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DECEMBER 4 1980 – 40 YEARS GONE /CODA 38 YEARS GONE/LZ NEWS/LED ZEPPELIN IV PART 3/GALACTIC RAMBLE BOOK/DL DIARY BLOG UPDATE

3 December 2020 1,200 views 2 Comments

It was 40 years ago …they could not continue as they were…

40 years ago this week I vividly remember taking a call from the Musician’s Only paper and being asked for a quote – these were sad times indeed – and it was about to get worse. The whole ‘Zep to split’ story would get buried somewhat when just four days later John Lennon was shot dead in New York…

Looking back at my diary entry for 40 years ago this very day it started off as a fairly ordinary Thursday.

The night before I’d been to see Rod Stewart at Wembley Arena with good my friends Max, Phil and James .

It was a pretty riotous night – the diary notes that I consumed 6 vodka and limes and a Harvey Wallbanger in the pub before the gig though we didn’t call it binge drinking back then, we just enjoyed having a good time.

Next morning December 4 1980, The postman woke me up as I shrugged off the inevitable hangover bringing an LP size package containing the latest Zep bootleg Flying High requirement – an excellent recording of the Fillmore West April 27th 1969 date.

Later I phoned Swan Song and spoke to Sian for a while though there was seemingly no major news. I then took some of  the freshly printed TBL 5’s round to the post office to send off.

Around 4.30pm a story on Radio One’s Newsbeat stopped in my tracks. It announced Led Zeppelin had released made a statement to the effect that they could not continue as they were.

After Bonzo’s death It was pretty evident that they would be splitting – I’d been in Swan Song a few weeks back and the atmosphere was one of complete loss, but hearing they had officially announced something was still a major shock.

I immediately phoned Sian at Swan Song but she was making no comment.

The diary says ‘’Fuck sake it’s over…’’

The last thing I wrote in my diary that night was equally dramatic.

‘’Part of me died tonight’’

The next week the ‘Zep to split’ news story was buried somewhat under the barrage of press for John Lennon’s tragic murder which occurred on December 8.

These were strange days indeed.

They indeed could not continue as they were…but the legacy could and of course still does…

Since that fateful day of 40 years ago, so much has gone but so much remains and Led Zeppelin are very much in the present tense in all our lives every single day…

Dave Lewis – December 3,2020 

TBL ARCHIVE SPECIAL: CODA 37 YEARS GONE:

November 23 heralded another key Zep anniversary as it was all of 38 years ago that the final Led Zeppelin studio album was released. Here’s a ”Then and now” summary of my thoughts on the release of the orginal album and last year’s expansive reissue:

My Coda Then:

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Phone calls, a meeting, the mock up sleeve, a retail competition, raffle and romance…

It was a Monday night – February 22, 1982 to be precise – when my phone rang in my bedroom. ”Hi Dave, this is Robert Plant – we’d like you to bring in some photos for a project we are doing… ”

So began the Coda saga.

Since the release of their In Through The Out Door album, for me personally, many things had happened. The TBL magazine had established itself from a crudely written and printed A5 format into an A4 glossy proper typeset magazine. There was the absolute high of having close proximity on the Over Europe tour in 1980 to the absolute low of the devastating news of September 25th and the statement that signalled it was over on December 4. I still regularly went into the Swan Song office but it had a very strange vibe. Nobody quite knew what to do.

In 1981, Robert began picking up the pieces with a return to the stage in the ad hoc band The Honeydrippers. I attended a fair few of those spring ’81 gigs and it was a great thrill to see him enjoying himself again. TBL issue 6 came out in the August but to be honest, by then my heart wasn’t really in it as it once had been. Without the buzz of the band itself and with their reputation at an all time low, it was difficult to maintain the enthusiasm. It may be hard to believe now but admitting to liking Led Zep was very unhip around these times. The musical climate had moved on, the new wave of British Heavy metal was flowering and elsewhere, electronic music from acts such New Order, Human League, OMD, Gary Numan etc was dominating the charts.

After issue 6, there was no big final decision not to do another issue – it just never happened. I was certainly no less a fervent fan – my energies at that time went into producing the best of TBL project, which became my first book, The Final Acclaim, published in late 1983.

I was aware that there was some unreleased material in the Zep archive, notably the tracks they did not use, recorded at Polar Studios for In Through The Out Door. Jimmy had mentioned this to me in Swan Song on September 18, 1980. I had no idea though, that there was a plan to release them.

Back to the phone call. It was with some shock and awe (this was not an everyday occurrence by any means!) that I took that February call from Robert. Basically, he wanted me to collate as many photos as I had of the group offstage for a project they were looking at. He did not mention at that point about an album. He asked if I was available to come into the Swan Song office that week and of course I replied I was. He made some arrangements and then called me back a couple of hours later to confirm that Thursday would be a good time to come in and meet with him and possibly Jimmy.

So it was, armed with a case full of cuttings and photos, I turned up on the afternoon of Thursday, February 24 at the Swan Song office. A buoyant Robert greeted me warmly and we got down to wading through the stuff. Jimmy duly arrived about 4pm. At one point, seeing a shot he liked backstage at Knebworth, Robert asked me who took the shot. When I replied Neal Preston, he was immediately on the phone to the US office of Swan Song to get his number. He then promptly called Neal to ask him to send over a batch of contact sheets. Robert also called John Paul Jones while I was there.

During all this, it was explained exactly what all this was about. They were going to release a final album made up of unreleased tracks. The sleeve design was to include a collage of off stage photos – hence the reason I was asked to bring in the pics. During the meeting – which also included Robert’s soundman, Benji Lefevre – I heard them discuss a track titled Walters Walk. Jimmy also told me they were considering calling the album Early Days and Latter Days. Ultimately, they went for Coda, though that original title would be deployed for the 1999 and 2000 compilation albums.

Robert also informed me he had completed work on his first solo album and in his words it was ‘’A new step forward.’’ Robert and Jimmy waded through my pics and cuttings and pulled a few out (the Bath Festival backstage pic I showed them made the final cut) and then they were off in search of rare rockabilly records in Camden. It was another afternoon for the memoirs…

Things went quiet on the project after that meeting. I did pop in to Swan Song a few times over the next few months but no news of a release for the intended album was forthcoming. The summer was taken up with the release of Robert’s debut Pictures At Eleven, and I also attended the Princes Trust charity gig at London’s Dominion Theatre, where Robert performed Worse Than Detroit. Tom and I attended the aftershow reception at which all the artists were duly acknowledged for their contributions and we were introduced to Prince Charles. Yet another very memorable occasion.

The next I heard about the Coda album was in October when the Warner Records sales rep came in to WH Smith with the full details of the album, ready to sell it in for a November release. The mock up presenter sleeve the rep carried (and later gave me, see pic above) listed the track details and promotional campaign. It was all beginning to get a little bit exciting.

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I ordered 100 copies for the shop and also booked a full in store display. I was also able to acquire a batch of posters from Swan Song which were part of a raffle prize I concocted for the store in conjunction with the local newspaper. Gary Foy was one of the winners, though I did not know him at the time!

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The in store display looked fantastic and I wish I had taken a photo of that at the time.

Tuesday November 22, 1982. A grey November morning, and the day Coda emerged into our lives. It was also just around the time the good lady Janet and I first got together – oh yes – couple fell in love to the plaintive strains of We’re Gonna Groove. It may not have been quite like that but when I invested in every conceivable format of said album (LP, cassette, US LP, white label promo) I think Janet had an indication of how things might be ahead when it came to such matters!

I also have a copy of the album signed by Hipgnosis designer, Aubrey Powell when he came here to film some of my memorabilia for a Robert Plant video in early 2005. As he put it, ‘The End,’ or at least the end of another beginning.

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In stark contrast to the way it has been with the recent reissues, the Coda album seeped out with little fanfare. As I said earlier, the fact is (mad as it now sounds) at that point Led Zeppelin were hardly held in reverential terms. Their influence would of course become evident in the years to come. It did enjoy some good reviews and entered the chart at number 4 but compared to past glories, it had a definite feeling of unfinished business. That grey melancholy front cover seemed to mirror the whole mood back then. Whilst the release of those eight cuts did spell something of a closure on the story for now, it was all a little low key.

1983 would be dominated by the return to active duty of Robert Plant with the Principal of Moments album and tour, and thus Coda was consigned to the Zep catalogue as the final part of the recorded story for now. Ahead of course, would be the re grouping at Live Aid that put them right back in the spotlight and then the Remasters 1990 releases that would seal their rejuvenation. By then for me, I was right back on it all with the writing and collating of the A Celebration book and the return in 1992 of the TBL magazine. It’s been ever onward since then…

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As for the contents of the original album there is much to enjoy and at the time it seemed like a bona fide collectors item – something rare and unreleased to cherish. The whole of side one is an absolute joy, moving from 1970 to 1972. On side two the Polar material is pure fun and the John Bonham tribute was a testament to what had been lost. If I had a complaint, it was the short running time – we now know Sugar Mama was dropped in the final selection.

 

My Coda Now:

The original album itself sounds as impressive as ever – the vinyl pressing sparkling and full of vitality. It may be short in length but for me it’s long on quality.

The real fun with this reissue is of course the Companion Audio Discs. Jimmy has used this platform to create what he has described as a celebration of the band’s career and music, and as it zips across the years, that is

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exactly how it sounds. In doing so it sparks many a Zep memory. This in effect is a Boxed Set 3, packed full of Zep idiosyncrasies.

Commencing with We’re Gonna Groove (Alternate Mix). This is an utterly awesome mix – the live drums and vocals from the Royal Albert Hall ’70 gig/show? now clearly applied. In between the Sol ’82 overdubs, the original live solo can be heard to greater effect. Additional Plant shout at 1 min 35 and Bonzo’s drums sounding incredible throughout. Alongside the rough mix take of In The Evening I would state that this version is the one they should have gone for on the official 1982 line up. It’s the definitive version – simple as.

If It Keeps On Raining When The Levee Breaks (Rough Mix) is yet another key revelation. I was expecting perhaps one of the other bootleg mixes that have seeped out over the years. How wrong could I be? This is a simply invigorating initial run through from November 1970 with a totally alternate laid back swampy feel, slightly faster in tempo to the original. Robert’s vocals have a sparse, low register, echoed scat singing element to them, adding to the almost soundcheck run through quality of the piece. It certainly has a total groove of its own, with pummelling bass line from JPJ, and Bonzo’s drumming as funky as hell, with a distinctive snare drum sound. It fades slightly and then reappears with Robert moaning a muted ‘’Going home’’ refrain. In fact, this fades far too early. You really want it to go on and on, such is the delightful jam like quality of it all. Phew! One of the key finds of the entire reissue programme.

The mix of Bonzo’s Montreux (Mix Construction In Progress) places the syn drums further upfront in a punchier mix. The hi-hat is very clear towards the finale. Less effects on the treated parts. A shout from Bonzo at the close. This is the art of the drummer as master percussionist… always welcome

Baby Come On Home was first released on Box Set 2 and the subsequent package of Coda in the Complete Studio Sessions box set. A lovely relaxed bluesy strut from the beginning of their time.

Sugar Mama (Mix) is a thrilling slice of embryonic Zep from October 3, 1968. Plant’s excited yelp setting the pace. Plenty of echoes of The Yardirds here, with the 1966 single Happenings Ten Years Time Ago a definite reference point. Slightly different to the version that surfaced in lo-fi quality on bootleg in the early 90s, this has an extra ‘Sugar Mama’ from Robert at 32 seconds. Marvel at the innocence and first time energetic blast of the embryonic early Zep…

Poor Tom (Instrumental Mix) is the previously bootlegged instrumental take that highlights John Bonham’s simply sensational New Orleans shuffle throughout. Bluesy acoustic overtones from Jimmy and the harmonica is in there at 1 min 38. Another opportunity to attend a John Bonham masterclass…

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Travelling Riverside Blues (BBC Session) was first released on the first 1990 Remasters box set and the subsequent package of Coda in the Complete Studio Sessions box set plus the 1997 BBC Sessions set. It’s a welcome bottleneck affected swooping delight…

Hey, Hey, What Can I Do is another underrated beauty. As first, released as the B side to the US Immigrant Song single in late 1970. In the UK it initially appeared on the 1972 New Age Of Atlantic LP plus the first 1990 Remasters box set and the subsequent package of Coda in the Complete Studio Sessions box set. Light and shady, warm and friendly – joyous from beginning to end…

Companion Disc 2 kicks off with the much bootlegged and talked about Bombay sessions tracks.

Four Hands (Four Sticks – Bombay Orchestra) opens with a count in from an orchestra member. The stereo separation and precise quality is another revelation. Tabla drums and flute combine to add a suitably atmospheric quality to this unique instrumental version, cut in early 1972. A vivid example of their pioneering quest to push the musical envelope wherever it might take them.

On Friends (Bombay Orchestra) the stereo separation is again well in evidence. Robert’s vocals are crystal clear. The mystical vocal moanings, mixed with the ethnic rhythms, makes for an eerie and compelling listening experience.

The much rumoured to exist St. Tristan’s Sword (Rough Mix) turns out to be a three way instrumental work out from 1970 and is built around a totally invigorating bass and drum pattern – the bass and drum syncopation between JPJ and Bonzo is just outstanding. Bonzo putting to good use his best New Orleans shuffle, a la Poor Tom. Enter Jimmy for a Hendrix like feast, not unlike his rampant playing on Jennings Farm Blues. At 2 mins 18 it all breezes off in another direction with a clipped guitar effect, as it chugs on with yet more scintillating Page runs in the Jennings Farm Blues tradition. There’s also a bridge part that would later be employed on Over The Hills And Far Away. Like the instrumental La La on the Zep II companion disc, it’s hard to assess where this piece was going. Was it a warming up in the studio flexing of the musical muscle or a backing track being honed for the addition of Plant lyrics and vocals? It strikes me as being something of an initial pool of ideas – a Led Zep studio brain storm to see what they had and could build on. Whatever it was destined for, it’s a splendid example of them having a blow – and what a blow this is.

Desire (The Wanton Song Rough Mix) has some hoarse alternate vocals from Robert – overall a different texture to the original, with less Leslie effects on guitar break. Playful and less rigid in structure – mainly guitar driven, though the clavinet can be heard rumbling in there. Robert’s last vocal cry is slightly extended. Different take to the bootlegged alternate take aired on the WPLJ radio station in 1975 with far superior vocal.

Bring It On Home (Rough Mix) 2.32. It’s back to one of those on the run sessions that made Led Zep II such a lively concoction. It’s straight into the riff part with Robert’s wailing harmonica – and then very much a live vocal with the singer freely expressing himself with complete abandonment – as he was doing nightly on stage in the US at the time. An excited ‘’Alright!’’ at 1 min 14. Bonzo tearing along with it all as the harmonica comes back in. Totally wild and chaotic, with an electric ending. Superb snapshot of their on the road, ad hoc studio recording, this is Led Zep unleashed in the studio with all the intensity of their mid 1969 barnstorming live performances. Simply blistering…

Walter’s Walk (Rough Mix) is a brash instrumental take – the jittery riffing exercise that would later be applied to Hots On For Nowhere is very apparent. It’s a great moment when the riff bursts in at 2 mins 20 – in fact, with Walter’s Walk it’s all about the riff, as you know.

Finally, Everybody Makes It Through (In The Light Rough Mix) Opens with the familiar drone of the original. What we have here is a mix that features the early ‘’Sunshine brings laughter’’ lyrics of the version on the Physical Graffiti companion disc, matched to Jonesy’s drone links – the Elizabethan intro keyboard part having been replaced. At 1 min 42 Jonesy applies an additional keyboard motif going into the chorus parts. No overdubs on the close. Another work in progress snapshot of one of their finest creations…

Summary: So, there it all is – a unique presentation collection that mirrors every facet of the Led Zeppelin cannon, and a fitting end to this reissue programme.

Conclusion:

I’ll paraphrase what I said at the beginning of the reissue programme. We all recall where we first heard these releases – and where we first purchased them. We have loved and cherished these albums for years and years. They really are like old very reliable friends. Rediscovering them again, in this new context, has inspired us all to fall in love with them all over again. It really has been like a renewal of our Zeppelin vows.

This music developed and presented by Led Zeppelin – be it the original albums or the companion discs – sounds as fresh and vital today as it did when it was recorded some four decades ago. There’s something uniquely eternal about these recordings that, in our minds at least, keeps us forever young.

Dave Lewis

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LZ News:

Led Zeppelin News Update:

For all the latest Zep and related news check out the Led Zeppelin news website at:

http://ledzepnews.com/

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TBL Archive Special:

Led Zeppelin IV – 49 years gone…part 3:

To mark the 49th anniversary of the release of Led Zeppelin IV here’s a TBL archive feature – first compiled for TBL issue 15 though not used at the time – it eventually appeared in the my Celebration II – The Tight But Loose Files book. Here’s part 3 -the final extract…

The Making Of Led Zepplin IV:

zep4-12The four symbols that would form the album title were first introduced to the rock media via a series of teaser press ads in the weeks leading to the album’s release, each depicting a particular symbol alongside a previous Zep album sleeve. When the album was released, the wordless title caused much confusion. It appeared in the press under various names including The New Led Zeppelin album, Led Zeppelin IV, Four Symbols, Runes and even Zoso; though some music papers did make the effort to reproduce the actual symbols themselves.

The band’s hectic schedule of that year continued unabated. In August they were back in America for their seventh US tour. Page was in buoyant mood and playing brilliantly. “Once the album was completed and mixed I knew it was really good,” he said. “We actually went on the road in America before the manufacturing process was completed and somebody at Atlantic Records said, ‘This is professional suicide for a band to tour without an album.’ In retrospect that is rather amusing!”

The new material was already making an impact, and Page still recalls with pride the reaction they got to Stairway when they performed it at the Los Angeles Forum for the first time. “We played Stairway’ at the Forum before the album was out and around a third of the audience stood up and gave us a standing ovation. It was then that I thought ‘actually this may be a better number than I’d imagined’.”

Equally successful was a three-city, five-concert first visit to Japan. Here they performed some of the most enjoyable concerts of their career – away from the glare of the press and the intensity of America, they were able to stretch out and extend their set list, throwing in off-the-cuff versions of Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, Cliff Richards’ Bachelor Boy and The Beatles’ Please Please Me and the only logged love performance of Zep III;s Friends. It’s fair to say there were now two distinct entities to the group – the tight recorded unit as found on record and the improvisational and spontaneous live act that would go on to delight audiences around the globe.

After a short break, to round off a very productive year, Peter Grant booked a 16-date UK tour that nicely coincided with the eventual release of their long delayed, long awaited fourth album. The tour kicked off in Newcastle on 11 November and took in two memorable nights at London’s Wembley Empire Pool.

Despite the delays and the negative reaction to the previous album, it was clear that the band’s popularity had not declined at all. Demand for tickets was overwhelming. All 9,000 seats for their 20 November Empire Pool show sold out in under an hour. A second was added and they could have easily slotted in a third had their schedule allowed it.

Their stage presentation now featured each of their four symbols – on Bonham’s bass drum Jonesy’s organ, Jimmy’s speaker cabinets, and Plant’s feather symbol adorning the PA. Page also took to wearing a specially knitted jumper depicting his Zoso symbol. The set list now included Rock And Roll in the main set (now under its correct title), alongside Black Dog, Stairway and Going To California.

Talking about the album to Chris Welch of Melody Maker, Bonzo was hugely enthusiastic: “My personal view is that it’s the best thing we’ve ever done. It’s the next stage we were at the time of recording. The playing is some of the best we have done and Jimmy is like… mint!”

The culmination of the whole year’s efforts were the two significant five-hour shows in London’s Empire Pool on 20 and 21 November – the largest indoor UK audiences they had played to at that point. Dubbed Electric Magic, they were supported by Maggie Bell’s Stone The Crows plus Bronco on Saturday (whose line-up included future Plant solo era guitarist Robbie Blunt and original Band Of Joy member Kevyn Gammond), and Home on Sunday. Also, on both nights, Grant had booked some novelty circus acts, including performing pigs and plate spinners. The pigs – with huge ruffs around their necks – didn’t really cut it; indeed, their only real contribution was an unpleasant smell in the stage area. Thankfully Zeppelin fared better.

‘’It was an amazing couple of shows’’ recalls Maggie Bell, lead singer of Stone The Crows (co-managed by Peter Grant). ‘’ They were the biggest dates we had played and we went down a storm. Those were great shows for us and it was at a point where we were really taking off, and obviously it was a privilege to share the stage with them all.’’

Sadly, Crows guitarist Leslie Harvey died the following May in an electrocution accident at a gig in Swansea. Maggie would later sign to Zep’s Swan Song label.

Roy Hollingworth Of Melody Maker was unstinting in his praise for the Wembley Saturday show: “This was an English band playing like crazy and enjoying every minute of it. They played just about everything they’ve ever written. Nothing – just nothing was spared. This was no job. This was no gig. It was an event for all.”

A memorable poster was produced for the event and sold for 30p – it now changes hands for over £1,000 on the collectors market – and the newly established Virgin Records set up stalls to sell the just-released fourth album. Here and around the country, much to Atlantic’s relief, fans had no trouble identifying the nameless artwork of the new record as it sailed to the number one album spot.

After the disappointing press reaction to their third album, Led Zeppelin IV was very well received. Even Rolling Stone, never a great supporter of the band’s work, relented. The review by Lenny Kaye, then would be rock journalist and future Patti Smith guitarist, was surprisingly positive. “Out of eight cuts,” wrote Kaye, “there isn’t one that steps on another’s toes, that tries to do too much at once. And [there are] a couple of songs that when all is said and done, will probably be right up there in the gold-starred hierarchy of put ’em on and play ’em again. Describing one of those tracks, When the Levee Breaks, Kaye added “Led Zep have had a lot of imitators over the past few years, but it takes cuts like this to show that most of them have only picked up the style, lacking any real knowledge of the meat underneath.”

Led Zeppelin IV climbed to the number one spot on the UK chart on 4 December 1971, where it stayed for two weeks before being dislodged by Electric Warrior by T Rex… it went on to spend 61 consecutive weeks on the chart.

It was a similar story in America, though it was with some irony that Carole King’s multi-million selling soft rock album Tapestry kept it from reaching number one.

Not that it really mattered – the airplay generated by Stairway To Heaven ensured the album remained in the Billboard top forty album chart for the next six months. Peter Grant steadfastly refused to issue the track as a single, knowing that restricting its availability to the LP alone would inevitably add to its sales.

So from the adversity of the Led Zeppelin III backlash, Zeppelin triumphed.

Some four decades on its influence is still paramount, not least with the three ex-members. Over the years, the three ex-members have repeatedly retuned to the songs. Page and Plant attempted an ambitious remake of The Battle Of Evermore with Indian singer Najma Akhtar on their initial MTV Unledded reunion and also performed versions of When The Levee Breaks and Four Sticks. Robert Plant was still regularly performing Black Dog, Rock And Roll, and Misty Mountain Hop on his Band of Joy tour this year – the latter was also revived when Page linked up for his much acclaimed tour with The Black Crowes. On his solo tours, John Paul Jones has performed instrumental versions of Black Dog and When The Levee Breaks.

As a complete work, Led Zeppelin IV remains their most focused statement.

It’s the product of a band on a quest for absolute musical freedom. Working in an environment that encouraged the development of their ability to blend acoustic and electric influences within a rock framework – something Led Zeppelin did more successfully than any other act before or since.

The eight cuts possess an economy and subtly that defines their sound. From Page’s unimpeachable riffs, through Jones’ musical invention, Plant’s clarity of vocal to that titanic John Bonham drum sound – Led Zeppelin IV still emits a freshness that belies its age.

Dave Lewis

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Galactic Ramble Edited by Richard Morton Jack…

This magnificent book recently published in paperback and edited by long time Zep TBL supporter, Sunbeam Records and Flashback magazine main man Richard Morton Jack is an incredible achievement. Galactic Ramble i’s a chronicle of UK rock, pop, progressive rock, psychedelic rock jazz album releases from 1963 to 1975. it combines the high profile  acts with obscure pressings and more. Each entry is accompanied by a series of retro reviews drawn from the music press of the time plus newly written overviews from a list of contributors. For record collecting enthusiasts like myself it’s an essential work.

Further words on this  when I have waded through the 900 plus pages…

Here’s the order details and further info:

http://www.galacticramble.co.uk/

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DL Diary Blog Update:

Saturday November 28:

Saturday is platterday – on the player the excellent new 50th anniversary edition of David Bowie’s Man Who Sold The World album.

It was released in the US 50 years ago this month – the UK release followed in April 1971. For this new edition it appears in a sleeve based on the US release and under its original title Metrobolist.

One theory about the tile is that it’s a play on Fritz Lang’s 1927 film Metropolis. The title was changed at the last minute by Mercury .

Sleeve designer Mick Weller also tells a story of how the title was devised. Reacting to when he first heard the songs on the album, Mick relays the following story:

‘’I said to David ‘’These are troubled songs’’’ and he said in a cod Yorkshire accent ‘Aye it’s me troubles-est’’.So I said ‘’and that’s going to be your title.’ That was DB very serious and also very funny That spelled Metrobolist and that was going to be the title.”

The album was released with different sleeve artwork in the US and the UK. For the US release, the artwork was a cartoon-like drawing of a cowboy in front of a mental asylum drawn by Mick and based on an image of actor John Wayne. The UK release featured the famous dress cover which has Bowie wearing a blue dress designed by fashion designer Michael Fish

Bowie commented years later:

“Mick Weller devised this kind of very subversive looking cartoon and put in some quite personalised things. The building in the background on the cartoon in fact was the hospital where my half brother had committed himself to. So for me, it had lots of personal resonance about it.”

The new 50th anniversary cover restores the writing in the speech bubble which states ‘’Roll up your sleeves take a look at your arms’’ –this was blanked out of the original US sleeve which Mercury in the US were nervous about using.

The new gatefold sleeve has an excellent spread of Keith Macmillan’s photo session with Bowie in the dress.

This is a new mix by producer Tony Visconti aside from one track After All, because he felt the original mix (as remastered in 2015) was “perfect as is.”

It sounds really punchy and vibrant as Bowie reaches out to find a fresh direction with the added attraction of Mick Ronson on guitar.

Metrobolist aka The Man Who Sold The World is the final relative calm before the storm as Hunky Dory and Ziggy were just around the corner and there’s much to enjoy on this new edition… thanks to Nerys and Warren at the Slide Record shop for sorting it for me…

Saturday November 28:

It was 41 years ago – Melody Maker Poll Awards November 28 1979 – Waldorf Hotel London

Here’s a previously unpublished pic I came across in the TBL archive that I took of Kate Bush accepting her Best Female Vocalist Award from Michael Palin…

Saturday November 28:

Melody Maker Poll Awards pic re- staged…March 4 2012

Some 33 years on from the 1979 Melody Maker Poll Awards, on March 4, 2012 I was able to re enact that photo with John Paul Jones when I met with him at the London Bass Guitar show at Olympia Conference Centre.

Before conducting an interview with him for the TBL mag we posed for this reunion photo…

 

Sunday November 29:

On the player…remembering George 19 years gone today…All Things Must Pass – it doesn’t get any better…

 

Thursday December 3:

The brilliant veteran DJ David ‘Kid’Jensen has just been on breakfast TV talking about his Parkinson’s condition and his new book just out – a very moving interview and what an inspiration he is…I will certainly be investing in his book…

Onn the evening of Fiday May 23 1975 David uttered some of the most welcoming words of my life when from the stage of the Earls Court Arena he said the following:

‘’Good evening and welcome to the show. After an absence of something like two years, I guess we’re all ready for a little Physical Graffiti . Please welcome to Earls Court Led Zeppelin!’’

Order details here:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kid-Jensen-Record-2020-David/dp/1911273957/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=david+kid+jensen&qid=1607006929&sr=8-1

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Update here:

This from my Facebook page – Thursday December 3…

Wednesday at the Vinyl Barn – and not so good…

I’ve not been feeling great with anxiety for a number of reasons lately but yesterday morning with the lockdown lifted, I was determined to get back into the Vinyl Barn groove and with Bedford Market back operating again duly turned up at my usual early hour.

Though I did feel a bit anxious, it was great to see Darren and have a wade through the racks. However, when Darren went to get a coffee I came over feeling very dizzy and faint – rather like I did at the Scarlett Sabet/Jimmy Page book event in February.

After feeling really dizzy and quite unwell for a couple of minutes, the next thing I knew I was flat on my back looking up at a passer-by who came over to see if I was ok. For during that dizzy spell I had collapsed and passed out. Luckily I was able to get back up fairly quickly despite falling on the back of my head. I stood up and attempted to get myself together. Darren then came back to the stall and I told him what had happened.

Darren was very kind and made sure I could sit down for a few minutes while I got over the shock of passing out like that – by this time I was very distressed.

I’m not sure quite what happened – perhaps the anxiety became overwhelming – which is similar to how I was in London in February when I also fainted outside the Libreria Bookshop.

Darren rang Janet to tell her what had happened and I was soon back home. I’d like to thank Darren for being very supportive in what was an upsetting and frightening situation. Janet was as ever very comforting and both Sam and Adam rang to see how I was during the morning which was lovely.

I’ve been feeling a bit muzzy since and have been taking it easy and I feel a bit more energized today. I’m very relieved that when I fell I did not do any major visible harm – there was a very slight cut on the back of my head and my elbow is bruised and sore – it was my elbow that took most of the force of the fall.

Depression, anxiety and low self-esteem are issues that I have been dealing with for some time. Yesterday’s fall worried me greatly and does alert me again to the need to look after myself – both physically and mentally – at 64 years old it’s not easy to have the zest I once took for granted. I am hoping I can exercise more coping mechanisms to build up some mental strength and move forward with less anxiety. I am not seeking sympathy or advice -I know well enough what I need to do to fend this off but it’s not easy. I also know we are all struggling through this difficult time and everyone has their own set of circumstances.

It’s now coming up to a year since the good lady Janet broke her leg and her recovery here has been ongoing since last December. After being on crutches for over seven months, thankfully she began making progress and has been back to work at the pre- school since September. Janet still has a lot of muscle discomfort and physiotherapy is ongoing to strengthen her leg. I am incredibly proud of how she continues to cope with all this and her fortitude in doing so. Her understanding of my issues is also incredibly supportive and I know am a very blessed man to have such love and support from this incredible lady.

Though my motivation can be low at times, I do have a lot to do and I am busy preparing some TBL projects for next year and after working with TBL designer Mick Lowe in the past few months, I have my limited edition 40th anniversary repackage of my Feather In The Wind Led Zeppelin Over Europe 1980 book on offer.

less than 30 left of the 65 – order link here

http://www.tightbutloose.co.uk/books-t-shirts/led-zeppelin-feather-in-the-wind-over-europe-1980-book/

Of course, my enthusiasm for record collecting and a lifelong obsession with the music I love is always central to my well-being and sharing my various music related posts on Facebook is a continued inspiration.

We all know here that we have a lot to be thankful for – not least the support and love of many people both far and wide.

Thanks for listening – and stay safe and well you lovely people…

Much love from Dave and Janet xx

December 3,2020.

Some particular inspirations this past week…

Watching the excellent Gerry Rafferty documentary on BBC 4…

Chats on the phone with Richard Grubb and Dec Hickey..

The new issue of Record Collector coming through the door…

Very supportive words from BP Fallon and Richard Cole…

Thanks for listening – stay safe and well you very lovely people…

Dave  Lewis – December 3, 2020

Until next time, stay safe and stay well…

Website updates written and compiled by Dave Lewis

Follow TBL/DL on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/tightbutloose.loose

The TBL/DL Facebook page has regular updates and photos – be sure to check it out

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2 Comments »

  • Lee Barker said:

    Oh Dave, I know how you feel. I tend to get those “spells” myself, and yes, a lot of it is anxiousness and just plain gloom. Everything tends to get overwhelming, even if you’re doing a fun thing. Take care of yourself—I too, felt that loss forty years ago, and I’ve always thought that the loss of both Bonzo and Lennon was the end of a era for us “boomers.” Tragic. What has come since is nowhere near as fresh or exciting. But, we have the music, always. And, I enjoy the books Jimmy releases and hope he releases more.

  • Michael Brett said:

    Hi Dave

    I’m sorry to hear about your fall and hope you’re recovering.

    I’ve got to say that opening your TBL blog every Friday morning is very much a highlight of my week, especially during these challenging times. To read your enthusiastic news, opinions and anecdotes on all Led Zeppelin matters is just brilliant. I’m sure I speak for all fans when I say that what you produce is wonderful, unique and indispensable.

    All power to your keyboard and best wishes to you, Janet and the family!

    Michael

    The land of the ice and snow (Glasgow)

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