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19 November 2010 4,386 views 4 Comments

The DL receding hairline clearly visible just under the mic stand. Later With Jools Holland November 16th 2010

Last Sunday morning I watched BBC1’s live coverage of the service of Remembrance from the Cenotaph in Whitehall. It was an incredibly moving experience to see all the veteran soldiers marching by – made even more so with thoughts of Janet’s Dad Ken who died in April and was so proud to have served his country in the second world war. With thoughts of Ken in mind and my own departed Mum and Dad, I have no shame in saying I shed a few tears as I watched the dignity and humility of soldiers young and old relay their stories, alongside relatives of those who have given their lives. As we get older that sacrifice becomes ever apparent. Later in the afternoon when Adam’s team lined up for a minutes silence before their game, I had another lump in my throat. Throughout the  was a day I found myself reflecting on a number of things that have gone on here over the past months and it was a timely moment to be ever thankful for the precious people I hold dear.

There was more reflection to be had on Monday evening when I watched the brilliant documentary When Playboys Ruled the World. It centered on the careers of two flamboyant motor sportsman who lit up the 1970s – world champion race driver James Hunt and world motorcycle champion Barry Sheene.  Both of these larger than life characters ruled their particular sport with a brave devil may care attitude that was matched by their off  track penchant for the birds, booze and high living.

When Playboys Ruled the World also chronicled the public and media attitudes towards the private lives of Sheene and Hunt in comparison with the heavily-scrutinised lifestyles of today’s multi-million pound sports stars.

There was some wonderfully nostalgic clips for the 1970s including James Hunt appearing on the Bruce Forsyth show, George Harrison appearing on Barry Sheene’s This is Your Life programme and clips from the old Saturday afternoon show World of Sport presented by Dickie Davies. Together with some newsreel footage of the hot summer of 1976 when both Hunt and Sheene triumphed in their respective sports, this documentary really captured the spirit of the more innocent age I grew up in. Both these iconic sportsman sadly died tragically young – when Barry Sheene died of cancer age just 52 in 2003 I remember being very upset at the news. As Gary Foy remarked to me – he  really was in the true sense of the word a beautiful looking man (and no gay jokes at the back please) and I’d place him in that category along with Marc Bolan and one R. A Plant in his mid 70s pomp particularly.

Talking of whom…

On Tuesday I found myself travelling down the Bedford to St Pancras train line on a cold November afternoon just as I had 39 years ago this very week.  On both occasions the quest was to see and hear Robert Plant perform live on stage. 39 years ago in logging performance  number one it was in the company of Led Zeppelin and the venue was the Wembley Empire Pool – the anniversary itself is actually on Sunday and I’ll be blasting out the relevant sounds from that era this weekend including the Ipswich and Empire Pool ’71 recordings, Led  Zep 4,  some Maggie & Stone The Crows who played so excellently as support plus  Shaft by Isaac Hayes and Witch Queen Of New Orleans by Redbone – the latter pair  being hits of the time that were aired by DJ Jeff Dexter before they came on.

Fast forward to 2010 and 104 performances on, here I was bound for the BBC TV Centre in White City London for a bonus viewing of The Band of Joy. I really thought I’d used up all my pass outs from home recently but there was one more required from the good lady when at short notice the opportunity came my way to watch Robert Plant & The Band Of Joy participate in the last of the current series of BBC2’s Later With Jools Holland. It was one I took up with open arms (Thank you AN).

It was an absolute thrill to find myself in such immediate close proximity to the wonderful unit of musicians who have brought such pleasure these past two months. At the centre of it all was of course Robert Plant, effortlessly oozing charisma and vocal power just as he had on that November night of  Electric Magic way back in 1971. (While we are on the subject of beautiful men his hair looked fantastic).

The last time I was at a taping of Later was back in May 1998 for Jimmy and Robert’s appearance.  Considering they had to fit in six different acts, It’s amazing how small the studio. The great thing about it all is the fact there is no stage, so from my ultimate vantage position to the left of Buddy Miller I was incredibly close to the action (yup that’s me to the left of the screen bopping away to one of Richard Thompson’s finest). The sheer enthusiasm of this band was plainly evident. They must have performed House Of Cards countless times since the first time I saw them perform it back in early September but the conviction with which Robert sang it, ably supported by Patty, Buddy, Darell, Byron and Marco was just awe inspiring.

It was also great to see each band getting off on the other artists as throughout the TV recording the acts all remain in their respective areas – this makes for a real kinship between the acts. Robert was most impressed with the vocalist in Nashville four piece Mona and when Mavis Staples launched into I’ll Take You There (one of my all time fave singles which I brought as a US import seven inch on the Stax label in the mid 70s), Darell, Patty, Robert and Buddy could be seen clapping in unison as they dug this classic track. When Arcade Fire had to re take one of their songs due to a sound problem, as the cameras were reset Robert relayed a tale of a past Later recording when Jools Holland passed the mic to him – ‘’I remember when Jimmy and myself were here recording with the Egyptians –it all sounded good in here but when I got home and watched it on TV you couldn’t here them at all!’’

This Later with Jools Holland taping was an unexpected bonus as following the Roundhouse show I thought that was going to be it for me this year. Ahead there is a second US tour and hopefully a return to the UK. After the recording  when I was explaining to Robert that it was difficult to describe what it is about the Band Of Joy that makes it so compelling he astutely summed it all up.

‘’This is a mighty rumble’’ he told me. Long may The Band Of Joy rumble into the new year and beyond.

Below  12 Years Gone – Performance 66 of 105:   DL with slightly more hair viewing  Page & Plant – Later with Jools Holland May 5th 1998

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  • Dave Linwood said:

    Great shot from ’98 there Dave.
    That was the Foy-Boy “Shining In The Light” One-man, all-band member roles, dancing maching sensation night! Dig it out and enjoy.
    Best to all

  • Jim Sloane said:

    Nice one Dave! Band of Joy is excellent. Bet we see alot more of them.

  • paul aspey said:

    watching on tuesday evening Carol asked me who that was on stage with Dave Lewis , You’ll be one the next series of im a celebrity at this rate..
    Keep it up why dont you try the stuff shane warne promotes

  • Billy McCue said:

    Never mind the hairline, mate. You got the girl.
    Great stuff. Keep rockin’.


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