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Hear Led Zeppelin's Upbeat 'When the Levee Breaks' Rough Mix

Although Led Zeppelin already released an alternate, darker-hued mix of "When the Levee Breaks" when they reissued their monumental fourth album last year, they've been holding onto a different rough mix. "If It Keeps On Raining" will appear on one of the companion discs to the upcoming remastered deluxe reissue of Coda, due out July 31st.

Three minutes shorter than the official version, the rough mix begins with a surprisingly upbeat R&B-style bass line and finds Robert Plant singing a slightly different vocal line. Also, Jimmy Page's guitar line lacks the monumental heft of the more familiar version and, similarly, this version does not play up John Bonham's earth-shaking bass drums the way it eventually would (the Coda companion disc makes up for that, though, by putting a different mix of "Bonzo's Montreux" immediately after). As an alternate version, it makes for a bluesier, more pensive interpretation of the track that the band developed from Kansas Joe and Memphis Minnie's 1929 country-blues Mississippi flood tune.

"The fourth album was a commitment," Page recalled in a recent interview with Rolling Stone, about the record that eventually called "Levee" home. "We were living in a house with a recording truck, eating and sleeping music together. We could push everything we were doing, to the point of total extremes like 'When the Levee Breaks.' It's so dense and dark – there isn't a color to describe it. It's not black. It's darker than that." He laughed.

The track is one of many outtakes from the group's career that appear on the upcoming deluxe edition of Coda's two companion discs. Another notable tune that will appear as a bonus track is "Sugar Mama," a bluesy rave-up the group wrote and recorded for inclusion on its 1969 debut Led Zeppelin.

Along with Coda, Led Zeppelin are reissuing their last two studio records: 1976's Presence and 1979's In Through the Out Door. The companion disc to Presence includes reference mixes of several songs on the LP, including "Hots On for Nowhere" and a previously unreleased, oddly named instrumental "10 Ribs & All/Carrot Pod Pod (Pod)." In Through the Out Door's companion disc contains rough mixes of every song on the record, including a raw-sounding version of "In the Evening."

As with the previous reissues, Page personally supervised remastering each of the records. Additionally, all three will be available in a variety of formats, from basic versions without the companion discs, to a super deluxe edition containing CDs, vinyl and digital versions of everything, along with a hardbound book and print of the album art.

For more information, visit the band's website.



Read more: Rolling Stone
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This Month in
Led Zeppelin History

June xx, 1969 - More recording for Led Zeppelin II at Morgan Studios
June 29, 1969 - Led Zeppelin play the prestigious Royal Albert Hall
June 28, 1970 - Zeppelin reach mass acceptance in Britain by playing Bath
June xx, 1971 - A news report claims Led Zep to play at an aid relief concert for Pakistan
June xx, 1972 - More recording sessions for Houses Of The Holy
June 21, 1972 - Eighth American tour begins in Denver, CO, almost four years since Zeppelin’s American debut
June 03, 1973 - Zeppelin play the Fabulous Forum in LA, a favorite venue to the band
June xx, 1973 - The band takes a mid-tour holiday in Hawaii
June xx, 1974 - Promoter Fred Bannister announces that Led Zeppelin will play Knebworth, the band declines
June xx, 1975 - John Bonham loses his license for six months over a drunk driving charge
June xx, 1976 - Filmmaker Kenneth Anger tells media that Jimmy Page is partly responsible for the failure of his film over the delayed soundtrack he provided
June 07, 1977 - The first of six nights at Madison Square Gardens
June xx, 1978 - Robert feels new life within Led Zeppelin again
June 26, 1979 - The entire Led Zeppelin line up appear at a Dave Edmunds show and party afterwards
June 17, 1980 - Led Zeppelin open their European (and last) tour at Westfallenhalle in Dortmund
June 27, 1980 - Zeppelin abandon their Nuremburg show after three numbers when Bonham collapses from exhaustion
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