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HOW THE WEST WAS WON THE COUNTDOWN IS ON – TBL PREVIEW/JOHN BONHAM YOUTUBE CHANNEL QUESTIONS/LZ NEWS/COVERDALE PAGE 25 YEARS GONE/ JIMI HENDRIX NEW ALBUM/DL DIARY BLOG UPDATE

15 March 2018 2,831 views 16 Comments

 

How The West Was Won remastered. The countdown is on…

The countdown is on for the March 23 worldwide release of the How The West Was Won remastered set…with 8 days to go and counting.

To set the scene, below is the first of a two a part overview of the Los Angeles and Long Beach shows that make up the How The West Was Won set and the circumstances they were recorded in. Plus the state of play at the time within Led Zeppelin – all you need to know to get you in the mood for the latest remastered Zep fix…

…and what a mighty fine fix it is – The TBL preview:

I am in receipt of an advance copy of this forthcoming set and it really is so good to become re-acquainted  with what I believe to be something of an overlooked gem. As I have noted previously, I always felt this album was overshadowed when it was simultaneously issued along with the five hour DVD in 2003.

Now as a stand along release it will get the attention it really deserves – because as the posters proclaim, these are ”The classic 1972 live recordings from Los Angeles and Long Beach”.

The onstage spark between them is evident from the first aural assault of Immigrant Song right through to the breathless encore delivery of Bring It On Home.

This is a grand outpouring of live Led Zep captured at a time when they really were firing on all cylinder night after night. I’d forgotten how potent performances such as Over The Hills And Far Away, the marathon Dazed And Confused with The Crunge and Walters Walk inserts, the Whole Lotta Love medley (though minus Hello Mary Lou this time out), Rock And Roll and The Ocean really are. The latter performed way ahead if it’s release on Houses of The Holy is a joyus affair – unknown song or not, the audience lap it all up. It all climaxes with a truly stupendous Bring It On Home rarely played during that era.

As for the vinyl version – now I’m no audiophile but I know what I like – this really does bring the whole thing alive with a resonance and kick that zips across the speakers. In my view it’s a vital addition to the Led Zeppelin catalogue – the missing link to a complete collection of the Led Zeppelin catalogue the way I and many others prefer it to be heard – on record…

So let’s travel back to the summer of 1972…

“Led Zeppelin The Forgotten Giants?” was the headline that jumped out of Melody Maker in late June 1972. It contained Roy Hollingsworth’s remarkable report from New York where Led Zeppelin had just performed two shows at the Nassau Coliseum. He witnessed a three-and-a-half hour marathon show that included four encores and heard first hand the disappointment the group were feeling at being ignored in the press. In a moment of rare irritation John Paul Jones commented: “Here we are slaving away constantly getting incredible reactions and nobody back home cares.”

Roy Hollingsworth’s description of the Nassau show remains one of the most evocative of their entire career. “The noise cajunked and beefed outwards, filling each corner of the circular space aged Nassau Coliseum. 16,000 people didn’t know whether they were coming or going. Led Zeppelin had been off stage four times and four times an unnatural din had brought them back for more. It was one of the most amazing concerts I’d seen from any band at any time. Nothing had gone missing. It had been the complete act. There had been power, climax after climax, beauty, funk, rock, boogie, totally freaked passages and such constant snarling energy that on this evening Led Zep could have provided enough human electricity to light half of America. Does anybody really know how big Led Zeppelin are?”

Such descriptions had me pining to see them again on stage. I’d have to wait another six months before they returned to London to invade Ally Pally – but boy how I would have given anything to hear a tape of that night back in June 1972, or any from that tour for that matter. Who would have thought that 31 years on, this period would inspire a belated live album set that would top the US charts instantly.

But that’s exactly what happened following the original release of How The West Was Won on May 26, 2003.

Before we get to that it’s worth reflecting on Zep’s frame of mind at the time. As Plant told Hollingsworth: “Something has really clicked here. The spirit within the band is fantastic. They’d never believe how good it is here a back home. They’d just never believe what happened tonight.”

Zeppelin’s US tour of that June was all but ignored in the press (bar that Melody Maker feature) and vastly overshadowed by the Rolling Stones’ comeback US tour that kicked off at the same time. As Bonzo reflected a couple of months later to the NME’s Roy Carr: “It’s the Stones this, the Stones that… it made us feel we were slogging our guts out and for all the notice we were getting we might as well been playing in Ceylon. Kids in England didn’t even know we were playing the States.”

The lack of press coverage would inspire Grant to hire a proper PR firm for the next US tour, and with Danny Goldberg on board it would be a very different story in 1973.

Despite the low key coverage, the tour found Led Zeppelin on fire musically.

Fresh from the trip to Australia and a break back in England, and fuelled by the progress they made on their fifth album during the spring, the momentum within the band was at a new high.

Their eagerness to present the new material resulted in them premiering five songs from their fifth album Houses Of The Holy which would not be released for another ten months. With the acoustic set still intact, the shows consistently ran to three hours and over. This tour also allowed them to showcase material from their six month old watershed fourth album.

On June 19 they played a remarkable show at the Seattle Coliseum. One of their longest ever sets saw them preview ‘The Ocean’, ‘Back Country Woman’ (prepared for Houses but eventually issued on Physical Graffiti), ‘Over The Hills And Far Away’ plus ‘Dancing Days’. The latter was actually performed twice – as they revived it as a final encore. A week later they were on their favoured west coast stamping ground for dates in San Diego, Berkeley, the Los Angleles Forum and Long Beach Arena.

It’s the latter two dates – recordings of which Jimmy Page recovered from their archive in 2003 to assemble the 3-CD set, titled How The West Was Won andnow remastered for this 2017 release.

The results are utterly startling.

To be continued…

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John Bonham YouTube channel – Bill McCue interview with George Fludas:

Here’s the second part of Bill McCue’s interview regarding John Bonham with George Fludas of the Bonzoleum YouTube channel

Q. George, having now watched you play in a jazz gig setting (Smalls jazz club in NYC), I’m wondering what influence – if any – Bonzo has on your approach to the drums in that musical genre?

A. Bonzo’s sense of timing and his sound are two things that have had a very profound influence on my playing in a jazz setting, particularly with a big band. The sense of space before or after a big fill or accent is something that I think I employ often as a result of listening and learning so much from his style. Also, I tend to tune in a way that is influenced by Bonham…then again he tuned a lot like many jazz drummers tune, especially the great big band players like Buddy Rich, Louie Bellson and Sonny Payne.

Q. Jimmy Page told a good friend of mine that jazz drummer Sonny Payne was a big influence on Bonzo. Can you hear that when you listen to Bonzo, and if so, in what specific ways?

A. Perfect segue to Sonny Payne!  I always thought Bonzo must have admired and emulated Sonny Payne, particularly his sound and dramatic concept of phrasing with fills, and set ups because there are similarities. It’s interesting to hear that story! If Page truly said that, then I suppose my instincts were right! Sonny was a master showman as well and I think Bonzo may have taken some cues from his flair, the stick twirling etc…although many drummers did that. Butch Miles (drummer with Count Basie’s band in the late 70’s /80’s ) told me Bonzo came to see the Basie band at Montreux in the late 70’s and he loved the band and was very complimentary to Butch. He said he was so flattered because he told him that HE admired Bonzo! He said Bonzo was actually kind of self-depracating, and humble which is pretty wild to think!

Q. What would you say is the overall feeling about Bonzo and Led Zeppelin in the jazz community of musicians?

A. I think there is a mixed reaction to Zep, depending on the generation. The older cats I don’t think paid much note to them, and I’m not sure if the ones who did, were very impressed. Then again, jazz masters of the old guard were hard to impress!  I’m not sure what younger jazz players of Zep’s era like Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams, Joe Zawinul thought of them but I know that many younger players, post 80’s admire Bonzo.

The fact that he was so musical, had such a great feel/groove and such a beautiful big sound is pretty universally acknowledged by younger jazz musicians. Most of my contemporaries and younger cats really like Zep and Bonham.

Q. If you had to choose two or three of Bonzo’s signature beats, fills, etc., what would they be and where can one best hear them?

A. Black Dog, the fill just before the first “hey baby” section, which is also similar to the big fill in Jimmy’s guitar solo in Stairway. That’s an iconic Bonzo fill. Levee is perhaps the most iconic drum beat along with Kashmir. One of my personal favs is the beat he plays on the middle sections of IMTOD, when Plant is singing “I must’ve did somebody some good.” One of my all time favorite fills is the one he plays leading into the San Francisco section in the movie! Epic! There are just way too many to single out. The drum beat on Good Times Bad Times is totally unique, and it’s his first recorded song at 20 years old! Also Out On The Tiles beat is pretty damn unique too!  Way too many!!

Q. As a Zeppelin fan and a drummer, do you make a point of listening to every Moby Dick (or Over the Top or Pat’s Delight) when you put on a Led Zeppelin bootleg? If so, what are you mainly listening for and/or impressed by?

A. Always!! I hear a lot of the same patterns of course but there is always some little or big twist, some different sticking or phrasing or idea thematically that he develops, especially before 1975. I feel like he started to play the solos a little more conservatively or less adventurously on the 75 and 77 shows. I’m always impressed by the stamina, the endurance!! In the early 70’s I am very impressed with the speed , he is just ridiculously fast at times. The totality of his drumming skill is what impresses me the most.  No other rock drummer could touch him in terms of sound, speed, finesse, power, soul, groove, creative themes etc. Ginger Baker doesn’t come near Bonzo but somehow he is lauded by many as superior to Bonzo. That’s ridiculous- laughable to me. I often listen for some sort of twist or turn-around of his usual licks or themes. He can often really throw a curve when you think you know what he’s going to do.

Q. Speaking of Moby Dick/OTT/PD, how would you describe the way Bonzo’s solo spot evolved over time? Obviously he added things like tympani and effects over the years, but anything in particular about how he constructed his solos over time?

A. I guess this is repeating some of the things I just said in the previous answer.  His technique became much more refined very quickly. From 69 to 70 I hear a very rapid development of more rudimentary chops, particularly the paradiddle-diddle which he really exploited a lot after 69. His solos in 69 on PD and then Moby tended to be a little less sophisticated rudimentally than they would be in the next couple years, but most of the trademarks were there. There was a lot of the sixteenth note type soloing you hear which Terry calls the Bonham engine, with the hats on the down beats and the bass drum on the upbeats. That is of course a constant theme throughout his drum solo over his entire career. In 70 he starts to play sections that are based on a triplet theme and swing type feel more and more and by early-mid 1970 his chops were at their peak in terms of this type thing. His speed and stamina were just awesome. I don’t know for sure if Philly Joe Jones was an influence but it sounds a lot like his type of soloing when playing those really fast triplet paradiddle-diddle combinations. I wonder if at some point around that time he got hip to Philly Joe. I have not heard any other rock drummer reference that type of phrasing , snare work.

 He would often start his solo from 70 – 73 by quoting Max Roach’s The Drum Also Waltzes ( RAH 70) , but he seems to have settled into a pattern by 1975 of starting with the quick 16th note snare work with the hi hat on downbeats and bass drum on upbeats. Most 75 solos are fairly similar in their construction, with a more settled in kind of approach where as in earlier tours especially 71-73, there was more risk taking, unpredictability going on. I don’t mean at all to denigrate his playing by saying this but I think after 1973, he became a little more predictable and less creative in some respects during his drum solo. His drumming with the band remained as creative as ever in the ensemble work though. In 1977 in hear a lot of much more controlled type working out, which is interesting because every section seemed to get longer and longer, especially the first sticks segment, and the tymp segment. IMO he went on a bit too long, not sure why because it was already a monster set list 3 hour plus concert, and he seemed to be rambling or spinning his wheels often. I guess to summarize I would say his technique and creativity bloomed from 69-73 and then as the tours went on, his solos became longer but less creative and more predictable. I still really enjoy listening to most every one and I find new glittering nuggets in each one. He really was the most  MUSICAL rock drummer.

Q. How challenging is it to play the drums with your hands like Bonzo did during his solo spots? To your knowledge, did any other drummers do that?

A. I don’t know of any other rock drummers who did it but the most famous jazz drummers that did it are Jo Jones,  Joe Morello, Shelly Manne, and especially Chico Hamilton. Chico was one of my dad’s favorite drummers…he saw him play many times since back in the 50’s and when he heard Bonzo playing with his hands he said ” He must’ve heard Chico and Jo Jones” . He loved Bonham though.  As a matter of fact, he bought most of Zep’s records when I was still a little kid because he said he thought he had a great sound and feel. He was right!  My dad had great taste in music and great ears. He heard it right off the bat, Bonzo was no ordinary drummer. he also thought Ian Paice was good.

 Anyway, check out this section of one of Chico’s drum solos……1:36-3:22. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDRz1tQJ9Xc    Listen to how similar the sound and approach are to what Bonzo did. maybe JB had this record!!  Joe Morello did it too, and it’s possible Bonzo saw him in England with Brubeck.

I don’t do Moby Dick that often so I end up getting some painful bruises! But it’s not hard for me. It’s kind of an intuitive thing because when I was younger I used to emulate Bonham all the time, every day for hours!  Sometimes I do it on jazz gigs, especially on a Latin type number, rhumba, bossa nova etc. Jeff Hamilton is a great contemporary jazz drummer who plays great with his bare hands. Really musical and creative.

Q. Obviously this is blasphemy to some – and maybe even to you – but if you were asked to pick someone to take Bonzo’s place in Led Zep after he passed away, who would you have chosen and why?

A. No one ever.

Many thanks to Bill and George

Here’s the YouTube links to the John Bonham channels:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPDw4kSVfa0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9748miVGfc0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulA_FH40i4E

Bonzology – a collaboration between Terry Keating and jazz drummer George Fludas.
Bonzoleum – instructional videos by Terry Keating

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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

Robert Plant

Upcoming events:

March 13 – Robert Plant will be interviewed on “The Big Interview with Dan Rather” on AXS TV at 9pm ET.
March 23 – The remaster of How The West Was Won will be released and Robert Plant will perform in Sydney, Australia.
March 26 – Robert Plant will perform in Sydney, Australia.
March 27 – Robert Plant will perform in Sydney, Australia.
March 30 – Robert Plant will perform at the Byron Bay Bluesfest in Australia.
April 1 – Robert Plant will perform in Melbourne, Australia.
April 2 – Robert Plant will perform in Melbourne, Australia.
April 5 – Robert Plant will perform in Adelaide, Australia.
April 8 – Robert Plant will perform in Perth, Australia.
April 21 – Led Zeppelin will release a vinyl single for Record Store Day.
May 17 – An updated version of Stephen Davis’ Led Zeppelin biography “Hammer of the Gods” will be released.
May 26 – Robert Plant will perform at the Bearded Theory Spring Gathering Festival in the UK.
May 27 – Robert Plant will perform at the Bath Festivals in Bath, UK.
May 31 – The statue of John Bonham in Redditch is planned to be unveiled.
June 8 – Robert Plant will perform in Atlanta, Georgia.
June 10 – Robert Plant will perform in Richmond, Virginia.
June 12 – Robert Plant will perform in Columbia, Maryland.
June 13 – Robert Plant will perform in Forest Hills, New York.
June 15 – Robert Plant will perform in Toronto, Ontario.
June 17 – Robert Plant will perform in Chicago, Illinois.
June 19 – Robert Plant will perform in Vail, Colorado.
June 21 – Robert Plant will perform in Berkeley, California.
June 23 – Robert Plant will perform in Stateline, Nevada.
June 24 – Robert Plant will perform in Pasadena, California.
June 26 – Robert Plant will perform in Troutdale, Oregon.
June 27 – “Led Zeppelin Live,” a photo book edited by Dave Lewis, will be released and Robert Plant will perform in Redmond, Washington.
June 29 – Robert Plant will perform at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival in Canada.
July 22 – Robert Plant will perform at the Vielles Charrues Festival in Carhaix, France.
July 23 – Robert Plant will perform in Paris, France.
July 25 – Robert Plant will perform at the Festival de Carcassonne in France.
July 27 – Robert Plant will perform at the Milano Summer Festival 2018 in Milan, Italy.
July 29 – Robert Plant will perform at the Stimmen Festival in Lörrach, Germany.
July 31 – Robert Plant will perform in Pardubice, Czech Republic.
August 1 – Robert Plant will perform in Dresden, Germany.
September – Official celebrations of Led Zeppelin’s fiftieth anniversary are expected to start this month.
October – The official Led Zeppelin photo book will be released.
October 16 – “Bring it on Home,” a new biography of Led Zeppelin manager Peter Grant, will be released.

Many thanks to James Cook

The complete Led Zeppelin News email goes out every weekend. To receive it each week sign up here:http://tinyletter.com/LedZepNews

Led Zeppelin News Website: Check out the Led Zeppelin news website at

http://ledzepnews.com/

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The Coverdale Page album – 25 years gone…

It’s incredible to think that it was all of 25 years ago this week that the Coverdale Page album was released.

Back then we were all crying out for some new musical statements from Jimmy Page. He had not released an album for five years. When he reunited with Robert Plant for that Knebworth Silver Clef show in June of 1990 I really felt some sort of reunion was on the cards. It was not to be.

So with a reunion with Robert Plant seemingly not on the cards (although as events would turn out it wasn’t that far away), I had my misgivings about his reported link up with David Coverdale – not being much of a fan of the former Deep Purple singer. How wrong I was.

When I received a pre release cassette of the album in February of 1993, I could not believe my ears.

The sheer invention of Jimmy’s playing and David’s committed vocal performance blew me away. It had me eagerly putting down on paper what I thought – my highly complimentary review of the album ran in Record Collector in March. As can be seen, I was most impressed.

And I quote:

”There are some outstanding performances on an album which proves that hard rock doesn’t have to revolve around well-worn riffs played with a total lack of panache and sensitivity.

Zep fan will be in their element here because the set is littered with key Zeppelin reference points. I make no apologies for mentioning the comparisons with his past, as throughout  the 11 tracks, Jimmy delves back to the guitar style and riffing finesse that was the cornerstone of the Zep legacy. It’s as if his frustration at being unable to reform his former band has led to a thorough reworking of the dynamism that characterised his 70s output.

What’s good here is very good indeed. If you were one of the many who began to lose faith in Jimmy Page in the mid 80s, well this is where you can start to pick up the pieces. Coverdale Page is simply his most substantial  project since the demise of Led Zeppelin

And I defy an Zep fan not to break into a huge grin when confronted with the delightful idiosyncrasy of Page’s riffing on the opening track Shake My Tree.”

Reflecting on the Coverdale Page album Jimmy said  “I wanted to present the best I could get out of myself. And there is no doubt that we coaxed the best out of each other. It’s the best I’ve played since the days of Led Zeppelin.”

It kicked off a golden period where we had Jimmy’s activity with Coverdale to track and Robert unleashing his best album to date – the eclectic Fate Of Nations. I had an absolute ball relaying this in the TBL magazine – issues 8 and 9 featuring full coverage of both albums,Robert’s tour and the Coverdale Page Japanese gigs.

Of course, no sooner had we all geared up for a Coverdale Page UK tour it was all over. Amid rumour of management difficulties and poor ticket sales for a projected US tour, the Coverdale Page alliance ground to a halt. Jimmy visited Robert on Boston in late 1993 and the seeds of an MTV Unledded project were being sown. He did venture out with Coverdale for those Japanese gigs in December – and the various bootleg tapes and videos that surfaced were ample proof  of their live on stage prowess – even if it meant getting your head around Coverdale performing the likes of Kashmir.

As it tuned out this collaboration was to yield a solitary one off studio album.

I’ve just played it through again from start to finish

I still had a wide grin when that intro to Shake My Tree flew across the speakers. So too for the familiar Page riffing on Waiting On You – very Outrider in feel I’d say – the solo is a pure joy.

As I said at the time, one of the album’s strengths is the way Page repeatedly alters the tempo of the songs with a swift turn of guitar phrase that jolts the listener into paying attention.

Jimmy’s subtle string work on Take Me For A Little While is a testament to that statement as he throws in a light and shade approach that matches Coverdale’s vocal pleadings. Also full of twists and turns is the jug band stomp of Pride And Joy. Over Now has that grungy growling just about to topple over the edge feel in his riff approach.

The not so impressive frantic Feeling Hot worked better as a live number and was the sort of thing Whitesnake might have cut in 1988.

Easy Now with it’s acoustic intro electric dynamics is one of the album’s highlights. It’s a great moment when it all kicks into life with a strident riff pattern.

Take A Look At Yourself still sounds joyous and uplifting brilliantly sung and Jimmy’s playing here is at it’s lyrical best. This remains one of my all time fave Page performances.

Don’t Leave Me This way and Absolution Blues  sound a bit overwrought and I never much cared for the rather mournful Whisper a Prayer for the Dying

Side two does dip in quality but overall much of this album still stands up well. Looking back to that time, I can se way it had such an impact.

What remains beguiling is that Jimmy all but abandoned the wide screen riff approach deployed here so effectively for his next studio collaboration – the 1998 Page & Plant release Walking Into Clarksdale. His revitalised association with Robert took his playing into a much more understated area – much of which I found most impressive on a different level altogether. However I did miss at times the out and out rock approach that he so effortlessly conjured up with Coverdale.

25 years gone…the Coverdale Page album remains something of an enigma. A glorious return for one album only.

Dave Lewis, March 15, 2018. 

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Jimi Hendrix – Both Sides of The Sky:

What a joy it was to go into a record shop in Bedford last Friday and buy a new album on its release day –the last occasion I did that I was probably managing one of them. But that was the happy scenario at the excellent Slide Records in Bedford last Friday afternoon as I took receipt from Warren Alsop of the new Jimi Hendrix set Both Sides Of The Sky…I also picked up a copy of the new issue of NME – which will be the last printed edition – the end of an era …check out Slide Records Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/sliderecordshop

Here’s my thoughts on this new Jimi Hendrix album…

‘Scuse me while I diss the sky?

Some mixed cloud gatherings on Both Sides of The Sky but much to admire…

Jimi Hendrix: Both Sides of The Sky (Experience Hendrix LLC)

Just three albums released in his lifetime and then a whole lot more since his premature passing in 1970.

As a fan from 1969, I’ve always been keen to hear more Jimi Hendrix – going back to the initial posthumous release of Cry Of Love in 1971..

The early subsequent efforts to scour the studio archives such as Rainbow Bridge and War Heroes, gathered some worthwhile leftovers but when producer Alan Douglas started adding fresh bass and guitar parts to the albums like Crash Landing and Midnight Lightening – I opted out and made do with the slew of dynamic live albums that surfaced such as Hendrix In The West and Live At Berkeley.

In recent years, there has been an admirable overhauling of the Hendrix archive overseen by his sister Janie and the Experience Hendrix LLC team of John McDermott and original engineer Eddie Kramer.

Both Sides Of The Sky is the final part of a trilogy that commenced with Valley of Neptune and continued with People, Hell And Angels. This is clearly no mere barrel scraping exercise – but more a genuine effort to bring as much Hendrix material to the surface – with his reputation intact.

Like its predecessors, it offers up a mixed bag of goodies, or in this case a mixed gathering of clouds amongst the thirteen tracks (ten previously unreleased and three for the first time in this format)  –mostly recorded at the Record Plant in New York .

The darker clouds revolve around some rather slight instrumentals.

Cherokee Mist from a May 1968 session has just Jimi and drummer Mitch Mitchell doodling around on a theme that may have led somewhere. There are some some subtle sounds of the sitar in there too.

Jungle from November 1969 opens with guitar reverb and then picks up a funky pace with Buddy Miles on drums –another idea that may have blossomed with further work.

A far better bet in the instrumental stakes here, is Sweet Angel. Essentially an early try out of  what would become the wondrous Angel, from an Olympic Studios session in early 1968 This has opening chords to die for and is a vivid example of the melodic qualities of Jimi frequently brought to his playing. It’s a sparse arrangement with Mitch Mitchell on drums and Jimi on guitar bass and vibraphone.

There’s a fair few representations of the late ’69 early ’70 Band of Gypsies line up with Billy Cox on bass and Buddy Miles on drums. The main trio he was deploying to record what would have been his fourth proper studio album. Stepping Stone is perhaps a little overbusy and nonscript but is a good example of how Hendrix played so well off Buddy Miles elaborate drumming.

Lover Man dates back to 1967. I know this track best in the live interpretation on Hendrix In The West. Jimi returned to it in December 1969 with Cox and Miles. It crackles along at a frantic pace with urgent singular guitar spats from the master. Note the Batman theme interlude amongst the fun. It strikes me this would have made a great single at the time.

The Band of Gypsies line up are also captured on an uptempo version of Muddy Waters ‘ Mannish Boy. Again, there’s some fine interplay between Jimi and the jazzier feel of Buddy Miles percussion.

Also impressive is a January 1970 take of Power To Soul. All slashing wah wah and funk soul brother fluency. It works a treat and is a perfect example of the increasingly funkier element that Jimi was favouring at that time. Backing vocals from Cox and Miles lighten the mood.

Another January 1970 session produced Send My Love To Linda. This opens  with a Spanish guitar motiv and then gets into its stride. However it has an unfinished feel about it and it fades all too soon.

I best remember Hear My Train a Comin’ in that sparse acoustic rendition as featured on the 1973 Jimi Hendrix film documentary. The version here is an all-electric outing cut with the Experience line up of Noel Redding on bass and Mitch Mitchell drums – their penultimate studio session. It’s something of a Voodoo Chile mash up with a long drawn out solo – a splendid remainder of the man’s fretwork genius –and of the original expertise of the Experience rhythm section –Mitchell’s flamboyant drumming is always a delight.

Time for some guests: Georgia Blues features Lonnie Youngblood on vocals – the lead singer of one of Jimi’s early  groups  Curtis Knight & the Squires. A slow rather over played blues aided by a neat Lonnie sax solo.

The real surprise and highlight of this album is a pair of contributions from a September 30, 1969 session with Stephen Stills. Equally surprising is that they attempted a version of Joni Mitchell’s recently penned Woodstock. It’s in the urgent up-tempo arrangement that Stills would later offer to his band mates Crosby,Nash & Young for the Déjà Vu album. This is clearly Stills show with Hendrix in a supporting role on bass –Stills excels with a dominant vocal and powerful organ accompaniment. As impressive as this is – and the subsequent version on Déjà vu, it took Mathews Southern Comfort to slow the song down and apply the wistful approach that best suited Joni’s festival lament – scoring a UK number one in late 1970 in the process.

The previously unheard Stills composition $20 Fine from the same days session has Hendrix back on guitar. It has a delightful riding on the freeway groove and would certainly not have been out of place on Déjà Vu.


There’s one final guest to add to the proceedings and it’s a big hello to John Dawson Winter III. He applies some riveting trademark slide guitar to a version of Eddie ‘Guitar Slim’ Jones Things I Used To Do cut at the Record Plant, New York in May 1969 – a right old 12 bar romp with Dallas Taylor from the C,S,N &Y stable on drums. This is full of the type of blues swagger that lit up those Bloomfield, Stills & Cooper Super Session album – and Jimi cooks up a storm as does Winter/Stills

In summary:

As with previous Hendrix albums of this nature, it’s often a case of being prepared to wade through some slightly uninspired material to get to the real deals. Overall though, the Experience Hendrix team have unearthed some very worthy unreleased material.

Like a lot of his work, I have a feeling there’s more to be uncovered with subsequent plays of this album – and one thing it has done is prompted me to go back to some of the earlier Experience Hendrix releases such as First Rays Of The New Rising Sun and People, Hell and Angels.

In effect, Both Sides Of The Sky has thoroughly rebooted my fascination for the unsurpassed genius of one James Marshall Hendrix. You can expect it to be doing the same if you similarly invest…

Dave Lewis – March 11, 2018

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Stephen Hawking RIP:

Like everyone, I was very sad to hear the passing of professor Stephen Hawking aged 76…an inspiration to us all…


 

 

 

 

Ken Dodd RIP:

I was also very sad to be hear the news of the passing of Sir Ken Dodd aged 90

Aside from his undoubted comedy genius –he was a fine big ballad singer and had a string of top 20 hits in the 1960s including this one – Tears – a million selling number one in 1965.

For so many of my generation Ken Dodd has been a constant in our lives – a wonderful British entertainer.. and like so many now he has gone…RIP

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Count me in for this one…
Going For A Song: A Chronicle of the UK Record Shop Paperback – published 22 Mar 2018
Garth Cartwright has travelled the length and breadth of the country, conducting more than 100 interviews with some of the icons of the record shop trade and the wider music industry, including Martin Mills (Beggars Banquet), Geoff Travis (Rough Trade), Andy Gray (Andy’s Records), Ralph McTell, Chris Barber, The Specials and many more. Featuring a foreword by the renowned comedian and writer, Stewart Lee. From the UK’s first record shop, Garth traces the history through more than a century of unprecedented social, cultural and political change.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Going-Song-Chronicle-Record-Shop/dp/1911374044/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1520668804&sr=8-1&keywords=history+of+record+shops

……………………………………….

DL Diary Blog Update:

Friday treats at the Vinyl Barn – at the always excellent Vinyl Barn last Friday, I was pleased to finds three Frank Sinatra EPs namely the iconic Songs For Swinging Lovers Parts 3 and 4 on the Capitol label plus The Concert Sinatra on Reprise – you gotta love EPs…you gotta love a bit of Frank! I also picked up a UK pressing on the Soul City label of The Valentinos single It’s All Over Now –written by Bobby and Shirley Womack and covered by The Rolling Stones in 1964. – 7inch gold indeed – thanks Darren!

it was great to have a visit last Saturday from Gary Foy – amongst the topics for catch up – we paid tribute to the NME/Zep legacy as can be seen in this pic.

I did feel a bit of the old black dog rearing it’s head these past few days with one or two frequent triggers re emerging but thankfully I managed to serve around it – which was a relief as there is a lot going on here. It really is full on with the Evenings With book now as we strive on with the text and design. We are currently working through the 1977 US tour and there’s been many an e-mail and skype session between co -author Mike Tremaglio, plus much liaising with designer Mick Lowe and the guys at Omnibus Press. The quest continues…

There has been as ever, some musical inspiration through all this – and on the playlist it’s been the aforementioned Jimi Hendrix set, the new Stephen Stills and Judy Collins album Everybody Knows ( a real warm pleasure) and the Led Zeppelin Definitive Beach Party June 27 1972 4 CD set, getting me in the mood for the official How The West Was Won remastered release – which is where we came in – 8 days to go and counting…and judging by my initial plays of the album – particularly on vinyl -there is much to celebrate. It’s a brilliant Led Zeppelin live album and it will be back on the streets for all to enjoy all over again.

As the London tube adverts are already proclaiming ”The classic 1972 live recordings from Los Angeles and Long Beach” – as I saw for myself while there yesterday….

Dave Lewis – March 15, 2018

Until next time, have a great weekend

Website updates compiled by Dave Lewis

with thanks to Gary Foy and James Cook

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16 Comments »

  • Wools said:

    Dave thank you for the excellent revisit of the Coverdale/Page release 25 years on! I still believe that Jimmy’s Les Paul was found smoking after “Over Now” was recorded! I always thought that this release did not ever receive the attention that it should have received. Great work here!

  • Kurt said:

    Good comments, Page/Coverdale was a great moment for us diehards. In that Jimmy was rocking hard and his playing was fantastic. Coverdale’s vocals were very good, and yes, I’m in agreement with most of the comments on him. I was very disappointed that the tour didn’t happen, but it just seems unlikely to me that “ticket sales didn’t materialize” in the USA for this tour? I know my friends and I were all ready to get after it! I will need to revisit HTWWW, I liked it, but didn’t love it, I still gravitate towards TSRMS from 1973 tour, a high point for the band sonically. Regarding Jimmy today, I thought that maybe seeing Jeff Beck continue to push hard these past years would motivate Jimmy to get back out, however, that dosent seem to be the case, and that is OK with me, he is The Man, and can do whatever the hell he wants to do. The movie Might Get Loud was sublime. Of course I would always support him going back out, but he has meant so much to me (52 years old), I am at peace with it. I did not read the review of the new Hendrix because I want to hear it first, Cheers!

  • Bob Flux said:

    I don’t like “rising to the bait” but, honestly, I feel a great need to stand up in David Coverdale’s defence here. Of course, everyone has a right to their own personal opinions, tastes and preferences, but there is so much unwarranted scorn and outright inaccuracies written throughout the Zep “community” – not just ont this page – that I get more and more tired and angry as I read it all.

    First up, let no-one knock his ability as a singer. Coverdale is – or, at least, was – one of the very, very best, and in his prime he sang with greater depth, tone, richness and emotion than some other singers we might mention. If you doubt me, go and dig out his late-70s solo albums, White Snake (the album, not the band) and – particularly – Northwinds, for example, and tell me if anyone could have sung those songs better than he. OK, so Coverdale singing Kashmir or IMTOD might not be music to your particular ears, but listen to Time and Again, Hole in the Sky or Say You Love Me, and you would, I hope, gain a new appreciation of a vocal talent that seems to pass many Zep fans by, thanks to the lazy “Zep clone” accusations that even lazier journalists throw at him. He is a remarkable singer.

    Robert Plant? Coverdale’s voice is absolutely nothing like his. Paul Rogers? Yes, there are (were) similarities, but their music is quite different and their voices aren’t exactly identical. “Ian Gillan wannabe on a good night in the karaoke bar”? How, exactly? Yes, he filled Gillan’s shoes in Purple, but wouldn’t you, if offered the chance? And he sounds absolutely nothing like Ian Gillan.

    As for the Coverdale Page album itself, I loved it at the time and I loved it now. Dave – the Record Collector review that you picture above was the first I read about the album, and it made me feel tremendously excited about hearing it. I still have that magazine on my shelf! The album is just great, and I love some of the outtakes I’ve heard, too – Saccharine, particularly, and also the more rockabilly-sounding early version of Feeling Hot (that might win over a few of those who dislike the song in its final form). I hope that an extended, remastered version of the album with extras and outtakes included might be one of the other remastering projects that Jimmy has up his velvet sleeve. For me, the album marks the high-water mark of Jimmy’s post-Zep songwriting and production abilities. Shake My Tree, Pride & Joy, Easy Does It, and so on… wonderful music from start to finish. Moments like the bit towards the end of Whisper a Prayer for the Dying when he crunches down on those basic, driving chords and Coverdale shouts “Now! Now!” are just electrifying and, for me, Page’s guitar solo on Don’t Leave Me This Way is his defining post-1977 moment on record. Whilst I think his post-1973 playing abilities peaked during the 1998 Walking Into Everywhere tour, I don’t think his songwriting or production abilties in the post-Zep years have ever been stronger than on Coverdale Page.

    What I’ve heard of the Japanese tour, too, includes some great performances from both men. Whether or not you like to hear Coverdale sing Kashmir or Page play Still of the Night is a matter of taste – not outright, black-and-white “Coverdale is crap” ‘fact’. I hear similar things being said about Puff Daddy, Chris Robinson, Leona Lewis – basically, about anyone who doesn’t happen to be Robert Plant. Ease up, guys. There’s so much more to appreciate if you just open your ears to different people’s takes on music.

    I’m not a “Coverdale apologist”. I’m a fan, for sure, but I am also the first to admit that the man has made many errors of judgement over the years, and that he has often shot himself in the foot, unnecessarily. Whitesnake, and Coverdale himself, have at several points in their history, veered dangerously close to losing their credibility and their standing. Though he never seems to admit it, or to even countenance the idea, it seems fairly safe to say that Coverdale did sometimes trade the “elegance”, as Hiroshi referred to it, for commercial gain. That might put dollars in the bank, Dave, but it doesn’t win you respect. But to question Coverdale’s ability as a vocalist, at least up until the mid-1990s, is just blinkered, to my mind. His performances since the mid-1990s have been less consistently reliable, but like his contemporaries, he isn’t getting any younger. And the David Coverdale of 2018 can still astound.

    As for comparing albums, I love Unledded and Clarkesdale too, but to my ears what Page achieved with Coverdale in 1993 towers above what he did with Plant in 1998 – on record, at least.

    So, come on guys, don’t hate Coverdale just because Plant hates him. Plant has been most unpleasant about Coverdale over the years (the worst I saw was a performance in an MTV interview, where Plant and his Fate of Nations band sat there openly mocking Coverdale, which was ugly and childish), and Coverdale has generally behaved with dignity in response. It’s time that we in the Zep community cut him a little more slack, and respect him not only for his ability as a vocalist but for how his work with our hero helped to raise Page’s post-Zep career/abilities/standing to new levels.

  • VHP said:

    Dave,

    I love the statement in the second paragraph regarding the Coverdale Page release – “Back then we were all crying out for some new musical statements from Jimmy Page. He had not released an album for five years”

    Well, its now 20 years since Jimmy’s last full studio release, and it sadly seems that nothing “all new” from him currently on the horizon. (Dave – unless you know anything different???)

    I loved this when it came out, and I still do. It was definitely Jimmy’s strongest post Zep release at that point, and may still be. I did hope to see them on tour, but it sadly didn’t happen outside of Japan.

    I can’t be the only one who follows this excellent web site who wishes that rather than remastering and re releasing older materiel (as great as it is) that Jimmy would just release some all new recordings of new songs and play some concerts. Something he has been promising for over a decade and has yet to deliver on.

    He seems to be busy doing everything – but playing the guitar. I really do hope that his best playing days are not being him. What a shame that would be, and if he doesn’t think he can still play to the standard he thinks he should be able to, then stop teasing everyone with his yearly promise of playing live and new music (that doesn’t happen) and admit he is going to spend his time as a producer releasing Zep rarities.

    In the past few years we have lost some great musicians and some great bands have now also stopped touring. Rush, Black Sabbath, Bowie, Lemmy, Neil Diamond, Glenn Campbell & Tom Petty are just a few of the great names that spring to mind. Eric Clapton finds it painful to play guitar now, and has cut down his concert commitments.

    Its sad to say that none of us are getting any younger – including Jimmy. So you have to ask, at 74, how strong is his desire to tour again?

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Hiroshi many thanks!

  • Hiroshi said:

    I attended both nights of Coverdale Page’s Osaka shows, the Osaka-jo (“jo” means “castle” in Japanese BTW) Hall, 20 and 21 December, 1993. The tour was Page’s first appearance for live performance in Japan in twenty-one years, since Led Zeppelin’s second and last tour in the country in 1972. Little did we know that it would be the duo’s only live venture in their brief sojourn.
    On the first night, the arena (capacity=approx. 11,000 for the concert setting) was just about 80% full, maybe less. Why the second, extra show was added in the last minute is beyond me. Some contract reason or other, I assume.

    The first show was simply energetic, and the crowd’s responses were nothing short of enthusiastic. Of the songs played, the very powerful In My Time Of Dying stood out. The audience just went nuts!
    Another sticking moment in my memory is Page’s delving into Over The Hills intro and Kashmir riff during White Summer, which stunned everyone in the arena.
    On the negative side, I cringed when the unit launched into Here We Go Again, the typically showy MTV piece by Whitesnake. Page tracing the original guitar solo was just embarrassing to look at to say the least.

    I have never been a fan of Coverdale as a singer and a showman. To my relief, much of his excessive on-stage banter was lost on this non-native English speaker’s ears. What Plant has and Coverdale doesn’t is, in one word, elegance.

    The second night saw the band in somewhat underwhelming mode. Hard as they might try, their effort didn’t go rewarded 100% in the half-filled cavern that was the Osaka-jo Hall.

    Looking back, this Japan-exclusive tour served as a part-compensation for those who missed out Led Zeppelin live the first time around. As good as it was in its own right, the whole affair meant little more than a substitute to me. Sad to say, not one of those nights to remember.

  • Ed-Washington DC said:

    Like you, I revisited the Coverdale set this week and for me it remains a high water mark for Jimmy’s post-Zeppelin output, of which I still treasured the Firm project. The irony is that I respect Paul Rodgers so much more than I do David Coverdale, who reminds me of a Ian Gillen-esque wannabe who might have a good night at the Karaoke bar.

    I guess it came down to the quality of the material itself, as some of these numbers were impressive enough for Robert to perform on the Page Plant tours.

    Which brings me to the main legacy of this record: in my estimation this is the one which finally convinced Robert Plant to reunite with Jimmy. Funny how things worked out.

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Many thanks David!

  • David Carter said:

    I love your Coverdale Page coverage! Thank you. I turned 17 in 1993 and bought that album on the day of its release at Streetside Records in St. Louis, MO, USA. My friends got sick of hearing that album. That was such a great time for me because The Black Crowes Southern Harmony and Musical Companion was released not long before and I did not think life could get any better. Who knew that I would own Live at The Greek less than a decade later!!!

    On a more personal note, I just stepped off a 9 hour flight, got home, hit Shuffle on the iPod and was graced with Down By The Seaside. I feel loads better and I had to get on TBL because this place provides me with immense happiness. Dave, what you do is special. Thank you.

  • Graham Rodger said:

    Is that a young Bjork on the cover of “Going For A Song”…? As for Coverdale Page, the intro to ” Take It Easy” is as good as anything Jimmy recorded with Led Zeppelin, I would urge you to listen to it right now, that wonderful arcane tuning, classic Page, “Dancing Days” meets “Friends”.

  • Gerd Zaunig said:

    Hi Dave & Gary,
    btw … the cover image of the 1974 NME that Gary holds in his hands shows the first ever picture of Jimmy Page with a cigarette.
    best,
    Gerd

  • Edward said:

    You’re absolutely right on all points, Larry !

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Many thanks Fran!

  • Fran said:

    I always look forward to reading Led Zeppelin News weekly, I especially enjoyed John Bonham’s interview and Dave Lewis’s recollection of reading a Led Zeppelin review from Back in the day

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Great feedback Larry thanks!

  • Larry said:

    Another nice posting, Dave. HTWWW was absolutely overshadowed by DVD back in 2003. It was a rare marketing mistake from the band. So from that standpoint, yes, it will be nice to see the album get more exposure because as most anyone who visits this site will already know, this really is Zeppelin firing on all cylinders. That said, I’ll be buying my copy, but truthfully I’m much more interested in whatever is coming down the pike later this year…

    Time flies…I hadn’t considered that it’s been 25 years since Coverdale Page. This is my favorite post-Zep album by one of the band (although Fate of Nations is not far behind). Coverdale does a nice job on the album, but his hopelessly over the top in concert persona hurts the available live recordings of their Japan shows imo.

    Jimmy is just superb here. This is undoubtedly to these ears his most inspired post-Zep material. There isn’t a bad song on the album, including Feeling Hot, on which his riffing could topple a mountain! By the time one gets to his mastery on the likes of Don’t Leave Me This Way and Whisper a Prayer…well, I just remember hearing this album for the first time like it was yesterday.

    It’s too bad Jimmy took a more subdued approach on the No Quarter and Walking Into Clarksdale albums. But I think perhaps Robert was basically in control of much of those sessions. It was great to see them, and by the Clarksdale tour in 1998, Page was playing better than he had in approx. 25 years, and that was really special to see (and hear)! That period, along with the team-up with the Black Crowes, looks to be the last great touring period of Jimmy’s career. And it all started with Coverdale Page. Or perhaps more accurately, the Outrider album and tour…

    Thanks for the Hendrix review, I like the fact that Experience Hendrix keeps the music coming, although it must be getting tougher to put together remaining studio material into an album. As with Page, I can listen to Hendrix play guitar all day, so I’ll be looking forward to checking this out.

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