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WHISKY 1969: A WELCOMED ILLICIT TASTE

8 February 2007 1,824 views No Comment

Some 34 years ago this week, I took receipt of my third Led Zeppelin bootleg LP. I’d already been thrilled by the arrival the previous autumn of Live On Blueberry Hill and in January I’d obtained Going To California. On that early Feb day back in ’73 there was another LP size package awaiting for me and within it another gem – an album called Mudslide.

I was a big advocator of bootleg LP’s back then, all of which were sourced from a mail order set up I’d seen advertised in the Sounds small ads. Such was my fascination for such items, I penned a letter to Let It Rock magazine (the Mojo / Uncut of it’s day) championing their cause which when published early 1974, it marked the debut of my thoughts in print. Very enthusiastic thoughts they were too if a little heavy on the exclamation marks (!)

Let It Rock

Mudslide was a re-pressing of one of the first Zep bootlegs known as PB, an alleged radio broadcast from their March 21 1970 Vancouver show. Not that I knew the specific date back then. There were few details on the insert. Such info would reveal itself many years hence. The most striking moment of the LP, was the then unavailable anywhere rendition of We’re Gonna Groove, the Zep set opener for a brief while.

Such discoveries were the true stuff of collecting legend.

I say all this because 34 years on amazingly, there are still new underground discoveries to behold. Just recently I finally caught up with the newly surfaced audience recording of the January 5 1969 Whisky A Go-Go show put out on CD late last year.

It’s a simply astonishing find – the very young embryonic Zeppelin hurtling through a 50 minute set. The opener sees them spiraling around Garnet Mimm’s As Long As I Have You. There’s a no messing stomp through Johnny Burnett’s Train Kept A Rollin’ and a nervous sounding Plant alerts the audience to the impending release of their first album from which Dazed And Confused is powerfully delivered. Then following Howlin’s Killling Floor (played ala Zep 2’s Lemon Song) proceedings conclude with a right- out- there psychedelic cover of The Yardbirds early hit For You Love.

Throughout this recording John Bonham is sensational.

In an ever changing world it’s of much comfort that some things remain. Three decades on from first hearing Mudslide and those early vinyl boots … blasting out this Whisky A Go-Go disc this past few days has more than confirmed that the illicit thrill of hearing Led Zeppelin live on stage making history is still one to be coveted.

Elsewhere I’ve been busy on the last stages of text for Tight But Loose 17 – I interviewed Rayna Gellert from Uncle Earl last week who provided some great background info on working with John which will feature in the mag. Also underwent an MRI scan following my inner ear virus last year which is not recommended for anyone with a fear of confined spaces (like me!). On the deck and iPod it’s been the aforementioned Whisky CD, Zep Complete Mudslide CD, John Martyn Late Night John compilation, Honeydrippers Blue Note ’81 and Bob Dylan Blood On The Tracks / New York Version (no getting away from bootlegs this week!) that has warmed up some very cold mornings and nights as the snow threatened … and as I write has finally arrived – big time.

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