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31 December 2013 4,788 views 8 Comments

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So that was the year that was and although there wasn’t quite the euphoria of the Celebration Day film release in 2012, in Zep terms there was still much to enjoy these past 12 months .…

Robert Plant moulded his Sensational Space Shifters into a tight cohesive unit that delighted audiences across Australia, through America and back to the UK. This band of electric musicians is clearly providing yet another career high for a singer whose musical exploration continues to prove enlightening and invigorating in equal measures. Robert’s occasional link-ups with Patty Griffin –notably at Patty’s  Rough Trade London American Kid album launch also proved most engaging.

John Paul Jones again moved effortlessly between differing projects and collaborations. His appearances with Seasick Steve both on record (Hubcap Music) and on stage made for some memorable moments –most notably the storming set at Glastonbury. Occasional work with The Minibus Pimps and Superslient, an appearance at the Mandolines De Lunel Festival plus tour dates with Dave Rawlings added yet more strings to his ever expanding bow -and along the way there was continued work on his opera project.

Throughout the year, Jimmy Page continued work on the major overhaul of the Led Zeppelin catalogue – the fruits of which will emerge in 2014.

There was little other time it would seem, for him to work on any other musical projects  but as I’ve noted before , as far I am concerned the man owes us nothing – having been in his company on more than one occasion during the past few months, he seems very happy in his skin and  it’s a real delight to see Jimmy doing what he wants to do at his pace, with a contentment and pride in all that he has achieved.

Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience tour link up with Heart provided a well-received reprise of the Kennedy Honors performance while sister Deborah put her band through their paces with a series of appearances to promote her excellent Spirit album.

There were further accolades for Led Zeppelin – in March, Jimmy and John Paul were on hand in Berlin to receive the band’s International Lifetime Achievement at the ECHO awards, on September 7th in Denmark, a special 45th anniversary plaque was unveiled at the Gladsaxe school they performed their first gig together at and in November Jimmy accepted the Best Film award for Celebration Day at the Classic Rock Awards.

As for 2014 –there’s the mouth-watering prospect of the Led Zeppelin re issue programme. We already know that each album will be re-mastered and will include a companion disc of outtakes and additional material. As he told me himself  – ‘’Each of the companion discs will be like looking through a portal and seeing where we were at during that particular stage.’’

Let’s be under no illusion, this unlocking of the Zep recorded archive is going to be a monumental – and one that will offer a unique insight into the whole psyche of Led Zeppelin as viewed retrospectively by the band’s original founder…oh yes – bring them right on…

There’s also the prospect of a new Robert Plant album recorded recently in Bath with the Sensational Space Shifters unit now nearing completion and likely to be out there by the spring (the new Uncut magazine has further Robert’s comments on that.) With European festival dates already emerging, it looks as though the band will be well visible in the coming year.

The aforementioned ambitious opera project John Paul Jones has been working on for over two years could also bear fruition in 2014. This is an opera work titled The Ghost Sonata, based on a Strindberg work.

jpj madia vale

TBL wise it’s been a case of ever onward. There was however sad news in February, with the passing of our contributor Gerard Sparaco –his knowledge of the Zep underground releases was second to none and his regular column was always a fascinating and informed read and he is much missed.

On a brighter note, Dan Cuny’s pics from the famous 1973 Kezar gig lit up issue 35 and it was a real thrill for me to interview the legendary journalist Charles Shaar Murray and duly present one of the longest ever interview features in TBL 36. Memorable encounters with photographer Dick Bartlatt, legendary Hipgnosis designer Aubrey Powell and Plant biographer Paul Rees also provided key TBL content along the way.

Then there was the Led Zeppelin Then As It Was – At Knebworth 1979 book project. This took on a life of its own as designer Mick Lowe and I beavered away throughout the year to complete a totally revamped book on the subject.

Despite some major problems with the printers, the end result has been most fulfilling and initial reaction to the book has been pretty fantastic. The launch of the book at the VIP Musicmania Fair at London’s Olympia over the weekend of November 16th and 17th provided a real high for me when Jimmy Page visiting the fair with Ross Halfin, spent a fair bit of time discussing the book with me -of which he was most complimentary. Unsurprisingly the book he signed for me with his comment of ‘’Well done’’ is a very treasured reminder of an amazing weekend.

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On a personal level, there’s been the on-going health matters to address – I’ve had to monitor my type 2 diabetes and we had a very worrying period here when Janet’s mum Betty was hospitalised twice within a few months – Gary had his gall bladder problems to contend with. As we get older our health is inevitably an increasing issue -its life and it’s how you deal with it that is all important. Keeping on top of all that and all the day to day stuff that goes with it, is never easy -what becomes more than evident with age, is how important friendships become and through the social media that now consumes all our lives, it’s a big positive that support and kind words are never too far away.

Within all that, again there have been plenty of personal achievements in 2013. Along with the three  TBL magazines and Knebworth book there’s been contributions to Classic Rock and I’ve also produced three 40th anniversary cover features for Record Collector focusing on three classic albums  Houses Of The Holy in March , The Rolling Stones Goats Head Soup in September and Paul McCartney & Wings Band On The Run in November. I’m not quite sure how I fitted all that in along with the constant updating of the TBL web site and TBL Facebook and Twitter pages but I’m well proud that I did.

All of these things of course, contribute to the way I make a living. Crucial to that is the support of the people like yourselves who buy in to what I do by investing in the various TBL products. It’s essential that these projects bring in the necessary revenue to keep everything on track.

So may I offer a massive thanks for the continued loyalty shown throughout the year – as I’ve said before – if you keep buying them, I’ll keep writing them…

Massive thanks are due in the direction of Gary Foy, Mike Tremaglio, Nick Anderson, Stephen Humphries, Jeff Strawman, Andy Crofts and Kevin Hewick for their invaluable contributions to the TBL magazine. I must also offer sincere thanks to the Mick Lowe who has applied his immense design skills to bring many TBL projects alive in 2012 – and of course to the good lady Janet for all her support.

Right…here’s some of my raving faves of 2013:

Best Live Gigs:

The best live gig for me was Robert Plant Presents Sensational Space Shifters at the Bristol Colston Hall August 29th. Great atmosphere, Robert at his spieling best and singing as good as ever.

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Other gig highlights: Robert Plant Presents The Sensational Space Shifters Wolverhampton Sept 2nd, Royal Albert Hall Oct 31st.

Deborah Bonham band Stables Milton Keynes April 11th, Patty Grffin with Robert Plant Rough Trade May16th. Bert Jansch Celebration Royal Festival Hall December 4th.

Best things I heard in 2013:

Led Zeppelin Studio Magik box set, Led Zeppelin Throwing the Wild Seeds box set, Bob Dylan Another Self Portrait, Bobby Whitlock Where There’s A Will There’s Away CD, David Bowie The Next Day (especially the single The Stars Are Out Tonight) Patty Griffin with Robert Plant single Highway Song, The Misunderstood Never Had a Girl Like You Before as heard at the Musicmania Fair.

Robert Plant with Bernard Butler Bert Jansch Celebration  Go Your Way My Love – the outstanding vocal performance of the year.


And then there’s vinyl – oh yes vinyl

…..that lovely black stuff of which I can’t seem get enough of (and neither can my good friend Tom Locke who is even madder than me on all this – as are for that matter are Jimmy Page and Ross Halfin.)

There have been a fair few additions to the collection from various sources notably the Olympia Fair, Spitalfields Market, and record shops in every town I’ve visited  – ie St Albans Empire Records, Wanted Records Bristol.

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Here’s some of my favourite vinyl acquisitions of 21013:

Bad Company Straight Shooter and Bad Co albums on Swan Song

Led Zeppelin No Quarter Earls Court bootleg

Easy Rider soundtrack

Dave Mason Scrapbook

Nick Drake US compilation Record Store Day release

Mighty Baby Live In The Attic

Miles Davis Kind Of Blue mono Record Store Day release

Fleetwood Mac Then Play On

The Misunderstood Golden Glass

Led Zeppelin Thunderbird  and Ludes

Humble Pie Thunderbox

Joni Mitchell Miles Of Aisles

Led Zeppelin In Through The Out Door Indian pressing on Atlantic

Blind Faith on US Atco with alternate sleeve

Ron Wood Gimme Some Neck

Faces Long Player with original sleeve

Warner Brothers Music Show sampler

Begin Here Elektra Records sampler

Crosby & Nash Live

Delanie & Bonnie and Friends On Tour with Eric Clapton

The Rolling Stones Hot Rocks

Led Zeppelin One More Night –Live In Southampton

Oh yes… the collecting of LP records remains an inspiration and one of life’s little treats….


Christmas came and went as it does – I had a great meet up of old friends on Christmas Eve and then and we had a lovely Christmas Day and Boxing Day with all for us here and Janet’s mum . There were some splendid little treats to unwrap under the tree including the Miles Davis Complete Mono Recordings set, the new Nick Drake Tuck Box package, Bob Dylan Another Self Portrait on vinyl and the superb Godfather box set Led Zeppelin Throwing The Wild Seeds. My good friend John Parkin also send down a lovely package that had a great Faces 1975 live set on CD , the Rolling Stones Glastonbury DVD and a spoken word LP of the work of the great 1950s/ broadcaster Richard Dimbleby. Now there’s a man who knows my tastes!

On Sunday we attended our good friend Pete Burridge’s 50th birthday bash at  the local Esquires Club  headlining the live music were local boys Thunderbird Five. I first saw them in the late 80s…they were reunited for the night and they still sound great – highlights included a storming medley of Baba O Reilly/My Generation and a stomping version of Slade’s Gudbuy T’Jane . Nice one Phil and Woody and co. There was a bit of drama when their keyboard player Alan was taken ill – The Quireboys keyboard player Keith Weir who was in the crowd took over. It was good to catch up with drummer Wayne Breed who I worked with at WH Smith in the late 70s. They finished their set with Won’t Get Fooled Again – I did think about recreating my Who moment of 1978…but wisely the good lady Janet restrained me from leaping on stage…!

Below – at Pete’s 50th birthday bash – Tom, Jacky, birthday boy Pete, DL, the good lady Janet (restraining me from leaping on stage!), Marian and Terry.

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New Year’s Eve is upon us and it will be a quiet one at home for us -and then we can all return to some sort of normality. As for new year resolutions -one of mine will be to get my ears syringed as they badly need it – too much of that loud pulsating rock music!

Tonight when the clock strikes 12 midnight, there will be a number of people in my thoughts,  I will raise a glass and take a cup of kindness for auld lang syne to the many people (and I’m sure they know who they are) who one way or another, have been an inspiration to me in 2013.

Then it will be down to the serious business of kick starting the TBL 2014 campaign. There are some exciting plans ahead –more on all that soon.

So finally thoughts: As much as I look back and chronicle the heritage of this unique band, the usual mantra remains…as the singer once put it, the present and future are of paramount importance. It’s still today’s work and tomorrow’s plans that give all of us a reason for being…rather than a reason for having been. In effect it’s ever onward.

 Thanks for your continued support of all things TBL and on behalf of Gary, may I wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.

Dave Lewis – December  31st 2013

And Finally …’s a new year visual treat…..

Two and a half minutes of  recently found cine film of Led Zeppelin on stage at Lyon March 26th 1973 – and what a find this is – in all their Europe ’73 pomp….oh to be in the audience next to where this was filmed…..what a band!


Until next year…Keep listening, keep reading…

Dave Lewis/Gary Foy – December 31st , 2013.

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  • John Webster said:

    Good news on the Jimmy Page website this morning. Led Zeppelin 1,2,3 including companion discs will be released in 2014 + it sounds like some of hos own material.

  • John Denley said:

    I am new to TBL although a Zep fan since I was a teenager,so from sweet 16 to 60.I bought occasional copies which I picked up in Record Shops,and was always impressed by the content,and layout of the magazines.

    I have of late taken the plunge,and bought a number of TBL items from Dave.All I can say is what a twit I’ve been missing out on the excellent magazines & books.So what with the forthcoming expanded Zep albums,TBL product,and hopefully Zep- related gigs by Robert etc,2014 is shaping (shape shifting?) up well already!

    Happy New Year TBL !!!

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Folks many thanks for your fantastic comments which I appreciate very much…ever onward into 2014….!

  • Brendan Castle said:

    Happy New Year Dave! Just finished the new TBL. Great interview with C.S.M. After reading this- I find myself valuing your interviews and reviews much more. Well rounded, and very opened minded writing that comes across with class. You are able to ask the right questions to get great answers. My Favorite TBL interview is still the Bill Curbishley one from a few years ago. The story about John Bonham attending the Who at the Hammersmith Odean in 1979, and saying it was one the best WHO shows he has ever seen says a lot to this Kenney Jones fan.

    I always wanted to ask. Any chance for you to do a book on the Who?

    I look forward to my TBL 2014 subscription.

    All the best…


  • Mark Williams said:

    All the very best to you and your family Dave for 2014. Thanks again for maintaining such high quality coverage of the band / remaining members that continue to transfix us all….Here’s hoping for Jimmy action in 2014 and that Robert eventually comes around and sees the light !
    All the best.

  • Lorraine Robertson said:

    Dave – thank you so much for everything that you do. I certainly appreciate all the hard work you do and the passion you show for Led Zeppelin and the individual members of this very special band. Have a great New Year..Happy Hogmonay to you and to yours and all at TBL and Lang May yer Lum Reek……:-)xxx

  • Andrew R said:

    Happy new year Dave, as a long time TBLer,i think this year was just as exciting as last year.The pic of you with Jimmy being a particular highlight!Your belief and love of all things Zep are a tonic in these troubling times. Where you are concerned may the song remain always the same!Ps ref the new footage as a long time 73 junkie got to agree they were and are the best. Cheers.

  • Michaela Finegan said:

    What a fabulous summary of a year of music ! Thanks Dave
    I was lucky enough to see Robert & Patty at Rough Trade- a highlight to see them both so close and see an obvious love of each other 🙂 , to share a great gig at Wolverhampton with my Zep mad son and to be with both my boys, that experienced JPJ at Glastonbury.
    I also (quite belatedly) really discovered The Rolling Stones – seeing them do their Pyramid Stage debut, then again at Hyde Park. As far as energy goes, that 70 year old still has it.
    Looking forward to see what delighted Jimmy has for us on HIS 70th birthday early next year!

    Thank you Dave for keeping us so close to the music that becomes the soundtrack of our lives ! Looking forward to a music filled 2014 x

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