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4.7 out of 5 stars166
4.7 out of 5 stars
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I have stated elsewhere this remastering of the Led Zeppelin back catalogue is a revelation, not in a big sense rather in the small things that all add up to have a big impact. This album features more of Jimmys acoustic guitar work than any of the rest and it is the sound of the acoustic guitar that benefits most from the remastering.

Zep were now able to fully showcase the "light and shade" approach to their music that sets them so firmly apart from the other bands of that era, and fairly much any "rock" band since. It is hard to understand how they ever got labelled as heavy metal when going back through these three albums because the breadth of the nature of the songs really stretches from the heart felt slow acoustic numbers, such as Tangerine, right up to the heavy rocking, but not heavy metal, full tilt sonic blast of the Immigrant Song. The remastering really coaxes out the sound of the acoustic guitars in a most delicious and convincing way. They now sound like instruments of steel and wood, rather than good impersonations of them.

The bonus cd has loads of absolutely splendid moments throughout. Highlights for me are the stunning version of Since I've Been Loving You, Page starting the tune of with a more subdued guitar line than in the main album version, which of course gives him greater scope when it comes down to contrasting the really powerful sections against the easy going ones.

Gallows Pole is a stunner and possibly better than the previously released version. JPJ has some great bass lines going on here, as he changes his timing, the way he adds ascending and descending arpeggios, when he kicks in with the melody and so on. Basically he is trying to see what he can do all over the place, perhaps with a mind to rein it in and pick the best bits for later. He is giving a free lesson for bass players in tasteful, supportive, yet highly inventive, playing here.

The final track on this bonus cd is a bare bones stripped right back to Page and Plant version of Key To the Highway/Trouble in Mind. Wow! Jimmy plays some seriously tasty guitar work, wonderful bluesy lines and chops whilst Robert plays wicked harmonica and then sings through the harmonica microphone with tremelo lashed all over it. A stunning combination and a clear example of why Zep were such a huge band. At the end of the day when all of the bombast and excess is cleared away music is right at the heart of the band and it shines right through everything they ever did. They connect with the listener.

Enjoy!
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on 2 June 2014
For many years the third Led Zeppelin album was considered a curiosity (especially with those people who were asking where's my 'Whole Lotta Love' parts 2, 3 and 4) when compared to the first two albums. Led Zeppelin III is very much the template of what makes Led Zeppelin the greatest band in history. Sure, there is the piercing intro of 'Immigrant Song' but then there is gentleness of 'That's the Way' or the build in crescendo of 'Since I've Been Loving You'. Listening to the new box set, you hear the development of each of the tracks to the final cut, but more than that, it was just great to kick back, put on an old friend and remember the days when I first put on a second hand version of a scratched Led Zeppelin III from 'Reddington Rare Records' in Birmingham and thought; 'YES'! Prit Cheema
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on 5 June 2014
I have little to add to the generally glowing reviews of this cd. It's a truly classic album and a great first example of Zeppelin's variety of approach, and yes, this remastering has improved significantly on the previous version.

However, and the reason for the one star deduction, my one very, very big gripe with this reissue is that with an entire extra disc to play with, no room could be found for the non-album 'B' side to the 'Immigrant song' single, ie 'Hey, hey, what can I do'. This could easily have been included without deleting any of the outtakes, and is way ahead in terms of quality of more than a few of these extra tracks. Why on earth was this left off? I doubt very much indeed if I'm the only Led Zeppelin fan left puzzled and disappointed by this omission.

Five stars for the music of course, but this really is a missed opportunity to bring a good track in from the cold.
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on 19 June 2014
I'm not reviewing Led Zep III the album, so much as the Deluxe 2 CD Edition.
Led Zep III, with the wonderful Since I've Been Loving You, is a great album, which I've had and loved on vinyl for years.
Some time ago I bought the single CD digitally remastered version, and the sound was thin, with all the bass sucked out, and sounded nowhere near as good as the vinyl version.
This 2 CD version is in a different league. Superbly remastered (by a certain J Page) with a lovely open, detailed sound, bass is still present and NO COMPRESSION!!
The sound quality of this is SO good it may actually be better than the vinyl version (gasp!)
The other selling point I suppose is the second CD with the additional tracks, but for me its well worth the price just to get the superb sound quality, which apparently Jimmy's also done with the first two Zep albums (which are next on my shopping list
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on 25 July 2014
Seriously what's going on here with these 'remasters'. Its obviously 5 stars for the phenomenal music on show here, as is the case with most Zeppelin albums, except 'In Through The Outdoor' and 'Coda' (4 and 3 stars respectively), but I am still not sure why these albums had to be remastered again and that too with some questionable retuning on some songs.

I bought the II and III remasters after reading rave reviews on here about the improved sonic quality over the previous remasters and the 'exciting' companion discs. More on that later, but I think its time someone called on the Emperor's New Clothes or rather the lack of it.

Whereas the remastering on II is good, I don't think it adds anything substantial or exciting to the previous remaster to justify buying the album all over again, but its the remastering of this album (III) that has left me a lot more disappointed to say the least.

Looks like Bonham's drums and Plant's vocals are the worst to suffer, especially up to and including Gallows Pole, after which things pick up a little sound qualitywise with Thats The Way sounding absolutely gorgeous.

I have listened to the whole remastered album back to back quite a few times now and compared the songs head to head with previous remasters and while these 'retunes' sound clean and polished, the oomph factor is definitely lacking.

If with the previous versions I felt that I had a front row seat in the house, with this remaster its like sitting at the farthest end of a really big stadium concert with the wind blowing in the opposite direction, taking the sound even farther away. Trying to increase the volume does not help either. Bonham's excellent drumming on Gallows Pole now sounds as if he is playing in the next room with the door closed and Plant's vocals sound as if he is with Bonham in that room.

As with the companion discs, I don't get the point of putting them out especially if you don't have any new material or B side or radically different version of a song to make it worthwhile. It almost feels like an excuse to re-release these albums for the nth time and provide a reason for people who already have 3 versions of this album, to buy it for a 4th time.

Except for Jennings Farm Blues and Key To The Highway on III and La La on II (which are all gorgeous by the way), there's nothing truly 'new' on the companion discs. If I had to listen to the backing track of a song, I could run it through any number of countless softwares available to make a karaoke track.

I almost feel that Jimmy Page in his egotistical enthusiasm to coax out every version possible from the original recordings, will end up tarnishing the Led Zep legacy for their new fans.

While these new versions (so far) offer interesting alternate takes on the mighty Zeppelin back catalogue, they cannot in my opinion, replace the original remasters or the analogue recordings and should be bought just as a curiosity, rather than an essential upgrade.
I for one, will only be investing in the re-remasters of the remaining albums, if there is any real or substantial bonus material released with those reissues.
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Released in 1970, Zeppelin's third album received a lukewarm reception after the explosive impact of the sensational debut and follow-up. What was an iconic world-class rock band doing, releasing an album containing so much acoustic music?

In retrospect we can now see `Zep 3' as a more mature release with the band stretching out to embrace styles other than R&B, hard rock and blues. Unlike the first two albums, they took their time composing and recording this one and it shows in the more complex and thoughtful musical arrangements. The developing writing partnership between Page & Plant, and the way the four gel at every level, comes through strongly.

So is it worth investing in this 2014 `2CD Deluxe Edition'? For my money the answer is yes.

The first disk contains the original album content, with more punch and significantly more nuanced detail evident in the mix. It's both richer and sharper than any previous CD release, and rivals the original vinyl album for warmth and overall sound quality.

The reason you should buy this package, however, is the material on the second disk. Some are alternate takes of the album songs from the same recording sessions, every bit as good in their way but slightly different. `The Immigrant Song' & `Celebration Day' are stormers. `Since I've been loving You', a gorgeous version of `That's the Way' and especially `Gallows Pole' with stripped-down sound, no piano and more impassioned vocal from Plant are - for my money - even better than the versions chosen for the original album release. `Jennings Farm Blues' is heard here for the first time, as is `Key to the Highway' - very reminiscent of the original closer `Hats off to Harper' with Plant playing some mean harmonica and reverbed-vocal over Page's busy acoustic slide guitar. The remaining two tracks are instrumental (or karaoke) versions of the originals: `Friends' and `Out on the Tiles' here curiously retitled `Bathroom Sound'. As other reviewers have pointed out, it would have been nice if `Hey Hey what can I do?' had been included too, but its absence doesn't really take away from the package as so much of the second disk is truly great.

The 1970 gatefold vinyl album cover was a real work of art, a rock classic (which the band reportedly didn't really like). Here it's carefully reproduced in detail with rotating wheel and myriad photo images visible through holes cut in a unique 3-gatefold sleeve. The 2x CDs bear the green/orange Atlantic Records artwork from the era. You also get a 16-page booklet with photos of the band onstage in 1970 and a couple of amateur snaps from Bron-y-Aur, the remote Snowdonia cottage where much of the material was conceived and worked out prior to studio recording. It recaptures the feel of the original twelve-inch gatefold album cover to near-perfection.

If you don't already have this classic, iconic album in your collection, this is the version to buy.
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I suspect like many fans - I bought all three of these 2CD DELUXE EDITIKNS on the day of release (Monday 2 June 2014 here in the UK). And after the initial disappointment of the "Led Zeppelin" debut version with its questionable sound on some tracks and its rubbish bootleg-sounding live bonus disc - I'm thrilled to say that "II" and "III" are entirely different beasts.

For me it's not the more applauded and revered "II" that tickles my spine - but the fabulous 'Acoustic' expansion of the British Super Group's songwriting chops on "III" that puts them head and shoulders above all the rest. This beauty has always made my eyes water and my quadruple bypass beat a little faster. Well - "III" now sounds fabulous - and the 'Companion Audio' CD actually warrants the word 'bonus' with some truly spine-tingling new additions. Here are the Tiny Flowers and Hangman Riding Many A Mile details...

UK released 2 June 2014 (3 June in the USA) - Atlantic/Swan Song 8122796449 breaks down as follows...

Disc 1 (43:11 minutes):
1. Immigrant Song
2. Friends
3. Celebration Day
4. Since I've Been Loving You
5. Out On The Tiles
6. Gallows Pole [Side 2]
7. Tangerine
8. That's The way
9. Bron-Y-Aur Stomp
10. Hats Off To (Roy) Harper
Tracks 1 to 10 are the vinyl album "Led Zeppelin III" - originally released 5 October 1970 in the USA on Atlantic SD-7291 and Atlantic 2401 002 in the UK

Disc 2 (41:33 minutes):
1. The Immigrant Song (Alternate Mix)
2. Friends (Track - No Vocal)
3. Celebration Day (Alternate Mix)
4. Since I've Been Loving You (Rough Mix Of First Recording)
5. Bathroom Sound (Track No Vocal)
6. Gallows Pole (Rough Mix)
7. That's The Way (Rough Mix With Dulcimer - Backwards Echo)
8. Jennings Farm Blues
9. Key To The Highway/Trouble In Mind
Tracks 1 to 9 are PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED 'Rough/Alternate Mixes' of Seven album tracks with two New Songs - the Instrumental "Jennings Farm Blues" (which turns out to be an early rockier version of "Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp") and a stunning new double cover-version outtake called "Keys To The Highway/Trouble In Mind".

The three-way foldout Mini LP Sleeve Repro has its problems. The original rear sleeve photo is now placed in the centre and that rear shot of their four faces has been replaced with a rather garish `negative' artwork shot giving you the feeling that the thing `just doesn't look right' Worse - the `moveable wheel' on the front flap is stationary unlike those beautiful Japanese SHM-CD repro's of the original vinyl LP - so the fun of turning those photos underneath is lost. Don't get me wrong - this 2CD DE version is pretty to look at - but I have the Japanese SHM-CD from September 2008 on WPCR-13132 and with its over-sized artwork faithful to the original is a thing of genuine beauty (as was the original 1970 vinyl LP). And what would it have taken to have the original British Atlantic Records Plum Label design on CD 1 (as the Japanese issue does) and the Green and Orange colour on the new CD2?

The 3-way gatefold card sleeve also features alternative colour artwork on the rear with a stuck-on track list (these new releases now reflect their Swan Song label as well as Atlantic Records for the first time). The 16-page booklet has gorgeous black and white/colour photos of the band live at the time (the three sat doing an Acoustic set), relaxing in Wales in the tiny knackered-looking 18th Century Cottage 'Bron-Yr-Aur' where much of the album was written/inspired by. But like "I" and "II" - there are only two pages at the rear that give you the basic track info - bugger all else. There's no liner notes - no history of the album and its importance (a huge fan favourite) - and nothing from Page or Plant. It's good - but it could have been great - and frankly why isn't it?

As Zep fans know the album was conceived in deepest Wales where the band was recovering after extensive world touring (recorded in Headley Grange). Perhaps all that head-banging abroad and rural lack of running water/electricity brought out the 'inner calm' in our heroes - because setting aside the Rock of "Immigrant Song" and the straight-up Blues of "Since I've Been Loving You" - the album primarily featured softer acoustic tracks (ballads even) - and is so much the better for it.

I moaned about the sound quality on some tracks on the debut - that problem doesn't appear here. From the opening "1, 2, 3..." count-in on "The Immigrant Song" you'll be hammering those Speaker Gods of yours with a possible neighbourhood disturbance restraining order. It's HUGE. The double-whammy "Friends/Celebration Day" leaps out of each channel with new details while the squeaking of Bonham's drum seat can now be clearly heard on the lead-in to the mighty "Since I've Been Loving You". Ending Side 1 - "Out On The Tiles" has wonderful presence - especially on the "All I need is you and all your love...ooh yeah" sung chorus.

Now the magic starts - "Gallows Pole" has always sent fans - and 44 years later - it just blows you away. The mandolin and banjo build up are followed with Bonzo's manic drums - shooting the whole Acoustic/Rock song up into the stratosphere - fantastic stuff and aurally spiffing. "Tangerine" is gorgeous and the sloppy count-in only adds atmosphere to the tenderness. But then I'm in tears. I recently reviewed Mott The Hoople's 1974 CBS album "The Hoople" with the gorgeous Ian Hunter ballad "Trudi's Song" on it. It got me to compiling a 70's FEST CD-R called "Songs To Make A Grown Man Cry" (see separate review and list). Top of that bawl-crawl is Led Zeppelin's gorgeous "That's The Way" - which in its new 2014 guise will make true fans blub like a big girl's blouse. This is what I've waited decades to hear (Cameron Crowe too). And then it all ends with a chipper "Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp" and the slightly throwaway "Hats Off To (Roy) Harper". Job done.

But there's better to come. Disc 2 is a stunning addition. You get Alternate Mixes of "The Immigrant Song" and "Celebration Day" with Rough Mixes of "Since I've Been Loving You" and "Gallows Pole" - all of which feature fascinating different guitar parts and the occasional vocal flourish. "Bathroom Sound" is an early run through of "Out On The Tiles" without vocals and "Jennings Farm Blues" turns out to be a first version of "Misty Mountain Hop" with Page feeling for the song (it's very cool). But then you're hit with a solar plexus - the fabulous Big Bill Broonzy/Big Joe Turner double cover of "Key To The Highway/Trouble In Mind". It's a two-man show - Page on Acoustic guitar in the left speaker with Plant on treated warbling vocals and heavy harmonica on the right. It's just stunning - with Robert Plant blowing some truly hair-raising Blues Harp - fans will flip for it. Downside - the fab non-album B-side "Hey Hey What Can I Do Now" to the American 45 of "Immigrant Song" is AWOL - when in remastered form - it would have been a rather tasty cherry on top (it'll be on a massively expanded "Coda" reissue to come).

So there you have it. Not just brilliant but a legend intact and expanding (despite those packaging niggles).

Were Led Zeppelin really as good as we remember them? And in 1970 - were they even the best band in the world?

You bet your hairy-assed airship-sized balls they were...

PS: see also reviews for the 2CD DELUXE EDITION versions of "I", "II", "IV", "Houses Of The Holy" and "Physical Graffiti"
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on 3 July 2014
This has long been known as the least fave of the earliest Led Zep albums purely because they changed the format slightly with more emphasis on acoustic material which a lot of the fanbase weren't enamoured with but over time it has been re-assessed and rightly so been lauded. This re-issue of course has the fantastic 'Since I've been loving you' and 'Gallows Pole' as we all know but we are all waiting on the bonus material. Again some of the alternate versions are great and some (backing tracks) are not really worthy of inclusion especially as there are numerous tracks recorded at the time but not on the companion disc. Why? Who knows although the inclusion of 'Jennings Farm Blues' and 'Keys to the Highway' are a welcome boost. So even if you own an older version of this its still worth buying for the bonuses.
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on 16 July 2014
Best sounding version I have heard! Only question I have is: What have they done with the bass in this remaster? Especially on Gallows Pole there was a rumble. Have they added frequency under 30? That creates problems for most speakers, even mine. Apart from that little quibble this really is a great version!
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on 28 January 2015
The sound quality in this remaster is better than the original CD. The bonus material, in my opinion, is worth having for the insight into the band and what they were doing at that time. Yes, it's quite similar to the CD, but just shows the depth of their talent and I'm delighted to own it.
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