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16 December 2021 1,693 views 2 Comments

Evenings With Led Zeppelin latest:

Mike and I recently recorded an interview with  Carol Miller for her  popular Get The Led Out radio show.

As part of the build up to airing it, Carol announced a free giveaway competition on her Facebook page as follows:

One lucky winner will win a copy of “Evenings with Led Zeppelin- the Complete Concert Chronicle” by Dave Lewis and Mike Tremaglio!

The rules to enter are as follows:

  1. Follow/Like this Facebook page
  2. Like this post
  3. Comment your favorite Led Zeppelin Song

1 winner will be randomly selected from the comments, so good luck! The winners will be contacted directly

See link here:

Evenings With Led Zeppelin – The Complete Concert Chronicle Revised & Expanded Edition by Dave Lewis and Mike Tremaglio:


The Perfect Christmas gift…

The Evenings With Led Zeppelin book is now readily available in both the US and UK .

Here’s some reaction from some satisfied readers…

The book arrived today. It is a thing of beauty!  I’ve just had a glance through – and it looks wonderful.  I can’t wait to immerse myself in this incredible piece of work, with all my unofficial Zep recordings, and just chill out to the live history of the greatest rock band ever. Dave and Mike should be very proud indeed of this incredible tome.  

John McBride

Congratulations on making the best book on Led Zeppelin even better.

Tom Cory

 Another great work.

Gary Holroyd

This revised edition has landed and it’s an amazing read . Well worth the cost considering the amount of detail , knowledge and many hours that must have been dedicated towards its publication. It’s by far the best ever Zeppelin book on the market.

Chris Richardson

I am absolutely floored by the amount of research you must have done. It exceeds my (already high) expectations in every way.

Craig Noble

Anything and everything about the history of this band and all of the key people, are in this well-researched, brilliant book. Richard Cole has a wonderful foreword in this edition as well. This is so very, very fine. A reasonable price for all of the tremendous hard work that was put into this work of art!

David Freshman

This is the ultimate reference book, of Led  Zeppelin’s  live activities. I don’t believe there can be a publication which is more reliable and compelling than this.

Koki Mizutani

Just got the book today. WOW! Fantastic in every way. Love the attention to detail and especially the memorabilia. Highly recommended! 

Tony Leon

Here’s a summary of what this new revised and expanded version offers…

This new expanded edition is extended by 48 pages bringing the total to 624 – including a brand new 10-page concert bootleg CD discography appendix

Dozens of additional concert ads, handbills, ticket stubs, press reviews, venue photos have been added – many images updated and improved.

More on stage photos have been added, including many never published before.

If you bought the first edition you already know that it is a thorough and complete chronicle of Led Zeppelin’s concert history – it achieved a 95% five star rating on Amazon reviews.

This new updated edition is a major upgrade over that highly acclaimed first edition – and even if you have the first book – this new edition adds so much more -and will be a very worthwhile re investment…

How to buy the book:

The book is available in the US via Amazon – ordering link below:

And via Barnes & Noble website at this link:

Walmart link:

UK Amazon  – here’s the ordering link for Amazon in the UK:


Evenings With Led Zeppelin – Revised & Expanded Edition – Signed by Dave Lewis Limited Edition – for UK buyers:

Evenings With Led Zeppelin Revised & Expanded Edition – personally signed copy by Dave Lewis plus four page insert with an interview conducted by the late Andy Adams with Mike Tremaglio and Dave about how this revised edition came to fruition

This is a limited edition of 100 books  – Hurry I have  very few remaining – when they are gone they are gone…

Note this offer is only open to UK buyers.

Here’s the ordering link:




Led Zeppelin News Update:
Here’s the latest round up from LZ News:

Led Zeppelin

Jimmy Page

  • John Miles, the British singer who sang on Jimmy Page’s Outrider album and toured with him, died aged 72.

Robert Plant

  • Earlier this week, Saving Grace announced a new final date for their December UK tour: Bewdley on December 23.

John Paul Jones

Upcoming events:

December 13 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Warrington, England.
December 14 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Chesterfield, England.
December 15 – John Paul Jones will participate in the Playing For Change charity livestream event at 9pm EST.
December 16 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Birmingham, England.
December 17 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Monmouth, Wales.
December 20 – Robert Plant will appear on the Ken Bruce show on BBC Radio 2 from 9.30am GMT and he will perform with Saving Grace in Cheltenham, England.
December 21 – Robert Plant will appear on the Ken Bruce show on BBC Radio 2 from 9.30am GMT and he will perform with Saving Grace in Aberystwyth, Wales.
December 22 – Robert Plant will appear on the Ken Bruce show on BBC Radio 2 from 9.30am GMT and his Festive Takeover show will air on BBC Radio 6 Music from 10.30am to 1pm GMT.
December 23 – Robert Plant will appear on the Ken Bruce show on BBC Radio 2 from 9.30am GMT and will perform with Saving Grace in Bewdley, England.
2022 – “Robert Plant: A Life In Vision,” a photo book edited by Dave Lewis, will be published.
March – Jimmy Page’s two new fine art photo prints will be released.
Spring – Robert Plant’s career is set to be included in the Black Country Beats exhibition at the Wolverhampton Art Gallery.
June 1 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Canandaigua, New York.
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 26 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform at BST Hyde Park in London, England.
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 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.
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:

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

Saving Grace with Robert Plant featuring Suzi Dian:

Robert Plant on stage with Saving Grace featuring Suzi Dian in Warrington last Monday – pics by Paul Aspey…sounds like a great gig – love to have been there…










Here’s an on the spot report of the of the Warrington and Chesterfield gigs from long time TBL contributor Hiroshi…

Part 1: Warrington:

Saving Grace or saving life — that is the question. With this global pandemic still going on after almost two years, and yet another new variant making their presence felt, moving a long distance by public transport to catch a gig can be a tricky thing to do now. Like the man I intend to witness once sang, there’s a new plague on the land. The difference is, I’m not going to London where the then young singer would see seven wonders. Instead I’m traveling to a rather unremarkable, post-industrial town in The North called Warrington (sorry the locals if you are reading this).

My caring wife was quite worried about this reckless idea, and I could certainly understand that. COVID-19 transmits by airborne, and especially omicron is known to be highly infectious, which adds even more concern to the already difficult situation. After the repeated failed attempts over the last couple of years to see Robert Plant’s current incarnation, and on the strength that I bought the tickets not only for Warrington but also Chesterfield before the latest version of the coronavirus came aboard, though, I decided to give it a go. Having a third vaccination (“the booster”) done two and a half weeks ago and wearing a face mask on the train as well as in the venue all the way through would protect me — so I prayed and jumped on the train. Is the new world rising from the shambles of the old? I hope so.

Leaving the train at Warrington Bank Quay Station, and walking through the town centre in the rain after dark to the hotel, I dropped at the Parr Hall, the venue where tonight’s show would be held. The “only surviving professional concert hall venue in Warrington” according to the Wiki, this is where The Stone Roses put on a prestigious warmup gig for the much-publicized 2012 “Resurrection” shows in Heaton Park (of which yours truly attended the third and final evening). The building looked quite small, barely exceeding a capacity of a thousand. I spotted the promotional poster of the show hung on the wall outside. I opened the unlocked front door, walking into the foyer. Seemingly the preparation was underway, someone putting the items on the merchandising table. I only recognized supporting act Scott Matthews’ CD’s and T-shirts (not surprisingly). I called to a lady who looked like the venue staff, asking if I could get a spare copy of the poster. She replied that I might do if there was any left, and told me to get in touch with her after the show. A promising answer, and a clever move of mine!

The budget hotel was situated quite a distance away from the town centre, it took a long while to get there. Once in a room, which was spartan to say the least, I felt tired and exhausted. The rather short sleep I took last night didn’t help, either. At that point I knew I would need to miss Scott Matthews, no way. Too much hustle to do.

Arriving back at the venue around 8:15pm. Caught the tail end of Matthews. During the intermission, I talked to the gentleman in the sound booth, telling if he kept a setlist for me I would come back afterwords. He folded the setlist by the console and handed it to me there and then, saying, “Don’t look until the show is over.” Boy was he nice.

I took my seat on the balcony, 6th row, dead centre. Good view. Observing the crowd, I sensed the demographic was quite high, even more so than the Sensational Space Shifters shows that I had been to. Young members, if any, were few and far between. I guess this is because of the nature of the music Saving Grace offer. It is for the most part not your typical rock and roll — even though they aren’t the Sultans Of Swing. I also took notice that roughly 80% of the whole audience were wearing face masks, a sensible and considerate behaviour not only for themselves but also for the others in an indoor venue under the pandemic. I wish more people followed this.

At 8:48, the lights went off. The exotic, middle-eastern sounding music led the members to take the stage. Three backing musicians first, then Suzi Dian coming from the right. And finally, Robert turned up from the left, walking to the mic stand, greeted by a huge roar from the floor. The show started.

With no recording output released so far and having never experienced Saving Grace live, I got the impression that their music shared some common grounds with the Carry Fire period of the SSS, the (as of now) last phase of the group’s activities. It is Robert’s interpretation of Americana, infused over the years through his musical shifts with Alison Krauss, the Band of Joy, Patti Griffin etc, and very sophisticated at that. Planty as roots rocker at his best.

The three guys who backed up Robert and Suzi did a masterful job in their respective roles. Together they delivered a superb representation of the “less is more” philosophy. So simple yet so effective. More often than not they sounded like a bigger ensemble than a mere trio. The magic was there to be heard and felt. And don’t forget Suzi’s accordion play, which added the charm to the performance. Through the show, I found the lady very charming in her stage presentation. Donovan’s classic tune, Season Of The Witch that features her singing as the main vocals, was one of the undoubted highlights of the show. Mingled with the frenetic playing by Matt and Tony who were both armed with the baritone guitar, the effect was shattering and mesmerizing, reminiscent of the Terry Reid cover of the song, a favorite of mine.

Between songs, Robert talked to the audience in his usual jokey mood. Spotting some people walking across the aisle in front of the stage to the exit, presumably to the toilet, he quipped, “Lots of activities there, what’s going on?” The crowd broke into a big hoot. He had us remember laughter constantly.

This is what Robert wants to do now. Touring around some obscure locations, playing to a small crowd at a moderate-sized venue (remember the “Back To The Clubs” tour?) and charging a modest fee — the ticket costs a reasonable 30-odd pounds, unlike so many big names of his generation whose concerts require fans to pay hefty some to attend. In him, Led-something is a thing of the past. And I respect that.

At the end of the encore, all the members gathered around the mic in the stage front centre, wine glasses in their hands, and sang And We Bid You Goodnight in harmony, almost a cappella led by the solo acoustic guitar introduction played by Tony. A musical toast to the festive season that concluded the performance. It was 10:24pm when the lights turned on.

After the show, I checked the setlist given to me by the generous sound man. Some titles were crossed out and different ones were put instead. Interesting to know the last-minute set change. Satan was among the dropped on paper but eventually played on stage, with all these unmistakable quotes from In My Time of Dying intact.

As the venue lady suggested in advance, I went to the box office before going out — there it was, the poster was waiting for me, a shiny, impeccable, huge A1 sized copy. The moment Warrington ranked up to a remarkable town in me. Saving Grace indeed.

Part 2: Chesterfield:

There is one remarkable thing in Chesterfield — the Parish Church of St Mary and All Saints, better known as the Crooked Spire. I have seen a number of photos of this building of miracle, but looking up and seeing the real thing is another matter. I was in awe. And music is the same. Being there and living in the moment is a totally different experience from watching meagre quality Smartphone footage on YouTube.

The gig at the Winding Wheel Theatre, the mock-Tudor style architecture that holds about 900 people, went down in much the same way as the previous night. The lights went off at 8:48 and turned on at 10:25. I failed to get a setlist this time — the sound man did not have one at hand, and there was none to be put on the stage for the musicians. If I remember correctly, Saving Grace played the same selection of songs as the previous night. Maybe that explains the non-existence of the setlist.
The difference is the position of my seat — 6th row on the stall, slightly off centre to the left. I have never seen the man in such close proximity. I’m not a “front of stage” type of a person whatsoever and would be contended enough for being up above there at any concert, but it certainly enhanced my overall perception of the show.

Robert was as jovial as ever. The laughter remains the same. The comment of the day: “This originally came from the 1920s — before The Yardbirds.” (Introducing “Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down”)
Suzi wore a tight minidress last night, but tonight she was in chic, fluffy black long dress, which somewhat gave her a Stevie Nicks look-alike. Fitting clothes when she sang Season Of The Witch.

I’d say, both nights were equally good in their delivery. It is a pleasure to see our hero is not in old books or old records, still staying relevant to the contemporary music scene and not living like a hermit.

Many thanks to Hiroshi for those reviews – DL 


The Playing For Change YouTube livestream featuring John Paul Jones:

A superb version of When The Levee Breaks…

Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, Buffalo Nichols, Stephen Perkins (Jane’s Addiction), Mihirangi, and others joined JPJ for When The Levee Breaks… around 25 minutes into the livestream on this clip:

Thanks to Ken Winovich for the pic

Book review:  

My thoughts on…

They Ask No Quarter –The Carl Dunn Led Zeppelin Archive (C. Larson & Sons Book Publishing Company)

I have been admiring the photographs Carl Dunn took of Led Zeppelin for many years. Back in 1991 as then Omnibus Press photo researcher Dave Brolan notes in his Forward, some of his excellent  images  were used in my book Led Zeppelin A Celebration.

Carl’s work was also profiled in The Photographers  Led Zeppelin book edited by Ross Halfin published in 1995. However the impressive 26page spread in that book  only hinted at the extensiveness of his Zep photo portfolio

Thankfully They Ask No Quarter redresses the balance – magnificently so across 288 pages –a mixture of  black and white  and colour photos spanning the years 1970 to 1975.

The book is superbly produced in a large size on quality stock paper. What I really like about the lay out is the way it allows the photos to breath.  This uncluttered approach, often employing the use of blank white pages to simplify their positioning really brings these images to life – and what fabulous images they are.

As Ross Halfin explains in his closing epilogue, Carl Dunn operated as the man who wasn’t there – he had a unique ability to ghost in on the action.  Take the two page double page from San Antonio taken on May 22 1973. Carl is right there to the right of the stage just as the dry ice is emerging during the intro of No Quarter –it’s a simply stunning shot that instantly evokes the sound of that memorable initial opening of the Houses Of The Holy classic.

The photo selection commences with their appearance at the State Fair Coliseum in Dallas on August 4 ,1969. There’s a fantastic opening spread – a close up of Jimmy’s Gibson Les Paul as he is using the violin bow. Another stand out is an offstage  shot of John Bonham.

I did notice what I consider to be an error in the captioning of the photos. The 16 spread that follows titled Memorial Auditorium Dallas 28 March 1970 is clearly to my eyes, from one of the shows on their US tour dates in June 1972. My co- author on the Evenings With Led Zeppelin book Mike Tremaglio is in agreement with that.

This incorrect placing of these photos does throw the sequencing out but it’s a minor nit-pick.

In his introduction Carl offers an illuminating backstory to how he came to be where the Zep action was and Marc Roberty  compliments the photos with a written commentary of  what was happening in the Zep world as Carl was capturing the on stage activities.

Here’s a summary of some of the pictorial delights to be found throughout the book:

State Fair Grounds Arena Oklahoma City, August 20, 1970:

Some great shots here taken behind the stage showing the backline PA and the out front audience.

Cabana  Moter  Hotel Dallas, August, 1970:

Some illuminating shots here taken around the pool.

Assembley Center  Tulsa, August 21. 1970:

Page dons a hat for some of the shots –there’s a photo of the cops guarding the stage that really captures the us against them mentally that prevailed at times at US rock concerts during this era.

Tarren County Convention Center Fort Worth, August 22, 1970:

More behind the stage images plus a great shot of JPJ playing mandolin and a face on Bonzo shot. There’s a superb shot of the audience arriving and a cop with an ear plug in – no doubt to lessen the assault on his senses…

Memorial Auditorium Dallas, May 18, 1973:

Some superb colour shots here and a fantastic double page spread of all four face on taken from  slight distance.

Tarrent County Convention Center Fort Worth, May 19, 1973:

Gear colour JPJ close up – Bonzo in full flight and a classic Page and Plant front of stage capture.

Hemisfair San Antonio, May 22, 1973:

A classic Page shot with raising the bow in the air – I remember this one being in Melody Maker in 1974. There’s also  a colour spread with Page at the theremin.

Chicago Stadium Chicago, July 6, 1973:

Fantastic close up spread of all four – brilliant colour shot of Plant facing the audience.

Chicago Stadium Chicago, July 7, 1973:

Multi images of John Bonham tearing into the kit wearing a turban.

Awesome shot looking out to the crowd from JPJ’s keyboard set up and another side of stage pre gig with the Shoco staff checking the leads etc.

Bad Company at the Memorial Stadium Austin, September 1, 1974:

This is a fantastic section that kicks off with a back stage spread of the band walking towards the stage with Jimmy and Peter Grant in view –  watched by various young ladies sat on a wall. The onstage shots in the open air with the audience packed in front of them are just awesome.

Tarrent County Convention Center Fort Worth, March 3, 1975:

The bigger stage setting with John Bonham  up on the drum riser gave Carl plenty of scope and there are some memorable images to be seen from these US dates. A great black and white shot front on of all four performing what looks to be Rock And Roll – plus  aquirky colour shot of Plant laughing.

Memorial  Auditorium  Dallas, March 4, 1975:

Great colour shot of John Bonham  with roadie Mick Hinton next to him in Clockwork Orange boiler suit and bowler hat.

There’s a very cool shot of JPJ in the shadow of the lasers and Jimmy holding the Gibson  double neck at the end of The Rain Song – this is the image adapted for the cover.

Memorial  Auditorium  Dallas, March 5, 1975:

Finally a great set of shots with Plant wearing the cut off shirt he wore at most of the Earls Court shows.

The inside cover also has a spread of a crown pic depicting the chaos that came from being in close proximity of the stage. It’s these views of the arenas, the audiences, the cops, the roadies etc.  that really gives the book an authentic  effect – a sense of being right there amongst the action.

As waded through the whole book, I  cross referenced the relevant shows in the Evenings With Led Zeppelin book to really get me in the zone and add a perspective to the background details to each show  – and of course the appropriate soundtrack of CD bootlegs were on my player. It makes for a visual and audio Zep treat –I would advise any reader to do the same.

They Ask No Quarter could be the last unlocking of an extensive Zep photo archive and can proudly take its place on the Zep bookshelf alongside  similar volumes from the likes of Neal Preston, Jorgen Angel, Robert Ellis Bob Gruen , Larry Ratner, Jean Pierre Leloir and the Led Zeppelin Live 1975-1977 book featuring the work of  Terry O’Neill, Baron Wolman and Michael Brennan.

Carl Dunn may well have been as Ross put it ‘’The Man Who Wasn’t There’’ but boy did he do a magnificent job in fulfilling that role.

If the visual imagery of Led Zeppelin is your thing (and that’s most of us) They Ask No Quarter is an essential purchase…

Dave Lewis – December  14,2021

Here’s the book ordering link:

..and two more books…


Here’s a couple of very interesting  books with some Led Zep content written by rock festival archivist Chris Hewitt.

The book of WEM, The Isle of Wight 1970 and Pink Floyd Sound systems Volume 1:

This first volume  chronicles the development  in the late 60s and 1970s of UK festival PA’s, sound systems and amps etc.  There’s a detailed history of the pioneering WEM (Watkins Electric Music) PA systems favoured by the likes of Pink Floyd and Zep. There’s plenty of vintage photos from the Isle of Wight festivals in 1969 and 1970 including rare shots of Dylan and Hendrix. It’s incredible to see how small and compact those stages were. Amongst the many images there’s a great shot of Led Zep on stage at the 1969 Bath Festival that I have not seen before. There’s an illuminating section on Pink Floyd at Pompeii with plenty of pics.

The Development of Large Rock Sound Systems Volume 2;

This second volume continues to analyse all aspects of vintage band presentation including  van companies, hire firms and more. There’s also the story of the recent reconstruction of Pink Floyd’s WEM system from Pompeii and  Led Zeppelin’s WEM system in 2021.the book is illustrated throughout with rare pics, original trade adverts  and memorabilia.

The books can be purchased individually or as a pair.

Ordering details for both books are at this link:


TBL Archive Special:

Golden Lion Reunion 40 years gone…

December 15 – that is a date that always revives memories of the first public reunion of Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones which I was lucky enough to be in attendance.

Here’s the story:

Back in the early months of 1981, Lynn Sizemore who was PR to the Golden Lion Roadies Charity For Children Association, the charity formed from the Fulham pub often frequented by the Zep / Swan Song entourage, approached me to publicise in the next issue of TBL, a children’s charity raffle being held in December.

I was only too willing to help and we began planning how this would all work. The raffle was duly featured in TBL issue 6 which came out in the late summer of 1981. I had a few meetings with Lynn during this period including one memorable occasion at the Golden Lion pub in Fulham. Robert’s sound man Benjii Lefevre was in attendance and I was introduced to John Bindon the notorious London character who had been with the Zep entourage on the 1977 tour and involved in the infamous Oakland fracas. Robert and John Paul Jones had already promised to attend and give prizes out on the night set for December 15th, so it was always going to be a special evening.

Even more so after the call I made to Swan Song the week before the event. Sian at Swan Song informed me that Jimmy was also due to attend. It duly turned into something of a grand Swan Song reunion – in true Zep style.

On the night itself, Peter Grant arrived with Jimmy around 8.30. A combat attired Robert and smartly dressed JPJ were already in tow. Various roadies, Swan Song employees and guests (including Cozy Powell) were there as was John Bindon again. Tom Locke and I spent a memorable night in the pub as Jimmy, Robert and JPJ mingled by the bar and duly got up on stage to present the prizes of Jimmy’s Yamaha acoustic guitar (wonder where that is now?) and a set of personally signed albums. The main winner was an American guy ( pic above) while runner up was, Steve Simmons, a TBL subscriber from Bristol. Here’s a pic below of Steve on stage receiving his prize.

golden lion 1

Jimmy looked in slightly better shape than he had in Europe the previous year and told me he was working on the Death Wish 2 soundtrack. As a Christmas present I gave Robert a copy of a large format History Of The Blues book (wonder if still adorns his book shelf?) to which he acknowledged with the classic “Eye Thank yew” catchphrase so prevalent on the Over Europe tour. I took the opportunity to tell Peter and Atlantic’s Phil Carson of my plans to write a major reference work on the band’s music though it would be another eight years on in the Marquee (at a Jason Bonham gig) when I was able to tell the pair of them that the book (Led Zeppelin A Celebration) was soon to be a reality.

It may have been a strictly non playing role, but this unexpected Led Zeppelin reunion was full of warmth and good cheer. Underlying all that though was the definite feeling that they now all had separate plans – Jimmy with the soundtrack, Robert with the in progress recording of his debut album and Jonesy who wryly informed someone at the bar that he was now on permanent school run duty for his daughter’s back in Devon. It would be another eleven years before all three appeared in public together in the UK again to attend the 1992 Q Awards to collect the outstanding achievement award, and another 26 years before they played together on that night of nights in December 2007.

Fast forward to August 29th, 2013 and the Colston Hall Bristol.

golden lion 2

As we were making our way into the arena for Robert’s Sensational Space Shifters show amazingly enough I bumped into Steve Simmons for the first time since that night at the Golden Lion back in 1981. Steve was carrying a photo book of the pics he took back then – we had a good old chinwag about how he had been the runner up in the competition and the signed albums he was presented with on that night all of 39 years ago. The first, but not the last grand reunion…

Dave Lewis – 


Here’s a piece that I wrote back in 1996 on the Rock Machine Turns You On sampler album…


A series spotlighting those unexpected Zep related delights to be found amongst the bargain bin racks.

“On stage the song’s opened up so much. We’d do As Long As I Have You, the old Garnett Mimms track, Fresh Garbage by Spirit, Flames by Elmore Gantry and his Velvet Opera. All these things would come creeping out the woodwork. That was the beauty of Led Zeppelin”. Robert Plant 1990

The Rock Machine Turns You On: Various Artists (CBS PR2)

Ah yes, the sampler album, Those of us with long memories will recall the deluge of budget priced sampler albums that surfaced around the late ’60s and early ’70s – Island’s You Can All Join In and Nice Enough To Eat being amongst the most popular. Their attraction was that they normally sold for around 19 shillings and 11 pence (the equivalent of a quid, younger readers note) and provided the opportunity for teenagers like myself to climb on board the hip and trendy world of the underground. The CBS stable came up with The Rock Machine Turns You On series which focussed on their mainly American contemporary/ underground rock stable of the time. At any major record fair I always try and have a look through the cheap bargain bin clear out vinyl racks and I chanced upon this little gem a year or so back with its asking price of just £2.

The attraction for the Zeppelin collector within the fifteen selections presented on the album is that in amongst tracks from the more well established CBS artists of the era (Dylan/ The Byrds/Zombies/ Leonard Cohen etc.) there are no less than six that have vague and not so vague Zepp connections. In the influences department there’s Moby Grape’s Can’t Be So Bad – very much a part of the young Robert Plant’s musical heritage. Then it’s hats off to one Roy Harper, represented by a quaint busk through Nobody’s Got Any Money In The Summer, taken from his Come Out Fighting Genghis Smith album. In the vaguely connected department there’s Tim Rose presenting in dynamic style Come Away Melinda from the 1968 album. That was the year Tim Rose was supported by The Band of Joy where he spotted the young John Bonham and later offered him the drum stool for his summer UK tour. It was during that particular tour at the Hempstead Country Club that Page witnessed the Bonham phenomenon for himself when he was assembling The New Yardbirds.

The real meat though is supplied by three tracks on his album that were covered by the early Led Zeppelin. Spirit’s Fresh Garbage was incorporated into the As Long As I Have You medley during the de-but Zep American tour. As is plainly evident on the original, its strident riff was tailor-made for interpretation on that psychedelic painted Fender Telecaster. The Electric Flag with Mike Bloomfield on guitar attack Chester Burnett’s Killing Floor. It was this arrangement (also used by Jimi Hendrix) that Page and co. loosely based their Zepp 2 staple the Lemon Song upon, much of course to publisher Jewel Music’s eventual dismay who insisted on a cut of the publisher fee and a change of label credit. Bloomfield’s fluid guitar dominates this slightly faster work out that features some jazz rock like sax towards its climax.

And finally Elmore Gantry’s Velvet Opera tune, in with their most famous offering Flames. Elmore who? You may ask, and what’s it got to do with the Zep? Well, although there is no surviving taped evidence, both Page and Plant have stated that this was one of the numbers The New Yardbirds/early Zeppelin fleshed out their initial sets with. It may have also been considered as a possible studio contender for the first album sessions. The Elmore Gantry original is certainly typical of the aggressive R and B stance that Page brought to The Yard birds in their final days and its soulful refrain “You’ve been burning me up” would have been perfect fodder for the raw vocal technique of the young Plant. As for Elmore Gantry’s Velvet Opera, two of their members, Richard Hudson and John Ford, went on to join The Strawb’s and later formed their own Hudson Ford group scoring a top ten UK hit with Pick Up The Pieces. Elmore himself went on to form the bogus Fleetwood Mac that went out in the mid-70s when the real Mac was off the road. After facing legal proceedings, the imposters stayed together, formed Stretch, and enjoyed a hit in the mid-70s with Why Did You Do It.

This Rock Machine Turns You On sampler was originally released around late 1968. With this thread of influences revolving amongst the grooves, could it possibly have been one of the albums Robert Plant took along to spin to Page in that first meeting of minds in Pangbourne? There’s enough evidence in their early repertoire to make that claim plausible One for the theorists amongst you to discuss.

If you want to hear some of these influences for yourself, well the Sony label have recently reissued this album on CD (Columbia 4844392). However you won’t be able to enjoy the surface noise and intermittent clicks that ac-company my vinyl version or smile at the original inner sleeve jargon from CBS that proclaims eight reasons why “Records give you more of what you want”. This one contains some of those songs that, as Plant put it, “came out of the woodwork.

Dave Lewis – September 9, 1996.

Rock Machine Turns You On update:

The David Hepworth book A Fabulous Creation once again sparked my interest in this album series so here’s a bit more on the subject…

In 1968 The CBS Rock Machine Turned You On – Including Jimmy Page and Robert Plant?

The Rock Machine Turns You On – Various Artists (CBS PR2)

In the 1968 chapter of the excellent David Hepworth book A Fabulous Creation, David relays the importance of the rock sampler album, notably the CBS release of that year The Rock Machine Turns You On

The sampler album as those of us of a certain age will recall the deluge of budget priced sampler albums that surfaced around the late ’60s and early ’70s. Their attraction was that they normally sold for around 19 shillings and 11 pence (the equivalent of a quid) or 14shillings and 6. This provided the opportunity for teenagers like me, to climb on board the hip and trendy world of the underground.

Due to the more affordable price, one of my first albums I purchased aged 13, was the Island sampler You Can All Join In. This opened my ears to a host of inspiring tracks from the likes of Jethro Tull, Free ,Fairport Convention, Traffic, Spooky Tooth ,Tramline and the exotically named Wynder K Frog.

The purpose of these samplers was to draw attention to the variety of performances on offer and perhaps lead you on to the equivalent album. That worked for me later on in the pursuit of albums by Free, Jethro Tull and Fairport Convention

David Hepworth’s entry in the sampler world came a little earlier in June 1968 with the release of The Rock Machine Turns You On. The CBS label (Columbia in the US) were the pioneers of such releases and in the book, the compiler of this set David Howells recalls how Columbia in the US suddenly found them with a breadth of emerging rock talent. This from a label that was more associated with the likes of easy listening artists such as Ray Conniff, Andy Williams and Tony Bennett.

Inspired by a cheap sampler set on RCA titled Pop Shopper and issued in the early 60s, Howells saw the potential of compiling tracks from the CBS stable to promote their catalogue in the UK. The Rock machine Turns You On was stickered 15 tracks for 15 shillings. The 15 artists featured lined up as follows: Bob Dylan, Moby Grape, Spirit, The United States of America, The Zombies, The Peanut Butter Conspiracy, Leonard Cohen, Blood Sweat And Tears, The Byrds, Simon & Garfunkel ,Taj Mahal, The Electric Flag featuring Mike Bloomfield, Roy Harper, Tom Rose and Elmore Gantry’s Velvet Opera.

On the back cover it featured some heady words of wisdom extracted by Howells from a US Columbia advertising campaign for this hip new emerging era. It read as follows:


The Rock Machine isn’t a grind-you-up. It’s a wind-you-up. The sound is driving. It’s your bag. So it’s ours. It’s the Super Stars. And the Poets. It’s the innovators and the underground. It’s the Loners and the lovers. And It’s more. Much more…

This all worked a treat and led on to many major labels following suit – the aforementioned Island Records with You Can All Join In and Nice Enough To Eat  plus the pleasingly titled El Pea and Bumpers . Polydor waded in with the double set Bombers – Harvest with Picnic, a Breath of Fresh Air and the Harvest Bag, Atlantic with the Age of Atlantic and New Age of Atlantic , Liberty with Gutbucket. Probe with Handle With Care. CBS extended the Rock Machine Turns You On into a second volume Rock Machine I Love You and then issued the superb double album samplers Fill Your Head With Rock and Rockbuster. There were many others.

At the time I loved looking at these samplers in the local record shops – the line-up of tracks providing a gateway into a brave new musical world – and I invested in a few too.

Unsurprisingly, I am still a big collector of such items and the David Hepworth book reminded me of the importance of the original The Rock Machine Turns You On sampler.

As mentioned above this a remarkable collection – not least because it has various Led Zep references amongst the 15 tracks. Alongside the more well established CBS artists of the era (Dylan/ The Byrds/Zombies/ Leonard Cohen etc.) there are no less than six that have Zep connections.

So here’s the thing:

David Hepworth notes This Rock Machine Turns You On sampler was originally released in early 1968.

With this thread of Zep influences revolving amongst the grooves, could it possibly have been one of the albums Robert Plant took along to spin to Jimmy Page at that first meeting of minds in Pangbourne in the summer of 1968?

Or that Jimmy Page already had a copy lying around?

There’s enough evidence in their early repertoire to make that claim fairly plausible.

Here’s a quote from a 1990 Robert Plant interview:

“On stage the song’s opened up so much. We’d do As Long As I Have You, the old Garnett Mimms track, Fresh Garbage by Spirit, Flames by Elmore Gantry and his Velvet Opera. All these things would come creeping out the woodwork. That was the beauty of Led Zeppelin.”


On a final note – my copy of The Rock Machine Turns You On has the original CBS inner sleeve and it’s a beauty.

One side comprises of eight reasons to buy records under the title ‘’Here’s how records give you more of what you want’’.

It’s a fascinating snapshot of the way records were perceived and 50 years on, much of it still rings true

Here’s the full text:


1: THEY’RE THE BEST ENTERTAINMENT BUY: Records give you top quality for less money than any other recorded form. Every album is a show in itself. And once you’ve paid the price of admission you can hear it over and over again.

2: THEY ALLOW SELECTIVITY OF SONGS AND TRACKS: With records it’s easy to pick out the songs you want to play, or to play again a particular song or side. All you have to do is lift the pick-up arm and place it where you want it. You can’t do this easily with anything by a long-playing record.

3: THEY’RE CONVENIENT AND EASY TO HANDLE: With the long playing record you get what you want to hear when you want to hear it. Everybody’s familiar with records too. And you can go anywhere with them because they’re light and don’t take up space.

4: THEYRE ATTRACTIVE , INFORMATIVE AND EASY TO STORE: Record albums are never out of place. Because of the aesthetic appeal of the jacket design, they’re beautifully at home in the living room and library. They’ve also got important information on the backs – about the artist, about the performance or about the programme. And because they are flat and not bulky. You can store hundreds in a minimum of space and still see every title.

5: THEY’LL GIVE YOU HOURS OF CONTINUOUS AND UNINTERUPPTED LISTEING PLEASURE. Just stack them up on your automatic changer and relax.

6: THEY’RE THE PROVEN MEDIUM. Long -playing record look the same now as they did when they were introduced in 1948 but there’s a world of difference. Countless refinements and development s have been made to perfect the long playing records technical excellence and ensure the best in sound reproduction and quality

7: IF IT’S AVAILABLE IN RECORDED FORM, YOU KNOW IT’LL BE AVAILABLE ON RECORDS. Everything’s on long playing records these days…your favourite artists, shows ,comedy, movie soundtracks, concerts, drama, documented history, educational material…you name it. This is not so with any other recording.

8: THEY MAKE A GREAT GIFT because everybody you know loves music. And everybody owns a record player because it’s the musical instrument everyone knows how to play. Records are gifts that say a lot about to the person you’re giving them to. And they keep on remembering


The reverse of the inner bag lists 25 CBS label albums with sleeve illustrations. This mirrors the changing tide of tastes as the likes of Leonard Cohen, Chicken Shack, Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper, Bob Dylan, The Byrds, Simon & Garfunkel, Taj Mahal, Tim Hardin, Gun and, Blood Sweat and Tears rub shoulders with Tony Bennett, Ray Conniff, Andy Williams, Johnny Mathis, Funny Girl and West Side Story.

The musical times they were a changing and The Rock Machine Turns You On was a tangible testament to that statement.

In summary: The Rock Machine Turns You On is a vinyl gem. I would advise any Led Zep fan to check it out at their earliest convenience.


Collector’s Update 1:

You can never have too many copies of The Rock Machine Turns You On. I am now up to 7. They include a couple with the original 15 shillings sticker and another with a rare poster insert. I also have mono and stereo copies of the follow up Rock Machine I Love You. Vinyl gold indeed…

Collector’s Update 2:

At the Vinyl Barn a while back I was well pleased to find an original copy of Flames by Elmar Gantry’s Velvet Opera – the 1968 single on the CBS owned Direction label.

Dave Lewis 

DL Diary Blog Update:

Friday December 10:

It was great to have a visit from former Vinyl Barn supremo Darren Harte earlier this week. He is doing really well in his new found role working with a local mobile library and is still appearing regularly as a DJ on Harborough FM and doing the odd record fair.
Darren brought along a cassette for me – The Very Best Of Led Zeppelin on the mysterious Team Records label. This is one of the many unofficial bootleg pirate type cassette releases to be found in Poland, Yugoslavia , Middle East etc.
This one is in an attractive cardboard sleeve features 18 Zep tracks spanning the years 1969 -1982 –from Zep 1 to Coda and even has a fold out info booklet with lyrics.
Such releases are discussed at length in a feature written by Joe Geesin in this month’s issue of Record collector
You gotta love cassettes – thanks Darren!

Friday December 10:

Charity Shop Appropriate Find One:
I purchased the excellent Uncut Ultimate Music Guide To George Harrison magazine special this morning ( I love this Uncut series and already have a fair few) – so it was rather appropriate that I should then come across this charity shop fine…
The 2009 Let It Roll – Songs of George Harrison compilation CD –digi-pack version with booklet in top condition – a top find all round and a perfect soundtrack as I wade through the mag…

Friday December 10:

Charity Shop Appropriate Find Two:
I’ve just taken receipt of the superb 4 CD anniversary deluxe edition box set of the 1970 Eric Clapton album – presented in various mixes with outtakes and rarities. One of my all time fave albums now extended to offer yet more delights…
So it was rather appropriate that this morning I should then come across this charity shop fine – the 1993 version of the excellent Eric Clapton The Complete Recording Sessions 1963 -1992 book written by that fountain of Eric Clapton knowledge, long time TBL supporter and all round top man Marc Roberty.
Another great charity shop find and a perfect companion as I wade through the wonderful Eric Clapton 4 CD set…

Saturday December 11:

Saturday is platterday –in the light of the news of the sad passing of Michael Nesmith  -on the player The Monkees rather splendid  Headquarters album – a US pressing on the Colgems label I purchased recently for a bargain £1 from the excellent Slide Record shop in Bedford…

Update here:

I of course would have loved to catch one of the Saving Grace shows – in fact I was due to go to the Birmingham re scheduled date on Thursday night but it was not to be.

My priority is being on hand here for Janet who has had a major setback with her leg. She has had to revert to using one crutch as it’s painful walking unaided. It’s been getting progressively worse in recent months and we knew something was badly wrong. A recent x- ray confirmed that complications have set in and the hip specialist explained that surgery will be required. Janet is on a waiting list for that and we know that will be a good while – and it’s been heart-breaking seeing her struggle again after all she has been though in the past two years since she broke her leg. As ever she is being amazingly stoic and strong.

There’s been a lot of contrasting emotions in recent weeks – it’s been quite overwhelming. We are of course thrilled and blessed with the arrival of our grandson Ollie to Charlotte and Adam – thank you so much for all the many kind comments we received here and on my Facebook page.

Like everyone we are most concerned with the rapid spread of the Omicron Covid variant – our thoughts are with you all as we try and stay safe and well in these trying times.

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

Dave  Lewis – December 16, 2021.

TBL website updates written and compiled by Dave Lewis

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  • Steve Hall said:

    Sorry you missed out on the Brum Saving Grace gig, Dave, you missed a good evening. Scott Matthews got the evening off to a good start. Saving Grace were excellent as expected, and Robert was in fine form and full of good humour. The setlist was much the same as the 2019 gig in Brum, but no less enjoyable because of it.
    I have great sympathy with you and Janet, because my wife broke her hip about 4 years ago and was doing quite well until lockdown came along, which meant she didn’t get out and about as much as normal. This has resulted in her having to start relying on her crutches for support when walking, and it’s noticeable that she is increasingly finding it difficult to walk too far. Last night, the walk from the car park to the Town Hall, no more than 400yds, took about 30 minutes. Luckily, because of the checks being carried out with the COVID passports, there was still a queue to get in, so we weren’t late for the gig.
    Stay safe and take care of yourself and Janet, mate. Let’s hope next year starts to get much better for us all!!

  • Chris Swinson ( Swin) said:

    Another great post Dave ! Received your Xmas card & letter yesterday, most kind & thoughtful my friend. Hope for better things in the New Year health wise.Will continue to support you & TBL as i always have since 1994.Looking forward to the RP. Book. Hope Janet gets sorted out & congratulations on the birth of your grandson Ollie. Stay well & safe, a very merry Christmas & an Happy New Year. Everonward. Swin.

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