By Tripper Garrison
Even Page has committed sacrilege by removing the piano track from The Rain Song...
Relief from Plant's helium vocals
It's always been true that this would be Zep's best album, were it not for Plant's ridiculous helium vocals (they were sped up during mixing) on "The Song Remains the Same." Fortunately this reissue offers an alternate, vocal-free take that salvages an otherwise great riff-fest for Page. So download tracks 2-9 and skip the rest, and you've got Zep at their peak.
This "Deluxe Album"
This Deluxe album is probably the worst thing Jimmy Page released. It ties with "In Through The Outdoor Deluxe Album." Let me just review the deluxe songs.
1. The Song Remains The Same (Guitar Overdubs Reference Mix) 4/10: This song is cool because it's the background guitar but it feels too slow, now vocals, bass is barely noticeable, and Bonham's drums were lowered. Why not put Robert Plants original lyrics before they slowed them down the fast forwarded them.
2. The Rain Song (Mix Minus Piano) 7/10: This does sound a lot better than the original "The Rain Song." The vocals are clearer, the guitar sounds amazing and everything sounds amazing but don't say Minus Piano when there's still piano. I'm enjoying the song and when the string part is included I hear the piano.... It's lower than the original but it's still there.
3. Over the Hills and Far Away (Guitar Mix Backing Track) 5/10: It's really cool hearing the song without the vocals and it's cool because you can hear where Roberts voice comes in but it's not there. It's the guitar. He had to sing in a style to match the guitar. At 1:00 in the song the guitar sounds like Robert Plant when he sings "More than enough." It's pretty cool.
4. The Crunge (Rough Mix - Keys Up) 2/10: It's The Crunge, it's their worst song. In this version the bass and piano is raised. I like the raised piano and bass. Being a bass player the bass at the beginning sounds amazing. Other than those things it's stupid. Probably Roberts worst vocals.
5. Dancing Day (Rough Mix with Vocals) 4/10: I didn't really hear anything different with Roberts vocals. Their quieter. The guitar sounds different. That's all I came hear.
6. No Quart (Rough Mix with JPJ Keyboard Overdubs - No Vocals)
10/10: Buy this song!!!!!! This makes this album. It's better than the original "No Quarter!" The piano is raised which makes this song already better than the original. The guitar sounds more fitting to the song. Their more haunting. No vocals! I liked Roberts vocals but this sounds amazing without them. There's no awful guitar solo, and there's bass guitar in this song!?!? Never would of guessed. Buy this song!!!!
7. The Ocean (Working Mix) 5/10. The bass is raised. The vocals are lowered, the "La la la" parts of the song has new vocals to it and the most disappointing thing is they took out John Bonham's beginning speech.
For this Led Head Houses is the best release ever. It serves as the bridge between all before and brings us to Physical Graffitti and In Through The Out Door. Presence should have never saw the light of day, in my opinion.
I buy the reissues for the undeniable improved sound quality. I also enjoy the alternate stuff and trying to pick through the sometimes painfully subtle differences.
Going in Im not expecting to hear anything plucked from the vault that will blow me away.
Its all about the sound and seperation of the instrumentation. Every instument stands alone and doesn't get muddied in the mix. My playback equipment is stellar but not the best nor worst and the subtle things I am able to discern from previous issues are worth the price. Its fun listening.
What really makes Houses stand out is the contributions to the effort made by JPJ. He is very underated as a musician and No Quarter is a masterpiece and for the most part he wrote it along with Rain Song. On the Song Remains the Same his bass work is the riff that drives the song and has never sounded so rich. Its tough work to stand out with Page's double neck and Bonham's virtuosity but with the improved sound quality it cannot be ignored. He's no John Entwistle on bass but he didn't have to be.
JPJ is the force that moved Zep in to a more progessive sound. Lets face it after 3 and 4 new ground needed to be broken and with all the tempo changes throughout Houses it was.
It's better then what we had so stop complaining. Zeppelin is gone so take what you can get.
Jimmy page has bills to pay too, so just give him your $13.00 he earned it.
No Quarter piano is pretty cool
Not usually a fan of re-issues but the piano of no quarter is awesome
No Quarter is a MUST add to your collection
It's kinda hard to buy the whole album because I already have the original recordings several times over. It's also kinda hard for your average listener to appreciate the new mixes for what they are. I think this is a "buy the songs that interest you album" The best is No Quarter's piano mix, which features several layers of music from John Paul Jones, highlights this songs backbone and magic. This version is truly a song that stands on its own. It's a MUST have to any Led Zeppelin fan's collection. 5 stars for No Quarter mix, 3 for the others and 3.5-4 stars for the album. If you already have the originals, don't bother buying the whole album, rather pick and choose.
By christopher odell
How about instead of reselling music that people already have how about putting out some more live LZ shows I'm sure hard core Zeppelin Fans like myself would appreciate that much more
Sounds like I am listening to this album for the first time.
Hands down favorite album.