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BONHAM-BULLICK LATEST/LZ NEWS/ROBERT PLANT BBC6 MUSIC/THE DESTROYER 45 YEARS GONE /PONTIAC ’77/FATE OF NATIONS ’93/DL DIARY BLOG UPDATE

28 April 2022 1,093 views One Comment

BONHAM-BULLICK News April 2022

Here’s an update this week from Pete Bullick via his Facebook page
Hi everyone, Pete here, we’re so sorry to have to reschedule the first 2 dates of our tour. I fell ill Saturday at rehearsals, tested positive for Covid on Sunday and feel whacked and Deborah tested positive this morning and is currently out cold. The rest of the band dodged that bullet. Tivoli Theatre Wimborne is now 15 June and The Wharf Tavistock 18 June. We’ve also had to postpone all this week’s radio and press interviews, promoting this Friday’s new Bonham-Bullick album release.
Wishing Pete and Deb a speedy recovery -DL
You can Pre Order the New Album here:
Order the New Single Now:
Watch the New Video for the single:
And for all the Tour Date Info:

Watch Deborah and G Perform ‘Stay With Me Baby’ to a standing ovation at London’s Royal Albert Hall, as Special Guest to Paul Rodgers

MORE DETAILS: 

Deborah Bonham and Peter Bullick, along with their band and special guests, have recorded a new Blues, Rock and Soul inspired 13 track album Bonham-Bullick on Quarto Valley Records. The Albert King classic ‘Can’t You See What You’re Doing To Me’ is the first single from the new album, showcasing Bullick’s searing guitar and includes special guest Paul Brown (The Waterboys, Ann Peebles, Bobby Rush) on Hammond Organ, alongside Richard Newman, Ian Rowley and Gerard Louis from Bonham-Bullick’s Live band and Paul Rodgers’ ‘Free Spirit’ band.

Order Single: https://bonham-bullick.lnk.to/CantYouSee

Bonham-Bullick is a joint project songbook of some classic and obscure composition interpretations spanning seven decades. The album, produced by Bonham and mixed by Tim Oliver at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios, takes you on a fascinating journey with songs from the greats such as O.V. Wright, Johnnie Taylor, Albert King Sam Cooke and Ann Peebles together with more modern-day luminaries such as Bernard Fowler (Rolling Stones), Mark Lanegan (Screaming Trees) and Chris Wilson. Guests on the album include John Baggott (Robert Plant, Portishead, Massive Attack), John Hogg (Magpie Salute, Moke), Marco Giovino (Robert Plant, John Cale) and pedal steel Supremo, B.J. Cole.
Throughout the recording process, Bonham and Bullick have shown a deep respect for the original songs whilst reaching deep into their hearts and souls to make each song an exciting new adventure for the listener.

Pre Order Album: https://bonham-bullick.lnk.to/Bonham-Bullick
 
BBC Radio 2 Johnnie Walker’s Rock Show
feat Bonham-Bullick and Deborah Bonham’s Rock God
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m0015lzjThe Jay Jay French Connection (‘Twisted Sister’ founder/guitarist):
Beyond the Music Podcast feat Bonham-Bullick
https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-jay-jay-french-connection-beyond-the-music/id1541924407BBC Radio Uncle Frank Show of Fun Lovin Criminals feat Bonham-Bullick
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p0bxx7qw
Irish News
https://www.irishnews.com/arts/music

LZ News:

Here’s the latest round up from LZ News:

Led Zeppelin

  • Previously unseen photos of Led Zeppelin performing in Vienna, Austria in 1970 and 1973 were published online.

Robert Plant

  • The fifth series of Robert Plant’s “Digging Deep” podcast has started, with new episodes due to be released every Monday. The first episode of the season discusses the Led Zeppelin song “Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp”.

Upcoming events:

2022 – “Robert Plant: A Life In Vision,” a photo book edited by Dave Lewis, will be published.
April 25 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Middlesbrough, England.
April 26 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Halifax, England.
April 27 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Stockport, England.
April 29 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Aberystwyth, Wales.
May 1 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival in Cheltenham, England.
May 7 – The Black Country Beats exhibition at the Wolverhampton Art Gallery, which is set to include Robert Plant’s career, will open.
May 13 – The Tunespeak competition to win tickets for Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’ US tour will close.
June 1 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Canandaigua, New York and Jimmy Page and Scarlett Sabet will be interviewed on stage at Hay Festival in Wales.
June 2 – Jimmy Page will be interviewed on stage at Hay Festival in Wales.
June 3 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Saratoga Springs, New York.
June 4 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Forest Hills, New York.
June 6 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Clarkston, Michigan.
June 7 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Chicago, Illinois.
June 9 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Indianapolis, Indiana.
June 11 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Columbia, Maryland.
June 12 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
June 14 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Cary, North Carolina.
June 16 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Atlanta, Georgia.
June 17 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform at the Bonnaroo music festival in Manchester, Tennessee.
June 22-26 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform at Glastonbury Festival in Somerset, England.
June 26 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform at BST Hyde Park in London, England.
June 29 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform at Roskilde Festival in Roskilde, Denmark.
July 1 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Hamar, Norway.
July 2 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Bergen, Norway.
July 5 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Rättvik, Sweden.
July 8 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform at Cactusfestival in Bruges, Belgium.
July 10 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform at the Royal Park Live festival in Baarn, Netherlands.
July 13 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux, Switzerland.
July 14 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform at the Lucca Summer Festival in Lucca, Italy.
July 16 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform at JazzOpen Stuttgart 2022 in Stuttgart, Germany.
July 18 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Sopot, Poland.
July 20 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Berlin, Germany.
August 15 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in San Diego, California.
August 17 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Santa Barbara, California.
August 18 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Los Angeles, California.
August 20 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Stateline, Nevada.
August 21 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Berkeley, California.
August 23 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Napa, California.
August 25 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Bend, Oregon.
August 27 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Troutdale, Oregon.
August 28 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Redmond, Washington.
August 30 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Salt Lake City, Utah.
September 1 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Denver, Colorado.
September 3 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Grand Prairie, Texas.
September 4 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Austin, Texas and the Black Country Beats exhibition at the Wolverhampton Art Gallery, which is set to include Robert Plant’s career, will close.
October 19 – The French translation of “Led Zeppelin By Led Zeppelin” will be published.
Early 2023 – “A Whole Lotta Music: Life To My Ears,” the memoirs of Tight But Loose editor Dave Lewis, will be published.
2023 – A remastered and expanded 30th anniversary edition of “Coverdale–Page” will be released.

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/


Robert Plant on BBC6 Music: 

Robert’s final show filling in for Iggy Pop on BBC6 Music was last Sunday – here’s what went down…

Robert presents his final show sitting in for Iggy Pop.

He’s kicking things off with some Shane Fenton before moving through tracks by Peter Green, The Contours and Betty Harris amongst others.

Robert is one of the greatest front men in rock and roll history. Alongside Led Zeppelin members Jimmy Page, John Bonham and John Paul Jones, he is the genius behind such iconic songs as Whole Lotta Love, Stairway to Heaven and Black Dog. Led Zeppelin sold over 300 million albums worldwide and have won multiple awards – including Grammy and Ivor Novello awards.

Following Zeppelin’s demise, Robert has worked with a kaleidoscope of musicians across the globe from Mali to Mississippi and most recently released his second collaborative album with bluegrass legend Alison Krauss. The record comes 14 years after their award winning debut, Raising Sand.

Records played on the final show:

Shane Fenton & The Fentones

I’m A Moody Guy

THE HITS OF 1961 (VARIOUS ARTISTS). MFP.

Jimmy Powell

Sugar Baby

BEAT BEAT BEAT VOL. 5. CASTLE COMMUNICATIONS. 18.

The Animals

I’m Crying

THE COMPLETE ANIMALS (CD 1). EMI.

Amen Corner

Gin House Blues

ROUND AMEN CORNER. UMC (UNIVERSAL MUSIC CATALOGUE). 12.

The Marauders

That’s What I Want

THE GREATEST ONE HIT WONDERS. BLUE LAGOON. 10.

The Spencer Davis Group

Stevie’s Blues

SOMEBODY HELP ME / STEVIE’S BLUES. CAPITOL CATALOG MKT (C92). 2.

The Poets

Now We’re Thru’

WOODEN SPOON – THE SINGLES ANTHOLOGY 1964/67. UMC (UNIVERSAL MUSIC CATALOGUE). 1.

The Blue Rondos

Little Baby

BEAT BEAT BEAT VOL. 5. CASTLE COMMUNICATIONS. 15.

Cliff Bennett & The Rebel Rousers

I Can’t Stand It

CLIFF BENNETT & THE REBEL ROUSERS. PARLOPHONE UK. 1.

Jeff Beck

I Ain’t Superstitious (feat. Rod Stewart)

TRUTH. PARLOPHONE UK. 10.

Peter Green

A  Fool No More

IN THE SKIES. SANCTUARY RECORDS. 3.

Phosphorescent

Ride On / Right On

Moby Grape

Horse Out In The Rain

The Lone Bellow

Green Eyes and A Heart Of Gold

Scott Matthews

12 Harps (feat. Robert Plant)

ELSEWHERE. UNIVERSAL-ISLAND RECORDS LTD.. 5.

Lucinda Williams

Fruits Of My Labor

WORLD WITHOUT TEARS. LOST HIGHWAY RECORDS. 1.

Pisces

Sam

The Decemberists

Down By The Water

THE KING IS DEAD. CAPITOL RECORDS. 6.

The Barr Brothers

Never Been A Captain

Justin Townes Earle

Champagne Corolla

CHAMPAGNE COROLLA. NEW WEST RECORDS. 1.

John Prine

Caravan of Fools

THE TREE OF FORGIVENESS. OH BOY RECORDS. 5.

The Soul Sisters

I Can’t Stand It

THE SUE RECORDS STORY: THE SOUND OF SOUL. CAPITOL CATALOG MKT (C92). 4.

The Velvets

Spring Fever

DOO WOP CLASSICS. MASTER CLASSICS RECORDS. 13.

Richard Barrett

Some Other Guy

GEORGE HARRISON’S JUKEBOX. CHROME DREAMS. 12.

Don Covay & the Goodtimers

Can’t Fight It Baby

MERCY!. WOAH DAD!. 5.

Dick & Dee Dee

The Mountain’s High

JUKEBOX JINGLES, VOL. 1. TOP TRACKS. 7.

The Contours

It Must Be Love

DO YOU LOVE ME (NOW THAT I CAN DANCE). BLACK SHEEP MUSIC. 5.

Betty Harris

Ride Your Pony

SANSU.

John Lee Hooker

Crawlin’ King Snake (The Legendary Modern Recordings)

Big Joe Williams

Baby Please Don’t Go

LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT THE BLUES: CHICAGO. FANTASTIC VOYAGE. 17.

Jerry McCain and His Upstarts

My Next Door Neighbor

THE BEST OF EXCELLO RECORDS. UNIVERSAL MUSIC ENTERPRISES. 11.

Listen to the show at this link:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m0016fp8


TBL Archive…

Led Zeppelin – The Destroyer 45 years Gone:

The first tapes I heard of the 1977 US tour was an echo laded audience tape from the April 27 Cleveland show. I had this arrive via one of my key collector contacts Russ Rees about a month after the gig. Despite the average sound, it was still a thrill to hear the likes of Ten Years Gone and Achilles Last Stand performed live. In 1980 a soundboard mixing desk tape emerged of the same gig. This was altogether something else – the two cassettes I received were played endlessly. Then about a year later  came the holy grail – a vinyl box set release.

destoyer
It’s a superb recording –  John Paul Jones’ use of the thundering Alembic bass guitar is well in evidence and his meandering keyboard solo on ‘No Quarter’ is simply captivating  – as is Jimmy’s remarkable guitar solo interlude. Overall, this is a crystal clear portrayal of the band regaining their crown. The sheer juggernaut power of ’77 Zeppelin blazes through. This one will be on the player this week for sure

The next night’s Cleveland performance April 28 ,which exists in a good audience source is another one to blast out these next few days in celebration. This one came out on a vinyl set on the Smilin’ Ears label in the late 70s also confusingly knows as The Destroyer.

The Return of The Destroyer Led Zeppelin Fan Gathering – 15 Years Gone:

Another anniversary and again hard to believe that it was all of 15 years ago this week that in collaboration with Julian Walker and Graeme Hutchinson, we staged a special Return of The Destroyer fan gathering at the Knights Templar pub in London. This was to celebrate the 30th anniversary of those memorable shows at the Richfield Coliseum on their 1977 US tour – later to be immortalised on the Destroyer box sets.

It was a great day out – I remember the late Howard Mylett attending along with a host of like minded enthusiasts and TBL supporters including Gary and Carol Foy.  Mark Harrison, Eddie Edwards, Graeme Hutchinson, Keith Creek, Gary Davies etc.

Robin Wealleans supplied the video and TV screen – in fact I recall we had a bit of job with the outside glare as it was an unusually hot and sunny spring day. Fan Lisa Haynes Truscott relayed her memories of being in the crowd at the curtailed Tampa date on June 3 1977.  We also staged an auction that raised over £1,000 for the ABC charity.

The night before I also interviewed ex Free/Bad Company drummer Simon Kirke at his gig at the Esquires club in Bedford. Crazy days indeed.

Here’s the report of the day that appeared in TBL issue 18. Little did we know as we gathered on that rather hot day in London, that plans were already underway for Led Zeppelin to stage a spectacular comeback in honour of Ahmet Ertegun- indeed the next time I would see some of the names above would be in the confines of the 02 Arena on that night of nights on Monday December 10, 2007.

More 1977  US tour memories:

Led Zeppelin – The Destroyer 45 years Gone:

Here’s a further piece about The Destroyer bootleg release.

This is the thoughts of Eddie Edwards – long time TBL contributor and author of the brilliant Garden Tapes Zep Song Remains The Same dissection website – see http://www.thegardentapes.co.uk/

This was first published in TBL issue 19.

 

 

 

 


 

 

A whole lotta people in Pontiac – 45 years gone:

It was 45 years ago on April 30 1977 this week that Led Zeppelin performed before 76,229 at the Silverdome in Pontiac Michigan. At the time it set a new world record attendance for an indoor solo attraction concert. It was Led Zeppelin’s largest non – festival solo concert appearance of their career…a whole lotta people…


TBL ARCHIVE – THE FATE OF NATIONS TBL ALBUM REVIEW 24 YEARS GONE:

Robert Plant’s Fate: Diversity As A Function Of Union

FATE OF NATIONS (Fontana/Es Paranza)

So he’s back and ready to re-establish himself all over again. Of course, being Robert Plant re-establishing yourself doesn’t mean a total change of image or musical stance. He just draws on the many influences that have characterised his journey of the past 30 years and extracts from them as he sees fit.

What’s so refreshing about ‘Fate Of Nations’ is that, for this occasion, Robert has delved into the very essence of his roots going as far back as Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and Robert Johnson, through Moby Grape, Quicksilver, The Incredible String Band, and Fairport Convention to the music of India and North Africa and, of course, the work of Led Zeppelin. And in taking these influences he has not allowed them to be diluted into a slick or soulless concoction but as he describes it, he has pumped them to inspire a set of new compositions that live and breathe yesterday, and by the same measure, push for the aspirations of tomorrow.

‘Fate Of Nations’ is therefore devoid of any grunge outings if you were looking. It’s also a step away from the rather staid standard rock formula that rendered some of the more mundane moments of ‘Manic Nirvana’ (‘She Said’, Big Love’) into the realms of mediocrity. By surrounding himself with new players and passions, Plant has pleased himself in taking his music where he wants it to go, and not where the consensus of opinion might expect it to go. For that reason alone, this album is vastly different from past solo outings.  Much of it demands utmost attention and does not rest easy on the ears in one listening. It may not be immediately apparent, but given time and repeated playback, the end result is a rewarding experience that for me, again confirms this particular 44 year old’s status as the outstanding vocalist of this or any other era.

The eclectic content of ‘Fate Of Nations’ perhaps also illustrates the difference of musical opinions that now divides Robert and Jimmy – and goes some way to explaining why a Led Zeppelin reunion could never work. Let’s face it, If I Were A Carpenter’ would not have found itself easily on a Zep reunion album. There is a totally different atmosphere prevailing on Robert’s album than that of the Coverdale Page set. Jimmy’s music is built on relentless riffing that captures a vast vacuum of sound. Robert has seemingly moved away from that stance, preferring to move around organically as he puts it, encompassing different styles and genres.

Not that he has lost his ability to adapt such Zep-like dynamics (witness ‘Calling To You’) when the desire takes him. For the most part though, the dynamics are alternately diversified and for me personally that’s not a problem. I can quite happily enjoy Jimmy and Robert’s respective new works based on their own differing merits and motives.

So this isn’t music that can be pigeon-holed to the cover of Kerrang. This is Robert Plant in 1993, still offering up that vocal style (his singing throughout is quite exemplary) that continues to give him a reason for being … instead of a reason for having been.

The track by track TBL dissection that follows is based on an advance tape and at the time of writing, I did not have access to the individual track listing details regarding who played what etc. Nonetheless this is how it sounded after a week of non-stop airtime on the Totnes Towers tape deck:

It all begins with ‘Calling To You’ which is simply the business. Beginning with some minor key strumming it then tacks into shape via Pete Thompson’s powerful (and yes perhaps Bonham-like) drumming. This really is a definite Zep throwback stomping along with some great dual guitar effects from, I think, Francis and Kevin. At the centre Robert turns in a majestic vocal, often undercutting the mix with additional bizarre phrases that add to the mystery of the lyric. All the old trademarks are intact (“Ohhhh Yeeaahhl”) and as effective as ever. The instrumental refrains have an Eastern quality about them and are further enhanced when one Nigel Kennedy enters to layer on a manic violin solo that recalls to mind the effects on The Beatles’ Tomorrow Never Knows’.

The track fades (“Just fade awaaaay!”) all too soon (this groove could sustain another five minutes in my book) but there is a telling moment as Plant can be heard right at the close to scream “Oh Jimmy!”‘

Could this be Robert’s own personal retort to his former partner? Perhaps illustrating that he can still turn on his sort of dynamic style when required? All in all it’s an infectious and engrossing slab of archetypal Plant that proves that he can still commit himself to this vocal style better than anyone. It’s also one of his best solo tracks to emerge in a very long time.

Elsewhere there are many differering styles to assess. ‘Down To The Sea’ is a quirky, repetitive Cure-like ramble, led by a subtle injection of Eastern table drums. The descriptive nature of the repeated lyric (“When I get older settling down will you come down to the sea”) conjures up video storyboard images of deserted grey beaches and the retired Plant many years hence holding court in carnal Malibu style with a bevvy of beauties still in tow. Vaguely psychedelic and dreamy, this track has a very ambient feel and is a very enjoyable departure.

‘Come Into My Life’ can be viewed as a direct influence of his hanging out with the Fairports. So enter Richard Thompson to add some achingly beautiful guitar licks and Maire Brennan from Clannad to float around Robert’s turn of phrasing. The chorus is heavily scored by a rush of acoustic guitars from which I detected a slight ‘Over The Hills’ leaning. The middle guitar part from Richard is superbly atmospheric and amongst the most elegantly constructed solos I’ve heard in an age. Robert’s vocal (“Ohh when yer get there well you know”) is also superbly recorded, capturing the gentle folk essence of the track but also rising in temperature with the chorus as required without ever losing control. This as  good as anything he’s done in the post Zep years.

“Memory Song” (Spikes Ghost) lurches in on a loping churning riff that proceeds to dominate the tempo. Robert’s vocal is nondescript and slightly phrased. The drum beat has a touch of the ‘Levee Breaks’ about it and towards the end the piece becomes a vehicle for some typical Plant gymnastics (one of which is right out of the fade to ‘Four Sticks’). lyrically ”Are you lost without the group ”is a telling line to who this might apply to.

The appearance of ’29 Palms’ changes the mood. Already familiar as the first single, within the confines of the album, it leaps out as being overtly commercial, with some very Knopfler-like guitar licks and a nice driving feel. All very likeable.

‘Colour Of A Shade’ takes over where ‘Liars Dance’ left off on the last album. Framed by a series of attractively overdubbed acoustic guitars, Robert applies a very folksy vocal that leads to an affectionate chorus. Shades of the Incredible String Band prevail throughout. File next to ‘Going To California’.

Side 2 opens with ‘I Believe’. The intro has a distinctly ‘Tears For Fears’ sounding keyboard motif (producer Chris Hughes influence) before moving into a very pretty strident mid-tempo chorus-led excursion likely to be pulled as the next single. Lyrically it’s not too difficult to detect a very personal message in the lyric (“Say brother sister see your brother in the sky”), which is duly reflected in the emotional content of Robert’s singing. “Like the wind you are free so talk to me, talk to me”. I guess we all know how the latter line will be extended in a live setting. There’s a very Beatlish flavour to the guitar solo here and overall this is another successful deviation from the expected.

Promised Land’ is more traditional fare, a bluesy strut with some prominent organ early on, before the familiar harmonica merges with some stinging guitar at times embellished by wah wah effects. His vocal here has a very retro feel which is almost ‘Physical Graffiti’ in texture. There’s an offbeat peculiarity about the whole track that draws you in on subsequent listening.

Another departure heralds the arrival of Great Spirit’. Set against a muted wah wah guitar effect played slow and moody, Robert croons over a repeated background chorus (“Great spirit comes”). Soulful and tasteful with some impressive guitar soloing but not a riff in sight. The lyrics include a reference to the album title and it all mellows out into the distance via some echo vocal effects as the master heeds the lyrical call of a previous incarnation (“Sing and Celebration”).

“The Greatest Gift opens with string induced grandeur. This is an epic love ballad, again more soulful than bluesy. It livens up for each power chorded chorus before returning to a very moody and mellow theme aided by some silky smooth guitar lines. The addition of a full string accompaniment adds to the epic nature of the piece. The whole thing has a widescreen effect and it strikes me that the song would make a great movie soundtrack theme. Plant’s impassioned vocal just soars.

And then . . . Robert joins such illustrious company as Bobby Darin, The Four Tops, Johnny Cash, and The Band Of Joy in covering the Tim Hardin 60s classic ‘If I Were A Carpenter. It’s a superb performance beautifully sung with full respect for the original and underscored by a subtle snare injection and another lush string arrangement. It’s a song he was familiar with long before there was Led Anything around circa 1967 and though it’s hardly the usual formula, it proves to be a perfect vehicle for his voice. And who knows, it could be a huge smash if extracted as a single at the right time.

And that is ‘Fate Of Nations’. An album that explores many different facets of Robert Plant’s compound of influences. It may take a few repeated listening but stick with it, because the end result will be immensely satisfying.

Led Zeppelin’s greatest strength was always their sheer diversity, a point clearly not lost on their ex-singer 25 years after their original inception. On ‘Fate Of Nations’ Robert Plant employs diversity as a function of union. Share it with him at your earliest opportunity.

Dave Lewis  – April 25, 1993

STOP PRESS Please note early tapes of the album did not carry the track Network News’ which I was unable to review due to the already overdue printing deadlines. Just received the second CD of ’29 Palms’ with the new acoustic ‘Whole Lotta Love’ – it again employs Rainer on steel guitar – a sparse bluesy workout very much in harmony with Willie Dixon’s original “You Need Love” which no doubt accounts for the subtitle employed on the sleeve.

TBL FATE OF NATIONS EUROPEAN TOUR OVERVIEW

 Playing To An Ocean: Robert Plant goes back to the people

From a grand entrance in front of over 100,000 in Milan on May Day 1993, through to the less populated confines of the Kings Head, Fulham and across a variety of European halls and festival dates, Robert Plant’s first tour in three years has produced one of the most intensive and interesting work periods of his entire career. Stretching from the early Spring into late August he has appeared in front of well over a million people.

In launching this new phase of his career, Robert has been firmly committed to taking the music to the people. With little pretentions for the arena rock circuit which by his own admission his audience would be unlikely to extend to filling, Plant and his new line up embarked on a promotional trip that ensured a strong visibility by shrewdly taking a support slot with Lenny Kravitz and making up the bill on several major European festival dates, including a triumphant UK return at Glastonbury.

Alongside the actual live appearances, there have also been the media plugs. These have encompassed a hefty round of promotional TV and radio interviews with the added spice of several acoustic sessions that have been responsible for some surprising performances. The ‘FateOf Nations’ media UK push also propelled the new line up on to the small screen with appearances on ‘Top Of The Pops’ and ‘Later With Jools Holland’ – the latter signalling Robert’s first ever live UK presentation in his own right since the Zep 1969 one off.

Musically, in assembling a new line up, fresh thinking has been afoot. Gone are the techno wired for sound effects of Chris Blackwell’s drumming and the reliance on keyboards and samples from Phil Johnstone who, for this tour, has been much more prominent on guitar. Gone too, sadly, is Doug Boyle. He has been a much missed part of the line up for many Plant devotees, having carved a considerable nitch for himself during the previous four years. In revamping the line up Plant appeared to have struck lucky in finding Kevin Scott McMichael, an intelligent player with a seasoned background who displayed a fine alliance with

Plant’s own musical leanings (hence the introduction of the East coast Moby Grape/Springfield influence). To the left of the lead singer has stood Francis Dunnery, a strident guitarist well versed in the Page songbook and a strong personality on stage (can’t say I was over enamoured with the green shorts mind!). His stay could also be limited as there are plans for him to tour in his own right in  early ’94.

On drums, Michael Lee has proved to be an excellent addition with a no frills attitude to attacking the kit (Calling To You) coupled with a subtlety in his approach when the occasion demands (witness the rimshot style on the new arrangement of Ship Of Fools).

The actual set list employed seems to have caused quite a division amongst the faithful. After the No Led Anything approach pre-83, the contention of what to play seems to have come full circle. This time out there has been a renewed emphasis on performing Zep numbers – a total of 11 were aired along the tour against a ratio of 9 of his solo outings (plus two non originals).

Of those nine Plant solo outings, none of the songs delved back further than the 1988 Now And Zen album. It’s almost ironic that many of the diehards I’ve spoken to said they would have preferred Robert to have reinvestigated earlier solo tracks such as Pledge Pin and Burning Down One Side at the expense of a Zep delivery or two.

Of the Zep numbers re-employed Thank You and What Is And What Should Never Be received their first live airings in 20 years and seemed to be most welcome by all that heard them. The actual structure of the set was changed to match the differing time slots – a rigid 45 minute set was the norm for the supports to Lenny while the festival set was elongated to over an hour. The UK meanwhile received something like the duration that the US leg enjoyed with plenty of encore surprises – the most striking of which was the verses of Dazed And Confused performed at the NEC. Three tracks were used as set openers with Tall Cool One eventually emerging as the key choice over Hurting Kind and Calling To You.

Visually his persona seemed a throwback to the golden age with the hair back to Earls Court centre parted length. Time has not been too kind to his facial lines however and I also observed something of a receding hairline when the sweat dripped off the hair. But he looked fit enough -incorporating that new whirling dance style with perhaps a more paced physical approach that kept the peacock preening for later in the set.

In amongst all the media saturation Robert has played off the usual Zep investigations with a combination of flippancy and perception. Sometimes appearing not to care too much about the past, while at other times keen to re-affirm their greatness and affectionately talk of John Bonham.

One of the illuminating comments that have surfaced in more than one interview, is Plant’s observation that towards the end Led Zeppelin had become less of a passion for him and would not have survived in the 80s for all that long. “One thing’s for sure it would have seemed pretty silly today” was one such comment. This quote from a French radio interview also summed up his thoughts of the state of play back then. “Could we have continued? It’s impossible to say It’s a long time ago and I’m dealing with the present and the future now. And if I look back it’s all a long way back. I think there are some things you just grow out of. Led Zeppelin was very instant and motivated and you can’t keep that going forever. It really was a very big exciting animal. And maybe the animal had gone to the zoo . . .”

The other media cat and mouse game surrounded the Coverdale Page project with Robert again mixing some guarded replies with a few unsubtle and unnecessary snipes. When it comes to such matters, he should really let the music do the talking.

And it was the music that was the real focal point of this return to the people. And for me the most striking factor through it all, has been the quality of his vocals – with performances such as Thank You’ and ‘I Believe’ recalling the purity of those early teenage Atlantic recordings of nigh on a quarter of a century ago.

In fact some 20 years after he first introduced us to the ethic on the ‘Houses Of The Holy’ album, Robert Plant is still singing to an ocean . . . and judging by the reaction to this European tour. . . the ocean hasn’t lost its way…..

 Dave Lewis  – July 1993

First published in Tight But Loose issues 8 and 9

 


DL Diary Blog Update:

Saturday April 23:

Top result on Record Store Day earlier this morning at the always excellent Slide Record shop in Bedford.
Bad Company, Pete Townshend, Slade, Sandy Denny, Joni Mitchell, Laura Nyro and The Rolling Stones amongst the rich RSD pickings.
Great service as ever from Nerys and Warren…thanks folks!

Saturday April 23:

Saturday is Record Store Day platterday – so on the player the freshly acquired Pete Townshend’s Deep End Face The Face RSD release – the 1986 album first time on vinyl and with Dave Gilmour in the line up –top stuff indeed…

 

 

 

 

Sunday April 24:

Record Store Day 2022 acquisition: On the player the fabulous Record Store Day edition of the 1972 Dusty Springfield album See All Her Faces –now extended with bonus cuts from the era…what a singer…

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday April 27:

Good to see my feature on Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love featured on the Classic Rock/Louder website today…check it out here…

https://www.loudersound.com/features/the-complicated-journey-towards-legend-of-led-zeppelins-whole-lotta-love

Thursday April 28:

DL/TBL Throwback Thursday  – It was 45 years ago today:

Loading up the April 28 1977 Led Zeppelin Cleveland CDs – an audience source of an even better performance than the previous night. All captured on this extensive 9 CD box set The Destroyers Cleveland 2 Daze on the Tarantura label…you can never have too many Led Zep Destroyer recordings…

 

 

Update here:

In between assisting the good lady Janet, I’ve been picking up the strands of various projects here – one of which I will have news of very soon. I did manage to get away for a bit to bag some Record Store Day goodies at the excellent Slide Record Shop last Saturday – as can be seen above and some of those have been on the player providing much inspiration along with the following:

Led Zeppelin – The Destroyers Cleveland 2 Daze Tarantura CD set

Robert Plant – Fate Of Nations LP

Soundtrack from the film Alfie CD – Sonny Rollins

10cc – How Dare You LP

Graham Nash – Songs For Beginners LP

Miles Davis -In A Silent Way CD – inspired by the excellent feature in this month’s Uncut magazine

 

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

Dave  Lewis – April 28, 2022

Until next time…

TBL website updates written and compiled by Dave Lewis

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One Comment »

  • Chris Cook said:

    Hi Dave
    thankyou as ever for all that you do
    Just to say Fate Of Nations will be always one of my favourite albums.
    Perhaps it’s because I discovered it during my early teens.
    Also I’ve just realised it’s because of the evocative string arrangements, I think that’s why some of these songs have stayed in my head and in my heart constantly since 1993.
    best wishes and keep up the good work
    Chris (Grenoble, France)

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