Lee Speaks About Music… #68

In Through The Out Door (2 CD Deluxe Edition) – Led Zeppelin

LZ - ITTOD

Introduction…

The bands 8th and final studio album must of seemed like a lifetime to be released, and arrived some 3 years after their previous album Presence back in 1976. Once again more tragic events happened to fall upon Robert Plant and when his son Karac died in 1977 time to heal was certainly needed before getting things back to together again. Though when they finally did, once again it did not take them long to knock together the album In Through The Out Door.

The album took 3 weeks to make and they decided to write and record the record at Abba’s Polar Studio in Stockholm Sweden. Once again the band churned out 7 songs and oddly enough it was John Paul Jones and Robert Plant that took on more of an hand in writing them, whilst Jimmy Page took more of a back seat and John Bonham did not even get off his seat to contribute to any of them.

A lot of it was down to Jones having a new keyboard and on most occasions it was he and Plant who arrived at the studio first. Also the fact that both Page & Bonham had their own addictions to deal with at the time which is why they was quite often late getting to the studio. Though there is one familiar Page/Plant song on the album and Page did also contribute to 4 of the songs too with Jones & Plant.

During the recording sessions the band also recorded 3 other songs “Wearing and Tearing“, “Ozone Baby” and “Darlene” but all 3 were dropped from the album due to vinyl limitations and restrictions, and were later released on the album Coda.

In many ways the band were going through a lot of personal turmoil during this time which may had had an effect on the making of In Through The Out Door. So before we take a further look at it, let’s take a look at the packaging.

The Packaging & Artwork…

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Well there is no doubt that they have done a good job of replicating the original vinyl albums with these Deluxe Editions. This one even comes in a brown paper bag :)))). Though I will say you will have to be very careful pulling out the cardboard sleeves that houses the CD’s and the booklet.

The 16 page booklet as ever contains more photos of the band than any real information, and only 2 of its pages contain the linear notes of the credits and production. They are not very informative at all.

The Artwork.

Hipgnosis where the team once again involved in the artwork. The idea behind putting it in a paper bag was to replicate the many bootlegs albums that surfaced around back in those days. It was something that the bands manager Peter Grant was dead against and could not prevent even though he tried too on a number of occasions. It was perhaps a case of, if you cannot beat them join them, and very much done in the way of a gimmick.

It’s certainly far from the best well thought out design to package an album I will say. Though they did throw in another little feature that can be done with pictures on the cardboard sleeves that come inside the brown paper bag. Apparently if you wash the black lined sleeve with water it will become fully coloured.

It’s also rumoured that if you apply a bit of water to the dust jacket on the sepia lined sleeve, it will also change colour like a children’s colouring book. They have also done the same thing as the original vinyl album with this Deluxe CD Edition too. Though I am not gonna get my fingers wet :))))). But I suppose if you get bored listening to the album, it will give you something to do :)))))).

In Through The Out Door (2 CD Deluxe Edition) Review…

The newly remastered 2 CD Deluxe Edition of In Through The Out Door by Led Zeppelin was released on the 31st July 2015 along with the albums Presence and Coda. Just like all these Deluxe Editions they come in various music media releases and can be purchased in the form of a a digital download, a single or double CD. A single or double vinyl album or the Super Deluxe Edition which comes with all of those, plus a book and various other little trinkets depending on the size of your wallet :))))))))).

I opted as usual for the 2 CD version and actually purchased my copy from a website I have never used before called Flubit. The reason I chose to go elsewhere instead of my usual choice of Amazon was down to the price. Most of these 2 CD Deluxe Editions I purchased for £9.99 from Amazon. But for some reason even though this Deluxe Edition only comes with 2 CD’s. Amazon were charging over £15 for it.

What’s so special about this album I honestly would like to know?. It’s very odd why they should be charging more money for it, especially as I even got Physical Graffiti that comes with 3 CD’s for £12.63p which is £3 less than they want for this thing. I honestly find it ridiculous how they could be charging more money for it.

In the end I got it from Flubit for £11.28p and it was even free delivery. Though I personally would not recommend this online store at all, there customer service is diabolical and it took near enough 2 weeks to arrive and they are only in London. I have had goods arrive from Germany faster than this, and if it was not for me complaining after not hearing nothing from them after a week of placing my order, my item would of still been sitting there being processed.

CD 1.

The 1st CD contains the 7 tracks that featured on the original album to which have all been remastered by Jimmy Page. Once again the albums sounds great for the new remaster and I honestly do not see the point of dragging my turntable out of the loft and paying more money for it on vinyl.

CD 2.

The companion disc that comes with this release contains the same 7 tracks as the 1st CD only they are all rough mixes, or at least supposed to be. The overall playing time of this bonus disc is 42 minutes, 49 seconds. To be honest some of them are rough mixes and the rest have just been most likely done by Page messing about with a mixing desk today rather than all those years ago.

It’s not one of the better companion discs that come with these Deluxe Editions I am afraid, and only a few of them come with something that really speaks something different to be honest. Most of them are pointless just like the one that comes with this release.

Musicians & Credits…

LedZeppelin-1979

Recorded between 15th – 23rd November 1978 at the Polar Studios Stockholm Sweden. Produced by Jimmy Page. Executive Producer Peter Grant. Mixing Engineer Leif Mases. Additional Engineer Drew Griffiths. Sleeve Design by Hipgnosis. 2015 Reissue remastering by Jimmy Page. Mastered by John Davis.

Jimmy Page: Electric & Acoustic Guitars/Gizmotron.
Robert Plant: Lead Vocals.
John Paul Jones: Bass/Mandolin/Keyboards.
John Bonham: Drums & Percussion.

The Original Album Tracks Review…

Led Zeppelin’s 8th studio album In Through The Out Door was released on the 15th August 1979. The albums 7 tracks spanned over an overall playing time of 42 minutes, 31 seconds and just like their previous album Presence it had no trouble in reaching the number one spot in the American album charts. Once again the album came under critical abuse by many of its critics, though overall this particular album did twice as good in sales over its predecessor, and as sold more than 6 million copies to date.

There was no doubt that whatever album Led Zeppelin put out it was not received that well at all by the many critics, some of the critics who did show some favour for the album even stated that it was the best album they had released since Houses Of The Holy. Well even I would criticise those idiots :))))))))))). I certainly think Physical Graffiti was way better than that thing, though none of them with all respect are up to the quality material of the bands first 4 albums I personally feel.

The albums title was based around Robert Plant’s recent struggles with the death of his son and the fact that the band had to spend 2 years away from their own country in England due to tax exile.

Jimmy Page felt that In Through The Out Door was a relatively milder album at the time of its release, and I would think that too, but does have some fine moments even if I do not personally feel this is a solid album. Like many it has it’s good points and bad points. so now let’s take a look at the individual tracks and see what we have here.

Track 1. In The Evening.

The albums opening track opens up with a mystical drone, perhaps a bit like Steve Hillage doing his version of Donovan’sHurdy Gurdy Man“. The drowning effect is mostly coming from Page’s guitar who at the time was using a Gizmotron, though the bass pedals are also well utilised by Jones too on this intro.

The Gizmotron is an effects device used with electric and bass guitars, and was invented in 1973 by a couple of the members of the band 10CC namely Kevin Godley & Lol Creme. Pictured below is what the device looked like in 1979 and the very thing Page had on his guitar.

GIZMOTRON_01

The Gizmotron.

Page described the device as very much sounding like the Hurdy Gurdy instrument that dates back centuries, and a good replacement for his violin bow he often used on his guitar very much giving it the same effect more or less.

Unlike the price of John Paul Jones’s new keyboard (which I will go into later in this review) the Gizmotron was a lot cheaper and could be brought for £199 back in 1979. Godley & Creme first used it on the 10CC instrumental piece entitled “Gismo My Way” back in 1974.

In 1976 Godley & Creme hooked up with a company called Musitronics to work on a mass production of the product, and in 1977 they had already given the device it’s swan song so to speak on their own triple debut album Consequences having both left 10CC by then.

By 1979 both 6 and 4 string models were made and they was expecting them to take off in a big way. Though it was not to be, and by 1981 the company had gone bust and the Gizmotron ceased production and had its day. Though these days other devices have been built modelled on the same idea and the Ebow is perhaps more of the guitarists popular choice today.

Getting back to the song after about near enough a minute the Gizmo’s played it’s part on the intro very well, then we are presented with Plant’s opening vocals followed by a great guitar riff by Page that’s got quite a hook and is more familiar with the bands great style. Bonham thumps this one out on the drums and it’s really great song, and certainly an high contender for the top spot on the album.

Track 2. South Bound Saurez.

A great track for piano players this one and musically it’s very much written around the piano without a doubt. It was actually penned by Jones & Plant and it’s got a great bit of boogie woogie about it and makes you want to get up and dance. Speaking of the word dance, the song is also a bit familiar with the Leo Sayer’s 1975 song “I Can Dance“. You could also easily associate it with bands like The Faces and even Marc Bolan’s T.Rex and many others too.

The band get off on this one for sure, and even though Plant does not play any harmonica on this album, I actually feel it would of been more appropriate to have used one on the break instead of Page’s slide guitar. I quite like this one and it makes me want to jump on my piano and get the old Gob Iron out and give it a go :)))))))).

Track 3. Fool In The Rain.

Well just as the band got off to a very good start, the 3rd track on the album “Fool In The Rain” perhaps gives me the feeling of being a fool for buying the album :)))))). Sorry to say this, but for me this is not what the band Led Zeppelin should be about. It’s very much my contender for the worst track on the album. To be honest I had enough of this dribble on the Houses Of The Holy without having to contend with it here as well.

No doubt the band do well with the whole Calypso vibe, and I suppose it’s OK if you’re on some tropical beach on holiday where you may have that holiday buzz to cope with it all. But sitting here at home listening to it, just does not cut the mustard for my liking. It’s perhaps another song that would of been better off on one of Plant’s pop albums he later went on to do, and not here. Even the guitar tone effect Page uses on the solo is pathetic and so out of place.

Track 4. Hot Dog.

Another bit of honky tonk and a bit of bluegrass boogie that’s got a Rockabilly feel about this one. Once again it’s perhaps a bit out of place for Led Zeppelin and Plant is once again getting off on his Elvis vibe too. But at least it’s a damn site better than the previous song. Though no doubt as good as the band try to do this one, it’s not that precise I am afraid.

For example even though Page plays not to bad on this song and he is without doubt a great rock guitarist, he is however a bit out of his depth here I am afraid. He lacks the technique for country picking to pull it off precisely enough. This is not quite like hearing somebody like Albert Lee or even the guys behind the music of the Two Ronnies when they did their Jehosophat And Jones comedy songs for that matter.

Oddly enough the song was penned by Page & Plant. But for me Jones is the best musician playing on it, and it’s him who handles it better than the other guys.

I quite like the song but as for Led Zeppelin doing things in their own style and making it so good like they do with many other songs. It certainly does not apply here I am afraid. Simply because there are a stack of other bands who work more in this particular field of music, who can do it a damn site better.

It’s also interesting that Led Zeppelin did play this song live at Knebworth in 1979 before the album was released. Though they omitted it from the live concert of that show that was put out on the Led Zeppelin Live 2003 DVD. No doubt it was a struggle for them to play. and get to sound that good.

Track 5. Carouselambra.

The longest track on the album, and it’s the one of a few of the songs on this album that Jones used his new keyboard on. Though to be honest it perhaps gets put to more use on the following track than this one. The new keyboard in question was built by Yamaha in 1973 and is the Yamaha GX-1.

This particular keyboard was called the Electone GX-707 back in 1973 and because of its size and weight the first one was built as a theatre model for use on the stage. It was not until 1975 that Yamaha publicly released it and decided to give it, it’s new name of the Yamaha GX-1.

Though not many was ever made as it was a very expensive keyboard that cost around 60,000 US dollars to buy new back in 1975. Today that is equivalent to around $320,000 and they are extremely rare to come across.

It’s rumoured that John Paul Jones brought a used GX-1 from Keith Emerson who was the very man who extensively used this keyboard, amongst other artists who could actually afford to buy one such as Stevie Wonder and the Swedish band Abba. It’s also rumoured that Keith Emerson brought the keyboard back off Jones in 1980.

However these rumours are not very accurate and somewhat confusing. The one thing I do know is that Keith Emerson did end up buying two Yamaha GX-1’s. The first one he brought was back around 1976/77 and was used on ELP’s album The Works. His original GX-1 got broke in an accident and he ended up buying the one off Jones in 1980 to replace it. He later sold it to Hans Zimmer.

I am not sure why Jones would want to buy a broken Yamaha GX-1 off Emerson in the first place. The rumours do not add up right at all I am afraid.

I came across this interesting short story on Youtube on the Yamaha GX-1 and felt it would be appropriate to put here in my review for those who are interested.

Overall the song ” Carouselambra” is not a bad song, though I do not see it as a contender for the top spot or is anyway an epic or a classic for that matter. Besides the expensive keyboard, it contains some great guitar work from Page. It’s a song that the band never played live though it was rumoured that they did intend to play it live on their North American Tour in 1980. But sadly John Bonham died before they got the chance to perform it.

Track 6. All My Love.

For me this is a fine ballad of a song, and the only song on the album I could perhaps call a classic. Even the expensive Yamaha GX-1 sounds beautiful besides Plant’s great voice. The song itself was penned by Jones & Plant and was written in honour of Plant’s son Karic who died back in 1977.

It’s also described as the saddest and most heartfelt song Led Zeppelin wrote. The band also got to perform it live on their earlier European tour in 1980 and it was very received from the audience. It’s my personal favourite track on the album and it’s a real Gem.

In an interview Plant described the song as one of Led Zeppelin’s finest moments. Well no doubt I have deep sympathy with him on that score. For me personally it’s certainly one of their finest rock ballads, though my personal fave of all them will always be “Thank You” from the bands 2nd album.

Page was not that fond of the song and Bonham was not keen on the songs chorus. I have no idea what Jones thought of it, though he must of enjoyed the keyboard solo as I very much did.

Track 7. I’m Gonna Crawl.

From a rock ballad to a soothing lullaby and no doubt a much lighter approach from the band this one. I suppose it puts the album to bed nicely enough and yourself to sleep at the same time :))))).

This once again could be seen as what was to come with Plant’s more commercial side of his solo career rather than a real Led Zeppelin song. Though it does have some fine moments and even picks it’s pace up well to in parts. Oddly enough Page’s guitar solo is also a bit like that of Ritchie Blackmore to some extent.

The band do a good enough job of it, though it’s not gonna exactly set the world on fire I am afraid. Although the song is credited to Jones, Page and Plant it was mostly written by Jones on his Yamaha GX-1 at home before the band went to record it in the studios. It’s another song that the band never performed live, and was most likely influenced by the likes of Wilson Pickett and Ottis Redding.

Summary…

To sum up my review of the 2 CD Deluxe Edition of Led Zeppelin’s In Through The Out Door. The package itself replicates the vinyl version very well, and the gimmick of the brown paper bag could be seen as a nice touch, though it’s not very practical and you will have to be extremely careful not to damage it.

Regarding the bonus material on the companion disc. Personally I think it was pointless of Jimmy Page even trying to make a double album with what material he had to use. There is nothing different enough about it, for it to make it that much of a difference. It’s very disappointing that he could not find something that had never been released before, rather than sit at mixing desk twiddling a few knobs.

Conclusion…

Overall In Through The Out Door by Led Zeppelin is a half decent enough album. The band do make some sort of an effort to try and recapture some of that old magic in some respects with a couple of the tracks. I suppose the one thing I can be grateful for is that at least they did not try and do Punk Rock :))))))). Now that would of pissed me off LOL..

My personal highlights from the album are “All My Love“. “In The Evening” and “South Bound Saurez“.

It’s perhaps an album in some respects that’s not really worthy of upgrading your old vinyl or CD for, unless you have one of those older CD’s that came out before around the year 2000. The fact that I never did buy this album on vinyl and I only had an old CD from the 80’s, is why I brought it. Don’t get me wrong because it does sound really great for the remastering. Though it’s far from a great album.

Sadly it was to be John Bonham’s final album he made with the band whilst he was still alive. Apart from the unused material that was used and complied to make up the 1982 album Coda. It was also the bands final album too. Who knows what the band would of went on to do. Though personally like many other bands who failed to capture those golden times of their earlier career. I doubt very much Led Zeppelin would of either.

The Tides Have Caused The Flame To Dim

The album track listing is as follows:

Disc 1.

01. In The Evening. 6:53.
02. South Bound Saurez. 4:13.
03. Fool In The Rain. 6:10.
04. Hot Dog. 3:18.
05. Carouselambra. 10:33.
06. All My Love. 5:53.
07. I’m Gonna Crawl. 5:31.

Disc 2.

01. In The Evening (Rough Mix). 6:54.
02. Southbound Piano (South Bound Saurez) [Rough Mix]. 4:14.
03. Fool In The Rain (Rough Mix). 6:13.
04. Hot Dog (Rough Mix). 3:17.
05. The Epic (Carouselambra) (Rough Mix). 10:48.
06. The Hook (All My Love) (Rough Mix). 5:52.
07. Blot (I’m Gonna Crawl) (Rough Mix). 5:31.

Lee’s overall Complete Package Value Rating…

The Packaging Rating Score. 6/10

The Price Point Rating Score. 7/10

The Bonus CD Rating Score. 0/10

The Original Album Rating Score. 6/10.

5 thoughts on “Lee Speaks About Music… #68

  1. Pingback: Led, IN THROUGH THE OUT DOOR — Lee Speaks About… – Progarchy

  2. 6/10 is a fair rating for this album and though it’s better than “Presence” it can not satisfy the high expectations for a Led Zeppelin album. Thank you for teaching me what a “Gizmotron” is and other details about this release, which I hear for the first time. I just want to add, that though “Fool in the rain” is for sure a weak song it contains one of John Bonham’s most famous moments. He adopts a groove called half-time shuffle originally invented by Bernhard Purdie. There are many, many Youtube-covers of this groove and I think it’s quite influential for drummers. I agree with your favorites, though I like “Hot dog” with its obvious Elvis-attitude more than “South bound saurez”, which is too long for my taste. So my top-list would be 1. All of my love (In my opinion the only real classic on this album) 2. In the evening 3.Hot dog. And then there comes a big gap between these three and the rest of the album. On the other hand ITTOD shined a new light on LZ with its fresh approach of less guitars and more keys. But LZ in their late phase were less and less capable to write good songs. I wonder, if you will also review “Coda” …

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    • Not being a drummer I had no idea that “Fool in the Rain” contained one of Boham’s most famous moments Dirk. To be perfectly I thought Bonham’s playing on “Moby Dick” made more than a statement than this thing ;))))). “Hot Dog” is perhaps a bit too loose for my liking, it’s and OK enough song but it’s not quite as concise as they do “South Bound Saurez”, I do not have Coda yet, but I do like that album as I did buy it on vinyl when it was originally released. So as I have all these Deluxe Editions on CD. I might as well get that as well,and review it.

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  3. I think we are all more or less in agreement regarding this album. I did think the original artwork was very clever with the same scene viewed from opposite perspectives, and the Dear John letter to explain it. It is a more enjoyable album than Presence although it took a while to grow on me. There is a sense of joy and looseness in some of the performances that was missing from the previous album. In the Evening is a very strong opener, classic Zeppelin really. Southbound Suarez stands the test of time very well and Hot Dog is a fun pastiche, somewhat in the same vein as Anyone’s Daughter by Deep Purple. Fool in the Rain is enjoyable, i like it when bands try something different,whether or not they succeed I think experimentation is usually worthwhile. That said, I was never too fond of Carouselambra. All My Love is a stunning track, worth the price of admission and probably my favourite vocal by Robert Plant. His phrasing and understanding of melody and harmony over the outro are as good as anything I’ve heard. I’m Gonna Crawl is okay but nothing special.

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    • I must admit I have not heard Deep Purple’s “Anyone’s Daughter” for a good while now and I love that bit of fun indeed by them. I think the album is like you say and does have that sense of looseness and experimentation about it Dorian. And I see we all agree on the classic song too with “All Of My Love”.

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