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6 April 2012 10,931 views 5 Comments

It was sad to hear the news yesterday that the founder of the iconic Marshall amplifier, Jim Marshall had died at the age of 88. There is something if a local connection here as the Marshall HQ is a few miles down the road at Bletchley in Milton Keynes.

Our good TBL friend and associate Michaela Firth who lives nearby, was at the factory yesterday to pay her respects –Michaela commented on Facebook:

”Very sad to hear about the passing of Jim Marshall, a bit of a local legend where I live. His factory, which provides amps for all the world’s best musicians including a  certain Jimmy Page , is a mile from my house. He supported local schools ( providing amps for my sons school and prizes for their Battle of the Bands competition) and the local football club The MK Dons. Jim is a legend and his memory will live on in the music he helped create! RIP’’  (Tribute band Hat’s Off To Led Zeppelin also have an endorsement from Marshall Amps)

There was a very touching tribute to Jim Marshall on the local Anglia News TV last night- Joe Bonamassa and Rick Wakeman both had lovely interview segments -at the end there was a shot of the flowers that have been laid at the Marshall HQ in Milton Keynes and  Michaela Firth’s family’s inscription could be seen. What a nice touch…

Jimmy of course has been a long term user of Marshall amplifiers as Jeff Strawman on the Achilles Last Stand web site notes ‘’Jimmy Page was an avid user of Marshall amplifiers and cabinets, at least as early as March 1969 at Egegård Skole, Box 45 Teen Club, Gladsaxe, Denmark and continuing up through the 2007 Led Zeppelin reunion concert at the O2 Arena in London, England.’’

Our condolences go out to all Jim Marshall’s family and friends.

One thing’s for certain – it will be a lot louder in heaven from now on….

Lucifer rises over Bedford:

On a brighter note – there was mass excitement around these parts yesterday with the arrival of the new Jimmy Page album Lucifer Rising And Other Soundtracks.

I was out when the postman came at lunch time but there was a card left stating that a recorded parcel was awaiting pick up at the central post office in town. Having heard from Gary Foy that he had received his copy of Jimmy Page’s Lucifer Rising and Other Sound Tracks album (copy number 392) I’d hoped that my copy was what was waiting at the post office. So the TBL editor author took to the favoured mode of transport (the trusty bike) and duly cycled the mile or so to pick it up. A queue awaited me. I had taken a record bag along to carry it –alas I had forgotten that the Death Wish 2 album had come in a large cardboard wrapper. Anyway said package was handed over and I undertook a bit of a tricky journey home (and I had to take it in the pub when I stopped off for a pint…nerves were kicking in and a beer was required before the grand opening!) As you will see below this was a scene that mirrored when I cycled to purchase the In Through The Out Door album on August 20 1979 (six copies with the six sleeves of course!).

That was then…in search of the Jimmy Page fix August 20 1979

33 years later I was off cycling again in pursuit of the same Jimmy Page fix. It was all worth it of course as I am the proud owner of the deluxe edition number 213. A little bit more of vinyl heaven oh yes…it’s an awesome package-  I have yet to get around to playing it yet but somewhere over this Easter weekend I am going to lock myself in the TBL work station and soak up the intense and experimental sounds of Jimmy Page, composer and eternal lord of the strings.

This is now – Still in search of the Jimmy Page fix April 5 2012…

There’s a few other pics of the grand unveiling on the Tight But Loose Facebook page


As revealed in the previous post, the new issue of the Tight But Loose is at a work in progress stage with some great stuff lined up. Mike Tremaglio has again come up with compelling gig by gig study of Zep on tour 40 years ago with a focus on the Australia and New Zealand dates. I’ve been wading through this today and it quickly had me reaching for a batch of Aussie 72 CD’s namely Shivers N’ Shakes, Live In Sydney and Led Zeppelin Acoustically.

Playing through these remants from the tour, it’s more than evident that they really were on fire back then with Robert’s vocal strength at a real peak and Mike’s research uncovers yet more detail of a great Zep on the road era. Gerard Sparaco from the ever informative  Music Collectors site has also contributed a comprehensive round up of CD releases from that tour. The forthcoming issue also welcomes on board Jeff Strawman web master of the excellent and long running Achilles Last Stand web site.

Jeff will be contributing a regular column focusing on the Zep gear and equipment  – as he explains:

‘’  There is a lot of information and knowledge on Led Zeppelin’s gear that is publicly known, both in print and online, however a lot of it is incorrect. Wrong years, wrong finish colours or wrong model numbers for starters. My goal with this series is to dig deep and discover the definitive truths about the guitars, amplifiers and drum sets. Which better piece of gear to start off with than the Gibson EDS-1275 Double Neck guitar?  Other than the Gibson Les Paul Standard, no other instrument is more synonymous with Jimmy Page than the EDS-1275’’.

You can read Jeff’s first lowdown in the forthcoming TBL 32 – alongside many other features and reviews -the Warren Grant interview is a fascinating insight  –more details of all this very soon.  Here’s the link to subscribe:

Subscriptions are the lifeblood of the TBL magazine –  Now is the time to re subscribe – many thanks for your support in advance.

This comment received a couple of days back from subscriber Michel Sherlock has been a timely inspiration :

‘’ So looking forward to TBL32. As a relatively new subscriber, now entering my 2nd year, it is a must read. The articles are far more expansive than the website’s daily fix. It’s the perfect complement for the complete well balanced Zeppelin diet. Always well done by you and the team. Of the production standards of Jimmy himself!’’

I’ll be endeavoring to live up to that premise as this issue takes shape over the next few weeks.

On Monday I finally signed over the text update to the forthcoming Guide To The Music Of Led Zeppelin book for Omnibus Press –all 70,000 words of it. This is a substantial update to previous editions.

With invaluable input from Mike Tremaglio (thank you Mike yet again!) , I’ve spent many a hour over the past two months updating, adding and perfecting the text and I think the result will be a very worthy one.

From their 1969 debut album through to the Mothership compilation, this is an album by album, track by track analysis of every Led Zeppelin recording -guaranteed to take you back to the music with fresh perspective.

The objective being to produce the most accurate account of where, when and how Led Zeppelin created their enduring recorded legacy.

It’s due for publication around July. I am planning a special signed by the author exclusive edition available via the TBL web site – more on all this soon.

It was 41 years ago on Wednesday that I first heard the music of Led Zeppelin performed live – The occasion was the Radio One broadcast of an hours worth of live Zep for John Peel’s In Concert programme.

Zeppelin had not appeared on a BBC radio session since August of 1969 –their return to the UK airwaves was therefore much anticipated. Especially by me, tuning in a at home on our portable radio eager to hear how they sounded on stage.  Beforehand I carefully put the jack plug from my reel to reel tape recorder into the radio to capture this historic moment. Then the dulcet tones of John Peel spoke forth: ‘’This is something we’ve waited a long time for on the Sunday repeated on Wednesday show and I know it’s all going to be worth the wait. Would you welcome please Led Zeppelin.”

This was Led Zeppelin live – and a riveting experience to behold. I was already in love with their three studio albums, I had missed out on their 1969 broadcasts hearing them live was absolute confirmation that all my enthusiasm was justified. On record they were fantastic -but their songs performed live took all into another stratosphere.

As I was later to discover via the bootlegs, this hour long presentation was edited down from a full set. On this Sunday evening broadcast Immigrant Song therefore did not segue into Heartbreaker as was the custom of their then live act. Instead we heard Dazed And Confused. All nigh on 18 minutes of it…

This was my baptism into the free form improvisational world of live Led. It was then I realised that the studio versions were just the starting point. Dazed And Confused live went off into all sorts of tangents – the drama of the slowed down intro, the violin bow episode, the call and response sequence through to the lengthy outro – it was all there. Within the space of 18 minutes my estimation and appreciation of Led Zeppelin shot up 100%.

I played the entire show through yesterday on CD as well as the Trade Mark Of Quality bootleg LP. It still sounds pretty amazing…

… As does Presence which came out 36 years ago this week . I’ve often told the story of how Alan Freeman aired the whole album on his show non stop on the Saturday afternoon of April 3rd. That first hearing of Achilles Last Stand remains one of my all time thrilling aural experiences and of course it still sounds brilliant.

There were some mixed reviews of Presence at the time but overall it received a favourable response. Jonh Ingram’s review in Sounds was a five star rave that I still love reading. ‘’ In the Presence of pure rock’n’roll’’ it proclaimed quite rightly. Given the circumstances it was recorded under, this seventh Led Zeppelin album was an amazing achievement – it contains some of Jimmy Page’s most incendiary guitar playing. In light of the sad passing of Jim Marshall – this is an album that makes ample use of  guitar amplification. But you don’t need me to tell you that. Pull it out over this Easter weekend and revel again in an album that reflects the real heart and soul of Led Zeppelin.

There was a real rites of passage scenario when the boy Adam came home here a couple of weeks back with the rather surprising request to attend the forthcoming Reading Festival. A bunch of his sixth form mates are pitching up and it was encouraging that he was opening his horizons to the festival experience and the varied musical line up that goes with it.

We duly went through the precarious process of ordering a ticket online when they went live on Monday March 12th at 7.15. Luckily all went well and Adam will duly be continuing a Lewis/Reading Festival  tradition as the good lady Janet and I attended in 1988 (Alice Cooper/Stranglers/Meatloaf –I covered it for the local press) and 1998 (Page & Plant) and Sam was there in 2007 and 2008. We only attended a single day –Adam is set for the whole four day event and no doubt we will be worried parents come that August weekend, as our lad strives into the big wide world of festival mud and madness.

The good lady and I celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary on Saturday and being a Saturday we made something of it with a lunch time meal out at the Embankment Hotel –we also took a nostalgic trip back to the church where we got married at exactly the time we would have been making our vows  all those years back. Never a cross word in between? Well er one or two.. and looking back I really should have added an additional vow for Janet of ‘’Though shalt put up with decades of Led Zep buffoonery ‘’as let’s face it, Janet has been a saint for putting up with all this but hey we are still rockin’! Many thanks for all the nice comments we had on the TBL Facebook on the day – you lovely people.

Football – I did venture down the pub to have a look at the second half of Chelsea v Spurs (a 0-0 draw) and the 3-1 win over Swansea last Sunday so things have been looking up –it’s going to be a close run in with Arsenal (squeaky bum time Cliff?). Then there’s also the matter of facing Chelsea in the FA Cup semi final a week on Sunday. Come on you Spurs…

On Tuesday I watched the excellent Muhammad Ali Then & Now documentary on BBC4 –this featured vintage Ali interviews with David Frost alongside a more recent interview –Ali despite his Parkinson’s disease, displayed the same wit and intelligence that graced his peak years. It was a heart warming portrait of this incredible man.

Wedneday  I met up with an old friend Pat Maher who lived over my manor in my early teenage years – I had not had a chat with him for some 39 years . We have been meaning to meet up for ages .We had a right old laugh reminiscing about such topics as going to see films like Melody/SWALK  (a great period 70s piece with Jack Wild and Mark Lester) and the Rolling Stones Gimme Shelter at the long demolished Century cinema by the river, the newspaper delivery jobs we had at the local newsagent (Pat – yes mine was an easier round than yours back in 1972 – get over it!), attending matches at the old Bedford Town football ground (also long gone), playing football for hours on end in the local park and the merits of Zep, Jethro Tull etc. A top night indeed.

Friends reunited …..DL and Mr Pat Maher who had a very long newspaper delivery round in 1972 – I had a very short one. He was taller than me and still is!

Easter is upon us and in between an egg or two (and a beer or two) there will be more focus on the work in progress TBL 32 etc. On behalf of Gary and all here, I wish you all a happy Easter and a great weekend.

Finally…here is the on going DL Vinyl LP of the Day TBL Facebook entries on the countdown to World Record Store Day with a couple of weeks to go. This is a daily choice picked from my collection highlighting the delights to be had in searching out vinyl  classics and giving them a spin.

Here’s the link to the list of exclusive product that will be on offer (I am eyeing the Pete Townshend and T Rex limited amongst a few others!)


March 23 – Day 13 in the countdown to World Record Store Day – Today’s choice is Soldier Of Fortune The Best Of Phil Lynott & Thin Lizzy.  Not one of the hippest packages being a TV advertised album by the Telstar label in 1987. I got this sent to me when I was writing a column for the local paper at the time.  It’s a actually an excellent catch all compilation of Thin Lizzy highlights mixed with some of the late great Phil’s best solo moments. Waiting For An Alibi,The Boys Are Back, Jailbreak, Dancing In the Moonlight –the hits keep coming and this is another prime album to set you up for the weekend. Perfect Friday night rock music in the grand Tommy Vance tradition.

March 24 – Day 14 in the countdown to World Record Store Day – Today’s choice is Hendrix In The West by Jimi Hendrix. I brought this from Carlows in Bedford for £2.15 with one of my first pay packets – as I earned £11.50 a week this was a substantial outlay! I had a real fixation with live albums back then so this set recorded at Berkeley, San Diego and the Isle of Wight was much played. I float in and out a bit with Hendrix now and haven’t played anything of his for ages. It was really good to hear this blaring out tonight – Voodoo Chile  may affected the neighbours viewing of The Voice and Britain’s Got Talent tonight!

March 25 – Day 15 in the countdown to World Record Store Day – Today’s choice is Glenn Campbell Wichita Lineman. I got this from the excellent Hitchin Market record stall always a good source of interesting vinyl and this is a superb package. A 1969 original pressing on the Ember label with sleeve notes by Tom Jones no less! Great song selection with Jimmy Webb’s gorgeous title track, Dreams of the Everyday Housewife, Reason To Believe, Words, If You Go Away etc. Glenn’s emotive vocal delivery brings freshness to every performance. Sunday’s sound better with a touch of Campbell on the deck –particularly sunny spring ones…sad to her of his alzheimers memory loss health problems –he recently undertook a ‘Goodbye Tour’.  A class act for decades.

March 26 – Day 16 in the countdown to World Record Store Day – Today’s choice is Houses Of The Holy by Led Zeppelin, officially released on this day in 1973 all of 39 years ago. And yes, I can recall it like it was yesterday. The album actually took another two days to reach the Bedford shops and I purchased it on Wednesday March 28 at Carlows in Bedford. It was a top end £2.65 being in the Atlantic deluxe series. I’d plagued the Bedford record shops for three months in the wait for this record –clocking my enthusiasm the nice manager of the shop (Graham Mabbutt –Am I right Phil?), allowed me some of the display material they had up .The cover was to the eyes of this then 16 year old totally mind blowing – I still have the wraparound intact that was added on to enable the browser to identify who it was. My sleeve is also inscribed by the Hipgnosis co designer Aubrey Powell (Po), which he kindly did when he came here to do some filming of my memorabilia for a Robert Plant video in 2005. It states ‘’My favourite sleeve of all time from the Hipgnosis stable –Po (Hipgnosis 21/01/05)’’.

The music of course was, and is as exotic and imaginative as ever from the multi stringed thrust of The Song Remains The Same, through the mysterious No Quarter and on to the joyous Ocean. I remember being mortified by the Chris Welch review in Melody Maker that led with the headline ‘Zep lose their way’. To me The Crunge and D’yer Ma’ker were the less intensive humorous side to Zep.  Houses Of The Holy remains full of the feel good factor. It’s the perfect spring album –fresh, alive and full of vitality. That’s exactly how it sounded again today.

March 27 – Day 17 in the countdown to World Record Store Day – Today’s choice is Walking Into Clarksdale by Jimmy Page & Robert Plant – in keeping with today’s TBL web site March 1998 retro posting.  I purchased this as it was released in April 1998 – heavyweight vinyl double album containing the album – I also got the limited digi-pack CD and cassette –hey I was keen!  In my review in TBL 13 I concluded that ‘’Walking Into Clarksdale may turn out to be one of the most durable and ultimately satisfying albums of their entire career’’. 14 years on I’d stand by most of this album. Truth be told some of it hasn’t worn well – Burning Up and Sons of Freedom sound a bit standard but what is good still sounds very good indeed ie Shining In the Light, Upon A Golden Horse (fantastic strings) When The World Was Young (that was so good live), Heart In Your Hand, Blue Train (outstanding) When I Was A Child and the title track with some great Yardbirds inspired Page soloing. Like all the worthwhile albums, hearing it instantly transports me back to the era it emerged from with many a fond memory – as can be read on the passionate DL scribing’s to be found on the TBL web site today.

March 28 – Day 18 in the countdown to World Record Store Day – Today’s choice is The Gift by The Jam. I brought this the day it came out from WH Smiths in March 1982 –30 years ago. It still has the special paper outer sleeve. Paul Weller is an artist I hold in high esteem and I have a fair few albums from all stages of his 35 year career from The Jam, Style Council, solo etc. The Jam’s latter albums capture them at a really interesting phase with Weller augmenting their sound with brass and strings and moving into funk and soul. The Gift was their last album before Weller called it a day.  Precious, Town Called Malice, Ghosts, Just Who Is The Five O Clock Hero are all absolute quality and still sounding fresh. I missed out on seeing the From The Jam (with Bruce Foxton) tribute band when they played here in Bedford in February –by all accounts it was very good. It’s great to see the old Modfather back at number one on the UK album chart this week with Sonik Kicks. His career has great parallels with that of Robert Plant in that they have both steadfastly refused to trade on former glories and have continued to challenge themselves and their audience by taking their music in diverse directions –while often seeking inspiration from their roots.

March 29 – Day 19 in the countdown to World Record Store Day – Today’s choice is Dollars In Drag/The 1980 Floor Show by David Bowie. This is a bootleg on the Amazing Kornyfone record label (TAKRL) mainly taken from his late 1973 Marquee club appearance staged and filmed for a US TV show. The last time he appeared with the Ziggy/Spiders set up. Great live versions of Jean Jeanie, Time, Space Oddity etc and a bizarre I Got You Babe with Marianne Faithful. It also has both sides of the obscure Arnold Corns single Bowie produced in 1971 and some weird sound bite clips in between the tracks. I got this in early 1974 on mail order. I especially love his 1971 – 1976 period. He was so out there and ahead of the game then. It was good to see the famous Heddon Street location of the Ziggy Stardust LP cover awarded a heritage plaque in London yesterday.

March 30 – Day 20 in the countdown to World Record Store Day – Today’s choice is Big Hits by The Small Faces. This is a 1980 compilation on the  Immediate label when it was resurrected by Virgin. I got this for a bargain £4 at a great record shop in Norwich last summer. This handily collects all the Small Faces big hitters ie All Or Nothing, Itcycoo Park, Lazy Sunday etc onto one album. As Robert Plant would be one of the first to testify, Steve Marriott was an incredible vocalist – and collectively The Small Faces came up with a series of sharp incisive pop singles that have more than stood the test of time. Shame it couldn’t last. The SF arrangement of You Need Loving their remake of Muddy’s You Need Love was also an undoubted influence on Zep’s Whole Lotta Love. There’s an excellent feature on Marriott  and The Small Faces in this month’s issue of Mojo and their catalogue is about to be reissued on CD with bonus tracks. Next month along with The Faces –The Small Faces will be justly inducted into the Hall of Fame.

March 31 –Day 21 in the countdown to World Record Store Day with 21 days to go. Today’s choice is Thriller by Michael Jackson – something of a nostalgic choice as today the good lady Janet and I are celebrating our 28th wedding anniversary and back when we got married in 1984, Michael Jackson’s Thriller was everywhere. In fact the day before (March 30th), saw the release of the Making of Michael Jackson’s Thriller video –the first big selling sell through video in the UK. These were good record shop retail times and we were right in the middle of it all working in WH Smith. One beat of that dramatic intro to Billie Jean and I’m right back there –mullet hair cuts, dodgy fashions and all. There’s not much else to say about an album that re- wrote the rule book on pop perfection and still sounds brilliant (Quincey Jones production is genius). Human Nature in particular –we went to see him in 1988 at Wembley and his performance of that track live was mesmerising.  Happy anniversary Thriller video…happy anniversary to us.

April 1 –NOTE THE DATE! Day 22 in the countdown to World Record Store Day with 20 days to go- todays choice is The Partridge Family Christmas Album on the appropriately named Sounds Superb label. David Cassidy and Shirley Jones never sounded so good than on this amazing seasonal offering.  Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree and Winter Wonderland sounded great blaring out here this morning. I’m still trying track down their rare triple album Partridge Family Rock The Fillmore which rumour has it features a certain Jimmy Page guesting on guitar on a cover of Led Zep’s Fool In The Rain. Anyone know of a copy of that going cheap?

April 2 –Day 23 in the countdown to World Record Store Day with 19 days to go   Today’s choice is The Missing BBC Sessions Tracks by Led Zeppelin – a very nice bootleg vinyl LP I picked up last year in Brighton –this incudes What Is And What Should Never Be and Communication Breakdown as recorded on April 1st 1971 at the Paris Theatre London – and there’s nothing at all foolish about those performances!

April 3 –Day 24 in the countdown to World Record Store Day with 18 days to go – todays choice is Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs by Derek And The Dominoes – I got this on vinyl from a London record fair in the 1990s. One of the great one off albums, with Eric as Derek producing a stunning array of quality songs backed by outstanding musicianship and guest Duane Allman. Bell Bottom Blues is one of the great love songs-Layla in all its seven minute glory still soars and I Looked Away, I Am Yours and Thorn Tree In The Garden are all subtle delights.– a timeless two record set from 1970.

April 4 –Day 25 in the countdown to World Record Store Day with 17 day to go –today’s choice is BBC Broadcast by Led Zeppelin –this is the oginal bootleg on orange vinyl by the Trade mark of Quality label. I brought this on mail order in 1973- and what a revelation it was/is. For it’s 41 years today that that BBC In Concert Paris Theatre was first broadcast on Radio 1. I’d faithfully taped it on an old reel to reel tape player on that afternoon . It was great to have it on vinyl. I now have countless versions on CD but it’s this bootleg that is most treasured. Great back cover art work too by William Stout who did a fair few   sleeves for the TMQ label. The music is of course prime 1971 Led Zep –opening up fresh horizons with every performance and this one still sounds utterly amazing.

April 5 – Day 26 in the countdown to World Record Store Day with 16 day to go –today’s choice is From To Memphis To Vegas by Elvis Presley. A double album on RCA Victor – I got from a London record fair a few years back. I love so much of his stuff but my favourite Elvis period is the 1968- 73 so called Vegas years –his voice was awesome around then and he proved he was still the King.  Led Zep had a memorable meet with him in 1974 – before the show Elvis told his band ‘’we better be good tonight – we’ve got Led Zeppelin in the audience’’ This double album captures a live Vegas performance from August 1969 plus a 1969 studio session in Memphis. As the saying goes:‘’ Before anyone did anything… Elvis did everything.’’

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  • Ivan Shaw said:

    Hi Dave
    I managed to get No. 203 even though I applied rather late in the day for a copy. The address in London on the site conformation was Tabernacle St where is was working at the time. So I went and had a look – it just seemed to be a solicitor’s office, so no chance of getting a copy earlier or saving the postage or the chance of the sleeve being bent.
    Enjoy – must be time for Mr Page to do a new live project – such a long time has gone by.

  • Ian Avey said:


    Congratulations to you and Janet on your anniversary.

    I now can’t wait for the Lucifer Rising album to arrive, and it is nice to know that it is due anyday now. Just gutted that I didn’t manage to get my hands on a limited one. The snippets on Jimmy’s site sound great!

  • andrew R said:

    Love the unwrapping of new vinyl photos,the thrill never subsides even after all these years.Looking forward to a review Dave.Slightly jealous as i registered for both versions and got nothing!!!Happy easter to you and the entire Lewis family.

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Happy Easter from all here mate!

  • Mark Harrison said:

    Amongst the pictures of various “Old Boys” A picture of your good lady is most welcome mate. Glamour comes to TBL at last!
    All the VERY best to you both AS ALWAYS!

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