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posted: 6/4/2014 5:00 AM

Led Zeppelin reissues offer meager fare

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  • Led Zeppelin, "Led Zeppelin"

      Led Zeppelin, "Led Zeppelin"
    Associated Press/Atlantic Catalog Group

  • Led Zeppelin, "Led Zeppelin II"

      Led Zeppelin, "Led Zeppelin II"
    Associated Press/Atlantic Catalog Group

  • Led Zeppelin, "Led Zeppelin III"

      Led Zeppelin, "Led Zeppelin III"
    Associated Press/Atlantic Catalog Group

 
Associated Press

Led Zeppelin, "Led Zeppelin," "Led Zeppelin II" and "Led Zeppelin III" (Atlantic)

Perhaps we should admit the truth about Led Zeppelin: It's time to move on.

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Yes, even you superfans.

If the unreleased material included on reissues of landmark albums "Led Zeppelin," "Led Zeppelin II" and "Led Zeppelin III" is any indication of what's to come, there's little hope of hearing anything truly new -- let alone interesting -- over the rest of the band's ambitious plan to rerelease all nine of its studio albums.

Truth be told, Zeppelin probably should have let the 2012 "Celebration Day" box set stand as its final message. The 2012 release capturing the band's brief 2007 reunion for a live stadium show in London had a fresh feel despite its age upon release. It was meant to salve the feelings of fans hoping Zeppelin's living members -- Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and Robert Plant -- would reunite for one last run.

It was something, at least.

The reissue project seems intent on soothing fans who'd forgo the tour if they could just get another song, something fresh and new.

There's nothing like that on the bonus discs that accompany Page's remastered versions of the original albums, which rewrote rock 'n' roll. Even completists will probably be disappointed at the collection of castoff mixes, alternate takes and work tapes. The few pieces we've truly never heard before are ephemeral bits, rightly abandoned as Zeppelin blazed ahead with better material.

The best thing here is the live concert included with "Led Zeppelin." The set, recorded in Paris in 1969, is energetic and on the verge of falling to pieces. It's a pretty fascinating glimpse of the band pre-fame, but the group hadn't quite pulled it all together and there are other live sets that are more fulfilling.

Like "Celebration Day."

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