at the peak of their powers.

Being both commercially and critically successful upon original release, Physical Graffiti was certified 16x platinum and was hailed as one of Led Zep’s finest albums and, indeed, one of the greatest double albums ever made. Sounds audacious, but, I think it’s fair to say, pretty accurate.

The band originally recorded eight new tracks for release, but since the collective track running times went beyond that of a standard album, they decided to crank it up to a double, adding several unreleased tracks from previous sessions, including Boogie With Stu which dated back to 1971.

The newly remastered release comes in an eye-watering array of different formats: the two-CD and two two-LP variations offer just the album remastered, while the three-CD & three-LP Deluxe editions and the Super Deluxe box also contain an additional companion disc made up of previously unreleased tracks.

It’s worth noting that the super deluxe edition comprises both the triple vinyl and triple CD sets, download code, a hardback book of previously unseen photos and memorabilia and a high-quality, numbered print of the original album cover. Not a bad haul for the completists! There is absolutely zero exclusive audio with the pricey box set, although the download code (which provides a hi-res 96khz /24 bit version of the album) is not included with any of the other CD or LP releases.

SwanSong

Authentic Swan Song labels

Jimmy Page has overseen the audio to give us a crisp, deep and rich sound that rips the grills from the speakers. The LPs are presented on lovely 180g audiophile vinyl with perfect Swan Song centre labels. But does this differ drastically to the previous remasters that have appeared before? My guess is probably not that much, but it swells the Led Zep coffers and keeps the legend alive.

So, in terms of that companion disc: kicking off side one is a barnstorming Brandy & Coke – a five minute romp that is an early mix of what was to become Trampled Under Foot, followed by an early, shorter instrumental version of Sick Again. Rounding off this side is a rough mix of In My Time of Dying which, again, falls just shorter in length than the final version.

An early mix of Houses Of The Holy gives side two a riff-tastic start and is followed by a very different version of In The Light which goes by the title of Everybody Makes It Through. An alternative mix of the madcap Boogie With Stu is a great addition, and Driving Through Kashmir – a ‘rough orchestra’ mix of what became simply Kashmir – is a great listen.

Truth be told, enjoyable as they are, with the exception of Everybody Makes It Through and Sick Again, there is little difference to the casual listener between these ‘rough’ and ‘early’ mixes and the final versions found on the album itself, and they are probably best reserved for the Zep aficionados, but overall it’s a good warm up for listening to a genuinely classic album.

Led Zeppelin / Physical Graffiti reissue / negative artwork

Companion audio disc comes in ‘negative’ sleeve

Packaging wise, the whole thing is really well put together. Having purchased the triple vinyl deluxe set, the sleeves are meticulously reproduced while the top-loading outer sleeve is complete with die-cut windows and a wraparound insert with track listings that slides in, to complete the iconic cover. The companion disc sleeve is printed as a metallic-looking ‘negative’ alternative of the disc one sleeve, giving it all a nice finishing touch. As for the CD versions, they all come with vinyl replica sleeves.

With Physical Graffiti joining the ranks of previous reissues, Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II, III & IV and Houses Of The Holy, it looks fairly certain that the remaining back catalogue will be reissued in similar formats over the coming months. Expect more of the same.

Physical Graffiti is out now.


Review by Graeme Piper for SuperDeluxeEdition.


Super Deluxe Edition box set

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Deluxe 3CD Edition

pg_doublecd

2CD Edition

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Deluxe 3LP Vinyl

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2LP Vinyl Edition

Track listing

Disc: 1
1. Custard Pie
2. The Rover
3. In My Time Of Dying
4. Houses Of The Holy
5. Trampled Under Foot
6. Kashmir

Disc: 2
1. In The Light
2. Bron – Yr
3. Down By The Seaside
4. Ten Years Gone
5. Night Flight
6. The Wanton Song
7. Boogie With Stu
8. Black Country Woman
9. Sick Again

Disc: 3 (deluxe and box set only)
1. Brandy & Coke (Trampled Under Foot – Initial Rough Mix)
2. Sick Again (Early Version)
3. In My Time Of Dying (Initial Rough Mix)
4. Houses Of The Holy (Rough Mix With Overdubs)
5. Everybody Makes It Through (In The Light Early Version/In Transit)
6. Boogie With Stu (Sunset Sound Mix)
7. Driving Through Kashmir (Kashmir Rough Orchestra Mix)


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11 responses to Led Zeppelin / Physical Graffiti / deluxe triple vinyl review

  1. LedMan says:

    I’ve read that there are issues with the vinyl including distortion on some of the tracks. customers have also reported that labels are off centered and that they received scratched copies. There are issues with some of the previously released vinyl too and Rhino has sent customers corrected replacements. If someone doesn’t beat me to it, I’ll post the links from the Steve Hoffman website later.

    • Graeme Piper says:

      I’ve heard of this issue LedMan, but my copy is fine on all counts. It certainly isn’t what you want though, when you spend so much on these things. Hopefully anyone who was affected will get replacements.

  2. LedMan says:

    Thanks for posting your review. I plan to order the SD edition next month and hopefully by then, Rhino will have replacements available for the faulty LPs.

  3. Heinerich says:

    Excellent review Graeme. Thank you.

  4. james says:

    Howdy
    Does anyone know if there will be more after physical graffiti? In through I think maybe. Presence may a little less? Coda probably not? I wonder if Paul knows?
    J

    • Phil Cohen says:

      It was stated, from the outset, that the series would include the entire Led Zeppelin catalog, including “Coda”.

  5. Fran Hearley says:

    Anybody else get the original albums without sleeves? Mine were just “chucked” into the cardboard outer sleeves, but the companion audio record had a sleeve….

    • Mike says:

      Fran, Yes – no inner sleeves for the main album – I had some spare sleeves (identical to the ones used in the other Zep releases) which I used – the inner sleeves have to be inserted with the opening facing outwards, the cardboard sleeves are a tad smaller than the other albums.

  6. Gisabun says:

    Wondering how much other tracks they could of thrown to the companion CD. I don’t think it hits 45 minutes.

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