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Let It Snow / BBC Zep in ’79 / TV on the radio…

8 February 2009 2,770 views No Comment

Dave LewisLet it snow, let it snow, let it snow …as Francis Albert Sinatra once said and boy has it done so this week. And as I write it’s still falling heavily.

I’ve had a few days out so have not had to face the journey to MK this week…and let’s get this one out of the way early: with another 17 store closures yesterday, Zavvi are down to 31 stores and the deep uncertainty continues of how much longer I’ll be making that journey in the future.
Coupled with a few other considerable worries here, can’t say January was very inspiring but we got through it and February is here and with it the aforementioned snow.
As one of the style mags recently put it. ‘’January is a 31 day hangover but February brings lambs, daffodils and the air fills with a magical quickening that tells you spring is on the way”.
Looking out of the window now that looks a long way off!

The style mag blurb did get this right though:”February is short so whatever you’re trying to stretch, whether it’s your salary, your calorie intake or your booze units, February’s unique compactness helps you spread it just that little bit thicker. A good enough reason to raise a glass”.

I’ll go along with that one.

Back to the snow:
As Robert stated in his opening spiel at the Feb 12 ’75 Madison Square gig:
‘’We came four blocks in the snow to get here, and isn’t it good when it snows, doesn’t it change the whole vibe of the city – we’ll dedicate this to the keeper of the seasons, the man who gives us snow when we need it”

Yes it does change the whole vibe of things and for all the hardship it brings, it does make for some rather magical scenery. With school out yesterday and today, even the good lady and I found ourselves out snowballing for a while with Adam.

A listen last night to the Zep BBC Sessions from 1969 (didn’t take long to mention that year this week either!) prompted memories of another snowy winter. All of thirty years ago in 1979.
Back in the early weeks of that year, I vividly remember trudging through the snow carrying a box of freshly photocopied TBL’s from town. That February also provided a massive Zep tonic in the form of rare Radio One exposure.

News within the Zep camp was still scant to say the least, other than they had completed work on a new album. Gig wise there was nothing on the horizon as yet.
However the band’s profile was upped considerably by the re-broadcast on the February 2nd edition of Radio One’s Tommy Vance’s Friday Rock Show of the March and June 1969 BBC Session tracks. The first time they had been heard for a decade and in excellent FM quality. Hearing those early versions of Dazed And Confused, Communication Breakdown and Whole Lotta Love etc was an absolute revelation.

The reaction to this broadcast was considerable. In the weeks after the broadcast I had many letters from fans proclaiming how great they sounded. Stuart Whitehead a massive fan from Derby, even began a petition via the TBL magazine to get the 1969 One Night Stand BBC In Concert show rebroadcast – his efforts paying off when it was duly aired on the Tommy Vance show at the end of the year.

Led Zeppelin had been out of the public eye for too long…this vintage radio airing was a reminder of what had gone before and gave hope of what might (and did) emerge again.
It was reason enough for me to pen a lengthy overview of the Tommy Vance broadcast for TBL 2 (an edited version of which was in my first book The Final Acclaim).
I had a look at it today and it’s evident that my enthusiasm for those tapes was one of pure wonderment.
In the piece I transcribed the late great Tommy’s epic introductions. One of them following the first broadcast segment went like this:
‘’Magic! Way back in 1969 produced by Bernie Andrews, that was the first ever Radio One Session. Heard that Jimmy Page got back from Sweden last Sunday. He’d been over in Sweden doing some final mixing on their new album which is due out I believe in March.
And Mr. Plant if your listening, and I hope you are, let me say Logan (then just born) will have a lot to be proud of when he grows up – Stay tuned more Zep to come!”

He indeed does have a lot to be proud of…and maybe a little more after the Grammy’s on Sunday.

Just watched an excellent BBC 4 documentary on the BBC 1970’s news magazine programme Nationwide – which had plenty of input from Bob Wellings the man who interviewed Robert and Bonzo on the show after the Melody Maker Awards on September 16 1970. Couldn’t resist searching out the clip on You Tube (under John Bonham and Robert Plant Interview) – it’s a classic time piece.

On the playlist as the year1969 frequently comes under the TBL spotlight, yup the aforementioned BBC Sessions, and I’ve just caught up with the Feb 14 Nassau 1975 soundboard (thank you TS!)- and what a performance that is!
Love the moment after Kashmir, when a fan shouts out Train Kept A Rollin and Jimmy plays a bar of the intro to which Robert adds ‘’We’re going through our whole live history here!”….for a moment you hope they wipe the set list, throw Ian Knight’s light show out of the window and power on with the ’68 set opener…alas it’s back to the running order and dry ice and an immaculate No Quarter…as for Trampled Underfoot, that solo is pure Jimmy Page mayhem and quintessential ’75 live Zep step. Christ they were on form that night.

Elsewhere The Best Of Mick Jagger a little £3 Fopp treat from last Fridays not uneventful Islington Wallbanger day out has been on notably Memo From Turner from the Performance soundtrack (quick aside: that film features the notorious one time Zep security insider John Bindon who is subject to a Channel 4 documentary The Princess And The Gangster aired next Monday about his liaison with Princess Margaret) ….also on the player – an obscure mid 70’s Cat Stevens tune Two Fine People which I’ve been looking for ages and came quite unexpectedly via a CDR from my good friend and fellow Wallbanger Phil Harris…A couple of Dave Mason albums on CD via bruv JL all laid back and funky in a 1970’s Little Feat/Doobies kinda way,and very nice too, Sinatra In The Wee Small Hours LP (always a good one for a maudlin moment and there’s been one or two of those recently), Joni Mitchell Court And Spark LP, Dylan At Budokan double LP (which has a brilliantly emotive delivery of I Want You)

Next Friday a date down the road at the Bedford Corn Exchange with the Whole Lotta Led boys beckons in the company of the visiting Mr Foy and the TBL crew. Weather permitting of course, but surely the snow has to ease up by then.
What do you think Frank?
‘’Oh, the weather outside is frightful
But the fire is so delightful
And since we’ve no place to go
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow”

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