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20 April 2012 10,986 views 14 Comments

The fifth annual Record Store Day takes on Saturday – music fans from all over the globe will be converging on record shops to try and snap up the multitude of limited edition releases that are up for grabs. It’s a celebration of music in its physical form and the fact that the record shop is a vital part of our musical past and future.

As a man who was lucky enough to manage a record department and then a shop here in Bedford for nigh on 30 years, this showing of appreciation for our musical shopping heritage is a big deal for me. On the TBL Facebook I’ve been counting down the days towards Record Store Day by profiling an album a day from my collection (see the on going listing below) which has prompted many a comment and debate.

There are no main record shops here in in Bedford now but the Pad nightclub are opening their doors in the day to stage a special Record Store Day record fair with acoustic live appearances from local bands and record stalls– at the same time helping raise money for the Bedford Hospital Primrose appeal. An excellent idea.

My good friends, Dec, Phil and Tom (by the way, Phil also worked in record shops here and between us we have clocked up some 40 years service in such establishments) will be meeting up at the Rough Trade shop in Portobello Road London early tomorrow to get in line as we did a year ago. I’m eying up one or two vinyl treats (hopefully the Pete Townshend ten inch, Bowie picture disc and Bolan/T.Rex limited’s amongst others). Last year and it was great to be in a queue outside a record shop and hearing buying people talking about records, buying records and getting excited about records. As it once was, as it should be and as it can be…

All in all this is a fantastic celebration of those emporiums we have loved, lost and loved again over the past few decades. I hope fellow TBler’s can get out to one of the participating stores on Record Store Day to try and snap up the limited editions of their choice and revel in the art of vinyl and CD consumerism, where talking about and listening to music can seriously enhance your life. Even if you can’t get out, why not have an mp3/iPod/CD free weekend and get that old black matter out and relive the thrill of stylus against vinyl.

Once again there’s no Led Zep product as part of the limited edition releases for Record Store Day – this set me thinking what would be on my wish list of Zep rarities for this event.

Here’s what I’d like to see:

1: Led Zeppelin 1 vinyl reissue in the turquoise sleeve

2: Led Zeppelin 3 picture disc reflecting the inner spinning wheel

3: C’mon Everybody/Something Else (live for the Royal Albert Hall 1970) – seven inch single coupling of two of their greatest covers.

4:Wearing And Tearing/Darlene – seven inch pressing of the once planned (and bootlegged) single that was to be made available at Knebworth.

5: Good Times Bad Times/Ramble On/For Your Life/Kashmir –live from the 02 Arena 2007 ten inch pressing with accompanying 4 track DVD

Now that little lot would be very desirable – maybe next year Jimmy?

Let me know what would be on your wish list of imaginary Zep limited editions.

‘’Record shops can’t save your life. But they can give you a better one’’(Nick Hornby). This is one that certainly did that for me as from 1985 through to 2003 I was lucky enough to be managing it –not so much a job, more a sheer joy. This is Our Price Bedford reflecting the release of Led Zep’s Remasters in November 1990. Now that’s what I call a record shop window

Last weekend began as an optimistic one on the sporting front what with the Grand National and the Spurs V Chelsea FA cup semi-final. Alas it all went pear shaped.

Inspired by the lyrics from Trampled Underfoot (‘’Makes me wonder what I did, before we synchronised’) I picked out Synchronised ,one of the hotly tipped runners for the Grand National. I’m not a betting man and haven’t been in a bookies for about 20 years, however I thought I’d have a little flutter. Watching the race unfold in the afternoon was somewhat painful as Synchronised fell at the fifth fence and later had to be put down after it got injured. A sad end to what had been an exciting race. Spurs of course were beaten 5-1 by Chelsea –the second goal was clearly nowhere near over the line – one of the worst referring decisions I’ve ever seen. It changed the game as up to then it had been a close encounter. Football on that occasion as Bonzo once noted, was a load of bollocks. Now Spurs are left scambling for fourth place and it won’t be easy. Tomorrow they are at QPR qwho also need the points to avoid relegation (Alessandro -one of us will be disappointed!)

Unsuprisingly the Robert Plant Space Shifters Gloucester Guildhall show sold right out within what looks to have been two minutes earlier today. there was no luck here even though Gary and I were both on the case at 10am. Looking on ebay where they are already (very annoyingly) on offer for upwards of £150 – it’s not looking good especially as we have just splashed out here on a new Dyson vacuum cleaner -so it’s Space Shifters 0 The Carpet 1…

It was sad to hear late last night  the news of the death of Levon Helm The Band’s drummer/vocalist. He sang one of the all time great opening verses of any song…”I pulled into Nazareth, I was feelin’ about half past dead; I just need some place where I can lay my head.”Hey, mister, can you tell me where a man might find a bed?” He just grinned and shook my hand, and “No!”, was all he said.”
The version of the Weight by The Band wth The Staple Singers from the Last Waltz movie is one of all time great performances. Hearing it today is even more poignant. A great American musician…

Also sad to hear the death of Bert Weedon – a true pioneer of the electric guitar who’s teaching manual Play In A Day inspired so many buddy guitarists of the early 60s.

Plenty going on here with TBL 32 in design and writing full on –there was a minor respite last week when my good friend fellow author (he of the glorious New Order book From Heaven To Heaven) found ourselves in the public houses of Bedford notably The Bear where it was karaoke night. Yup you guessed it, I succumbed to a rendition of my standard Zep party piece Ramble On. There is no photographic evidence as yet of this singing sensation that might have had the likes of Tom Jones spinning his chair round (as he does on BBC’s The Voice UK) in total admiration. Not.

Above – The work in progress TBL 32

There’s some intensive work on a major 9 page spread of the forthcoming TBL to get to grips with today before all roads to lead to Portobello Road for the Record Store Day. May all your vinyl investments be as treasured as this little lot below – of which I am hoping to be adding one or two new arrivals come tomorrow morning.

Record Store Day Countdown -The Daily DL Choices on Tight But Loose Facebook

April 6 –Day 27 in the countdown to World Record Store Day with 15 day to go –Today’s choice is Presence by Led Zeppelin – as purchased the day it reached the Bedford shops 36 years ago today. I bought 2 copies –one retaining the shrink wrap –the other has an inscription by Aubrey Powell the co-designer of the sleeve –this says ‘’What’s that obilisk exactly?’’ –a reference to the mysterious sleeve. This was signed for me when he came here to film some stuff here for a Robert Plant video in 2005. As for the album – no boogies with Stu, no hat’s off to Harper’s. No funk or reggae parodies –nomelotrons or synths. Just full on full power Led Zep. The basic bass/drums/guitar/vocal approach gives the record a very live feel – leading to my conclusion that Presence is the nearest they got to capturing over a complete studio  album, the unpredictable edge and power of their on-stage performances.

It’s also stock full of Jimmy Page’s genius guitar rages. Achilles Last Stand, For Your Life and Nobody’s Fault But Mine are all as good as anything he has ever applied himself to. In my view, Presence portrays the real heart and soul of Led Zeppelin more vividly than anything else they released.

April 7 –Day 28 in the countdown to World Record Store Day with 14 day to go-todays choice is Electric Warrior by T.Rex – I got this around the late 70s –  it’s hardly in mint condition but it’s an integral part of the collection. Iconic sleeve, beautiful Fly label design and another album that sounds as fresh today as it did way back. Marc Bolan was a true rock star – and I never tire of hearing anything by T. Rex or viewing the countless TV clips that capture him at his peak. His light shines on ever brightly…and he remains forever young. There’s a four x seven inch box set titled Electric Sevens being made available as part of World Record Store Day which comprises of Hot Love (single version), Unnamed Instrumental aka ‘A Lot Of Rubbish’ O/T, Hot Love – No Strings .Get It On (album version), Raw Rump – (London demo version), Get It On (acoustic demo), Jeepster (album version) Life’s A Gas (electric demo), Jeepster (electric demo) BBC EP: Sailors Of The Highway (BBC Radio 1 Club 3rd August 1971), Girl (BBC Radio 1 Club 3rd August 1971), Electric Boogie (BBC Radio 1 Club – 20th July 1971). I’ll be on the lookout for that on the day.

April 8 –Day 29 in the countdown to World Record Store Day with 13 day to go- Today’s choice is In The Wee Small Hours by Frank Sinatra. I have an original US pressing on Capitol Records and the UK reissue –both have fantastic sleeves particularly the reissue with its scene of a radiogram and the album playing. Aside from Led Zeppelin and related artists, I have more Frank Sinatra LP’s in my collection than any other act –over 100. I adore the sleeve notes and art work and I am an avid collector of his work and continue to seek out old Sinatra albums at record fairs etc – they are true vinyl era treasures. As an interpreter of song, Francis Albert Sinatra was simply the man. This recording from 1955 was his first 12 inch LP. Here’s an extract from a review of it. ’’The muted tones and warm mono recording settle around the listener like an enveloping fog, transporting the imagination to a comforting place where the bittersweet regret is expressed with warmth and wisdom. When emotional damage is expressed so eloquently and elegantly, it produces more than a record: it’s catharsis, an entire environment for the broken hearted and art as a communal healing’’. So there you have it: It’s Frank’s world we just live in it. The perfect record for late night Easter Sunday listening.

April 9 –Day 30 in the countdown to World Record Store Day with 12 days to go. Today’s choice is Five Leaves Left by Nick Drake.  I have this on the Simply Vinyl/Island re issue 180 gram vinyl edition which I got in the sale in Virgin in 2008. The first pressing on the short lived second Island label design commands a £300+ price. I first got into Nick Drake in 1987 via the Time of No Reply/An Exploration Of album – I also have the Complete Works vinyl box set and all the CDs. He is right up there with my all-time favourite artists –his catalogue is much played as it always captures that reflective mood. I wrote a lengthy feature about this album for Record Collector in the December 2009 issue and it’s without doubt one of my all-time top ten albums. Nick’s timeless songs remain elegant, observational and wonderfully fragile. The likes of Time Has Told Me, River Man and Three Hours sounded perfect here this afternoon against the backdrop of a bleak rainy bank holiday Easter Monday.

April 10 –Day 31 in the countdown to World Record Store Day with 11 days to go. Today’s choice is Sticky Fingers by the Rolling Stones – I bought this in about 1973 –it’s the original iconic zipper sleeve with the original insert on the Rolling Stones Records. I often waver between The Who, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones as to who my second favourite band is.  Playing this today, Mick and the boys can take up the position at least for now. This is an album of absolute quality and economy – not one overdub, guitar riff or vocal performance out of place. Brown Sugar remains the greatest rock’n’roll dance track of all time –Bitch rocks like one and Can’t You Hear Me Rocking shows how important Mick Taylor was to the band during that era. The closing track Moonlight Mile is lit up with a brilliant Paul Buckmaster string arrangement and also has one of the most affecting vocal performances by any singer anytime. As can be detected – boy do I love this album. In fact The Rolling Stones run of albums from 1968 with Begger’s Banquet running though Let It Bleed, Ya Ya’s, this gem and through Exile, Black And Blues and up to Some Girl is in my view outside of the Led Zep catalogue, the greatest series of albums ever made. Fact.

April 11 –Day 32 in the countdown to World Record Store Day with 10 days to go. Today’s choice is Pictures At Eleven by Robert Plant. I have this on a white label test pressing with the album sleeve unstitched slick. This was given to me by the Warner/Atlantic rep who called on the WH Smith record department that I managed back then. It remains one of my most treasured vinyl LP’s. Hearing it for the first time was a thrilling experience as it ushered in the new era of Robert Plant solo artist. Along with Fate of Nations it’s my favourite album of his –superb playing from Robbie Blunt, passionate vocals and great songs.

April 12 –Day 33 in the countdown to World Record Store Day with 9 days to –Today’s choice is Lucifer Rising And Other Soundtracks by Jimmy Page. My latest  acquisition via Jimmy’s web site . A brilliant package:  Effective sleeve design based on Gustav Dore’s The Eagle. Thick outer cardboard sleeve, heavy weight vinyl inside. For LP enthusiasts such as myself, this is pretty much collector heaven. Informative and deep thinking sleeve notes on the inner sleeve. Each deluxe copy is hand numbered. I am the proud owner of copy number 213 of 418.  My review of the album is up now on the TBL web site. My excitement at receiving this was palpable, as can be seen by the photos I posted of it getting here. This is still what it’s all about – the arrival of this album inspired the same thrill as those bootleg LP’s I got on mail order four decades back. My enthusiasm for the collecting, writing about, and chronicling the music that is the world of Led Zeppelin and all it encompasses – is as fervent as ever. In an ever changing world that’s a gratifying constant. It’s my DNA…and one of the things the good lord put me down here for. Simple as that.

April 13 –Day 34 in the countdown to World Record Store Day with 8 days to –Todays choice is Gasoline Alley by Rod Stewart. I purchased this copy earlier today for a bargain £1 at the always excellent record stall on Hitchin Market near Bedford. I already have the album on the UK Vertigo swirl original (another Hitchin market purchase about a year back) –but today’s acquisition is the original US pressing on the Mercury label. It has a totally different gatefold sleeve design to the UK – with additional photos and notes. What a little bargain!  This was Rod’s second solo album issued in 1970 and continued the formula that would hit pay dirt before too long – a strong blend of country, blues, folk and rock with backing from The Faces plus Martin Quittenton on guitar ,Mick Waller drums and Dick Powell on violin. Stewart’s song writing was already developing superbly on songs such as Lady Day and Jo’s Lament the choice of covers here is exquisite from Elton’s Country Comfort, Dylan’s Only A Hobo through to a great version of the Small Faces My Way Of Giving. A class album from a class act who as an interpreter of songs old and new was way ahead of the pack back then. All in all a wonderful album for this bright spring Friday night.

April 14 –Day 35 in the countdown to World Record Store Day with 7 days to –Today’s choice is The Most Collection –Various Artists on the budget Music For Pleasure label. I purchased this in late 1973 at Carlow’s in Bedford for 89 pence. This is a little gem –and at the time upped my education of Zep influences overnight. Basically this profiles the work of producer Mickie Most. It includes the superb Page era Yardbirds  Little Games (with John Paul Jones string arrangement) and Ten Little Indians (which has early use of the backwards echo technique Page would use on Whole Lotta Love), plus the CCS cover version of the aforementioned Zep classic, plus the man could have been the singer in Zep Terry Reid performing the brilliant Friends (a hit for Arrival in 1970) and Superlungs,  plus the soaring instrumental Beck’s Bolero (written by Page) –the late ’66 super group session featuring Keith Moon, Nicky Hopkins, JPJ and Beck and Page where the name Led Zeppelin was first mooted. Not bad for all under a quid!

April 15 –Day 36 in the countdown to World Record Store Day with 6 days to go –Today’s choice is The History of Fairport Convention by Fairport Convention – a double album on Island –this is the second pressing which I got in the early 80s. Brilliant gatefold family tree sleeve and booklet.  This tells the story of the British institution that is Fairport up to 1972. It of course contains two of the finest songs ever written namely Meet On The Ledge and Who Knows Where The Time Goes? featuring the ever evocative vocals of the timeless late great Sandy Denny. At last year’s World Record Store Day I purchased a lovely limited double A side seven inch pressing of Sandy’s I’m A Dreamer/Who Knows Where The Time Goes? demo versions in a beautiful gate fold sleeve. There’s a as yet untitled Sandy Denny seven inch single being prepared for this year’s Record Store Day which I’ll be looking out for.

April 16 –Day 37 in the countdown to World Record Store Day with 5 days to go –Today’s choice is Hard Rain by Bob Dylan – I bought this at WH Smith the day it came out in September 1976. This is a live album from his Rolling Thunder Tour with a variety of great arrangements of Dylan classics. The breadth of his catalogue is truly stunning from the 60s classics such as Blonde On Blonde through to Time Out of Mind etc. For me the series of albums from Planet Waves through Blood On The Tracks, Desire ( my all time fave Dylan album), this album and up to Street Legal is the golden period. I saw him at Blackbushe in 1978 and it was like the Messiah had turned up.

April 17 –Day 38 in the countdown to World Record Store Day with 4 days to go –Today’s choice is  No Quarter – Unledded by  Jimmy Page & Robert Plant. Purchased from Our Price on the day it was released in November 1994. This is a double album vinyl set – I also various press releases to go with it. It was 17 years ago today that I attended the Alexis Korner tribute gig in Buxton at which Jimmy and Robert reunited to perform a short set. This was the first fruits of their fresh  collaboration that would lead  on to the MTV Unledded special in the summer –culminating in the two shows at the London Studios in August.  There’s a real spark and vitality in the way they redressed the Zep tracks of which Kashmir is the highlight. Another chapter in the saga that holds so many great memories and memorable Page & Plant gigs in 1995 and 1998. Can’t believe the Buxton gig was 17 years ago…

April 18 –Day 39 in the countdown to World Record Store Day with 3 days to go -Today’s choice is The River by Bruce Springsteen – I purchased this double album at WH Smith when it came out in November 1980 –one of the old school classic double albums and choc full of great Bruce tunes – Out In The Streets, Ties That Bind, Fade Away, Jackson Cage, Hungary Heart, Sherry Darling, Two Hearts, Point Blank, The River etc – all recorded in a very live in the studio manner with the E Street Band. I saw Bruce in ‘81 at Bingley Hall and again in ‘88 at Aston Villa –on both occasions his on stage passion and presence reduced these giant venues and made them seem like intimate club gigs. Can’t say I’ve followed his career in recent years but he is one of those artists that you just want to be around and doing it – which of course he still is. The River for me is a real peak and it still sounds fantastically vibrant and fresh.

April 19 –Day 40 in the countdown to World Record Store Day with 2 days to go-Today’s choice is Destroyer by Led Zeppelin – this is the 4 LP bootleg soundboard source of the April 27 1977 Cleveland show on DRGM Records. I brought this on mail order in 1981. There are various versions of this fabled bootleg including a carry case edition. There are some amazing recordings from their 1977 tour (Listen To This Eddie/Badgeholders etc) but this one is right up there for me – the soundboard quality is crystal clear and back when I first heard it, well it was an absolute revelation. The 1977 Zep set list was an expansive journey through their catalogue and there’s so much to marvel at here –Nobody’ Fault But Mine is a killer version, No Quarter rambles meanderingly on and on, Ten Years Gone is an emotional peak, the stereo effects on Jimmy’s guitar solo are awesome (shades of Lucifer Rising can be found here), Achilles is a Zep speedfest and Stairway is suitably regal. It’s Led Zeppelin live in 1977 captured across 4 LP records –and it’s brilliant. Simple as…

April 20 –Day 41 in the countdown to World Record Store Day with 1 day to and finally…today’s choice is Remasters by Led Zeppelin – the 3 LP set plus the 6 LP box set. I have fantastic retail memories of selling and marketing these releases back in October and November 1990 at the Our Price record shop I managed. We sold a truck load of these via a big pre- release campaign and window display etc. Word of this sales success travelled up to the  Warner/Atlantic record head guys and the following year I was awarded a triple gold disc in recognition and appreciation of my contribution to UK sales in excess of 250,00.  A wonderful gesture that holds pride of place behind me in the TBL work station. It’s amazing to think that there was a time back in the day that the only way of hearing Led Zeppelin’s music was via the ten original albums – ie the eight original studio albums, The Song Remains the Same soundtrack and the posthumous collection Coda. There were no greatest hits albums, no BBC sessions, no 1972 live albums and certainly no i-tunes. Thus the arrival in the autumn of 1990 of the five LP CD box set and Remasters compilations was a very big deal indeed. I wasn’t the only one I am sure who had not paid much attention to the studio albums in recent years. My Zep listening time was taken up analysing the many Zep shows that were appearing on CD sets and the fresh outtakes that had surfaced. The arrival of the Remasters sets changed all that. Suddenly we all realised just exactly what it was that had made this band so special. Lapsed fans got back on the wagon –a whole new generation of younger enthusiast’s also jumped aboard. Overnight Led Zep’s stock shot up…and it’s kept on increasing ever since.


And finally here is our Sam reporting for the local newspaper The Beds Times & Citizen on a new dish being served up at one of the local curry restaurants –chocolate korma anyone?


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)


  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Many thanks Graeme!

  • Graeme said:

    Great post Dave…love the RSD countdown reviews. Rock on mate!

  • Michael in Mumbai said:

    Hi Dave,

    C’mon, end the suspense for us dedicated readers. What delights rewarded your foraging on Record Store Day?


    Michael, normally of Melbourne but currently in Mumbai

  • fitzy said:

    Hi all,
    great to hear Robert is giging again,i too was unlucky on friday.
    i was really gutted about it,as jonthan has stated in his post about tickets on ebay and people ripping fans off.its not just ebay it’s company’s like seatwave and getmein.

    Something needs to be done about it, outside football grounds touts get arrested.outside music venues they seem to have a free rein,
    has anything been done about the ticket agent companies.

    This is isnt a rant as i have just brought to tickets from seatwave, wait for it hope your sitting down at a total coat of £363 quid for 2 tickets.people like me are creating a market i know, take away this , luckly i had the funds for them.Doesn’t make me feel any happier about any i will be living on beans on toast for a while but i know it will be worth it.

  • Steve said:

    Hold that result, for “Presence” read ” The Song Remains The Same” Soundtrack .

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    it’s actually 18 years!

  • Steve said:

    Dave, talking of Synchronicity, Presence was removed from the top of the UK charts by….. Bert Weedons 22Golden Guitar Greats, I bet that brought a wry smile to Mr JP 🙂

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Could have been Mr F… saw them in 1975 and 1982 ..roll over lay know the rest…

  • Kam said:

    Are you really sure that Buxton was 17 years ago?!!! I can’t get my head round that, 17 years…..

  • Gary F said:

    No Quo on your list then…..!

  • andrew R said:

    Outstanding selection Dave compliments.Also compliments on producing an ouistanding journalist daughter.Plenty of Dads charisma there methinks!Enjoy Rough trade you lucky bugger!Some of us will be working sadly.

  • steve hurd said:

    robert tickets sold out in mins for may show (doh

  • Jonathan Taylor said:

    Is it not time to start a campaign to get eBay to stop the sselling-on of gig tickets? They’ve done with football tickets.

    This practice of buying tickets to a gig you have no intention of going to, just to fleece real fans out of serious money is despicable.

    And in case you’re wondering, these are not the rantings of a bitter man, as being a Gloucester resident, I queued this morning and got my tickets. I just believe that it’s time that this form of touting was stopped.

  • RichardG said:

    What a countdown to RSD Dave! Some fantastic gems and one offs you’ve got there, and I’ll bet that only a small selection of your treasures. Thanks for sharing!

    Re Levon Helm – a sad loss indeed, I suggest we all have a look at the closing scenes of It Might Get Loud to watch Jimmy, Jack White & The Edge take on that very same tune…

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