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BEST OF 2021 TBL ROUND UP – DL FAVOURITE BOOTLEGS – FAVOURITE REISSUES & NEW ALBUMS – FAVOURITE BOX SETS – FAVOURITE COMPILATIONS – FAVOURITE SINGLES – FAVOURITE BOOKS /TBL POSTS OF THE YEAR OVERVIEW/ LZ NEWS/DL DIARY BLOG UPDATE

29 December 2021 2,128 views One Comment

BEST OF THE YEAR 2021 TBL ROUND UP:

DL Best Of Year LP/CD releases:

There’s been some truly fantastic albums and CD’s this past year so here’s my best of listings…

These are my favourite vinyl LP and CD acquisitions of 2021 –  in no particular order- commencing with…

My Favourite Bootleg Releases  Of The Year: 

Led Zeppelin – Salvation Through Him -Bloomington January 18 1975 – Eelgrass 2CD

Led Zeppelin – Whole Lotta Rock And Roll The Forum March 24 1975 – 4CD

Led Zeppelin Final Winterland 1969 2nd Night – Source 2 (No label 2CD)

Led Zeppelin – Live At The Forum Inglewood March 27 1975 – a 4 LP set on the Iron Eagle label

Led Zeppelin – Burn Like a Candle Live at the LA Forum 1972 – single LP

David Bowie – Bowie Rock’Roll Now – Japanese 1973 promo replica LP

The Rolling Stones Fully Finished Studio Outtakes = 3 CD Black Frisco Records

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young -Horses Through A Rainstorm – Deja Vu The Alternate Albums and Outtakes Collection  – 4CD

 

Here’s my Favourite Reissues and New Albums of The Year… not a lot of new albums here – as is probably well known I am a reissue man for sure but make no excuses -one has to like what one likes….and a bulk of my listening is for heritage artists…

Robert Plant & Alison Krauss – Raise The Roof – 2LP

Paul Weller – Fat Pop – LP and box set CD set

The Rolling Stones Tattoo You – 2LP

Fireball XL5  – Original TV Soundtrack  reissue coloured vinyl LP

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Déjà Vu Alternates  – Record Store Day release

Focus – Singles, Deep Cuts & BBC Live  -RSD release

Cat Stevens – Harold & Maude – RSD release

The Groundhogs  – Who Will Save The World (Deluxe edition) RSD release

Joni Mitchell – Joni Mitchell Archives, Vol. 1 – RSD release

The Rolling Stones, The – Hot Rocks (1971) 2LP Coloured vinyl – RSD release

Bobbie Gentry – The Window of The World -RSD 1LP

Miles Davis – Miles Davis Champions From The Complete Jack Johnson Sessions – RSD release

The Sweet – Platinum Rare – RSD release

Elton John – Regimental Sgt. Zippo – RSD release

The Who – Face Dances  2LP RSD release

Jimi Hendrix Experience – Paris 67 Black Friday 1 LP RSD reissue

Dusty Springfield The Complete Atlantic Singles 1968 – 1971 – 2LP Black Friday RSD release

The Misunderstood  – Children Of The Sun – The Complete Recordings 1965-66  – 2CD

David Crosby – If I Could Only Remember My Name – 50th Anniversary reissue – 2CD

David Crosby -For Free  CD

David Bowie  – The Width of  A Circle  2CD

David Bowie – Station To Station 45th Anniversary coloured vinyl reissue

Bob Dylan 1970  – 2CD

Cat Stevens –  Teaser And The Firecat  reissue 2CD

Linda Hoyle – Pieces Of Me LP

This 1971 solo album by the ex Affinity lead singer was actually re-released a while back I discovered it this year and it’s been one of my most played albums of recent months.

My Favourite Box Sets of The Year:

George Harrison – All Things Must Pass – 5CD 1 blu ray

The Beatles – Let It Be – 5 LP edition

John Lennon Plastic Ono Band – John Lennon – 6CD and  2 blu ray

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Deja Vu 50th Anniversary edition 1LP & 4CD

The Yardbirds – Roger The Engineer – 2LP and 3 CD box set

Eric Clapton – Eric Clapton – 4 CD

Joni Mitchell – The Reprise Albums (1968 – 1971) – 4CD

Affinity – Affinity -4CD

DL Favourite Various Artists Compilations Of The Year:

Good As Gold – Artefacts Of The Apple Era 1967 – 1975  – 5CD

Banquet – Underground Sounds Of 1969 – 3 CD

Gary Crowley’s Lost 80s Vol 2  – 4 CD

Directions In Music 1969 to 1973 Miles Davis – his Musicians and the Birth of a New Age in Jazz – 1 CD

Beyond The Pale Horizon – The British Progressive Pop Sounds Of 1972  – 3CD

Modern Love – David Bowie  Tribute  – Various Artists 2LP

 

 

DL Favourite Singles Of The Year:

David Bowie   – Mother/Tryin’ To Get To Heaven

Fireball XL5 theme tune sung by Don Spencer and The XL5- reissue.

Robert Plant – Live at Knebworth  12″ Record Store Day release

The Rolling Stones – Rain Fall Down/Rough Justice  – A Bigger Bang Live  10 inch Record Store Day release

Timebox – ‘Beggin/Girl Don’t Make Me Wait – Record Store Day release

James Bond Theme – Te City Of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra (with original Bond Theme Guitarist Vic Flick) Record Store Day release

 

DL Favourite Books of the Year:

These are my favourite books of the year

Ross Halfin  – Led Zeppelin Vinyl -The

Carl Dunn – They Ask No Quarter -The Carl Dunn Led Zeppelin

The Beatles Get Back by The Beatles

Paul McCartney – The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present

Stefan Granados – Those Were The Days 2.0 -The Beatles and Apple

Ralph Sutherland & Harold Sherrick – A Pig’s Tale The Underground Story of The Legendary  Bootleg Label

State of the market:

Thanks again to all the great suppliers of my record passion -notably Warren and Nerys  at the Slide Records Bedford, Nick Carruthers for all his help, the Record Store website plus Steve Livesley, Pete Burridge, John Parkin, Ian Sakia, Alastair Chorlton, Cliff Hilliard and Lee Abrahams  for sharing their fellow LP record collecting enthusiasm – and of course Darren Harte formerly of the Vinyl Barn for his years of great service to the record cause.

The demise of Darren’s Vinyl Barn in June was a sad moment – however, there is  still many an outlet for the discerning record collector. It was good to see the return of the VIP record fairs –notably  in Bedford in August and October. Here’s hoping that Covid permitting, the VIP record fairs continue to operate and thrive – Bedford is scheduled for a return in February.

The Spitalfields Market on the first and third of every Friday have been an increasingly great source of vinyl product.  Locally Warren and Nerys at Slide Records have maintained their top notch service – the two main Record Store Day drops being superbly managed.

Ever on the look out for a quirky collector angle, I have enjoyed investing in the 8 track stereo cartridge format popular in the 1970s.

CDs:

Due to their cheap availability in charity shops,  the CD format is going through a collector renaissance . It’s possible to pick up some absolute bargains as I have done (and my fellow record collecting comrades John, Pete and Steve) throughout the year. This is a trend that is likely to continue as CD collections get replaced in favour of Spotify and other streaming services. Being a man of physical product I am more than happy for that situation to happen and I will be keeping an eye out for the CD bargains to appear in charity shop outlets – there’s some great stuff to be had and I still love that format.

Dave Lewis – December 29,2021


TBL DL POSTINGS AND WRITINGS 2021:

Here’s a round up of some of my postings and writings this past year from January to December.

Writing about music continues to be my passion and has been defining who I am for over 50 years – as ever I feel very privileged to have a platform to do so…

So here are some DL words and thoughts from the past 12 months…..

OVERVIEW OF THE TBLWEBSITE POSTINGS IN 2021:

January 21:

First record purchase of the year – David Bowie Mother/Tryin’ To Get To Heaven… 

I made my first record purchase of the year this week – the new David Bowie single released to mark his recent Birthday.

Many thanks to Nerys and Warren at the always excellent Slide Record shop in Bedford for arranging this one for me.

Here’s my thoughts on it:

This double A side, as we used to call them, presents two previously unreleased intriguing cover versions of songs by a couple of David’s own heroes.

Bowie has of course always been a great interspeaker of other artists songs – Fill Your Heart, It Ain’t Easy, Around And Around, Let’s Spend the Night Together, Amsterdam , Wild Is The Wind and God Only Knows are particular favourites of mine and in 1973 he recorded a whole batch of UK 60s cover versions for the Pin Ups album.

So first up Mother:

Bowie famously stated that Lennon’s on sale again’’ in the lyrics of Life On Mars. He would go on to build a friendship with the ex Beatle in New York that resulted in the pair collaborating on Fame and Across The Universe for the 1975 Young Americans –the latter a Lennon Beatles song from 1968.

Originally recorded by Lennon for his 1970 album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, Bowie’s version of Mother on this new single was produced by Tony Visconti in July 1998 for a Lennon tribute that never came to fruition.

Mother is no easy song to cover – a profoundly personal statement on a profoundly personal solo album. ”Mother you had me but I never had you” is the opening line of  Lennon’s painful lament to his mother who was tragically killed when Lennon was aged 17. I have only ever come across one other over version a rather impressive effort by Barbra Striesand recorded in 1971.

David plays it close to the original opening with plaintive piano accompaniment from Jordan Ruddess. His vocal is right on the money with that deep resonance moving up the register as required reaching a dramatic climax with harmony vocal support from Tony Visconti and Richard Barone. Behind it all Reeves Gabrels adds some tonal guitar interjections in a manner that recalls to mind Robert Fripp’s work on Heroes.

Flip it over and the focus is on Bob Dylan…

Another of his own heroes going right back to Bowie’s Song For Bob Dylan. Released on the 1971 Hunky Dory album it was a heartfelt plea for the then exiled Dylan to get back out there – ‘’Hear this Robert Zimmerman, though I don’t suppose we’ll meet, ask your good friend Dylan, if he’d gaze a while down the old street’’

Some 40 years later he was plainly still captivated by the Zim. Bob Dylan’s original version of Tryin’ To Get To Heaven was released on his acclaimed 1997 Grammy winning Time Out Of Mind album. David’s version was recorded in February 1998 during the mixing sessions for what would emerge as the ‘LiveAndWell.com’ album.

Like Mother, this is a similarly overwrought arrangement with a tender Bowie vocal – sometimes framed in a subtle echo other times multi tracked to great effect. This time there’s a more sinewy guitar underlay from Reeves Gabrels, playing off Gail Ann Dorsey’s shimmering bass. Bowie signs off with the dramatic claim of ”I’ve been all around the world boys.”

Summary: These two lost gems from the late 90s can take their rightful place amongst the best of the Bowie covers. His 1990s output received lukewarm response at the time and maybe it’s time for a reappraisal of his albums from that period – namely Black Tie White Noise, Outside, Earthling and ‘hours…’

One thing is for sure – his ability as a vocalist was never in doubt and on both these sides he sings magnificently.

Mother and Tryin’ To Get To Heaven are stark reminders of the vast talent that was lost that bleak January day of five years ago. They are also further examples of what we still treasure about David Bowie.

For me he remains the most important solo artist of all time – and this single only re-enforces that statement…

Dave Lewis  – January 21,2021


January 28:

My second vinyl record purchase of the year and it’s a nostalgic one:

A new repackage of the Fireball XL5 theme tune sung by Don Spencer and The XL5..

The original of this released on the HMV label was the first single I owned aged 6 in 1963 -I still have it of course….

Fireball XL5 was one of the early UK TV puppet series created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson and a forerunner to the legendary Thunderbirds series.

This new repackage on the Silva screen label adds Zero G by Barry Gray and his Spacemakers – a fast paced suitably futuristic sax led instrumental.

The single comes pressed on a limited edition transparent orange vinyl version and is housed in a full colour sleeve.

Both sides are credited as being composed and arranged by Barry Gray and recorded at Olympic Studios in London. This is of course the studio Jimmy Page selected for the then newly formed Led Zeppelin to record their first album in September and October of 1968

All wonderfully nostalgic – I only have to hear Don Spencer’s opening line ‘I wish I was a spaceman, fastest guy alive’ and I am right back in front of the black and white TV screen staring in wonderment at the space age antics of Steve Zodiac ,his glamorous assistant Venus and Robert The Robot…

Thanks to my fellow record collecting enthusiast Lee Abrahams for informing me of this superb re-release…


January 29:

My thoughts on Crow Jayne…

Crow Jayne came to my attention via Andy Adams who tagged me on Facebook with their  YouTube clip video for One Day Late, One Dollar Shy…

Crow Jayne are led by guitarist Guy D’Angelo who we first met at the Led Zep Knebworth anniversary TBL meet at the Atlas pub in 2019.

Guy has been a great support in recent months and has been in touch with details of Crow Jayne’s latest recording

Here’s my thoughts on it:

Crow Jayne have the classic four piece line up of vocals, guitar, bass and drums. them.

 

 

Crow Jayne are

Guy D’Angelo, guitars

Nadya Slade, vocals

Jake Sherlock, bass

Russ Wilson, drums

Their influences are very much rooted in the 70s and Guy is a big Jimmy Page fan. This, unsurprisingly is a key ingredient in their sound. However, while they are highly derivative, Crow Jayne have a refreshing quality about them and a genuine self -belief in their abilities.

So here’s my thoughts on their first recording:

One Day Late, One Dollar Shy opens with a Hendrix like swirl before kicking in to an infectious muscular riff. I noted a brief nod to Zep’s Over The Hills And Far Away in the chord sequence. Bassist Jake Sherlock and drummer Russ Wilson hold it all together with steady precision over Guy’s guitar histrionics. Nadya Slade’s vocals have a distinct air of authority as she makes herself heard in the mix..

A cover of Paul McCartney’s Maybe I’m Amazed is performed in the brash arrangement The Faces adapted for the version on their Long Player album. This is a perfect showcase for Nadya – while her influences may lay in classic female singers such as Janis Joplin, there’s an English lilt to her voice that is similar to Vinegar Joe era Elkie Brooks.

English Rose is a pretty acoustic instrumental. Opening in the vein of Jimmy Page’s White Summer it then switches into a pastoral piece that reminded me of Doug Boyle’s impressive playing on Robert Plant’s Liars Dance.

Edge Of Love mirrors the bottleneck guitar effect of Hat’s Off To Harper and the pure acoustic playing of Black Mountain Side. There’s some atmospheric percussive additions and Nadya’s vocal undergoes various treatments as she relays some time honoured bluesy ‘baby -baby ’ mannerisms  – eventually  signing off with ‘’Yeah baby’’ and a laugh.

Bad, So Good picks up the pace being a strident drum led rocker. Guy’s wah- wah solo has a cascading Zep 1 feel about it. This number can be seen on their YouTube channel.

It’s back to the acoustic for the bluesy work out 17 Days which is mainly a two hander between Guy and Nadya. Her vocals here have a touch of Stevie Nicks influence. It  moves up a gear for a Bron- Yr -Aur like stomp.

Toni’s Smile is another acoustic instrumental showcase for Guy – gentle and reflective.

Finally Betta’ Ride –  this is an out and out blues showpiece and very much in the Zep I Can’t Quite You Baby/You Shook Me mould. Harmonica adding to the effect.

Summary: My reference to their Zep like soundbites is merely to illustrate where their roots and influences lay – plainly Crow Jayne are much more than a Zep copyist outfit – there’s an originality and vitality in their playing that would make for a great gig night out. Until that opportunity presents itself sometime ahead, I look forward to further music from a band that are well worth checking out…

So to do so…

Here’s the link for more details of the band and the availability of their music:

https://crowjayne.com/

Here’s the link for their excellent One Day Late, One Doller Shy YouTube clip:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQBjx4N_kpA


Bonham – Bullick:  Authentic purveyors of modern blues rock – with a gratifying nod to the past….

My thoughts on the new Bonham-Bullick three track CD EP See You Again…

This three track CD-EP is the first released fruits of the Bonham-Bullick alliance, which is basically Deborah Bonham on vocals and Pete Bullick on guitar – with a little help from their band and some special guests.

When I heard this project would be taking the form of the pair selecting some of their favourite songs to cover, I expected good results. I’ve long since been impressed with the musicality that has been the backdrop to Deb and Pete’s work over many years. Influences such as Humble Pie, Rory Gallagher, Paul Rodgers, Paul Kossoff, Maggie Bell etc. have always shone through both on record and on stage.

By allowing themselves the luxury of interpreting a songbook that mixes the familiar with the more obscure, they have hit on a winning combination.

This three track CD EP is a therefore a perfect sampler for the album to follow.

The lead track See You Again (radio edit) credited to Fowler, Davis &, Cox, is a cover of a track on Bernard Fowler’s 2015 solo album The Bura. Bernard is best known for his long running backing vocal support role to The Rolling Stones

The line up here is Deb and Pete, Jo Burt bass, Richard Newman drums, Gerard Louis Wurlitzer, John Hogg backing vocals and Robert Plant band member John Baggott on Hammond and programming.

The song moves in at a slow tempo preceded by a slightly Celtic flavoured guitar fanfare, not unlike that heard on the opening of Thin Lizzy’s Whisky In The Jar. Deborah’s brooding vocal sweeps and soars around Pete’s lyrical guitar touches. There’s a hint of Lizzy again with the solo which recalls to mind Brian Robertson’s rousing  work on the live version of Still In Love With You.

Deborah leads it out with some vocal pleadings wringing every bit of emotion out of the lyric. The song’s themes of longing will resonate in these difficult times  ‘’ I need to ask when will I see you again”’ being one line that we can all relate to.

Track Two is a cover of Albert King’s Can’t You See What Your Doing To Me – an Albert King single originally released on the Stax label in 1970.

The line up on this is Deb and Pete, Jo Burt bass, Richard Newman drums, Gerard Louis Wurlitzer and piano, Paul Brown Hammond and Dan Wheeler additional rhythm guitar.

This a straight ahead chunky blues stomper. There’s a lot going on here with an upfront vocal, a piecing solo and boogie piano from Gerard Louis all in the mix. Unpretentious and uncomplicated, it sticks fairly close to the original and a second stinging solo takes the intensity level up a notch before they sign off in time honoured bluesy fashion.

Track three Bleeding Muddy Water first appeared on Mark Langham’s 2012 album Blues Funeral

The line up for this final track is Deb and Pete, Ian Rowley bass, Gerard Louis Wurlitzer, piano and Hammond, Joe Hogg backing vocals and Marco Giovino on drums –another Robert Plant connection as  Marco was in the Band Of Joy line up for the 2010 album and tour.

The moody slow burn feel here reminds me of Simple Man from Bad Company’s Run With The Pack album. Led by a smouldering vocal and  compelling guitar work it builds into a six minute epic.‘’ Lord, now the rain done come” sings Deborah with ‘Levee Breaks’ style conviction before a plaintive piano coda makes for a mellow closure.

All three tracks have been produced by Deborah Bonham and mixed and mastered by Tim Oliver at Real World Studios – Tim worked on the recording and mixing of Robert Plant’s last two solo albums Carry Fire and Lullaby and the Ceaseless Roar.

Summary:

On this superbly packaged three track CD EP, Bonham and Bullick once again demonstrate their undoubted skill as authentic purveyors of modern blues rock – with a gratifying nod to the past.

The album due later this year set is to include covers by Sam Cooke, O.V Wright, Johnnie Taylor and Anne Pebbles. On the evidence of this excellent preview, the message to Deborah Bonham and Pete Bullick is a simple one – more of the same please…

Dave Lewis  – January 29,2021


I’m pleased to announce the forthcoming publication of RECORD COLLECTOR PRESENTS LED ZEPPELIN:

This is the latest in a series of special Record Collector issues – recent specials have included The Who, Queen, Kate Bush and Status Quo.

In recent weeks I have been very busy liaising with the editor Jamie Atkins advising and co ordinating some of the content – I’ve also written some pieces for it.

There’s also been some key input from prominent Zep collectors and chroniclers – including some TBL magazine contributors .

As with the previous Record Collector Presents specials, it’s a mix of enlightening features, new essays on every studio album, extensive memorabilia focus, fan profiles, rare singles and albums listings and UK discography – all illustrated throughout with many rare photos and images that really brings it all to life.

Having seen some of the designed content it really does look very impressive and there’s much to soak up – this is shaping up to the one of best Led Zeppelin publications I’ve seen in a very long time.

If you thought you knew a bit about the ins and outs of collecting Led Zeppelin – Record Collector Presents Led Zeppelin will tell you much more – no fan should be without it….

Publication is April 8

it would be great for this Led Zeppelin special emerge as one of their best sellers. For the effort that has gone in to it producing it – it certainly deserves to be…

Here’s the Record Collector website info and pre order link – don’t miss out – pre-order now!

Record Collector Presents… Led Zeppelin is indispensable reading for any fan of one of the biggest bands the UK has ever produced. It’s packed with all things Zep: amazing pieces on their rarest records and some jaw-dropping memorabilia and posters; new features on every studio album plus selected solo projects; classic interviews and writing from the RC archives; collector profiles; the story of their record label, Swan Song; and much more.

Pre order here:

https://shop.recordcollectormag.com/product/RCLED/led-zeppelin-special

Get ready for some quality post Easter Led Zep reading…

More on this to follow

Dave Lewis – March 25,2021


RECORD COLLECTOR PRESENTS LED ZEPPELIN…

As mentioned last week April 8 sees the  publication of RECORD COLLECTOR PRESENTS LED ZEPPELIN:

This is the latest in a series of special Record Collector issues – recent specials have included The Who, Queen, Kate Bush and Status Quo.

In recent weeks I have been very busy liaising with the editor Jamie Atkins advising and co ordinating some of the content – I’ve also written some pieces for it.

I’ve approached this project in the way I would the TBL magazine  -this has been further enhanced by the inclusion of pieces by various regular TBL magazine contributors.

Record Collector Presents Led Zeppelin has been a great outlet for me – in effect if you are a reader of the  TBL magazine you will love this publication.

As with the previous Record Collector Presents specials, it’s a mix of enlightening features, new essays on every studio album, extensive memorabilia focus, fan profiles, rare singles and albums listings and UK discography – all illustrated throughout with many rare photos and images that really brings it all to life. This is  one of best Led Zeppelin publications I’ve seen in a very long time.

Here’s some of the pages:

If you thought you knew a bit about the ins and outs of collecting Led Zeppelin – Record Collector Presents Led Zeppelin will tell you much more – no fan should be without it….

Publication is April 8

Here’s the Record Collector website info and pre order link – don’t miss out – pre-order now!

Record Collector Presents… Led Zeppelin is indispensable reading for any fan of one of the biggest bands the UK has ever produced. It’s packed with all things Zep: amazing pieces on their rarest records and some jaw-dropping memorabilia and posters; new features on every studio album plus selected solo projects; classic interviews and writing from the RC archives; collector profiles; the story of their record label, Swan Song; and much more.

Pre order here:

https://shop.recordcollectormag.com/product/RCLED/led-zeppelin-special

Get ready for some quality post Easter Led Zep reading…

Dave Lewis – April 1, 2021


My thoughts on…

The Rolling Stones, ‘Fully Finished Studio Outtakes’ (Black Frisco Records BFR 101-103)

These recordings first came to my notice in a news story in The Sun a few weeks back. It revealed that 50 unreleased Rolling Stones recordings had filtered out on various internet forums.

I expected this batch of tracks to be one of those short lived internet postings made officially to clear 50 year copyright issues such as the Dylan material dropped by Columbia material. However, after I posted a report of the story on my Facebook page, download links began to came my way and it was evident this stuff was freely out there.

It was then brought to my attention that all 50 tracks had appeared on a mysterious 3 CD bootleg package titled Fully Finished Studio Outtakes. Being a man of physical product , I was well pleased to get my hands on a copy.

How this previously unreleased stack of tracks has all seeped out is not clear but there’s no doubt it’s grade A quality from a very high generation source.

So what we have here across three CD volumes is 50 completed tracks from The Rolling Stones archive spanning five decades.

The three CD’s are packaged in a gatefold CD cover depicting a colourful array of Stones tongue logos – inside are four colour postcards with Stones line ups from 1967 onwards.

Rather frustratingly, the 50 tracks are presented in a very random sequence with no regard for chronology. The only identification of the source is the year of alleged recording next to each track – some of which are less than accurate. Equally frustrating is the fact there are no accompanying sleeve notes whatsoever.

One of my first challenges was to attempt to work out where this material fits into the Stones timeline. So before I listened to the set, I did a fair bit of research to narrow down each songs potential period of recording. Being a Stones bootleg collector of nigh on 50 years, I am fairly well versed in their bootleg outtakes catalogue – though it quickly became evident that many of the titles here had not previously circulated anywhere.

There’s still a bit of a mystery about where and when some of these songs originate from and no doubt Stones scholars on specialised Stones sites will put that to right.

What emerged from my own research was the fact that a lot of the material collated here is from the 80s and 90s Stones output. That puts me at a bit of a disadvantage as I do not have a strong affinity with albums such as Undercover, Dirty Work, Voodoo Lounge and Bridges To Babylon.

Having said that, there is some surprisingly good stuff to soak up across the three CDs from those particular album sessions – and much more besides.

So here are some of my highlights from this intensive 230 minute listening experience and as best as I can make out, in something like chronological order:

She’s Doing This To Me:

This is a really quirky 60s style psychedelic romp with swirling organ and heavily echoed Jagger vocal. I’d place it around 1967 – probably from their Satanic Majesties Request sessions.

Blood Red Wine:

This has surfaced before – a 1968 outtake from the Beggers Banquet sessions. A melodic acoustic parable in the Salt Of The Earth vein. The ‘’wrap my coat around you’’ lyric would alter resurface on the Goats Head Soup track Winter.

Curtis Meets Smokey:

Lovely falsetto vocal and as the title implies, very much in the soulful Motown style. The cover has this as 1966 –I would say it’s a later work, some sources have pointed to the Let It Bleed and Jamming With Edward sessions circa 1969 -1070.8

Fast Talking, Slow Walking:

Opens with plaintive Coming Down Again like wah wah which firmly places it as a Goats Head Soup outtake from the Jamaica Dynamic Studios in late 1972 sessions.

Too Many Cooks:

From a John Lennon produced New York jam session in 1973 – a version appeared officially on the Best Of Mick Jagger CD. Minimal Stones participation here with only Bill Wyman present. Session guitarist Jesse Ed Davis does the honours over a brassy backdrop and shouted Jagger vocal.

It’s Only Rock’n’Roll (But I Like it):

A very welcomed find – the 1973 demo recorded at Ronnie Wood’s home studio The Wik in Richmond. This has Willie Weeks on bass, Kenney Jones on drums and allegedly David Bowie on backing vocals. A fairly tentative sparse arrangement – it would of course gain increased momentum ahead when it was completed and issued as a single in the summer of 1974. The drum track on this demo I think was retained for the later released version.

Scarlet:

The much lauded late 1974 find that surfaced as a bonus track on last year’s Goat’s Head Soup reissue. Rightly acclaimed by this writer upon it’s apeprance last year, it’s a raunchy performance with a suitably dominant Jagger vocal. This is an early mix lacking some of the Jimmy Page contributions which obviously lessens the effect.

Never Make You Cry:

A Some Girls era recording from early 1978. Very much in the Beast Of Burden vein with phased guitar.

It’s a Lie:

From the same period , this zips along with Silver Train like gusto and upfront harmonica.

Covered In Bruises:

1978/9 era – a full on rocker and a rare Mick and Ronnie shared lead vocal. This was later retitled 1234 and appeared on Ronnie’s solo album of the same name issued in 1981.

Part Of The Night:

First tried at the 1978 Some Girls sessions and later returned to for the Undercover sessions in 1982. Also known as Golden Caddy. Low key piano arrangement – very atmospheric.

Sanctuary:

Organ led groove with a Hot Stuff style breathy Jagger vocal. Dark and brooding. The cover lists it as 1994 recording and I’d go along with that.

Desperate Man:

Funky paced with a compelling Emotional Rescore type falsetto vocal. The cover states its from 1973 –I’d say late 70s.

Prairie Love:

Another stylish Prince like funk work out from the Undercover sessions.

Still in Love With You:

Again form the Undercover era, this leftover is as good as anything on that album – a gorgeous typical heartfelt Stones ballad with sensitive Jagger vocal – the stuff they always do so well…

Can’t Find Love:

Another Undercover era lost beauty. A rolling piano led arrangement with meandering falsesso vocal.

I Can’t See No One Else

From the 1985 Dirty Work sessions – mid tempo with piano overtones and an infectious chorus. There’s some period piece Dire Straitish guitar in there too.

Putty (In Your Hands):

Again from the 1985 Dirty Work sessions. A rousing delivery of The Shirelles 1962 US hit which The Yardbirds recorded for their 1965 Heart Full of Soul album. Probably discarded at the time in favour of the Bob and Earl Harlem Shuffle cover which was the lead single from the album in early 1986.

Giving It Up:

Lovely piano led slow temp stroll from the Steel Wheels sessions – precise and understated Charlie drumming

Flip The Switch:

Bridges To Babylon era. The officially released version has Mick on vocal – for this take Keith takes the role.

Low Down:

Another Bridges To Babylon session – opens with space age effects then leads into a Keith vocal applied with Dylan like gruffness.

Studio Jam Session 1:

Studio Jam Session 2:

Finally a pair of 2002 recordings used as background pieces for the Four Flicks DVD release. The first a bossa nova paced jazzy work out – the second a bluesy strut with Jagger scat singing.

Summary:

Given the sheer depth of material presented, there are a few fillers amongst the 50 tracks here. As with any outtake collection, it’s often more than evident why the material did make the final cut at the time – there was obviously better songs to choose from.

Having said that, there are some remarkable performances that perhaps deserved to see the light of day when they were recorded. Their appearance through the back door on this secretive set is therefore most welcome.

Fully Finished Studio Outtakes re affirms The Rolling Stones status as prolific songwriters and performers.

Each of their albums tells a story…and as we can now hear, so much more – and when it comes to The Rolling Stones, more is never less…

Dave Lewis – March 23, 2021.


 APRIL 8 2021:

RECORD COLLECTOR PRESENTS LED ZEPPELIN…

The RECORD COLLECTOR PRESENTS LED ZEPPELIN special is now on sale…

I’ve been living with this project for the past few weeks – I’ve been very busy liaising with the editor Jamie Atkins, advising on content and contributing my own written pieces.

So what is this all about?

This is the latest in a series of special Record Collector issues – recent specials have included The Who, Queen, Kate Bush and Status Quo.

As with the previous Record Collector Presents specials, it’s a mix of enlightening features, new essays on every studio album, extensive memorabilia focus, fan profiles, rare singles and albums listings and UK discography – all illustrated throughout with many rare photos and images that really brings it all to life.

This is  one of best Led Zeppelin publications I’ve seen in a very long time – it really is a visual feast.

Here’s a preview of the contents:

For the first time ever the esteemed Led Zeppelin collector Brian Knapp has allowed access to his truly incredible collection

Examples of his vast array of Zep memorabilia are presented over ten incredible pages From tickets to programmes, violin bows to motorbikes (yes you read that right!), tour jackets and robes -it’s all here. This visual tour of his truly remarkable  collection has to be seen to be believed. You will be amazed as I am and I’ve seen a few Zep items in my time –  suffice to say Brian Knapp’s Led Zeppelin collection is one of many highlights of this Record Collector Special

Similarly impressive are the two spreads via Nick Anderson – one of the worlds leading collectors of Led Zeppelin singles and albums and a regular .

The Rare Singles section offers eight pages of truly astonishing Led Zep 45s -all manner of countries are represented in this jaw dropping visual display of rarities – complete with pricing guide.

Then there are the Worldwide Rarities   as Nick presents across ten pages all manner of eye catching and highly desirable Zep LPs, acetates, cassettes and eight tracks  from a variety of countries. It’s Zep collector heaven…again with a wallet denting price guide

Then there are the Led Zeppelin Posters and Flyers….

Brian Knapp again opens up his archive and again seeing is believing -there are Zep posters and flyers here of the rarest kind – many rarely seen. Presented chronologically over ten pages and annotated by Mike Tremaglio – Mike applies the same detailed analysis he brings to all his Zep research -not least the Evenings With Led Zeppelin -The Complete Concert Chronicle book I was privileged to co author with him.

Nick Anderson also presents an exhaustive five page UK Led Zeppelin Discography and mint condition price guide

Alongside all this unprecedented  collector focus there’s some compelling written features including:

My back pages: pete Frame revisits his 1971 interview with Jimmy Page originally published in  Zig Zag magazine

A Jimmy Page interview from 2015 in which he discusses the Physical Graffiti reissue and the making of the album

The Swan Song Story – Terry Staunton tells the tale of the Zep record label

The Song Remains The Same -Kevin Harley on a flawed gem of a film

On the Road With Zep -veteran writer Chris Welch recalls a series of on the road Zep experiences

Page & Plant No Quarter Unledded and Walking Into Clarksdale – Chris Roberts offers an overview of the 1994-98 era.

Robert Plant Solo -Terry Stanton explores Robert Plant’s solo odyssey

Plus…every Led Zeppelin studio album re- reviewed by various Record Collector contributors – I particularly enjoyed Kris Needs’ take on Led Zeppelin II

There’s also a series of collector fan profiles -Andy Adams, Cliff Hillard, Michaela Tait, Steve Livesey and yours truly relay their respective colelcting stories and there’s Zep passion dripping from every page.

And finally…

There’s a couple more of mine

The Making of Led Zeppelin IV in which I trace the backstory of how they created one of their finest…and Celebration Days which traces the history of the TBL magazine, the 1992 UK Led Zeppelin Convention I co- organised with Andy Adams and my on going mission to spread the word on the world of Led Zeppelin.

Hats off to editor Jamie Atkins and all the contributors who have made Record Collector Presents an absolute triumph.

Personally it’s been an inspiration to work on this – I am not sure I could have pulled this off last year given my mental state back then. It’s provided me with a much welcomed focus to really get back to doing what I do best. Spreading the Zep music message…

Put simply – if you love Led Zeppelin you will love this fantastic Record Collector special – it’s 114 pages of pure Zep visual delight…oh and the back page advert is pretty good too…

If you thought you knew a bit about the ins and outs of collecting Led Zeppelin – Record Collector Presents Led Zeppelin will tell you much more – no fan should be without it….

It’s on sale in shops now including WH Smith or at the ordering link below :

https://shop.recordcollectormag.com/product/RCLED/led-zeppelin-special

Get ready for some quality  Led Zep reading…let me know what you think…


Dave Lewis – April 8, 2021

My thoughts on Led Zeppelin Live At The Forum Inglewood March 27 1975 – a 4 LP set on the Iron Eagle label

On Friday I took receipt of  my pre ordered copy of the Led Zeppelin Live At The Forum Inglewood March 27 1975 – a 4 LP set on the Iron Eagle label.

This is a new 4 LP Led Zeppelin bootleg album which showcases the LA Forum March 27 1975 performance.

Produced by the Iron Eagle label. It’s in a run of just 240 copies

80 Copies in Black Vinyl.

80 Copies in Silver Vinyl.

80 Copies in Gold Vinyl.

My copy is in the gold run and looks great

However…

The front cover is a little beguiling to say the least. It has a colour photo of ‘Jimmy Page’ in the dragon suit circa 1975 – however he is playing left handed – a mistaken mere flip of the photo one would think.

On closer inspection this to me is not Jimmy at all – but a photo of Raff Achour of the long running UK tribute band Boot Led Zeppelin.

Having seen them a few times I can vouch for the fact that Raff is indeed left handed – quite how or why he has landed up on this bootleg package I do not know – and in the grand misleading bootleg  tradition it’s all very bizarre…

The back cover does have some genuine authentic 1975 era photos. The source tape used is described as a mix of soundboard and audience recordings.

Bizarre front cover aside, it’s a very nice package in a very low run

So what’s on offer?

First thing to state is that the sleeve note claim that this is a stage mix recording – ‘’a perfect combination of both soundboard and audience recordings’ is entirely false. To these ears there’s no soundboard recordings involved and what we have here is the familiar audience source tape – a clear and lively one for the time.

The entire set with Linda Lovelace’s introduction and Plant’s between song spiel is spread over eight sides –and the longer numbers ie In My Time Of Dying, No Quarter, Moby Dick and Dazed And Confused are split into two parts.

Truth be told, vinyl was never a great format for the ever lengthening post 1973 Zep performances.

Hence the popularity of the CD format with its 70 minute playing time – which is where the bootleg market headed in the 1990s.

On this listening occasion. having to get up and flip the vinyl over four times has done nothing for my creaking knees .

The good news is that this final Zep LA Forum gig of a three night stand and final night of the 1975 US tour is a bit of a corker. All the marathon numbers are maxed out with No Quarter nigh on half an hour and Dazed clocking in at 45 minutes –the latter includes the one off insert of Love’s Old Man. In My Time of Dying has You Shook Me lines added in, Trampled Underfoot morphs into Gallows Pole and there’s a rare for the time delivery of Since I’ve Been Loving You. So the performance and set list for me clocks in at a good 9 if not 10.

Summary: This is a distinctly ‘for vinyl addicts only’ release and those who fall into that category (and no surprise – yes that’s me) will enjoy the novelty of this epic Zep performance unfolding across eight slabs of coloured vinyl – in my case a shiny gold.

The fact that it appears in a very low run of a mere 240 is also a big collector attraction.

As for the cover – this one can line up as one of the most bizarre in bootleg history. In place of Jimmy Page of the real Led Zeppelin read Raff Achour of tribute band Boot Led Zeppelin. An unexpected team line-up change if there ever was one…

 

Dave Lewis – April 10, 2021.

 

 

 

 


My thoughts on my newly acquired JVC 8 track stereo cartridge recorder model ED 1230…

Back to the future…analogue rules at the TBL HQ…

So the big playback and what finer album to test this vintage beauty than Led Zeppelin’s Houses Of The Holy.

The player itself is in good working order – the Zep 8 track cartridges I have probably not been played for some 40 odd years but boy do they sound powerful.

A technical bit: An 8-track cartridge has four pairs of stereo tracks, the ends of the tape are spliced with a thin strip of metal – this triggers a solenoid that causes the playback heads to automatically jump to the next set of channels in a loop method. There’s no fast forward or rewind.

The four channels dictate the sequencing of tracks and that is a real novelty and a bit like an iPod on shuffle.

The tracks are spread across the four track buttons so on Houses of The Holy in sequence it plays The Song Remains The Same with Over The Hills And Far Away total time 10.15. Channel two has The Rain Song with The Crunge (10.50), channel three has Dancing Days and No Quarter (10.49) and finally channel four has D’yer Ma’ker and The Ocean (9.04)

At times there is some fold back overlapping of the tape so you can faintly hear another track in the background ( bit like a mash up as the good lady Janet observed!) but it’s faint enough not to really interfere too much.

Like I said, the sound is powerful with excellent stereo separation – and considering the age and fragility of the 8 track cartridges I’m using – very acceptable.

I of course have much higher grade music carriers, not least 180 gram vinyl and CD ( and I of course acknowledge that many people love the streaming services such as Spotify) but being a man of nostalgia, this is a novel alternate method of listening to some favourite albums and for me on that score, there’s heaps of fun to be had in doing that ahead.

I do recall a couple of friends having an in car 8 track player back in the 70s and at WH Smith where I worked in the record department, in 1975 we had a then pioneering 8 track player as our instore music system.

So, this vintage JVC 8 track cartridge stereo recorder is all very retro and nostalgic and as we all know, it’s always good to tune in to something that recalls much simpler times.

Right, time to go back to the future and get stuck into Led Zeppelin II on eight track cartridge.

Analogue rules here in the TBL HQ….oh and if anyone has any spare 8 track cartridges tapes – I’m your man….

Dave Lewis – April 2021


My thoughts on…

 

Led Zeppelin Final Winterland 1969 2nd Night – Source 2 (No label 2CD)

This is a 2 CD transfer of the recently surfaced second tape source of Led Zeppelin’s performance at the Wintelrland Ballroom in San Francisco on November 7 1969. This show was released online by the Dogs of Doom group.

The recording captures the second performance of a three night stand which marked the end of their Fall tour of the US – their fourth visit of that tumultuous year.

The packaging is a standard slim line double CD case, the cover art work replicates the ticket and poster design and features some relevant black and white photos from the era.

Sound wise this a good for the time lively audience tape –slightly muffled at times and not in the Blueberry Hill category but very listenable.

As for the performance, unsurprisingly it’s a clear case of what’s not to like.

They were on absolute fire doing this period ignited by a relentless schedule that kept their momentum flying high. This fourth US visit saw them elevate to new heights, driven by the constantly amazed audience reception and the reaction to their just released second album. This show is in fact the 147th of 149 they would perform that year. You would never know that given the sheer intensity of their playing.

The proceedings begin by catching a few moments of the support act Isaac Hayes performance of Walk On By

It’s followed by the arrival of the four members of Led Zeppelin – a curt ‘Good Evening’ from Plant and they are out of the traps and into the power riff opening of Good Times Bad Times. It segues quickly into a frantic (can it be anything else) delivery of Communication Breakdown. This two way sucker punch was a short lived set opener during the latter part of 1969

From there they switch instantly into I Can’t Quit You Baby. Again a feature of this era is Robert Plant’s growing confidence – he bends, shrieks and hollers the lines with remarkable vocal agility.   Behind him, John Paul Jones and John Bonham lock horns rhythmically as only they can. As for Jimmy Page, he is in his absolute element . The flurry of riffs and lead runs just keep on coming.

Heartbreaker is a suitable showcase for the newly released Led Zeppelin II and at this early stage it keeps in line with the album version – Page does switch briefly into the Bach Bouree section that would light up many a version ahead.

Dazed And Confused is at its loose and improvisational best with plenty of spontaneity spread amongst the differing sections.

White Summer /Black Mountainside is another showpiece gaining in stature. It’s amazing to think that a mere 18 months previously, Page was attempting to garner interest in the flagging Yardbirds career by presenting this virtuoso piece to sometimes lukewarm response. Not so tonight in the Winterland Ballroom.

Babe I’m Gonna Leave You has Plant inserting lines from Neil Young’s Down By T River as it stretches in length – this would actually be one of the final occasions it would be performed live.

In stark contrast, What Is And What Should Never Be is a new arrival to the set fresh from Zep II and destined to be an on stage staple for the next couple if years. Moby Dick follows and is slightly hard going given the limitations of the audience tape.

How Many More Times is the extended finale. This includes Plant’s customary band introductions before it moves on to the Oh Rosie/The Hunter segment which has Page flexing the Whole Lotta Love riff. There’s a short reference to John Lee Hooker’s Boogie Chillun’ which would become a regular part of the Whole Lotta Love medley on future tours.

Finally, we get to the real bonus of this release. A previously undocumented encore performance of Bring It On Home – newly adapted from Zep II and one of its first ever live airings. Even at this early stage, it’s developing in a live setting as following JPJ’s bass intro, it moves into a lengthy middle section that has Plant’s harmonica bursts and John Bonham’s dramatic drum fills all battling for attention within Page’s guitar rages.

Summary:

This November 1969 Winterland stand marked the first phase of Zep’s plan for world domination. When they returned to touring in early 1970 they had a new set opener in We’re Gonna Groove and a new anthem in Whole Lotta Love – the latter catapulted to prominence via its huge US single success.

It’s by no means the sharpest quality tape of their 1969 adventures, but Final Winterland 1969 Second Night is an enjoyable snapshot of a significant period during the development of Led Zeppelin as a unique and truly exceptional live act.

Dave Lewis May 15,2021.


Sunday May 16:

In the Cruise Special supplement in the Mail On Sunday, in her role as a freelance journalist specialising in travel and wellbeing our Sam has written a two page spread on how cruise liners are joining the wellness revolution…how proud we are here to see this today…

 


DL Diary Blog Update:

Thursday May 20:

On the player a new acquisition via my very good friend and fellow record collecting comrade John Parkin – he spotted this one in a record shop in Hull and sent it down. It’s a Bad Company bootleg LP titled Stuff That Duck on the Red Devil label – the same label that pressed the very rare Led Zeppelin No Quarter Earls Court May 18 1975 bootleg – it has similar artwork.

This Bad Co album was recorded at Lancaster University on December 7 1974.

It’s from a lively but clear audience tape -and they are on sparkling form – track listing Deal With A Preacher (sic),Rock Steady, Little Miss Fortune, Bad Company, Good Lovin’ Gone Bad ,Stealer, Movin On and Can’t Get Enough – £6? I’ll take it! Thanks John!


Bob Dylan at 80:

Bob Dylan was 80  years old on Monday.

I have been enthralled by his music since I was aged 12. 53 years later I still am – as can be seen by this pic taken this morning of a few of my favourite Bob things…

I have had a deep lasting affinity for his work and this milestone Birthday has inspired a wave of wave of recollections

I remember Blonde On Blonde being on our radiogram in Dents Road –it was the first LP I ever saw that had one song (Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands) take up the whole of one side. I can vividly recall the excitement of his Isle Of Wight festival appearance in 1969 and when I purchased his Self Portrait album a couple of years later I loved those live cuts from that show.

A feature on his bootleg catalogue by Michael Gray in the fantastic Let It Rock magazine in 1972 had a huge influence on me. It took me on a journey of discovery. The first bootleg albums I ordered were Led Zeppelin Live On Blueberry Hill and Bob Dylan’s GWW Live At The Royal AlbertHall on Trade Mark Of Quality. In 1972 I paid £5.50 to invest in The Concert For Bangla Desh by George Harrison & Friends which has a brilliant side of live Bob.

I remember first hearing Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door and listening intensely to the preview of his comeback album Planet Waves on the Friday night Rockspeak show programme.

Two years later the Desire and Blood On The Tracks albums were my constant companions during the intensity of teenage love – seeing him live for the first time at Blackbush in 1978 was a near spiritual experience.

In the 80s and 90s I saw him live with Tom Petty and a couple of times at the Hammersmith Odeon

In recent years my appreciation of Bob Dylan’s studio work has centered on the superb Bootleg Series of retrospective releases – the Another Self Portrait the More Blood On The Tracks being absolute stand outs for me.

However last year’s Rough And Rowdy Ways was a real return to form and a work of rare reflective beauty.

At aged 80 he may not be as he once sang, forever young but Bob Dylan remains forever compelling- long may he do so…

Happy Birthday Bob…

One final Bob related anecdote – Jimmy Page is a big Bob Dylan fan –at a record fair in 2017 I had a chat with him about this and he told me he first saw him on his UK tour in 1965. Jimmy mentioned he was after a copy of the Bob Dylan film Renaldo and Clara on DVD. I managed to obtain this particular DVD and sent it to him. A few days later Jimmy rang me up to personally to thank me for it – a very nice touch.

…………………………

June 3  2021:

Rock Candy magazine:

I am really pleased with the Led Zeppelin feature I wrote for the new issue of Rock Candy magazine.

I worked hard on this to get a fresh perspective on the build up, the concerts and the aftermath of the whole Led Zeppelin Knebworth saga. I also interviewed Zep tour manager Richard Cole for his view as told from a key player who was right there at the time…

Here’s the official press release:

Rock Candy new issue – – Led Zeppelin at Knebworth… the in-depth story…

Issue 26 of Rock Candy Mag sees renowned Led Zeppelin expert Dave Lewis piecing together the most comprehensive forensic examination ever of the last two shows the original line-up played in the UK, with the band’s close confidant and tour manager Richard Cole confirming in a new interview that “Knebworth was never planned as some sort of grand farewell.” Sadly the death of drummer John Bonham on 25 September 1980 meant that Zeppelin split in December of that year.

On 4 August and 11 August 1979 Led Zeppelin appeared in the grounds of the English stately home Knebworth House. The band hadn’t performed in the UK since 1975, or anywhere else since 1977. Punk rock had happened in the meantime, but Zeppelin’s bullish manager Peter Grant was determined to put on a show to prove his group was still the biggest commercial juggernaut around. The fee Grant was able to negotiate for the band – £1million for one show – was reputed to be the biggest ever paid to a single act at the time, and proved beyond doubt that Zeppelin were still the kings of rock.

The two events – with artists including Todd Rundgren, Southside Johnny, and Fairport Convention in support – were huge successes.

Running at over 7000 words and 12 pages, and featuring both rare memorabilia and personal photos of the event, Dave Lewis and Rock Candy Mag have produced the kind of article you rarely see these days, compiled with love and deep knowledge by people who know their rock inside out and back-to-front.

Be sure to check it out -it’s on the shelves of all the usual magazine outlets in the UK…

To order Rock Candy on line visit

https://www.rockcandymag.com/latest-issue

………………..

Classic Rock magazine:

I am equally pleased with how the Led Zeppelin IV feature turned out in the new issue of Classic Rock. I contributed the Did You Know? inserts and other background info.

Here’s the details of the Zep Classic rock issue:

All that glitters is gold. A 20-page spectacular celebrating Led Zeppelin’s epic fourth album in its golden anniversary year. A complete track-by-track musical breakdown, including stuff you never knew, unpublished thoughts from its late engineer, Geddy Lee on the album’s genius, Jimmy Page on his Stairway solo and so much more

It’s the album we’re celebrating in this month’s issue; an album that’s celebrating its half-century in 2021; a little record most commonly known as Led Zeppelin IV.

We’ve tried to offer a different insight into the oft-told tale of Zeppelin’s mighty fourth album, with a deep-dive track-by-track, and thoughts and explanations from the band, the engineer, a music professor, rock-star fans and more. We’ve also included a super special gift of a sheet of ‘Write Your Own Led Zep Lyrics’ fridge magnets.

Elsewhere in this issue we speak to Billy Gibbons and Blackberry Smoke, get to know Wolfgang Van Halen, lean a lot more about Paul Gilbert, and catch up with German metal legends Helloween.

Again in the UK this issue can be found in WH Smith and other newsagents.

More details and online ordering link below:

https://www.magazinesdirect.com/…/classic-rock-magazine…

…………………..


My thoughts on Fat Pop (Volume 1) the new Paul Weller album

On the release of Paul Weller’s last album On Sunset I ended my summary of the album by stating:

‘’It will also act as the sound of Summer 2020 and beyond. In these strange times we all need a measure of comfort and familiarity to hang on to and this new Paul Weller album offers exactly that’’

On Sunset did indeed become the summer album of 2020 for us here and it soundtracked many a tentative day as the first unlocking developed and choices had to be made about what we felt was safe to do.

Here we are one year on and in between that time, the lockdowns have continued and only recently has there been some further movement in restrictions being lifted. Again all very tentatively and with much caution –particularly here in this area with the Indian variant spreading at a worrying rate.

With no opportunity to play live, Paul Weller has channeled his energies into producing another album. In a recent interview he declared that’’ ‘’I wanted to make an album where every song could be released as a single’’

So what we have here is a very welcomed 12 track album and it’s something of a throwback to the old vinyl format. The compact nature of the songs allow them to all fit on one album – six tracks each side.

Given their length, none of the songs outstay their welcome and that makes for a refreshing urgency about Fat Pop. It’s a clear indication of the passion Weller applies throughout this set of new songs.

It kicks off with Cosmic Fringes a short nagging non script Blur like affair –the vocals up close to the mic. His vocals throughout are excellent – that deep bur resonating in all the right places.

True has Weller trading vocal lines in a call and response style with Lai Metcalfe of Liverpudlian trio The Mysterines. Strident Jam like chords lead to a pleasing injection of saxophone before a dreamy interlude takes it back to a sharp ending.

Fat Pop is built on a funky foundation over which Paul relays his ode to the beauty of music. A repeated chant refrain of the title vaguely recalls The Style Council’s Money Go Round -there’s also hints of Ian Dury in the vocal delivery.

The jaunty piano led and uplifting Shades Of Blue has backing vocals from his daughter Leah who also co-wrote it. Light and airy, there’s shades of Village Preservation era Kinks whimsy about this one.

Glad Times is a throwback to the soundscapes of On Sunset. A song of the complexities of long term love ‘’I thought I’d lost you for a while – I get so lonely waiting for you ’’

Soft and soulful and all wrapped in a succulent coating of strings and synths – Hannah Peel’s string arrangements are now a regular attraction to Weller’s output and all the better for it.

Cobweb/ Connections enters in a rush of acoustic guitars with slight Spanish overtones – again infectious and melodic. Lyrically there’s more spreading of the love and gratitude ‘’Can you see the good things in your life, see what’s really happening and why?’’

Side Two opener Testify is another with the On Sunset flavour.

Built on a jerky shuffle, this is another shared vocal as he brings in the veteran Andy Fairweather Lowe –one of my favourite singers going back to the 1960s days of Amen Corner.

Jacko Peake’s pleasing flute dominates throughout and he also adds some subtle tenor sax. The opening line ‘’Gotta take a double shot, gonna take a chance, gotta get your lamp to light’’ may well be a wry observation of these jab led times.

That Pleasure is a similar funky outing with a looping bass line that leads on to some very Shaft like wah wah guitar. The chorus ‘’We are born free and freedoms our right – then why we do have to ask at all’’ hints at the taking the knee culture of recent times.

Failed zips along initially with plaintive guitar lines leading to a full on stinging solo. The vulnerability exposed in the lyrics (’’I hate myself when it gets to this – and everytime I try to reach I fail ‘’) is evidence that it was written after a row with his wife,as he stated in a recent interview.

Moving Canvas has Paul again all upfront and breathy on the mic. The stylish brass harks back to similar arrangements that lit up the Sound Affects/The Gift Jam era.

In Better Times is a real highlight – full of evocative wah wah guitar warm and friendly with deep sounding sax – lyrically reflective and wistful. It’s descending chord pattern reminds me of Jimmy Page & Robert Plant’s When The World Was Young from their Walking Into Clarksdale album.

Finally, Still Glides The Stream is a slightly downbeat closer with piano and strings and a melancholy feel.

Summary:

There’s a Beatles Revolver  like economy running throughout Fat Pop – everything is here in its place because it’s needed to be -there’s no excess baggage.

I’ve noted before that I can draw a parallel with the respective careers Paul Weller and Robert Plant. Both are single minded about how they operate and have little need to rely on former glories. They are both artists of the highest integrity.

That said, neither are slow to take influence from the past

As for the lyrical themes on fat Pop , Weller’s inner most ramblings are always thought provoking and often in tune with my own. The way it’s been since the days of Strange Town and Start.

Underneath the bravado there’s a touching vulnerability and a sense of spiritual wellbeing.

It all makes for a compelling listen that wavers between the introspective and the uplifting.

As he states on the title track –itself an ode to the power of music:

‘’Who’s always there when you really need them, who’s been a friend when you really need one – Ah Fat- Pop’’

How right you are Mr Weller…

Once again the album of the summer has arrived and it’s by Paul Weller. It will be a source of much inspiration until Volume II appears……

Dave Lewis, May 19 2021.


Friday May 28:

Friday treats at WH Smith…

It was a joy this morning to see the new issues of Rock Candy and Classic Rock in the racks in WH Smith – both of which I contributed to…

The Rock Candy issue has a 12 page cover feature that I wrote on the in depth story of Led Zeppelin at Knebworth ‘79– it includes a recent interview I conducted with Zep tour manager Richard Cole.

The Classic Rock issue which celebrates the Led Zeppelin IV album 50 years on has a detailed track by track analysis of the album -I contributed the ‘Did You Know?’ side bars that accompany each track.

After working hard on these in the past few weeks it’s a real thrill to see the fruits of my efforts in print and on the shelves – both are essential reading for every Zep fan …be sure to check them out….


Goodbye to seven years of mid-week Vinyl Barn treats…some thoughts…

As can be seen by this report in the local newspaper, it all started seven years ago.

On Friday July,11 2014,my very good friend and fellow record collecting comrade Pete Burridge rang me to tell me there was a new record stall on Bedford market. So I immediately got on my bike rode into town to check it out.

There across from where I sold many a record in my former days as a record seller myself at WH Smith and the old Our Price site, was the Vinyl Barn.

I had actually seen Darren running this stall at the nearby Hitchin Market a few months before where and I recall buying a copy of The Rutles album. He had now decided to try and establish himself in Bedford.

On that first visit there was a reporter from the local press present enquiring about this new arrival on the market. The following week’s the local paper carried the story and I duly had a quote – getting a plug for the TBL mag of course adding and ‘’it’s great that Bedford has a place where you can buy records again apart from charity shops’’

Was it ever…

Darren had also been a dealer at Bedpop – the occasional pop up record shop that was staged at that time – now he was set up for a regular Friday stint on Bedford market…thus began what has been a regular highlight of my week for the past seven years. I am not sure I bought anything on that first visit but as can be seen by the pic, I know that my purchasers on the second week were  The Strawbs From The Witchwood and Bobby Womack’s The Poet album – it would be the first of many…

The Vinyl Barn was a big hit in Bedford because it stocked a variety of LP’s CDs and singles – in an ever changing stock profile all very well presented

It was a big hit with me because Darren constantly comes up with interesting items from my era of collecting which is the 1960s and 70s. Regular viewers to this page will have seen my ‘’Friday treats at the Vinyl Barn’’ posts and rarely has a week go by when a gem or two ( or more) have not been added to the expansive DL collection – as the good lady Janet would know only too well!

Darren is also responsible for my revival in buying 45RPM seven inch singles – this began in a quest to buy all the late 1960s and early 1970s singles that I could not buy at the time due being at school with limited funds. Darren’s stall offered that opportunity as singles such as Fleetwood Mac’s Green Manalishi , Jethro Tull’s Living In The Past, Family’s In My Own Time and Humble Pie’s Natural Born Boogie = all of which were eagerly snapped up amongst many others – my singles collection at the latest count clocks in at over 3,000.

There’s also been a fair few Led Zep captures at the Vinyl Barn over the years as can be seen at the pic here…

Darren has also supplied me with a couple of record players and more recently an original 8 Track Cartridge player

All of that has been delightful enough but there’s more to all this – much more.

My weekly visits to the Vinyl Barn have done much for my own wellbeing – as has been documented on my posts, I’ve had many a battle with depression and anxiety. Visiting this place of record buying sanction has become an important part of my routine.  The early morning dialogue I’ve had with Darren has often lifted my spirits. Over these past seven years he has become a great friend.

Darren has been very supportive to the good lady Janet and I – he was at the end of the phone very early the week Janet broke her leg in December 2019 offering support and guidance. When I had a fainting incident at the Vinyl Barn last autumn, Darren showed massive concern ringing Janet and making sure I got home safely.

The Vinyl Barn has also been an important hub in the sharing of this passion – my fellow record collecting comrades Steve Livesley, Pete Burridge, Mat Roberts and Dave Crane have been constant fellow supporters of the stall.

Darren has made no secret that the last two years have been very tough – with difficult market conditions and the challenges of the Covid pandemic , therefore it was no surprise when he told me he is ceasing doing the midweek markets he operates in Bedford and Northampton. He has found full time employment in an area he wants to move into. He is also a regular excellent radio presenter on Harborough FM 02.3 HFM with his own show – a showcase for his vast musical knowledge.  Check out

http://www.harboroughfm.co.uk

Running a stall like the Vinyl Barn is not easy –particularly in the adverse weather conditions. Indeed I have been with Darren through some terrible winter conditions – not least the snow that once had us packing up early (see pic!) and the wind that on more than one occasion has nearly had the unit blowing down the street.

I’ve also shared many a light hearted moment with him as he dealt with the eccentricities of various visitors to the stall –often with caustic wit!

So it’s good luck ahead Darren – and as George Harrison once sang all things must pass… but it’s not quite all over as he intends to appear at Bedford Market once a month on a Saturday.

Thanks Darren for all the midweek Wednesday and Friday treats…

I now look forward to future Saturday treats at the Vinyl Barn …

Dave Lewis, June 30 2021


 

My thoughts on the new Crosby, Stills, Nash &  Young Deja Vu 50th Anniversary reissue… 

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Déjà vu – it feels like I’ve been here before -but never as extensively as this…

 

I have a long affinity with the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s Déjà Vu album going back nigh on 50 years to 1971.

That was the year I went to the cinema to see the film Melody staring Jack Wilde and Mark Lester –fresh from their success in the Oliver! musical. It was a rites of passage story of young love . Teach Your Children was on the soundtrack and it fitted perfectly.

I already knew of Crosby Stills & Nash through the Marrakesh Express single. I needed to know more about this extended line up and duly stared in wonder at the sepia tinted Déjà Vu sleeve in the local Carousel record shop. The double live set Four Way Street looked equally exotic.

In 1972 aged 16 I entered the grown up world of album buying and the triple and double Woodstock sets were amongst my early investments. Across those albums there were more examples of the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young craft. Déjà vu came my way not long after – and it’s been a constant companion ever since.

Alongside the 1969 Crosby Stills & Nash album,It’s one of my all-time favourite albums from one of my all time favourite groups. I already have it in various configurations – on CD, cassette and US and UK original LP pressings. I love everything about the distinctive sleeve, gatefold spread of photos and the magical UK plum and orange Atlantic label.

Noe there is a whole lot more to love…

Déjà Vu has been given the slightly belated deluxe expanded 50th anniversary treatment – the whole works and I found that prospect hard to resist.

So I recently took receipt of this new package and it’s a beauty.

There’s a pristine 180 gram reissue of the original album and a CD version, a CD of demos, a CD of outtakes and a CD of alternate takes.

As the title implies, it feels like I’ve been here before but not quite as extensively as this… this box set package is one big drink and I my was I looking forward to quenching my thirst for yet more beautiful music from Crosby, Stills Nash & Young…

The package itself is superb being an album size gatefold affair that holds the LP plus the four CD’s and the booklet. This has an extensive essay from writer/film maker Cameron Crowe which is detailed and informative in his usual style. One minor let down is the lack of actual recording dates

Aside from a superb remastered vinyl LP and CD there are three additional CDs comprising of 38 more to add nearly two-and-a-half hours of music that includes demos, outtakes, and alternate takes. One minor let down is the lack of actual recording dates and studio info for these recordings in the booklet –something the 1990 CD box set did very well.

That is a bit of a nit-pick because there are just so many enlightening moments across this material that puts you right in the studio to reveal the creative process that went into make this album such a masterpiece.

The Demos CD has some early versions of Our House”,“4 + 20”, “Song With No Words (Tree With No Leaves)” , “Birds” ,“So Begins The Task/Hold On Tight” – Stephen Stills “Almost Cut My Hair”, “Teach Your Children”, the truly wonderful “Horses Through A Rainstorm” written by Nash with Terry Reid and recorded by The Hollies,“Laughing”, “Sleep Song”, “Déjà Vu” and “Our House” – Graham Nash & Joni Mitchell *

The Outtakes CD includes “Everyday We Live” ,“The Lee Shore” – 1969 Vocal,“Bluebird Revisited”, “Horses Through A Rainstorm”,“Hold On Tight/Change Partners” “Laughing” and “Right On Rock ’n’ Roll

The CD of alternate versions is like being transported back to an invitation to hear an early mix of what they had amassed –here’s the line up:

Carry On” – Early Alternate Mix, “Teach Your Children” – Early Version , “Almost Cut My Hair” – Early Version ,. “Helpless” – Harmonica Version,. “Woodstock” – Alternate Vocals, “Déjà Vu” – Early Alternate Mix, “Our House” – Early Version , “4 + 20” – Alternate Take 2 and “Know You Got To Run”

This outpouring of material re emphasises that aside from being incredible harmony vocalists, all four were musicians of the highest standard.

It may be a year late in arriving but this 50th anniversary celebration of one of the defining albums of the era has been well worth waiting for –it’s an embarrassment of riches that reveals the love, care and dedication that went into making Déjà vu such a beautiful record.

Yes, I feel like I’ve been here before but never as extensively as this and never in such close proximity to the class musicianship of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young…

Dave Lewis June 25,2021

………..

My thoughts on…

Led Zeppelin Vinyl: The Essential Collection by Ross Halfin (Reel Art Press)

Some of the best ideas are the simple ones and the world renowned rock photographer Ross Halfin’s concept of photographing his Led Zeppelin vinyl collection and presenting it in book form is one such example. Simple but very effective…

First things first – this book is not intended to be a definitive guide to Led Zeppelin vinyl releases – it would take a volume of mammoth proportions to achieve that and as Ross mentions in his introduction, add in the solo years and it would end up being a 2,000 page book.

As the title implies, this is a snapshot of the essential Zep vinyl releases – the real stand outs of any collection.

Part of the book’s appeal is wading through and identifying what you might have in your own collection and marvelling at what you haven’t – because unsurprisingly, there are many ultra-rare items featured.

It comes as an appropriately LP size format with a transparent outer cover. The size of the book offers ample scope to reproduce many of the LP covers to near full length. The paper quality and general presentation is of the usual high quality Reel Art Press standard.

The book is divided into the following categories:

Introduction by Ross Halfin, The Studio Albums, Live Recordings( i.e. bootleg LPs), Singles, Promos and Rarities, and finally Catalogue Details.

The introduction hones in on the idiosyncrasies of being a record collector and Ross’s declaration ‘’Do I still need six copies of Live On Blueberry Hill? Absolutely!’’ is one that will resonate with every reader. The intentions of the book are relayed in Ross’s familiar forthright, no nonsense style.

The Studio Albums section offers alternate rare pressings of each of the ten Zep original albums, featuring over 50 variations in all. There’s some mighty rarities here including a Led Zeppelin II pressing released in Turkey with a bizarre alternate front cover image, a Led Zeppelin IV released in India with an alternate front cover design, the Physical Graffiti promo sleeve with alternate lettering, the complete six different sleeve designs used for In Through The Out Door and plenty of Japanese pressings with the all-important obi strips.

At over 90 pages, the Live Recordings section takes up a fair bulk of the book in representing the countless Zep concerts that were issued on bootleg LPs. These strictly unauthorised illegal releases were seen at the time as a stain on the music industry but in truth they were a vital outlet for spreading an act’s reputation. Zep Bootlegs – and there were many of them, did much to cement their legacy, despite the heavy handed tactics manager Peter Grant employed to block any such recordings being made.

This world of Led Zeppelin bootlegs was a secret society that was incredibly thrilling to be a part of and like Ross, I was an avid bootleg collector from the early 1970s. I purchased a lot of my Zep bootlegs on mail order from a mysterious address in Kent – and boy did they come up with the goods. Looking over the sleeves of many of the releases presented in the book is a vivid reminder of the sheer thrill of a new package turning up on my doorstep.

I’ve just had a count up and over the years I have amassed a total of 83 different Zep vinyl LP bootlegs. The likes of fabled titles such as Mudslide, BBC Broadcast, Going To California, Bonzo’s Birthday Party, Earls Court Vol I, The Destroyer, Knebworth Fair, etc., boosted my Zep appreciation manifold and it’s fascinating to look at the many bootleg LP variations – over 150 of them, that are included in the book.

As mentioned, the book size provides the opportunity for full scale reproductions and it’s great to see the likes of the rare No Quarter album on the Red Devil album and the Beatles sleeve parodies featured on the Yellow Zeppelin and Fab 4 Liverpool releases in such rich detail. The reproduction of many of the original bootleg labels and coloured vinyl pressings is also a delight.

The next section takes in Singles, Promos & Rarities. There are over 70 examples of such items – including many of the picture sleeve releases of their singles that appeared in various foreign countries. There’s some mega rarities on view here including a Led Zeppelin I from Vietnam with unique artwork, the Dusty In Memphis/Led Zeppelin I US promo LP, the 1969 UK Flying High Atlantic compilation sampler album featuring Zep’s You Shook Me, only available via a coupon in a Japan Airlines in-flight magazine, the very rare Immigrant Song/Out On The Tiles picture sleeve promo single issued in Japan in 1970, the Turkish release of Immigrant Song with a picture sleeve illustration of migrants running and the three track Physical Graffiti EP issued in Thailand.

Finally, there’s the Catalogue Details section spread across 45 pages. This is a line by line discography guide split as follows: Promo & Stock LPs (20 pages), Live Recordings ( i.e. bootleg releases) across 14 pages, a couple of pages of Outtakes & Sessions, and finally 10 pages of all known Singles releases drawn from 42 different countries. This has all been diligently compiled by Nick Anderson and Graeme Hutchinson, both massive Zep vinyl collectors – regular readers of the TBL mag and my books will know that when it comes to such matters, they know what they are talking about.

As much as this is a book about Led Zep vinyl releases, it’s also a statement about artistic presentation and design. Most of these records appeared during the glory era of record sleeve artwork. The official releases have of course long since acquired iconic sleeve design status. The various single releases from around the globe were often quirky in the extreme. When it came to the live recordings presented on bootlegs, initially these were simple designs often with a stamped title and insert, but as the market grew they became very elaborate affairs – no more so than in the hands of artist William Stout. His unique design caricatures on releases by The Who, The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin are the stuff of bootleg legend – a prime example being his cover design for the Bonzo’s Birthday Party double album on the Trade Mark of Quality label which can be seen in all its glory on page 91.

To summarise:

Led Zeppelin Vinyl -The Essential Collection shines the spotlight on an aspect of Led Zeppelin’s appeal that continues to fascinate collectors across the globe – and it does so in a manner totally in keeping with Ross Halfin’s long established photographic visual flair and knowledge of the band.

If you’re like me and vinyl records and Led Zeppelin is your thing, this will be an essential addition to your ever creaking Zep bookshelf…

Dave Lewis –  July 15, 2021

Led Zeppelin Vinyl –The Essential Collection by Ross Halfin is published by Reel Art Press on August 24.

More info and ordering details at:

https://www.reelartpress.com/catalog/edition/169/led-zeppelin-vinyl


Robert Plant and Saving Grace featuring Suzi Dian with special guest Scott Matthews:

July 19: Pavilion Theatre Worthing …

This via the Ultimate Classic Rock website:

Robert Plant returned to the stage last night in Worthington, England, for his first post-pandemic concert since 2019.

The former Led Zeppelin frontman performed with his new band, Saving Grace, which also includes vocalist Suzy Dian, mandolinist and guitar player Tony Kelsey, banjo and guitar player Matt Worley and percussionist Oli Jefferson.

The group’s set list included a mix of traditional songs and covers of Levon Helm’s “Move Along Train,” Los Lobos’ “Angel Dance, the Derek Trucks Band’s “Chevrolet” and Donovan’s “Season of the Witch.”

Saving Grace were originally scheduled to play a U.S. tour in March 2020, but those dates, along with multiple U.K. shows slated for earlier this year, were postponed. The band will now finish out the remainder of the U.K. concerts, which will run through early August and include several stops in the West Midlands county of England, where Plant lives.

. “In the days when I first starting performing around the Black Country, it was very evident that each area was its’ own community/little town … and each community had its own venue: Dudley Town Hall, Stourbridge Town Hall, Regis Hall, Brierley Hill Civic, Old Hill Plaza, Tipton Baths, Queen Mary Ballroom,” Plant said before the tour started.

For more info see Ultimate Classic Rock website link at:

https://ultimateclassicrock.com/robert-plant-saving-grace-first-show/?fbclid=IwAR2uoOJafH1IFIOInoC1hA7Kq_wkO9sOs9Bt6G2u52MgWHCsrVOhgFmj_lw

Some on the spot feedback:

That was magnificent, Dave. A very Saving Grace Welsh mountains to the Appalachians-type vibe. Please read my letter. Moby Grape. Richard Thompson. Superb musicianship. Robert on great form. Suzi mesmerising – Mark White.

……………….

Well the band were mesmerising. The vocals and musicianship of all of them was astounding. The band were ethereal one minute could also really rock the next. There Were a couple if little fuck ups but Robert just went “Ok let’s try that bit again” and everyone laughed including him. The vocals from Robert and Suzi Dian were just amazing and coiled around each other beautifully. Tracks included House of Cards, Cindy, Season of the Witch, Please Read the Letter Angel Dance Satan Your Kingdom with a snatch of In My Time of Dying, and even some Moby Grape. There were loads of others but they came from everywhere except “the pop and rock mainstream,” and I didn’t know many. “Sometimes you can sing the same songs for a very long time and we want to play stuff no one has heard.” It was a magical –  Richard Clayton  

…………………………

The day that live music returned (for me)

On a lovely summers evening at the Pavilion in Worthing – 18 months of hurt ( to paraphrase a football song) disappeared.

Nearly 18 months ago – little did we know that that The Deborah Bonham band gig with the incomparable Pete Bullick in Bewdley with Robert Plant hovering around in the shadows, but not joining in – would be our last live entertainment for what seemed like a life time.

Last night with rolls slightly reversed- it was a privilege to be at Robert Plants band Saving Grace show, whilst Pete and Deborah joined the rest of us in what was an emotional and inspirational evening of music.

Luckily I get to do it all again tonight  – Steve Way

 

July 20: De La Warr Pavilion Bexhill…  

Two gigs in two days – how extraordinary

Beneath the twin towers of Bexhill- another show right by the sea….bit further away tonight but no less stunning – Steve Way  -all photos courtesy Steve

 

It’s a hot summers night on the south coast of England and Covid remains a big problem both here and across the world but, at long last, a light at the end of the tunnel, yes live music is back.

 

Can’t honestly remember the last live show I attended but it was before March 2020. It’s the third time I have seen Robert in Sussex as it doesn’t seem to be a regular stop off for him. The 1st time as a 16 year old was 20th December 1972 in Led Zeppelin my first ever rock show. The second time as a solo artist on 17th December 1983 and now, tonight. Not quite the excitement of December 1972 but nonetheless another big moment.

The De La Warr is a grade 1 listed building built in 1935 and is right on the seafront so a perfect venue for a perfect night in the middle of summer and the weather has not let us down. It holds around 1100 people and tonight is virtually full which surprised me in these Covid times.

Support tonight is Scott Matthews who I had not heard of but he played an interesting set of acoustic music which put me in mind of Neil Young, another of my favourites. Scott’s music is something I will investigate further.

So, onto Saving Grace. I didn’t know what to expect to be honest but Dave Lewis had said a sort of folky style to it. Well, from the introduction it reminded me of the Moroccan music we have become familiar with through Strange Sensations and it’s incarnations. It was a lovely show lasting about 90 minutes with music which,in the main,was unfamiliar to me but certainly had that African feel throughout. Robert, as always, was able to engage the audience with stories about the music he loves and put his interpretations on the songs. The band and Robert were clearly enjoying being back onstage saying that it had taken a very long time to play 20 gigs. There was talk of some rustiness at the first show at Worthing on 19th July but no evidence of that tonight. A brief word about Saving Grace. Suzi Dian on vocals was a relevation, certainly the voices blended beautifully very much in the vein of Robert and Alison Krauss. The three other members are Oli Jefferson on percussion, Tony Kelsey on mandolin and guitar and Matt Worley on banjo and guitars and that were all superb.

Whilst talking about Alison Krauss at the De La Warr there is a vinyl store called Musics not Dead and I bought a copy of Raising Sand on grey vinyl. There was plenty of other vinyl available.

Finally a set list. Now, I have to say many of the song titles I have guessed at as they were unfamiliar. I am sure someone more knowledgeable than me will be able to produce the proper titles. So, here we go.

Jack of Diamonds /4th of July

Hold On

You Gotta Move On/Heavy Load

Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down

House of Cards

Beautiful Day (Moby Grape)

Two Coats

I’m Lost Again

Everybody’s Song (a Low cover)

Just Do Something For You Now (Memphis Minnie)

Cindy I’m Gonna Marry You Some Say

Season Of The Witch

Please Read The Letter

Encore

As I rode Out

Angel Dance

So there we have it – a lovely night of live music on a beautiful summers evening right on the beach with Robert Plant. Who could ask for more? Live music is back and much welcomed…

John Webster

Two great shows, but Worthing shaded it for me. Seemed to be more audience reaction, & the love certainly went both ways that night. Worthing got more songs, & extended encores with harp playing..Thanks to Coastal Events for promoting these shows – Stewart Gunn


August 25 2021:

A big moment here this past week…

The arrival of the new Evenings With Led Zeppelin Revised & Expanded Edition book.

First a bit of a backstory:

Mike Tremaglio and I have been living with this book for nigh on ten years. The idea grew out of the touring logs Mike was producing for regular features in the TBL magazine. Both he and I had long since been ardent chroniclers and researchers of Led Zeppelin’s concert history. I have an exercise book from 1977 with my first hand written attempt of a list of Zep gigs. I did go on to produce The Concert File book with Simon Pallett published by Omnibus Press in 1997 –an admirable first attempt at the task of logging every known Zep gig. It was well received at the time.

That book was produced in a pre-internet age and a decade on, there had been a substantial amount of new info surface.

By then I was aware of the depth of knowledge Mike had in this subject. Mike’s superb work in the TBL mag led us to seek a more substantial platform and we came up with the Complete Concert Chronicle – a book that would accurately present Led Zeppelin’s entire concert history with detailed info – all illustrated with many a photo and relevant image. In fact, Mike came up with the idea for presenting photos of the venues they played in.

In 2012 we began formulating a synopsis of this idea – eventually in early 2014 it was accepted by Omnibus Press and with Chris Charlesworth editing we powered on collating the text and images into what we decided to call Evenings With Led Zeppelin –a tag line Zep manager Peter Grant used many a time to advertise the groups concerts. I asked former Zep tour manager Richard Cole if he would contribute a Foreword and he came back with a captivating summary of what it all meant to him – having been right there when it was all happening.

It took four years to complete the book with the aid of TBL designer Mick Lowe. It was published in September 2018 and we had a wonderful launch day at a TBL gathering at the Atlas pub in London at which Mike came over for.

Over the next few months I was able to present copies personally to both Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones who were both enthralled by it –Robert Plant also received a copy and he has recently personally requested a copy of the new revised edition. It’s obviously very gratifying to receive such praise and recognition from the group members themselves. We strongly feel we have done justice to the subject and it’s a book they will read as a reference to their amazing work between 1968 and 1980 and indeed could pass on to their children and grandchildren as an accurate portrayal of their incredible touring history as part of Led Zeppelin. We will of course be sending them all a copy of this newly revised work.

The first edition book was very well received and by 2019 the first print run had sold out. Mike had continued relentlessly to add yet more to the story so in early 2020 we went back to Omnibus Press to request that they consider a reprint of the book in an extended format with 48 additional pages. Very pleasingly they went with that idea and in this photo I am holding the fruits of all this intensive work.

That we undertook this task  during the past very difficult 18 months – with the good lady Janet breaking her leg (that is still troublesome and physio is ongoing), my mental health issues that landed me in a psychiatric hospital unit for four days in December 2019, and the pandemic and all the worry and concert that has brought forth (Mike also contracted Covid earlier in the year as we were wrapping the last checks on it) well, it’s been some achievement.

So it’s with a deep sense of relief and pride that I hold the book today…

How does it shape up?

Firstly, I am in awe of Mike’s passion and drive to update every aspect of the book and add considerably to the first edition. Mike’s research work has been incredible again – every page has been revisited and improved and he deserves much praise – he really pushed this through to the finish line.

There’s fresh gig info, additional ticket and poster images, more rarely seen photos plus a new exhaustive 11 page bootleg discography. I should at this point acknowledge the input and support given to the revised book by the renowned Zep memorabilia collector Brian Knapp.

Put simply, we have made a good thing even better. We think every Zep fan will find this new work an essential read –even if they have the first edition.

Mike and I shared the moment of seeing the first finished copy on a WhatsApp video call. It really does looks awesome – the cover with it’s read shading really stands out and we are incredibly proud of what we have achieved with this revised and expanded edition. Here’s a pic of Mike with his newly arrived book.

Incredibly, it’s 30 years ago this month that Chris Charlesworth then editor in chief at Omnibus Press gave me the platform for my first major book Led Zeppelin A Celebration. I was coming up 35 years old then and here I am nigh on 65 and my enthusiasm to chronicle this amazing band is as fervent as it was back in 1991. It remains an absolute privilege to do so.

The book is officially published in the UK on September 9 and the US on September 23.

So get ready to enjoy yet more Evenings With Led Zeppelin…

Dave Lewis August 25, 2021


Another big moment:

Hats off to the Harpur Suite…and VIP Record Fairs…

Many thanks to all who made it to the excellent VIP Record Fair at the Harpur Suite in Bedford last Saturday.

It was fantastic to see so many record collecting enthusiasts out and about flicking through the packed racks of LPs, singles CDs etc – something we all took for granted once but has been impossible to do over the past 18 months

With its high ceiling, the Harpur Suite was a good spacious venue and with many a face mask being worn there was much being done to respect others and and to move in as safe an environment as possible..

Of course, it was great for me to meet and greet so many old faces and TBL supporters – the stall did brisk business and I had a limited number of the Evenings With Led Zeppelin Revised & Expanded edition book to sell which were quickly snapped up.

Many thanks to John and the VIP crew and many thanks to my very good friend and record collecting comrade Steve Livesley for helping me on the TBL stall.

Here’s roll call of people it was so great to see: Graeme Hutchinson and Nick Anderson (basking in a job well done on their input to the Ross Halfin Led Zeppelin Vinyl book) Ian Avey, Nick Carruthers, Andy Neil (author and curator of The Who re releases) Brian of Revolution Records, Jerry Bloom, Adam Tidd, Dave Bunting, Mark Palmer, Alastair Chorlton, Mat Roberts, Dave Crane, Robert Napthine, Paul Stanton, Mr Shouty and his lady, plus various people I used to serve in the Our Price record shop.

Indeed, It was great being behind the counter for a day again. In fact given my mental health issues it did much for my own self esteem and wellbeing to be back talking to like minded souls about the subject I am so passionate about. I was very nervous and anxious about facing up to this but everybody was so welcoming and supportive throughout the day – enquiring about the good lady Janet and how we all were – it was very heartwarming to say the least…

Incidentally Mark Lammar comedian the radio DJ and presenter of Never Mind The Buzzcocks was also in attendance buying up a stack of singles.

Very pleasing also to see Darren back at the Vinyl Barn down the road…

So all in all a fantastic day – to paraphrase Nick Hornby –‘’Record Fairs won’t save your life but they can give you a better one”

And after all the trials and difficulties of the past 18 months, life felt a lot better yesterday doing something we all love again at the VIP Record Fair at the Harpur Suite ..

Here’s to doing it all again at the same venue on Saturday October 16…

Dave Lewis, August 22,2021.


Charlie Watts RIP:

Like millions across the globe we were so shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of Charlie Watts.

The good lady Janet and I were just coming from town late Tuesday afternoon when my very good friend Steve rang me to tell me the very sad news. It was devastating to hear…

I was of course aware Charlie had to drop out of the upcoming Rolling Stones tour dates for a hospital procedure but it was a terrible shock to hear he had passed away.

The Rolling Stones have been part of my life since 1964 – they are my second favourite band. Charlie Watts has always had an integral part in that unique Stones chemistry. Like all great drummers, he was the pure heart and soul of the band. His understated percussive drive was the perfect platform for Mick, Keith and Woody to weave around -and it worked brilliantly.

I know that as I’ve spent countless hours listening to their albums and singles -I’ve also been lucky enough to see them live on the following occasions:  Empire Pool September 1973, Earls Court May 1976, Wembley Stadium July 1990, Twickenham September 2003 and finally Twickenham June 2018 – the latter with the good lady Janet – an ambition completed for her.

So it was much sadness we learned of the news on Tuesday – I was in tears as my record collecting comrade John Parkin will know when we spoke on the phone that night.

It does feel like the end of an era as another of our beloved musicians fade into the light…of course he leaves behind a legacy of amazing performances – for me the likes of Paint it Black, We Love You, Dandelion, Monkey Man, Tumbing Dice really stand out – but everything he applied to on those amazing records from 1963 onwards was simply awesome.

As Mick famously said on their Get Yer Ya Ya’s live album -‘’Charlie’s good tonight innie’’

Charlie was of course good every night

This poignant photo posted by Keith says it all.

He was truly the heart and soul of The Rolling Stones…RIP Charlie…

Dave Lewis, August 25,2021.  


September 2 2021:

Andy Adams 1961 – 2021…

The devastating news of the passing of the renowned Zep chronicler and friend to us all Andy Adams aged 60 has been such a shock.

The response to his very sad passing has been truly overwhelming though not unsurprising given Andy’s standing in the Zep community…

I have rounded up some of the many tributes that have been posted in the last few days on Facebook, plus many others that were sent to me via email.

Many thanks to all those who contributed. Reading through all these amazing memories, it’s heartwarming to see the esteem he was held in by so many – and the way he brightened all our lives.

So this TBL special is in memory of dear Andy…

Here’s my thoughts…

I am so deeply shocked and saddened and reeling from the news of the passing of our dear friend Andy Adams – fellow Led Zeppelin comrade, fountain of knowledge about Zep and so many other bands. A kind, caring generous soul who shared his passion to the benefit of so many and brightened up our lives by doing so every day…he will be so sorely missed.

The news of his passing came through on Saturday night. I was on WhatsApp conducting a podcast recording with Mike Tremaglio for a US podcast about the Evenings With Led Zeppelin book. I noticed I had two calls in quick succession from Andy’s friend Rob Bannister. I knew something was not good so I halted the podcast and spoke to Rob who relayed the tragic news of Andy’s passing. I then had to go back on and tell Mike the devastating news – he was so shocked -Mike had spoken to Andy the previous Monday on Facetime in a lengthy call.  So began the nightmare of relaying it all – like everybody, I was in total shock and still am.

So to backtrack…

I first met Andy Adams in 1988 at the Robert Plant warm up show in Colchester.

His passion for all things Zep and rock music in general was apparent from the off. I thought I knew a bit about Led Zeppelin until I met Andy…

Over the next couple of years we kept in regular touch –I would see him regularly at record fairs. Andy’s knowledge of Zep bootlegs was just awesome – he was always one step ahead of the latest releases, both on vinyl record, the emerging CD format and of course cassettes.Cassettes in fact was the currency we dealt in and we began trading tapes.

When I was commissioned to write the Led Zeppelin A Celebration book in 1989 I knew I would need Andy’s help and he was so amazingly generous in unlocking his archive. In early 1990 I sent a memorable day at his Canvey Island home. There he showed me so many bootlegs and tapes –Andy had things like the Toasted Conor label video of the Royal Albert Hall 1970, Earls Court soundboard bootleg LPs and so much more. He told me about Luis Rey and his book of Zep tapes. Andy had been on the collecting scene or some years -I was amazed I had not connected with him earlier – but was so very pleased I had now.

All this info he shared freely – one of Andy’s many wonderful traits was his utter generosity.

Here’s an example…

It was a Saturday afternoon September 15 1990. I was over at Andy’s place to catch up the latest Zep news and collate the final updates for the A Celebration book – Andy had kindly offered to hav a final look and check everything before it was signed off. ‘’I have a new tape to paly you’’ said Andy and snapped in a cassette – volume up loud.

The strains of the opening of Led Zeppelin’s All My Love burst forth – but this was no ordinary version –this was an outtake alternate version that Andy, being the fountain of all Zep knowledge had secured.

We sat looking at each other in total awe at this wonderful recording and no more so than the part at 6 minutes 40 when instead of the usual fade of the official version –this outtake moved on into the most beautiful outro with superb lyrical guitar from Jimmy and Robert’s heartfelt pleadings.

It was one of those moments when the enjoyment of this special band totally bonded us – we had such massive smiles as the song finally came to a full end.

It was an incredibly special moment and Andy and I often spoke about it – it was the moment the two of us shared the experience of rare and unreleased music from the band we so loved.

I would not have wanted to share that moment back then with anyone else but Andy.

We both knew what it mean to us…and what it would mean to Zep fans across the globe when they heard it on the subsequent bootlegs that surfaced notably Studio Daze.

”Ours is the fire, all the warmth we can find’’ sings Robert Plant in that beautiful song..

That about sums it up …

Andy always had such a warmth about him – he was always genuine, affable and engaged.

It’s those qualities and so many more that I will miss…

On another of my visits to Andy around the same time, we  talked about the idea of a UK Convention. The yardstick had been created by the staging of a US event in 1988 – this had been organised at the Meadowlands Hotel in New Jersey in Washington DC by Brian Knapp -another major Zep memorabilia collector who I had been in touch with for some years. I was also aware of a David Bowie event BowiCon that had been staged in the US.

Andy was at the time publishing his excellent Zep mag Early Days and Latter Days and was a regular stall holder at Record Fairs. Initially he was approached to stage a mini Zep Convention within a major London Record Fair. We both felt this would not fulfill the potential for the type of event we wanted to stage.

So in the autumn of 1991, Andy and I formulated a plan for what we felt was needed to stage a Led Zeppelin Convention. We both agreed it required two days and we aimed for a central London venue and the following January we made a visit to London to look at perspective venues. After looking at three potential venues we selected the Royal National Hotel in Euston. By then we had also enlisted the help of some key players in the UK Zep community.

I have to say that Andy’s enthusiasm during this period was absolutely inspirational – his vision of what we could achieve was right in line with mine and it was an absolute pleasure working with him. There were many ups and downs ahead and difficult moments that we faced together – it certainly wasn’t all plain sailing but Andy’s affable stance and belief always got us through.

The hotel, with it’s various exhibition rooms looked ideal and we put a deposit down to secure it for three days in May – Friday May 22, Saturday May 23 and Sunday 24. The Friday would be a setting up day and a press launch at night – the Saturday and Sunday the actual Convention days.

I’ll tell the full story of that amazing weekend another time..

I have so many memories of time spent in Andy’s company – here is a photo which I am looking at with tears stinging my eyes of Andy and I on the early morning of May 22 1992 as we were setting up the Led Zeppelin Convention we staged at the Royal National Hotel in London.

Andy was so proud about what we achieved that weekend and we both loved remembering those times – nearly every conversation we had touched on this subject. Indeed we had talked about doing something for the 30th anniversary next May.

Those that were there will know how amazing it was in bringing together Led Zeppelin fans for some unforgettable celebration days…It could never have happened without his passion and enthusiasm.

It was just one example of countless things Andy did to enhance the enjoyment of all this great music.

As with any enduring friendship there were some ups and downs along the way and we did have the odd difference of opinion but we overcame them and always reconciled them notably at an amazing gig by the tribute band Simply Led in Belfast on March 5 2001 to mark the 30th anniversary of led Zeppelin’s performance at the Ulster Hall. Andy and I had  beer or two beforehand got right back on track – ran the stalls revelled in the gig and shared a Chinese takeaway and boy life was good…

I saw Andy at the Led Zeppelin DVD premiere in London in 2003 and at a couple of one day conventions but for a good while Andy disappeared off the scene -his health was not so good. He relocated to Eastbourne and we were back in touch around 2010. In 2014 I invited Andy along to the HMV  playback of the first three Led Zeppelin reissues I also saw him at the Jimmy Page book launch Q and A at the Cadogan Hall

 

We had a truly fantastic time on both those occasions and from there on Andy was right back in the forefront of it all – establishing his blog and the Facebook groups Celebration Days and Jimmy Page Session Man (”Can we roll it Jimmy?’)

I am so glad I had constant contact with Andy in recent years and was able to share his company on some memorable nights.

Andy was an essential addition to the lines up of the TBL gatherings held at the Atlas Pub in 2018 and 2019.

We had some really fantastic nights out notably the Coda at the Coda 50th anniversary concert to mark Led Zeppelin’s first London show. This was at the O’Neill’s Wardour Street, London on October 18, 2018. I love the photo of Andy and I with the good lady Janet before the gig.

 

Andy was in Bedford for the Coda gig at the Esquires club on  March 9 2019 -another great occasion. I then hooked up with him at the John Bonham Celebration event in Redditch on September 21 2019. We met with Gary Davies, Chris Mayley and Ian Avey – again a top night –  that would sadly be the last time I saw him -here’s our last pic together in Redditch.

Andy was such a support to Janet and I when she broke her leg and was always a sounding board for my own mental health issues. There were some tearful conversations – Andy was a man I felt I could unburden too. I also knew he was having his own issues with his health and of course I was very concerned about that. We also helped each other in dealing with the pandemic and the lockdowns.

Earlier this year  Andy and I liaised on the Record Collector Led Zeppelin special – Andy added a significant contribution to it and we were all so pleased the way it came out – as was the editor Jamie Atkins. Andy had been working on various projects -including a Zep at the Marquee book and a Zep on film project. Andy was also about to launch a new Facebook group

I was due to meet Andy in July at the Robert Plant Saving Grace gig in Bexhill but could not make it – Andy had met with Dave Ling in the afternoon and Dave alerted me to the fact he did not think Andy was well and would find it hard to make the gig. This is how it transpired as Andy was taken in to Eastbourne hospital for tests and kept in overnight. Again this was all very worrying.

A couple of weeks back Andy received the updated Evenings With Led Zeppelin book and messaged me to say t he thought it was superb and would be reviewing it on his blog – I was due to call him for a phone catch up this week…

Sadly that was not to be…

Since his passing the outpouring  of love for Andy does not surprise me one bit.

Andy’s relentless passion for Led Zeppelin , his generosity and kindness lit up so many of our lives. I personally shared so many wonderful moments with him over many years – in recent times he has been such a support to Janet and I.

The Zeppelin fan community has lost a true fountain of knowledge and is diminished by his passing – he will be so sorely missed.

Above all, we have all lost a beautiful soul and friend…

Andy you gave us so much love and light and as the singer once said ‘’Everybody needs the light’’

Your light will shine on and on…

RIP

Dave Lewis September 2,2021


September 23 2021:

Goodbye Andy…

We said goodbye to dear Andy yesterday in Upminster on a beautiful sunny afternoon – ‘’the summer of my smiles’’ as Robert Plant sang on The Rain Song, the appropriately serene music that we entered the chapel to.

There were indeed smiles as we heard from Nigel Catchpole the humanist celebrant taking the service of Andy’s life and how his connection to music touched all our lives. His days of playing bass in a variety of bands –indeed, there were some ex members of those bands sitting amongst us and of course we heard of his love of Led Zeppelin…

There were also inevitably some tears – and for me, never has an uplifting a song as Celebration Day sounded so very sad…”’my tears they fell like rain” as the singer sang on another track from Led Zeppelin III.

Andy’s long-time friend Rob Bannister and his twin brother Simon both spoke movingly about this man we loved and will miss so much.

There were further words of love and farewell as the reflective beauty of Ten Years Gone drifted over us.

Finally we left the chapel to that quirky rendering of Happy Trails by Van Halen:

 

‘’Happy trails to you, until we meet again’’

Happy trails to you – keep smiling on ‘til then’’

Andy would certainly have smiled at that…

Afterwards as we congregated outside, I read out a message Jimmy Page had sent me after I had informed his office of Andy’s passing and the subsequent outpouring of tributes that followed.

‘’Sorry to hear about Andy you obviously knew him very well. I’m always sorry to hear the passing of a Led Zeppelin fan’’

Gracious words from Andy’s musical inspiration and ours too of course.

 

In the pub afterwards it was a joy and much comfort to hear so many stories of Andy. The memories, the music, the laughter –  and this is the way Andy would have wanted it because amid the tears and sadness, his funeral was ultimately a Celebration Day…

Goodbye Andy …thanks for enriching our lives with your generosity and passion – it will never be forgotten…

Dave Lewis – September 23, 2021.


September 29 2021:

 

John Bonham  A Celebration II Festival Event – Saturday September 25,2021

Redditch Rocked…

So to Redditch for the much delayed John Bonham Celebration II Festival Event. I was in attendance at the 2018 gathering and since then the John Bonham Memorial Friends group led by Festival Director Ros Sidaway have been trying to stage a follow up.

With the pandemic to contend with this –  like so many events this as been a difficult task.

Admirably, earlier in the year Ros and her team began piecing together a 2021 event –and an ambitious one at that.

With restrictions lifting in July it was full steam ahead for an event that would stage two performances at the Redditch Palace Theatre plus a fringe festival and arena venue to showcase local bands. Money raised at the John Bonham Celebration II Festival goes to help fund vital services for the work of  the Teenage Cancer Trust in the West Midlands.

With a lot going on here and in the light of Andy’s funeral, I was feeling more than anxious about attending – especially as the good lady Janet was coming along too. We always have Janet’s leg issue to contend with whenever we go out – plus of course there’s the ongoing Covid situation.

With our very good friends Steve and Marie kindly driving us there, we decided to go for it.

We arrived in Redditch around 10.30 am and met with fellow TBL crew member and record collecting comrade Ian Saikia. Around the green there were a few events starting up as part of the Fringe Festival including a live band on the John Bonham Legacy Stage. While the ladies went off shopping Steve, Ian and I ventured over to the Vintage Trax record shop – owned by  John Bonham Celebration Day II main lady Ros Sidaway and her husband David. Last time I was here it was situated slightly out of town – now it has a prominent spot on the church green area.

Inside we met Ros’s sister Teresa and her husband Alan. First things first -Vintage Trax is a superb record shop – two floors packed with all manner of stock – second hand albums and singles, CD’s, cassettes, T shirts and books. There’s something to engage in wherever you look – the upstairs rock floor also has a mini John Bonham exhibition with unique photos and info. Most of the albums have stickers with various bits of info on -this to me shows true record selling knowhow and passion.

In the ”it’s not everyday you find” category  well it’s not everyday you find a rack of albums owned by a legendary rock singer – but there they were under the ”Owned by Paul Rodgers’ section – a fair few albums by the likes of Humble Pie and more. These have come into Vintage Trax via various connections and are totally authentic. The sales of these albums are forwarded to the Willows Animal Sanctuary which Paul and Deborah Bonham are both involved in.

 

It was amongst this unique section that I discovered a true gem – a Japanese promo sampler compilation album titled Rock Age Campaign with tracks by Led Zeppelin, Stephen Stills, James Taylor, Yes, Jethro Tull,  etc. I wonder where Paul picked that one up from. As my friend Steve is wont to say ”this one is coming home with me.”

The shop was closing at 12 for the staff to help out on the merchandising at the Palace Theatre so we left after being there a good hour – we could easily have waded though for double that time -Vintage Trax is s a brilliant record shop and if you are in the area be sure to check it out.

We met back in the afternoon with the ladies and after a rendezvous at the always impressive John Bonham Memorial, we took in more of the John Bonham Legacy Stage entertainment. With a lot activity take in  – there was also a nearby outdoor arena stage profiling local bands, it was hard to catch everything – we missed the first acts on at the matinee show at the Palace Theatre. I heard hear good reports of Michael MacCourt (Palace Drum Clinic Young Drummer of The Year at the last event) and Birmingham based Blue Nation.

Then it was time for another ”It’s not everyday you find” moments.

It’s not everyday you find an original member of The Senators, one of John Bonham’s early bands. But hanging out in the hospitality area was Bill Ford – their former bass player and easily identified by his unique Senators T shirt. The amiable Bob looking well sprightly in his early 70s, relayed to me some fascinating tales of playing with John Bonham  and the mid 60s Midlands music scene. He also told me the how The Senators came to be on the Brum Beat compilation album which I own – this has The Senators track She’s a Mod. It was an absolute pleasure to meet him.

I took in the end of Geordie’s set which was suitably loud and raucous then it was time for Coda – a tribute to Led Zeppelin. This is the first time I’ve seen them with new guitarist James Yorke-Starkey and he was most impressive. Coda never fail to do justice to the Zep legacy and their compelling compact set featured Thank You, Celebration Day, In My Time of Dying,Stairway To Heaven  and Whole Lotta Love – the latter in the Boogie Chillun’/Let That Boy Boogie arrangement.

It was good to pack in some socialising during the day and say hi to a few people including Ian Avey and Sue Bewley Mazzone over from Ohio with her friend Mary – it was also great to meet up with PR and artist liaison lady Gemma Varnfield.

 

 

Very sadly Gemma’s Dad Allan had passed away earlier in the year. He has been great company to me on previous Redditch visits and was an avid TBL reader. Fittingly, the whole event was dedicated to his memory and poignantly an empty front row seat was held to honour him. It was also a pleasure to chat with Ros and hand over an Evenings With Led Zeppelin Revised & Expanded edition book she had requested.

We missed the Clearwater Creedence Revival set but were back for John Coughlan’s Quo and they were excellent – highlights being a delivery of the Tom Jones hit Something Bout You Baby I Like and a surprise Pictures Of Matchstick Men.

 

Ros Sidaway then came to the stage to be rightly acclaimed for all her amazing work – and that of her equally amazing team.

Then it was time to say a fond farewell to all and sundry and get some sleep at the end of what had been a very full on day.

Sunday September 26…

In the morning, Steve drove us to Rushock to visit John Bonham’s grave. I have been once before via visiting Australian fan Michael Rae back in 2017.

I was a bit apprehensive about going as it had already been a highly emotional few days what with Andy’s funeral. However I am very glad I did.

It was peaceful and serene and myself, the good lady Janet, Steve, Anne Marie and Ian were able to have time to reflect and gather our thoughts in the beautiful surroundings of the Rushock countryside.

It was evident that John Couglan’s Quo had also visited the grave as there were flowers laid with a poignant note attached – how lovely that one veteran drummer had acknowledged a fellow much missed percussionist. This was made all the more poignant with the news that had just broken of the passing of original Status Quo bassist Alan Lancaster.

Summary:

As ever, the warmth and love for John Bonham in his home town was evident throughout the weekend – what shines through at these events is the humbleness and heritage of the Bonham story. Unsurprisingly and as with many a live music event, there was a somewhat lower turn out than they would have liked – however those that were there were thoroughly entertained throughout and we had a fabulous time.

Ros did mention to me they might need a re- think as to how they present the event next time out – possibly reverting to one central area of live music but there’s no doubt they will want to honour the legacy of John Bonham again.

For myself, the good lady Janet and the TBL crew, it was a privilege to be there to share this always heartfelt celebration of the much missed John Bonham …

Dave Lewis – September 28,2021


October 15 2021: 

Jimmy Page Cheltenham Literature Festival appearance to discuss his book Jimmy Page: The Anthology (Genesis Publications)

Pic by Krys Jantzen

Wednesday October 13,2021:

From his early days as a session musician, through his years on the world stage with Led Zeppelin, to his solo work and collaborations, Jimmy Page has lived a spectacular life in music. Throughout it all, he has amassed an archive of guitars, costumes and memorabilia now being published in Jimmy Page: The Anthology. Join Jimmy in a rare interview as he opens his archives, telling the inside story of his phenomenal career.

Chaired by Times journalist Will Hodgkinson

To Cheltenham for the appearance of Jimmy Page at the Cheltenham Literature Festival

The event itself is situated in the grounds of the Montpellier Gardens – it was an impressive sight with marquees, tents and stalls promoting the various literature and book activity

The Jimmy Page event was held in the Times and Sunday Times Forum at 5.45pm – a large marquee/tent with tired seating.

The turn out was very good indeed – I would say there were a good 900 to 1,000 in attendance and the place was well packed.

The stage had a large backdrop video and to the side a smaller screen that relayed Jimmy’s words as he was being interviewed.

The interviewer Will Hodkinson of The Times set the scene by describing the importance of Led Zeppelin’s music, their influences and the career of the musician he was about to welcome to the stage…

Jimmy strode in standard dark attire smiling and upbeat.

 

The interview format to discuss the Jimmy Page Anthology book was as follows – Will highlighted various stages of Jimmy’s story with each question prompted by a backdrop picture from the book.

Jimmy put in context his intention with the book bringing as he put it ‘the detail behind the detail’ as told via the many images of his guitars, amps, stage gear and memorabilia.

Will began by asking Jimmy about his Gibson Black Beauty guitar which was used for many of his early session appearances kicking off with Jet Harris and Tony Meehan’s Diamonds in 1963.

Jimmy went on to tell the tale of how the guitar was stolen during Zep’s American tour in the spring of 1970 – and how remarkably, it was found many years later and returned to him.

He also stated how quickly he adapted to the studio environment and how confident and competent he was in delivering solos to order as required within strict studio time schedules. This understanding of how studios and engineers worked he noted, would hold him in good stead when it came to producing the Zep albums.

Will then asked Jimmy about his fascination with Indian music prompted by a picture of the young Jimmy playing a sitar in his garden. Jimmy told a great story of how he had attended a Ravi Shanker concert and met with Ravi who advised him how to tune the sitar.

Talk moved to Jimmy’s involvement in The Yardbirds. Jimmy explained how their bassist Paull Samwell Smith had quit the band after a May Ball appearance in Oxford where singer Keith Relf acted as Jimmy put it ‘’a bit punk’’.

A photo of the famous dragon painted Telecaster guitar provided Jimmy with the platform to explain his friendship with Jeff Beck.

From there Will moved on to the Zep years and asked about the early gigs to a backdrop of Jorgen Angel’s famous photos of their first gig with the new line up in Scandinavia on September 7,1968.

There was a discussion about Zep not being a singles band in the UK against a pic of a variety of US and foreign Zep singles in picture sleeves.

A couple of photos from the Bron-Y- Aur cottage inspired talk of the writing period in Wales with Robert – Jimmy highlighting Thats The Way as a key composition from that time

The sheer momentum of the rise of Zep was highlighted by photos of the Royal Albert Hall and Bath Festival appearances in 1970 –Jimmy explaining how extraordinary it was to premiere Immigrant Song at the latter gig some time before it came out on the third album. He remarked how now such a performance would be all over YouTube.

The recording of When The Levee Breaks was discussed to the backdrop of some photos of Headley Grange. A live photo of them performing Bron -Yr- Aur Stomp was quickly identified by Jimmy.

That was followed by talk of the Gibson double neck guitar and Sandy Denny’s role in the Battle of Evermore

Jimmy then took a comfort break for five minutes. By now his slot was overrunning and it was evident there was still a lot to pack in and little time to cover everything. There’s no doubt Jimmy could have chatted for another half hour at least and the audience would have lapped that up.

However with time running out, Will asked Jimmy about his work on the Lucifer Rising soundtrack and highlighted his playing on Ten Years Gone illustrated by the pair of Telecaster guitars he used on the track. A a pic of the guitar Abba gave Jimmy when they recorded In Through The Out Door at their Polar Studios was also shown.

Jimmy commented on 02 reunion concert – how nervous he was for them to get it right and how proud he was that they did – particularly in the light of the shortcomings of previous reunions such as Live Aid..

Finally, Will asked Jimmy one last question about what has driven him all these years.  Jimmy went back to the moment he first heard hearing stereo sound as a youngster and how it had fascinated him and set him on the road to seek musical enlightenment and become a musician.

With that Will thanked Jimmy and he left the stage to mass applause

It was announced that a special edition of the Jimmy Page The Anthology book would be on sale in the Waterstones tent next door – this led to a very long queue forming outside.

Summary:

Jimmy Page talking about The Anthology book at the Cheltenham Literature Festival – October 13, 2021.

It was an absolute privilege and much needed tonic to attend the event in Cheltenham yesterday and see and hear Jimmy talking lucidly and compellingly about his long career – as projected through the pages of Jimmy Page The Anthology book. I was very anxious about going beforehand but I am very glad I did.

The pride and satisfaction he has for all his many achievements was more than evident.

As Screaming Lord Sutch once put it to the back drop of Jimmy’s strident guitar on a track on his Heavy Friends album  ”With Jimmy Page you can’t go wrong.”

It’s been that way for decades and for me, coming nigh on 50 years on from the first time I shared a room in his company (a rather a large one being the Empire Pool Wembley), to be back in his company and hearing such illuminating stories of this remarkable life of music Jimmy Page has created was simply life affirming….

Dave Lewis – October 14,2021

Above four photos by Russell Cherrington with many thanks.

Final words on the Cheltenham visit …
Before attending the Festival I met with Badlands record shop owner Phil Jump – it was fantastic to hook up with him. I have a long association with the shop going back to the 1990s when the shop stocked the TBL magazine and books – ably assisted by Phil’s late and much missed brother Steve.
It was the first time I have ever visited the shop and it did not disappoint being stocked with great product – I purchased a Delaney and Bonnie album while I was there.
Phil and I had a great time remembering back to those days and the Badlands passion for Bruce Springsteen.
I also met with long time TBL supporter and all round top man Krys Jantzen. Going in to the Jimmy Page event it was great to see fellow TBL subscribers and friends including Byron Lewis, Martyn, Paul Harper and Mike Lewis.
Given the recent and ongoing challenges here, it was a tonic to be among like minded people again  linked to this great passion that we have for the music – and of course to be in the company of Jimmy Page. Thanks to all who made my Cheltenham experience so special.
Dave Lewis, October 15, 2021
Visit the excellent Badlands website at:

My thoughts on The Rolling Stones Tattoo You 40th anniversary reissue...

2LP and 2 CD version.

I bought the Tattoo You album the day it came out all of 40 years ago.

All these years on it still sounds great

Neatly split between a fast side and mellow one. Side One packs a real punch from the swaggering intro of Start Me Up (perhaps the last truly classic Stones single) through Hang Fire, Slave, Little T and A, Black Limousine, and Neighbours

Side Two remains one of my favourite sides of Stones music and what a line up: the soulful strut of Worried About You, Tops (what a vocal by Mick and Charlie’s good tonight as usual) plus No Use In Crying, the hypnotic Heaven a successor to Moonlight Mile and the rather lovely affecting Waiting on A Friend with that superb Sonny Rollins sax solo and a great video shot by the location of  Zep’s Physical Graffiti sleeve photo in NYC

It’s well documented that the contents of the Tattoo You album was derived from various out-takes and leftovers from sessions dating back to 1972.

The extra tracks on this new package titled Lost & Found Rarities are similarly constructed, jumping from era to era at will. There’s some great stuff to be discovered or re- discovered if you are as I am, an ardent Stones bootleg collector.

Five of the nine track here surfaced on last year’s top notch quality bootleg set Fully Finished Studio Outtakes – let’s deal with those selections first.

Living In The Heart Of Love dates from the 1974 Munich sessions for the It’s Only Rock’n’Roll album. Ramshackle Stones in a Brown Sugarish mood, a fail safe formula. Nicky Hopkins adds piano.

Fiji Jim is from the Some Girls 1977 sessions. Urgent shouty Jagger vocal driving harmonica and slide guitar. This time it’s Ian Stewart on piano.

Troubles A’ Comin has more funky harmonica and dates from the Emotional Rescue sessions in Paris in 1979. Written by Eugene Record, the song was featured on a 1970 Chi Lites album.

It’s A Lie stamps its 1978 Some Girls Paris sessions era authority on proceedings via the harmonica playing of Sugar Blue. Lighting up this bluesy outing as he did Miss You. The reference to eBay in the lyrics is a clear indication Jagger has added a fresh re- write and vocal for this one.

Fast Talking Slow Walking is an absolute beauty from the Jamaica Goats Head Soup sessions –wistful in a Comin Down Again sort of way with wah-wah effects and Mick Taylor’s soaring guitar.

Elsewhere, another 1972/3 era recording Come To The Ball powers on relentlessly though is slightly somewhat average. More interesting is the early version of Start Me Up dating back to the 1975 Black And Blue sessions. This is played as a loose reggae shuffle similar in style to Luxury from It’s Only Rock’n’Roll. It would of course took an archetypal Keef riff to elevate this one to true greatness.

Finally there’s two great cover versions in the grand Stones tradition. Firstly they take the Jimmy Reed 1963 blues stomper Shame, Shame, Shame and make it their own – there’s shades of  It’s All Over Now in the arrangement.

Bryan Ferry did a good version of this on his 1976 Extended Play EP and Let’s Stick Together album. More recently in 2013 the Ronnie Wood Band recorded a version on the Mr Luck A Tribute To Jimmy Reed Live at the Royal Albert Hall set.  This Stones version dates from the 1978 Some Girls sessions.

Quick aside: In early 1975 the Stones also recorded a version of another song of the same name, this one a cover version of the 1974 disco hit Shame, Shame, Shame by Shirley and Company –that one remains officially unreleased.

One to go and it’s a gem. A much welcomed official release for the long bootlegged Drift Away a cover of  Dobie Grey’s 1973 top five US hit. This was recorded for possible inclusion on the It’s Only Rock n Roll album but didn’t make the final selection. It’s a fabulous version with sensitive Jagger vocals aided by Keith on the infectious chorus.

I remember Charles Shaar Murray in his review of the Made In The Shade compilation in the NME back in June 1975 bemoaning the lack of any new material and suggesting they must have had something from the recent sessions that would make a killer single. Drift Away would have admirably fitted that request, perhaps as a double A side with their Temptations cover Ain’t Too Proud To Beg.

Thankfully, this 40th anniversary release of Tattoo You has provided a much welcomed platform for Drift Away and the other eight recordings that were lost and now found.

Dave Lewis – November 3, 2021


Sunday November 21:

Our Sam has a great feature in the travel section of today’s Mail on Sunday – it’s a review of her stay in New York via the first Virgin Atlantic flight there a couple of weeks back…

Here’s the link to complete on line version on the Mail On Line website:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/escape/article-10233481/USA-holiday-Discovering-sights-New-York-exhilarating.html


My thoughts on…

Robert Plant & Alison Krauss – Raise The Roof (Warner Music)

So, after a 14 year break we have the follow up to the six times Grammy winning Raising Sand.

It’s been a long time coming with more than one false start. The more recent rumours that Robert Plant was back in the studio with Alison Krauss began to circulate in late 2019. Lucinda Williams let the cat out of the bag in an interview stating she had been recording with the pair. Robert also let it slip in the Q and A session he did at Rough Trade Records in late February 2020.

Following the speculation, with the first lockdown kicking it all went quiet. Then in August this year came the rather surprising news that the pair had indeed completed a new album titled Raise The Roof and it was due for release on November 19.

In October the press machine rolled into action with a cover story and interview in Mojo – many more would follow including the high profile appearance on the BBC One show.

The pair are been eager to explain where the selections for this new outing were sourced from. As was the case with Raising Sand, it offers something of a musical education.

First things first: I am sure I am not the only one who approaches this new album as more of a Robert Plant fan than Alison Krauss. Whilst I have a moderate interest in country and bluegrass it’s by no means my favourite genre. That said of course, when these two artists merge their undoubted talent the phrase ‘perfect harmony’ does not even get close – their voices blend exquisitely.

Take track one – a version of Quattro (World Drifts In) originally by Tuscon based outfit Calexico.

It’s suitably laid back atmospheric opener. Subtle backing and slide guitar and Robert and Alison in familiar vocal unison. Robert employing that close to mic breathy vocal style he first brought to prominence  on his cover of Little Hands on the Skip Spence tribute album More Oar back in 1999. All in all a captivating urgent nagging first step back.

Like its predecessor, Raise The Roof was produced by T Bone Burnett, who has previously worked with Plant and Krauss to expand their collaboration in new directions, accompanied by drummer Jay Bellerose, guitarists Marc Ribot, David Hidalgo from Los Lobos, jazz wizard  Bill Frisell, and Buddy Miller, bassists Dennis Crouch and Viktor Krauss, along with pedal steel guitarist Russ Pahl among others.

Unsurprisingly Raise The Roof does not stray too far from the Raising Sand template. The infectious rockerbilly swing of Can’t Let Go written by Randy Weeks and previously recorded by Lucinda Williams is this albums Gone, Gone Gone. All bright and breezy with a similarly irresistible groove.

Trouble My Lover from the Betty Harris Lost Queen Of New Orleans Soul album has a soft sublime shuffle rhythm with Alison much to the fore. Robert harmonising on the chorus.

Equally impressive is the version of Bobby Moore and the Rhythm Aces Searching For My Love.Wonderful backing harmonies again and an achingly beautiful Robert vocal  that ends with a  gentle guitar outro. A truly masterful performance.

Back in 2007 in my review of Raising Sand  in TBL issue 19, I noted that ‘’With such joy in their performance of the Everly’s Gone, Gone Gone, it would be a real buzz to hear the pair take on more of Don and Phil’s hits. Maybe they are saving that for a follow up’’

Sure enough there’s another Everly Brothers gem to behold. This time out they slow down the pop jauntiness of the duo’s 1965 top 3 UK hit The Price Of Love to a mournful reflective pace in much the same way they re- arranged Page & Plant’s Please Read The Letter. Alison is outstanding here with a majestic vocal.

Where Raise The Roof does album deviates slightly from the Raising Sand formula is the welcome inclusion of some English folk. Plant’s take on  Annie Brigg’s Go Your Way recalls to mind  his vocal delivery on Richard and Linda Thompson’s House Of Cards on The Band Of Joy album. There’s some deft delicate phrasing that highlights the folk sensibility he has carried with him since the days of Zep’s Going To California. I first saw Robert perform this at the Bert Jansch tribute show at the Royal Festival Hall in December 2013 – a slower arrangement with Bernard Butler on guitar.

Which leads us nicely to their cover of Bert’s Don’t Bother Me. Slow and brooding with a sensuous Alison lead.

The  version of Merle Haggard’s Go Where The Lonely finds Alison totally at home in her bluegrass country comfort zone. Last Kind Word Blues written in 1930 by  blues singer Geeshie Wiley is another Alison showcase.

Elsewhere, there are more five star vocal performances

I love the way  Robert  opens You Lead Me To the Wrong  acapella  style not unlike I Can’t Quit You Baby. There’s something of the sinister feel of Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down about this performance – a violin accompaniment adds a touch of light against the shade.

The preview single High And Lonesome is another stand out. A Plant-Burnett original, in which Burnett conjures up a Bo Diddleyesque guitar back drop as Robert takes centre stage. His vocal phrasing is just exquisite with plenty of mysterious repeated lyric refrains (‘’Does she still think of me?’’) and Alison joining in on the chorus. There’s a hint of both Howlin’ Wolf and Jimmy Reed in the bluesy feel he projects and It all drifts off into a meandering coda with some atmospheric strings underpinning the hypnotic feel of the song. There’s something of an ethereal  Zep feel here.

Somebody Was Watching Over Me is a throwback to the inventiveness of the Mighty ReArranger era – the opening track of that album  Another Tribe springs to mind here. The song carries an infectious swirl throughout. Luciana Williams can be heard in the vocal shout back refrain which reminded me of previous chorus friendly Plant outings such as Heaven Knows.

Finally to the bonus tracks on the CD and Target vinyl releases: Your Heart Would Know –a straight and sweet country rendering of the Hank Williams song. Finally there’s You Can’t Rule Me a bluesy harmonica led stomp.

Summary:

So there it is – it’s not all roof raising of course and the skill is in the arrangements and vocal prowess. Nothing seems out of place or overdone.

It is better than Raising Sand? For me that’s a yes – it seems more focused and uplifting.

With Raise The Roof the subtlety remains the same – the fact that the pair bring out the best in each other is more than apparent throughout  this hour long fresh collaboration. Robert Plant has yet again extended his supreme vocal talent into another successful alliance. This album will be a late night warm pleasure in the coming cold months.

Of course he is not done yet – as he mentioned in a recent interview denouncing any thoughts of retirement.

With that in mind, here’s the DL Robert Plant future wish list:

*A  Saving Grace double album – one studio set and one live set for Record Store release in 2022

  • A live Robert Plant & Alison Krauss double album and DVD from next year’s tour.

*The completion of The Band Of Joy 2 album. Last year’s compilation set Digging Deep Subterranea included the track Charlie Patton Highway (Turn It Up – Part 1) ,which was described as being ” taken from the soon to be released album Band Of Joy Volume 2.’’ Plant stated at the time  “ At the end of the Band Of Joy tour, Patty went off to work her album American Kid and Buddy and I started creating a Band Of Joy 2 and this was one of the things that we developed along the way. It’s just the three of us. There’s Buddy, Marco Giovino on drums and myself and it’s one of about 13 pieces from that session that is hidden away in my cupboard.” Here’s hoping he unlocks that one.

*A Robert Plant solo album that revisits his early work ala Bowie’s Toy album where David went back to remake some of his early songs. I would love to see him re-record t some of the early Listen, CBS solo singles and Band Of Joy recordings  offering a fresh new slant on the likes of You Better Run, Our Song, Long Time Coming and For What It’s Worth.

By then it might be time for The Sensational Space Shifters to reconvene….

Well he did say he has no plans to retire – as he put it in a recent interview: “There’s always something new to learn, somewhere new to take it. I love it.”

So do we…long may he continue to raise the roof…

Dave Lewis – November 26, 2021


 December 2,2021:

Richard Cole RIP:

I am so very sad to be waking to the news of the passing of Richard Cole.

Led Zeppelin tour manager and so much more.

Such a friend and support to Janet and I in recent challenging times – writer of the wonderful Foreword to the Evenings With Led Zeppelin book.

I had so many special conversations and times with him over many years  –the last being when I visited him in October. Even though his health was failing it was such an uplifting occasion as we talked about those Zep glory years – his pride for it all so evident right to the end…

”There was and always will be only one Led Zeppelin’’ are the opening words he wrote in that Foreword…

There was and always will be only one Richard Cole and he will be so sorely missed…

RIP dear Richard…

Dave Lewis – December 2, 2021

More words on Richard to follow…

December 10 2021:

Richard Cole  1946 – 2021 

The sad passing of Richard Cole last Thursday inspired a wealth of tributes including of course from Jimmy Page and Robert Plant.

I had a lot of feedback and comments – here’s  a couple of the many tributes that were paid to the man who was the Led Zeppelin tour manager and so much more…

Phil Carlo roadie and road manager with Bad Company, Zep and Jimmy Page commented ”Richard was such a great help to me when I first started working with Zeppelin 50 years ago this month. He will be much missed”

Guy Griffin of The Quireboys who Richard worked with in the 90s said ”What an amazing man – he was like a father figure when he looked after me age 21 on tour in America with The Quireboys”

The Last Interview:

Here’s the last interview that Richard gave. He very kindly agreed to do this interview with me on the phone earlier this year. It’s his recollections of the Led Zeppelin Knebworth concerts in 1979. It was featured in the June/July issue of Rock Candy in a feature I wrote on Zep at Knebworth…

RIP dear Richard

Dave Lewis – December 2, 2021

Here’s my tribute which I wrote last Thursday when I had heard of his sad passing:

Some personal thoughts…

I am so very sad to hear the passing of  Richard Cole.

Over many years Richard has always been so supportive of my Led Zeppelin writings – in 2018 he contributed the most wonderful Foreword for the Evenings With Led Zeppelin book  I wrote with Mike Tremaglio. Earlier this year  I interviewed him on the phone about the Zep Knebworth concerts for a feature I wrote for  Rock Candy magazine. This would prove to be his final word on Zep in print.

His pioneering tour managing role with Led Zeppelin and before that with The Who and Yardbirds was a crucial element in Zep’s world conquering success. For within all the much documented sex drugs and rock’ n’roll he was an incredibly shrewd operator and a highly intelligent negotiator. With the maverick manager Peter Grant and the four members of Led Zeppelin he formed a formidable team – ‘’it was always six of everything’’ he once told me.

I met him on a fair few occasions in the Swan Song office in the late 1970s. The first time was when he came marching up the stairs, took one look at me sitting in the office and proclaimed ‘’Who’s that ‘effin ice cream! (abbreviated cockney rhyming slag =ice cream feezer (geezer)

I rather shakily introduced myself as a fan and writer of my own Zep magazine. Thankfully he soon warmed to my presence. Years later we often laughed about that rather frightening (for me) indignant first crossing of paths.

When Richard moved to Kensington in the early 2000s I made contact with him again and eventually met to conduct a lengthy  interview for a US radio station. It was an illumining day and the first of many in his company. I think the fact that I came from the angle of how he got Zep from A to B on any given tour rather than all the usual stuff he was asked about, allowed me to gain his trust.

He loved telling those on the road stories and when it came to the Evenings With Led Zeppelin book he very graciously accepted my request to write the Foreword.

‘’Looking through this book brings it all back to me -city by city and gig to gig’’  he wrote. ‘’It’s like a virtual travelogue of 11 years of my life. 11 years of my life that seem barely imaginable now but 11 years I wouldn’t have missed for the world and what incredible times they were.’’

Richard was immensely proud of his role within the success of Led Zeppelin – and his memory for those times was vivid right to the end. Often he would randomly ring me and dispute some minor detail in the book when it was in the work in progress stage and I of course always bowed to his superior knowledge – because he was there…

Much more than his role in the world of Led Zeppelin and his other management roles with the likes of The Quireboys, Richard was a loyal friend to many and away from the rock’n’roll mayhem, he was also a very  sensitive soul  – he was a tireless worker for AA, attending regular meetings to support others.

He was also aware of the affectionate and esteem he was held in within the Zep fan community and enjoyed the acclaim and rapport he had with the Richard Cole Appreciation Society Facebook group ably maintained by Sean Atkinson.

He was certainly a great friend to us here. Despite his own ongoing health issues he was always ringing to find out how Janet and I were – so sympathetic and supportive of my own mental health issues and Janet’s ongoing leg break problems.

In recent months I have been aware of how poor his health was and in October I went to visit him at his flat in Kensington.

Despite his obvious failing health he was in amazingly good spirits.

For a good couple of hours he relayed to me many a tale of being on the road, right back to his early touring days with The Who and The New Vaudeville Band – so many incredible stories and as ever relayed with much humour.

He told me that in 1974 when he had a bit of a brief falling out with Peter Grant he went off to work with Eric Clapton on his comeback tour. Now Richard was good friends with the Elvis Presley camp and Elvis himself – -having met him on more than one occasion. Eric made a request to visit Elvis and asked Richard to try and arrange it. Richard rang Elvis’ personal associate  Jerry Shilling to ask if Elvis would have an audience with the pair. Word came back from the King ‘’ Look, I know who Richard Cole is but who’s this Eric Clapton guy?’’

Such was the reputation of Richard Cole – perhaps the most famous tour manager in the history of rock’n’roll. Like I said, his pride for it and his role within it all was always so evident – right to the very end.

Last October on that bright autumn morning in Kensington it was again uplifting and inspiring to be in his company for one what would prove to be the final time. As I was leaving I asked Richard if he would sign my copy  of his Stairway To Heaven book that I brought along..

‘’To my dear friend Dave Lewis’’ he wrote.

‘’Thank you for your wonderful books and magazines over the years.

Best always, Richard – October 18 2021’’

I will treasure that for evermore…and how I will miss his phone calls and discussions on the Zep touring years. How for instance, he got Zep from a gig at the Ohio University  on May 18 1969 to performing at the Tyrone Theatre in Minneapolis the next day – his way. He was always a man of such insightful detail.

”There was and always will be only one Led Zeppelin’’ he wrote in the Foreword to the Evenings With Led Zeppelin book

‘’Whenever Led Zeppelin hit the stage it was telepathic.  For the next two and a half hours there was no better place to be than where I was, stood right next to them on those stages. Watching, waiting and ready to do anything I could to help. They were simply fantastic and I’m immensely proud to have worked with them’’

Indeed there was and always will be only one Richard Cole…

An incredibly intelligent, warm, kind generous man – he will be so sorely missed.

RIP dear Richard…

Dave Lewis – December 2,2021.

Richard Cole Obituaries:

On December 8 both the London Times and Telegraph ran extensive obituaries to Richard.  I think Richard would have had a few choice expletives if he knew the Telegraph had miss -captioned the photo they used – it says Robert Plant with Richard Cole – it’s actually Roy Harper…

Chris Charlesworth did a very perceptive Richard Cole obituary on his always excellent Just Backdated blog – see link here:

https://justbackdated.blogspot.com/2021/12/richard-cole.html

 


With Richard at the 02 Reunion post gig party December 2007 and before the Celebration Day film premiere October 2012.

 

 

 

 


My thoughts on The Beatles Get Back…

I’ve had something of a 52 year love affair with The Beatles’ Let It Be album and Get Back sessions.

Get Back was a pivotal record in my musical education back in April 1969. I went to the cinema on June 18, 1970 to see the original Let It Be film aged 13 (incidentally Paul McCartney’s 28th Birthday).
So the prospect of watching the already much lauded Peter Jackson Get Back series of films is a mouthwatering one – I’ve been a bit late to this particular party but finally got around to watching Part One last week.
Of course it’s absolutely brilliant –captivatingly so. What really makes it work for me is the context Peter Jackson brings to the story. By tracking their day to day activities in that memorable month of January 1969 he puts every viewer right into The Beatles’ world – and what a world it was…and still is.
So the basic story unfolds: they want to make a return to live appearances (well Paul does), they need to write and record some new songs for it, it’s going to be a TV special, initially they film rehearsals at Twickenham Studios then move their operation to the Apple basement. Plans change repeatedly as to how and where this comeback will occur – eventually they scrap plans for a TV special and take the radical choice of performing live on the Apple rooftop.
Peter Jackson brings a renewed perspective to this intriguing saga piecing together the action day by day. So we get the off the cuff moments, the fun, the niggles (‘’We’ve been a bit grumpy for the past 18 months’’ Ringo comments at one point), the development of songs as they unfold, the throwback oldies they revived for inspiration.
This really is, as the original advert proclaimed in 1970, ”An intimate bioscopic experience with The Beatles.”
Some personal Part One highlights:
The early attempts at future solo classics All Things Must Pass and Gimme Some Truth, an acetate seven inch pressing of Across The Universe ( it was then unreleased) playing on a record player to remind John of the song, the cut-aways to early photos as they perform One After 909, a similar tactic matching 1966 live in Japan footage of them performing Rock And Roll Music, Paul joking they might use Jimmy Nicol (the drummer who briefly replaced Ringo when he was ill before an Australian tour in 1964) as Ringo was not keen to travel abroad for the planned TV special, Jackson adding context to George relaying the story of a TV documentary he had seen leading to an early stab at I Me Mine, roadie Mal Evans banging the anvil on Maxwell’s Silver Hammer. These are just a few of the often jaw dropping moments captured and presented in crystal clear colour for our delight.
Yes there are the augments and spats leading to George’s temporary walk out but above everything this a band who clearly still have so much affection for each other – as they would later sing on Abbey Road ‘’The love you take is equal to the love you make.’’
That phrase perfectly sums up this mind blowing documentary – on the evidence of viewing just one of the three parts, this for me is the finest filmed profile of any band, anywhere, anytime.
These were clearly still the days of their lives and Peter Jackson has captured them magnificently.
Watching Parts Two and Three of The Beatles Get Back will be a definite highlight of my Christmas and New Year viewing schedule during the coming days.
Dave Lewis – December 21, 2021
and that was the year that was in 2021…

Looking ahead to 2022:

2022 should see the release of the Becoming Led Zeppelin film though there are no details as yet on what the plans are for that.

Robert Plant & Alison Krauss will be on tour  during the summer.

Notable Led Zep 50th anniversaries will include the 1972 Australian tour, the summer  US tour and recording of the How The West Was Won live set, and later in the year the Japan and UK tours.

1972 will also herald the 50th anniversary of some classic albums and I for one will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of these particualr gems and here’s hoping they may be subject to 50th anniversary box set reissues…

Paul Simon – Paul Simon

Jethro Tull – Thick As A Brick

The Rolling Stones – Exile On Main Street

David Bowie – Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars

Rod Stewart – Never a Dull Moment

Alice Cooper – Schools Out

Cat Stevens – Catch Bull at Four

Yes-  Close To The Edge

T.Rex – The Slider

Robert Plant’s debut solo album Pictures At Eleven will be celebrating a 40th anniversary.


Remembering the late great legendary Lemmy – six years gone on December 28:

I was privileged to be in his company a couple of times – notably at the Classic Rock awards at the Roundhouse in 2011. Lemmy was there that night to pick up an award. I had a few minutes with him (this pic was taken then) and asked him for a quote about Led Zeppelin IV for the then forthcoming TBL issue 30 which was celebrating the album’s 40th anniversary. This is what he told me:

”I can remember being down the Speakeasy club with Jimmy quite a few times and Bonzo would be around too. They were just the best musicians and that album is one of many of theirs that still sound amazing. They were a fucking amazing band”

The same could be said for his band -RIP Lemmy…


LZ News:

Led Zeppelin News Update:

Here’s the latest round up from LZ News:
Led Zeppelin News Update:
Many thanks to James Cook.

The complete Led Zeppelin News email goes out periodically. To receive it sign up here:http://tinyletter.com/LedZepNews

Led Zeppelin News Website: Check out the Led Zeppelin news website at

http://ledzepnews.com/

 


 

DL Diary Blog Update:

Friday December 24:

Some DL Christmas Eve music retail thoughts…
For 35 years from 1974 to 2008, Christmas Eve would of course indicate a day of retail frenzy for me and some of you reading this.
I loved every minute of those retail Christmas periods working in various shops and places (mainly Our Price in Bedford) and for the majority of them as manager.
My retail Christmas reign ran from Mud being the Christmas number one with Lonely This Christmas in 1974 through to Alexandra Burke topping the list with Hallelujah in 2008.
35 retail Christmas’s in all which came to an end on Christmas Eve 2008 when the administrators came to the Zavvi store (formerly Virgin Megastore) rather insensitively on that day to inform us the chain was now in the hands of the receivers and the party was over – the store eventually closing in Feb 2009 with all staff being made redundant, along with the rest of the chain.
After that, I did briefly work for Borders bookstore in Milton Keynes but I lasted two weeks there –it was music retail or nothing for me and at age 52 I knew it was time to make some decisions.
This enforced exit from the job I had known since 1974 did provide me with the opportunity to pursue my Led Zeppelin chronicling and freelance writing. In in 2009 I made the rather bold move of setting up as self-employed and I managed to carve out a new career writing and publishing various Led Zep related books and magazines, contributing to the likes of Record Collector etc – which is ongoing today.
Looking back I have such wonderful fond memories of those retail years where I worked in in such an exciting and mainly thriving industry –and of course met and worked with so many great people, including the much missed Hayley Martin and Tina Kemp. Incidentally one of my ex colleagues is still going strong in HMV and is on his 47th Christmas in retail.
Here’s the complete list of where I worked and for who at Christmas time from 1974 to 2008:
WH Smith Bedford x 11
1974,1975,1976,1977,1978,1979,1980,1981,1982,1983,1984
Sound FX Bedford x 1- 1985
Our Price Bedford x1 – 1986
Our Price Northampton x1- 1987
Our Price Bedford x12
1988,1989,1990,1991,1992,1993,1994,1995,1996,1997,1998,1999,
V Shop Bedford x 2 – 2000, 2001
Sanity Records Bedford x1- 2002
Virgin Megastore Milton Keynes x 4 2003,2004,2005,2006,
Zavvi Entertainment Milton Keynes x 2 2007,2008
Total 35
Hello and seasons greeting to all the great people I worked with over those years who are reading this. My, we had some fun, it wasn’t just a job – it was a way of life…
Stay safe and well fellow ex music retail comrades and  have yourself a very Merry Christmas…
Dave Lewis – December 24, 2021

Friday December 24:

Some of the Christmas Playlist selections here…
Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass – Christmas Album – CD
Jimmy Smith & His Orchestra – Christmas Cookin’ – CD
Diane Krall – Christmas Songs – CD
Miles Davis – Blue Christmas – LP
The Partridge Family Christmas Album – The Partridge Family Starring Shirley Jones, featuring David Cassidy – LP
The Beatles – From Then To You Complete Christmas Fan Club Records – CD
Merry Christmas one and all from Janet and I xx

Tuesday December 28:

Yet more Beatles related delights in the house…
Paul McCartney – The Lyrics, the recently published beautifully presented two volume book in a slipcase – a much cherished Christmas present courtesy the good lady Janet… McCartney related back catalogue ready to play courtesy the DL collection.
I am very much looking forward to immersing myself in this illuminating study of his songs by the writer himself with the appropriate soundtrack on hand – on a first glance through, it looks amazing…

Update here:

Christmas came and went as it does and despite all the Covid worries, we had a truly lovely time particularly with our beautiful grandson Ollie here on Boxing Day.

There were also some splendid presents to open – knowing of my fascination with samplers and compilation albums, my record collecting comrade John Parkin searched out a superb sampler  Records sampler Tasty on the Gull label released in 1975  plus a couple of samplers on the CBS Special products label which I also  collect.

Another of my fellow record collecting gang Steve also hit the mark with his present of The World Of Rock’n’Fun –a very quirky compilation via the Decca label featuring the likes of Screaming Lord Sutch, Alan Price and The Goons.

I was also well pleased to find a copy of the latest in the Cat Stevens CD reissue series Teaser And The Firecat under the tree. There was also more Beatles related delight as noted above with the brilliant Paul McCartney The Lyrics book – a very welcomed present from Janet.

and finally…as the curtain comes down on 2021 once again many thanks for all your incredible, inspiring and heart-warming support and kindness this past year which means so much to us here.

On behalf of the good lady Janet may I wish you all a hopeful, safe new year…

Thanks for listening – stay safe and well you very lovely people…

Thanks for listening – stay safe and well you very lovely people…

Dave  Lewis – December 29, 2021

Until next time, stay safe and stay well…

Website updates written and compiled by Dave Lewis

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One Comment »

  • Paul Webber said:

    Hey Dave…Have a good one, hopefully next year will be better for all of us, best wishes to you & your family…Rock on, Paul & family from sunny Cornwall.

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