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LUIS REY TAPE DOCUMENTARY REVISED VERSION DUE SOON/DL BEST OF THE YEAR ROUND UP/ DL TBL WRITINGS 2022/ LA FORUM 1971 FILM FIND/PELE RIP/ DL DIARY BLOG UPDATE

30 December 2022 1,811 views 3 Comments
Led Zeppelin Tape Documentary by Luis Rey – updated and expanded edition due in early 2023:
An update from Luis Rey – a new revised and expanded edition of his essential Led Zeppelin Tape Documentary book is on the way – count me right in…
  • From January 2023.. The Book will be finally available on Amazon On Demand (the exact selling date to be announced) for the World! Many candles have burnt for this… and it is now a >nearly< definitive effort! Andy Adams would have been proud…

More details on this as they unfold.

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BEST OF THE YEAR 2022 TBL ROUND UP:

DL Best Of Year LP/CD releases:

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

My collecting and listening pleasure revolves around heritage releases and reissues. I am not a pursuer of new music -not because there isn’t any great new music being made – it’s  hard enough keeping up with the many reissues, Zep bootleg releases etc that continue to surface and the sense of nostalgia attached to these gems is truly inspiring.  In effect every record or CD I invest in can tell a story…and there are many stories connected with the following some of which are explained in the DL writings round up below and more will feature in my work in progress DL Memories…

These are my favourite vinyl LP and CD acquisitions of 2022 –  in no particular order- commencing with…

THE ROLLING STONES – EL MACOMBO 1977  2CD

BAD COMPANY – LIVE 1979  2LP

DANA GILLESPIE – FOOLISH SEASONS LP

DEACON BLUE – RAINTOWN (35TH ANNIVERSARY) LP

DUSTY SPRINGFIELD – SEE ALL HER FACES 50TH ANNIVERSARY 2LP

ELTON JOHN – THE COMPLETE THOM BELL SESSIONS LP

JONI MITCHELL – BLUE 50: DEMOS, OUTTAKES AND LIVE TRACKS FROM JONI MITCHELL ARCHIVES, VOL. 2 LP

LAURA NYRO- TREES OF THE AGES: LAURA NYRO LIVE IN JAPAN 2LP

SANDY DENNY – THE EARLY HOME RECORDINGS LP

SANDY DENNY- GOLD DUST LIVE AT THE ROYALTY LP

THE SWEET – PLATINUM RARE VOL 2 LP

AMBROSE SLADE – BALLZY

GRAHAMN NASH – GRAHAM LIVE SONGS FOR BEGINNERS /WILD TALES  CD

MARIANNE FAITHFULL -SONGS OF INNOCENCE AND EXPERIENCE 2CD

ARRIVAL – FRIENDS – COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1969 – 1973 3CD

FRANK SINATRA – WATERTOWN EXPANDED REISSUE CD

DAVID BOWIE MOONAGE DAYDREAM SOUNDTRACK CD

BONHAM & BULLICK -BONHAM BULLICK CD

PAUL WELLER – THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE 3CD

PINK FLOYD -ANIMALS 2018 MIX LP

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN – ONLY THE STRONG SURVIVE CD

HARRY CHAPIN – THE SINGLES LP

My Favourite Box Sets of The Year:

THE BEATLES – REVOLVER

DAVID BOWIE -DIVINE SYMMETRY

T REX MARC BOLAN – MARC 72

BLONDIE – AGAINST THE ODDS 1974 – 1982 3CD

DL Favourite Various Artists Compilations Of The Year:

DEEP IN THE WOODS -PASTORAL PSYCHEDELIA AND FUNKY FOLK 1968 – 1975 3CD

DUST ON THE NETTLES – A JOURNEY THROUGH THE BRISITHS UNDERGROUND FOLK SCENE 1967-1972 3CD

THE BEST OF DARK HORSE RECORDS LP

DL Favourite Bootleg Releases Of The Year:

LED ZEPPELIN – LED ZEPPELIN IV UNTITLED SUPER DELUX EDITION 9CD

LED ZEPPELIN – HOW THE WEST WAS WON – JKR REMIX 3CD

THE BEATLES – COMPLETE ROOF TOP RECORDING LP

CROSBY STILLS NASH & YOUNG – THE 1969 LIVE RECORDINGS 7CD

DAVID BOWIE & AVA CHERRY – ONCE WE WERE LOVERS – THE OLYMPIC AND SIGMA SESSIONS CD

DL Favourite Books of the Year:

LED ZEPPELIN LIVE TIMES – ROBERT ELLIS

JONNY TRUNK –  THE A Z OF BRITISH RECORD SHOP BAGS BOOK

TED KESSLER -PAPER CUTS  – HOW I DESTROYED THE BRITISH MUSIC PRESS AND OTHER MISADVENTURES

IN PERFECT HARMONY -SINGALONG POP IN ’70S BRITAIN – WILL HODGKINSON

DL Favourite Films of The Year:

ELVIS -THE MOVIE

DAVID BOWIE – MOONAGE DAYDREAM

DL Favourite YouTube Clip:

LED ZEPPELIN BATH FESTIVAL 1970 COLOUR CLIPS

DL Favourite Gigs of The Year:

ROBERT PLANT WITH SAVING GRACE FEATURING SUZI DIAN – WEXFORD SPIEGELTENT FESTIVAL NOVEMBER 2 2022 (actually gig of the century…)

PAUL WELLER – BEDFORD PARK JULY 30 2022

Some thanks: 

Firstly thanks again to all the great suppliers that continue to feed my record passion – notably Warren and Nerys at the Slide Records Bedford, Brian at Revolution Records Stevenage, David and Eddie at Empire Records St Albans, James at the Mod Pod and the guys at Thirsty Records Bedford. May I also acknowledge Ben and co at the Sound Garage in Bedford which has sadly just closed after a six month stint.

To Nick Carruthers for all his help plus Steve Livesley, Pete Burridge, John Parkin, Ian Sakia, Alastair Chorlton, James Bevis, Cliff Hilliard, Lee Abrahams, Jerry Bloom and Adam Tidd, for sharing their fellow LP record collecting enthusiasm – and Rob and John at the always excellent VIP Record Fairs of which Bedford and Victoria in London have been great events -plus the Spitalfields market.

Some record collecting thoughts:

LPs:

The price of new vinyl albums and reissues has began to increase and there have been a few occasions when I have opted out of the vinyl version and settled for the CD package – the Stones and Bruce Springsteen being two examples. I’m fine with that as I enjoy both formats almost equally. the packaging on an LP is of course always an attraction.

As for the second hand market there is so much great stuff to be found  and I’ve picked up some great bargains increasingly from charity shops and the more familiar haunts such as the VIP Record Fairs. My interest in 60s/70s compilations, obscure packaging, foreign pressings and anything Zep related continues unabated.

CDs:

With their ongoing cheap availability in charity shops, the CD format is continuing to going through a collector renaissance . It’s possible to pick up some absolute bargains as I have done (and my fellow record collecting comrades John, Pete and Steve) throughout the year. This is a trend that is likely to continue as CD collections get replaced in favour of Spotify and other streaming services.

Being a man of physical product, I am more than happy for that situation to happen and I will be keeping an eye out for the CD bargains to appear in charity shop outlets – there’s some great stuff to be had and I still love that format.

A good example of what can be found in charity shops is this recent gem I came across – Bob Dylan – Dylan 3 CD career spanning compilation with 50 tracks…50p –  I’ll take it…

BOOTLEGS:
My collecting of bootlegs mainly revolves around Led Zeppelin , The Beatles, Rolling Stones, David Bowie and Crosby, Stills Nash & Young. There have been a few gems added to my bootleg collection in the past year.

SINGLES:

The collecting of the 45 RPM format remains a joy for me and there’s been many a bargain acquired this past year.

One of my many record collecting areas is advance promotional demonstration singles – demos or promos as they are known. These are the pressings of singles in a limited quantity that were distributed to DJs, radio stations and reviewers ahead of their official release to garner interest –A promotional recording, or promo, or plug copy, is an audio or video recording distributed free, usually in order to promote a recording that is or soon will be commercially available. Promos are normally sent directly to broadcasters, such as music radio and television stations, and to tastemakers, such as DJs, music journalists, and critics, in advance of the release of commercial editions, in the hope that airplay, reviews, and other forms of exposure will result and stimulate the public’s interest in the commercial release. I have over 150 of these on many labels and many an artist. A bulk of these contain details of the planned release dates on the label and I love equating these dates to what I might have been up to at the time.

Another of my singles collecting passions is Beatles cover versions- particularly post 1966. Again I have a lot of these items. It remains a fascination that every Beatles album was mined by other artists for possible hit material so album tracks such as And I Love Her, Nowhere Man, Girl, Michelle, Hey Bulldog, Goodnight and many more appeared on countless singles in their own right. Searching these often obscure releases is great fun.

I am also always on the lookout for anything on the Apple, Island and Immediate labels, TV and film themes and of course Led Zep related.

Other formats – cassettes and stereo 8 track cartridges:

Interesting cassettes and 8 track cartridges are also on my radar – I recently scored a few Led Zeppelin 8 track cartridges in good condition and on the cassette front, a nicely packaged Rolling Stones Rolled Gold double cassette. I also picked up an excellent portable cassette player with slide controls.  Another cassette delight was the excellent two cassette Keith Richards Record Store Day release.

In summary – collecting music in all its varying formats is in my DNA and a source of constant inspiration.

Dave Lewis – December 29 2022


TBL DL POSTINGS AND WRITINGS 2022:

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

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

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

OVERVIEW OF THE TBLWEBSITE POSTINGS IN 2022:

My thoughts on…

Paul McCartney The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present

by Paul McCartney  (Author), Paul Muldoon (Editor)

I’ve been listening to Paul McCartney’s solo work for over 50 years.

I vividly remember the storm that broke out in the music press when, through a self-interview that coincided with the release of his debut solo album McCartney. Paul made it very clear he had no plans to write with John Lennon or work with The Beatles again..

On his 28th birthday June 18 1970, I went to see The Beatles Let It Be film at our local Granada cinema. It was a poignant experience and I vowed that whatever solo projects they embarked on I would be right there with them. Over the next couple of years I was enthralled by the likes of George’s All Things Must Pass and The Concert For Bangla Desh ,John’s Imagine, Ringo’s run of singles that began with It Don’t Come Easy and Paul’s Another Day single and the Ram album.

I embraced Wings almost as a new Beatles – From 1973onwards and for a good few years  I bought every single and album on the day of release. I had much listening pleasure with those albums – Wild Life, Red Rose Speedway, Band On The Run, Venus And Mars, Wings At The Speed Of Sound, London Town, Back To The Egg – all of which remain much loved records in my collection.

Post Wings, there was also much to enjoy including the McCartney II album, Tug Of War, his collaboration with Elvis Costello Flowers In The Dirt, and Off The Ground. In January 1990 I was lucky enough to see his concert at Wembley Arena.

In recent years I’ve dropped off a bit with his solo work but I’ve soaked up a lot of his reissues, notably Ram and Band On The Run. In 2014, I wrote a major cover feature for Record Collector celebrating its 40th anniversary (with some great input from my very good friend and Beatles expert Paul Humbley.)

In 2020 I was well pleased to acquire a copy of the McCartney album reissue – the half speed mastered edition made available as part of the third drop of this year’s Record Store Day. I also indulged in his last album McCartney III album which  I enjoyed it a lot.

I was aware that he was compiling a compendium of his lyrics but was not really are of the scope of this project –  until  I began seeing some of the pre-publication adverts. This was a book I really wanted to see.  I was therefore well pleased to find a copy under the Christmas tree – a present from the good lady Janet.

It’s a truly a lavish beautifully packed affair – two hardback volumes in a slip case –a massive 870 pages in all.

It works brilliantly on three levels:

Level One:  firstly the lyrics themselves which as we know, includes some of the finest words ever put to music Reading them as words on a page the sheer poetry of McCartney’s song writing craft shines through – dazzlingly so.

Level Two:  each of the 154 song lyrics presented are accompanied by an array of fascinating memorabilia – hand writing lyrics, orchestral charts and logs, original diary entries all woven in with a quite stunning selection of photos – many of them new to me and for a man with countless Beatles books on the shelf that is some feat.  Early on stage Beatles shots, candid Abbey Road studio images, relaxed shots of Paul and Linda on their Scottish farm retreat and many more –for example: want to see the actual moment Paul began writing Two Of Us which they were on a drive into the country ? It’s all here. 600 images in total drawn from his own personal archives.

Level Three: the commentary to each song is an absolute revelation.  The basic idea for the book grew out of a series of extensive interviews conducted with the Pulitzer prize winning poet Paul Muldoon. These interviews about the chosen songs spanned a five year period. In his introduction to the book Muldoon declares his empathy with the subject matter  and there’s no doubt the pair excelled in this process.   The interviews have been cleverly edited to provide countless insights into the creative process of McCartney’s song writing skills. You really do get a sense of how these songs were constructed , how he feels about them now and their context within the story. All relayed with candour and honesty that he rarely has rarely offered  in the normal run of the mill interviews.

I think there is a  parallel to be drawn here with that of the Jimmy Page Anthology book. In the Anthology  Page cleverly told his story by focusing on the guitars and equipment he deployed to make it all happen. Paul adopts a similar method using his songs as the backdrop. Neither musicians felt the need to indulge in the standard autobiography format and both books greatly benefit from this strategy.

Incidentally, Jimmy Page does get a mention in the text when Paul discusses  Rock Show  a track on the 1975 Venus And Mars track with the immortal line ‘’Tell me what’s that man moving ‘cross the stage it looks like the one used by Jimmy Page‘’

Staying with the Zep references  there’s an affectionate nod to John Bonham  as Paul states on page 132 ‘’I admired John Bonham and I was a friend of his. He was like a great big farmer and bashed the hell out of the kit.’’

John  worked with McCartney’s  on the Rockestra recording sessions in 1978 and can also be heard on an outtake of Beware My Love on the Wings At The Speed Of Sound reissue.

As for the many Macca revelations, we get to know who Desmond was in Ob- La-  Di –Ob-La- Da, the location and moment John and he cried together as documented in his moving Lennon tribute Here Today (‘’What about the night we cried’’), the identity of the man who was standing with ‘’a bootleg in his hand’’ in Hi Hi Hi and what might have been a more appropriate title for his baring of the soul to John lament Dear Friend.  These examples are a mere snapshot of many a revealing anecdote.

Unsurprising, his former song writing partner looms large throughout.  There’s a refreshingly honest portrayal of Lennon’s lasting role in McCartney’s  life, particularly the immediate  post Beatle break up period.  During that time John was blatantly nasty to him –both in interviews and songs –notably on the vicious How Do You Sleep?  Paul himself fought back in song with Too Many People on the Ram album. It’s of much solace to Macca that they reconciled their differences before John’s tragic demise.

Female inspiration is a constant theme throughout the book. There’s  much discussion of his mother and her early passing, his  first big love Jane Asher ( And I Love Her and Here there And Everywhere  were two of the songs he wrote about her), Yoko’s effect on John, Linda’s crucial post Beatle and Wings influence  and much warmth for his current wife Nancy. However, ex-wife, Heather Mills is conspicuous by her absence – clearly that is one episode he does not want to dwell on.

Paul also pays tribute to his father Jim and school teacher Alan Durband – his Liverpool upbringing clearly shaped the man he became.

The songs are presented alphabetically so they jump from era to era  – this is not a problem as Paul is quick to offer an overview of where he was at with every selection.

The Beatle big hitters are all present and correct and there’s also an illuminating focus on lesser known gems particularly from the Wings and solo catalogue. The likes of Magnito And Titanium Man, Country Dreamer , Once Upon a Long Ago, Getting Closer, Put It There, Single Pigeon, Arrow Through Me, Mrs Vandebilt, Café On The Left Bank, Woman And Wives and  I’m Carrying are given renewed attention  and will no doubt inspire a return to those songs and albums they appear on here in the coming weeks.

Fundamentally, like all great books of this nature The Lyrics takes you back to the music with renewed perspective and it’s McCartney’s incisive and insightful thoughts that make this all possible.

Having read every last word of this magnificent outpouring, I feel even more in awe of Paul McCartney’s genius – Frog Song and all. His is a life filled with song and his eagerness to share it is evident with every turn of the page.

The Lyrics is therefore a lasting testament to an extraordinary career that has provided some of the most revered music of the 20th century and beyond.

Right, I am off to dig out Band On The Run and re- read the story of how Dustin Hoffman provided the inspiration for the brilliant Picasso’s Last Words (Drink To Me). This and so many other revelations in The Lyrics bring us all closer to the art and legacy of Paul McCartney than ever before.

It’s a magnificent book work and highly recommended…

Dave Lewis – January 5,2022

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It was 50 years ago today – a triple album changed my life:
This one from my Facebook page on Saturday and extracted from my work in progress memoirs…
It was 50 Years Ago Today…a triple album record changed my life…
On this day in 1972 I went into town and made what was my first really significant album purchase.
Prior to this moment, I had indulged in some budget sampler albums such as Island’s You Can All Join In, and I had the then recently released Led Zeppelin IV for Christmas – now I was ready to make a substantial fresh purchase…
The album I desperately wanted was The Concert For Bangla Desh by George Harrison & Friends. This was the live album of the two benefit concerts George had staged the previous August at Madison Square Garden to aid relief in Bangla Desh. The first big charity event of its kind.
I had followed all this diligently in the music press –and excitedly so. Led Zeppelin were my number one musical passion but close behind were The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. The Beatles of course had imploded the year before but anything Beatle related interested me greatly. Now came the opportunity to by a Beatle related release as it was shipped.
At the time this was big news indeed. Two ex- Beatles on stage George and Ringo, guests including Eric Clapton, Billy Preston, Leon Russell and a performance by Bob Dylan – his first major live appearance in two years.
All this was to be released as a triple album and the asking price was a bank busting £5.50 (£58 in today’s money) – not that I had a bank account back then being just age 15 and still at school.
I did however, have a job at the local newsagents delivering newspapers. For this I earnt 75p a week and I had been saving for weeks knowing the Concert For Bangla Desh was being released early in the year.
So it was on Saturday January 8 1972 ( the details of which are all recorded in the diary I kept that year and continued to thereafter) I went into the WH Smith record department – the only local Bedford record shopl that had it in stock –it had been released the previous day and was well in demand. Thankfully they had it out in the racks and there it was in the distinct orange box set and I excitedly handed over my £5.50.
Quick aside – in a strange quirk of fate little did I know that within three years I would actually be working in this record department myself – the start of a 35 year career in music retail.
Back on January 8 1972, I hurried home and set up my record player – a fairly standard portable one but at the time it did me proud.
I now had living breathing aural evidence of this landmark show. George performing tracks from the massive selling All Things Must Pass such as My Sweet Lord, Awaiting On Your All and Beware Of Darkness, Beatle classics While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Here Comes The Sun and Something, Billy Preston wailing out That’s The Way God Planned It, the big roar for Ringo as he performed his big solo hit It Don’t Come Easy, Leon Russell ripping through a medley of Youngblood and Jumpin’ Jack Flash and a whole side of Bob Dylan.
I had read and kept in a scrapbook all the reviews of the show in the music press ( which I still have as can be seen in this pic) and also cut all the reviews of the accompanying triple album. ‘’If you only buy one album in 1972 make it this one’’ was one memorable headline.
Well I heeded that advice but it was certainly not the only album I purchased that year.
From June 1972, I had a regular income from my first job at British Home Stores .This allowed me to indulge in a long and winding path of musical exploration and my collection began to build with albums from the likes of Led Zeppelin (I had been a fan since late 1969 but with money in my pocket I backtracked and got my own copies of the first three albums), Hendrix, Dylan, Zappa, Alice Cooper, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, the Glastonbury and Woodstock Festival triple sets and more – all records that opened up a whole new musical spectrum for this particular youngster finding new delights with every purchase.
It was The Concert For Bangla Desh though that really set me on the way and developed a musical passion for buying records that of course is as fervent today as it was 50 years ago.
Playing that triple album for the first time I knew I had truly discovered the sheer wonder to be had in appreciating these things of beauty. I wanted that feeling and thrill of investing in a new record again as soon as possible and it would be repeated countless times in the ensuing years.
I do of course still have this copy of The Concert For Bangla Desh – the box is a little worn but the records play great and yes it will be on today in celebration.
Very quaintly back then I customised the inner sleeves by hand writing out all the track listing of who played what and when. Even back then my quest for the finer details of the recording process was developing. Putting pen to paper to chronicle such detail was something I loved doing.
Such passion would lead me on a path of much fulfilment as I began writing about music and principally Led Zeppelin. This would subsequently flower into the publication of my books and TBL magazine.
Back at school in early 1972 where the pop trends amongst my friends was led by Marc Bolan & T. Rex and Slade (both of whom I also loved) my enthusiasm for what might be termed more grown up music was eyed with some fascination.
Soon though I was being asked what this Banlga Desh lark was all about and for that matter the appeal of Led Zeppelin – and I was more than happy to elaborate and educate on these subjects.
So thank your dear George for staging this monumental event of 50 years back – and Happy 50th anniversary to a record release that I can honestly say changed my life
Finally to bring the story full circle..
Just before Christmas I came across the 2005 Concert For Bangla Desh 2 CD reissue in the local Oxfam charity shop and was more than happy to hand over the £12.99 asking price -the set being in mint condition. It felt like history was repeating itself and the rush I got from investing again in this pivotal set was exactly the same as I had experienced when I made that original triple album purchase back in 1972.
In an ever changing world (and not for the better currently) – that is a constant worth hanging on to…
Dave Lewis – January 8, 2022.

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My thoughts on…

Led Zeppelin – How The West Was Won JRK Remix –  3 CD bootleg on the Japanese Empress Valley Supreme Disk label.

This one surfaced late last year from Japan and it recently became my first purchase of 2022.

What we have here is what is described as the JRK remix of the official How The West Was Won live album first issued in 2003 and reworked again for release in 2015.

As explained in the accompanying sleeve note, JRK has taken the 20003 How The West Was Won 5.1 surround sound DVD release and brought the guitars and bass up in the mix. As he notes, this has already been attempted by the renowned Winston Remasters team as How The West Was Redone. JRK goes on to state:

‘’I also toned down the excessive reverb present on the DVD Audio but kept enough to preserve the atmosphere of the recordings.”

Through the admirable research by Zep chronicler Eddie Edwards on his Garden Tapes website, we know that these official recordings from the LA Forum on June 25 1972 and at the Long Beach Arena two days later on June 27, were assembled by Jimmy Page in a hybrid fashion combining extracts from both nights to formulate a full Zep performance.

See further info at http://www.thegardentapes.co.uk/htwww.html

On the same subject, Mike Tremaglio also produced an illuminating two page How The West Was Won Analysis on pages 370 and 371 of the Evenings With Led Zeppelin Revised & Expanded Edition

Over the years both shows have been much bootlegged via the surviving audience tapes notably on the much acclaimed Burn Like a Candle set

On this new Empress Valley bootleg release the Empress team do not attempt a full splice in of the many between song Plant comments edited out of the official release. The label does however, add some elements of audience sourced extracts to create a more complete setlist. JRK was not involved in that process.

Here’s the additions featured on this new package – all of which were omitted from the official live set:

Firsly the acoustic set is embellished with the addition of the audience recorded version of Tangerine. The Whole Lotta medley is presented in a combination of the official soundboard plus audience inserts. This adds audience sourced versions of Heartbreak Hotel and Slow Down. The latter a frantic rendering of the Larry William’s number covered by The Beatles on their Long Tall Sally EP, is as the forensic Mike T notes in the Evenings With LZ entry the only known version performed by Zep and therefore is most welcome.

The  Whole Lotta Love medley is also produced a second time remixed by JRK via the soundboard  2003 official version. This includes Hello Mary Lou which for some reason Page snipped out for the 2018 release much to the irritant of many fans.

Very pleasingly, this new set also adds the audience recorded encores of Louie Louie, the JPJ organ solo, Thank you and a brilliantly manic Communication Breakdown closer.

As Mike T notes in the Evenings With analysis, Thank You is a truly spectacular rendition In particular the ending of the song where Plant  says ”We gotta go now oh yeah” and the audience repeatedly screams back in unison ”No!” It’s an incredible moving moment.

These 1972 live recordings would have course made for a fantastic live set had they been release say in the fall of that year. It would have rightly been acclaimed as one of the all time great live albums.

As it turned out we had to wait 31 years before it surfaced in May 2003. I always felt the original How The West Was Won  release got somewhat lost as it was released simultaneously alongside the marathon five hour official DVD set.

It did gain renewed prominence in 2018 when Jimmy Page gave it an overhaul as part of the remastered reissue series.

As for the sound quality, on this JRK remix, I’m no audiophile but I know what I like and this new presentation does sound more muscular and vibrant.

As for the performances it’s always a joy to hear this fantastic example of their on stage prowess.

It’s quite breathtaking to hear how far the band had developed barely a year on from the BBC 1971 In Concert show. They were simply on fire that summer of ’72, brimming with freewheeling confidence and a knowing arrogance that they had elevated to new heights of onstage telepathy. The set features three previews from their forthcoming fifth album, Houses Of The Holy, which would eventually emerge nine months later.

The assured deliveries of Over The Hills And Far Away, Dancing Days and The Ocean are typical of the wave of optimism they were rolling on. An experimental, marathon-length ‘Dazed And Confused’ includes spin-off improvisations on The Crunge, another Houses preview, plus the newly recorded backing track Walters Walk, which would not see the light of day in a finished studio version until the posthumous Coda album. The version of Stairway To Heaven here has an elongated Page solo and the three track acoustic soundboard segment – Going To California, That’s The Way and Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp offers further evidence of their growing acoustic maturity. As mentioned the Whole Lotta Love medley is an absolute tour de force – then there’s a storm through Rock And Roll, the full on riff power of The Ocean and a rare (for the time) outing for Bring It On Home – all of which makes for compulsive listening.

Individually and collectively at this point in their career Led Zeppelin were bursting with creativity. Plant’s vocals would never again match the high register range he propels here, Page is off on a tangent at every turn of the way and Jones and Bonzo are constantly locked together in familiar tight but loose fashion.

As  Jimmy Page, the creator of all this outpouring of material commented: ‘‘Playing the West Coast was always fantastic. Each member of the band was playing at their best during those 1972 performances. And when the four of us were playing like that, we combined to make it a fifth element. That was the magic – the intangible.”

Summary:

While there’s nothing previously unheard here, this is a very welcomed package of a much coveted favourite of mine and I am sure many others. The audience sourced addition’s greatly benefitting the overall experience of a live set that accurately captures the on stage excitement of Led Zeppelin in full flight.

In short, this How The West Was Won JRK remix is the perfect start to the 50th anniversary celebrations of some important Led Zep 1972 landmarks ahead – and I for one will be returning to it often as these recordings reach their milestone Birthday.

January 18,2022

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My thoughts on…

Coda – A Tribute To Led Zeppelin, Bedford Esquires – February 19, 2022
First set:
Good Times Bad Times / Ramble On, Nobody’s Fault But Mine, The Song Remains the Same, The Rain Song. The Battle of Evermore, Going to California, Achilles Last Stand,Black Dog.
Second set:
Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Since Ive Been Loving You, Kashmir,Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, Rock and Roll.
Our first night out to a gig in Bedford for two and a half years – and in perfect company. The Led Zeppelin tribute band Coda making a much delayed appearance back at Bedford Esquires.
Front man Peter Byrne has all the Robert Plant mannerisms and brings his own charisma to the role. His often amusing and irreverent in between song chat is refreshing unpretentious – he doesn’t take himself too seriously which is an engaging trait.
However, what Coda do take very seriously is the music – and the sheer quality of the musicianship of the four allows them to recreate the magic of Zep with all the swagger and verge it demands.
First half highlights included the dynamic opening of Good Times Bad Times into Ramble On, a crunching Nobody’s Fault But Mine and an authentic take on The Battle Of Evermore.
This featured guest vocalist Jessica Lee Morgan undertaking Sandy Denny’s role and she carried it off superbly. Rob Deery also excelled here on mandolin.

The Song Remains The Same/The Rain Song segment provided guitarist James Yorke-Starkey with the opportunity to show his undoubted finesse on the double necked guitar and he was absolutely outstanding on a stunning delivery of Achilles Last Stand. Drummer Simon Wicker was also amazing on this.
The second half saw them wheel out the big hitters – Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Kashmir and Stairway To Heaven – what’s not to like? Encores included Whole Lotta Love performed in the Zep Song Remains The Same movie live arrangement and a frantic Rock And Roll.
So that was Coda, once again nailing the Led Zep legacy to the walls of Esquires. It was a privilege to be there.
Some final thoughts:
I had forgotten just what a brilliant venue Esquires is – alongside Coda they had local boys made very good Don Broco appearing on the main stage upstairs to a packed audience. It’s a superbly run venue and a great place to see live music – and it was such a fantastic feeling to be seeing and hearing live music for the first time in an age.
Many thanks to Pete Burridge, Kevin Bailey and Derek Clark and to Simon Wicker, Fiona Goble and the Coda team
It was a real tonic for us to meet up with so many friends who share our passion including Steve and Anne Marie, Jenny, Ian, Michaela and Bob, Graham, Dave Collins and Pat and Gaynor.
The good lady Janet and I were also so thrilled to meet with our nephew Simon.
All and all a heartwarming evening – great live music in great company in a great venue.
We have missed such delights for far too long and what a joy it was to discover that the songs still remain the same – especially in the hands of Coda…
One final thought – there was one sad element to last night – the last time Coda played the Bedford Esquires venue in March 2019 the late much missed Andy Adams was in attendance. We were thinking about him ….
Dave Lewis – February 20, 2022
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The 10 best riffs from the legendary Human Riff himself, Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards…

Here a piece I’ve just written for the Classic Rock/Louder website…
It’s a listing of the ten best Keith Richards Rolling Stones riffs – it’s an impossible task of course to nail it to just ten and I am sure you will have your particular favourites – but the following are all right up there with his most thrilling moments…
The 10 best riffs from the legendary Human Riff himself, Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards
There’s no finer sight in rock than Keith Richards on stage, Telecaster low slung, legs apart, wielding his power and influence over The Rolling Stones.
It’s a sight that’s thrilled countless millions over six decades. At the centre of it all is the riffs – riffs that have defined the Stones sound since they burst on the scene in the early 1960s.
From funk/soul licks to full-on power chords, Keith has constantly lived up to his legacy, delivering classic after classic across the Stones catalogue. Here are ten of the best examples of why Keith Richards remains the original “human riff’.”
Here’s the full list….
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My thoughts on Saving Grace featuring Robert Plant & Suzi Dian
Hackney Empire – Monday April 11, 2022
This one has been a long time coming. Last July I had planned to meet with the late much missed Andy Adams for the Bexhill gig but was unable to make it. The good lady Janet and I then booked front row tickets for the August 2 Birmingham Symphony Hall gig. However that one was postponed due to Covid issues -by the time the gig was rescheduled for December 16 Janet was struggling badly with her leg so that one was not feasible either.
So finally to Hackney and with Adam keeping an eye on Janet back here, I was able to zip away for a night of Saving Grace.
This was the 123rd occasion I’ve seen Robert perform live over the past 51 years and the first time in over three years – the last being the Saving Grace support set to Fairport Convention at the St Albans Arena in February 2019.
So it was a combination of much relief and joy when Saving Grace took to the stage in the confines of the rather splendid Hackney Empire last night.
From the moment Robert Plant and Suzi Dian sauntered up to the mics and oozed into a compelling Win My Train Fare Home (from his Dreamland album) this unit of wonderful musicians (Robert Plant and Suzi Dian – vocals, Oli Jefferson – percussion, Tony Kelsey – mandolin, baritone and acoustic guitars, vocals and Matt Worley – banjo, cuatro, acoustic and baritone guitars, vocals) had the London audience in the palm of their hands.
Suzi Dian is every bit an effective and inspiring vocal foil for Robert as Alison Krauss – for me personally even more so as the purity of her vocal style brings a delightful Englishness to the proceedings – one of the best examples being a beautifully understated romp through Donovan’s Season of The Witch.
Other highlights and there were many, included the hybrid version of Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down/In My Time Of Dying – Robert echoing out that ‘’Meet me Jesus meet me” refrain with all the mastery that he bought to the Led Zeppelin studio version back in their glorious day.
It was also great to hear the cover of Low’s Monkey from the Band Of Joy album performed with raw intensity. Plant’s love of the west coast sound was fulfilled by a lilting take on Moby Grape’s It’s A Beautiful Day.
Best of all for me was a shimmering delivery of Down To The Sea from the Fate Of Nations album – Suzi taking to the accordion to add the required quirkiness to the arrangement.
They signed off with a jaunty encore stroll through the Los Lobos cover Angel Dance and then an all around the mic harmony led And We Bid You Goodnight
London duly bid Saving Grace goodnight with a much deserved standing ovation.
Summary – a wonderful evening in the company of a seasoned collective of musicians able to drift with effortless ease across English folk and Americana.
As for Robert Plant – he really is singing as good if not better than ever – all the nuances and vocal control that lit up the first of my 123 occasions that I’ve been lucky enough to see him perform live, way back at the Empire Pool Wembley on a freezing November night in 1971, were present and correct.
Some 51 years later on this warm spring April evening, it was again a privilege and pleasure to be sharing a room with him, Suzi and Saving Grace.
If you are doing the same on the remaining UK dates over the coming days – you really are in for an absolute treat…
Dave Lewis. April 12,2022
Pics by Krys Jantzen
Many thanks to Steve Livesley and Krys Jantzen for their great company – and it was also great to see Paul Stevenson and his lady, John Gunne, Andreas Stocker, Dave Fox and Rudi O’ Keefe.
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My thoughts on the Beth Hart Tribute To Led Zeppelin album…

I am a bit late to this particular party but recently I finally got stuck in to this album of Zep songs by Beth Hart.

I am always a bit of a sucker for a cover version –  for example I have over 100 singles featuring Beatles cover versions.

Unsurprisingly, I’ve always been fascinated with Led Zeppelin cover versions going right back to 1970 and the thrilling version of Whole Lotta Love that gave CCS a top twenty  hit.

They did something that is not easy to do – they stamped their own authority on the song and the way CCS did it was to present it as mainly instrumental version using a flute as the vocal line it worked a treat  – Joe Cocker pulled off a similar feat by completely reworking Lennon and McCartney’s With A Little Help From My Friends.

Notable cover version of Zep songs include Betty Joe’s fairly straight rendering of D’yer M’aker, Patti Boulaye’s take on All My Love and Far Corporation’s rather saccharine attempt at Stair ay To Heaven – a 1985 UK hit.

In the early 90s there were a couple of multi artist compilations then in 1995 came the official cover version accolade Encomium A Tribute To Led Zeppelin. An excellent collection for Zep covers by the likes of The Four Non Blondes, Sheryl Crow and even Robert Pant himself with his duet reworking of Down By The Seaside with Tori Amos.

More recently there was the Mojo magazine’s  2015 re-imagining of the Physical Graffiti album.

Now comes the renowned singer Beth Hart’s Tribute To Led Zeppelin –an entire album of cover versions by the esteemed lady.

First things first – I am not that familiar with Beth’s work but I do know she’s highly rated.

In an interview with Classic Rock when asked what was her favourite Zeppelin album Beth replied as follows:

‘’I don’t own any of their albums. The choices are all by Rob Cavallo. He put the band and orchestra together. This is his vision. All I did was sing. And I couldn’t believe how good he made me sound. I had no idea how truly genius Jimmy Page was in his song writing and arrangements. And how educated and well-read Robert Plant was – you can really hear it in his lyrics.’’

This very honest answer actually works in her favour as it’s evident that Beth approaches the songs with few preconceptions.

As for producer Rob Cavello, the opposite is well apparent – his knowledge of Zeppelin is more than evident and the arrangements and production are first class throughout -with more than a little help via some soaring string arrangements by David Campbell.

Beth’s vocal approach is in the grand tradition of female blues rock vocalists as such as Janis Joplin, Maggie Bell, Elkie Brooks, Tina Turner and Deborah Bonham  and all the better for it – at times there’s also a touch of  Adele histrionics. There’s a pleasing earthiness to her delivery which .

So here we go – opener Whole Lotta Love is performed as per the original right down to the swirling middle section. Kashmir is powered by a compelling orchestral enhanced riff arrangement that really brings out the hypnotic quality of the original.

Stairway  To Heaven is played in the conventional manner, though outside of beefing up as a rap number (heaven forbid!) is perhaps only way to do it. The finale has something of the regal status the Wilson’s brought to their epic version at the Kennedy Honors ceremony

Most impressive and for me the highlight of the whole album is Beth’s delivery of The Crunge.

The Houses of The Holy funk parody is a brave choice and hardly an obvious one. Beth navigates her way around the offbeat time signatures with aplomb bringing a Janis like drawl to proceedings. Given this ambitious stance it strikes me that the album would have benefited with more adventurous covers rather than some of the expected big hitters.

Talking of which, Black Dog and Good Times Bad Times deviate little from their originals but benefit from the sheer gusto of Beth’s delivery and Rob Cavello’s embellishments.

Dancing Days/When The Levee Breaks are presented as a medley. Dancing Days bookends this arrangement and with its swirling string accompaniment reminds me of the live versions Page and Plant performed with the Egyptian Orchestra on their 1995/6 world tour. Levee finds the singer really stretching out. I would have actually preferred to hear full versions of these songs as they seem a little disjointed when merged as one.

The same can be said for No Quarter/Babe I’m Gonna Leave You – superbly performed but again somewhat stifled in the medley format.

There’s no such constriction for the final song The Rain Song  – a full blown epic again greatly benefiting from Rob Cavello and David Campbell’s expansive input and Beth bringing the required light and shade sensitivity to the lyrics.

Summary:  There’s much to enjoy here and while some of the arrangements stick to the tried and trusted formula of the Zep versions, when Beth really flexes her vocal talent (ala The Crunge and The Rain Song) she brings a delightful freshness to the table.

It will no doubt spur many listeners to search out the originals – not least the singer herself who no doubt now has a full shelf of Zep albums.

Beth Hart’s A Tribute To Led Zeppelin does what it says on the tin and in doing so highlights what incredibly complex and glorious songs these really are – performed here with all due respect and often pleasing re-invention.

Dave Lewis – April 19, 2022

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DL letter in Shindig! magazine:

Great to see the letter I recently wrote to Shining! Magazine printed in their new issue.
It’s a follow up to the Lindisfarne feature in issue 125. This highlighted that the pre Lindisfarne group Downtown Faction had supported The Yardbirds ( soon to be Led Zeppelin) at the Mayfair Ballroom in Newcastle on October 4 1968.
Here’s the letter:
Loved the Lindisfarne feature by Chris Groom in issue 125
As a long term Led Zeppelin chronicler and author I was interested to read about Downtown Faction supporting The Yardbirds at the Mayfair Ballroom in Newcastle on October 4 1968.
This gig came to light a few years back as I was researching the book Evenings With Led Zeppelin The Complete Concert Chronicle I co wrote with Mike Tremaglio.
It’s very significant date as it was the first UK date performed by the newly revamped Yardbirds line up that Jimmy Page had brought together featuring Robert Plant, John Bonham and John Paul Jones. At this point they were still being billed as The Yardbirds though by the end of the month they would be performing under their new name as Led Zeppelin.
The advert that was in the feature stated that Terry Reid’s Fantasia – this had a certain irony about it as Reid had been Page’s first choice as vocalist for his new line up – Reid had recently signed with Mickie Most and turned the job down – he did recommend Page check out Robert Plant.
Interestingly enough, when we further researched this gig for inclusion in the book it came to light that for some reason Reid pulled out and did not appear on that night. He was replaced by The New York Public Library ( originally hailing from Leeds) ) as the subsequent adverts in the Evening Chronicle confirmed. (see attached)
The lucky few who were in attendance that night not only witnessed the fledgling Lindisfarne members in Downtown Faction but also the UK debut of a group line up destined to rule the 70s…
Keep up the great work
Dave Lewis
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My thoughts on The Rolling Stones new live album release…

When the Stones said yes to the El Mocambo club and Led Zep said no to The Marquee…

I’ve been listening to Rolling Stones live albums for over 50 years going right back to the seminal Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out. In my early years of buying bootleg LP’s age 16 to 18,I purchased many a live Stones set – Hyde Park ‘69, Burning at The Hollywood Palladium ‘72, All Meat Music Winter Tour 1973,Wembley ’73, The Stars In The Sky and Garden State ’78 among them.

In September 1977 I purchased the Love You Live double album on the day of release. Aside from live recordings from their 1975 and 1976 dates including If You Can’t Rock Me/Get Off My Cloud from the May 27 1975 Earls Court gig that I was lucky enough to be at, the big attraction of that particular live set was the side of four performances from the celebrated El Macombo club gigs in Toronto staged on March 4  and 5 1977.

These Toronto club appearances were set up to be recorded for a potential live album and it remained a bit of a mystery as to why only four tracks were officially released.

The recent arrival of the two CD set El Mocambo 1977 puts the record firmly straight. What we have here is the full March 5 performance plus three bonus tracks from the previous night’s show.

The circumstances leading up to these club gigs is well documented – not least via  Dave Sexton’s  insightful sleeve notes included in the CD booklet. Keith’s serious drug bust had put the whole future of the band in some doubt. They were under considerable pressure when they  to the stage in the confines of the tiny El Macombo Tavern club. That they were able to turn adversity into triumph says much about the collective musical alchemy of Mick, Keith, Bill, Charlie and Ronnie  plus Billy Preston on keyboards and Ollie Brown on percussion. Quick aside – Bill Wyman is notably absent for the pics of the gig in the accompanying booklet which is a shame.

It’s worth mentioning here I have a bit of stigma about Rolling Stones live albums. I happen to think they made their best live recordings when they were making that run of classic albums that began with Let It Bleed in 1969 and ran through the next decade with the release of Some Girls in 1978.

That for me was when they were really gelling on stage as a unit. As the stage presentation became more theatrical Jagger’s vocals suffered somewhat in my view –after all it’s not easy to maintain vocal clarity when riding an inflatable penis.

By 1981’s Still Life release my interest in live Stones albums was on the wane. In recent years Stones fans have been well served with live recordings notably in the From The Vaults series – and I did indulge in the Marquee 1971 set and the excellent Brussels Affair form 1973.

Of course, the live Stones show remains a fantastic spectacle and I have thoroughly enjoyed the occasions I’ve seen them perform live – the last of which was Twickenham in 2018.

Back in 1977 they were riding off the back of a two year period of touring –first in 1975 in the US then an extensive tour of Europe. The Black And Blue album had appeared in the spring of 1976 and eclectic affair which introduced Ronnie Wood on record notably on the excellent Hey Nagrita.

Ronnie was of course a perfect fit for the band. By the time they got to Toronto he was well bedded in. These El Macombo dates were the Stones first live outings since their Knebworth appearance the previous August. On that occasion they delved back into performing some long lost classics such as Little Red Rooster.

That sense of experimentation is all present and correct at the El Macombo  from the moment they kick in to a swaggering Honky Tonk Women and switch straight into a blistering All Down The Line. Jagger’s vocals are superb –clear and crafted with that captivating leer and Charlie is good tonight inneee but then again he was good every night.

Hand Of Fate is the first of the Black And Blue extracts and it’s evident they are enjoying airing this newer material Crazy Mama, Fool To Cry and Hot Stuff are played with similar aplomb. The Chuck Berry stomper Around And Around is a total joy as is the perennial Route 66. Cracking Up and Mannish Boy are all here as they were on the Love You Live album but now mixed in purer form sans overdubs.

Dace Little Sister always a fave of mine from the Its Only Rock’n’ Roll album is suitably down and dirty, Tumbling Dice as soulful as ever and that closing repeated refrain of ‘Got to roll it’  is a killer every time. The hits and highlights just keep on coming – Star Star, Lets Spend the Night Together, Little Red Rooster,It’s Only Rock’n’ Roll and then a home straight barrage of Rip This Joint,Brown Sugar and Jumpin’ Jack Flash.

Phew ..now that’s what I call prime time live Stones…

As a final bonus there’s three performances from the previous night’s gig and very interesting selections they are too. The smooth low key jazz work out Melody with Billy Preston, the reggae guitar strut of Luxury and Worried About You – a then work in progress slow burner that would eventually see the light of day on the 1981 Tattoo you set.

Summary:

For me, these El Macombo recordings captured on this 2 CD set can take their place in the upper pantheon of Stones live albums. Right up close to the stage and full of vitality and spark, they are ample proof that away from the big venue spectacle, in 1977 The Rolling Stones were still a mighty force as a bar room club band, just as they had been back at the Crawdaddy in Richmond some 15 years previous….

One final footnote:  During this era, The Rolling Stones were not the only band considering a club gig. Around the time of the release of their Presence album in the spring of 1976 the mighty Led Zeppelin were rumoured to be considering performing a club gig or two in the UK. The previous December when they were in tax exile in Jersey, they had turned up unannounced at Behan’s west Nightclub to play a  rock’n’roll set with resident pianist Norman Hale.

In May 1976 it was heavily rumoured  Zep were booked for an appearance at London’s Marquee club. The date set was May 27. The advert in the Marquee’s weekly advert in the music press read as follows:

 Thurs May 27 Another marquee Mystery band! Seeing is believing. Please come early!

These rumours were further confounded by a news story that appeared in The Sun newspaper on the day of the supposed gig. Reporting on an inflight spat between Zep members and the actor Telly Savalas the story added ‘’The Zeppelin group are in London to make a promotional film and paly at the Marquee Club’’

This presented a major dilemma for me. Tension was mounting and the Pye Records representative who called on the WH Smith record department I worked at told me he had been invited to this secret Zep appearance.

As a mad keen Zep fan I of course wanted to be there…but there was one big problem -I already had tickets that night to see The Rolling Stones at Earls Court.

I had secured these for myself and then girlfriend by being lucky enough to get in quick when the dates were announced. My hands were tied really and I had to hope that this was a rumour and nothing else. I did make a phone call to their Swan Song office who denied the gig was happening.  So the Stones won our affection that night and I am very glad it did.

As it turned out Zep did not play the Marquee but there was a  connection as the so called ‘’mystery band’’ were Swan Song records label mates The Pretty Things playing a showcase gig. The in attendant John Paul Jones did indeed jam with them on the encore. The fact that Atlantic supremo Ahmet Ertegun was in attendance maybe hinted that something bigger might have been planned. Unsurprisingly the rumour did prompt a hundred or so fans turning up hoping for a sighting of the band.

Had they have relented, playing a club gig or two I am sure would benefitted Led Zeppelin in much the way it did The Rolling Stones who as can now be heard, underwent something of a rejuvenation by playing that club venue in Toronto.

Ultimately there was to be no Marquee 1976 release for Zep fans but 47 years on there is El Macombo 1977 – and if you are a Stones fan, I would recommend you invest in this essential live album at the earliest opportunity.

Dave Lewis – June 6 2022

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My thoughts on Paul Weller at Bedford Park Saturday July 30 2022…

To Bedford Park for the presentation of Paul Weller in the series of very well organised events by Bedford Park Concerts.

These type of out door concerts have been running for some years now and the prospect of Paul Weller playing just down the road from us was too good to miss. By my reckoning this was the first outdoor gig the good lady Janet and I have attended together for some 24 years – the last being Jimmy Page and Robert Plant’s Reading Festival appearance in 1998. Hey we’ve been busy with life!

So it was high time we got out in the open air for some live music – and what live music is was…

The crown was a good friendly mix of mostly over 40s – many of course long time Jam and Weller fans coming to pay local homage. It occurred to me that there must have been a fair few out there who I had sold Jam and Style Council records to back in my WH Smith/Our Price retail record shop days – and similarly Pete Burridge at Andy’s Records. It felt good to be amongst so many home grown fans at what felt like a really special Bedford musical event.

Following a relaxed set from Richard Hawley that set the scene on a warm summer evening, Paul Weller and band arrived on stage with no fanfare and proceeded to get struck right in.

White Sky, Long Time and Cosmic Fringes – the latter from last year’s excellent Fat Pop album, set the standard for what was to come.

Weller of course, is no slave to the greatest hits format preferring to mix it up with a combination of deep cuts and more familiar material. The good thing is you are never too far away from a solid gold Weller nugget and after a powerful From The Floorboards Up( as Kevin Bailey remarked to me the Weller solo track The Jam would have excelled in) there were two such gems. A sweeping soulful stroll through My Ever Changing Moods and a wonderfully reflective Headstart For Happiness

Village from the On Sunset album and Stanley Road kept up the momentum and there was a surprise collaboration with Richard Hawley who came back on on to join in on a delightful stomp through Smokey Robinson’s Going To a Go Go.

Shout  To The Top and Start! (the latter prompting memories for me of seeing The Jam at London’s Rainbow back in 1980) were further throwback delights that raised the crowd’s energy level for the final run in.

Following a no nonsense  Peacock Suit he was back for the encores and every one a winner – Broken Stones, That’s Entertainment, Wild Wood, You Do Something To Me, The Changingman and a grand finale of Town Called Malice sealed the deal.

Parklife with Paul Weller on a late July Saturday night was an absolute delight and then we walked home…now that really is entertainment…

Dave Lewis – July 31,2022

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ON THE OCCASION OF MY BIRTHDAY…

SIXTY SIX AT SIXTY SIX

On Monday I reach the ripe old age of 66. On that day I officially become An Old Age Pensioner.

I had no thoughts of such a thing when this photo was taken on Saturday September 4 1976 -the day before my 20th Birthday.

That was a year that I heralded the release of the Led Zeppelin Presence and Song Remains The Same albums plus The Rolling Stones Black And Blue and David Bowie’s Station To Station – saw The Rolling Stones at Earls Court, The Who at Charlton and Queen in Hyde Park, attended the first three nights of the Led Zeppelin film The Song Remains The Same at the Warner West End cinema in London including the all star premiere with all the band sitting nearby…thrilling times and it will all be in the DL Memoirs .

Oh for the zest to do all that again as here I am some 46 years later somewhat wearier but feeling very thankful and blessed to have reached this milestone…

As is custom I have come up with some Birthday lists.

As it’s all the Sixes I have listed my favourite 66 albums released in the 1960s – and the same for 66 of my favourite singles released in the 1960s.

In compiling the albums I have gone for one entry per group or artist – there are also one or two compilations…so in no particular order here goes…

SIXTY SIX AT SIXTY SIX – THE ALBUMS:

The Beatles – The Beatles (White Album) (1968)

The Rolling Stones – Let It Bleed (1969)

Dusty Springfield – Dusty In Memphis (1969)

The Yardbirds – Little Games (1967)

Nick Drake – Five Leaves Left (1969)

The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds (1966)

Fairport Convention –  What We Did On Our Holidays (169)

Pentangle – Basket Of Light (1969)

Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin II (1969)

Blind Faith – Blind Faith (1969)

Manfred Mann – Five Faces Of Manfred Mann (1964)

Joe Cocker –With a Little Help From My Friends (1969)

Cream – Fresh Cream (1966)

Donovan – Sunshine Superman (1966)

Jeff Beck – Truth (1968)

Chris Farlowe  – The Art of Chris Farlowe (1966)

The Kinks – Village Green Preservation Society (1968)

The Small Faces – Ogdens Nutgone Flake (1968)

Graham Gouldman – The Graham Gouldman Thing (1968)

The Shadows – Introducing The Shadows (1960)

Pink Floyd – A Saucerful  of Secrets (1968)

Elvis Presley – From Vegas to Memphis – From Memphis To Vegas  – (1969)

Easy Rider – Soundtrack (1969)

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Willie And The Poorboys (1969)

Family – Family Entertainment (1969)

Free – Tons of Sobs (1969)

John Mayell’s Bluesbreakers – A Hard Road (1967)

Fleetwood Mac – Then Play On (1969)

Jethro Tull – Stand Up (1969)

The Graham Bond Organisation – The Sound of ’65 (1965)

Sandie Shaw – Reviewing the Situation (1969)

Lulu – Lulu’s Album (1969)

Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush – Soundtrack  with Traffic & The Spencer Davis Group (1967)

Terry Reid – Terry Reid  (1969)

Everly Brothers – Two Yanks In England (1966)

The Hollies – Hollies Greatest (1968)

Rock Machine Turns You On  – Various CBS Artists (1968)

Crosby Stills and Nash – Crosby Stills & Nash (1969)

Jimi Hendrix Experience – Are You Experienced (1967)

Miles Davis – In A Silent Way (1969)

You Can All Join In – Various Island Records Artists (1969)

The Dave Clark Five – Session With The Dave Clark Five (1964)

David Bowie – David Bowie (1967)

The Monkees – The Monkees (1966)

Bob Dylan – Blonde On Blonde (1966)

The Byrds –  Mr Tambourine Man (1965)

Love – Forever Changes (1967)

The Lovin’ Spoonful -Daydream (1966)

King Crimson – In the Court of the Crimson King (1969)

Burt Bacharach –  Hit Maker (1966)

Sonny Rollins  – Soundtrack from the film Alfie (1966)

Frank Sinatra – A Man Alone  (1969)

The Doors – The Doors (1967)

Bee Gees – Odessa (1969)

Yes – Yes (1969)

Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger and the Trinity – Open Road (1968)

The Who – The Who Sell Out  (1967)

Laura Nyro – Eli and the Thirteenth Confession (1968)

Marianne Faithfull – Come My Way (1965)

Motown Chartbusters Vol III – Various Artists (1969)

Otis Redding – Otis Blue (1966)

Adam Faith – Adam (1960)

Glen Campbell – Wichita Lineman (1968)

Simon & Garfunkel – Bookends (1968)

Diana Ross & The Supremes  – Greatest Hits (1967)

Joni Mitchell – For The Roses (1969)

SIXTY SIX AT SIXTY SIX – THE SINGLES:

In compiling the singles I have again gone for one entry per group or artist – so in no particular order here goes…

SIXTY SIX AT SIXTY SIX – THE SINGLES:

The Beatles – Hey Jude (1968)

Pentangle – Light Flight – Theme from ‘Take three Girls’ (1969)

Julie Driscoll,Brian Auger & The Trinity – Wheels On Fire (1968)

Mary Hopkin – Goodbye (1969)

The Beach Boys – Good Vibrations (1966)

Don Spencer – Them from Fireball XL5 (1962)

Jimi Hendrix – All Along The Watchtower (1968)

Bob Dylan – Like a Rolling Stones (1965)

Chris Farlowe – Handbags And Gladrags  (1968)

Oliver – Good Morning Starshine (1969)

Booby Vee – The Night has a Thousand Eyes (1962)

Bobby Darin – I’ll Be There (1960)

Dusty Springfield – Going Back (1966)

The Supremes – Reflections (1966)

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Bad Moon Rising (1969)

The Four Tops – Walk Away Renee (1967)

Little Anthony & The Imperials – Better Lose Your Head (1966)

The Monkees – I’m a Believer (1966)

Bobbie Gentry – I’ll Never Fall In Love Again (1969)

The Move – Fire Brigade (1968)

Robert Plant – Our Song (1967)

Jimmy Page – She Just Satisfies (1965)

John Paul Jones – Baja (1964)

Cliff Richard – The Young Ones (1962)

The 5th Dimension – Wedding Bell Blues (1969)

Lulu – To Sir With Love (1967)

The Kinks – Waterloo Sunset (1967)

Glenn Campbell – Witchita Lineman (1968)

The Hollies – Bus Stop (1966)

The Dave Clark Five – Glad All Over (1964)

The Doors – Touch Me (1967)

Keith West – Excerpt From a Teenage Opera (1966)

Lovin’ Spoonful – You Didn’t Have To be So Nice (1966)

The Toys – Lovers Concerto  (1966)

The Honeycombs – Have I the Right (1964)

Sam Cooke – Change is Gonna Come (1964)

The Rolling Stones – Jumping Jack Flash (1968)

The Yardbirds – Happenings Ten Years Time Ago (1966)

The Byrds – Mr Tambourine Man (1965)

The Tremeloes (Call Me) Number One (1969)

Joe Cocker – Delta Lady (1969)

Delaney & Bonnie with Eric Clapton – Coming Home (1969)

The Misunderstood – Never Had a Girl Like You (1969)

Thunderclap Newman –Something In the Air (1969)

Tom Jones – What’s New Pussy Cat (1965)

Jethro Tull – Living In The Past (1969)

Traffic – Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush (1967)

Johnny Kidd & The Pirates – Shakin’ All over (1960)

Cilla Black – Alfie (1966)

Crosby Stills & Nash – Marakesh Express (1969)

Procal Harum – A Whiter Shade of Pale (1967)

Elvis Presley-  In The Ghetto (1969)

Simon & Garfunkel – Mr’s Robinson (1967)

Adam Faith – Someone Else’s Baby (1960)

Gerry and The Pacemakers – Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying (1964)

David Bowie – Space Oddity (1969)

The Seekers – Georgy Girl (1966)

Fleetwood Mac – Oh Well (1969)

Cream – I Feel Free (1966)

Donavan – Jennifer Juniper (1968)

Billy Fury – Halfway To Paradise (1961)

Petula Clark – Don’t Sleep In The Subway (1967)

The Bee Gees – First Of May (1969)

Aretha Franklin – Say A Little Prayer (1968)

Manfred Mann – Pretty Flamingo (196)

The Who – Substitute (1966)

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My thoughts on the new David Bowie film Moonage Daydream…

To the Vue cinema in Bedford yesterday afternoon with the good lady Janet and Steve and Anne Marie to see the new David Bowie film. As a huge fan,I was eagerly looking forward to this and having read the reviews – mainly positive – some negative, I was more than curious to see how this new big screen film documentary captured the Bowie legacy.
There have been a fair few David Bowie documentaries – notably the impressive Five Years series aired on BBC 2. Now comes Moonage Daydream – a lengthy cinematic release by the American director Brett Morgen.
Brett Morgen has had the full backing of the Bowie estate for this one to the extent that they allowed him access to hours and hours of rare Bowie footage and recorded interviews.
The skill of course is how to present this outpouring of material into a coherent narrative that both enlightens and entertains. In the main Morgen succeeds.
The story unfolds in a fairly chronological manner though such is the fast pace nature of the film, footage from differing era’s are often juxtaposed within a single song. The use of David’s own words from an array of interviews works well however some of his early career statements are occasionally on the pretentious side.
The vintage TV interview clips with Russell Harty and Dick Cavett are timepiece snapshots of the cultural shock effect Bowe had in the 70s.. Where the film really excels is with the live footage and there’s an abundance of it and much of it rarely seen.
Highlights for me included the simply riveting Jean Genie /Love Me Do sequence from the famous Hammersmith 1973 show with Jeff Beck guesting, a truly magnificent All The Young Dudes from the same show, a brilliant Rock’n’Roll With Me from the 1974 US tour and best of all, a majestic Heroes from the Earls Court show in 1978 (I was lucky enough to be at that one) – the Bowie estate must have the whole show of this and it deserves to be seen in its complete form.
The soundtrack also benefits greatly by the clever ploy of extending and isolating the instrumentation of certain songs – Life On Mars, Aladdin Sane, Sound and Vision and Modern Love are all presented in this format –the Sound and Vision backing track also features in an effecting mash up with Absolute Beginners
The story moves on at lightening pace to the Berlin years and the Serious Moonlight live return in 1983 – there’s more great footage here with a celebratory Let’s Dance. Bowie’s interest in painting is discussed as is his meeting wife Iman – the latter accompanied by a touching sequence with Bowie performing an impassioned Word on a Wing (always one of my fave Bowie tracks.) Hallo Spaceboy is a latter era live showpiece. Footage of his various acting roles such as The Elephant Man and The Man Who Fell To Earth are fleetingly referenced. Various clips of fervent fan reaction throughout his career are pleasing to see.
As the years roll on, Bowie’s interview words become more reflective and there’s a definite sense of a life fulfilled and a mission more than accomplished.
Nit picks? Yes a few along the way – a lack of early footage perhaps, no mention of the Young Americans and Station to Station albums, only a few seconds of footage from Live Aid 1985 and nothing from Glastonbury 2000 performances, a skating over his 90s output and not much mention of  The Next Day or Blackstar.
It’s therefore not flawless and is clearly for the serious Bowie fans only – but there’s no denying that Moonage Daydream is a spectacular assault on the senses with a kaleidoscope of compelling footage – and the sound quality is fabulous throughout.
For me, David Bowie remains the single most important solo artist of all time and this film is ample confirmation of that fact.
Dave Lewis – September 26 2022
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My thoughts on the new Beatles Revolver special edition box set…

Back in 1976 in their ground breaking Beatles book The Beatles Illustrated Record authors Roy Carr and Tony Tyler declared that in their opinion Revolver was far and away the best Beatles album.

Back then being somewhat obsessed with their 1967 -1969 period, I couldn’t really see the logic in their preference for the 1966 release. I guess I had a bit of catching up to do and in the intervening years I have come to acknowledge Revolver’s greatness. This has been considerably aided by the variety of reissues and upgrades in sound that have surfaced – notably the 2009 reissues. In fact, I purchased the first four Beatles albums that were released by EMI in 1987 on the then new Compact Disc format even before I had a CD player.

Now comes this expansive 5 CD set –the latest in a series of quality Beatles repackages that have all greatly benefited the input of producer Giles Martin. The reliability of his ears in a ‘like father like son’ fashion  have long been established via his stunning work on the remixing of the likes of Sgt Pepper and Abbey Road.

In the same way his famous Father George demonstrated a deft touch in making The Beatles sound so exquisite, Giles Martin has pulled off another triumph with this latest attempt to make a very good thing sound even better.

There’s purity about this new Revolver mix that brings out every nuance of a record so brimming with creativity.

Purity is a key word here because what The Beatles brought to the table in the spring of 1966 was a stack full of  song writing excellence. Across the 14 tracks there is an economy in every arrangement. Everything is in its place because it needs to be – even when they expanded their minds and their vast audience with the pioneering Tomorrow Never Knows. There’s no  excess here and no over indulgence and it was all recorded in the space of just three months from April through May to June. It was in hindsight the last of their carefree days as just around the corner was the controversy of John’s ”Bigger than Christ” comments that were taken out of context to cause much backlash on what would be their final US tour. After 1966 things got a whole lot more complicated.

Put simply though, The Beatles were always one step ahead –even at a time when the competition was rife with the development of The Beach Boys on Pet Sounds  and the emergence of  the American west coast sound of The Byrds and Jefferson Airplane plus the maturing compositional strength of The Kinks and The Who. As Mojo reported in their recent coverage of Revolver ‘’The Stones and The Who ‘’visibly sat up’’when they heard Tomorrow Never Knows” McCartney reports in 1966 ‘’We also played it to Cilla who just laughed!’’

It might have been laughable in a ‘oh what ever will they do next’ kind of way but it was seriously ahead of the game…

It’s perhaps significant that the first track they worked on as they reconvened to make the album on April 6 ,1966 was the aforementioned Tomorrow Never Knows  then known simply as Mark 1. It’s equally significant that they placed Tomorrow Never Knows as the closing track –it was the perfect parting shot and a clear indication that The Beatles’ world was about to go day – glow.

As Paul McCartney observes in his perceptive foreword in the magnificent accompanying book, ”in 1966 we were becoming used to recording and loved being in the studio.” Conformation that they were now enjoying the freedom of the studio more than ever before and performing live was now something of a chore.

Revolver was released on August 5, 1966 – a mere 25 days alter they played their final paying live show at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park. Incidentally, Revolver was also released a week after England had triumphed over West Germany to win the World Cup – what a time it was to be a part of swinging London. That sense of optimism prevails throughout this album.

Every performance showcases  The Beatles at the top of their game from the uplifting , George’s sharp and sardonic Taxman, the stark beauty of Eleonor Rigby and For No One, the surreal She Said She Said – the list goes on and on – I Want To Tell You, Here There And Everywhere, Good Day Sunshine  I might add that in this new mix John Lennon’s vocals never sounded better particularly on I’m Only Sleeping and Dr. Robert.

I love Paul’s comments in his foreword in the accompanying book:

”At this time the sun seemed to be shining every day to Good Day Sunshine summed up our feelings and the whole of a generation”

And now there’s more…

Two CDs worth of early takes, outtakes and work in progress fragments.

Back in  1988, Beatles scholar Mark Lewishon produced a ground breaking book The Beatles The Complete Recording Sessions -The Abbey Road Years. It was ground breaking in that for the first time, the Abbey Road Beatles tape archive (and that of the select few other studios they worked in such as Trident and Olympic) was made available to a relative outsider. Mark diligently logged every session and the findings were duly featured in the book.  It was an absolute revelation and there were many details of offcuts, outtakes and alternate takes. It was a mouth watering read and there were so many times when I longed to know how such material might sound. Indeed it set me off on a quest to search out many a studio outtakes bootleg.

Thankfully, in recent years the official various extended reissues and the Anthology series have revealed many an alternative treasure. This special edition Revolver is stacked full of them as presented on the two CDs of Sessions.

So now what were mere words on a Mark Lewishon page are now living breathing artifacts.

We can hear the remarkable development of Tomorrow Never Knows (Take 1) through Mono Mix RM 11 – the evolution of Got to Get You Into My Life from First Version) [take 5]to take 8 – the fascinating Rain (Take 5 – Actual Speed) and then Rain (Take 5 – Slowed Down for Master Tape),

Then there’s the joyous And Your Bird Can Sing including the giggling version, s a lovely early acoustic led take of George’s Love You To (working title Granny Smith) and an enchanting sequence that chronicles the development of I’m Only Sleeping.

Perhaps most impressive of all is John’s Yellow Submarine (Songwriting Work Tape – Part 1) [mono]. The evergreen wacky children’s singalong beginning life as plaintive Lennon lament – who knew?

Both Session CDs are full of  surprises that brings every listener closer to the creative process that these songs underwent to achieve such greatness.

Finally, there’s a CD EP that profiles the brilliant Paperback Writer/Rain single which was recorded as part of the Revolver sessions and issued as a stand alone single in the June of 1966. Stereo and mono mixes that bring out the clarity of those harmonies on the A side and Paul’s strident bass and Ringo’s superlative drumming on the B side.

So there it is, Revolver as we have never before heard it before  –  and the words that spring to mind are astonishing, exhilarating, exuberant, thrilling and daring – words that fall so easily on to the page when it comes to describing the timeless magic of The Beatles.

On this latest Beatles reissue extravaganza, their magic is sprinkled across this entire contents of this wonderful 5 CD package.

Once again, it’s the act we’ve known for all these years reaffirming their status that in an ever changing challenging world, The Beatles remain a truly inspiring constant.

Dave Lewis – November 1,2022 

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4 NOVEMBER 2022 1,089 VIEWS 3 COMMENTS

ROBERT PLANT PRESENTS SAVING GRACE FEATURING SUZI DIAN

WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 2nd 2022

WEXFORD SPIEGELTENT FESTIVAL…

So to Wexford by train, plane and car…

The backstory:

I had been weighing this one up for the last few weeks…

Robert Plant with his Saving Grace band featuring Suzi Dian announced a while back they would be performing at the Spiegeltent Festival in Wexford in Ireland – this is not far from where my very good friend Dec lives.

It occurred to us both that it would be something special if we could meet up and attend the gig -I have not seen Dec for over a year.

This would be my 125th Zep/Robert Plant gig – Dec was next to me at the sixth (Earls Court May 24 1975) and the eighth and ninth (Knebworth August 4 & 11 1979) so this was an opportunity to both share the same space again with the singer who had enthralled us both all those years back.

After many conversations here, a plan was put in place and flights were booked. Having not done anything like this for a very long time I was somewhat apprehensive – for various reasons I could certainly not have envisaged pulling anything off like this a few months back.

Dec was amazed that an artist of Robert’s stature was playing in Wexford – previously he could recall few big names appearing there other than David Gray and The Boomtown Rats at the Opera House.

Little wonder the 700 tickets sold out instantly.

So with bag packed and fond farewells said to the good lady Janet, on Wednesday morning  I checked in at Luton Airport for the scheduled 12.45 to Dublin Airport where Dec would then drive us the 100 miles to Wexford.  Alas windy conditions delayed the flight  by nearly two hours. I was beginning to think this may not be such a good idea – in fact I was beginning to feel like I did in the quest for Ashby De la Zouch back in 1999 (see below) but things moved on and I landed at 4pm. Dec did a great job navigating the Dublin traffic and by just after 6pm we were in the vicinity of the Speigaltent Festival site. A quick pint in the excellent The Sky and The Ground pub and we were ready for the action.

The venue itself was a very impressive sturdy tent construction seating 700 and it was well full by the time the support act Rory Butler appeared. A solo singer songwriter from Edinburgh in the John Martyn vein – he had an engaging style that the audience soon warmed to.

So to Saving Grace featuring Robert Plant and Suzi Dian.

What can I tell you? This 125th occasion of seeing Robert Plant perform live proved to be a very special one. I can honestly say it was one of the best gigs I’ve ever seen.

Of course, the stars all need to align for that status to be awarded and here in the wonderful setting of the Spiegelfestival they all did. The Quay side surroundings were all a bit surreal and as Dec pointed out, you could here the slight rumble of the Dublin to Wexford train very slowly passing by about 10-15 yards away with the lights from the moving carriages in the Spiegeltent’s windows.

Firstly, we were very lucky to have a front row seat right in line with the stage with no obstructions whatsoever. The sound was crystal clear and superbly mixed. The enthusiastic crowd made for a great vibe – there were of course plenty of veteran Zep fans amongst them but everyone was hugely receptive to the unique blend of folk, blues and Americana.

Last and of course not least Saving Grace were absolutely brilliant.

The Saving Grace line up arrived on stage with Oli Jefferson (drums and percussion, Tony Kelsey (guitars, mandolin) and Matt Worley (banjo, guitars, cuatro) soon to be joined by Suzi Dian (vocals, accordion, and tonight, occasional bass) and Robert Plant (vocals, percussion)

I had seen their gig back at the Hackney Empire back in April but this was on another  level. There was an intensity amongst this unit that was evident from the moment they oozed into Gospel Plough and followed that with the sensitive Cuckoo.

There was something of a set list surprise next with a recall to active duty of Four Winds Blow from the Mighty ReArranger album and given the raging Dublin winds of earlier –  a most appropriate choice.

Robert was on his spieling best with plenty of caustic ageism jokes that went down well. he looked well at ease with mic off strutting around and as for the voice -as good if not better than ever.

Out In The Woods and Too Far From You followed and then one of the first highlights of the evening – an absolute steller Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down.

It was during Robert’s delivery of the closing part of In My Time of Dying within the song that I began to have instant flashbacks. As he replicated the lines from the classic track three on side one of Physical Graffiti, I was momentarily back in my bedroom in early 1975 devouring every tortured squealed note of that stand out recorded moment.

Now it was back – ringing in my ears right in front of me as sung by the same singer all these years on in downtown Wexford.

I also realised that being in such close proximity, I was sitting totally transfixed by Robert’s vocal mastery.  Now I’ve been lucky enough to be close to the Plant action on a fair few occasions – notably Wembley Arena 1985, The Kings Head in 1993, Page & Plant Meadowlands New York 1995, The Priory Of Brion Red Lion Birmingham in 1999, and the Sensational Spaceshifters in Gloucester Guildhall 2012 – but tonight’s closeness was something else.

The fact perhaps that this view was totally unobtrusive – no baying fellow crowds or photographers –  just me in line with the singer I’ve followed for some 52 years. It was absolutely awe inspiring.

In fact it began to feel a little bit spiritual this bond between life long fan and performer. We go back a long way do Robert Plant and I. Being so close I could see every vocal nuance, every off mic comment, every sharp pose and it was all totally captivating and engrossing. I was on another musical plane and higher than I had been at a gig for many years.

The songs that were at the centre of this fixation included a dramatic take on Low’s Monkey and a truly fragile performance of Moby Grape’s It’s a Beautiful Day today. This was sung with breathtaking sensitivity in that breathy style he first perfected on the cover of Little Hands on the Skip Spense More Oar tribute album. What a moment that was…

Robert paid tribute to the late Ralph Stanley who he had worked with and delivered a superb take on As I Roved.

A hybrid mix of Donovan’s Hey Gyp and a Memphis Minnie workout now titled Chevrolet led into another outstanding performance.

 

Of course this band is not just about the lead singer for Saving Grace is a real collective. Throughout the set, Matt Worley’s delightful banjo technique and Tony Kelsey’s superb guitar playing continually impressed. As for Suzi Dian, her accordion contributions added more colour and then there’s her vocal rapport with Robert. Between them they have developed an almost telepathic understanding -this is very noticeable in how they constantly push each other to the limit vocally. This often manifests itself in the closing of numbers – I was near enough to see the eye contact between them as they wound down the songs in total vocal sync. It’s another unique feature of this amazing unit.

That vocal telepathy was certainly in evidence on the brilliant House Of Cards, the Richard Thompson song covered on the Band Of Joy album (”a song that means a lot to us” remarked Robert) which had a light and shade all of it’s own -. equally shared by Robert and Suzi in total harmony.

Then another stand out – a rollicking take on the Fate Of Nations track Down to The Sea with Suzi on accordion –this prompted more personal flashbacks for this writer of those great Brixton gigs of 1993.

Then it was time for a surprise and just as I had picked the right Paul Rodgers gig in Oxford in 2017 when Robert guested with Brian Johnson on Money (That’s What I want), so it was again tonight as I struck incredibly lucky.

Robert introduced the legendary Donovan. With long flowing hair, the sprightly 76 year old sparred with Suzi on the timelessly brilliant Season Of The Witch – he even threw in few lines from his 1969 hit Goo Goo Barabajagal. Donovan actually lives about 40 minutes away in nearby Bunclody. Quick aside – this is the second guest slot with Donovan and an ex Zep member -I saw Jimmy Page onstage with him at the Royal Albert Hall in 2011.

By now the crowd were up and dancing as the delightful Angel Dance ushered us through to the traditional all round the mic delivery of I Bid You Goodnight.

Wexford duly bade them goodnight..

I was very near the stage and as he came off stage Robert did nod over to me which was a very heart warming moment. Dec and I hung around talking to a few local fans all of whom were thrilled at what they had just witnessed.

Then it was back in the car with Dec to his place for an overnight stay of  a mere three hours. We were up at 3am ready to drive another 100 miles to Dublin Airport. We got there at 5.30am in good time or my flight. Fond farewells were exchanged – it had been an absolute blast. I had been in Ireland a mere 14 hours and with Dec for 12 but it had all been worth it.

My 7.20 flight was all on time and I was back home here by 10am. The Saving Grace Wexford experience was over but oh what memories…

Summary:

This really felt like a special one and I am so  thankful I made the effort to pull this off. Thanks to Dec for making it all possible and for the driving.  Thanks to Robert Plant and Saving Grace and one or two important people who helped make it happen for me.

I can honestly say I have rarely been so engrossed and captivated by a live performance such as this. A lot of factors came in to play – certainly it occurs to me that all the trials of the last few years put into perspective how blessed I felt to be in Wexford right in front of the singer of these songs. Joyous and totally life affirming.

Robert Plant’s vocal supremacy, his charisma, his rapport with the audience – all this combined to make this one of the best gigs I have ever had the privilege to witness.

All the nuances and vocal control that lit up the first of my 125 occasions of seeing him perform live way back at the Empire Pool Wembley on a freezing November night in 1971 some 51 years ago, were all present and correct.

For those fans attending the imminent Scottish dates in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Perth, you are all in for an absolute treat…

Dave Lewis – November 4,2022

Here’s the footage of the gig on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCqwuox1fmw

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My thoughts on the new Bruce Springsteen album Only The Strong Survive – Covers Vol 1…  

Bruce Springsteen is of course no stranger to covering other artists songs. On stage with the E Street Band he has often taken on the role of the human juke box covering many a classic tune such as Pretty Flamingo, When You Walk Into The Room and Twist And Shout – particularly during those incendiary performances circa 1975- 1981. He also produced an album of Pete Seeger covers with the 2006 release We Shall Overcome – The Seeger Sessions.
Now comes a whole album of soulful covers from Springsteen’s record collection. He could have produced an album such as this at any time in his career but this release comes at something of a calm before the storm with Bruce and the E Streeters back on the road for a world tour in 2023.
This album was produced by Dan Aniello at the Thrill Hill Recording in New Jersey with input from the E Street Horns. It’s Bruce having time out from the day job – slightly enforced of course during lockdown.
I would draw a parallel with Bruce’s current state of play with that of Robert Plant. Like Robert, he is making music purely for pleasure – there’s no big statements to make, nothing to prove and he is clearly doing this because it feels a joy to do so. So it is with Plant and his Saving Grace project.
There’s also one other thing they have in common – both Bruce Springsteen and Robert Plant are singing as good if not better than ever.
It’s Springsteen’s committed assured vocal that constantly brings to life these old soul nuggets and right from the off he is right on it.
I am well aware of the delightful opening track the Jerry Butler/Gamble &Huff composition Only The Strong Survive – it’s long been one of my faves as performed by Elvis Presley on various releases – originating from his early 1969 Memphis sessions. The Boss sticks pretty much to the King’s arrangement opening with sweet female backing vocals before it moves into an uplifting lament on lost love.
He takes on another Jerry Butler/Gamble & Huff song Hey Western Union Man with equally successful results. Both these songs are on Jerry’s 1968 album Iceman Cometh produced by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff with Thom Bell arranging – those three all who went onto to huge success nurturing the 1970s Philly sound (note to self – I need to check that album out.)
Original soul man Sam Moore makes a couple of cameo appearances adding plaintive vocals to Soul Man and I Forgot To Be Your Lover. The former taken from a 2000 era Dobie Gray album, kicks in with optimistic Hungary Heart style, while the latter – a William Bell- Booker T composition, has a pleading vocal quality that reminded me of Robert Plant’s performance on Zep’s I’m Gonna Crawl.
Bruce also takes on William Bell’s Any Other Way applying a jaunty and infectious style. Tyrone Davis’ Turn Back The Hands Of Time benefits from a descending chorus with subtle strings – and while we are on the subject, Rob Mathes does a great job on the string arrangements throughout the album.
There’s also plenty of Motown representation here. Bruce tackles the gorgeous 1985 Commodores hit Nightshift adding the necessary emotion to this affecting tribute to Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson. The Temptations I Wish it Would Rain makes a welcome appearance (The Faces did a great live version of this on the B side of Pool Hall Richard) – a moody interpretation with up front backing vocals and strings.
There’s a couple of Four Tops tunes – the less known When She Was My Girl from their stint on Casablanca Records in 1981 and the 1967 hit 7 Rooms Of Gloom. The latter is one of the few misfires – a rather slight rushed rendering in my view – a far better Four Tops cover for me would have been the 1971 hit A Simple Game written by the Moody Blues’ Mike Pinder.
Don’t Play That Song – a 1970 Aretha Franklin hit works in a suitably gospel chorus led arrangement with a live in the studio feel. The chosen ballad for this set work well given Bruce’s vocal strength – he brings deep resonance and melodrama to The Walker Brothers The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore and Jimmy Ruffin’s What Becomes of The Broken Hearted
The closing track is a sentimental stroll through Diana Ross’s Supremes swan song Someday W’ell Be Together Again.
Finally to the outstanding performance of the entire set – an exuberance and wonderfully uplifting canter though Frank Wilson’s classic stomper Do I Love You (Indeed I Do). A slice of rare soul, original pressings have changed hands for £15,000 plus – I have the rather more affordable Record Store Day reissue.
Bruce does Northern Soul and he does it by way of a Born to Run kitchen sink approach complete with swirling organ and breathless vocals all in the spirit of the original and it works a treat.
I am long since retired from attending the mega stadium Bruce live shows – as good no doubt as they are but if he was to play this album in a venue such as the Speigeltent Festival in Wexford where I saw Robert Plant recently, I would be up for that big time.
Summary:
Only The Strong Survive – Covers- Vol I is Bruce at his most joyous and until Robert Plant gets around to hopefully releasing a Saving Grace album, this new Bruce set will no doubt be my most played covers album in the coming months. Oh, and if there’s a Covers Vol II you can count me right in for that one as well…
Dave Lewis – November 18 2022:

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Another great find:
Newly surfaced footage –with thanks to John Waters.
Led Zeppelin – Live at the LA Forum August 21, 1971 – 8mm Film by Eddie Vincent

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgAFXH1TMxQ


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

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

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

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


Pele RIP…
While we were in London on Thursday it was very sad to hear of the passing of Pele.
Pele….beyond football genius and now gone -he lit up my life in 1970 watching the World Cup I will never forget it…
Pele…the epitome of the beautiful game…RIP
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DL Diary Blog Update:

Friday December 23:

I am a big collector of the CBS Special Products label – these were the promo albums and singles the UK CBS label produced to link up with various third parties to promote their artists and catalogue.
I was therefore well pleased to acquire these two seasonal gems via my record collecting comrade John Parkin…
For Those Who Believe in Father Christmas, a 1973 tie in with Crawfords and Great Songs of Christmas a similar link up with Good Year in 1969 …
Nostalgic LP records from a bygone age…lovely stuff…
Friday December 23:

As I’ve reached the period in 1971 when this album was released in my work in progress DL Memoirs -a timely moment to remind myself of its greatness – on the player The Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers – what an album…

Saturday December 24:

With our very good friends Chris and Tina West and Dave Collins at the Fox & Hounds last night – a top night with the Christmas comeback of Chris Rescue & The Helicopters – their excellent set of 60s and 70s covers went down very well indeed…

Saturday December 24:

Saturday is platterday – and to get Christmas Eve rocking early – on the player Led Zeppelin IV – the original copy I purchased from the WH Smith record department back in 1971 51 years ago this month with money saved from my paper round.
Little did I know that within three years, I would be working in the WH Smith record department myself which led to a 35 year career in music retail and I loved every minute or it…

Saturday  December 24:

Saturday is platterday
These Christmas singles will be on rotation over the next couple of days…you gotta love 45RPM Christmas singles…

Saturday December 24:

Great to bump in to Howard Openshaw earlier – back in the 1980s Howard was the main man on WOZ promotions who brought many an act to Bedford including The Godfathers, UK Subs ,Fields of Nephilim etc all of which I faithfully reported on when I was writing a weekly column in the Beds Citizen. However Howard did tell me he turned down The Stone Roses before they became big – you can’t win ‘em all – Merry Christmas Howard from Janet and I –have a great one!

Saturday December 24:
40 years ago in December 1982 the good lady Janet and I were sharing our first Christmas together – having just started going out…
40 years on we are feeling more than blessed to be celebrating another Christmas with our family including our beautiful grandson Ollie…
Janet and I thank you for your amazing support to us and wish you all a hopeful, peaceful and Merry Christmas …
Much Love from us here xx
Sunday December 25: 
Great to have a visit from our very good friends Steve Livesley and Anne Marie Jones last night.
Christmas presents were exchanged and my record collecting comrade went away with my new Led Zeppelin Five Glorious Nights revised and expanded edition book while I received The Who Who’s Better Who’s Best compilation on a gold video disc – you gotta love it!
Season’s greetings Steve and Anne Marie from Janet and I – have a great Christmas Day!
Monday December 26:
On the player The Partridge Family Christmas Album..
A perennial seasonal favourite here…superb arrangements and singing – David Cassidy was a great vocalist and made some great solo singles…
Tuesday December 27:
Well pleased to receive this one for Christmas from my record collecting comrade Steve – Dust On The Nettles – a journey through the British underground folk scene 1967 – 1972 three CD compilation – right up my street.. thanks mate!
Tuesday December 27:
The Who and Rolling Stones socks for Christmas – I’ll be wearing these with pride – you gotta love ‘em!
Tuesday December 27:
Well pleased to receive this one for Christmas from my record collecting comrade Steve – Dust On The Nettles – a journey through the British underground folk scene 1967 – 1972 three CD compilation – right up my street.. thanks mate!
Tuesday December 27:
One of a number of gems sent for Christmas by my record collecting comrade John Parkin..
Billy Fury 1964 original 1964 Decca single
I Will/ Nothin’ Shakin ‘(But The Leaves On The Tree) –the latter recorded with then session players Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones as confirmed by the anecdote John included – thanks mate!
Tuesday December 27:
Another very welcome Christmas present – I am very much looking forward to reading this autobiography of Martin Chivers.
He was a magnificent striker for Spurs in the late 60s and early 70s and I was lucky enough to see him play in the second leg of the UEFA Cup Final against Wolves in May 1972. Martin had scored both goals in a 2-1 win in the first leg – a 1-1 draw in the second leg at White Hart Lane with a goal by Alan Mullery was enough to ensure a Spurs cup winning victory …a great footballing memory from when I was 15 years old…
Thanks John P for this one – cheers mate!
Thursday December 29:
A trip to London to accompany Sam back…
Feeling very blessed to be back in my fave London area and about to enter The TBL Office also known as The Spice Of Life…oh yes
Always great see Alan G and Paul in our collective office also known as The Spice Of Life – cheers chaps!
While the good lady Janet and Sam went off shopping I zipped over to Fopp and was very pleased to find this gem -reduced to £15 – I’ll take it ! You can never have too many Bobbie Gentry albums…
Feeling very blessed to be in the TBL Office also known as The Spice of Life with the good lady Janet…
A great night with Janet & Sam!
Update here:

Christmas came and went as it does and we had a truly lovely family time particularly with our beautiful grandson Ollie here on Christmas Day.

It was also great to get out and see a fair few friends  over the past week and we had a fantastic afternoon and evening yesterday accompanying  Sam back to London.

Another year passes and following the pandemic, there’s been no let up with the challenges to be faced – with the cost of living crisis, strike action etc posing much hardship.

Here, we had health issues both mental and physical – Janet’s hip surgery earlier in the year rendering her on crutches again for another six months but thankfully she has come through all that very well and we feel much gratitude for the NHS care Janet received.

So as the curtain comes down on 2022, once again on behalf of the good lady Janet may I offer thanks for all your incredible, inspiring and heart-warming support and kindness this past year which means so much to us here. We wish you a hopeful, healthy and safe new year…

Thanks for listening 

Until next time…

Dave  Lewis –  December 30 2022

TBL website updates written and compiled by Dave Lewis

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https://www.facebook.com/tightbutloose.loose

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3 Comments »

  • Andrew pepworth said:

    Hi Dave,great read in your reviews on some great releases. Also me and Donna were so pleased to have met you,Janet,Steve and his Anne-Marie,when we came down to Bedford for Paul Weller concert.It was a pleasure to be in all of yous company and made our stay so memorable and worth the trip down for weekend. Also that you took us to Slide records and i purchased Montrose 1st Album and Ramones Album.I am also looking forward to receiving latest zep bootleg.Here is to another great year off releases. Also i plan to get down to London Victoria record fair this year. Best Wishes to you,Janet and Family. Love to all.

  • Frank Sheppard said:

    Hello Dave! I just wanted to thank you for all you have done and continue to do. I love all of your books.
    Quick question, where can I find the 7cd CSN&Y live cd box set? That one slipped by me somehow.
    Again I thank you for all your hard work and can’t wait to read your memoir. I am off to listen to Terry Reid’s “Seed of Memory”
    Happy Holidays to you and your family.

    Warm regards,

    Frank Sheppard

  • VHP said:

    Dave,

    Great features as ever and best wishes to you, your family and everyone who visits this web site. All the best for 2023.

    Pele – what a legend. Although I was very young I remember the 1970 world cup, what a team and David Coleman’s iconic commentary as well. Pele is the greatest ever player – to someone of my age. RIP.

    I know Messi & Maradona are also great, but for me that ‘hand of god’ goal does taint Diego’s image somewhat. Messi is also an amazing player and it would have been sad if he had not won the world cup during his career.

    Anyway, best wishes for 2023, and lets see if Jimmy delivers on those projects he mentioned earlier in 2022.

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