All Wood And Led




The idea for this project was Dan’s. He loved what I did with the Stones and the Doors and thought that Led Zeppelin would be a great next project. For myself, I had no familiarity with the catalog until Dan sent me their entire set of releases which I listened to only once for reference, after which we went after the reinventions.

Deconstructing and reconstructing the tunes in the manner of the CD’s All Wood and Stones and All Wood and Doors. This is the fourth recording in the series.

We sincerely hope you enjoy listening to this recording as much as we did creating it.

– James

Who Dunnit?

James Lee Stanley – Guitar & Vocals
Dan Navarro – Guitar & Vocals
Chad Watson – Bass
Washington “Smowdown” Tahr
– Drums & Percussion
cello by Phantom Airman

Tool Box

2001 Taylor 810 CE
1996 Martin D28H
1995 Collings D2H (Brasilian Rosewood / Adirondack Spruce)
1974 David Russell Young Dreadnaught
1941 Gibson J-50
1999 Martin Backpacker
1964 Guild Classical Mahogany
Ibanez Bass
Fender Jazz Bass
Various percussion thingies and drums

Universal Audio
Sonic Foundry
TC Electronics

AKG 414 EB ULS (Stephen Paul Mod) Beachwood
AKG 451 condenser
CS15E Cardiod Condenser
Octava MK 219

Espresso Machine:
Solis Crema SL90 / Switzerland

Recorded at Beachwood Recording using Reaper DAW with a Dayner mixing console from D&R of Holland – 48 input, floating subgroups, 8 sends

Track Notes:

  1. Houses of the Holy - Lyrics

    Let me take you to the movies, Can I take you to the show
    Let me be yours ever truly. Can I make your garden grow
    There’s an angel on my shoulder, in my hand a sword of gold
    Let me wander in your garden, and the seeds of love I’ll sow

    From the housed of the holy, we can watch the white doves go
    From the door comes Satan’s daughter and it only goes to show

    So the world is spinning faster, are you dizzy when you’re stoned
    Let the music be your master, will you heed the master’s call
    Said there ain’t no use in crying, it will only only drive you mad
    Does it hurt to hear them lying? Was this the only world you had?

    From the houses of the holy, we can watch the white doves go …

    We wanted to start the recording really simply so that folks would know that this wasn’t going to be just covers of raucous rock and roll, but acoustic reinventions of the tunes. Love when the harmonies kick in. And Dan is singing great.
  2. Good Times Bad Times - Lyrics

    In the days of my youth, I was told what it means to be a man
    Now I’ve reached that age, I’ve tried to do those things the best I can
    No matter how I try, I find my way into the same old jam

    Good times, bad times, you know I’ve had my share
    My woman left home for a brown eyed man,
    I still don’t thing it’s fair

    Sixteen I fell in love with a girl as sweet as could be
    It only took a couple of days til she was rid of me
    She swore that she’d be all mine and love me til the end
    But when I whispered in her ear, I lost another friend

    Good times, bad times…

    I know what it means to be alone
    I sure do wish that I was home
    I don’t care what neighbors say
    I’m gonna love you each and every day

    Good times bad times …

    This was the first one we did. Dan came over and we sat in the studio and put this together and then just recorded it into my phone. Then two years went by and I found the recording but didn’t know who it was at first.
  3. Rock and Roll - Lyrics

    It’s been a long time since I rock and rolled
    It’s been a long time since I did the stroll
    let me get it back, let me get it back, let me get it back now

    ooo baby where I come from
    It’s been a long time, been a long time,
    been a long lonely lonely lonely lonely lonely time

    It’s been a long time since the book of love
    I think you know what I’m thinking of
    Carry me back carry me back carry me back now
    Back to where I came from

    Been a long time been a long lonely …

    The ethereal stinging guitar in the background is actually the guitar from our session at Dan’s home which I recorded on my fon. We recorded each tune on the fon as we figured out what we were doing to it. Upon recording the tune, I missed the way that one guitar sounded, so I recorded it right off my phone and that made it even more other worldly. And then I wove it into the song here and there.
  4. D’yer Mak’er - Lyrics

    Oh, you don’t have to go O
    You don’t have to go O
    You don’t have to go

    I, all those tears I cried I
    All those tears I cried I
    O baby, tell me why

    When I read the letter you sent, it made me so mad
    When I read the words that you wrote, it made me so sad
    But I still love you so, I can’t let you go
    O I still love you so, baby I love you

    O every breath I take O
    O every move I make O
    Don’t go

    Took the title from the notes that Dan made and couldn’t read his writing. Did the best I could with it and we sent it off to mfg. When we got it back we saw the error. So the first run has the typo, but subsequent runs will be correct. Our reggae ganja moment.
  5. The Battle of Evermore - Lyrics

    The queen of light she took her bow and then she turned to go
    The prince of peace embraced the gloom and walked the night alone
    O dance in the dark of night, sing in the morning light
    The Dark Lord rides in force tonight and time will tell us all
    I hear the horses thunder down in the valley below
    Waiting for the Angels of Avalon, waiting for the eastern glow

    The apples of the valley hold the seeds of happiness
    The groud is rich from tender care, repay, do not forget, o o
    Dance in the dark of night, sing in the morning light
    The apples turn to brown and black, the tyrants face is red
    O well, the night is long, the sands of time pass slow
    Tired eyes search for the sunrise, waiting for the eastern glow

    The pain of war cannot exceed the woe of aftermath
    The drums will shake the castle walls, the ringwraiths ride in black
    O war is the common cry, pick up your swords and fly
    The sky is filled with good and bad that mortals never know
    At last the sun is shining clouds of white roll by
    Flames from the dragon of darkness but the sunlight blinds his eyes

    The pain of war cannot exceed the woe of aftermath
    The drums will shake the castle walls, the rignwraiths ride in black
    O Sing as you raise your bow, Ride On!
    No comfort has the fire at night that lights the face so cold
    The magic runes are writ in gold to bring the balance background
    Bring it back bring it back now

    Somehow in the studio, after I had done my lead vocal, Dan said, how about if I put an astenato underneath. So that’s Dan doing his best digeridoo, on the bottom, occasionally aided by a real cello.
  6. Stairway To Heaven - Lyrics

    There’s a lady who’s sure all the glitters is gold
    And she’s buying a stairway to heaven
    When she gets there, she knows, if the stores are all closed
    With a word she can get what she came for
    Ooo ooo oooAnd she’s buying a stairway to heaven

    There’s a sign on the wall but she wants to be sure
    Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings
    In a tree by the brook, there’s a songbird who sings
    Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgivings

    O and it makes me wonder
    O and it makes me wonder

    Stairway to heaven, stairway to heaven

    We decided right off that we were not going to do this one, but somewhere along the line we did, and I went crazy on the guitars. It might be my favorite cut. It seems to have it’s own atmosphere.
  7. Whole Lotta Love - Lyrics

    You need cooling, baby I’m not foolin
    I’m gonna send you, yeah send you back for some schoolin
    Way down deep inside I think I know what you need
    A whole lotta love, a whole lotta love

    You been burning, baby I’ve been learning
    All those good times, I’ve been yearning
    Way down deep inside I think I know what yo want
    A whole lotta love, a whole lotta love

    Every bit of my love, every piece of my heart …

    Way down deep inside every bit of my love
    For you baby, I’ve got a whole lotta love

    The Willie Dixon tune re done as a samba. This was the first thing I ever heard by Led Zepplin. Didn’t ponder it for a second. Just started playing it as if it were written by Antonio Carolo Jobim.
  8. Over The Hills and Far Away - Lyrics

    Hey baby, walk a while with me, maybe you’ve got the love I need
    O darlin, darlin, darlin, in your heart there’s so very much
    O much so much, t’s more than enough
    Many times I’ve loved and many times been smitten
    Many times I’ve lied and often kept my distance

    Wise is the man, who knows what he’s missing
    A man can get lost out on the open road
    Many is a word that only leaves you guessing
    Guessing when you really ought to know
    Many times I’ve turned away, hidden from a heavy load
    Then I lost that love along the open road

    You really ought to know
    Many dreams come true, some have silver linings
    You are my living dreams, my pocket full of gold
    I’ll never let you go …

    I remember when we were coming up with this arrangement, we just kept playing that guitar figure for hours and singing over it. Really a pocket full of gold. Romantic piece.
  9. Hey Hey What Can I Do< - Lyrics

    Wanna tell you bout the girl I love, she looks so fine
    She’s the only one that I’ve been dreaming of
    Maybe someday she’ll be mine all mine

    I wanna tell her that I love her so, thrill with her every touch
    I need to tell her she’s the only one I really love, I really love

    I got a woman, wanna stray all day
    I got a woman, she won’t be true, no
    I got a woman, stay drunk all the time
    I said, I’ve got a little woman and she won’t be true, no

    On sunday morning when we go down to church
    Menfolk standing in line
    Don’t you tell me that they come there to pray
    When my little girl looks so fine (in her sunday suit)

    And in the evening when the sun is sinking low
    Everybody’s with the one they love
    I walk the town, keep searching all around
    Looking for my street corner girl
    She’s walkin on

    I got a woman and she looks so fine
    I got a woman and I wanna make her mine
    I got a woman, think I’m wasting my time
    I got a woman and she looks so fine

    Hey hey, what can I do?
    I got a woman and she won’t be true
    Hey hey, what can I say
    Still wanna be with her night and day

    Dan had written Hey Hey Luck on the top of the lyric sheet and that’s what I thought it was until he corrected me. Lots of harmonies, which I love doing.
  10. Dazed and Confused - Lyrics

    Been dazed and confused for so long, could it be true
    Wanted a woman, never bargained for you
    Lotsa people talking, few of them know
    The soul of a woman created below

    You hurt and abuse, tell all those lies
    Flash those baby blues, how they hypnotize
    Been dazed and confused, don’t know where you’ve been
    How you hurt me baby, here come those tears again

    I work every day, bring home all my pay
    Try to love you darlin but you push me away
    Don’t know where you’re going, don’t know where you’ve been
    I don’t know why I’d ever want to see you again

    Loved the melody on this so much. Tried to invoke something that I hadn’t ever done on a vocal. And Dan and I did all the harmonies, on the whole CD of course, but something special happened here.
  11. Fool In the Rain - Lyrics

    O baby, there’s a light in your eye that keeps shining
    Like a star that can’t wait for the night
    Hate to think that I might have been blinded
    Why can’t I see you tonight?
    The warmth of your smile starts me burning
    And the thrill of your touch in the night
    Yeah I’m shaking so much really yearning
    Why don’t you make it all right

    You swore that you never would leave me
    And you said you would always be true
    You promised you’d love me completely
    Whatever happened to you? Whatever happened to you?

    And you thought it was only in movies
    As you wish all your dreams would come true
    It isn’t the first time believe me
    I’m standing here feeling so blue, without you

    The clock on the wall’s moving slower
    And my heart, it just sinks to the ground
    And the storm that I thought would blow over
    Clouds the light of the love that I’ve found

    The light of the love that I’ve found keeps on shining

    Love the way Dan sings this. Great voice. I put that major guitar figure in the intro and then thought that it might be fun to change it to a minor figure on the tag. Love the drums too.
  12. Ramble On - Lyrics

    Leaves are falling all around, it’s time I was on my way
    Thanks to you, I’m much obliged for such a pleasant stay
    But now it’s time for me to go, the autumn moon lights my way
    For now I smell the rain and it’s heading my way
    Sometimes I grow so tired missing her, just one thing takes the pain away

    (I”ve got to) Ramble on, now’s the time, the time is now to sing my song
    I’m going round the world, I got to find my girl, on my way
    I’ve been like this, ten years to the day
    Ramble on, got to find the queen of all my dreams
    Got to find the queen of all my dreams

    Got not time for spreading roots, the time has come to be gone
    And to our health we drank a thousand times

    Ramble on, now’s the time, the time is now to sing my song
    I’m going round the world, I got to find my girl, on my way
    I’ve been like this, ten years to the day
    Ramble on, got to find the queen of all my dreams
    Let her slip away from me, let her slip away

    Ramble on …

    I remember putting down that first guitar lick and really digging it, and then I remembered a really surprizing figure in a Michale Jackson hit and thought I would try something funky to go along with the Travis picking. We didn’t want to stop playing this puppy, it was such fun.

4 reviews for All Wood And Led

  1. George W. Harris

    WAY DOWN INSIDE (THE CUMBERLAND GAP) … James Lee Stanley & Dan Navarro: All Wood and Led

    Over the years, acoustic guitarist James Lee Stanley has released McCabes-styled acoustic tributes to Baby Boomer rock bands like The Rolling Stones and The Doors, all to rich success. He goes for the hat trick here, delving into heavy metal territory with the Led Zeppelin songbook with fellow guitarist/vocalist Dan Navarro along with Chad Watson/b, Washington Tahr/pec, and The Phantom Airman/cel.

    The fun here is not only in the song selection but the attitude of essentially, “What if Led Zeppelin lived in Laurel Canyon instead of England?” The question is duly answered with a Jim Croce-mooded “Dazed and Confused” as well as a James Taylor mellow “Over The Hills and Far Away”. Watson gives a cool bass line under the Jimmy Buffet-styled read of “Whole Lotta Love”-what a HOOT!, while “D’jer Mak’er” is a bluegrass beauty. You’re gonna two step to the two step boogie of “ Good Times Bad Times” and sit on the back porch to the swampy “Ramble On”. I won’t spoil it for you, but just wait until you hear “Rock and Roll” and the bluesy “Stairway to Heaven”. They didn’t rip of Spirit for this one! Essential for Zep fans looking for something fresh, and for acoustic fans seeking inspiration.

  2. Suzanne Cadgène

    James Lee Stanley has found another rock group to re-invent, and a new partner, Dan Navarro, to help. Stanley certainly has chops in many Americana areas, but one that he—and I as a listener—keep coming back to, is the reconstruction of definitive electric rock into memorable acoustic music. The Doors, the Stones and now Led Zeppelin, have all benefitted from his serious re-thinking.

    It’s not like this hasn’t been done before: MTV’s Unplugged series has run for 32 years and counting, and Jose Feliciano had a mega-hit with the Doors’ “Light My Fire,” to name just two obvious examples. Here, Stanley and Navarro have delved deep into a deep catalogue and essentially changed the genre of one of rock’s biggest and more successful groups.

    The duo made bold choices, including the oft-reviled “D’jer Mak’er” and the already-acoustic “The Battle of Evermore,” but rest assured the hits are there, too, including “Stairway to Heaven,” “Whole Lotta Love” and “Ramble On.” Neither Stanley nor Navarro has Robert Plant’s ethereal voice, but they make an effective tradeoff with earworm harmonies.

    Fifteen years ago, Elmore Managing Editor Ali Green told me, “There are two kind of covers: ones that make a song new, and ones that make you wish you were hearing the original.” Dead on, Ali. Here’s an entire album of the best kind of covers.

  3. Paul Holmicz

    British pop bands have been mining American blues and R&B since the late fifties. The music of black Americans served as the backbone of the style and repertoire for the Animals, the Rolling Stones, and scores of other groups.

    Led Zeppelin took British blues based music and supercharged it. The amps were bigger, the drumming louder, and singer Robert Plant stretched his vocal range into the stratosphere to compete with the triple digit decibels. It was a winning formula, making Zep one of the most popular bands of the seventies.

    Although the band harpooned themselves by appropriating music without crediting the original writers and musicians (Zeppelin and its members are one of the most sued bands for copyright infringement and have been forced repeatedly to give songwriting credit to others on later issues of their recordings.). Led Zeppelin could be one of the most creative bands of the era. They left dancers a kilter by slipping in two measures of 5/4 into the ballsy rocker “Black Dog.” And to this day, I can think of no other pop song as strange as “Kashmir.” The guitar and bass are in 3/4, while the drumming and singing are in 4/4. Mind remains blown even after all these years.

    James Lee Stanley and Dan Navarro now give us All Wood and Led, a dozen renditions of Led Zeppelin tunes, the premise being, “What if Led Zeppelin had lived in Laurel Canyon instead of England?” In other words, Navarro and Stanley give a Byrds and Buffalo Springfield interpretation to the Zep crew. They replace the electric guitars with regular guitars and replace the drums with a cajon. Led Zeppelin unplugged.
    Stanley has recorded other disks in which he interprets the songs of the Rolling Stones and Doors, and folks have reinterpreted the music of yesteryear for a long time. Rock and rollers have given Gershwin and Hoagie Carmichael a heavier beat, and young folks swooned when the Mamas and Papas or Donnie and Marie sang hits that had been popular in their parents’ day.

    Reinterpreting old songs has become vogue in recent years. Scary Pockets, a truly remarkable musical project, funkify everyone from John Lennon to Coldplay. Post Modern Jukebox mixes everything up, performing swing, doo-wop, or Latin versions of old hits and sometimes very old hits. The PMJ folks can sometimes be a little cute or precious with what they do. I did not get that impression with All Wood and Led. It never seemed that Stanley and Navarro were ever calling attention to themselves or giving me the idea that they were thinking, “Aren’t we being clever?”

    The interpretations are loose, and a lot of liberties are taken, harmonically as well as melodically. The steamrolling “Rock and Roll” is freed from its 12-bar blues base and given a pensive vibe. The lyrics wind up being less libido driven and become yearning, almost wistful. A hint of the original guitar riff is retained for “Whole Lotta Love,” helping to make this tune one of my favorites on the disk. Of course, Stanley and Navarro sing “Stairway to Heaven,” but I don’t know if I like it as much as when Brave Combo recorded the chestnut with Tiny Tim.

    Veteran songsters, Stanley and Navarro sing well. The recording and engineering for this disk are exceptional.

  4. Randy Rice

    Releasing a cover CD of well-known classics is risky business. It can be disastrous. (Just google William Shatner’s version of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds). And even when they are first-rate renditions like Hall and Oates cover of You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling, you are still left asking “nice, but so what?” But in those rare instances when it is done right, it can peel away a layer, open a door, to reveal a new perspective that provides you with a fresh appreciation for an artist you were so sure you had completely understood.

    Such is the case with All Wood and Led, a new release from Beachwood Records of Led Zeppelin songs arranged for, and performed on, acoustic guitar by James Lee Stanley and Dan Navarro.

    When we think of Led Zeppelin, we tend to dwell on the searing vocals, virtuosic guitar solos and powerhouse rhythm section. But this CD reminds us that the band’s justifiable legendary status was built on a foundation of really, really, great songs.

    No doubt James Lee and Dan, like us, had the original versions of these Led Zeppelin classics embedded in their psyches when they sat down to do this. Nonetheless, they were able to come up acoustic arrangements that are completely unique and innovative. Who would have thought that these hard driving, heavy metal standards would make such an appealing collection of acoustic coffeehouse treasures?

    I’ve been a fan of James Lee ever since I first saw him perform in a small college setting years ago. In his songs, his humor and his onstage persona, he has always demonstrated the awesome power of the understatement. That power of the understatement is on full display, and is the driving force, behind this marvelous compilation. Navarro’s gritty vocals are a perfect compliment to James solid, soulful voice. Their acoustic guitar arrangements are deft and inspiring. And tasteful performances by Washington Tahr on drums/percussion and Chad Watson on bass help round off this formidable recording.

    If you are like me, as each song winds down to an end, you will be looking at the next title wondering “what in the world are these guys going to do with this one?” And every time you will be surprised and delighted when you find out.

    Randy Rice

Add a review

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Tell Me What You Think

    I would love to hear your impression!


    You may also like…