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18 August 2023 1,359 views 2 Comments

This via LZ news…

Robert Plant will tour the UK with Saving Grace in November, it was announced on August 15.

The band will perform 13 shows across England and Wales starting on November 1, according to the tour announcement.

Tickets for Saving Grace’s upcoming UK tour will go on sale at 10am UK time on Friday, August 18 through this link.

Saving Grace previously announced that the band will appear at the November 4 80th birthday concert in London to honour Bert Jansch.

The band’s November UK tour will follow a European tour due to take place during August and September that will see them perform in Slovenia, Italy and Spain.

Here are the newly announced Saving Grace tour dates:

  • November 1 – Brighton
  • November 2 – Guildford
  • November 5 – Birmingham
  • November 7 – Bournemouth
  • November 8 – Cardiff
  • November 11 – Salford
  • November 13 – Oxford
  • November 16 – Basingstoke
  • November 17 – Cambridge
  • November 19 – Grimsby
  • November 20 – Gateshead
  • November 22 – Bradford
  • November 23 – Stoke-on-Trent

Robert Plant will release his first music with new band Saving Grace, giving everyone who purchases a ticket to the November UK tour a digital copy of the song “As I Roved Out”.

The band have been performing together since 2019 but have not yet officially released any music, despite having already recorded an album and Plant trademarking the band name for music and merchandise.

Following the announcement on August 15 of a November UK tour for Saving Grace, Plant’s Facebook post announcing the tour was edited on August 16 to add the announcement of the band’s first music being released.

See more at –



Robert Plant on the occasion of his 75th Birthday: Photo by Dave Roberts 

Robert Plant is 75 years old on Sunday August 20…

From his initial forays in the Midlands scene in the mid 60’s leading to his first record being released in 1966, through to his vital contribution to Led Zeppelin and on to an always compelling solo career, Robert Plant has occupied a unique position at the forefront of the music world for over five decades…

With his recent gigs with Alison Krauss and a Saving Grace UK tour ahead –  he continues to enthrall and delight…

Happy Birthday Robert from all of us to you…

To mark the occasion – here’s a couple of playlists

Playlist 1:

Firstly the top ten I compiled for the Classic Rock website in 2016– an impossible task of course to get it down to just ten – apologies in advance if your fave is missing!

The Top Ten Robert Plant Solo Songs:
By Dave Lewis

Outside of his Led Zep legacy, Robert Plant has enjoyed a highly successful solo career – encompassing synth pop, blues, folk and African influences along the way. All performed with a vocal conviction that ranges from delicate fragility to full on rock power. Here are ten of his best solo moments…

10. Tye Die on the Highway (1990)

This is Plant’s nod to the peace and love generation he was a part of in the 60s. For extra authenticity, it includes samples direct from the Woodstock stage of the legendary hippie peace activist Wavy Gravy (‘’we must be in heaven!’’). An uplifting throwback to his hippie flower kid days.

9. In The Mood (1983)

Early on in his post Zep career, Plant was more than keen to step outside his comfort zone. This very 80s sounding synth led piece is one such example. Plant cleverly works around the hypnotic quality of the song with a vocal performance of deft agility. It also made for a great opening live number on his early solo tours.

8. Song To The Siren (2002)

For the mainly covers led Dreamland album, Plant took on several of the songs he had as he put it, been keeping in his back pocket. This stunning arrangement of the Tim Buckley classic, tests Plant’s’ vocal control to the max. To his absolute credit, he never wavers once.

7: Calling To You (1993)

Opens with some minor key strumming before this exhilarating rocker really kicks in. Plant stamps his authority with a relentless vocal attack. At the fade Nigel Kennedy enters proceedings to add a quite manic violin solo and is that a cry of ‘’Oh Jimmy!’’ from Plant right at the close?

6. Big Log (1983)

Robbie Blunt’s precise guitar work, a lilting drum machine rhythm and an assured Plant vocal were the ingredients that took Big Log into the UK top 20 in 1993 and on to Top of The Pops. Its mellow radio friendly qualities have made it an evergreen staple of the airways ever since.

5. Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down (2010)

This compelling spiritual croon from the 2010 Band of Joy album unfolds in a sparse traditional setting. Plant builds the tension verse by verse while behind him a plaintive banjo offers a jaunty counterpoint to the dark theme of the lyrics. The final lines are delivered with daunting menace.

4. Slow Dancer (1983)

This track marks one of the few occasions in the early 80s that Plant stared right in the face of his Zeppelin past. Built on an exotic loping churning riff, Plant’s full on vocal attack measures up to the Olympian grandeur of his former band. The late great Cozy Powell adds the percussive kick that drives it along.

3. Embrace Another Fall (2014)

A truly epic work from his last album Lullaby…and the Ceaselss Roar. There’s an African undercurrent throughout the arrangement and even a touch of Celtic tradition with Welsh Julie Murphy reciting a 14th century poem. Proof that musically, Plant still has new places to go.

2. Come Into My Life (1993)

The Fate Of Nations album saw Plant drawing on a variety of influences and inspirations. Folk rock of the highest order is the agenda here. Enter Fairport legend Richard Thompson who contributes some achingly beautiful guitar lines while Marie Brennan from Clannad supplements Plant’s deft turn of phrase. An outstanding performance.

1 Ship of Fools (1988)

1988’s Now And Zen album was something of a watershed for Plant. It was the point he was able to successfully reconcile his past with the present. This dynamic ballad is a masterclass of vocal restrain. Guitarist Doug Boyle’s sublime intro paves the way for Plant to vocally twist and turn the song at will. Masterful.

Photos by Krys Jantzen  for TBL.


Photos Krys Jantzen

Playlist 2:

Here are 74 vivid examples of his vocal supremacy accompanied by memorable key lyrics and relevant comments:

From 48 to 2022– he remains a compelling artist – make sure you play some of these and your own Plant faves this weekend in celebration:


Our Song, (‘’It made us fall in looooove’’)

Laughing Crying Laughing (‘’Jack loves Jill she don’t care’’)

For What it’s Worth (Something’s happening here..’’)

Good Times Bad Times (‘’I know what it means to be alooone’’)

Babe Im Gonna Leave You (‘’I ain’t jokin’ woman you gotta ramble’’)

Whole Lotta Love (‘’Shake for me girl!’’)

What Is And What Should Never Be (‘’And if I say to you tomorrow’’ – that gorgeous opening line…)

Thank You (‘’And so today my world it smiles’’)

Ramble On (‘’Gotta find the queen of all my dreams’’)

Immigrant Song (-‘’Ahhhhhh…Ahhh!!)

Since I’ve Been Loving You (‘’Said I been crying..’’)

That’s The Way (‘’And so I say to you that nothing really matters…’’)

Black Dog (‘’I gotta roll can’t stand still’’)

Battle of Evermore (‘’Bring it back..’’)

The Song Remains The Same (‘’I had a dream’’)

The Rain Song (‘’Upon us all..’’)

Over the Hills And Far Away (Live anytime in 1975 – ‘’Acapulco gold!’’)

In My Time of Dying (‘’Doncha make it my dying…dying…’’)

Kashmir (’ Trying to find, trying to find where I’ve beeeeeeen’’.)

In The Light (‘’Eveybody needs the light’’)

Down By The Seaside (‘’ Do you still do the twist’’)

Ten Years Gone (‘’Holding on…’’ pure emotion)

Night Flight (‘’ I received a message – that opening line is vocal bliss)

Tangerine ( Earl’s Court May 24 1975 – ”To think of us again….”)

Going To California (Earls Court official DVD version ‘’Oh she sings’’)

Dazed And Confused (Earls Court May 24 1975 ‘’We’ve got to get ourselves…back to the garden’’)

Stairway To Heaven (Earls Court May 24 1975 ‘’That’s all we got’’)

Achilles Last Stand (‘’the devils in his ho-o- o-o -le’’)

For Your Life (‘’When you blow it, babe, you got to blow it right’’)

In The Evening (Knebworth August 4 1979 – ‘’It’s gotta stop it’s gotta stop!’’)

All My Love (Outtake with full ending – ‘’Sometimes…sometimes…sometimes oh oh ’’)

I’m Gonna Crawl (‘’She give me good lovin’’ and that final scream…)

Moonlight In Samosa (‘’Time and again I see you walking down the street’’)

Slow Dancer (‘’To the heights… to the heights’’ – the point he knew he could do it all again)

Far Post (‘’Sure as winter follows fall, sure as maybe I will call’’)

Pledge Pin (Live in Dallas 83 ‘’As the cavalcade begins to thin, do you stop and look around’’)

Big Log (Live Dallas 1983 ‘’Oh my love oh my love oh my love…is in league with the freeway’’)

Sea of Love (‘’Come with me’’)

Sixes And Sevens (‘’Am I at six ,am I at six, am Ieeeee!’’)

Ship of Fools (‘’Crazy crazy fool’’ – absolutely stunning vocal)

Tie Dye On The Highway (‘‘With the messengers of peace and the company of love’’)

Anniversary (‘’What is this land that I have found’’)

Calling To You (‘’Oh Jiimmmy!’’)

Come Into My Life (‘’ Oh when you get there, well you know ‘’- another of his very best…)

The Greatest Gift (‘’ Everything I do, yes I do for my love’’ Peerless delivery)

In The Mood (Live at Paradiso club Amsterdam 93 –stunning medley)

Wonderful One (MTV Unledded – ‘’The queen of love has flown again’’)

That’s The Way (MTV Unledded ’’I can’t believe what people saying’’)

Blue Train (I been waiting on a corner’’- the best recorded moment of the Page and Plant re-alliance)

Little Hands (‘’Come let us meet them’’ – birth of a new style)

Life Begins Again (‘’This is the day and the hour’’ – at his most exotic)

Flames (Brilliant Priory Of Brion psych fest )

If I Ever Get Lucky (‘’Win my train fare home’’ Live in the desert)

Skips Song (‘’If you’d seen the naked dream I had of you… would you care’’- another vocal masterclass)

Dirt In The Hole (‘’Pretty flowers in sweet array, picked to die and fade away’’ Brilliant)

Seven And Seven Is ( ’When I was a boy I thought about the times I’d be a man’’ Live anywhere – a magnificent SS tribute to Love and the late Arthur)

Tin Pan Valley (‘’Like this!’’)

Freedom Fries (‘’They were moving fast –they were raising sand’’)

Stick With Me Baby (‘’Everybody’s been talkin’ ‘’ – in perfect harmony with Alison)

Kashmir ( Live at the 02 Arena – the whole event could never have worked so well without such total vocal commitment )

Angel Dance (‘’Yeah yeah yeah – Dance!’’ –Ushering in another new dawn)

Monkey ( ‘’Tonight you will be mine…’’ Masterful Band Of Joy performance)

Embrace Another Fall (”You walked into my life, Awoke my spirit soul, You saved me from my deep….”)

Turn It Up (‘I’m lost inside America, I’m turning inside out, I’m turning into someone else”)

A Stolen Kiss (”I am drawn to the western shore, Where the light moves bright upon the tide, To the lullaby and the ceaseless roar, And the songs that never die”)

Somebody There (”The road calls to my heart, Your love will warm my blood, The sun will shine down evermore”)

Season’s Song (”Crazy love..ah ah ah seasons song”)

New World (Escape the old world…embrace the new world”)

Dance With You Tonight (”If there’s one more time I can dance with you, let me dance with you tonight”)

Carry Fire (”I’ll carry fire for you – here in my naked hands”)

Your Long Journey  -Saving Grace in perfect harmony with Suzi Dian

Charlie Patton Highway (Turn It Up Part 1)

From the Digging Deep Subterrania compilation is a delightful slow burn version of the track that featured on Robert’s Lullaby and the ceaseless roar album with the Sensational Space Shifters released in 2014.

You Lead Me To The Wrong

I love the way  Robert  opens You Lead Me To the Wrong  acapella  style not unlike I Can’t Quit You Baby. There’s something of the sinister feel of Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down about this performance – a violin accompaniment adds a touch of light against the shade.

High And Lonesome

His vocal phrasing is just exquisite with plenty of mysterious repeated lyric refrains (‘’Does she still think of me?’’) and Alison joining in on the chorus. There’s a hint of both Howlin’ Wolf and Jimmy Reed in the bluesy feel he projects and It all drifts off into a meandering coda with some atmospheric strings underpinning the hypnotic feel of the song. There’s something of an ethereal  Zep feel here.

Season of The Witch

Saving Grace live in Wexford with a surprise appearance of Donavan

Compiled by Dave Lewis -August  2023


This next overview via TBL issue 43:

‘’Carry me back, Carry me back… ‘’

Dave Lewis reflects on the 35 year solo career of Robert Plant and assesses the merits of his new album Carry Fire…

So, to the eleventh Robert Plant solo album – in fact his twelfth if you include The Honeydrippers set from 1984.

Once I started assessing where it all stood in the scheme of things, it led me on to elaborate not just on the content of this new album but also reminisce about this musician who has loomed large in my life and many others for many a year.

As an ardent fan and long-time chronicler of his work, I’ve been with him on every step of this journey – right from the tentative beginnings of a solo career mapped out around the highways and byways of the north of England during The Honeydrippers’ ad hoc gigs in the Spring of 1981, of which I was lucky enough to attended five.

The thrill of placing a white label advance copy of Pictures At Eleven on my turn table on a balmy Friday evening in early June, 1982 remains a very memorable listening experience. It signalled there was life for this particular singer after Zep and we could all prepare ourselves for some very interesting musical times ahead.

From then on there have been many twists and turns. To give it an appropriate football analogy, following Robert Plant’s solo ventures is a little like supporting Tottenham Hotspur, as I resolutely do. Like Plant, the North London club is steeped in tradition and talk of past glory days is always prevalent. The fortunes of the team, however, are somewhat mixed, offering moments of brilliance with the mediocre but within all that, the entertainment value on the pitch is always high.

You could say the same for Robert’s output over these past 35 years. Plenty of highs, a few lows, some marking of time, occasional strange curve ball moments but ever entertaining along the way – and of course, always within the shadow of his work between 1968 and 1980. It’s something of a challenge being a Robert Plant fan – but I am always a little surprised when keen Zep supporters claim no interest in following his solo work – to me, this is still the man and musician who proclaimed ‘’Are you cold?” in front of my very ears as Led Zeppelin kicked into Immigrant Song at Wembley in 1971, held the audience in the palm of his hand at the Forum, the Garden and in Earls Court and thanked us for turning up on a blind date in that field just outside Knebworth all of 34 years ago. His heritage is ever present and ever lasting.

He carries that legacy pretty well I’d say and although his flippancy in interviews often obscures his pride for Led Zeppelin, be assured, for all the one liners, that pride is there deep in his psyche. While we are on that subject, such flippant comments are often, in my view, taken out of context to look much worse than they really are, or were intended. I still believe he cares much more than is portrayed. In interviews, he is never one for much deep reflection. ‘’I do the gig and move on’’ I remember him once telling me with matter of fact intent.

Back to the story: Eleven albums – that’s now more than Led Zeppelin clocked up. From that initial, naive blast of Pictures At Eleven (which still sounds great) with the erstwhile Robbie Blunt as the song writing foil, Robert quickly recorded The Principle Of Moments, a heady mix of 80s synths and riffs. After a weekend of rockabilly fun with Jimmy, Jeff and Nile for the Honeydrippers’ Vol One album in 1984, there was the somewhat difficult third album – the totally offbeat Shaken ‘n’ Stirred which confused audience and band mates alike. Around that time, performing on a stage that looked like a block of cheese only added to the confusion. Too Loud live anyone?

In 1987 he made the first of many a clean band sweep, bringing in Phil Johnstone, Doug Boyle, Chris Blackwell and co for Now And Zen, a refreshing blend of chorus-led songs that reconciled his past with the present in confident manner. At the same time, he hit the Zep legacy head on ensuring more bums on seats on the live circuit by inserting Zep numbers into his set.

Manic Nirvana hit the racks as the early 90s hair metal phenomenon got into its stride. Some of it has not stood the test of time too well but he could still turn a retro trick or two – witness Tie Dye On the Highway and the acoustic Liars Dance. Elsewhere the content was more blatantly big love than big log.

Three years on, there was further reinvention with Fate Of Nations – aided by Francis Dunnery and the late Kevin Scott MacMichael, providing a melodic platform for Robert to present his most pure and organic work to date. Come Into My Life and I Believe are just two examples of a refreshing maturity and depth he was now bringing to his craft.

Just as he appeared in his solo career stride, the call of the past and MTV put him back on the road with Jimmy Page – the ensuing No Quarter Unledded and Walking Into Clarksdale albums providing their own set of anomalies, ripe for discussion another time.

By the time he was back in solo career mode, the song writing muse was, by his own admission, at something of a low – so he took the opportunity to revisit his pre Zep era with the Priory of Brion, working with old pal Kevyn Gammond before forming Strange Sensation with Justin Adams. It was around this time Robert began to develop a much deeper resonance to his voice, leading to the breathy style first deployed on the Skip Spence tribute, Little Hands.

The 2002 Dreamland album was an intelligent blend of covers and new forays –later to expand more fully on the well received Mighty ReArranger. I initially struggled with that album’s over inventiveness but time has been kind to many of the tracks – the likes of Tin Pan Valley and Freedom Fries still hit the mark whenever I return to it.

Career retrospectives Sixty Six To Timbuktu and the expansive Nine Lives box set, conveniently brought together his achievements to date, with the singer noting that the ‘’future was bright ahead’’.

2007 and another curve ball. This time it was into the bluegrass world of Alison Krauss for the enormously successful Raising Sand, an admirable marriage of vocal styling that subsequently swept the Grammys and in doing so helped scupper any plans for a long term Zep reunion after that one night of glory at the 02 on December 10th of that year.

I actually found the ensuing tour with Alison a little disconcerting – the sharing of the stage did not work for me and the Raising Sand album is never high on the playlist.

Given this sidestep into Americana, I’m therefore surprised how much I loved (and still do) the Band Of Joy album and tour that grew out of his penchant for all things Nashville and his working with the great Buddy Griffin. There were some life affirming moments viewing that line up in 2010 and the album retains a warm glow all of its own. As I noted at the time, it was hard to define exactly what it was about the Band Of Joy set up that worked so well but it was undeniable that something did. As I passed my 100 nights of being in front of that Shure microphone with Robert Plant on vocals, gig number 103 at the Birmingham Symphony Hall in November 2010 was up there with the best.

Being around the likes of Buddy Miller certainly bought the best out in him. There was yet more side-stepping in 2012 – or in this case, shape shifting. Off we all piled to the Gloucester Guildhall in May of that year to view another ad- hoc line up debut that saw former Strange Sensations members mix with the African influence of Juldeh Camara. The gig was a heap of fun, although at the more high profile London Forum gig in the summer, the inclusion of now partner, Patty Griffin in the set confused his audience somewhat.

Seemingly happily ensconced with Patty, one expected another Band Of Joy set and there was talk of a project with noted producer, Daniel Lanois. Instead, Robert took the Space Shifters on a tour – one to the far corners of the world, stretching from Australia to Argentina via the US. His wry comment to an Australian journalist that he had ‘’nothing on his calendar in 2014’’ foolishly fuelled the Zep reformation rumours. The wiser amongst us, however, guessed it was a suitable smokescreen, as he ventured into the studio with the Space Shifters unit. The result was the 2013 release of the album lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar.

As we know from the various interviews Robert has conducted, the album found him in a reflective state of mind. After his split with Patty Griffin, he has returned to the UK and principally to the Black Country and Welsh border area – the influence of which was more than apparent. The call of home was strong and there really was a feeling he gets when he looks to the west… Lyrically, it was Robert’s most deep and meaningful album since Fate Of Nations. Such was the confessional nature of songs such as Embrace Another Fall and A Stolen Kiss, one could almost dub this a break up album in the grand tradition of Dylan’s Blood On the Tracks.

It’s worth noting that arrangements combining African roots and ethnic rhythms do not go down favourably with certain sections of Robert’s past audience. He also receives a fair bit of criticism for his live interpretations of Zep numbers – Black Dog coming in for the lion’s share of the stick.

In fact, like a number of fellow fans I’ve spoken to, I would much prefer solo numbers from his past rather than some of the Zep resprays – Pledge Pin, Life Begins Again, Come Into My Life, Skip’s Song and Ship of Fools being on my wish list of tracks I’d like to see Robert and the SSS perform live.

Lullaby and… the Ceaseless Roar found Robert Plant reflecting on his past, seemingly content with the present and excited about the future. Like all his best work, it looks back to look forward. Often eclectic but with a strong sense of consistency, it was his most significant work on record for some considerable time. There’s a refreshing openness and honesty in the songs that basically tells us that even rock gods need love… and lots of it. He touches on universal themes of ageing, loneliness, longing and hope.

So to the new album Carry Fire:

’‘All that’s worth the doing is seldom easily done, all that‘s worth the winning is seldom easily won’’

First things first.

Carry Fire pretty much carries on from where Robert Plant’s previous album left off. In fact, it might be a good idea to reacquaint yourself with the last album, lullaby and… the Ceaseless Roar to remind yourself where Robert’s head is at.

Those that enjoyed the previous album will find much to enjoy here. As for anyone who has fallen by the wayside and has not subscribed to his recent work – well, there’s nothing here that will influence a change of mind.

Let’s face it, Robert has long since denounced any notions of keeping up with his fellow ‘voice of rock’ veterans His is an entirely different plan of his own making.

On Carry Fire there’s hardly a riff or a vocal histrionic in sight. Those that are looking for that kind of fix would be better off in the direction of the new Black Country Communion album.

However, the good news for anyone checking out this new album is that, vocally, he is singing with mature authority deploying that close-to-the-mic, breathy vocals style that he first perfected on Little Hands, his contribution to the Skip Spence tribute album More Oar.

Having listened to the tracks on Carry Fire, in reviewing the album , I’ve purposely listed songs from the Plant back catalogue that hint at the mood of these new offerings.

The album opener and first single, The May Queen sets the tone for much of the album. Semi acapella vocals over a slight Another Tribish with bendir/ tambourine back beat – drowning out any snare drum presence. As more than one listener to the preview has commented, the opening segment on this track has a passing resemblance to Factory Girl from The Rolling Stones Beggars Banquet.

New World is a slightly grittier stomp with a mid tempo riff that sounds like a descendent from the Page & Plant arrangement of Please Read The Letter. A melodic cascading vocal refrain brightens the mood.

The folksy Seasons Song benefits from lush multi layered vocals that reminded me of I Cried For You (off Manic Nirvana). Also, there’s a nicely crooned ‘’crazy crazy fool’’ vocal line in the style of the live arrangement of Ship of Fools. All The Kings Horses (from the Mighty ReArranger album) is a further reference point here.

The oddly titled Carving Up The World Again… A Wall And Not A Fence is another in the vein of Another Tribe – a jumpy urgent nagging affair with some neat bluesy guitar lines.

Bones Of Saints has an effective echo added to the vocal, coupled with some guitar licks in the syle of The Enchanter from Mighty ReArrnanger

A vibey John Baggott keyboard synth sustains throughout Keep it Hid, which could be described as a Tin Pan Valley without the bombast. “Silver key in a golden cup’’ repeats Plant over the incessant synth pattern.

The title track, Carry Fire lends itself to the oft favoured North African influence. Mid tempo, with exotic sounding guitar from Justin Adams, it’s a haunted, tension building affair, not unlike the Unledded track, City Don’t Cry.

The cover of Ersel Hickey’s Bluebirds Over The Mountains (also recorded by The Beach Boys and Richie Havens, amongst others) is, as Robert commented, ‘’put through the Bristol sonic mill’’. This makes for a trip hop, grungy affair that renders Chrissie Hynde’s vocal contribution somewhat understated in the mix. Personally, I’d have rather heard a more simplistic approach.

That leaves three tracks that all return to the reflective themes of ageing, loneliness and hope that featured strongly on the lullaby and… the Ceaseless Roar album. A Way With Words is very much in the Stolen Kiss vein, with stark piano and a mournful feel akin to Page & Plant’s BlueTrain, and Seth Lakeman’s fiddle work adds to the dreamlike atmosphere.

Dance With You Tonight harks back to the Raising Sand territory of Killing The Bues. For me, this is the outstanding track. Lyrically, the singer aspires to enjoy ‘’one more chance for the last dance”. He sings it with immense grace and majesty. Down To The Sea and Come Into My Life are reference points to the reflective nature of this superb outing.

The album closes in a downbeat manner with Heaven Sent – a bleak atmospheric piece that reminded me of a slowed down Sixes And Sevens from Manic Nirvana again without the bombast. Robert adds yet more words of wisdom repeating the lines “All that’s worth the doing is seldom easily done, all that‘s worth the winning is seldom easily won.’’ Before it all fades away.

Those lines are a pretty accurate appraisal of the album.

Like his previous album, this one needs working at and getting used to. Play it randomly a couple of times and it’s likely to pass over your head. Give it some dedicated listening time and there are some very rewarding performances.

As previously mentioned, some sections of his past audience will not find the inclination to do so and that will be their choice. As for comparison to his past works, aside from the last album, this new one stands on its own – and all a long way from the days of Fate Of Nations. That was a different era with different players.

In his advancing years, Robert’s muse has become more introverted, less flamboyant and increasingly dignified – all of which is reflected in the music he now produces.

So no, you won’t be dancing around the Christmas tree to this album. However, it will be something of a thought provoking warm pleasure as the winter nights kick in. In fact, for a man who has much empathy for the seasons, this feels like a Robert Plant winter album.

As can be seen by the virtual sell out of the forthcoming UK tour, the attraction to see this signer perform live on stage is plainly still fervent. I for one will be very keen to see, and hear how this new material integrates with his past work in a live setting.

So, to summarise: For all his idiosyncratic traits, being a Robert Plant fan remains a richly rewarding experience. He does everything an artist should do: he enchants, he intrigues, he frustrates, he confuses and above all… he inspires.

Carry Fire carries on that tradition.

Dave Lewis

September 12, 2017


Robert Plant is a musician who has made his vision real…and he continues to keep it real.

Long may he shine it all around…

Dave Lewis – August  2023





More from the TBL Archive…

Hot August Night in 1971:

As it’s that time of year, it was good this week to pull out the August 23, 1971 recording from Fort Worth – all of 52 years gone. Here’s some thoughts on this fantastic performance which remains one of my all time faves…

Going to Fort Worth…A Hot August Night of Electric Magic in 1971…

By comment consent the go-to recording for evidence of the Zep prowess on their seventh US tour is Going To California the famous audience recording from Berkeley September 14th. Alongside that undoubted gem, I have great affinity for the less profiled audience sourced tape that captures part of their set live at the Tarrent County Convention Center Fort Worth in Texas on August 23rd 1971. This surfaced around the late 1990’s on a two CD set titled Hot August Night via the Diagrams Of Led Zeppelin label (TDOLZ042).

The story behind this recording came to light in an interview with the taper published in Hugh Jones’ superb Proximity magazine in the summer of 1997.It revealed how the taper had used a Sony TC110 recorder –rather foolishly he only took a Sony C120 cassette to record on –thus when he turned over the tape he began recording over the opening segment of the show he captured on the first side of the tape. For that reason the recording kicks off just as Jimmy is getting into the violin bow solo during Dazed And Confused. The good news however is that from a vantage point of being in the fifth row right in line with Jimmy – the sound quality of the guitar resonates loud and clear. As an example of the aggressive virtuosity the guitarist effortlessly achieved that night–this is a riveting recording. Stairway To Heaven is captured in its intense embryonic live setting while Celebration Day comes reeling out of the traps in a full on double neck bombardment.

The taper is so close to the action you can her several off mic comments from Plant and Bonham. ‘’Can I have a cup of tea’’ says Robert before a perfect delivery of What Is And What Should Never Be. The version of That’s The Way is thrilling in it’s intimacy with JPJ’s mandolin shining brightly. An edit of Moby Dick showcases the usual Bonzo stampede.hot_august_night_r

Whole Lotta Love opens with one of those improvised muscular choppy riff exercises that Jimmy often slotted in eventually forming the riff that ate the world. Following a stirring medley, the taper took a stroll backstage and bumped into Plant as they awaited an encore – he was quite a way back in the venue for the taping of Communication Breakdown which abruptly cuts.

It’s a shame this Fort Worth recording only exists in a series of set list highlights. However, what is here in my view, is as at times as good as anything captured from the entire 1971 era. With Robert’s vocals being slightly low in the mix, this is an absolute primer in illustrating the instrumental side of the band. Page, Jones and Bonzo are on fire here locking in to some incredible musicianship time and time again. Put simply, as a live band Led Zeppelin at this period were just breathtaking in their ambition.

There are certain audience recordings that genuinely capture the pure authenticity and intimacy of Zeppelin in full flight. Hot August Night is one of them. It remains one of my favourite remnants of this era. What might be dubbed as Going to Fort Worth, is a scintillating Zep audio experience right up there with Going To California. It’s what the term ‘Electric Magic’ was invented for.

Dave Lewis  – August 18 2023

Bob Harris – 53 years of, broadcasting:

53 years ago this week  on August 19 1970, Bob Harris made his radio debut on BBC Radio One.

Through his long running stint on the Old Grey Whistle Test BBC2 TV show and his many radio programmes, Bob has been a constant pioneer of so much great music and of course a big supporter of Led Zeppelin and in particular Robert Plant.

I’ve been lucky enough to meet Bob and interview him on numerous occasions and over the years he has been a great help with all things TBL.

Bob contributed the notes to the 1994 Zep convention programme and I appeared on his GLC radio show a few years back. I also interviewed him for TBL 16 and 29 and sat in the same row as Bob at the Led Zeppelin 02 reunion show in 2007 (see pic above)He is an incredibly warm and affable personality with a music knowledge that crosses so many genres. The pic below of me with Bob was taken at the Band Of Joy launch gig at on September 1 2010.

Long may he reign behind the microphone….

Happy 53rd Anniversary Bob…

Dave Lewis, August 18 2023.

To mark this milestone here’s a superb interview I conducted with Bob in 2011 that appeared in TBL issue 29…


The whispering DJ and broadcast legend as been a key supporter of Robert Plant‘s recent career moves – as he explains in this recent interview with Dave Lewis

The bearded man I am sat across from on a Tuesday lunchtime at the Heights bar in London, was directly responsible for enlightening myself and thousands of other Led Zeppelin fans, via his announcements from the TV screen on Tuesday and Friday nights back in the 1970s.

He was the man who introduced the stunning sequence that accompanied the premier of a new Led Zeppelin track on the evening of Tuesday, March 20th 1973. ‘’It’s the band’s use of dynamics’’, he said in that calm whispering tone, ‘’And their vision of mood and texture which to my mind along with their stunning musicianship, makes Led Zeppelin just about the best rock band in the world. Their fifth album is almost out and here is some music from it.

‘’This is Led Zeppelin and No Quarter.’’ Two years later on January 17th, 1975 he aired an interview he had conducted backstage in Brussels’s a week earlier with Robert Plant, closing the sequence with the words ‘’The singer in the best rock and roll band in the world.’’

He was equally enthusiastic when playing two tracks from Physical Graffiti on Friday February 21st, 1975 and again a year later on Tuesday April 6th, 1976 when he previewed Achilles Last Stand.  Six months later on November 2nd, 1976, the one they nicknamed Bomber got it spot on when he summarised the exclusive Whistle Test screening of Jimmy’s Song Remains the Same mountain sequence with the words ‘’That’s an incredible piece of film’’

Some 35 years on, his love of Led Zeppelin and in particular the recent work of Robert Plant was well in evidence when I conducted an interview with Bob Harris – the voice of the Old Grey Whistle Test and legendary radio DJ. Our conversation recalls those Whistle Test years and in particular his championing and empathy of the music of Nashville, Alison and Buddy, Patty etc which has had a direct influence on the singer in recent years.

DL: Were did you interest in country music originally stem from?

BH: It really kicked off with listening to albums such as Sweet Heart Of The Rodeo and Nashville Skyline. The Bryds and Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash with Bob Dylan on Nashville Skyline. I mean that the fact that Bob Dylan was exploring Country music and loved country at that time and then I kind of went with The Bryds, so that moved on to The Flying Burrito Brothers then eventually Gram Parsons, Gram and Emmylou Harris. In the early days of the Whistle Test we were actually pitching a lot of left field country because if you categorize country rock as being Poco, The New Riders Of The Purple Saga. Then there was Little Feat, Grateful Dead, it’s all melded in country, so there was that left field country which then lapsed somewhat during the late 70s and early 80s. Then Steve Earle emerged along with greatTexas singers, Townes Van Vant, Guy Clarke, all that stuff was pulling me back into country. This then moves onto alternate country stars such as Sun Bolton, Tudeo, The Jayhawks.. So that whole thing feeds into so many influences. That’s why I love country music so much.

DL: When did you first go to Nashville?

BH: In 1999. I loved it; the level of musicianship there is absolutely unbelievable.

DL: Can you remember the first meeting with Robert back in the Zeppelin era?

BH: I think we’d meet a few times before. I was over at the Swan Song office quite a bit, I remember Marianne Faithful arriving when I was there one afternoon. Dave Edmunds was always there and yeah I remember when we were on the side of the side-stage at Rotterdam (Brussels). That was probably the first interview we done together.

DL: Did you keep in touch with him during the immediate post Zeppelin years?

BH: I hadn’t seen enough of each other during the 1980s because I wasn’t n around that much. I spent quite a lot of time in Italy during the ‘80s but once I got back to Radio One we reconnected; I was doing programmes for the British Forces Broadcasting services and Robert came in to do a big interview with me there and that’s when we really reacquainted.

DL: How did your influence on Roberts move into working in Nashville begin to take effect?

BH: By talking to Robert constantly about it, really that was the first thing. I started telling him about Buddy Miller and he knew a bit about Buddy Miller but he hadn’t really heard very much and so I was telling him about Nashville and how I loved it there. You’ve got all the musicians on tap and it’s such a musicians community.

So I was telling Robert all about this and then crucially Robert told me he was driving home from a gig one Saturday night and he was driving through country lanes and Alison Krauss came on, I played her on my show, and Robert had never heard her before and he loved her voice so much. He stopped the car, turned up the radio, stepped out of the car, and stood under the starlight and listening to her and that was it. That was his first introduction to Alison and that was about probably nine years ago. Then I was seeing Alison on one occasion in Nashville and I remember we talked about Robert because her older brother is a big Zep fan. Then Robert told me he was coming out to Nashville. That was when he first met T. Bone and Alison.

DL: So were you familiar with the players involved in the sessions for Raising Sand album?

BH: Yes I was. T Bone Burnett, Dennis Crouch who is a brilliant stand up bass player.I’d been telling Robert insistently about Buddy, because to me Buddy is the king of Nashville, I used that phrase to Robert as well. So then when Buddy joined the tour band and you could see he and Robert were getting on so well. When Buddy was on the Raising Sand tour with Robert, he was coming under increasing pressure to complete an album that he had started for New West, and he was beginning to fall behind with it because all the on the road stuff. And then he got ill. He got a some mobile recording equipment on the road and that’s where he and Robert, I think they were either in a backstage or in Buddy’s hotel room, that’s where Robert sang on a track on the album.

DL: Were you surprised at the massive success of The Raising Sand?

BH: I was surprised that it became as big as it did but I knew they had made a beautiful album from the first time I heard it. Alison also has a magic touch, there’s no doubt about that and with T Bone on board, the chemistry just worked so brilliantly.

DL: Were you disappointed they did not follow up that success with a second album together?

BH: Well there had a try at it and it didn’t really work. Then T Bones got so busy. I think the songs on Raising Sand represents the A list songs so when it came to bringing in other songs I don’t think anyone felt as strongly about it but there they had a go and just decided the time wasn’t right. They could well come to it again at some point.

DL: With the formation of The Band Of Joy line up again there must have been names in there that you were familiar with, even before they went out. Did you think the combination was right for Robert?

BH: Definitely yes. What clearly has taken root in Robert’s mind is this idea of layering voices. First of all he finds his voice matches so beautifully with that of Alison. Now he has Patty who like Alison has a voice of an angel and additionally you’ve got Buddy and Darrell, both of whom are great harmony singers. So you’ve suddenly got this wall of voices and Robert loves working within that. At certain times he’s not the lead singer anymore as he has all these voices around him that are so strong. Those voices become a texture as much as anything. It was an amazing feeling when I witnessed it. When they played in London I felt so proud.

DL: In adapting these Nashville influences, Robert has opened up a whole new avenue of music to his many fans. What other artist, albums of that genre would you recommend to lovers of the Band Of Joy album?

BH: Oh where to start? Ryan Bingham is really excellent – he sang The Hurting Kind in the film Crazy Heart and got an Oscar for that. The Willie Nelson Country Music album- that’s really good and the John Mellencamp new album. Going back to T Bone, he has this old time sensibility, the sort of analogue warm quite muddy sound, its real traditional American sound that T Bones got. So anything T Bone Burnett has produced in the last few years is worth checking out. He is now working with Steve Earle and that’s a combination I can’t wait to hear.

DL: Robert played at your 60th birthday party in 2005. That must have been quite a night?

BH: It was a completely spontaneous jam. My wife Trudie said to him about half way through the evening  ‘Are you going to do anything? He replied ‘’I need a guitarist’ and Trudy mentioned Bernie Marsden was up for it. So they disappeared for about ten minutes to see what they were going to do and they came out and did Fever backed by The Stories, the house band for the night. It was absolutely magic. I think Robert was surprised how good Bernie was actually.

DL: In 2009 you presented Robert with a Q Award, Outstanding Contribution, how did that come about?

BH: Robert phoned me up and asked me to do it. It was an absolute privilege. I’ve been with Robert every step of the way on this journey he’s taken and equally he’s been a huge source of encouragement and knowledge to me as well. Tianiwren were up on the stage with me to present the award and it was Robert who first told me about Tianiwren and it was so appropriate that they were in attendance. I’d been part of the panel that choose the Mojo Album of the year which Tianiwren won. They were doing a session with me that day on my show, so it was great how it all linked together.

DL: You were at the O2 reunion show, what was your overall opinion that occasion?

BH: It was one of the best Led Zeppelin gigs I’ve ever I ever seen and I was lucky to see quite a few in the seventies. The thing about the O2 was the clarity of it all, it was so clear. The playing was so good and they had obviously really rehearsed to make it work so well. It had to be a five star concert and it was.

DL: Can you see it happening again?

BH: No, I don’t think so. Unless it’s for a very good reason – maybe another special anniversary but no I can’t really see it happening.

DL: What have been the most memorable Robert Plant performances that you’ve seen over the years?

BH: The recent one with The Band Of Joy here in London at that little show case that they did at Mayfair One. Working backwards there was the Americana’s,…the New Orleans Jazz Festival in 2008 with Alison when they did Battle Of Evermore, that was really special. Obviously the 02 reunion concert and all those times in the 1970s. I mean he’s never been anything less than amazing any time I’ve seen him sing live, because he puts his whole heart and soul into it.

DL: You send a lot of times building your radio shows, how do go about searching out new music?

BH: Just listening to stuff that arrives basically; I mean I get loads of post through the letter box every day, so there’s that and recommendations from other people. For instance Robert and I call each other and recommend stuff. It’s funny actually because I got a call from him not long ago asking me about a couple of things and he said ‘What else are you listening to?’ and before he’d finished the question I said I’d just been playing this amazing record by this band called Cherry Ghost and as I saying it he said ‘Because Buddy’s given me a couple of tracks by this group Cherry Ghost!’.

So we are often on the same wavelength. I was in the studio recently having a little session copying the stuff off for him so I made him about three or four CD’s of tracks and things, Cherry Ghost, and some of Patty’s because there was certain areas in Patty’s collection he hadn’t got. In return Robert is definitely a source of knowledge about good music for me.

DL: What you been listening to recently. What recommendation have you come up with lately?

BH: The Decembrists new album is very lovely, Abigail Washburn, there’s a great single by a group called  Mother Mother that I’ve just started playing. The new REM album. Musa Mekconic who I love, a lovely new young band Ahab that were on my show today actually.

DL: On your radio shows is it east to blend in the new music with the heritage of the past?

BH: Yes because the engine to the programme is new music. The thing with that is you’re listening to something on an album and it reminders you of something else and you match them together and by matching them together it always works. It’s giving a sense of the history to something new and fresh.

DL: Your Whispering Bob Broadcasting Company has already won two Sony Awards for Sandy Denny and The Beatles, have you got any future projects in the pipe line?

BH: The next big project is a 16 part history of The Old Grey Whistle Test series, I’m producing and presenting that for the 40th Anniversary. We thought about a book for it but instead we are going for to a three CD set, that’s going to be the main focus together live performances as well.

DL: have you any plans to update your autobiography that came about ten years ago?

BH: Yes I would like to so that at some point.We took the idea to BBC Worldwide with the idea of updating it but the book market has changed quite drastically now with the onset of other technology. But I’d love to do it again in the future as a lot of really exciting things have happened since then.

DL: Finally of all the musicians you’ve championed over the years, what makes Robert Plant standout amongst his peers, in your opinion?

BH: It’s another ‘Where do you start’ answer because there are some many aspects to Robert that I think are so amazing. He is one of the totally great voices of all time. He never stands still and he’s got an amazing mind which inspires him to explore new things. He’s a very exciting person to be around, on every level – things happen when you’re with Robert, it’s incredible. I’ve a huge amount of respect and affection for him, He is one of the big figures in my life.

Bob Harris was interviewed by Dave Lewis on February 1st, 2011. With thanks to Trudie Myerscough-Harris.

It was 44 years ago …The Who at Wembley:

44 years ago on Saturday August 18, 1979 I was at Wembley Stadium for The Who and Friends Roar In event.

This was my third consecutive Saturday gig coming off the back of the two Led Zeppelin Knebworth comebacks.

A bit of a strange day – some great performances including Nils Lofgren and Bon Scott with AC/DC . However, after the peace and love vibe of Knebworth this was an edgy aggressive crowd and there were a fair few scuffles breaking out where we were down the front notably during The Stranglers set.

As for The Who, this was their first major post Keith Moon gig (they had played a warm up here at The Rainbow in May) – some moments of true greatness but I couldn’t help feeling it wasn’t the same, which of course it couldn’t be. Kenney Jones was a great drummer but he wasn’t Keith.

I enjoyed Pete Townshend’s solo Rock Against Racism benefit gig at The Rainbow a month earlier far more, in fact that night is right up there in my all time fave gigs list.

It would be another 23 years when I next saw The Who again – a great gig at Watford Town Hall in 2002.

Here’s some nostalgic footage from a very memorable day all of 44 years ago…


Who Are You, Keith Moon and me…

On the player The Who – Who Are You album as I’ve been thinking of The Who gig at Wembley Stadium in 1979.

A year before I bought this new Who album on Saturday August 19 1978 at the then HMV shop in Bedford – there had been a delay in supply and we had not had it delivered at WH Smiths where I worked.

The fact is, I could not wait a day longer for this album – I needed it in my life simple as that and as usual they delivered. Townshend’s songs speaking to me in a way they always did and still do… John Entwistle‘s pair of compositions were also top class, namely 905 and Trick Of The Light.

The Pete song that really resonated most was Love Is Coming Down….

‘’ Surrounded by people, a real heavy crowd, but inside I still feel lonely now’’ sings Roger…I knew that feeling back then and have experienced it a fair few times since certainly in the last 18 months…

Three weeks before this album’s release I’d been lucky enough to meet Keith Moon briefly at the opening of The Who exhibition at London’s ICA when my very good friend Dec and I attended the launch.

‘’Not be taken away’’ it says on the chair Keith sits on as can be seen on the Who Are You album cover…sadly that was not the case and within a month he would be gone…

This pic of me with Keith on August 1 1978 is therefore a very treasured memory –Dec is just behind me, friend of The Who Richard Barnes to the right and that’s Ian Dury in front…

45 years ago this month – amazing times  that I was so lucky to experience…and more tales for the memoirs…

Dave Lewis, August 18 2023


Bedford VIP Record Fair:

The VIP Record Fair returns to Bedford this Saturday  August 19 at the Harpur Suite venue..

All areas of collectable music genres are covered so you are in for a fantastic browsing treat – some brand new sellers and genuine bargain basement tables.

More Info at

Looking ahead…

I am aiming to be at the VIP Victoria Record Fair in London on Saturday September 9 -I look forward to seeing all that can make it along.

Putting the record straight…

Led Zeppelin In Though the Out Door original official release date – NOT August 15…
I hate to be the man to change the course of presumed Led Zeppelin history but I can categorically state August 15 1979 was NOT the UK release date of their In Through The Out Door album as is being celebrated by many Facebook sites and postings today…or for that matter the US release date.
It was Monday August 20 for sure in the UK and here’s how I know…
I am 100% certain it was not the 15th as on that Monday August 20 I went and purchased the album on the date of its release in WH Smith where I worked – in fact I bought six of them as I needed to have all of the deferring covers that were produced – working in a record shop i was able to wade through a fair few to find the six required. Here’s a pic of me on my bike with the albums in the HMV bag (the official bag produced for the Knebworth dates which I still have) taken outside my very good friend Dec’s house on that day. My diary or that day in 1979 confirms that is what I was doing. That day was also Robert Plant’s 31st Birthday.
Be assured, had it been five days earlier on August 15 that it was released I would have been knocking on the door of the shop eager to buy it as I had purchased every Zep album on the day of release from Zep IV onwards.
August 15 was a Wednesday and as far as I know this was never a stated release day for new albums by the music industry. Certainly not in the UK. At the time new releases came out on the Friday of the week – this was done to capture the big Friday and Saturday sales.
For some reason , Zep did go against tradition at the time by making it a Monday release for In Through the Out Door. August 20 was the release date mentioned in the news story in the NME’s issue the week they performed at Knebworth on August 4 as can be seen here in this clipping -and I quote:
‘’The new Led Zeppelin album, the bands first studio album since Presence in April 1976,is now scheduled for worldwide release on August 20”
So that is the UK situation well and truly established.
As for the US, again I would dispute the date being August 15 – being a Wednesday again I do not think this was a standard release date for new albums in the US. I do not have conclusive proof but in all the press items I read –and I made sure I read everything I could, I have never seen In Through The Out Door cited as an August 15 release date.
The plot thickens: In the super deluxe box set there are two Swan Song memos reproduced – one dated August 3 states that the intended release dates are August 17 for the US and August 20 for the UK.
However, a later press release of August 16 clearly states the US release to be August 22. To add confusion a Billboard cutting dated September 1 reports the release date as being September 2.
My bet is that it was August 22 in the US.
So where this did presumed August 15 release date originate from?
It first appeared as that date on the 1990 Remasters box set booklet. it was again listed as August 15 in the Complete Studio Records box set issued in 1993. Both those booklets are littered with errors so I would not have much faith in that source. Someone in Atlantic had clearly not done their homework.
Here’s another twist: For the super deluxe box set 2015 reissue the original release date is listed correctly in my view as August 20.
Wikipedia,. never the most reliable source has it as the bogus August 15. Surprisingly Jimmy goes with August 15 on his website today.
Any day is a good day to celebrate the In Though The Out Door album which I have great affection for – but I am going to wait until August 20 to mark what I consider to be the correct initial official release date of Led Zeppelin’s ninth album…and the proper 44th anniversary date…
Dave Lewis – August  18 2023

DL Diary Blog Update:


Update here:

Just back from a fabulous holiday – our first in four years – Janet and I spent a week in our favorite resort Santa Eulalia in Ibiza – it was very much needed after some difficult times here recently.

While I was there I was able to watch the England Lioness’s progress in the World Cup with a 2-1 win over Columbia in the quarter final and the brilliant 3-1 victory over Australia in the semi final.  Here’s hoping they can overcome Spain in Sunday’s final…

Thanks for listening 

Until next time…

Dave  Lewis – August 18 2023

TBL website updates written and compiled by Dave Lewis

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  • Graham said:

    Dave, many thanks for the heads-up about Saving Grace UK dates. Just got two tickets for Gateshead. Really looking forward to this, especially after reading so many glowing reviews on this site. Cheers.

  • matt balestiero said:

    God Bless you Dave.

    Thanks for all you do. I read your site everyday and thank you for bringing back all the led zep memories.


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