Saturday, November 14, 2009

Progress, and waste no time

On this day in 1969, progress on Led Zeppelin's third album was under way even though the band's previous album had only just been released and hit the U.K. charts.

Shortly after returning to England from its fourth U.S. tour of the year, Led Zeppelin went into Olympic Sound Studios in Barnes, London. It was there that Led Zeppelin had recorded its entire first album and parts of the second.

Led Zeppelin II was out for only a few weeks when Led Zeppelin III was in its infancy in the studio. The band, not content to rest on its laurels, pressed on to begin building up its third studio album in just over a year.

Among the new material tried out, one was a 12-bar blues in a minor key, which would become "Since I've Been Loving You." Featuring John Paul Jones on organ, the seven-and-a-half-minute track showcases all four band members at their bluesy best and darkest.

The band also recorded a pair of acoustic blues medleys, one of which was later given the title "Hats Off to (Roy) Harper." The other remains unreleased on any official Led Zeppelin album. Roy Harper was a friend of the band whose latest album at the time, Folkjokeopus, was another in a long line of the artist's catalog of experimental acoustic work.

Another piece recorded at Olympic during this time was titled "Jennings Farm Blues," named after Plant's farmhouse. The band recorded several takes of this electric rock number, none of which have ever turned up on any official Led Zeppelin collection. For the time being, "Jennings Farm Blues" did not have any lyrics. However, when the band attempted it again in 1970, the arrangement switched from electric guitars to acoustic guitars, and at that time Plant added lyrics about his beloved dog, Strider. The song was renamed "Bron-Y-Aur Stomp" by the time it was released on Led Zeppelin III.

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