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ATLANTA AND TAMPA IT WAS 47 YEARS AGO/ LZ NEWS/ ROBERT PLANT & SSS GLOUCESTER 2012/ BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER AT 50/ DL A TO Z OF ALBUMS – B IS FOR DAVID BOWIE/DL DIARY BLOG UPDATE

7 May 2020 1,032 views No Comment

TBL Archive Special: It was 47 years ago… 

Led Zeppelin US tour opening  date –  Friday, May 4, 1973 Atlanta Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia, USA:

atlanta two

Setlist (from River City Review)

Rock and Roll, Misty Mountain Hop, Since I’ve Been Loving You, No Quarter, The Song Remains the Same, The Rain Song, Dazed and Confused, Stairway to Heaven, Moby Dick, Heartbreaker, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown

Notes: Other tracks most likely performed but not listed in the review: Celebration Day, Bring It on Home Intro/ Black Dog, Over the Hills and Far Away, The Ocean.  Four Sticks was noted in the review, but almost certainly not performed.

Led Zeppelin wasted very little time on their U.S. tour to demonstrate their incredible drawing power and meteoric popularity, pulling in 49,236 fans (out of the 50,277 stadium capacity).  The concert grossed $246,180 and broke the Atlanta Stadium concert attendance record set by The Beatles on August 18, 1965 (who drew a comparatively modest 33,000 fans).

A closed-circuit TV system projected the group on two 16×24 foot screens positioned on the sides of the stage.  This was the very first time the band had ever employed such screens, specifically for faraway fans.  Unfortunately, the other stadium gigs on the 1973 U.S. tour did not utilize the technology (Tampa, San Francisco, and Pittsburgh); however, large video screens were eventually used again for their 1975 Earl’s Court shows, 1977 Pontiac, Michigan, 1977 Seattle, and 1979 Knebworth shows.

This concert marked the debut appearance of John Bonham’s Ludwig Amber Vistalite drum set.  Bonzo used this set all the way through the last gig at Earl’s Court in London on May 25, 1975.

Although not documented for this concert, Celebration Day was added to the set list on this tour, the first time it had been performed since Charlotte, North Carolina on June 9, 1972.  Out on the Tiles had been replaced by Bring It on Home as the introduction to Black Dog on this tour.  No Quarter was performed live for the very first time and Moby Dick made a return appearance to the set list for the U.S. tour (the first time it had been played in concert since the October 9, 1972 Osaka, Japan show).

The gig was reviewed in the River City Review, a Memphis, Tennessee underground newspaper. Bill Read’s review featured the following comments:

“The band waited until everyone had time to get into the Stadium and get settled before they started the show and 8:30, and even then people were still arriving.  The audience rose to its feet in a gesture of welcome, even as John (Bonzo) Bonham started the group off into ‘Rock and Roll.’  After completing this number, Robert Plant returned the greeting that had been given, and then continued with ‘The Song Remains the Same’ and ‘The Rain Song’ from their new Atlantic release, Houses of the Holy.  Plant then made a reference to the now defunct Atlanta Pop Festivals, and proceeded into ‘Misty Mountain Hop’ and ‘Four Sticks’ (ed. note: he was probably referring to Black Dog).  For those who could not see very well, there were two large viewing screens on either side of the stage, which showed interesting close-ups of the band as they gave their spectacular performance.”

“As John Paul Jones began the rather un-Zeppelinish ‘No Quarter,’ a fogging devise went into play, creating the eerie effect you might expect for the song.  This selection in particular was reproduced in an excellent manner by all members of the band.  Then, Jimmy Page, Zep’s producer and lead guitarist, and Plant put a sensual and intense effort into ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You,’ and, much to the delight of the audience, ‘Stairway to Heaven.’ ”

“As the crescent moon shone above, and as God looked down on all of His children, they bestowed upon the spectators their new rendition of ‘Dazed and Confused.’  During the song Jimmy Page stepped forward with his Customized Led Paul, took out his violin bow and expertly fed his original brand of musical data into an echo unit.  Page sent the head of every person conscious into a world of ecstasy and wonder; and it occurred to me that we might have been given a preview of music born twenty years from now.”

Hit Parader (December 1973) carried an exclusive on tour with Led Zeppelin cover story written by none other than their press agent – Danny Goldberg.  The article read just like Goldberg’s press releases, describing all their record-breaking exploits.  He even quoted the mayor of Atlanta, Sam Cassell, as saying “This is the biggest thing that has hit Atlanta since the premiere of ‘Gone with the Wind.’ ” In his 2008 memoir, “Bumping Into Geniuses: my life inside the rock and roll business,” Goldberg conceded that the quote had actually been contrived by Peter Grant the morning after the Atlanta show.

Saturday, May 5, 1973 Tampa Stadium, Tampa, Florida, USA

Setlist (from 136 & 122 minute audience recordings):

Rock and Roll, Celebration Day, Bring It on Home (Intro)/Black Dog, Over the Hills and Far Away, Misty Mountain Hop, Since I’ve Been Loving You, No Quarter, The Song Remains the Same, The Rain Song, Dazed and Confused (incl. San Francisco), Stairway to Heaven, Moby Dick, Heartbreaker, Whole Lotta Love Medley (incl. Boogie Chillun’), The Ocean, Communication Breakdown (incl. It’s Your Thing)

The band certainly did not have to wait a very long time to top their Atlanta attendance figure.  The next night in Tampa they drew a record 56,443 fans ($297,632 gross receipts), passing The Beatles attendance record for a single artist set at Shea Stadium in New York on August 15, 1965 (attendance: 55,600).

tampa 10

Photos of Robert Plant and the record crowd appeared on the front page of the Atlanta Constitution with the headline “Stadium Rocks – Led Zeppelin Plays to 50,000.”  The article was primarily focused on the crowd itself and mentioned that it was the first time the field had been opened to an audience.  Curiously, it also mentioned that “paper and aluminum cans were trampled underfoot or were skittered across bare parts by the wind.”  Coincidence?

Soon after the Tampa show, an Associated Press article written by journalist Mary Campbell was published in newspapers throughout the United States.  Robert Plant discussed the Tampa concert with Campbell:

“I think it was the biggest thrill I’ve had.  I pretend – I kid myself – I’m not very nervous in a situation like that.  I try to bounce around just like normal.  But, if you do a proportionate thing, it would be like half of England’s population.  It was a real surprise.  Tampa is the last place I would expect to see nigh on 60,000 people.  It’s not the country’s biggest city.  It was fantastic.  One would think it would be very hard to communicate; with 60,000 people some have got to be quite a distance off.  There were no movie screens showing us, like in Atlanta.  The only thing they could pick up on was the complete vibe of what music was being done.”

tamp 6

Plant was asked why the band was more willing to talk to the press this time around and he responded:

“Last summer when the Stones were in America we were doing a tour concurrent with theirs.  We had no coverage.  We were beating their attendance, though…We’ve been aware of how we’ve been doing for a long time.  And I really think some people ought to know what we’ve done.  I’m proud of what we’ve done and what we are doing, and so many more people could dig it.  That is the idea.”

 Phil Rogers, staff writer for the Evening Independent (May 7, 1973) newspaper in St. Petersburg, Florida reviewed the gig in an article titled “Led Zeppelin Style: Start Slow to Buiold” (sic).  Here are some key excerpts from Rogers’ article:

“Then the long awaited were on stage.  Zeppelin started slow and built slow, for each song, for the whole show.  Robert Plant’s voice vibrated into the open cavern of people that covered – painted – wallpapered every viewable spot in the stadium.”

“At times attention wandered from the stage.  Someone said she was bored.  At the time the remark was made, I would tend to agree.  No one else in the crowd seemed to be exactly jumping up and down either.  But then, Led Zeppelin was building.”

“Led Zeppelin was starting to warm up.  Jimmy Page took a violin bow to his guitar, drummer John Bonham took a long, very excellent drum solo and the sound started to come alive…The first notes of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ drew immediate applause.  ‘There’s a lady…’  Plant’s voice brought recognition to the rest of the crowd and more cheers for the group.  The best song so far; things were getting better.”

“The finale, ‘Gimme Some Lovin’ (sic).  White doves, released from the stage, flew to the audience in a message of fluttering, wheeling peace.  Thousands, upon thousands of matches spotted the stadium like little eyes looking for the group’s return.  A granted request.”

The Watcher (May 21-27, 1973) underground newspaper (Winter Park, Florida) carried a review of the record-breaking show titled “The Apex of Rock and Roll Attendance – Led Zeppelin Fills Tampa Stadium.”  Written by Michael Crites, the review included the following observations:

“Led Zeppelin performed a predominantly high-energy concert with only a taste of their progressive soul and glamorock experiments of recent days, and their acoustic tunes.  The quality of sound was not good, very little of the patented Zeppelin echo was audible and there was a somewhat fuzzy edge.  Of course, these are natural drawbacks to a stadium show.”

“One of the outstanding numbers from ‘Houses of the Holy’ titled ‘No Quarter’ is indicative of Zeppelin’s schizophrenic nature.  The song included a mysteriously mellow piano, a solid drum beat and disguised heavy guitar.  At the mellotron Jones activated the strings, which are dynamite in your living room and probably would be exciting in a concert hall.  Zeppelin took off in developing an orchestrated piece formed by intricate composition.”

“The fifteen minute drum solo was a useless filler and a condescension to the masses.  I think Bonham is a damned good drummer without continuous beating.  Charlie Watts has never played more than thirty seconds by himself.  ‘Moby Dick’ was the only boring portion of the show.

A three and a half minute news report was broadcast on local TV station, Channel 13.  The feature showed the band getting off their planes and into limos, footage of the crowd, and short clips of the band performing on stage (with Misty Mountain Hop from the fourth LP being played instead of the actual live audio).  Part of this feature was used as the intro to their 2007 reunion concert at the 02 Arena in London.

Sunday, May 6, 1973 St. Petersburg, Florida, USA (Not Performed)

Despite appearing on several tour lists throughout the years, this concert was never even scheduled, let alone performed.  It’s also worth noting that St. Petersburg is less than a half hour drive from the previous gig in Tampa.

Monday, May 7, 1973 Jacksonville Coliseum, Jacksonville, Florida, USA

After performing to over 100,000 fans on the first two gigs of the U.S. tour, Led Zeppelin returned to some sense of normalcy, appearing before a sold out Jacksonville Coliseum crowd of “just” 13,000.  New York based rock journalist Lisa Robinson submitted a rave review of the gig for Disc and Music Echo (May 19, 1973).  Robinson was one of the very few journalists whom the band trusted, and as a result she was able to cover the 1973, 1975, and 1977 U.S. tours with true ‘insider access’ for various rock publications.

Here are some of Lisa Robinson’s observations of the Jacksonville concert:

“If I, myself, was getting to a point where Rock ‘n’ Roll becoming part of my past, as opposed to part of my blood, this concert turned it all around for me.  I had heard that on a good night Led Zeppelin is magic, is Rock ‘n’ Roll.  Where have they been all my life?”

“Robert Plant strutted across the stage.  He swaggered, he is THE popstar, at all times totally compelling…more so to me than even Jagger, because it just doesn’t seem contrived for one moment.  Plant’s voice was like a gorgeous instrument, he was physically and sensually taking the audience for his own.  They wanted him to do it to them and he did.”

“Jimmy Page would do things on the guitar so spectacular and then just stop…and then start again and leave you breathless, always wanting more.  When he played the guitar with the violin bow he moved as if in some marvelous graceful ballet.  And all along, Bonham and Jones were relentless, driving, pushing – keeping it all solid.”

“This has GOT to be what Rock ‘n’ Roll was all about: what it s meant to be.  Without gimmicks, without any obvious visual theatrics, the interplay – the dance both musically and physically between Plant and Page was magnificent and, of course, became more theatrically-compelling than almost any other band who attempt to do something similar.”

“It was impossible to be a part of that experience and not watch, and listen, with total awe.”

Written and compiled by Mike Tremaglio – first published in TBL issue 36.

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LZ News:

Led Zeppelin News Update:
Latest news via the excellent LZ News website…

Led Zeppelin

  • Richard Digby Smith, an engineer who worked on Led Zeppelin’s third and fourth albums, has released a memoir.
  • A new episode of “Breaking the Band” about Led Zeppelin aired on Reelz on April 19.

Jimmy Page

Robert Plant

  • The Black Deer Festival, where Robert Plant was due to perform as part of Saving Grace in June, has been postponed to 18-20 June 2021. Several other upcoming shows have been cancelled, and all upcoming dates listed below are subject to lockdown restrictions being lifted.
  • Robert Plant paid tribute to John Prine after his death on April 7. He called Prine “a beacon of clear white light cutting through the dark days. His charm, humour and irony we shall miss greatly.”

John Paul Jones

  • The Lost Music Festival, where John Paul Jones was due to perform as part of Minibus Pimps in Italy on June 14, has been postponed to 11-13 June 2021. It’s unclear if Minibus Pimps will perform at the rescheduled event.

Upcoming events (subject to lockdown restrictions):

May 8 – Mark Lanegan’s new album “Straight Songs Of Sorrow,” which features John Paul Jones, will be released.
May 15 – Robert Plant will perform as part of Saving Grace in Chicago, Illinois and the documentary ‘Up From The Streets’ featuring Plant will be shown online.
May 19 – Robert Plant will perform as part of Saving Grace in New York.
May 20 – Robert Plant will perform as part of Saving Grace in New York.
May 23 – Robert Plant will perform as part of Saving Grace in Washington DC.
July 10 – Robert Plant will perform as part of Saving Grace at the Platform Festival in Yorkshire.
July 12 – Robert Plant will perform as part of Saving Grace in the Isle of Man.
July 14 – Robert Plant will perform as part of Saving Grace in Edinburgh.
July 19 – Robert Plant will perform as part of Saving Grace in Inverness.
July 21 – Robert Plant will perform as part of Saving Grace in Aberdeen.
July 23 – Robert Plant will perform as part of Saving Grace in Fort William.
July 24 – Robert Plant will perform as part of Saving Grace in Perth.
July 26 – Robert Plant will perform as part of Saving Grace in Glasgow.
September 8 – The affordable version of Jimmy Page’s Anthology book will be released.
September 25-26 – The next John Bonham celebration event will be held in Redditch.
2021
June 18-20 – Robert Plant will perform as part of Saving Grace at the Black Deer festival in Kent.

Many thanks to James Cook.

Sign up for the regular LZ News email here:http://tinyletter.com/LedZepNews

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

http://ledzepnews.com/

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TBL Archive: Robert Plant presents Sensational Space Shifters – Guildhall Gloucester – Tuesday May 8th 2012.

Now this was a very memorable evening all of eight years ago this week.This was the first step on the Sensational Space Shifters journey and what a night it was – this one is right up there in my favourite Robert Plant gigs of all time. Looking back now it all seems so carefree and easy – we just rocked up and soaked it all up…what memories…

Robert Plant presents Sensational Space Shifters – Guildhall Gloucester – Tuesday May 8th 2012.

Set List: 18 Hammers/Tin Pan Valley/44/Four Sticks/Hey Joe/Bron-  Y- Aur Stomp/Standing In The Shadow (Patty Griffin vocal)/No Bad News (Patty Griffin vocal),Black Dog/Somebody Knocking/I’m Your Witchdoctor/Whole Lotta Love-Bury My Body/Encores: Song To The Siren/Gallows Pole.

The band were in the Guildhall venue for a sound check early afternoon and ran through instrumental versions of Song To The Siren, Four Sticks, Hey Joe, Bron- Y- Stomp. Juldeh also did a lengthy warm up. Robert arrived around 4.30pm with Patty. They kicked off by running down Black Dog.

The venue itself had a surprisingly very small entrance leading up to a rather grand staircase and on to the small high ceilinged hall.  Prior to the gig I had quick word with Justin Adams –he said there had been a few rehearsals beforehand in Bath but as most of the band had played together so much in the past, not too much preparation had been necessary.

The hall was already filling up fast as support act The Toy Hearts – a two female and one male trio ran through an enjoyable rockerbilly/swing set. The Sensational Space Shifters line up had Skin Tyson to the left, John Baggott’s keyboards centre, Dave Smith’s drums to the right of that. Billy Fuller on bass was situated  by Justin who was far left. Juldeh for his pasts stood next to Justin – Patty was to the right of Robert.

The band took to the stage to hugh applause and promptly kicked into the bluesy 18 Hammers. Fashion note: Robert in simple grey t shirt, black jeans and retro Goal trainers. After all the stress of ticket arrangements and planning to make it here (I’d actually been feeling well under par during the last couple of days),  it was an absolute tonic to be in close proximity as Robert re interpreted those Oh Rosie lyrics as deployed on How Many More Times on Zep 1.

Tin Pan Valley followed – played in a laid back free form arrangement, a characteristic of the band’s overall performance – it was all a lot less frenetic than the Mighty Rearranger era and definitely a case of more loose than tight.

Throughout the set, Robert was at his most informal with a series of one-liners that added much to the charm of the low key approach.  Mind you, things got a little too loose when early on in the set , the main part of Robert’s mic promptly flew off leaving him with er….just the knob! That would have not gone down too well at the 02!

After a knockerbout  version of the old blues standard 44  recorded way back by the likes of Roosevelt Sykes and Howlin’ Wolf, Four Sticks followed, again in a moodier slower understated delivery that suited the mood perfectly. In introducing Hey Joe Robert made reference to how this sort of music had as he put it ‘’saved me from Engelbert’’ – a reference to the veteran crooner who has been chosen to represent the UK in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.  This brought the extraordinary Juldeh Camara to the fore as he exhorted exotic noises from suitably exotic instruments. Throughout the show, for their part Skin and Justin contributed contasting guitar styles that perfectly complimented the overall mix of  styles.

Patty Griffin joined the line up on mandolin for a delightful romp through Bron -Y- Aur Stomp which was the first live UK airing of the Zep 3 standard indoors since  it was played by Zep at Earls Court in 1975 ( it was played by The Band Of Joy at the outdoor Big Chill Festival last year – thank you Billy F!)  At the close instead of a call of ”Stryder” they all chorused  ”Arthur!”

Some delay in setting up her acoustic guitar led to a slight set list switch. Robert stepped back to add backing vocals to her Standing In the Shadow Of The Hill. Patty then explained her next song No Bad News  was written about George W Bush.

Patti stayed on to share duel lead vocals with Robert on the Band Of Joy arrangement of Black Dog –effectively embellished by Juldeh  who added a distinctive vocal all of his own which merged into a quite frenetic finale.

Robert read from a lyric sheet on the floor as they performed an unorthodox version of Somebody Knocking. He then unfolded a tale of how the next song had been performed by John Mayall with Eric Clapton on guitar and had been produced ‘’by I’m not sure who?’’. A tongue in cheek reference to the fact it was one Jimmy Page. They duly performed I’m Your Witchdoctor. This was an absolute highlight for me – I’ve had this single on the Immediate label in my collection since the mid 70s and it was thrilling to hear Robert add his edge to an arrangement that stayed fairly true to the original, John Baggott getting in some suitably bluesy organ breaks. On the slowed down outro, Robert crunched down on the power chords in familiar fashion.

The version of Whole Lotta Love that followed was in keeping with the Space Shifters strategy   – moody and understated as he merged Bo Diddley’s Who Do You Love ( a UK hit in 1970 for Juicy Lucy) into the You Need Love refrain and then added Jesus My Dying Bed lines from In my Time of Dying and a reprise of Oh Rosie.

They were back for an encore of Song To The Siren which featured just Skin, John Baggott and Robert – a simply mesmerising vocal performance . There was a bit of a sketch before the final number as Robert presented Patty with an award for ‘’sales of 500 Band Of Joy albums in Russia.”

‘’Who starts this one?…oh it’s me’’ was the cue for Robert to kick into Gallows Pole performed in the more rocky mid noughties Strange Sensation arrangement with Skin delivering the banjo guitar parts.

”Thanks for coming out tonight…time to catch Newsnight’’

And that was the Sensation Space Shifters step one.

Summary:  What we have here looks to be hybrid of Strange Sensation, mixed in with the exotica of Juldeh, adding a tinge of the Band Of Joy with the informality of the Priory Of Brion. The whole affair had a very loose and casual feel that perfectly suited the surroundings and low key nature of this gig number one. It was a real joy to see the likes of Justin and Skin back to the fore to add a harder edged element.

As for the singer…well business as usual really – his passion to hop and skip effortlessly between varying musical styles was more than evident, as was the way he deploys his voice as a total instrument.  You get the feeling he can move and shake within this unit of musicians as he so feels fit. There’s no big agenda –no album to push or media game to play. He can, as his manager Bill Curbishley remarked to me ‘’Do whatever he wants’’

And  in doing whatever he wants, Robert Plant continues to inspire and enthral.

The old witchdoctor is back… and at the Guildhall in Gloucester it was more than a privilege to once again be under his spell.

Aftermath: After the show we hooked up at the Café Rio bar until the early hours where they had a variety of Led Zep tracks playing loud – Achilles and Ten Years Gone sounding very impressive  –it was quite amazing to think that we had seen the singer of these songs perform a mere stone’s throw away a few hours earlier. I had to shrug off the hangover fairly quickly yesterday morning as I was contacted by BBC Radio Gloucestershire to do a quick phone interview live on their breakfast show around 7.30.  On the afternoon of the gig I also recorded a preview interview for BBC Radio Gloucestershire which aired on Steve Kitchen’s drive time show.  As ever it was great to see many familiar faces during our Gloucester experience – amongst them Lorraine and Michael Robertson, Michaela and Dan Firth, Jonathan Taylor, Mike Lewis, Richard and Roberta Grubb, Simon Wicker from Hats Off To Led Zep and his wife, Dawn Atherton, and Paul Harper.

Dave Lewis, May 10th 2012

 

Above photos Dave Lewis for TBL

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Dave Greenfield, Florian Schneider, Millie Small RIP:

It was very sad to hear the passing of The Stranglers keyboard player Dave Greenfield aged 72, Kraftwerk founder Florian Schneider aged 73 and Mille Small aged 73. I recently acquired Millie’s excellent 1970 single Mayfair a cover of a Nick Drake composition – a pioneering singer of the reggae scene…

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DL celebrating 51 years of music passion 1969 – 2020… 

My thoughts on Simon & Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water album at 50…

Bridge Over Troubled Water came into my life in the early months of 1970 when I was 13 years old.

First as a single that quickly rose to number one on the UK chart and then as an album that spent over 200 weeks on the UK album chart. Back then, every Friday after reading the NME I would write the charts out in the order I liked the songs all in careful longhand with precise label details. This was all documented in what I labelled the ‘David Lewis Chart Book’. During 1970 the names Simon and Garfunkel were mainstays of that particular process. I dearly wish I had that particular book now but it slipped through the archive somewhere.

The Bridge Over Troubled Water single was one those epic tracks that stopped you in your tracks – a record you had to listen to all the way through from the plaintive piano intro through to the final piecing chord not unlike the crescendo ending of The Beatles’ A Day In The Life. So beautifully sung by Art and with a piano accompaniment by Larry Knechtel that instrumentally, could easily pass as a piano concerto.

I was already well aware of who Simon and Garfunkel were through the Mrs Robinson single (and theme to The Graduate a film I would much enjoy watching when I was older)and The Boxer – a hit the previous year in 1969. That particular year was my real grand awakening to the delights of pop and rock music. This inspired a musical passion that to this day remains my DNA.

My introduction to the Bridge Over Troubled Water album in 1970 initially came via Richard Conway, the then boyfriend of my late sister Margaret. They would go on to marry in 1972.

Back in 1970, Bridge Over Troubled Water was part of their courting soundtrack and when it was on the player at our house I was equally enthralled. The album was also regularly on the radiogram at a friend’s house via his brother’s copy.

The fact is, in the early 70s a majority of homes in the UK (and US and everywhere else for that matter) had a copy of either Bridge Over Trouble Water or the subsequent massive selling Simon and Garfunkel Greatest Hits in their collection.

Richard, soon to be my brother in law, was a massive fan, particularly of Paul Simon and through visiting their home frequently, I got to hear Simon’s brilliant 1972 solo album and in the equally brilliant follow up There Goes Rhymin’ Simon which was released in 1973.

That same year I purchased a biography of Paul Simon titled Now And Then. Written by the much respected broadcaster and writer Spencer Leigh, it was a huge influence on my own ambitions to put pen to paper.

Though a fairly slim paperback clocking in just over a hundred pages, it was an insightful overview of Paul Simon’s career. Spencer was very strong on analysing the music, composition and vocal skills of both Simon & Garfunkel – I was very inspired by his easy flowing prose.. It was the type of book I felt I could write and in my bedroom I set about writing my own biography of Jimmy Page. I never quite got to complete it but parts of that text written when I was 16 years old, I incorporated into the ‘Jimmy Page Master and his Art’ chapter in my Led Zeppelin A Celebration book published in 1991. So thank you Spencer.

Spencer Leigh’s biography fuelled my enthusiasm for Paul Simon’s music manifold. Two years on when I was aged 18, Paul Simon’s Still Crazy After All These Years album was a melancholy soundtrack to the trials and tribulations of my first intense love affair.

On June 18 1982, Simon & Garfunkel performed a comeback concert at Wembley Stadium. Margaret and Richard were in attendance and I vividly recall that back here,on that day my mum and dad and me looked after their children Simon and Justine – my nephew and niece.

Sadly, Margaret and Richard’s marriage ended a few years later and tragically, they would subsequently both die far too young.

Unsurprisingly, whenever I hear Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkel I think very fondly of my late sister Margaret and her late ex-husband Richard and how we listened to that album and other Paul Simon records back in the early 70s.

That esteemed Bridge Over Troubled Water album is now celebrating its 50th anniversary and to acknowledge that fact, CBS have reissued the original album on 18 gram gold vinyl – it’s one of the few albums I’ve purchased this year and it’s been an absolute joy reacquainting myself with the contents.

Like all great albums its attraction and longevity lies in its quality and completeness. Nothing is out of place on these eleven cuts – not a second is wasted. There is absolutely no filler. The sheer economy in the delivery of each composition is awe inspiring.

The title track could be over familiar in say the way Stairway To Heaven and Bohemian Rhapsody are over familiar but hearing it a fresh on this new reissue – it’s enormity and breadth won me over again completely.

From there – this album is simply a tour de force…

El Cóndor Pasa (If I Could) is an arrangement of an 18th century Peruvian folk melody that Simon first heard by South American group Los Incas. He wrote new lyrics and it has a beguiling hypnotic quality running throughout. A cover version by Julie Felix became a UK hit at the time.

Equally impressive is the relentless percussion that undercuts the delightful Cecilia – a quaint tale of the merits of free love. As a newly ensconced teenager I didn’t quite understand all that back in 1970

Keep The Customer Satisfied with its startling ‘’Gee but it’s great to be back home’’ opening line and full on brass arrangement, is yet another highlight and subject of another great cover version by Marsha Hunt.

In stark contrast, the plaintive So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright so beautifully sung by Art brings side one to a natural conclusion.

This, in the days when the contrasts of side one into side two was all important.

Side Two opens grandly with The Boxer – their hit single in 1969. A another beautiful song with evocative lyrics that takes the listener on a journey across New York – note the subtle use of an early moog synthesiser.

The B side of the boxer single Baby Driver takes it all up a notch – one of those bright and breezy excursions they were so good at delivering.

The stark solitude of The Only Living Boy in New York is perfectly captured by Paul Simon’s soaring vocal and that pleading refrain ‘Half of the time we’re gone, but we don’t know where’’, Masterful.

It’s back to the quirky for Why Don’t You Write Me which delights in its jaunty pleading manner. However, behind the lighter touch was a darker message to Garfunkel via Simon and a pointer to their drifting relationship. Paul was none too happy that Art had delayed recording of the album when he took an acting role in Mike Nichols’ film of the Joseph Heller novel Catch 22.

The delightful November 1969 live in concert delivery of The Everley Brothers Bye Bye Love follows. A last gasp shot of on stage solidarity.

This all cross fades into Song For The Asking – an achingly beautiful hymn like finale.

Bridge Over Troubled Water would prove to be the final Simon and Garfunkel studio album. 50 years on it still sounds utterly incredible.

At a time when we are all navigating very troubled water, it’s themes of joy, solitude, isolation, and salvation resonate with deeper clarity than ever.

Something I know both Margaret and Richard would have agreed with…

This piece is dedicated to them both…

Dave Lewis -May 7,2020

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A to Z at home through the DL collection…every record tells a story…

An A to Z run through of some choice albums from the DL collection

Today B is for David Bowie – Bowie Rare (RCA)

I could of course have chosen any one of a number of Bowie albums but I have great affinity for this one. Long before the days of extended packages, deluxe editions with rare material etc, RCA in Italy concocted this gem under the appropriate title Bowie Rare. It was afforded a low key release by RCA in the UK and I purchased it in 1983 from the WH Smith record department I managed.

For the time, this was rare Bowie gold and a welcomed platform for some hard to find performances among them:
Ragazzo Solo,Ragaazza Sola – Space Oddity sung in Italian, classic B sides Round and Round, Amsterdam, Holy Holy, and the brilliant 1974 live take of Panic In Detroit. The wonderful Ziggy outtake Velvet Goldlmine, the US edit mix of Young Americans, Helden the German language version of Heroes , the Young Americans leftover John I’m Only Dancing (Again) in an edited version Moon of Alabama and the Crystal Japan TV advert. All nicely packaged with an inner sleeve with lyrics to each song.

Some of these tracks would subsequently resurface on various reissues but at the time it was a very worthy compilation of little known Bowie performances. I play it a lot as it dips in and out of his career in a random fashion that only heightens the sheer diversity of his output.

For me, David Bowie remains the most important and influential single artist of all time (Led Zeppelin, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones would be in the running for the group honours).

His music is a timeless joy and Bowie Rare fits that bill perfectly.

Dave Lewis – May 2 ,2020.

…………………….

DL Diary Blog Update

Some recent Facebook posts…on the player last Saturday: 

Saturday is platterday… last night’s excellent Shadows documentary on BBC4 prompted me to give an airing to their very fine 1962 album Out Of The Shadows..- original stereo pressing on the Columbia label..take it boys…

Saturday is platterday – another one inspired by last night’s excellent Shadows documentary on BBC4. This is Bruce and Hank’s post Shadows venture Marvin Welch & Farrar – compared to Crosby Stills & Nash at the time and in my book that is no bad thing. This 1971 album Second Opinion is a prime early 70’s melancholy delight – the credits list Alan Parsons as tape op and Hipgnosis as sleeve design… so it must be the 70s…
it’s been the familiar pattern of ups and downs and mood swings  here – last Sunday I dipped badly but revived and have been a bit better the last few days. I also have a blocked right ear and can hear little out of it – I get this about once a year and normally go to Docs to get it syringed  – understandably they are not doing that now and all I can do is put olive oil drops in and hope it softens. In the scheme of things it’s nothing but it does add another little irritant to all that is going on though it’s not stopped me listening to some great stuff on the player (see above.)
As  I know speaking to a few friends, everyone has their own set of personal circumstances that they are trying to cope with and thoughts are with everyone reading this.
Some inspirations here these past few days:
Re reading Mark Lewishon’s mammoth Beatles biography Tune In.
Word from Dave Linwood on his Birthday.
My copy of the new issue of Record Collector arriving.
A social distance rendezvous with Nick Carruthers who live around the corner during the daily walk with the good lady Janet.
A similar one with our very good friends Steve Livesley and Anne Marie.
Uplifting e-mails from Mike Tremaglio and Ian Dixon.
Phone calls from Richard Cole and Ross Halfin to enquire how we are – it was so kind of them to call…

Stay safe and well you very lovely people…

Dave Lewis

May 7,2020

Until next time, stay safe and stay well…

Website updates written and compiled by Dave Lewis

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