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16 April 2015 3,480 views 5 Comments

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Boot Led Zeppelin celebrate Led Zeppelin at Earls Court with 40th anniversary Shepherds Bush gig:

UK tribute band Boot Led Zeppelin will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of the famous Zep Earls Court shows with a showcase gig on Saturday May 9. The venue is the Shepherds Bush Empire in London. The band will be be recreating the magic of Zep in ’75 with a special Earls Court set.

This will be a great way of kick starting the 40th anniversary activity – I am aiming to be in attendance with the TBL crew.

Ticket details and info via

O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire

Sat May  9, 2015
Door time: 7.00pm
Led Zeppelin Five Glorious Nights pre order offer extended: 
  Five Glorious Nights – Led Zeppelin at Earls Court compiled by Dave Lewis published by Rufus Stone Limited Editions:

The forthcoming large format photographic book capturing the full visual splendour of Led Zeppelin’s milestone concerts at Earls Court in May 1975.
Exclusive TBL/ Rufus Stone Pre order Details:

Pre sale offer now extended to end of April…


Rufus Stone are now running an exclusive pre sale for TBL readers and those who signed up for info on the book. This offer is open to April 30.

The book will go on general sale for £130 (plus delivery) but you can pre order until April 30 for the special price of £100 (plus delivery). Only 1200 copies of the main edition will be made available worldwide.

There is also an exclusive, leather bound edition and slipcase in a run of just 100 copies for a special offer price of just £200 per copy (plus delivery), saving £50. These are selling fast so be sure to order quickly if you require this version.

All orders placed for the pre sale via Rufus Stone/TBL will be accompanied by an exclusive limited edition 10x 8 print.
The links to both editions are below:

For the standard edition go to:…/Led-Zeppelin-Earls-Court

For the limited leather bound edition go to…/Led-Zeppelin-Earls-Court2

So what are you actually getting for your money with this book?

With the book design well under way, I thought it would be a good idea to quantify exactly what this book has to offer, what it’s about and the reasons I believe it’s a very worthwhile purchase and investment. So here goes…

The contents of the book:


288 pages featuring over 200 colour and black and white photos from the archives of the top rock photographers of the time. Drawn from over 350 images from various contact sheets provided by publisher Mark Smith, and with the assistance of Ross Halfin as associate picture editor, the best photos possible have been selected. Knowing that there has been a host of photos of the band at Earls Court published over the years, the objective was to select rarely seen images and unusual angles. The pic here shows work in progress on the design of the book at StudioMix Bedford last week.

Amongst the many images are scenes of the stage being set up, close ups of the acoustic set, the band performing four part harmony on Tangerine, the Jimmy Page violin bow solo in Dazed And Confused, John Bonham explaining “football is a load of bollocks” and the Led Zeppelin emblazoned sign in view as they perform their encore numbers. In effect, every aspect of Led Zeppelin’s Earls Court performances is represented.

The photos are separated into five sections, each representing the five glorious nights – preceded by a written summary with set list details and performance commentary.

The photos are sequenced where possible in set list order and supplemented by various Robert Plant comments from the stage at the time.

Throughout the book there are also a series of press comments that demonstrate the esteem in which these concerts were held by reviewers at the time.

To complement the photo content, there’s a Preface that explains why these concerts were amongst the most important the band ever performed, plus a summary of each gig, and interviews with promoter, Mel Bush, photographer, Barry Plummer and journalist Chris Welch. The appendix sections bring together various selected images of Earls Court bootlegs and magazine covers, and there’s also an appraisal of the 2015 reissue of Physical Graffiti.

The Foreword is provided by long time rock radio DJ, Nicky Horne who introduced the band on stage at the May 24 gig.

Five Glorious Nights is in a strictly limited edition of 1,200 standard books and 100 leather bound editions. De luxe packaging with slip case produced by Rufus Stone Limited Editions.

Rufus Stone Limited Editions have a proven record of producing large format books of high quality – their catalogue includes Deep Purple at the California Jam, Jon Lord All Those Years Ago and The Beatles Monochrome. This is a high end price but as you will see by visiting the Rufus Stone site, they pride themselves on producing quality books to an exceptionally high standard.

All books are individually numbered and printed on high quality paper with high end binding.

Design is by Mick Lowe at StudioMix – highly regarded designer of previous Dave Lewis, Led Zeppelin books Feather In The Wind – Over Europe 1980 and Then As It Was – At Knebworth 1979.

I personally feel a huge responsibility to ensure this book is worth every penny of the asking price – and I am doing my upmost to meet that challenge.

To summarise:

Much more than a mere book of photos, the intention is to capture the atmosphere of the five Earls Court shows through these startling images – sequenced and presented in a way that unfolds the whole saga of this remarkable series of concerts – to be viewed and enjoyed time and time again.

Five Glorious Nights at Earls Court in May 1975 will be a superbly presented permanent visual record of Led Zeppelin in their absolute prime. 

Dave Lewis, April 16, 2015


TBL Archive :Jimmy Page & Robert Plant: US Tour 1995.

Leading on from last week’s Page & Plant retro focus – here is a piece that originally ran in TBL 11:

With the MTV film in the can, the next logical move was to take the show out on the road.,

The pair decided to extend the formula used for the MTV shows, employing the Egyptian string and percussion ensemble led by Hossam Ramzy and dubbed The Egyptian Pharaohs. Under the direction of Ed Shearmur they enlisted the assistance of local orchestras in each area they performed, thus enabling them to repeat the successful formula used for the Unledded filming which allowed fresh interpretations of the Zeppelin catalogue.

Just prior to the tour opening in February, Page and Plant reunited with John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham for an appearance at New York’s Waldorf hotel to accept Led Zeppelin’s induction into the Rock’n’Roll Hall Of Fame. Jonesy’s comment – “Thanks for my friends for remembering my phone number” – during his speech was a curt acknowledgement of his displeasure at being ignored.

Rehearsals for the Page Plant tour took place in London, and a preview of what was in store occurred when the pair did a live link up for the American TV Awards, performing ‘Black Dog’.

In early April I was lucky enough to catch their two day stint at the Meadowlands Arena in America (see my review for Mojo below). The second night where they strolled on to the stage and moved into ‘Thank You’ remains a defining memory. Further shows in Paris, Glasgow, Sheffield, St Austell, Poole, Birmingham and London proved conclusively that despite their advancing years the duo’s ability to recreate the power and grace of Zeppelin was without question.

It was a glorious period as long time fans and those too young to have seen Zep in their prime revelled in what was all in name the Zeppelin reunion we had all hoped for. By the tour’s end it was evident that Jimmy Page was playing better than at any time during the previous fifteen years. Indeed for a project that began as a request to strum a few Zep tunes unledded style for MTV’s acoustic showcase, when played live night after night this reappraisal of the Zeppelin catalogue developed into a fully ledded experience. A trend that would continue when they returned to the live action in 1998.

With so many tapes at our disposal, there is ample scope to take a retrospective view of the tour. Having listened to hours of material drawn from the many tapes of the tour, I have compiled an imaginary four-CD compilation that takes in all the major developments along the way. It includes the one-off gems slotted in, the stand-out performances, the offbeat sequences and all the historic moments building into a true overview of the entire tour. It features 53 extracts drawn from 26 different locations spread over 28 shows; nearly five hours of musical Page and Plant highlights that capture the often barely believable events that thousands of fans were privileged to enjoy during those 370 days.



So this is Page and Plant on tour together at last in 1995 and 1996. Proving conclusively that the evolution of Led Zeppelin continues…

Part One

CD1: US Tour First Leg:

Intro: Tales of Bron – Robin Williamson poem

‘Immigrant Song’ intro/’The Wanton Song’

(Thompson Bowling Arena, Knoxville, Tenessee, March 3 1995)

The previous date in Atlanta had seen the amalgamation of ‘Immigrant Song’into ‘Wanton Song’ as the set opener. On that occasion they had some trouble sorting out the ending (it was after all the first live airing of ‘Wanton Song’ in 20 years!). In Knoxville it all came together with Page leading the way with some dexterous runs. The atmospheric opening introduction poem that proceeded became a familiar opening ritual to a majority of the US first leg and some European dates. The choice of the little known Incredible String Band album extract recalled Plant’s fondness for this Sixties outfit, and by the time Robin Williamson had got to the line “There is the flavoured haunt of pleasure, no haunt or threat or malediction, but sweet of music strikes the air” the fans knew what was coming next as the silhouettes on stage burst into life.

‘Wanton Song’ went on to become the favoured set opener, clocking over 80 performances during the tour.

‘Achilles Last Stand’

(The Omni, Atlanta, Georgia, February 28 1995)

‘Achilles’ was always a prime contender for reworking on this tour so it was no real surprise when it turned up in the set lists of the two opening dates in Pensacola and Atlanta. More baffling was the fact it was never played again. On the evidence of the passion they brought to this performance there appears no logical reason why. It was a more than competent display that kicked along with all the verve of the best Zep deliveries circa 1977.  Robert introduced it as “One of the first songs Jimmy and I wrote relating to travel” – a similar spiel would be given over to introducing The Song Remains The Same which effectively took over the Achilles slot the next night.

Watching the video shot from the show, it’s clear they were enjoying reliving this crucial Zep track – the pair could be seen clustered together in a classic pose during the “Aha… Aha” refrain.

At times the February 28 delivery of ‘Achilles Last Stand’ recreated the spirit of Led  Zeppelin better than any other single performance on the tour. Maybe that’s why they decided to drop it. Perhaps they both felt it was just a little too close to what went before…

‘House Of The Rising Son’/‘Good times Bad Times’

( UNO Lakefront Arena, New Orleans, Louisanna, March 11 1995)

From the moment Plant casually walked up to the mic and oozed into the traditional local blues standard ‘House Of The Rising Sun’, this second night in New Orleans was destined to be special.

They then switched straight into ‘Good Times Bad Times’, the only performance of the rarely played Led Zep I opener. And it was a joy to hear them rumble through the familiar stops and starts of the track with Michael Lee on drums proving his worth.


(UNO Lakefront Arena New Orleans Louisanna March 11 1995)

When the first set lists were posted on the Internet many presumed this was a new song and listed it as ‘Spiderman’. In actual fact  it was a revivial from Porl Thompson’s Cure days. It worked as an offbeat interlude amongst the Zep numbers with Plant immersed in the lyric and Page cutting fine precise lines against Porl’s rhythm work. ‘Lullaby’ survived in the set until the early part of the Europran dates before being deleted.

‘The Song Remains The Same’

(UNO Lakefront Arena, New Orleans, Lousinna, March 11 1995)

“There’s a ….”

At the beginning of this mid-period Zep classic, Plant twice taunted the crowd with the opening line from the well known Rolf Harris cover. Instead Page led them into a powerful rendition of the Houses Of The Holy opener. This was a definite highlight of the US leg with Page and Porl Thompson trading licks most effectively, with the latter’s speed on the Gibson jumbo guitar really pushing the song along. Plant reached the high notes with ease as it led it into a glorious finale. “Can you feel it?” asked the singer afterwards. Absolutely.

‘Tangerine’/’Hey Hey What Can I Do’

(US Air Arena, Landover, Washington, March 23 1995)

Two superb performances lined up back to back during this show. ‘Tangerine’ made its only appearance on this leg performed in a full band arrangement. The crowd reaction as Page hit the familiar notes was nothing less than euphoric. Porl played some suitably laid back electric parts against Page’s Ovation acoustic strumming. A nostalgic first outing for the Zep III standard that was last performed live twenty years back at Earls Court.

The underrated Zep III leftover (and subsequent US B side to ‘Immigrant Song’) ‘Hey Hey What Can I Do’ was another revelation with the crowd egarly joining in the chorus. Videos from the tour of this track show Page beaming with pride and duck walking along the stage.

‘Boogie Chillun’ sequence

(Skydome Arena, Toronto, March 27 1995)

“One night I was laying down”… The John Lee Hooker standard was an integral part of the ‘Whole Lotta Love’ medley in the Zeppelin era. This was its only appearance on the tour, emerging during the ‘Calling To You’ medley. The way it developed out of a lengthy Page solo was invigorating and for those in attendance a rare revival for another part of the Zep live canon.


‘Calling To You’ including ‘Break On Through’/’As Long As I Have You’/

‘Dazed And Confused’ inserts

(Brendan Byrne Arena, Meadowlands, East Rutherford, New Jersey, April 6 1995)

‘Calling To You’ had previously been a highlight of Plant’s Fate Of Nations tour. With Jimmy on board it quickly developed into an extended piece that included a compelling guitar battle with Porl, a seminal riff exercise and then into an anything-could-happen medley sequence in the grand Zep tradition. This night in Meadowlands was exceptional for the inclusion of Garnett Mimms ‘As Long As I Have You’, a staple of the first two Zeppelin American tours but not performed by Page or Plant since. It followed the now customary delivery of The Doors’ ‘Break On Through’ and then merged with a few lines from ‘Dazed And Confused’. Another  memorable sequence.

‘Shake My Tree’

(Great Western Forum, Inglewood, Los Angeles, California, May 17 1995)

On the face of it this was a rather bizarre choice for inclusion on the tour. A highlight of the 1993 Coverdale Page album, it says much of Plant’s compatibility with Page at the time that he agreed to sing the Coverdale lyrics, albeit in a slightly amended form. ‘Shake’ was actually a great riff exercise which allegedly was first conceived during the Zep In Through The Out Door sessions. On stage it gave Plant the chance to pull out the old “Suck it!” refrain at appropriate moments and for Page to weave those weird sounds from the theremin.


(Great Western Forum, Inglewood Los Angeles, California, May 17 1995)

When Page and Plant breezed back into the Forum some 17 years after the night of Listen To This Eddie, a tradition of spontaneity was upheld. During ‘Kashmir’ they were joined by guest violinist Lili Hayden who brought a impulsive virtuoso feel to the end section as she pitted her talents against the Egyptian Pharaohs. “Ladies and gentlemen Lili Hayden appears at the Viper Room in Holly wood every Sunday night,” Plant informed the audience at the close.

Part 2 to follow


Can’t get enough of a double dose of Bad Company…

bad co 6

Bad Company – Bad Co (Swan Song/Rhino)

Bad Company – Straight Shooter (Swan Song/Rhino)

Hot on the heels of the Led Zeppelin reissues fellow Swan Song act Bad Company are the subject of a similar exercise and very welcomed it is too.

What we have here is a reissue of their first two albums with a secondary disc of bonus tracks, B. sides, alternate takes and unreleased songs.

Such was the close proximity of the release of these albums at the time, I’ve always treated them like one double album.  Though Bad Company did some very good stuff ahead they never quite succeeded in producing such a high level of creative consistency as they did with these first two Bad Co albums. They remain the benchmark of their catalogue.

Bad Company of course, are intrinsically linked to the latter part of the Led Zep story. Managed by Peter Grant, road managed by Clive Coulson himself a former Zep roadie, they were one of the first signings to their Swan Song label. Their success in the US came off the back of Zep’s trailblazing tours and indeed there were numerous spontaneous Zep/Bad Co jams including Jimmy’s guesting with them in Austin Texas and New York in September 1974, Page and Plant up on stage with them in LA in 1976 and Mick Ralphs returning the compliment in Fort Worth the following year. They were pretty much joined at the hip and from their inception, Zep fans and a whole lot more took them to their heart.

Oh they also recorded their first album at Headley Grange when in the autumn of 1973, some Zep pre booked studio time became available. It proved to be three weeks very well spent.

The Bad Co album was an instant success particularly in the US where it spawned a top ten single in Can’t Get Enough. They were on a roll and they quickly recorded the follow up Straight Shooter at Clearwell Castle – issued within a year of their debut to further acclaim.

When they initially emerged on record and on stage in the spring of 1974, they arrived with a distinct lack of pretention. Taut tight arrangements in a classic four man line up –honest to goodness non flashy rock’roll. What really set Bad Company apart though, was their ability to bring an effortless soulful swing to the party when required. That element constantly seeps through across both albums – witness Ready For Love, The Way I Choose and Wild Fire Woman. It also helped considerably that like Zep, the interplay and chemistry of the four musical was just so right.

Paul Rodgers was vocally right at the top of his game, Mick Ralphs had the knack of turning his guitar style from melodic rock to blues at will, Boz Burrell was an inventive bassist and funky with it while  Simon Kirke had already proved his ability in the art of steadfast percussion n Free.

Refreshingly for the time they did not need to rely on any over the top bombasts arrangements. Rock Steady being a perfect example of how a band could show restraint at all the right moments. Not that they couldn’t rock out with the best of them, Can’t Get Enough, Good Loving Gone Bad and Deal With The Preacher all retain their good to be alive breeziness.

They were also very skilled in the rock balladry department. Something that was much in evidence on the first album with Don’t Let Me Down, Bad Company, and Seagull and duly repeated with equal aplomb on Straight Shooter with Weep No More, Anna, Call On Me, and the evergreen Feel Like Makin’ Love. In Shooting Star they created one of rocks great narrative tales which still retains its plaintive poignancy

On top of all that, they were also great at adding stand-alone B sides to their singles (does anybody remember B sides?) and it’s great to hear the likes of Little Miss Fortune (the B side to Can’t Get Enough), Easy On My Soul ( the B side to the US single Movin’ On)and Whiskey Bottle ( the B side to Good Lovin’ Gone Bad) scooped up on the extra discs.

As for the extra discs here, there’s a whole heap of fun to be had. A wonderfully loose Can’t Get Enough with no overdubs demonstrates a real purity in the playing. An equally loose and informal The Way I Choose has Rodgers adopting his best Otis Redding voice.

There’s also delightful off-mic chat between takes including one humorous exchange at Headley Grange which refers to a  dog – perhaps a black dog.  There’s also some unreleased tracks -the very fine Superstar Woman left off the first album and later recorded for Paul’s 1983 Cut Loose album. From the Straight Shooter sessions, See The Sunlight has some pleasing leslied guitar work from Mick Ralphs while All Night Long is a typical Bad Co romp.

The sound throughout  is also spot on with mixing and remastering by highly respected engineers Jon Astley and Richard Digby Smith.

A final word on the packaging – a superb job all round with vintage press clips and pic sleeve sleeves spread throughout the detailed notes written and compiled by Dave Clayton with all the passion and enthusiasm the fabled Free/Bad Co chronicler always brings to the table.

Can’t get enough? Not when classic albums such as this pair are remastered and reworked with such finesse.

Dave Lewis – April 15 2015


Record Store Day:

Once again Record Store Day is upon us – the weekend when the independent record stores celebrate their standing in our community with a day of selling exclusive limited edition product. Like anything, as it has become more successful the novelty of it has worn off somewhat – there has been much backlash about the sheer amount of limited releases and the fact many of them will turn up at inflated prices on eBay within hours of being on sale on Saturday morning. the actual pricing of the limited editions has also come in for criticism.

Having said all that, I can assure you the novelty has not worn off for this particular record buying enthusiast and for the fifth year running, my vinyl seeking compatriots Tom and Phil (Dec will be outside his new local record shop in Wexford over in Ireland) will be making an very early start to be in the queue at Rough Trade West near Portobello Road London on Saturday morning.

There is of couse added incentive this year to be in the queue as Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters have a limited ten inch single up for grabs and I am hoping for a copy of More Roar to be in my hands at the earliest opportunity on the morning. There isn’t too much else on my wants list this year (a good thing by the good lady Janet’s thinking!) though having said that, The Yardbirds Roger the Engineer album on white vinyl and singles by Family, Fotheringay ,The Small Faces and Kenny Taylor (the rare northern soul anthem Do I Love You) would also be very nice acquisitions too!


It’s always an eventful day out as we mingle in the queue with like minded vinyl addicts eager for the RSD fix – in fact many of them will be the same faces we saw last year. It’s a now traditional yearly celebration of the global record buying experience and one of the days of the year. You gotta love it and we do…

Friday vinyl treats at the Vinyl Barn in Bedford:

In between overseeing the Earls Court photo book lay out  there was time for a visit to Darren’s ever excellent Vinyl Barn last Friday and I picked up a little beauty – Drum Crazy the Soundtrack from The Gene Krupa Story featuring the drums of Gene Krupa original mono LP on the HMV label. – the great Gene was a big influence on the young John Bonham …thank you Darren

DL Diary Update: 

A bit of a tricky week here again with Janet’s mum Bet back in hospital. I also succumbed to not being at all well early in the week – a combination of too many hours working on the EC book and not pacing myself properly with regular eating and stuff. This put me well below par – something was clearly indicating I need to slow up a bit. I am feeling better than I did but certainly not 100% – I know things are amiss when I don’t even feel like a pint!

This really is no time to be less than on top form as there is a lot to contend with right now. Primarily of course in the workload is the Earls Court photo book – the aim is to get it all ready to print by the end of the month so the deadlines are extremely tight – to that end Mick and I have been motoring on with the design and lay out big time. This really is the most important project I’ve undertaken in a long while…and I do reel immense responsibly in making this all worth the asking price.

I am a bit too close to it all but what we have completed so far does look pretty amazing and as explained more fully above, there has been much thought and care into how these incredible images of Led Zeppelin in their prime are presented in this book. More on all this as it unfolds.

On the playlist:

Recent inspirations have been as follows:

Led Zeppelin – Earls Court May 24 1975 bootleg LP

Bad Company reissues (see above)

Sandy Denny – Rendezvous – her biography by Mick Houghton is one of the best rock biographies I’ve read in a long time.

The Beatles – Alpha/Omega hits compilation (thank you Larry B)

Paul McCartney & Wings – Band On The Run -always a good one for the spring..

Frank Zappa – Hot Rats -long time Frank instrumental genius of an album.

Bob Dylan – Royal Albert Hall 1966 – inspired by my I Want You/Just Like Tom Thumbs Blues CBS 45 recent find.

John Martyn – London Conversation – more classic Island folk inspired by the Sandy Denny book.

Right back to the workload and to try and build up some strength so I can get back to form…

Dave Lewis, April 16, 2015.


You Tube Clip: Jimmy Page & Robert Plant  – San Jose May 1995:

Until next time…

 Have a great weekend –
Keep listening, keep reading…
Dave Lewis/Gary Foy –  April 16, 2015 
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  • Del said:

    5 glorious nights ordered, cant wait it looks awesome !!!!

  • Ian Avey said:

    Don’t feel like a pint? Cough splutter, you must be delirious Dave! 😉
    Seriously, hope you are feeling better soon.
    I’ll be at RSD in Letchworth tomorrow so text me if there is anything you want me to try and procure if you have trouble getting anything.
    I really want the Plant and Yardbirds releases if possible!

  • Mr TIm said:

    Also what does the either say about two at a time again or on its own like Physical. i cant find not a one solitary clue online . What were the gaps like priviously ? cant recall at all…

  • Bob Flux said:

    Hey! Just thought! Wouldn’t the Presence companion disc be the perfect place to release a top-quality recording of the infamous ‘Jersey Jam’ with the nigh-on-legendary Norman Hale?! Would be awesome, dude! Sadly, I’m sure it is nonexistent.

  • Dave Whyte said:


    Any word on when the Presence remaster will drop?

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