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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