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50 YEARS OF DL MUSIC PASSION/THE ROCK MACHINE TURNS YOU ON/LZ NEWS/WALKING INTO CLARKSDALE 21 YEARS GONE/ THE DESTROYER/VIP VICTORIA RECORD FAIR/ DL DIARY BLOG UPDATE

25 April 2019 1,410 views 12 Comments

It was 50 years ago – 50 years of DL music passion 1969 – 2019:

I ran this piece last week to celebrate this personal music milestone  – here it is again with some additional content.

It all acts as prelude to a series of DL Celebrates 5o Years of Music Passion postings that will appear throughout the year. The first of which, The sampler Albums – The Rock Machine Turns You On follows this introducionary piece

50 years ago around the Easter period, The Beatles released their first single of 1969. Get Back coupled with Don’t Let Me Down – these tracks had been recorded in January during the infamous Get Back sessions.

This is a significant release for me as this is the record that attracted me back to music – an attraction that has grown manifold over the past 50 years.
I say ‘back to’ as aged 7, I did have a brief flirtation with music mainly focused on The Dave Clark Five. I was pretty obsessed with Dave Clark’s drumming skills and replicated his drum kit in our back garden using old paint tin cans. Glad All Over remains one of my all time fave singles.

The first live gig I ever attended was the Dave Clark 5 package that came to the Bedford Granada in April 1964. In some wonderment I watched a line up of acts that included The Mojos, The Hollies, The Kinks and the aforementioned DC5.

However, this passion was eroded somewhat by childhood distractions such as Thunderbirds, Doctor Who and the Daleks, The Man From Uncle, James Bond and from 1966 -the year that England won the World Cup, my attention turned to playing football, watching it and following of Tottenham Hotspur. I also spent many an hour playing Subbuteo table football (anyone else remember that?)

My initial love of music took a back seat and remained somewhat dormant until that Easter of 1969.
Back then when I was aged 12, in the local café near our street there was a juke box – sixpence for two goes. My gang were often in there and one of the records that was played constantly from the moment it was released was Get Back. Now this I loved – really loved I loved its driving rhythm, bustling drumming,cool vocal with talk of ‘’Sweet Loretta Martin (who) thought she was a woman’’ and Billy Preston’s rolling keyboards.

I also loved the B side Don’t Let Me Down which was also often played on the juke box. The pleading vocal of John Lennon hit the mark every time.
I was well aware who The Beatles were of course. I had been to see both the Hard Days Night and Help films at the cinema. Anyone growing up in the 60s could not really avoid them – they were everywhere. I certainly knew they were very important I was playing the aforementioned Subbuteo table football at a friends house when his elder brother came in with a copy of the just released Sgt Pepper album.

My interest in them though had been from afar.

That all changed when I heard Get Back. A little over a month after this release, The Beatles had another single in the charts titled The Ballad of John And Yoko. I loved this one too.

One of the distinctive aspects of these Beatles records was that the label depicted a green apple, while the B side was the core of an apple. I quickly learned that the Beatles now released records on their own Apple label. I thought this design was a deft touch – it ignited something in me that would lead to a deep fasciation for actual record labels, designs and sleeves. It all went hand in hand with the affinity I developed for the long playing record and 45 RPM single. An affinity that remains as strong as ever.

I could not get enough of all this. As the song goes, music was now my first love – big time. I wanted to hear it, read about it, watch it and talk about it. Remarkably, in a matter of five years I would be selling it. Eventually – even more remarkably, my writing about it would reach fellow music fans across the globe.

From that moment of hearing and admiring Get Back grew an intense passion. I avidly read the NME and other music papers, I listened to Alan Freeman’s Pick of the Pops chart show every week on Radio One. I kept right up to date with all the weekly chart happenings and my appreciation of so much music grew and grew – The Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley, The Who, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Fleetwood Mac, Free, Family, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Crosby Stills, Nash & Young, Jethro Tull to name but a few, all appeared on my musical radar during the next few months – and stayed there.

Of course, there was one other act of much importance as all this would lead me to the biggest passion of all – Led Zeppelin. And anyone reading this will realise the immense consequences of all that.

Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham came into my life in late 1969 when I heard Alan Freeman play Whole Lotta Love. Throughout the next 12 months my enthusiasm for this band grew ever more intense – leading up to the release of Led Zeppelin III. By then I was well and truly hooked.

Whilst I enjoyed so much other music, my love of Led Zeppelin was on an altogether different level. This was not just a band…it became a way of life. I saw them live for the first of 15 occasions the following November at the Empire Pool Wembley. It was an illuminating night of electric (and acoustic )magic – many more magic nights would follow.

By the time I had clocked up that 15th appearance at the 02 reunion in December 2007, I had created a magazine about them, met them, interviewed them and written several books about them. From that small acorn in 1969 grew a mighty oak tree…the many branches of which continue to resonate…

Back to the story: when I could afford it I began buying singles and albums – The Who’s Pinball Wizard and the Island Records sampler LP You Can All Join In being amongst my first purchases in this new era. Many more would follow.

The Beatles Get Back single was announced via a very clever press advert. It described this new record with a series of incisive phrases.

It carried the headline The Beatles as nature intended. It read as follows:

‘’Get Back’’ is The Beatles new single. It’s the first Beatles record which is as live as can be in this electronic age.

There’s no electric watchamaclit.

‘’Get Back’’ is a pure springtime number.

On the other side there’s an equally live number ‘’Don’t let me down.’’

Paul’s got this to say about Get Back…

‘’we were sitting in the studio and we made it up out of thin air. We started to write words there and then …when we finished it we recorded it at Apple Studios and made it into a song to roller coast by’’.

P.S. John adds its john playing the fab live guitar solo.

An now John on Don’t Let Me Down.

John says don’t let me down about ‘’Don’t let me down’’

In ‘’Get Back’’ and’’ Don’t let me down’’ you’ll find The Beatles as nature intended

I could easily apply my then new found enthusiasm with the same statement because it really did feel like I had found total redemption in music – as nature intended.

50 years on now aged 62, nothing has changed – music is the DNA that defines who I am and what I do. In sharing it over the years, it has built lasting friendships and created much camaraderie. I am in touch with fellow music enthusiasts from Ecuador (hi Jose!),Japan, Brazil and many other countries.

The good lady Janet and I would meet when we worked at WH Smith selling records.

As of now, I am officially celebrating 50 years of music passion.

So thank you dear Beatles for opening the music floodgates for me that Easter all of 50 years ago.

Oh and John Lennon …I did not let you down about Don’t let me down – and you never let me down either….

Dave Lewis – April 25, 2019.

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DL celebrating 50 years of music passion 1969 – 2019 – post number one:

The Sampler Albums… 

 

In 1968 The CBS Rock Machine Turned You On – Including Jimmy Page and Robert Plant?

The Rock Machine Turns You On – Various Artists (CBS PR2)

In the 1968 chapter of the excellent new David Hepworth book A Fabulous Creation, David relays the importance of the rock sampler album, notably the CBS release of that year The Rock Machine Turns You On

Ah yes, the sampler album, those of us of a certain age will recall the deluge of budget priced sampler albums that surfaced around the late ’60s and early ’70s. Their attraction was that they normally sold for around 19 shillings and 11 pence (the equivalent of a quid) or 14shillings and 6. This provided the opportunity for teenagers like me, to climb on board the hip and trendy world of the underground.

Due to the more affordable price, one of my first albums I purchased aged 13, was the Island sampler You Can All Join In. This opened my ears to a host of inspiring tracks from the likes of Jethro Tull, Free ,Fairport Convention, Traffic, Spooky Tooth ,Tramline and the exotically named Wynder K Frog.

The purpose of these samplers was to draw attention to the variety of performances on offer and perhaps lead you on to the equivalent album. That worked for me later on in the pursuit of albums by Free, Jethro Tull and Fairport Convention

David Hepworth’s entry in the sampler world came a little earlier in June 1968 with the release of The Rock Machine Turns You On. The CBS label (Columbia in the US) were the pioneers of such releases and in the book, the compiler of this set David Howells recalls how Columbia in the US suddenly found them with a breadth of emerging rock talent. This from a label that was more associated with the likes of easy listening artists such as Ray Conniff, Andy Williams and Tony Bennett.

Inspired by a cheap sampler set on RCA titled Pop Shopper and issued in the early 60s, Howells saw the potential of compiling tracks from the CBS stable to promote their catalogue in the UK. The Rock machine Turns You On was stickered 15 tracks for 15 shillings. The 15 artists featured lined up as follows: Bob Dylan, Moby Grape, Spirit, The United States of America, The Zombies, The Peanut Butter Conspiracy, Leonard Cohen, Blood Sweat And Tears, The Byrds, Simon & Garfunkel ,Taj Mahal, The Electric Flag featuring Mike Bloomfield, Roy Harper, Tom Rose and Elmore Gantry’s Velvet Opera.

On the back cover it featured some heady words of wisdom extracted by Howells from a US Columbia advertising campaign for this hip new emerging era. It read as follows:

THE ROCK MACHINE IS A MACHINE WITH SOUL.

The Rock Machine isn’t a grind-you-up. It’s a wind-you-up. The sound is driving. It’s your bag. So it’s ours. It’s the Super Stars. And the Poets. It’s the innovators and the underground. It’s the Loners and the lovers. And It’s more. Much more…

This all worked a treat and led on to many major labels following suit – the aforementioned Island Records with You Can All Join In and Nice Enough To Eat  plus the pleasingly titled El Pea and Bumpers . Polydor waded in with the double set Bombers – Harvest with Picnic, a Breath of Fresh Air and the Harvest Bag, Atlantic with the Age of Atlantic and New Age of Atlantic , Liberty with Gutbucket. Probe with Handle With Care. CBS extended the Rock Machine Turns You On into a second volume Rock Machine I Love You and then issued the superb double album samplers Fill Your Head With Rock and Rockbuster. There were many others.

At the time I loved looking at these samplers in the local record shops – the line-up of tracks providing a gateway into a brave new musical world – and I invested in a few too.

Unsurprisingly, I am still a big collector of such items and the David Hepworth book reminded me of the importance of the original The Rock Machine Turns You On sampler.

This a remarkable collection – not least because it has various Led Zep references amongst the 15 tracks. Alongside the more well established CBS artists of the era (Dylan/ The Byrds/Zombies/ Leonard Cohen etc.) there are no less than six that have Zep connections.

In the influences department, there’s Moby Grape’s Can’t Be So Bad – very much a part of the young Robert Plant’s musical heritage. Then it’s hats off to one Roy Harper, represented by a quaint busk through Nobody’s Got Any Money In The Summer, taken from his Come Out Fighting Genghis Smith album.

A further connection comes via Tim Rose presenting in dynamic style Come Away Melinda from his 1968 album. That was the year Tim Rose was supported by The Band of Joy where he spotted the young John Bonham and later offered him the drum stool for his summer UK tour. It was during that particular Tim Rose tour at the Hampstead Country Club on July 31 ,1968 that Page witnessed the Bonham phenomenon for himself when he was assembling a new Yardbirds line up that would eventually emerge as Led Zeppelin. Page immediately offered him the job.

Then there are three tracks on this album that were covered by the early Led Zeppelin. Spirit’s Fresh Garbage was incorporated into the As Long As I Have You medley during the debut Zep American tour. As is plainly evident on the original, its strident riff was tailor-made for interpretation on that Page painted Fender Telecaster. Of course the ‘Taurus versus Zep Stairway To Heaven ‘ high profile court case would go on to become their more notorious association with Spirit.

The Electric Flag with Mike Bloomfield on guitar attack Chester Burnett’s Killing Floor. It was this arrangement (also used by Jimi Hendrix) that Page and co loosely based their Led Zep 2 staple The Lemon Song upon. Bloomfield’s fluid guitar dominates this slightly faster work out that features some jazz rock like sax towards its climax. Back in 1969, it did not take long for publisher Jewel Music to claim a cut of the Zep publishing fee which would lead to The Lemon Song appearing under the title Killing Floor on later copies of the second Zep opus.

And finally Elmore Gantry’s Velvet Opera tune in with their most famous offering Flames. Elmore who? you may ask, and what’s it got to do with the Zep?

Well, although there is no surviving taped evidence, both Page and Plant have stated that this was one of the numbers The New Yardbirds/early Zeppelin fleshed out their initial sets with. It may have also been considered as a possible studio contender for the first album sessions. The Elmore Gantry original is certainly typical of the aggressive psych rock stance that Page brought to The Yardbirds in their final days and its soulful refrain “You’ve been burning me up” would have been perfect fodder for the raw vocal technique of the young Plant. Indeed, the singer would perform his own version of the song during his Priory of Brion touring era circa 2000.

As for Elmore Gantry’s Velvet Opera, two of their members, Richard Hudson and John Ford, went on to join The Strawbs and later formed their own Hudson Ford group scoring a top ten UK hit with Pick Up The Pieces. Elmore himself went on to form the bogus Fleetwood Mac that went out in the mid-70s when the real Mac was off the road. He later, formed Stretch, and enjoyed a hit in the mid-70s with Why Did You Do It.

So here’s the thing:

David Hepworth notes This Rock Machine Turns You On sampler was originally released in early 1968.

With this thread of Zep influences revolving amongst the grooves, could it possibly have been one of the albums Robert Plant took along to spin to Jimmy Page at that first meeting of minds in Pangbourne in the summer of 1968?

Or that Jimmy Page already had a copy lying around?

There’s enough evidence in their early repertoire to make that claim fairly plausible.

Here’s a quote from a 1990 Robert Plant interview:

“On stage the song’s opened up so much. We’d do As Long As I Have You, the old Garnett Mimms track, Fresh Garbage by Spirit, Flames by Elmore Gantry and his Velvet Opera. All these things would come creeping out the woodwork. That was the beauty of Led Zeppelin.”

 

On a final note – my copy of The Rock Machine Turns You On has the original CBS inner sleeve and it’s a beauty.

One side comprises of eight reasons to buy records under the title ‘’Here’s how records give you more of what you want’’.

It’s a fascinating snapshot of the way records were perceived and 50 years on, much of it still rings true

Here’s the full text:

HERES HOW RECORDS GIVE YOU MORE OF WHAT YOU WANT:

1: THEY’RE THE BEST ENTERTAINMENT BUY: Records give you top quality for less money than any other recorded form. Every album is a show in itself. And once you’ve paid the price of admission you can hear it over and over again.

2: THEY ALLOW SELECTIVITY OF SONGS AND TRACKS: With records it’s easy to pick out the songs you want to play, or to play again a particular song or side. All you have to do is lift the pick-up arm and place it where you want it. You can’t do this easily with anything by a long-playing record.

3: THEY’RE CONVENIENT AND EASY TO HANDLE: With the long playing record you get what you want to hear when you want to hear it. Everybody’s familiar with records too. And you can go anywhere with them because they’re light and don’t take up space.

4: THEYRE ATTRACTIVE , INFORMATIVE AND EASY TO STORE: Record albums are never out of place. Because of the aesthetic appeal of the jacket design, they’re beautifully at home in the living room and library. They’ve also got important information on the backs – about the artist, about the performance or about the programme. And because they are flat and not bulky. You can store hundreds in a minimum of space and still see every title.

5: THEY’LL GIVE YOU HOURS OF CONTINUOUS AND UNINTERUPPTED LISTEING PLEASURE. Just stack them up on your automatic changer and relax.

6: THEY’RE THE PROVEN MEDIUM. Long -playing record look the same now as they did when they were introduced in 1948 but there’s a world of difference. Countless refinements and development s have been made to perfect the long playing records technical excellence and ensure the best in sound reproduction and quality

7: IF IT’S AVAILABLE IN RECORDED FORM, YOU KNOW IT’LL BE AVAILABLE ON RECORDS. Everything’s on long playing records these days…your favourite artists, shows ,comedy, movie soundtracks, concerts, drama, documented history, educational material…you name it. This is not so with any other recording.

8: THEY MAKE A GREAT GIFT because everybody you know loves music. And everybody owns a record player because it’s the musical instrument everyone knows how to play. Records are gifts that say a lot about to the person you’re giving them to. And they keep on remembering

AND REMEMBER..IT ALWAYS HAPPENS FIRST ON RECORDS

The reverse of the inner bag lists 25 CBS label albums with sleeve illustrations. This mirrors the changing tide of tastes as the likes of Leonard Cohen, Chicken Shack, Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper, Bob Dylan, The Byrds, Simon & Garfunkel, Taj Mahal, Tim Hardin, Gun and, Blood Sweat and Tears rub shoulders with Tony Bennett, Ray Conniff, Andy Williams, Johnny Mathis, Funny Girl and West Side Story.

The musical times they were a changing and The Rock Machine Turns You On was a tangible testament to that statement.

In summary: The Rock Machine Turns You On is a vinyl gem. I would advise any Led Zep fan to check it out at their earliest convenience.

Dave Lewis – April 25, 2019

 

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Led Zeppelin News Update:

In conjunction with the Led Zep news site, each week I will be re- producing highlights from their weekly email update news summary. This goes out every Sunday. Sign up details are below. Many thanks to James Cook.

Latest update to follow – meanwhile here’s the events listing ahead:

Upcoming events:

May 4 – John Paul Jones will perform at the Torino Jazz Festival with Tres Coyotes.
June 13 – Robert Plant will perform in Stockholm, Sweden.
June 15 – Robert Plant will perform at Bergenfest in Norway.
June 17 – Robert Plant will perform at The Big Challenge festival in Norway.
June 19 – Robert Plant will perform in Harstad, Norway.
June 21 – Robert Plant will perform in Bodø, Norway.
June 23 – Robert Plant will perform at the Secret Solstice music festival in Iceland.
June 25 – Robert Plant will perform in Tromsø, Norway.
June 27 – Robert Plant will perform in Svalbard, Norway.
June 29 – Robert Plant will perform in Svalbard, Norway.
July 2 – Robert Plant will perform in Halden, Norway.
July 4 – Robert Plant will perform at the Roskilde Festival in Denmark.
August 4 – Tight But Loose editor Dave Lewis will hold a fan meetup in London to mark the 40th anniversary of Led Zeppelin’s Knebworth performances.
August 16 – Robert Plant will perform at the Woodstock 50 festival in New York.
September 20-21 – The 2019 John Bonham memorial concert is scheduled to be held in Redditch.
September 21 – Robert Plant will perform at the Bourbon & Beyond music festival in Louisville, Kentucky.
November – The “Play It Loud: Instruments Of Rock And Roll” exhibition will move to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Many thanks to James Cook.

The complete Led Zeppelin News email goes out every weekend. To receive it each week sign up here:http://tinyletter.com/LedZepNews

Led Zeppelin News Website: Check out the Led Zeppelin news website at

http://ledzepnews.com/

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TBL Archive 1 – Jimmy Page & Robert Plant – Walking Into Clarksdale – 21 Years Gone:

To mark the release of the Walking into Clarksdale album 21 years ago this week, here’s a TBL archive piece that looks back to the release of the album.

On the back of the Shepherds Bush gig and all the media coverage, it was such a great time to be a Page & Plant fan. Here’s my original and very optimistic review of the Walking Into Clarksdale album written for TBL issue 13.

 Walking Into Clarksdale: Another Walk With Walter

Q: When is a Led Zeppelin album not a Led Zeppelin album?

A: When it’s Walking Into Clarksdale.

Jimmy Page and Robert Plant : Walking Into Clarksdale (Mercury)

Well it’s certainly not ‘Led Zeppelin 2’, as if anyone would have been daft to enough to think it would be! And initially, it may leave the listener slightly confused, but eventually this long awaited new studio album continues in the grand Page Plant tradition of moving ever onwards. In doing so they constantly refuse to merely retread the formulas of old and instead opt for innovation and surprise.

If anything, it’s something of another walk with Walter. I would draw parallel to the overall feel of the album with that of their spring 1972 Stargroves composition Walter’s Walk, which finally saw the light of day on Coda. That track has a monolithic feel that takes some plays to rise to the surface, and contains an intensity that initially may cloud it’s impressive content. But when it’s quality becomes apparent then it really hits home. So it is with Walking Into Clarksdale.

Whilst there are no blatant Zeppelin re-spray jobs, the album is littered with subtle elements of their past. One of the joys of the album is searching them out. One thing’s for sure though, this is an album that has to be worked at. However, given repeated listening, it does begin to fall into place, and the full fruits of their labour (all 35 days, if the press release is to be believed!) begins to unfold.

Much of the album carries a melancholic and wistful feel – presenting songs that carry a reflective lyrical theme. In tracks such as When The World Was Young, When I Was A Child and Heart In Your Hand, Robert seems to be pensively re-assessing events that have gone before (‘’Do your lips still call my name, would your mouth still taste the same’’). It makes for some of his most personal lyrical statements in song for a very long time. ‘’A bit of emotional debris,’’ is how he described the theme of some of the song’s to Mojo’s Matt Snow.

I’ve had many a memorable premier of their work in the past – I can recall vividly exactly where I was the first time I heard Physical Graffiti, Presence, Pictures At Eleven etc. – and this new Page Plant album was always going to be an epic initial playback. So there I was, holed up in the TBL office around 9pm on a cold early ’98 Wednesday night faced with the huge expectation of this new album, knowing that over the coming months these songs would be the soundtrack to my life and countless other like-minded fans across the world.

As the semi acoustic groove of Shining In The Light swung in it was a huge relief to finally be listening to new Page & Plant music. As that familiar guitar style oozed from the speakers and that voice opened up… well I knew I was in the best company again. Subsequently some of the content did seem to wash over on that initial hearing.

Having lived with it for a while now, well, it’s excellence is more than evident. It carries so much vitality and most importantly it carries a totally contemporary feel. This isn’t a museum piece as Jimmy stated recently, this is new music that can line up with any of the best of today’s modern outfits such as The Verve. Lets face it, there are few other songwriters of 30 years standing who can rival that feat.

In terms of the musical performance and production, Steve Albini’s role seems to have been more about capturing a clear sound than bringing in the rough edge that has been the focus of his work with The Pixies and PJ Harvey. Robert’s vocals throughout are a sheer delight, singing with clarity and conviction and aided by a very up-front vocal mix. Jimmy, meantime, appears to be concentrating on his strength as a craftsman of guitar sound rather than churning out endless solos.

Some may bemoan the lack of guitar army tactics but by adopting this method there is a subtlety and surprise element (that swift guitar change in the title track for instance) in his performance that is a joy to hear. Michael Lee once again more than  proves his worth to the set up ably supported by Charlie’s bass work. Aside from the odd cameo from Ed Shearmer and Tim Whelan, it’s the basic ‘four-man, live-in-the-studio’ format that has worked so well on stage in recent weeks.

Outstanding moments? Quite a few. The way they kick in relentlessly on the chorus of When The World Was Young, with all the spark of on the road spirit of ’72 Zeppelin. The way the string arrangement comes seeping in on Upon A Golden Horse – the whole track has the bizarre lyrical content that has lit up many a Plant prose in the past- and carries a great swirling sound reminiscent of Four Sticks.

Please Read The Letter opens with Sick Again like riffing from Page before settling into a very West Coast repetitive romp that echoes the work of Moby Grape and vocally, finds Plant aping the style of Roy Orbison. Most High comes over as almost a separate entity from the rest of the album with it’s Arabic tendencies offering a last glance back to the world of Unledded. I felt this sound-ed a little perfunctory as a studio track, however, it’s elevation as a live piece seems to have rectified those initial shortcomings.

The title track is a great throw back to the off-the-cuff rockabilly tradition of Candy Store Rock. With it’s jolting time change it could easily have taken it’s place on Presence, and that second solo is pure Telecaster heaven reminiscent of the fluttering style Page deployed on those final Yardbirds recordings (Think About It springs to mind).

Burning Up and House Of Love are where the guitarist steps up a gear. The former is embellished throughout by that crunching riff – a real slashing affair that jumps out of the speakers, propelled along by Lee’s tom tom barrage. It’s here that Page really steps on it, proving, if proof was needed, that he can pump those solos out in his sleep. The latter finds Page pressing down on the wah wah delightfully underpinning the incessant drum track in support of Plants “It’s just a little too much’’ pleadings.

Sons Of Freedom comes complete with a Prodigy like urgency aided by yet more impressive drumming – it’s vaguely in the style of Network News from Robert’s Fate Of Nations album, and jumps around feverishly before it all grinds to a percussive halt. It’s worth mentioning that after this track the Japanese version for the album carries the bonus Whiskey In The Glass, which is nothing more than a studio jam taped towards the end of the sessions. It’s set against a Bo Diddley Mona syncopated beat with Page playing that reverberated phased guitar style heard on Rude World, and Plant in his best ad-lib vocal, but fades prematurely at under three minutes just as it’s getting warmed up.

That leaves the trio of performances that best capture that aforementioned melancholy feel. Heart In Your Hand took a while to register, initially sounding like something from a Chris Isaac album. However this is one of the prime growers.Page plays some deft Dick Dale phrasing behind Plant’s reflective longing. Overall, the song captures a dark and brooding soundtrack feel.

When I Was A Child opens with a memorable reverberating tremolo. Then Robert comes in to deliver a haunting narrative that casts an oblique shadow over his past. Page adds a suitable restrained solo and at the finale Plant ad-libs the final lines with delicate finesse, “Oh you know, so I wander through your garden, grow, when I was a boy, I was a boy…” One of the stand-out tracks and one of Robert’s best vocal performances in years.

Then there is Blue Train. Opening with some slow moving bass and timpani before Robert’s mournful vocal seeps in. It then up-lifts via some strident Zeppelinish dynamics and features a beautifully plangent Byrds like jangling guitar solo constructed in a way that is just quintessential Jimmy Page. At the close Robert raises the tempo, “Hear the blue train, hear the blue train’’, before it all calms to a close. Lyrically, there’s a reflective longing that is as close to home for Robert as perhaps I Believe was.

For me When I Was a Child and Blue Train are performance’s to rank right up there with Ten Years Gone and Down By The Seaside, as they both display that unique emotional dynamism that has always characterised their best work.

So ends another walk with Walter. It’s not instant, and some of it takes a while to register but there can be no denying the sheer quality of this long awaited work. In the shadow of the Zeppelin, but essentially Page & Plant music of today, Walking Into Clarksdale may turn out to be one of the most durable and ultimately satisfying albums of their entire career.

Dave Lewis – April 17, 1998.

Postscript – April 2019:

Walking Into Clarksdale may turn out to be one of the most durable and ultimately satisfying albums of their entire career.

Looking back that was a bit of a bold statement – Walking Into Clarksdale has actually gone down as quite a low key album. There’s no doubt it still divides opinion amongst fans.

The rather thin production and lack of wide screen riffling -something so evident on Jimmy’s previous studio project – the Coverdale Page album, does reduce it’s overall impact. That said, much of it still sounds great – from the light and breezy opener Shining In the Light through to the still superb Blue Train (one of the best ever Page Plant alliances in or out of Zep) and wonderfully affecting When I Was A Child – it still has much to delight. Only the rather cumbersome Burning Up and Sons of Freedom have really paled that much.

It’s a discerningly strange album – it may not be high on the playlist but when I do play it  – it always hits the mark and like I said, this album is steeped in late 90s memories. Walking Into Clarksdale is therefore something of a durable minor league classic.

I’ve just played it through and aside from sounding really good – it inspired a wave of personal 1990s nostalgic memories of the time – Istanbul, Shepard’s Bush Empire, managing the Our Price Record shop, the big Victoria Record Fairs, meets at the Eastern Monk pub. This was the last opportunity we had to revel in a union of Jimmy Page and Robert Plant together. Great days indeed.

Have a listen to Walking Into Clarksdale again – I think you will be pleasantly surprised of the impact.

Dave Lewis – April 25, 2019.

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More Archive fun…

Led Zeppelin – The Destroyer 42 years Gone:

The first tapes I heard of the 1977 US tour was an echo laded audience tape from the April 27 Cleveland show. I had this arrive via one of my key collector contacts Russ Ress about a month after the gig. Despite the average sound, it was still a thrill to hear the likes of Ten Years Gone and Achilles Last Stand performed live. In 1980 a soundboard mixing desk tape emerged of the same gig. This was altogether something else – the two cassettes I received were played endlessly. Then about a year later  came the holy grail – a vinyl box set release.

destoyer
It’s a superb recording –  John Paul Jones’ use of the thundering Alembic bass guitar is well in evidence and his meandering eyboard solo on ‘No Quarter’ is simply captivating  – as is Jimmy’s remakeable guitar solo interlude. Overall, this is a crystal clear portrayal of the band regaining their crown. The sheer juggernaut power of ’77 Zeppelin blazes through. This one will be on the player this week for sure

The next night’s Cleveland performance April 28 ,which exists in a good audience source is another one to blast out these next few days in celebration. This one came out on a vinyl set on the Smilin’ Ears label in the late 70s also confusingly knows as The Destroyer.

The Return of The Destroyer Fan Gathering – 12 Years Gone:

Another anniversary and again hard to believe that it was all of 12 years ago this week that in collaboration with Julian Walker and Graeme Hutchinson, we staged a special Return of The Destroyer fan gathering at the Knights Templar pub in London. This was to celebrate the 30th anniversary of those memorable shows at the Richfield Coliseum on their 1977 US tour – later to be immortalised on the Destroyer box sets.

It was a great day out – I remember the late Howard Mylett attending along with a host of like minded enthusiasts and TBL supporters including Gary and Carol Foy.  Mark Harrison, Eddie Edwards, Graeme Hutchinson, Keith Creek, Gary Davies etc.

Robin Wealleans supplied the video and TV screen – in fact I recall we had a bit of job with the outside glare as it was an unusually hot and sunny spring day. Fan Lisa Haynes Truscott relayed her memories of being in the crowd at the curtailed Tampa date on June 3 1977.  We also staged an auction that raised over £1,000 for the ABC charity.

The night before I also interviewed ex Free/Bad Company drummer Simon Kirke at his gig at the Esquires club in Bedford. Crazy days indeed.

Here’s the report of the day that appeared in TBL issue 18. Little did know we know as we gathered on that rather hot day in London, that plans were already underway for Led Zeppelin to stage a spectacular comeback in honour of Ahmet Ertegun- indeed the next time I would see some of the names above would be in the confines of the 02 Arena on that night of nights on Monday December 10, 2007.

More 1977  US tour memories:

Led Zeppelin – The Destroyer 421 years Gone:

Here’s a further piece about The Destroyer bootleg release.

This is the thoughts of Eddie Edwards – long time TBL contributor and author of the brilliant Garden Tapes Zep Song Remains The Same dissection website – see http://www.thegardentapes.co.uk/

This was first published in TBL issue 19.

…………………………………..

 

 

 

………………………………

VIP Record Fair – Victoria this Saturday..

The hugely popular  Victoria Fair takes place on Saturday – one of the key London Fairs of the year. I am aiming to be there and look forward to seeing all that can make it along.

Here is all the gen:

THE BIG LONDON RECORD FAIR –

VIP RECORD FAIR @ Horticultural Halls, 80 Vincent Square, Victoria, London
SW1P 2PE
SATURDAY 27th APRIL

THE EVENT
It’s the first BIG Record Fair of the Spring. Following the huge success of
VIP’s Record Fairs around the UK, this great circuit of music traders
descend on London with the return of one of the best Record Fair venues in
the business: THE ROYAL HORTICULTURAL HALLS IN VICTORIA.

ON SALE
Vinyl, CDs, memorabilia, books, posters, T-shirts, badges, promos –
anything to do with music.

PARKING
This is free in the pay & display bays, in the area and also permitted on
single yellow lines in the area at weekends.

UNDERGROUND
The nearest tube stations are Victoria and St James’ Park

VISITORS INFORMATION
Doors open to the public at 12 NOON  – £5.
Early entry at 10.00am. £10.
Show closes at 5pm.
Visitor Info – http://www.vip-24.com/londonvictoria.htm

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DL Diary Blog Update:

Following the superb Record Store Day, it was good to be amongst fellow vinyl enthusiasts at last Tuesday’s always excellent Pete Burridge Record Club at The Castle. It was an opportunity to hear the Robert Plant Fate Of Nations which I took down to play. Here’s a pic with the good lady Janet and our very good friend Jenny Fisk. Jenny has recently produced some great paintings including a splendid portrait of Robert Plant based on a Larry Ratner photo from 1975.

I’ve been slowly catching up with my Record Store Day purchasers with these two excellent sets:

Marc Bolan & T. Rex Bump’n’Grind – this one was recommended by Pete Burridge and he was spot on – 12 track collection of alternate takes and working versions – superbly detailed sleeve notes on blue vinyl – everything a Record Store Day release should be. Also on the player here – another 2019 Record Store Day beauty – Fleetwood Mac -The Alternate Fleetwood Mac. There is a whole lot more RSD acquisitions  wade through ahead. More on all this soon.

 

 

The old hay fever has been pretty relentless these past few days – I have to say it’s been as bad as I have had it for some years. I had to get an inhaler from the docs as at night it can feel quite asthmatic. Hopefully it will improve soon as mine affects me until May. We had a very relaxing Easter here with the sunny and warm weather a real bonus.

The football season is reaching it’s climax and it’s heady days to be a Spurs fan for sure. Last week’s second leg Champions league semi final was an incredible match. Ajax now await in the semi final. They left it very late on Tuesday in securing a 1-0 win against Brighton – I was in the local Fox and Hounds watchin it and when Christian Eriksen’s strike flew in well that  it was a sweet moment. I’ll be anxiously checking the score on Saturday lunchtime as they face West Ham. I’ll be in the VIP Record Fair then so won’t get to watch it ive. Here’s hoping they can keep striving successfully for that top four placing.

While on TBL business in London yesterday, it was great to hook up with long time TBL supporter Michael Rae and his wife Heather at the TBL office – also known as The Spice Of Life… Michael and Heather have been over from Australia and fly back tomorrow – great to see you folks!

It’s been back full on with TBL projects this week with TBL designer Mick Lowe. Here’s a pic taken at StudioMix this week amongst Mick’s impressive  Game of Thrones collection. It’s going to be a very busy few weeks leading up to the Knebworth 40th anniversary – more on all this soon.

 

 

Dave Lewis – April 25, 2019.

Until next time –have a great weekend

TBL Website updates compiled by Dave Lewis

with thanks to Gary Foy and James Cook

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12 Comments »

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Roxanne not sure on that!

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Paul one for me ahead!

  • Paul aspey said:

    Dave, could you compile a list of covers played during live concerts and list the original artists

  • Roxanne said:

    Hi Dave–who are the two children on the cover of Walking Into Clarksdale? I’ve wondered…one looks very much like a Pete Townshend son…great job as always on the website!! Thank you for all your hard work and dedication

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Brian spot on there!

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Oh yes Steven!

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Iain well that is very interesting!

  • Iain said:

    Hi Dave,

    The transcript from the Stairway vs Taurus trial has the following notable exchange between RP and the prosecutors lawyer, which seems to support your theory about that CBS sampler ….

    ROBERT ANTHONY PLANT, CALLED AS A WITNESS BY THE DEFENDANTS,

    DIRECT EXAMINATION BY MR. ANDERSON:

    Q. Mr. Plant, you’ve heard testimony during this trial about “Fresh Garbage.” How did you first learn of “Fresh Garbage”?

    A. In some period early in ’68, there was a — a compilation album issued by CBS Records. It was a kind of a budget compilation which contained records by many of the artists recording on Columbia at that time, and it was quite an unusual thing to have such a cross section of contemporary American music.

    Q. And you bought it?

    A. I did, yeah.

  • Brian Hardy said:

    I’m giving walking into clarksdale a fresh listening to. Most High would seem like a welcome and perfect fit to the strange sensation setlist alongside carry fire. This album isn’t high on my playlist but upon reflection the best 6 songs by themselves make for a great album, add the most high b side track, the window, and make it 7 great songs!

  • Steven Gale said:

    I can picture the Bishop Auckland team, that had it’s own personal Subbuteo team in those rectangular boxes..

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Chris many thanks!

  • Swin said:

    Brilliant post Dave!!! Will be digging out Destroyer on vinyl.I managed to get Fate of Nations RSD 2019,still my favourite Plant solo LP.On the Floyd front just got Boston 1973 triple viny,the old turntable will be red hot this weekend.Everonward Dave ,keep up the good work.Swin.

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