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18 April 2014 7,343 views No Comment

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Deborah Bonham TBL Interview:

On Tuesday I met up with Deborah Bonham before her gig at the Stables in Milton Keynes to conduct an interview for TBL – Deb was on great form and we discussed her new album and tour and her thoughts on the forthcoming Led Zeppelin reissues and her brother John’s legacy – here’s a preview

DL: How has the tour and new album been received?

DB: it’s been absolutely fantastic and it’s been great doing the new tracks. The audiences are increasing and some are absolutely sold out so I’m really thrilled

DL: You have a special guest on one of the tracks on the album…

DB: Yes I have a certain harmonica player on the track What it Feels. It was such an honour – I get so nervous asking for things like that but he was really great. He was the only player I thought of to be on that track. People have asked me since why didn’t I get him to sing- maybe one day I’ll pluck up the courage to. I still go weak at the knees even though I’ve known him all my life I mean it’s Robert Plant…

DL: The first three Led Zeppelin re issues are due in June – it must be of great inspiration to the family that John’s legacy is going to be lauded all over again yet again?

DB: Yes absolutely and what I love about it is that it’s also reaching new younger kids. It’s also great that it’s on vinyl too. I’m releasing the Spirit album on vinyl. I just love that the whole vinyl sound and I love the idea you have an album split in two and you can spend ages with side one and then get to side two weeks down the line. It’s like having another album. But yes it’s great that the reissues are bringing it to a new generation. John, for me and my family is always there and constant through the music.

DL: Can you recall first hearing Led Zeppelin I?

DB: Oh Yes. I loved Dazed And Confused and Good Times Bad Times. My girlfriends used to come around the house and I’d make them dance – it was always the bit in Dazed and Confused where it speeds up and we’d be going mad!

John used to bring home a test pressing of the albums – I remember him playing Whole Lotta Love to us and What is and What Should Never Be. It had that panned effect. John just loved the fact that it did this stereo panning from speaker to speaker at the end of the song and I remember him standing there going ‘’Listen its coming out of that speaker…oh and now it’s out of that one!’’

DL: What do you think these albums stand the test of time so well?

DB: In a nutshell – it’s incredible playing, it’s incredible writing, its innovative and its powerful and its emotional. The moment you put on a Led Zeppelin song and an album like Led Zeppelin 1…the drum pedal and everything – it’s just incredible.

DL: What made John such a special musician?

DB: I think you are born with it. It’s about the soul and the passion and you’ve got to be able to bring that to the stage and to the instrument you are playing and that is what John did. I’ve seen technically brilliant drummers and singers who can hit it note for note, and guitarists too …but where is the passion? Where is the soul? I would rather here a bum note if I know they are going for it and there’s the passion and excitement in the playing.

That is what Zeppelin had and it was never a dull moment. It was never so perfect – it’s what is within you that allows you to bring that passion and emotion to the instrument – be it drums, guitar, bass. It was the four of them and they were all individually stunning musicians.

DL: Which Led Zeppelin track most reminds you of John?

DB: It has to be Kashmir in a lot of ways because when I saw him peform that at Knebworth , well he just had the biggest smile on his face… but then In My Time Of Dying – when I hear him play that –  I mean Physical Graffiti is just the greatest of albums and Good Times Bad Times. John did not need any double bass set up or anything. Like I said it, was the soul and passion in his playing…


The Deborah Bonham Band are at the Nantwich Crown Hotel on tonight Friday April 18th and Stourbridge Moochers on Friday April 25th. Catch them where you can…

The new album Spirit is out next week – more details at

Here’s my review of the Stables gig:

Caught Live:  Jasmine Rodgers/Deborah Bonham Band  The Stables – Milton Keynes, April 15th, 2014

The classy Stables venue in Milton Keynes played host to the Deborah Bonham Band on a lovely spring evening. The framed Free and Paul Rodgers posters in the foyer proved to be somewhat appropriate again as the support act Jasmine is the daughter of Paul (last year it was brother Steve Rodgers in this same slot). Jasmine’s delicate acoustic and ukulele picking framing a set of promising songs in the style of Suzanne Vega.

Fresh from a date in Callac, France, the Deborah Bonham Band took to the stage they last graced exactly 12 months ago. As Deb mentioned, they were back at her favourite venue. Kicking off with What it Feels the set was a combination of songs from the new album Spirit mixed with old faves and selective covers. As usual it was great fun spotting the Maggie Bell and Janis Joplinesq traits of Deb’s vocal swagger but within all her influences, she always retains her own identity . There was no finer example of that than the performance of I Need Love. Before hand Deb explained that this was her take on an Otis Redding style arrangement and sure enough the lady packed in all the required phasing of the Stax soul master, whilst also bringing her own sense of soul to the song.

It was a masterclass in controlled vocal emotion. Behind her, the band jelled with the knowing authority of consummate musicians – guitarist Peter Bullick adding understated lead embellishments in the Kossoff vein. Take Me Down, Pain Birds and Fly were welcomed live renditions from what just might be her best album to date On the home straight, The Old Hyde pressed all the familiar emotive buttons, and Lorraine Ellison’s Stay With Me Baby was sung with genuine passion and verve.

Deb had hinted to me during our interview before the gig, that she might well give an airing to an occasionally played Zep classic – and sure enough there was the extra special treat of The Battle Of Evermore. No easy song to duet on but co-vocalist Gerard Luis matched Deb’s cries with much aplomb. Finally a rousing Rock And Roll that as ever, paid suitable homage to the family tradition.

Being in the company of the Deborah Bonham Band is a failsafe recipe for inspiration. My advice is you get inspired at the earliest opportunity, because this particular spirit is flying well high….

Dave Lewis – April 16th, 2014


Led Zeppelin Reissues latest: Good Times Bad Times/Communication Breakdown Live in Paris  on Spotify and download:

This info via the official site: “Good Times Bad Times/Communication Breakdown (Live in Paris, 1969)” is now available for streaming on @spotify. Taken from the companion audio that will be released alongside the remastered album in June.

Good Times Bad Times/Communication Breakdown (Live in Paris, 1969) is now available as an instant download when you pre-order of Led Zeppelin (Deluxe Edition) on @iTunes:


Good Times Bad Times/Communication Breakdown premiered on Planet Rock:

Planet Rock had an exclusive first play of the Good Times Bad Times/Communication Breakdown extract on Tuesday together with some interview clips.                        

Here’s the link to hear the track on you tube:


Robert Plant – another surprise appearance:

Robert made another ad-hoc appearance on April 13th at the Silhillians Sports Club Solihull – see you tube clips below

Thanks to Led Zeppelin News at:


TBL Archive Special Jimmy Page & Robert Plant at the Alexis Korner benefit show in Buxton – 20 years gone… 

TBL archive special: 20 years ago on Sunday April 17th 1994, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant performed together for the first time in four years at a special memorial concert for Alexis Korner. This was the first sighting of the newly reunited Page & Plant on stage -they were already rehearsing  for their MTV Unledded project which would eventually see them perform two special shows at the London TV Studios on August 25th and 26th. Robert Plant had initially been billed to appear but the rumour mill was soon in overdrive that he would be joined by Jimmy.

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I had already cleared the way to attend when it was announced in early March Robert would be performing. Even up to the day it was uncertain to what was actually going to happen but when the TBL crew of Gary, Kam and I we arrived at the venue in the late afternoon there was no doubt that Jimmy Page was going to be in the house.

So it was in the unlikely setting of the Buxton Opera House we watched in some wonderment as Bob Harris introduced the pair and the long awaited reunion of the pair was on. They kicked off with a cover of Them’s Baby Please Don’t Go and then on to a very authentic I Can’t Quite You Baby ably assisted by Charlie Jones on bass and the late great Michael Lee on drums – my review of the time noting that he ‘’crashed and clattered in all the right places’’ –something he would do throughout the P & P re-alliance between now and 1998.

Ah the review…Alongside feeding back for TBL, I was reporting in it for Kerrang !then the main rock music paper and  given the low key nature of the event I was billed as an ‘’undercover Big K! reporter’ – ooerr!

My review went on to reveal they then played an up-tempo blues jam built around Don’t Stop Me Talkin’ and then a loose instrumental work out with definite Crunge like leanings.

Here’s some extracts from my review:

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And finally ’’At least two people haven’t played this song before’’joked Plant as Jimmy stepped on the wah wah pedal and teased out the intro to the classic Train Kept A Rollin’, a track Jimmy used to play with The Yardbirds before he formed Zeppelin and the same number that Zep used to open their set on their last tour in Europe 1980. Inevitably this one was met with a huge roar of appreciation and was performed with an irrepressible swagger that recalled so many past glories. And with that Page and Plant were gone..

This comeback proved conclusively that Page and Plant are more than happy to be back in each other’s company rekindling a partnership that was responsible for so much great music in the past. And judging from a delightful telling moment when Jimmy skipped around the stage chugging out a fierce blues riff against Robert’s incessant scat singing – the potential for this new alliance is awesome. Buxton might just have signalled a whole new beginning for the post –Zep era’.

Pleasingly that latter statement proved to be somewhat prophetic. By the end of August the pair had recorded in various locations and performed the memorable Unledded concerts which formed the contents of the No Quarter Unledded film aired on MTV in October and accompanied by the release of the soundtrack album.  The next year they hooked up with the Egyptian Ensemble and orchestra for an ambitious world tour that delighted audiences across the globe.

The initial spark of all this reunion activity occurred on this remarkable Sunday evening in the Derbyshire countryside all of 20 years ago. And yup…who knows where the time goes…

You can see a professionally filmed clip of I Can’t Quite You Baby from the Buxton show below.


DL Diary Update:

Unsurprisingly given the level of current Zep related activity, my plate is well and truly full in workload terms and whilst it’s great to be busy –the spinning of so many plates right now is a little tricky. There’s TBL 37 to wrap and then market and distribute, a couple of other Zep projects with tight deadlines, another potentially big initiative – it’s all going on – but hey, bring it on I say because that’s what the good Lord put me down here for.

May I offer a massive thanks to the great response to the promoting of the forthcoming TBL at a bargain price. As was mentioned last week you can pre order the new issue at a bargain price of just £3 including postage. Looking over the contents these past few days – it really is an exceptional issue with so much content to enjoy…not least the extensive collation by Mike Tremaglio of the first Zep US tour  – this level of research and detail is deserving of the widest audience…so if you have not yet indulged….here is the ordering link:

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It was great to get over to Milton Keynes on Tuesday night (many thanks Michaela for ensuring I got there and back!) and check in on the always inspiring Deborah Bonham and band. It’s always such a pleasure to be in Bonham company and hearing Deb talk with such pride and passion during the interview we conducted, about her family and of course John, was another clear indication of the esteem we all hold this band of musicians and their world in – especially when it is relayed from someone who was right there in the middle of it all. I felt very privileged to be sharing Deb’s personal memories. And it was not without its emotional moments…

Earlier in the afternoon there had been further emotion when I watched some of the 25th Hillsborough anniversary service from Anfield. The dignity and humility shown by so many touched by this tragedy was incredibly moving and humbling.


Last Saturday on a visit to St Albans I had a right result at Empire Records – acquiring a set of four promotional posters for Mick Wall’s Led Zeppelin When Giants Walked The Earth book via the very generous owner Derek –I’ve never seen these before and they make a great set…eye thank yew Derek!

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This Saturday (April 19th) is Record Store Day the annual worldwide event to celebrate the nation’s record stores – one of life’s absolute pleasures…as Nick Hornby put it record shops can’t save your life but they can give you a better one’’ – that was certainly the case for me during the 35 years I worked in record shops from 1974 to 2009. As usual there is an array of exclusive limited edition vinyl releases lined up to go on sale – in fact there has been some negative comments that this year there are too many RSD releases which is a fair point. On the Zep related front, there’s the Jimmy Page & The Black Crowes 3 LP set and The Yardbirds Little Games reissue.

The Bedford Earls Court/Knebworth crew of me, Dec, Tom and Phil will once again be making an early inroad to the Rough Trade shop in Portobello Road London to be in the queue ready to get our hands on what we can of our respective requirements.  I’m eying the above if available plus the Credence Clearwater Revival ten inch EP, David Bowie, Fleetwood Mac, Ronnie Lane and Elmer Gantry singles amongst one or two others. It all adds up to one undeniable fact  – Life sounds better to music…

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On the playlist here – Deborah Bonham’s Spirit album, Led Zeppelin Paris 1969 broadcast bootleg, Roy Wood Boulders solo album, Humble Pie Eat It (thank you John P for the latter pair), plus the St Albans vinyl acquisitions of Maria Muldaur Southern Winds, Juicy Giants Fly label sampler, One More Chance Charisma label sampler and Glen Campbell I Wanna Live LP  – all lovely stuff.

Right…it’s back to the spinning of plates aka TBL Zep projects –and as that time of year is upon us…may I wish you all a very happy Easter



Here’s the two Robert Plant you tube clips from his April 13th surprise appearance:

Robert Plant

And finally –  Jimmy Page and Robert Plant I Can’t Quite You Baby from the Buxton Opera House 20 years gone…

Until next time…Keep listening, keep reading…

Have a great Easter weekend…

Dave Lewis/Gary Foy – April 18th, 2014.

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