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MARK BOWMAN RIP/ DEBORAH BONHAM LATEST NEWS/ROBERT PLANT PHOTO BOOK/LZ NEWS/TBL ARCHIVE – THE DESTROYER AND PONTIAC 1977/ ROBERT PLANT FATE OF NATIONS/VICTORIA RECORD FAIR/LATEST ZEP BOOTLEGS/YARDBIRDS RSD RELEASE/DL DIARY BLOG UPDATE

25 April 2024 1,077 views No Comment

Mark Bowman RIP…

I am so very sad and shocked to hear the passing of Mark Bowman.
Mark has been incredibly supportive of all my Led Zeppelin books, projects and TBL magazines over many years.
Based in Austin Texas, Mark was a very talented photographer and chronicled both Led Zeppelin and Jimmy Page and Robert Plant in their various solo guises.
He also captured many other acts including Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Bono of U2, The Alice Cooper Group, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart, Tom Petty, Stevie Nicks, Pete Townshend of The Who, Bruce Springsteen, Keith Emerson, Ronnie Lane and Ian McLagan of The Faces among many others.
Mark He was also a contributing photographer to the Jimmy Page by Jimmy Page book published by Genesis Publications
In effect, Mark was a man of music who generously shared his passion in many ways.
I was lucky enough to meet Mark when he came over for the Led Zeppelin 02 reunion show in 2007.
We were constantly in touch discussing the twists and turns of the solo careers of Jimmy, Robert, John Paul Jones and other artists. It was less than a month ago that we were on FB messenger discussing The Who’s Next deluxe box set that Mark had recently acquired. His enthusiasm was always infectious and inspiring.
I will miss his frequent views and passion dearly and I know he will be so sorely missed by all that were fortunate to know him.
My sincere condolences go to Charley and all family and friends.
RIP Mark – you shared your passion with grace and generosity and will forever remain loved and remembered….
Dave Lewis – April 21 2024
Mark’s photography can be found at:

https://www.markbowmanimages.com/

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Deborah Bonham Latest:

Deborah Bonham Band Newsletter
April-May 2024
Hello everyone,
A couple of shows this weekend with Rock’n’Roll connections:
Friday 26 April we play Hull, home of Mick Ronson, Trevor Bolder and Woody Woodmansey from Bowie’s Spiders from Mars. Pete will be playing his ‘Mick Ronson’ Gibson guitar and we’ve included ‘It ain’t Easy’ from the ‘Bonham-Bullick’ album that was covered by Bowie with Ronson on ‘Pin Ups’.

‘If David Bowie played the Blues, it might’ve sounded something like this… ACE!’ – ‘Bonham-Bullick It Ain’t Easy’
Cerys Matthews’ Blues Show BBC Radio 2

This Saturday 27 April we return to the fabulous Stables Theatre in Milton Keynes at the Jim Marshall Auditorium. This amazing Buckinghamshire venue was started by Jazz legends Cleo Laine and Johnnie Dankworth.
Buckingham was the home town of the late great Bernie Marsden, guitarist with Whitesnake and more recently recorded with Deborah Bonham and Peter Bullick on the ‘Heavenly Cream’ album, released beginning of the year that included Ginger Baker, Paul Rodgers, Maggie Bell, Joe Bonamassa and more.
“The Powerful vocals of Deborah Bonham gracefully shook the walls of Abbey Road Studios when she came in to lay down a few tracks. Peter Bullick added to the mix displaying his guitar finesse with great ease”
Pete Brown – ‘Heavenly Cream’ Quarto Valley Records Release Dec 2023
Bernie played with the Deborah Bonham band on many occassions over the past 20 years, and this time Pete will play his ’59 Les Paul reissue through some vintage Marshalls in honour of Bernie’s ‘Beast’ guitar and legendary Jim Marshall’s amps.
There’ll be a few Ronno and Bernie licks thrown in for good measure for sure…

‘Lick ’em by smiling, and leave them to hang’

Thanks so much for your continued support that this year included another ‘Sold Out’ Emsworth Blues Festival and Blackpool’s Blues Rhythm and Rock Festival where we were joined on stage for 1/2 the show by 3/5 of ‘Saving Grace’… Ollie, Suzi and Robert.
Looking forward to many more surprises and thrills…
They ain’t gone!
Tour T Shirts available from the website shop, along with the Deborah Bonham albums, Bonham-Bullick, Spirit, Duchess, The Old Hyde, Paul Rodgers Free Spirit Live and ‘Heavenly Cream’ an acoustic Tribute to Cream. Click Here
2024 Deborah Bonham Band Tour Dates
26 Apr HULL Wrecking Ball Music & Arts Centre UK
27 Apr MILTON KEYNES The Stables Jim Marshall Auditorium UK
14 Jun GRIMSBY Yardbirds Rock Club UK

15 Jun DURHAM Northern Kin Festival UK
09 Jul LEDBURY Market Theatre UK
https://themarkettheatre.com/shows/deborah-bonham
13 Jul POLAND Suwałki Blues Festival
06 Sep GRANTHAM Nene Valley Rock Festival UK
07 Sep BIRMINGHAM Joe Joe Jims UK
13 Sep CHELMSFORD Club – Black Frog Presents UK
14 Sep WORCESTER Huntingdon Hall UK
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STOP PRESS – JUST ANNOUNCED:
New Robert Plant Photo Book via Rufus Publishing…
Portraits Of Robert Plant – Through The Eighties
Edited by Dave Lewis – Introduction by Mark Blake 
This is something I am in the process of editing now – a pictorial record of Robert Plant during the 1980s with many previously unpublished photos.
I’ll also be contributing an essay of my experiences of seeing Robert Plant live during this captivating post Zep era –  more details to follow…
Here’s the info via Rufus Publishing:
Robert Plant once compared the end of Led Zeppelin in 1980 to “walking away from a loud explosion, with your ears ringing.” The images in this book celebrate what happened next: namely, the aftermath and the first chapter in what would become his long and wildly eclectic solo career. Plant had just turned thirty-two when Led Zeppelin finished, following the death of his friend and drummer John Bonham. He wasn’t ready to stop making music, but he retreated to his family home, Jennings Farm in Worcestershire, to grieve and ponder his next move. In reality, Plant would spend the next ten years coming to terms with his musical past and, at times, running away from it.
Portraits of Robert Plant- is a photographic celebration of Robert Plant’s journey through the eighties, published as a brand-new coffee-table book tracing his career with a mixture of well-known, rare and largely unseen photographs from some of rock’s greatest photographers, including George Bodnar who toured extensively with Plant and his band. The book is edited by the world renowned Led Zeppelin author Dave Lewis who witnessed over 20 Robert Plant live performances during the1980s and includes a career essay from music journalist Mark Blake, tracking Plant’s career through the decade. This unofficial book is 230mm square, case-bound, 240 pages, printed on luxury 170gsm matt-coated paper. The book comes with a fold out poster and is presented in a black slipcase with a gold foil logo. The main edition comes in 500 numbered copies and sells for £55 plus shipping.
In addition to this, a much larger, ultra-limited Black Leather and Metal Edition measuring 375mm square and presented in recycled leather and a hand welded aluminium metal slipcase with a screen printed logo in a run of 50 numbered copies. This edition also comes with a unique lenticular for framing and will sell for £350.
The books will go on sale on Friday April 26th at 3pm UK time and will feature a 10% pre-order discount if ordered before May 7th. The first 200 orders will also come with a free enamel badge worth £6.00. The books will ship worldwide at the end of July 2024.
The books can be ordered here: www.rufuspublications.com/rufusbooks/plant/
A promotional video for the book can be found here: https://youtu.be/ySU4zrz7xxQ?si=YqmRiaNkbnRsUrP7

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LZ News:

Led Zeppelin News Update:

Here’s the latest round up from LZ News:

Led Zeppelin

We reveal a previously unseen video and photo of Led Zeppelin’s January 24, 1975 Ohio show

Several weeks ago, we mentioned that we had tracked down an unseen video of Led Zeppelin performing at the Richfield Coliseum in Ohio on January 24, 1975 that was stored in the archives of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

At the time, we had reached a dead end: The Hall of Fame was able to provide us with a copy of the video for research purposes, but they didn’t own the copyright to the video so couldn’t allow us to publish it.

Earlier this week, we managed to track down the filmer Don Andree using public databases in the US. He immediately agreed to let us publish his video after 49 years. LedZepFilm has done a great job synchronising Andree’s film to an audience recording of the show:

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame archives also has a collection of unseen photos of the same show taken by Helen Sinko. Also this week, we publicly revealed one of those photos by again teaming up with LedZepFilm to pay to publish the image.

Covering the emergence of the January 24, 1975 video, Classic Rock Magazine declared that 2024 is “turning out to be a bumper year for Led Zeppelin fans”.

So far this year, we’ve seen the following emerge:

We’ve seen several social media posts questioning why so much Led Zeppelin material has emerged in recent weeks. Some people have suggested this flood of material may have come from some official band activity, but the truth is this has happened thanks to hard work from fans who have spent many hours and often thousands of dollars on these efforts to make things public.

Do you have any Led Zeppelin material that you’d like help making public? We can help scan film or photos and get things out into the world for fans to enjoy. Drop us an email on ledzepnews@gmail.com

Maloney also attended Led Zeppelin’s September 7, 1971 show in Boston as well as the band’s July 20, 1973 show in Boston and took photos of those shows as well, so expect them to emerge in the coming weeks.


LedZepFilm posts unrestored footage

Last week we reported on the emergence of a significantly upgraded video of Led Zeppelin performing in Chicago on April 9, 1977 shot by Jim Kelly, known as Speedy, as well as a previously unreleased 8mm film also shot by Kelly of Led Zeppelin performing at Knebworth Festival in the UK on August 4, 1979.

LedZepFilm has now shared the original unrestored versions of both of those videos on his YouTube channel:


Previously unseen photos of Led Zeppelin performing in Boston in 1970 were published online

18 previously unseen photos of Led Zeppelin performing in Boston on September 9, 1970 have been published for the first time.

The photos were taken by Joe Maloney who also produced an audience recording of the show which has been circulating for years.

KRW_CO published the photos in a YouTube video, showcasing them alongside Maloney’s recording of the show.

Jimmy Page

Jimmy Page now says ‘maybe’ an expanded Coverdale Page album will be released

You have to feel sorry for David Coverdale. He’s been publicly lobbying since 2018 to release an expanded version of Coverdale Page, the 1993 album he released with Jimmy Page.

The album’s master tapes went up in flames in 2008 but Coverdale recovered digital files for the album and even regained the rights to the album. Despite Coverdale’s repeated mentions of the project in interviews, Page never publicly mentioned the box set idea.

Then the Covid pandemic happened and the thirtieth anniversary of the album’s release came and went with only a blue vinyl re-release in Japan that lacked any bonus content. Coverdale seemed to have given up on the project. “There was just no time. It breaks my heart not to do it, it really does, because it’s a super, super record,” he said last year in an interview with Ultimate Classic Rock.

There’s now a glimmer of home for Coverdale, however. Six years after Coverdale began talking about the box set, Page seems to have taken notice and published a Facebook and Instagram post about the album earlier this week which ends with “there’s one track called ‘Saccharin’, which is really, really good. Maybe those outtakes will come out at some point in an expanded version.”

Setting aside the fact that Page misspelt the name of his former manager (it’s Brian Goode, not Brian Good), his post suggests the box set may happen after all.

Robert Plant

Robert Plant became a patron of the Good Shepherd

Robert Plant has become a patron of the Good Shepherd, a Wolverhampton-based charity that helps homeless people. Back in December we reported that Plant had visited the charity and endorsed its work on social media.


Robert Plant’s former band members continue to play together

The Free Four, a band made up of four former members of Plant’s former solo band The Sensational Space Shifters, continue to perform together. They played a show in Bath in the UK last night following their debut performance on March 6.

The band is comprised of Justin Adams, John Baggott, Dave Smith and Billy Fuller. The four men were all part of Plant’s band The Sensational Space Shifters which he recorded and toured with from 2012 to 2018 before forming Saving Grace in 2019.

John Paul Jones

Here’s the best way to experience John Paul Jones’ recent solo show

John Paul Jones’ recent solo performance on March 22 in Knoxville, Tennessee as part of the Big Ears music festival was notable for many reasons. He very rarely plays solo shows, he emerged from the organ’s pit playing a pipe organ and he also wore a pair of bright silver shoes.

Fans who didn’t make it along to that show in person can now experience it through a newly uploaded YouTube video that cuts together footage of the show with an audience recording of it:

Upcoming events:

  • April 30 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Harrogate, UK.
  • May 1 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Stockton, UK.
  • May 3 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Coventry, UK.
  • May 4 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace at Cheltenham Jazz Festival in Cheltenham, UK.
  • June – Genesis Publications will release its deluxe poster set that includes a poster advertising Jimmy Page’s photographic autobiography.
  • June 2 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
  • June 4 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Camdenton, Missouri.
  • June 5 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Lincoln, Nebraska.
  • June 7 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Prior Lake, Minnesota.
  • June 8 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Madison, Wisconsin.
  • June 11 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Des Moines, Iowa.
  • June 12 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Highland Park, Illinois.
  • June 14 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Toledo, Ohio.
  • June 15 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania.
  • June 18 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Vienna, Virginia.
  • June 19 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Vienna, Virginia.
  • June 21 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss at the Outlaw Music Festival in Alpharetta, Georgia.
  • June 22 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss at the Outlaw Music Festival in Charlotte, North Carolina.
  • June 23 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss at the Outlaw Music Festival in Raleigh, North Carolina.
  • June 26 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss at the Outlaw Music Festival in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
  • June 28 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss at the Outlaw Music Festival in Syracuse, New York.
  • June 29 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss at the Outlaw Music Festival in Wantagh, New York.
  • June 30 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss at the Outlaw Music Festival in Holmdel, New Jersey.
  • July 2 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss at the Outlaw Music Festival in Mansfield, Massachusetts.
  • July 4 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss at Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic in Camden, New Jersey.
  • July 6 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss at the Outlaw Music Festival in Bethel, New York.
  • July 7 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss at the Outlaw Music Festival in Hershey, Pennsylvania.
  • July 23 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Southend, UK.
  • July 24 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Woking, UK.
  • July 25-28 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace at the Cambridge Folk Festival in Cambridge, UK.
  • August 8 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Missoula, Montana.
  • August 9 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Missoula, Montana.
  • August 11 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Edmonton, Alberta.
  • August 13 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Vancouver, British Columbia.
  • August 14 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Vancouver, British Columbia.
  • August 16 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Seattle, Washington State.
  • August 17 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Seattle, Washington State.
  • August 19 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Eugene, Oregon.
  • August 21 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Murphy’s, California.
  • August 22 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Stanford, California.
  • August 24 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Paso Robles, California.
  • August 25 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Highland, California.
  • August 26 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Flagstaff, Arizona.
  • August 28 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
  • August 29 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
  • August 31 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
  • September 1 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Vail, Colorado.
  • September 15 – The exhibition “The Wiltshire Thatcher – a Photographic Journey through Victorian Wessex” featuring the original photograph from the cover of Led Zeppelin’s fourth album will close at Wiltshire Museum.
  • October 8 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Bari, Italy.
  • October 9 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Naples, Italy.
  • October 11 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Rome, Italy.
  • October 12 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Florence, Italy.
  • October 14 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Bologna, Italy.
  • October 15 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Turin, Italy.
  • October 17 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Como, Italy.
  • October 18 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Bolzano, Italy.
  • October 20 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Padua, Italy.
  • October 21 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Trieste, Italy.
  • October 23 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Brescia, Italy.
  • 2025 – An expanded version of Live at the Greek, the live album featuring Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes, is due to be released.That was our 337th email. Have any questions or feedback? Reply to this email and we’ll get back to you.Follow Led Zeppelin News on Twitter and Facebook to stay up to date on news as it happens, and check ledzepnews.com for the latest news.

Many thanks to James Cook

For all the latest Zep and related news check out the Led Zeppelin news website at:

http://ledzepnews.com/

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TBL Archive…1977:

Led Zeppelin – The Destroyer 47 years Gone:

The first recordings I heard of the 1977 US tour was an echo laded audience tape from the April 28 Cleveland show. I had this arrive via one of my key collector contacts Russ Rees about a month after the gig. Despite the average sound, it was still a thrill to hear the likes of Ten Years Gone and Achilles Last Stand performed live. In 1980 a soundboard mixing desk tape emerged of their April 27 gig. This was altogether something else – the two cassettes I received were played endlessly. Then about a year later  came the holy grail – a vinyl box set release.

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

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

The Return of The Destroyer Led Zeppelin Fan Gathering – 17 Years Gone:

Another anniversary and again hard to believe that it was all of 17 years ago this week that in collaboration with Julian Walker and Graeme Hutchinson, we staged a special Return of The Destroyer fan gathering at the Knights Templar pub in London. This was to celebrate the 30th anniversary of those memorable shows at the Richfield Coliseum on their 1977 US tour – later to be immortalised on the Destroyer box sets.

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

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

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

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

More 1977  US tour memories:

Led Zeppelin – The Destroyer 46 years Gone:

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

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

This was first published in TBL issue 19.

 

 

 

 


 

 

A whole lotta people in Pontiac – 47 years gone:

It was 47 years ago on April 30 1977 this week that Led Zeppelin performed before 76,229 at the Silverdome in Pontiac Michigan. At the time it set a new world record attendance for an indoor solo attraction concert. It was Led Zeppelin’s largest non – festival solo concert appearance of their career…a whole lotta people…

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TBL ARCHIVE – THE FATE OF NATIONS TBL ALBUM REVIEW – 31 YEARS GONE:

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

FATE OF NATIONS (Fontana/Es Paranza)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dave Lewis  – April 25, 1993

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

 

TBL FATE OF NATIONS EUROPEAN TOUR OVERVIEW

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Dave Lewis  – July 1993

First published in Tight But Loose issues 8 and 9


VIP Victoria Record Fair – Saturday April 27 2024  and TBL Meet…

I am aiming to be in attendance for another stern test of my ‘Buy Less Play More’ strategy!

Look forward to seeing all that can make it along

The VIP Record Fair is staged at the Horticultural Halls, 80 Vincent Square, Victoria, London this Saturday, April  27.

Here’s all the VIP Record Fair info::

Saturday  April 27 2024
LONDON VICTORIA
Horticultural Halls, 80 Vincent Square, Victoria, SW1P 2PB.
London’s very own Vinyl Fest. – the biggest and busiest Record Fair in the
UK

Admission 12 noon £5. Early entry £10 at 10am. Doors close 4.30 pm.

http://www.vip-24.com/venues/londonvictoria.htm

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New Led Zeppelin vinyl bootlegs:

Led Zeppelin – Tonight You Will Be Happy – Osaka 1971 (2 LP set Headley Grange Records) 

Another day another Led Zeppelin bootleg LP -they seem to be appearing at a rapid rate recently.

What we have here is a two record set recorded at the Festival Hall Osaka during Led Zeppelin’s three city five concert tour of Japan  in Japan in September 1971.

These Japanese concerts have long been lauded as some of the very best in Led Zeppelin’s concert history.

While the next evening’s show is perhaps the more high profile, this night has much to commend it. Of course a double album format is not going to be enough to present the whole show so these are mere highlights. Soundboard source includes the quirky ad -hoc one off performances of Please Please Me and From Me To You.

Once again this won’t be for everyone and there are various CD configurations that will give you the whole show.

Led Zeppelin – The Hand That Feeds (3 LP set Swinging Pig Records)

This is the celebrated Fillmore West April 27 1969 performance spread over six sides. Mostly soundboard with some occasional audience drop ins. It claims to be a multitrack remaster. Attractive box package with the famous Ron Raffaelli Jimmy hand open photo and pressed on splatter vinyl. There’s a distinctive lack of  historical sleeve notes which is a missed opportunity. Like many of the vinyl sets the appeal is to vinyl completists only in a limited run of 500.

Dave Lewis – April 25 2024

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Record Store Day release review:
My thoughts on The Yardbirds Psycho Daises (Demon Records)
The Yardbirds have been well served with recent Record Store Day releases and this one is another gem.
Physio Daises brings together 15 UK and US Yardbirds B sides spanning their whole career.
Although I was aware of their mid 60s pop hits, I began to seriously analyse The Yardbirds output around 1973/74.
With an obvious interest in the part Jimmy Page played in the story, my initial enlightenment arrived in the form of the two classic LP bootlegs The Yardbirds Golden Eggs and More Golden Eggs. I also had a cassette of the official US compilation Yardbirds Featuring performances By Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page.
This would be the first time I heard the Page version of White Summer. In 1974 I also invested at around £5 a go (a lot for a single back then) in the two psych era singles Happening Ten Years Time ago Little Games originally issued in the UK on Columbia in 1966 and 1967.
The B sides of those seminal singles namely Psycho Dasies and Puzzles are all present and correct here on Side B. Before all that over on Side A, proceedings commence in the Clapton era with A Certain Girl, I Ain’t Got You and Got To Hurry.
Enter the guitar whirlwind that was Jeff Beck for the Relf/Beck composed Steeled Blues plus Still I’m Sad, the scintillating A Better Man Than I, I’m Not Talking and New York City Blues.
Side B opens with the sprightly Jeff’s Boogie (that ‘’What’s it all about Alfie?” riff insert gets me every time,) the aforementioned Psycho Daises which has Jeff and Jimmy locking horns for a brief period.
Then there’s the Beck inspired straight ahead strut of The Nazz Are Blue and from there on it’s the Jimmy Page era with the brilliant Puzzles, Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor (something of a prototype Song Remains The Same and check the bowed guitar – another future Zep trademark), the bluesy Drinking Muddy Waters (something of a rewrite of Muddy’s Rollin’ And Tumblin’) and as a grand finale the psych tour de force Think About It.
The latter, issued only in the US is a clear indication of the dynamics Page would take with him into his next band – initially a new Yardbirds line up but then re- christened Led Zeppelin and we know the rest…
Summary
There’s no question when listening through this welcomed set that The Yardbirds’ B sides were never mere throwaways and were up to the standard and beyond of most band’s A sides.
So this is a very worthwhile Record Store Day release that hones in on the creativity of a band who were so often ahead of the game.
Mastered from the original mono single mixdown tapes, pressed on 140g purple vinyl with orange splatters and with excellent liner notes by Yardbirds expert Greg Russo, this is the sort of album that can be held up to all the doubters who think Record Store Day is a money making gimmick.
As long as there is quality product on offer such as The Yardbirds Psycho Daises, for me Record Store Day remains a very viable preposition and one that annually brings together like minded souls in a celebration of their favourite music in their favourite record shop … long may it roll…
Dave Lewis – April 22 2024

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Dave Lewis Diary Blog Update:

Saturday April 20:

In the queue for Record Store Day at Slide Records – a bit cold but dry…

Saturday April 20:

Saturday is not quite platterday yet – the queue has moved slowly although Slide Record Shop is now in sight – very busy this year – word coming through of certain titles already sold out – the thrill of the chase continues on Record Store Day…

Saturday April 20:

Absolute top Record Store Day result at the always excellent Slide Record Shop…amongst the acquisitions Yardbirds Bowie Lennon Elton Rolling Stones  – as ever superbly organised and great service – thanks Warren Nerys Bannister and Wes for another brilliant Record Store Day experience…

Saturday April 20:

A post Record Store Day de-brief back here with my fellow record collecting comrades Steve Livesley and Ian Saikia – all thee of us very happy with our respective acquisitions…top result all round…we all agreed the waiting in the cold was worth it!

Saturday April 20:

Great to hook up with Phil Harris another record collecting comrade who had a top Record Store Day result at Black Circle Records in Leighton Buzzard…

Saturday April 20:

After a hectic Record Store Day, great to chill out this afternoon in The Ship with our very good friends Phil and Eileen …

Monday April 22: 

It was 26 years ago this week…
On the player marking it’s original release 26 years ago this week, Jimmy Page & Robert Plant Walking Into Clarksdale – so many great memories around this album from the time – the amazing Shepherds Bush gig, being at the recording of their appearances on Top of the Pops, TFI Friday and Later with Jools and more.
A much maligned album but for me it stands up with many a great moment and the late great Michael Lee on drums is just awesome…
Maybe you had to be there to fully appreciate it but it’s one of those albums for me that defines a certain era with the TBL mag full on, managing the Our Price record shop frenzy and some how escaping the shop demands to get to the gigs of this period, all this and a young family and wife at home – boy I needed some zest back then to spin so many plates…..
The outstanding tracks for me are Blue Train, When The world was Young and When I Was a Child – hearing those today take me right back -what a time it was…

Monday April 22:

Great to hook up with Rog Lett at the Castle tonight and hand over the Thin Lizzy Record Store Day release I sorted for him – cheers mate!

Wednesday April 24:

Just back from a great day in Leighton Buzzard visiting our great friend,long time Zep comrade and all round top man Mr Mark Harrison. First stop was the always excellent Black Circle Records – where we searched for the stairway to heaven and inspected some high value Zep pressings (luckily I have a few of these including the Livin’ Lovin Wreck pressing!)

After a coffee it was back to Mark’s where we viewed various Zep footage. This included the recently surfaced Speedy Knebworth cine film – we watched this is startled awe as it was shot from where we were in the crowd that esteemed day.

Next we had a FaceTime with the eminent Zep memorabilia collector and great friend Brian Knapp.

It was also a pleasure to hand over a copy of the Led Zeppelin Live 1975 – 1977 book I edited. All in all a life affirming day with a very special inspiring man – keep rockin’ Mark and thanks for sharing this Zep passion we’ve had for years- and of course still have…

Update here:

A mixed week overshadowed by the shock passing of Mark Bowman. Our thoughts are with Charley, his family and friends.
There has been some inspiring sharing of our passions – the Record Store day turn out was as high as ever – if not more and it was great to wallow in all of that last Saturday.
Visiting Mark Harrison on Tuesday was also very heart warming. Mark faces continual physical challenges but he does it with such fortitude.  Watching that Knebworth cine footage together was such a thrill – who knew that some 45 years on, we would still be as passionate about the world of Led Zeppelin as we were back in that field outside just outside Stevenage?
That is indeed the wonder of devotion…
Thanks for listening

Until next time…

Dave  Lewis –  April 25 2024

TBL website updates written and compiled by Dave Lewis

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