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30 March 2016 4,086 views 2 Comments

classic rock zep blueberry

Classic Rock – 100 Greatest Albums Of The 70s:

A few weeks ago, I was asked to select and write about a Led Zeppelin album to sit amongst the  100 greatest Albums Of The 70s listing Classic Rock magazine were compiling. The guidelines were as follows -don’t choose the most famous record, look for an unsung classic or hidden gem -and then justify it – in effect they were aiming for an alternative listing and not the usual choices – ie Led Zep IV, Dark Side Of The Moon etc.

I gave this some serious thought -initially I was looking at selecting the Presence album – for me the heart and soul of the Led Zep catalogue – in a way though even this seemed a fairly obvious choice. I also looked at the How The West Was Won live set – I was always felt that release got somewhat lost when it was issued alongside the five hour much acclaimed two DVD set in 2003. It also struck me that this album was actually not issued in the 70s.

I therefore decided to go for something altogether more maverick. I chose a bootleg album – one of the first of it’s kind -the double album on Trade Mark of Quality known as Led Zeppelin Live On Blueberry Hill. A brilliantly authentic audience recording of their appearance at the Los Angeles Forum on the evening of September 4, 1970.

As we all know bootlegs and Led Zeppelin have been synonymous for over four decades. Despite manager Peter Grant’s heavy-handedness when dealing with anyone he caught taping their shows, Zep became the most bootlegged act of all time, outstripping even The Beatles, Dylan, Springsteen and the Stones. Led Zeppelin’s impact on their initial American tours made them a prime target for the then emerging bootleg recording business. From their inception, it was more than evident that Zeppelin’s studio output was just the starting point. On stage live was where the real action occurred, as they constantly improvised and expanded their material. Peter Grant summed it up when he told me  “Led Zeppelin was primarily an in-person band… that’s what it was really about.”.

Live On Blueberry Hill in my view captures the raw energy of the band at a pivotal moment in their history. Sure there are many other live moments of bootleg greatness – Japan ’71,Earls Court’75, LA Forum ’77 to name but three – but there is something explosively exciting about this night back in 1970.

It remains as an essential a part of their discography as any of their official albums. To paraphrase the great Fats himself, Led Zeppelin Live On Blueberry Hill is still an absolute thrill.

It would seem the team at Classic Rock agree – as my selection landed at position number 4 in the Top 100 Greatest Albums of The 70s listing. I was well pleased to see how well it fared.

You can read just why I rate this album so highly and the rest of what is a fascinating listing in the excellent new issue of Classic Rock.

See link at:


Record Collector – Jimmy Page and The Yardbirds feature:

krys one mags

Many thanks for the positive feedback regarding my Jimmy Page with The Yardbirds feature which can be seen in the new issue of Record Collector – issue 452.

I did notice one small error in the heading of the piece – Jimmy did not replace ”good pal Jeff Beck” – he replaced bassist Paul Samwell-Smith as I explain in the early part of the text – shoot the sub editor!

Overall I am well pleased how it turned out – here’s some perceptive feedback from TBL contributor Ian Dixon.

An era normally only afforded a couple of paragraphs in Zep retrospectives is afforded seven pages of text and some appropriate archive photos/ memorabilia in the latest edition of Record Collector.

Covering the seeds of dissatisfaction within The Yardbirds camp in mid 1966 to the embryonic flight of Zeppelin just over two years later; Dave Lewis captures the comings and goings in personnel, records that happened, never were or never should have been, and documents the constant struggle of a band trying to find identity between R and B, pop and rock.

The story unfolds highlighting band members who became producers and photographers, songs of ladies of the night and live albums quickly quashed. Read also of producer Mickie Most’s sparkle falling flat- though his connection with Peter Grant would indirectly lead to the emergence of one Robert Anthony Plant via the recommendation of Terry Reid. It’s all in here and de-tangled so it all makes sense. Ian Dixon.

I have had quite a few enquiries as to when this issue will be available in the US – it normally reaches there a couple of weeks after the UK publication.

Or you can order direct – check out more info at:


Robert Plant has signed a stained glass mandolin that will be auctioned for charity:

This one via BBC News:

A stained glass electric mandolin signed by Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant is to be auctioned for charity.

Shropshire filmmaker Andrew Bullas put together a documentary about the creation of the unusual instrument.

Mr Bullas, from Alveley, travelled to Orkney to watch local craftsman Dick Levens making it.

The mandolin took two years to finish and the film attracted the attention of rock legend Plant.

Mr Levens said: “He’s such an iconic figure and to think he’s had his hands on something I made in my shed, that is really an unbelievable set of circumstances.”

The instrument will be auctioned to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

See link at:


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.

Led Zeppelin

Jimmy Page

Part of the new Record Collector cover featuring Jimmy Page and The Yardbirds (Record Collector)

  • Newly released footage of Jimmy Page performing with The Yardbirds has been posted online. It’s described as being from the Anderson Theater in New York from March 30, 1968, but there’s evidence that it’s actually from the Village Theater in New York from August 25, 1967.
  • The cover story for the new issue of Record Collector magazine is a feature by Tight But Loose editor Dave Lewis about Jimmy Page’s time with The Yardbirds. Find out more here.

Robert Plant

Robert Plant and support band The Sonics (Instagram/pledgemusic)

  • Robert Plant performed two shows in Austin, Texas on March 20 and March 21. See the setlists below, and click through on the song names to see videos:

March 20 – Austin, Texas
The Lemon Song
Black Dog
Turn It Up
In The Mood
No Place to Go / Dazed and Confused
Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You
Little Maggie
Fixin’ To Die
Whole Lotta Love
Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down / In My Time of Dying
Rock And Roll

March 21 – Austin, Texas
The Lemon Song
Black Dog
Turn It Up
In The Mood
No Place to Go / Dazed and Confused
Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You
Little Maggie
Fixin’ To Die
Whole Lotta Love
Rainbow (played again due to a “mistake” in the first performance)
Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down / In My Time of Dying
Rock And Roll

(This performance was filmed for Austin City Limits and was livestreamed on YouTube. Watch the full live broadcast here. It will be broadcast on US television in the future. You can read reviews of this show in Austin 360 and Consequence of Sound.)

  • A new video of Robert Plant’s March 17 show in San Antonio, Texas includes the entire show filmed from the balcony. Watch it here.
  • Four new videos have been posted online of Robert Plant’s performance at the Austin Music Awards on March 16. We now have video footage of every song performed. Click through on the song titles below to see the videos.

Young Blood
I’m Sorry
Let That Boogie Woogie Roll
Twine Time

  • It’s been announced that Robert Plant will perform at Le festival des Nuits d’Istres in France on July 4. Find out more here (in French.)

Upcoming events:

April 16 – A vinyl reissue of Jimmy Page’s 1965 solo single “She Just Satisfies” will be released for Record Store Day in the UK.
June 19 – Robert Plant will perform at the Royal Festival Hall in London with Guy Garvey, Nick Mulvey, Nadine Shah and Josephine Oniyama.
July 1 – Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters will perform at the Rock Werchter music festival in Belgium.
July 2 – Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters will perform at the Beauregard Music Festival in France.
July 4 – Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters will perform at Le festival des Nuits d’Istres in France.
July 7 – Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters will perform at the NOS Alive Music Festival in Portugal.
July 28 – Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters will perform in Austria.
August 2 – Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters will perform in Germany.
August 4/5/6/7 – Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters will perform at the Wilderness Festival in the UK.

The Led Zeppelin News email goes out every weekend. To receive it each week sign up here:


TBL Retro Archive 1:

The UK release of Led Zeppelin I – 47 years gone:

debut review

47 years ago this week saw the UK release of the Led Zeppelin debut album –  to mark the anniversary  – here’s some DL thoughts logged at the time of the reissue in 2014:


Led Zeppelin in the white heat of technology in October 1968 – in the listening booths of Braggins department store Bedford and on a reel to reel tape recorder…

Though I had been a Zep fan since the end of 1969, I did not hear Led Zeppelin 1 until early in 1971. My Zep running order took in Led Zeppelin III on the day of release and then Led Zep II soon after that. Before then, pocket money did not stretch to shelling out the required 39 shillings and 11 as was the asking price back then.

However, I did know the opening track quite well as I had frequently requested it to be played on the listening booth in Braggins,our local department store that sold records.

Their ruling however for any youngsters requesting a listen to an album, was that they would only play the opening track on side one – thus I knew all about Good Times Bad Times but nothing else…I therefore would gaze at live gig reviews of the time and dream in wonderment of what Communication Breakdown and Dazed And Confused actually sounded like!

That situation is quite hard to believe when you consider today’s modern world of all accessibility le downloads/YouTube/ etc. Back in those days, access to the world of Led Zep was like entering a secret society.

All was eventually revealed by a recording I acquired on my reel to reel tape recorder in early 1971- less a remaster more a case of a hissmaster….but hey I had the entire 45 minute contents and was now in command of their complete catalogue.

My affinity for the first Zep album was perhaps always less than Zep II and III. One of the major reasons was that I soon began to accumulate a large collection of bootleg LPs and cassettes and this of course took me into the cave of Zep live recordings. That is when I realised that the studio albums were only the starting point.  Thus I soon became obsessed with searching out the marathon live performances of Dazed And Confused, the medley filled How Many More Times, the sparky Communication Breakdown with it’s improvised middle section – as for You Shook Me and I Can’t Quite You Baby – the extended BBC session versions quickly became the template for those particular bluesy romps.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Zep 1 with a passion but over the years it has not been as high of the playlist as the latter creations such as Houses of The Holy, Presence and Physical Graffiti.

Come the CD age, there was a resurgence of interest in my playing of all the Zep albums and it was back in the forefront again. As for the Zep 1 pressings, I have a fair few – the turquoise sleeve pressing I acquired through my good friend Dec around 1977 – for just £10. I have a very nice South African pressing with a brown lettering and an original US pressing with an impressively sturdy sleeve.

Over the years I have analysed the Zep 1 album in print for my various books and magazines – notably a major feature that ran in Record Collector in early 2009. I love the whole scenario surrounding it, such as the contribution to the PJ Proby Three Week Hero album during the making of it and the fact that Sandie Shaw recorded the first ever Zep cover version with her take on Your Gonna Come, appearing on her excellent Reviewing The Situation album in late 1969.

As for the known outtakes – when I met up with Andy Adams recently, we reminisced about the impact of the emergence of the unofficial Olympic Gold CD in the early 90s with the Tribute To Bert Burns/Baby Come On Home sequence , You Shook Me take 1 and two startling versions of Babe I’m Gonna Leave You – the latter indicating the creative process that went into developing that track with Plant’s vocals at that point harsh and driven – in total contrast to the more controlled official version.

As we now know In approaching the companion disc for the Led Zeppelin 1 reissue, Jimmy felt there was not enough material – incidentally the studio logs featured in the accompanying Zep 1 book reveals that the bootlegged Sugar Mama was recorded at Olympic in October – I’d previously had this as a Zep II recording. We also know he was keen not to replicate too much material that was already out there -so the Zep I outtakes (said to be salvaged from being thrown out during a studio clear out) remain an illicit thrill.

So to the contents of Led Zeppelin 1

The formula was simple but striking:

A a case of something old – Dazed And Confused and How Many More Times being leftover ideas from Jimmy’s last days with The Yardbirds, something new -Good Times Bad Times and Communication Breakdown were born out of their initial rehearsals together.

Something borrowed – Back Mountain Side being based on Bert Jansch’s arrangement of an old traditional tune titled Black Waterside, Babe I’m Gonna Leave You derived from folkie Anne Bredon and had been heard by Page on a Joan Baez album -Dazed now being attributed on the new remaster as being ”inspired by Jake Holmes”.

And something blue – their versions of Willie Dixons’ You Shook Me and the Otis Rush showcase I Can’t Quit You Baby was in keeping with the British blues boom of the time and also displaying both Page and Plant’s affinity for the blues.

Add in the immense musicianship of JPJ’s keyboard and bass playing, the discovery of the greatest drummer of all time in John Bonham and Plant’s unique howling at the moon  – well the chemistry was complete – Jimmy Page had found his niche and musically this really would be the only way to fly.

One final point – though this album (and indeed Led Zep II) may have been derivative in both style and material, it was always performed by Led Zeppelin in such a convincing manner as to make it totally distinctive.


unbox 3

Led Zeppelin in the white heat of studio technology in October 1968….on remastered vinyl and sounding better than ever before….

So to the Led Zeppelin 1 on remastered vinyl – this is how it sounded to these ears yesterday…

From the off…there’s just so much new sonic clarity to marvel at…

Good Times Bad Times – the echo on the opening riffs and Robert’s vocal – John Bonham’s bass drum patterns sounding more impressive than ever…just awe inspiring…and the first of what Jimmy described as ”heavy chorus’s” and it reminded me of how effective that tactic works.

Babe I’m Gonna Leave You – when the thrust of John’s drumming comes in – what a moment…Jimmy’s acoustic overlays so precise…

You Shook Me – that laugh in the vocal early on at around one minute 24, is now more prominent and the moment Jimmy’s guitars cascade across the speakers in the solo…phew…

Dazed And Confused – everything about this is sonic perfection –Jonesy’s bass on the intro, the return to the riff after the solo –all quite breathtaking.

JPJ’s organ intro to Your Time Is Gonna Come –this has never sounded so grand and regal like…then there’s the subtly of Jimmy’s pedal steel guitar parts and that rush of bass drum patterns as the song cross fades into Black Mountain Side – that first chord – oh yes..… the tabla drums throughout Black Mountain Side more pronounced than before..

Communication Breakdown – more great chording and oh the moment Robert squeals ‘Suck!’ as they hit the guitar solo. Lordy mama we’re gonna groove!

I Can’t Quite You Baby – this the real revelation for me – this has never really been high on my Zep radar but wow this is such a blast – you can hear John’s tympani and snare sound with a real crisp ‘right there live in the studio’ clarity and the whole ‘just having a blow quality’ is presented with a crystal clarity.

How Many More Times – the entry of the wah wah –just exhilarating and overall Robert Plant’s vocal depth again captured with renewed verve and swagger.

Summary: The vinyl has an incredibly expansive sound – all widescreen and clear but with an empathic boost at all the right times – best ever sound on this album I’ve ever heard -simple as that

Now I’m no audiophile but I know what I hear and this is just stunning.

As for the CD version – again a superb job, not quite with the expansiveness of the vinyl version but not compressed in any way and with a sonic thrust that more than does justice to the album’s dynamics. Jimmy and John Davis have done an incredibly admirable job.

In fact listening to it from start to finish, I was reminded what a total assault this debut Led Zeppelin album is on one’s musical senses.

This then is Led Zeppelin in the white heat of studio technology in October 1968 as presented as never before . Until the arrival of these new reissues I thought I could not love this album any more than I have done for the past 40 plus years

I was wrong – I’ve just fallen in love with it all over again – as you will too…

DL – 3.30 pm June 2nd, 2014.


TBL Retro Archive 2:

This week also heralds the 45th anniversary of the famous 1971 BBC In Concert performance and broadcast – this one always takes me right back…so one more time with feeling…

45 years ago this week, I first heard the music of Led Zeppelin performed live and the effect was pretty shattering to the ears of a young 14 year old.

The occasion was the Radio One broadcast of an hours worth of live Zep for John Peel’s In Concert programme.

Recorded three days earlier at the Paris Theatre on the back of the band’s ‘Back to the clubs tour’, at the time this was a very big deal.

Zeppelin had not appeared on a BBC radio session since August of 1969 –their return to the UK airwaves was therefore much anticipated. Especially by me, tuning in at home on our portable radio eager to hear how they sounded on stage.

Beforehand I carefully put the jack plug from my reel to reel tape recorder into the radio to capture this historic moment. Then the dulcet tones of John Peel spoke forth: ‘’This is something we’ve waited a long time for on the Sunday repeated on Wednesday show and I know it’s all going to be worth the wait.Would you welcome please Led Zeppelin.

Oh yes we would welcome them Mr Peel. Blam! The battering ram riff of Immigrant Song reeled from the radio and I was in seventh heaven.

This was Led Zeppelin live – and a riveting experience to behold.

I was already in love with their three studio albums, I had missed out on their 1969 broadcasts  hearing them live was absolute confirmation that all my enthusiasm was justified. On record they were fantastic -but their songs performed live took all into another stratosphere.

No more so than the next track that was aired. As I was later to discover via the bootlegs, this hour long presentation was edited down from a full set. On this Sunday evening broadcast Immigrant Song therefore did not segue into Heartbreaker as was the custom of their then live act.

Instead we heard Dazed And Confused.

All nigh on 18 minutes of it…

This was my baptism into the free form improvisational world of live Led. It was then I realised that the studio versions were just the starting point. Dazed And Confused live went off into all sorts of tangents – the drama of the slowed down intro, the violin bow episode, the call and response sequence through to the lengthy outro – it was all there.

Within the space of 18 minutes my estimation and appreciation of Led Zeppelin shot up 100%.

That trend continued as they performed a dreamy What Is And What Should Never Be, Stariway To Heaven and Going To California from their yet to be released fourth album,That’s The Way and the Whole Lotta Love marathon that had a rock’n’roll medley that included That’s Alright Mama and Mess Of Blues.


My trusty reel to reel captured all this action blow by blow. Unfortunately due to the poor reception of the then 247 metres radio band of BBC Radio One –much of it was played out alongside the strains of several foreign radio stations drifting amongst the airwaves. I therefore ended up unwittingly with some rather unique versions of these BBC recordings.

No matter –I had an hours worth of live Led Zeppelin on tap…and life was very good indeed.

bbc zep

Subsequently this BBC performance would emerge first on a series of bootleg LP’s – (I had the BBC Broadcast LP with that great Will Stout pig cover on Trade Mark Of Quality a year later) and then on a variety of CD bootleg sets and then officially on the BBC Sessions album in 1997.

I wish I still had that reel to reel tape version but it’s long disappeared along with the reel to reel tape recorder. I do still have the original BBC Broadcast album and some fantastic CD versions (thanks to E. E. for one of the best) and I’ll be blasting those out this week in celebration of the 45th anniversary of this iconic recording.

So thank you John Peel for persuading Led Zeppelin to perform on Radio One again back in the spring of 1971.I have countless hours of live Led Zeppelin at my disposal…but it’s that very first hour that still resonates as much as any, as it unlocked the (up until then) secret world of Led Zeppelin in concert. It ultimately led to a fascination for me to hear as many of their live performances as possible.

45 years on that desire is as strong as ever.

DL – March 30, 2016.


David Hepworth on 1971:

This one via Classic Rock:

David Hepworth’s new book claims that 1971 saw the release of more monumental albums than any year before or since. Here, the author lists 71 reasons to agree.

Classic Rock’s new issue has a bit of a 70s theme. To kick it off, David Hepworth makes a case for ’71 as rock’s golden year.


HiFi Lounge/TBL Remembering David Bowie Day  – Hi Fi Lounge, Dunton, Bedfordshire – Saturday April 9,2016:

david bowie dayTBL is teaming up with The Hi Fi Lounge dealership to stage a special HiFi Lounge/David Bowie Day.

The HiFi Lounge is a highly reputable hi- fi dealership situated in an out of town spot in Bedfordshire. It’s situated in a converted granary building in the village of Dunton –just off the A1M –appropriately enough the road to Knebworth and with good links to London and the north.

Following on from previous years, Paul at the Hi Fi lounge will be staging another special open day at the showroom on April 9 2016.

This time the playlist will be dedicated to David Bowie

I will be in attendance with the TBL crew –we will also be staging a fun /David Bowie quiz during the day

There will also be ample opportunity to view the HiFi Lounge extensive selection of high quality hi fi with main man Paul Clark.
This is of course a great opportunity to hear the music of David Bowie on vinyl on top quality kit – as Paul explains:

If you love Bowie please do come along to help us celebrate all his music, we will be getting out the PMC MB2 SE speakers along with Chord Electronic’s DAVE fed by an Aurender N10 & Chord Mono Power amps and the Michell Orbe so along with my Bowie collection of Vinyl and 24 bit downloads and anything you’d like to bring in it should be a real fun day where we can remember the amazing music of David Bowie on some great sounding kit.

All this plus records for sale!

Chris and Martin will also be coming along with their great collection of new vinyl for sale in our downstairs demo room, even if you are not the biggest Bowie fan but love your vinyl it is definitely worth coming along to see what vinyl delights you can pick up.

This has all the makings of a great day out for David Bowie and vinyl/hi- fi enthusiasts alike.

The event from 9.00am to around 5.30 Admission is free.

Refreshments will be available during the day – we look forward to seeing all that can make it along.


DL Diary Blog Update:

reading fair one

Good Friday vinyl treats -with Darren’s Viny Barn having a well-earned Easter rest it was to the Reading Record Fair last Friday for the traditional Friday vinyl fix. Canadian pressings of Led Zep IV and Presence and a mono copy of Revolver amongst the splendid acquisitions of an excellent record fair…

Easter has come and gone like it does and this week and it’s been back full on with the current TBL projects. The forthcoming  TBL issue 41 is taking shape nicely – there’s been some superb input from Larry Bergmann jr, Cliff Hilliard and Nick Anderson and TBL designer Mick Lowe has been bringing it all to life at StudioMix .

I should have some firm details on the content in a couple of weeks – and don’t forget all current TBL subscriptions ended with issue 40 – now is the time to re subscribe for the next three issues TBL 41, 42 and 43.

Ordering link is here: Do it now and don’t miss out!

On the player – Led Zep 1 and the BBC 71 recordings plus a whole lotta Fab Four – namely The Beatles Anthology, The Beatles White Album and Let it Be.

This has been in in preparation for a rendezvous with the esteemed Beatles catalogue which is happening at The Royal Albert Hall on Friday. To celebrate our wedding anniversary (32 years tomorrow on March 31 – oh yes!) the good lady Janet and I are in London on Friday and in the evening will be pitching up at the Royal Albert Hall for the premiere of The Beatles Sessions – a new live show that recreates The Beatles Abbey Road recording sessions.

Full details here:

It’s something of a timely full circle for the good lady and I, for the first time we went on a date to London back in the summer of 1983, we were lucky enough to actually be inside Abbey Road’s number two studio when the doors were opened for a special Beatles at Abbey Road video presentation hosted by the late DJ Roger Scott. it was incredibly exciting to be inside the hallowed studio where all that amazing music had been created. It was also thrilling to hear the likes of How Do You Do It and the acoustic While My Guitar Gently Weeps long before they were officially released.

I’ve been lucky enough to have been inside Abbey Road on three further occasions (once when Jimmy was in Studio 2 recording with David Coverdale).

I am not quite sure what to expect on Friday – but with staging by the celebrated designers Stufish it already has much to commend it. Full report from inside the reimagined Abbey Road at The Royal Albert Hall to follow …

Dave Lewis, March 30, 2016.

YouTube clip:

Led Zeppelin and The Beatles: Whole Lotta Love /Helter Skelter mash up:

Until next time…

Dave Lewis/Gary Foy – March 30, 2016.

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  • andrew R said:

    What about the showing of the Page and Plant logo at one of his concerts
    in America that was reported.What was that about? One last go with jim?

  • Mark Williams said:

    Hi Dave,

    Just watched The ACL show. Band & Robert accomplished, intriguing, with Sin Tyson a particular stand-out. However having seen SSS in this line-up many times, I do think it’s time for Robert to move along…..How about joining Roy for a couple of his forthcoming shows ?

    68 soon Robert and is this really the way to draw it all to a close ?

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