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Out Door Delight / Life after Knebworth Then & Now

20 August 2009 3,022 views 6 Comments

Dave LewisThirty years ago today, I unwrapped the first of six brown paper covers holding the contents of the new Led Zeppelin album and yes life after Knebworth back then was very good.

In a bizarre twist of fate the post office I am now frequenting on a regular basis to post out the Knebworth book is but a stones throw from my friend Dec’s old house, and another ex Wallbanger player the late Karl Bergin.

It was at Karl’s house thirty years ago on the afternoon of Monday August 20th that I first dropped a stylus down on the album with the catalogue number SSK59410. I’d had a pre release cassette of the album since returning from Knebworth via Russ in Wales but the official release date was the Monday (also Roberts 31st birthday- and happy birthday today Robert!).

That week back in 1979 I was off work on holiday as was Dec, Karl, Max, Tom etc .We met in town had a few beers lunch time and then I went along to WH Smith. Working at their record department gave me the luxury of being able to wade through the 100 copies we had delivered to secure my six different sleeves.

Then in the afternoon it was back to Karl’s to blast out the album. There exists a photo of me on that day taken at the top of the road near the post office I’m now a regular at – about to depart back to Dents Road on my bike with the album strapped in the front. I’ll have to try and search that out.

Boy did I love that album. Coveted it, caressed and assessed each sleeve. Marvelled at the wonderful Swan Song label. Looked to see how big the gaps were between the grooves with the eleven minute Carouslembra coming out on top. Analyzed the run out groove that revealed the album had been cut at Strawberry Studios, splashed a bit of water on the inner sleeve to see if it would colourize as Jimmy had advised and hey presto it did

Played it loud and proud every day for weeks. The download generation just would not understand.

Hindsight may indicate that it’s a lesser part of the Zep canon – it does suffer at times from a somewhat muddy production. However I got the vinyl album out today to play it again (sleeve number C collector fans) and I have to say it sounded great – in fact it’s time may well be coming around again as far from an erratic last gasp, In Through The Out Door can take it’s place as an underrated gem

There’s much to admire.

In The Evening for instance: a grandiose opener in the grandiose Zep opening track tradition. South Bound Suarez still shuffling and pleasing with Bonzo on peak form. Fool In The Rain offbeat new territory – hearing Graeme’s version at the Lytton rekindled what a great melody it has. Hot Dog – well do you remember laughter? The live version worked better but as a throwback to their roots it retains affection.

Flip it over to Side 2 and there’s Carouselambra, an epic when epic was decidedly the order of the day. Oh how we cheered many years hence when Page & Plant inserted a few lines from this track into the live version of In The Evening circa 1995. There’s I’m Gonna Crawl a concoction of pure blues and JPJ lushness with that scream from Plant at four minutes 41 seconds.

Which leaves All My Love

Very quickly this became my all time Zep fave track – at least for a while until Achilles regained its place. I remember somebody commenting why do I rate the ‘’terminally wet’’ All My Love as they put it so highly. Fact is I’m a sucker for a tug at the emotions and back in the late summer of 1979 it tugged more than any other track of recent times. And it still does.

Robert sings it with such purity, Jonesy is all over it, Bonzo steadies the ship as ever and Jimmy adds the perfect subtlety on a combination of acoustic and electric guitar. The fade is perhaps Robert’s most emotive vocal ever particularly of course on the extended fade out as heard on the outtake. I’ve said it before, but the moment Page’s guitar meanders behind Robert’s pleadings at 6 minutes 32 seconds on that supremely brilliant outtake version, represents one of the most moving segments of their entire recorded output. All My Love also sounded pretty awesome when they played it live in Europe the next year.

Playing All My Love again today reminded me of something I wrote in TBL 4

In early 1980 when assessing the album six months on.

“When I hear that gorgeous electric/acoustic swaying solo, I picture Jimmy the shy fragile musician guitar in hand living for his music oblivious to the outside world, and my memory recalls something Tony Palmer once wrote: ‘’If we need heroes, then rather Jimmy Page than political buffoons, or licensed jesters, or sporting apes: rather the shy nervous steely man whose songs are inspiring a generation’’

Thirty years on they are still inspiring generations old and new.

Life after Knebworth 30 years on has involved the mailing of the book pre orders. If you’ve received your copy let me know what you think of it book – I’d welcome 100-300 word reviews to use in the mag etc – email the usual address davelewis.tbl1@ntlworld.com – I look forward to your thoughts and comments.

If you haven’t invested yet –the book is available via the TBL site – go on, treat yourself before the summers over.

Coming down after the August 8th weekend wasn’t easy but the afterglow of the Lytton event has been an inspiration. There has been some great reaction from the day, so much so Graeme and I have talked about possibly holding a similar fan gathering a the same venue next summer. There’s been much merriment of course from the you tube clips posted of the karaoke attempts of Graeme and myself. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLGzJc0acGc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-uWodWYOgU&feature=channel

The reaction of which has ensured I won’t be turning up on the new series of X Factor.

Elsewhere as the late summer beckons, there’s the good lady Janet’s birthday upcoming at the end of August and mine in early September. They’ll be plenty of back to school activity ahead here and Sam’s return to university in Norwich is set for September 13.

Before all that it’s back to that album with the brown paper bag….a late summer delight of 30 years ago and still a perfect soundtrack for the few summer nights remaining.

Cue rumbling droning guitar effects…and that opening line:

‘’In The Eveeeeeeeening…..!!!’’

Glorious then – glorious now.

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6 Comments »

  • Stevie S said:

    What no “Walters Walk ” ??? This together with “Wearing and tearing” and “Ozone Baby” would have been superb additions to Zeppelins 1980’s live set and would have worked better than on the recorded versions, shame it wasnt to be.

  • Tim Davies said:

    Here’s my wish list for a re-issued ITTOD..

    1. In The Evening.
    2. Ozone Baby.
    3. Fool In The Rain.
    4. All My Love (with extended ending)..
    4. Wearing and Tearing.
    5. South Bound Suarez.
    6. Carouselambra.
    7. Darlene.
    8. Hot Dog. (The 04.08.79 live version is a lot of fun and works well).
    9. I’m Gonna Crawl.
    Maybe the CD re-issue could have some extra Knebworth live DVD footage on it, plus a montage of 1980 “Over Europe” and ’79 Knebworth rehearsal footage.
    I wonder why, after going to all the trouble of designing and building a New Orleans bar-room for the original LP Cover photo shoot, that Zeppelin didn’t go in and shoot a promo-video or 2 for promotion purposes !!!!! It would have been great !!!

  • Dave Linwood said:

    Just seen the video footage. Jeez Dave, you’re sound a lot better on paper… 😉

    Onto ITTOD, never liked Hot Log, loved Carouselambra and thought the out-take of All My Love added so much to the song.
    Lets not forget the “new-wave specials” that ended up on CODA (OB, W&T etc) came from the same time. Maybe a 2LP revisit would have been nice with extended and alternative mixes.

  • Stuart Martyn said:

    I’ve always enjoyed In Through The Out Door. It gets far more rotation than Presence or their debut. It’s the loosest and more carefree(careless?!) album in their catalog despite the darker nature of its recording. Along with Houses Of The Holy it’s always the Zep album that spends the most time in my CD player during the summer months and In The Evening is stone cold classic, it’s like the blueprint of hard rock in the 1980’s.

  • Dave Whyte said:

    Hi Dave,

    I’ve been thinking that prehaps ITTOD could have benefitted from the inclusion of the other tracks from that session. Here’s my version of ITTOD:

    Side 1.

    Track 1: Wearing and Tearing – Opening the record with this song would have said: “We’re back!!!” like nothing else and would have altered the feel of the record considerably.

    Track 2: In The Evening – Talk about a one-two punch.

    Track 3: Carouselambra – Not my favorite among Zeps “epics” but good nonetheless.

    Track 4: I’m Gonna Crawl – A great blues song and a great end to side one.

    Side 2.

    Track 1: Darlene – Underratred track that deserved better.

    Track 2: Southbound Suarez – Very catchy.

    Track 3: Fool in the Rain – Bonzo’s playing – say no more.

    Track 4: All of My Love – Robert’s song.

    Side one is aggressive and serious, a loud statement of Zeps power. Side two is lighter and a little humerous. I good mixture I think. Just my two cents.

  • Tim Davies said:

    Hi Dave
    As you said maybe “In Through the Out Door” would benefit from a re-mix and maybe the “long” version of “All My Love” could replace the “shorter” version on a re-issue at some point.
    I love that Lp too and I think that the live version of “HOT DOG” as performed on 4th August 1979 is really great fun….you can see they are enjoying themselves !!!
    That lp was not the end of an era..it single handedly revitalised the US music industry and paved the way for a different rock sound in the ’80’s…a lusher, fuller sound with different production values than had previously existsed in the ’70’s.
    Unfortunately some producers in the ’80’s added everthing , including the kitchen sink into the mix, ignoring Jimmy’s “less-is-more” approach.
    “..We can, so we will” doesn’t always work.
    “In Through the Out-door” was the doorway into a new era.

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