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JIMMY PAGE CHELTENHAM LITERATURE FESTIVAL REPORT/LZ NEWS/TBL ARCHIVE SPECIAL: LYCEUM 69 – LED ZEPPELIN III/ UNLEDDED 94/MOJO/VIP BEDFORD VIP RECORD FAIR/JOHN LENNON/DL DIARY BLOG UPDATE

15 October 2021 1,382 views No Comment

 

Jimmy Page Cheltenham Literature Festival appearance to discuss his book Jimmy Page: The Anthology (Genesis Publications)

Pic by Krys Jantzen

Wednesday October 13,2021:

From his early days as a session musician, through his years on the world stage with Led Zeppelin, to his solo work and collaborations, Jimmy Page has lived a spectacular life in music. Throughout it all, he has amassed an archive of guitars, costumes and memorabilia now being published in Jimmy Page: The Anthology. Join Jimmy in a rare interview as he opens his archives, telling the inside story of his phenomenal career.

Chaired by Times journalist Will Hodgkinson

To Cheltenham for the appearance of Jimmy Page at the Cheltenham Literature Festival

The event itself is situated in the grounds of the Montpellier Gardens – it was an impressive sight with marquees, tents and stalls promoting the various literature and book activity

The Jimmy Page event was held in the Times and Sunday Times Forum at 5.45pm – a large marquee/tent with tired seating.

The turn out was very good indeed – I would say there were a good 900 to 1,000 in attendance and the place was well packed.

The stage had a large backdrop video and to the side a smaller screen that relayed Jimmy’s words as he was being interviewed.

The interviewer Will Hodkinson of The Times set the scene by describing the importance of Led Zeppelin’s music, their influences and the career of the musician he was about to welcome to the stage…

Jimmy strode in standard dark attire smiling and upbeat.

 

The interview format to discuss the Jimmy Page Anthology book was as follows – Will highlighted various stages of Jimmy’s story with each question prompted by a backdrop picture from the book.

Jimmy put in context his intention with the book bringing as he put it ‘the detail behind the detail’ as told via the many images of his guitars, amps, stage gear and memorabilia.

Will began by asking Jimmy about his Gibson Black Beauty guitar which was used for many of his early session appearances kicking off with Jet Harris and Tony Meehan’s Diamonds in 1963.

Jimmy went on to tell the tale of how the guitar was stolen during Zep’s American tour in the spring of 1970 – and how remarkably, it was found many years later and returned to him.

He also stated how quickly he adapted to the studio environment and how confident and competent he was in delivering solos to order as required within strict studio time schedules. This understanding of how studios and engineers worked he noted, would hold him in good stead when it came to producing the Zep albums.

Will then asked Jimmy about his fascination with Indian music prompted by a picture of the young Jimmy playing a sitar in his garden. Jimmy told a great story of how he had attended a Ravi Shanker concert and met with Ravi who advised him how to tune the sitar.

Talk moved to Jimmy’s involvement in The Yardbirds. Jimmy explained how their bassist Paull Samwell Smith had quit the band after a May Ball appearance in Oxford where singer Keith Relf acted as Jimmy put it ‘’a bit punk’’.

A photo of the famous dragon painted Telecaster guitar provided Jimmy with the platform to explain his friendship with Jeff Beck.

From there Will moved on to the Zep years and asked about the early gigs to a backdrop of Jorgen Angel’s famous photos of their first gig with the new line up in Scandinavia on September 7,1968.

There was a discussion about Zep not being a singles band in the UK against a pic of a variety of US and foreign Zep singles in picture sleeves.

A couple of photos from the Bron-Y- Aur cottage inspired talk of the writing period in Wales with Robert – Jimmy highlighting Thats The Way as a key composition from that time

The sheer momentum of the rise of Zep was highlighted by photos of the Royal Albert Hall and Bath Festival appearances in 1970 –Jimmy explaining how extraordinary it was to premiere Immigrant Song at the latter gig some time before it came out on the third album. He remarked how now such a performance would be all over YouTube.

The recording of When The Levee Breaks was discussed to the backdrop of some photos of Headley Grange. A live photo of them performing Bron -Yr- Aur Stomp was quickly identified by Jimmy.

That was followed by talk of the Gibson double neck guitar and Sandy Denny’s role in the Battle of Evermore

Jimmy then took a comfort break for five minutes. By now his slot was overrunning and it was evident there was still a lot to pack in and little time to cover everything. There’s no doubt Jimmy could have chatted for another half hour at least and the audience would have lapped that up.

However with time running out, Will asked Jimmy about his work on the Lucifer Rising soundtrack and highlighted his playing on Ten Years Gone illustrated by the pair of Telecaster guitars he used on the track. A a pic of the guitar Abba gave Jimmy when they recorded In Through The Out Door at their Polar Studios was also shown.

Jimmy commented on 02 reunion concert – how nervous he was for them to get it right and how proud he was that they did – particularly in the light of the shortcomings of previous reunions such as Live Aid..

Finally, Will asked Jimmy one last question about what has driven him all these years.  Jimmy went back to the moment he first heard hearing stereo sound as a youngster and how it had fascinated him and set him on the road to seek musical enlightenment and become a musician.

With that Will thanked Jimmy and he left the stage to mass applause

It was announced that a special edition of the Jimmy Page The Anthology book would be on sale in the Waterstones tent next door – this led to a very long queue forming outside.

Summary:

Jimmy Page talking about The Anthology book at the Cheltenham Literature Festival – October 13, 2021.

It was an absolute privilege and much needed tonic to attend the event in Cheltenham yesterday and see and hear Jimmy talking lucidly and compellingly about his long career – as projected through the pages of Jimmy Page The Anthology book. I was very anxious about going beforehand but I am very glad I did.

The pride and satisfaction he has for all his many achievements was more than evident.

As Screaming Lord Sutch once put it to the back drop of Jimmy’s strident guitar on a track on his Heavy Friends album  ”With Jimmy Page you can’t go wrong.”

It’s been that way for decades and for me, coming nigh on 50 years on from the first time I shared a room in his company (a rather a large one being the Empire Pool Wembley), to be back in his company and hearing such illuminating stories of this remarkable life of music Jimmy Page has created was simply life affirming….

Dave Lewis – October 14,2021

Above four photos by Russell Cherrington with many thanks.

My copy of the Jimmy Page The Anthology book purchased  for a bargain £45  with Cheltenham Literature Festival commemorative insert available exclusively at yesterday’s evert.

Here’s my original review of the Jimmy Page The Anthology book…

Genesis Publications

This is Jimmy’s second book for Genesis following the publication of Jimmy Page by Jimmy Page back in 2010 – all of ten years gone. Jimmy described that previous volume as ”A  visual documentary to reflect my contribution to music.”

In his introduction to this new volume Jimmy states’’ As a result of archiving, this book is a continuation of the story mapped out in my first volume Jimmy Page by Jimmy Page. It has given me the opportunity to showcase the detail behind the detail.  I wanted to include items from my personal archive that have played a part in my career over 60 years to give the detail behind the detail.’’

Let me state right from the off the detail is simply astounding. While Jimmy Page by Jimmy Page was a visually pleasing collection of career spanning photographs, Jimmy Page The Anthology offers so much more.

Like its predecessor, it commences with a photo of the young Jimmy Page as a choir boy and ends some 390 pages and 60 years later with a  written aftermath and a comprehensive guitar and equipment glossary. ”On reflection” concludes Jimmy ”I feel so lucky to have been able to do something that has been my passion throughout my life, to make a success of it and through that to bring pleasure to the people who have heard my work and to whom my playing has meant so much. When people talk about lifetime achievement, well that’s what it is”

In between, every aspect of his lifetimes achievement as a musician comes under enlightening scrutiny.

The format of the book works on several levels – as a brilliantly presented visual log of every guitar and guitar related studio equipment he has employed and as a pictorial history of all the key stages of his long career with rare on and off stage images including examples of his stage outfits.

Most importantly of all, it’s supplemented throughout by anecdotal insights from the man himself which provides a fascinating running commentary. This extensive 70,000 words of text alone would add up to a captivating biography – when merged with the stunning pictorial layout it makes for a quite magnificent portrayal of all aspects of his 60 years plus career.

Throughout the book, Jimmy draws from his extensive personal archives. For a very busy man it’s quite incredible how much memorabilia he has amassed –and more importantly retained. Original diaries, memo books and sketch pads allow him to paint an accurate picture of the times. This is especially effective during his early years. Logs of his early gigs and session appointments really bring the era to life particularly when merged with rarely seen vintage photos. The captioning of all this material of some 600 images is clear and concise -the photo quality superb..

Amongst the many highlights from the early 1960s era, there’s the original BBC correspondence for his 1958 appearance on the Huw Weldon show, an early poster of his early group The Redcaps supporting Red E. Lewis in 1960 , correspondence relating to his link up with beat poet Royston Ellis, details of early acetates from recordings with Neil Christian and The Crusaders, demo pressings of his sessions with the likes of Dave Berry and Marianne Faithfull, session studio data of his work with Jackie De Shannon.

This spotlights another of the books strengths – the extensive visual re-production of rare acetates white label and rare pressings drawn from Jimmy’s massive collection – indeed I have had first hand evidence of him snapping up such items at record fairs. Yardbirds acetates, Led Zep album white labels, rare picture sleeve singles, foreign pressings etc light up many a page. For a record collecting connoisseurs like myself, this is pure manna from heaven.

Musos will similarly marvel at the array of vintage guitars he owns or has played that also feature throughout – the Graziso Futurama from his teenage years,  the Dan Electro, the Gibson Black beauty, the Harmony Sovereign acoustic the dragon painted Fender Telecaster, the Gibson Les Paul number one and the Gibson double neck are all discussed at length alongside many a lesser known guitar he has employed on stage or in the studio. I was personally well pleased to see that my 2005 TBL Earls Court journal publication is featured on page 257 to illustrate Jimmy playing his Lake Placid Fender Stratocaster.

As previously mentioned, every aspect of his career is presented with all major landmarks present – his 1965 solo single, meeting Jeff Beck,  joining The Yardbirds, the coming together of Led Zeppelin and the subsequent glory days of the 1970s. Whilst a bulk of the book centres on this high profile period, the post Zep period also gets due recognition –  the Death Wish 2 soundtrack , the Arms concerts, Roy Harper, The Firm, Outrider, Coverdale Page, Unledded and Walking into Clarksdale with Robert Plant, the Black Crowes collaboration, the Led Zeppelin 02 reunion, the Beijing Olympics closing ceremony with Leona Lewis etc. All basses are covered right up to his work on the Led Zeppelin reissues and last year’s Play It Loud exhibition.

However well versed you are with his story, this book offers many little known insights. A second teenage TV appearance on the Carol Levis show for ATV in 1959,  his initial affinity for the sitar and Indian music, details of his first US visit, Yardbirds and early Zep work sheets, proposed Zep set lists, which particular guitars he used and when and so much more. The revelations just keep on coming, all told in Jimmy’s relaxed warm prose – the wonderment of his achievements constantly shining through.

The picture that emerges is of a genius musician whose aspiration, vision, energy and fortitude has created an outstanding body of work. That body of work has never before been so diligently chronicled in one volume.

It really does tell us so much more than we knew about how James Patrick Page has created his enduring legacy.

The standard edition is out now – if you are an admirer of his work, it’s not a case of deciding to invest in this book – it’s how quickly you will do so…

This is without doubt one of the most impressive and illuminating pictorial publications ever produced on any musician, anywhere, anytime.

Put simply, if you are reading this you need it in your life…

Dave Lewis
More info:
https://www.genesis-publications.com/book/9781905662616/jimmy-page-the-anthology
Standard version order link:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1905662610?ref=em_1p_5_ti&ref_=pe_19525971_631043951
For Will Hodgkinson’s report see on Jimmy’s appearance see this link:
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/967f5bd6-2cf2-11ec-a548-f9bb1ebf6985?shareToken=b2b33077e934b47eeddbb41efa7cb96e

The Jimmy Page feature in The Times today from Will Hodgkinson’s interview at the Cheltenham Literature Festival…


Final words on the Cheltenham visit …
Before attending the Festival I met with Badlands record shop owner Phil Jump – it was fantastic to hook up with him. I have a long association with the shop going back to the 1990s when the shop stocked the TBL magazine and books – ably assisted by Phil’s late and much missed brother Steve.
It was the first time I have ever visited the shop and it did not disappoint being stocked with great product – I purchased a Delaney and Bonnie album while I was there.
Phil and I had a great time remembering back to those days and the Badlands passion for Bruce Springsteen.
I also met with long time TBL supporter and all round top man Krys Jantzen. Going in to the Jimmy Page event it was great to see fellow TBL subscribers and friends including Byron Lewis, Martyn, Paul Harper and Mike Lewis.
Given the recent and ongoing challenges here, it was a tonic to be among like minded people again  linked to this great passion that we have for the music – and of course to be in the company of Jimmy Page. Thanks to all who made my Cheltenham experience so special.
Dave Lewis, October 15, 2021
Visit the excellent Badlands website at:
https://www.badlands.co.uk/

Led Zeppelin News Update:
Here’s the latest round up from LZ News:

Led Zeppelin

Jimmy Page

Robert Plant

Upcoming events:

October 13 – Jimmy Page will be interviewed on stage at the Cheltenham Literature Festival.
November 9 – “Led Zeppelin: The Biography” by Bob Spitz will be published.
November 19 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’ second album “Raise the Roof” will be released.
2022 – Robert Plant will go on tour with Alison Krauss and “Robert Plant: A Life In Vision,” a photo book edited by Dave Lewis, will be published.
Early 2023 – “A Whole Lotta Music: Life To My Ears,” the memoirs of Tight But Loose editor Dave Lewis, will be published.
2023 – A remastered and expanded 30th anniversary edition of “Coverdale–Page” will be released.

Many thanks to James Cook.

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

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

http://ledzepnews.com/


TBL Archive Special 1:

lyceum 69

The pic here is the very rare flyer from the Cliff Hilliard collection for Led Zeppelin’s October 12th concert at London’s Lyceum back in 1969…

So this is another milestone anniversary as it’s 52 years to the day they played what at the time, was their most prestigious London gig to date. It also marked the last time the band performed this set in the UK – by the time of their next London date – the famous January 9th 1970 Royal Albert Hall show – their set would be overhauled.

Here’s how it all lined up on that October Sunday night in 1969 via research from Mike Tremaglio:

SUNDAY OCTOBER 12 1969

LONDON, ENGLAND

THE LYCEUM, ‘SUNDAY SCENE’

Setlist (from 60 minute audience recording):

Good Times Bad Times Intro/ Communication Breakdown, I Can’t Quit You Baby, Heartbreaker, You Shook Me, What is and What Should Never Be, Dazed and Confused, How Many More Times Medley (incl. Boogie Chillun’)

Support from Frosty Moses and Audience.

The Lyceum show was the start of a series of Sunday night showcases, presented by promoter Tony Stratton-Smith. The original idea is for the headlining act to present an entire album in concert. They  declined that idea and only two numbers from the new album were subsequently premièred.

According to New Musical Express , promoter Tony Stratton-Smith was lining up a year-long series of concerts for Sunday evenings at the Lyceum.  The intention for the series was to have two star attractions plus an up-and-coming act.  Stratton-Smith mentioned that he wanted “to create the British equivalent of New York’s Fillmore East, with a free and easy atmosphere and a sense of community.”  The “Crab Nebula” light show accompanied the concert performers (in the spirit of the Fillmore East’s “Joshua” light show.   The concert was a 2,000 capacity sell out and the group were paid what is thought to be the highest fee for a one night performance in the UK.at that point. The deal with Stratton-Smith was for Led Zeppelin to receive the fee in cash the next day.

Nick Logan in New Musical Express reported: “It’s a pity that with such a large audience present, Led Zeppelin should turn in one of their less inspiring performances. Having seen them at both the Marquee and the Albert Hall it seems the larger the venue the better it suits the Zeppelin’s overpowering sound, although the Lyceum audience responded enthusiastically to everything they did. It was mainly the now familiar opening to their act – ‘Communication Breakdown’ etc. that suffered. Robert Plant’s voice being drowned by the sheer volume of sound. Jimmy Page’s guitar solo midway through was deservedly well received and when the group came in again on ‘You Shook Me’ and ‘What Is And What Should Never Be’ there was something of an improvement.”

Freddie Mercury, Queen’s legendary front man and Lyceum concert attendee, was a little bit more enthusiastic. In a letter mailed to his friend Celine Daly, Freddie wrote: “Just heard Zeppelin II LP and it’s a knockout.  Saw them at the Lyceum and they were really great.”  At the time, Mercury was still in his original band called “Ibex,” who included a cover version of Communication Breakdown in their setlist (as evidenced by a 9/9/69 bootleg recording).

 Bootleg CD References:

Ballroom Blitz (World Productions)

The Lyceum Ballroom U.K. 10/12/69 (Totonka)

Lyceum (Cobla Standard)

Triumphant UK Return (Empress Valley)

Compiled by Mike Tremaglio


TBL Archive Special 2:

Led Zeppelin III at 51:

To celebrate the 51st anniversary of the release of Led Zeppelin III are ‘s the first part of the making of Led Zeppelin III feature I wrote for Record Collector in 2010. 

Led Zeppelin III

Dave Lewis tracks the story of the album that ensured Led Zeppelin would be remembered for much more than stacks of Marshall amps….

At around 9pm on the evening of Saturday June 28th 1970, a pivotal moment occurred that would shape the whole future of Led Zeppelin. Following a performance of Thank You from their second album, forty minutes in to their bill topping set at the Bath Festival, Jimmy Page exchanged his Gibson Les Paul for a Martin acoustic guitar and John Paul Jones switched to mandolin. After a few minutes of tuning up Robert Plant joked with the audience that ‘’This is a medley of Lonnie Donegan tunes before announcing ‘’This is one of the really good ones especially for John Bonham’’.

As Page strummed the first chords Plant revealed ‘’This is called The Boy Next Door, for want of a better title’’. Led Zeppelin were playing acoustically on stage for the first time in the UK. The better title would appear as That’s The Way, one of the centerpiece recordings on their landmark third album issued forty years ago this month.

The significance of their Bath Festival acoustic performance could not be understated. This was a band who had often bludgeoned their listener into submission with the full on rock assault of the likes of Whole Lotta Love, Dazed And Confused and How Many More Times. Indeed performances of those songs at the Bath Festival did much to cement their growing reputation as the most popular band in the world. Clearly though, as indicated by that acoustic rendering of That’s The Way, Led Zeppelin were going to be much more than just purveyors of Marshall amplifiers.

‘’We are not a rabble rousing group’’ Page informed journalist Chris Welsh early that year. We are trying to play some music.’’

Unsurprisingly, was a mixed reaction to the album when it was released in October of 1970. Many critics and fans could not quite believe their ears. However,the clues however had long since been there. The acoustic overtones of Babe I’m Gonna Leave You, the folk instrumental Black Mountain Side (itself a borrow form folk guitarist Bert Janch’s Black Waterside) and the subtly of Thank You and Ramble On all displayed evidence of Page’s intention to bring what he would often describe as a light and shade to the proceedings.

Misleadingly,the overall bombastic thrust of Led Zeppelin 2 clouded the musical diversity that lay ahead. Written and recorded on the road in between an extensive touring itinerary in 1969 ,the nature of the recording sessions provided was little room for reflection and experimentation. Its untamed power was perfect for the emerging mass album buying public, and they entered a new decade with the album topping both the album charts on both sides of the Atlantic dislodging The Beatles Abbey Road in the process.

Despite the successful formula applied to their second album, for their next recorded statement they were determine to extend the musically boundaries that their hectic schedule had yet to allow time for.

Initially sessions for their third album carried on from where Zep 2 had left off. Their fourth American tour ended in on November 8th in San Francisco just as Whole Lotta Love the single extracted from Zep 2 was climbing the American charts. There was intense pressure from Atlantic in the UK to issue a similar edited version of the song for the UK market. Peter Grant’s no singles rule averted any such plan though not before a few hundred copes slipped out from a warehouse in Manchester – ensuring it’s long term rarity status.

When they gathered in Olympic Studios in late 1969 there was a plan to try and record something for single release. Announcing the withdrawal of the planned release of Whole Lotta Love in the UK in December of that year Peter Grant issued a statement that read ‘’the group had no intention of issuing this as a single as they felt it was written as part of the concept of the album. They’ve written a special number intended as their first British single which they are recording this week’’’. It’s possible one of the numbers under consideration was the semi acoustic Hey Hey What Can I Do, which eventually emerged as a future American single B side

Page had also mentioned the singles dilemma in September of that year. ‘’We are going to spend time on producing a single. It’s going to be a bit of a challenge because in the past on the albums we’ve done long tracks, so it’s a question of condensing a 15 minute performance down to about three minutes.’’ It’s also possible the statement from Grant may well have been a smokescreen to divert the singles controversy.

In the end the plan to record a single came to nothing. However,the late ’69 session did see the beginnings of what would emerge on Led Zeppelin 3 a year hence. Page experimented with a chord progression that over laid a series of Hendrix like runs. This was dubbed Jennings Farm Blues, a reference to Plants then farmhouse in Blakeshall. This track would remain voiceless and unreleased. However the melody of this electric piece would later emerge in an acoustic arrangement titled Bron Y Aur Stomp. Another song they worked on during these initial sessions was Since I’ve Been Loving You. A dramatic custom made blues that showcased Plant’s soaring range and Page’s guitar virtuosity to great effect.

Led Zeppelin opened the new decade riding high on the back of the sales success of Led Zeppelin 2. A sold out eight city British tour for which they set a precedent in appearing without a support act (aside for a date in Edinburgh where Barclay James Harvest did the honours), saw them further cement their growing reputation. The future Zep 3 standard Since I’ve Been Loving You made its debut on the tour and would remain in the set for many years to come. The set list for these shows included a new set opener, a cover of Ben E. King’s ‘We’re Gonna Groove’. This number was recorded in the studio for Led Zeppelin 2 but remained unreleased until it turned up on the posthumous Coda set in 1982.

The UK tour included a memorable showcase at the Royal Albert Hall staged on January 9th –the night of Jimmy’s 26th birthday. The performance was captured on film by Peter Whitehead for an intended TV documentary.’’’ We are working on a film’’ said Page at the time adding that ‘’This show was just like it was at the Albert Hall in the summer, with everyone dancing round the stage. It is a great feeling. What could be better than having everyone clapping and shouting along? It’s indescribable, but it just makes you feel that everything is worthwhile.”   Backstage visitors included Roger Daltrey and his wife Heather. Jimmy was introduced to Charlotte Martin, a French model with whom he would develop a long-term relationship and who would become the mother of his daughter Scarlet.   The show was professionally filmed on Grant’s instructions under the direction of Peter Whitehead and Stanley Dorfmann and recorded by Vic Maille on the Pye mobile studio (the same recording unit employed by The Who for the recording of their Live At Leeds album a month later) . Disc later announced that Zeppelin would be seen on TV screens this year for the first time in a £25,000 film financed entirely by the group. “The movie, an hour-long semi-documentary, will show scenes for the Albert Hall, a section of a States tour, individual members of the group off-duty with their wives and families – and a lot of live action shots. Peter Grant stated.

The film was their planned retort to the numerous TV offers they had turned down. Although they did a spate of TV shows early in their career, including a BBC2 appearance on How Late Is (long since wiped), they had turned down offers to appear on Top Of The Pops and This Is Tom Jones.

Despite plans to film other concerts and a sequence showing John Bonham’s then four year old son Jason playing drums, the TV documentary idea was eventually scrapped as they were unhappy with the quality of the Albert Hall footage. It was eventually salvaged by Page and restored for their official DVD which saw the light of day in 2003. The Albert Hall footage is unfortunately missing the embryonic arrangement of Since I’ve Been Loving You as some of the footage was too dark to be used.

The touring continued into Europe in February With Robert fully recovered the group were back on the road within a month playing 11 dates in Europe. The most memorable date occurred on February 28th in Copenhagen. Before the show they were confronted by one Eva Von Zeppelin. Claiming to be a direct descendant of the designer of one of the first airships, Count Von Zeppelin, she threatened to sue the band if they performed as Led Zeppelin, making the infamous statement: “They may be world famous but a group of shrieking monkeys are not going to use a privileged family name without permission.” For their KB Hallen appearance they went under the name The Nobs, a playful pun on the name of their European promoter Claude Knobs and, of course, a thinly disguised reference to something else entirely. Little was heard of Eva’s Von Zeppelin’s claim again and they were back as Led Zeppelin for their next show.

From March 21st to April 18th they were back in America for remarkably what would be their fifth visit in the space in a little over a year. Billed as ‘’An Evening with Led Zeppelin’’, the tour captured the band in full on rock assault mode for the final time. Despite a few run ins with the US authorities over their long hair and. They performed 25 shows on the tour with a show that now exceeded two hours.This one was arranged to continue their push for mass acceptance in the US and saw them perform in venues of 10,000 capacity and upwards. It was a gruelling schedule that eventually took its toll on Plant’s voice, the final date in Las Vegas being cancelled. Stone The Crows were initially announced as the support act for the tour but then cancelled. From now on in, the shows were billed as ‘An Evening With Led Zeppelin’ and there were no support bands. The political climate in the US was far from stable at this time. The shooting of four students on Ohio’s Kent State University campus during a demonstration against the Vietnam War had exacerbated the already edgy relationship between the youth of America and its police. With their long-hair and wild appearance the Zeppelin entourage attracted unfavourable treatment from the authorities. Plant was more sensitive to the unpleasantness than his colleagues and his observations would later flower into the lyrics of the Led Zeppelin 3 standard That’s The Way. “We’ve seen much in America we don’t agree with and our feelings of protest do reflect in the music,” remarked Plant. “People may think we make a lot of bread but in some cities it’s so rough – fans won’t come to our shows. We’ve been threatened with arrest if we returned to the stage and our manager’s had a gun pulled on him.” It was during this tour that Page had his Gibson ‘Black Beauty’ Les Paul Custom guitar stolen during a flight change. It wasn’t all bleak news though – in Memphis they were made honorary citizens and they sold out the venues in almost every city they visited. The total gross of the tour was over $1,200,000 with record breaking attendances reported in Montreal and Vancouver.

At the end of the tour Plant collapsed on stage at the end of their show in Phoenix Arizona due to a bout of laryngitis forcing the cancellation of the final date in Las Vegas.

Plant’s fatigue and illness highlighted the band’s current state. They all needed a rest. Since their debut tour of Scandinavia in September 1968 they had barely stopped performing. Burn out loomed and Peter Grant knew he had to allow them some slack.

Just prior to the much needed break, viewers to BBC2’s Sunday night Julie Felix Show were privy to a significant performance by Jimmy Page.

“My next guest this evening is a member of certainly the most successful group to come out of Britain in the last couple of years. Led Zeppelin LP’s top both the British and American charts and the lead guitarist in that group is definitely a very talented and special musician. Ladies and gentlemen: Jimmy Page!” That was the introduction afforded Page on the night of April 26th when the show aired. This rare Page rare solo TV appearance came about from Julie’s friendship with John Paul Jones and her being part of the RAK management stable that shared the same office as Peter Grant. Recorded at the BBC’s Lime Grove studio, the performance featured Jimmy picking feverishly away on an all acoustic delivery of White Summer/Black Mountain Side – a then prominent part of their stage act played as an electric piece on a Dan Electro guitar. On this occasion he used a Gibson J 200 acoustic guitar acquired from session man Big Jim Sullivan. This would be the last performance of this showpiece for nine years. Again the all acoustic setting was a hint of things to come.

The majority of May 1970 was deemed a holiday period – and this provided the perfect opportunity for Page and Plant to take a break together. The plan was to visit a run down cottage Robert had remembered holidaying there when he was a child. The cottage known as Bron Yr Aur Welsh for “golden hill”, “breast of the gold” or “hill of the gold” was an 18th century building located in South Snowdonia. It’s worth noting that all credits for Bron Yr Aur on the Led Zeppelin 3 album incorrectly named the cottage as Bron Y Aur. It was restored to Bron yr Aur for all future album credits notably the 1970 Bron Yr Aur acoustic track that eventually surfaced on Physical Graffiti.

This trip to the serenity of the Welsh countryside would emerge as a working holiday.

Together with a roadies Clive Coulson and Sandy McGregor, Jimmy and Robert plus visits from their ladies Maureen and Charlotte spent the month at the cottage. Given the lack of domestic electricity, the arrangements for the new songs that emerged were entirely acoustic thus setting the flavour for much of their third album.

“We’d been working solidly and thought it was time for a break, or at least some time to get away from the road’’ said Page. ‘’Robert suggested going to this cottage in South Wales that he’d once been to with his parents when he was much younger. He was going on about what a beautiful place it was and I became pretty keen to go there. So often we went; took along our guitars of course. It wasn’t a question of ‘Let’s go and knock a few songs in the country’. It was a bit of a case of getting away for a bit. As the nights wore on the guitars came out and numbers were being written.” Plant did tell of an incident when three guys on motorbikes tuned up at the cottage one night. We were preparing for trouble but it turned out they were Led Zeppelin fans who had just come for a chat. Turns out one of them was the son of a local farmer which came in handy as his dad said we’ d be welcome to fish on his private stretch of river nearby.’’ Roadie Clive Coulson told journalist Phil Sutcliffe ‘’They just wanted some peace and quiet. They met local people while they were there. They ended up buying some goats from one of the local farms. Jimmy and Robert went into Machynlleth and at pub called Owen Glendower. Everyone mucked in at the cottage, there was no superstar shit. Pagey was the tea man. The cottage was stone freezing cold. There was an open hearth fire. Pagey had a Martin guitar and they a lot of songs at the cottage’’

These compositions carried influence from a variety of sources. America was already feeling the soft rock influence of Crosby Stills Nash and Young – in fact Page and Plant were in attendance at the band’s London show earlier in the year. There was a definite Neil Young lit about I Wanna Be Your Man an acoustic skit that they left unfinished and Down By The Seaside which would eventually surface on Physical Graffiti. Plant’s reflective That’s The Way (aka The Boy next Door’’) was another number borne under the influence of the cottage.

The Rover, Hey Hey What Can I Do, Poor Tom and Friends were other songs that were first developed.

When the group reconvened for studio sessions at Olympic in late May e they had a good ten numbers at the ready to record stage. ‘’We’ll be recording for the next two weeks and we are doing a lot of acoustic stuff as well as the heavier side’’ John Bonham told Melody Maker’s Chris Welch from the studio. ‘’There will be better quality songs than on the first two albums’’

TO BE CONTINUED…


TBL Archive Special 3:

unledded

It was 27 years ago…October 1994 and the release of the Unledded album –  here’s the TBL review of the Unledded album.

THE ALBUM:

NO QUARTER – JIMMY PAGE AND ROBERT PLANT UNLEDDED (Fontana 526 362 2)

No Quarter (the Unledded tag has been somewhat played down in the packaging) is a lengthy, 14-track CD clocking in at over 79 minutes – a mere three minutes less than Physical Graffitti. The actual sleeve design I find disappointing. A low key shot from Corris Slate that offers a rather windswept portrait of the ageing dynamic duo. The CD booklet itself is sparse on detail and the discographer in me again bemoans the lack of sleeve notes. If ever an album’s evolution was worth explaining then it was this one. It strikes me that the official press release notes produced for the MTV premieres would have fitted in very well here. An enigmatic photo of a bizarrely painted hand maintains the mystery of sleeve images of old. The nod to the original credit for Bron Y Aur (they’ve reverted to that spelling again) first deployed on the Led Zep III inner sleeve is a nice touch and one that vividly illustrates (as I’d hoped when I undertook The Making Of Led Zeppelin III feature back in the early summer) their allegiance to the original unplugged concept from 24 years back.

The sequencing differs from the MTV broadcast, skitting around from Wales, London and Morocco rather haphazardly. I would have preferred to see it retain the more cohesive flow of the film with all the Moroccan tracks particularly in one block.

From Morocco, ‘Yallah’ retains plenty of atmosphere enhanced with an echoed spoken intro and a very live-in-the-marketplace feel. ‘Wah Wah’ has a quaint charm but does lose some of its impact when stripped of the visual scope of the film, while the previously unused ‘City Don’t Cry’ emerges as a plaintive croon with a strong Gnaoua presence. While these excursions are admirably executed and remain a worthy record of their travels, the latter two songs do come over as a little too ethnic to broaden their appeal with repeated plays. ‘Wonderful One’ is still… well… wonderful. No other word for it. This version is an alternate recording from that which appeared in the film with Robert committing an affectingly sensitive vocal over Jimmy’s equally sensitive strumming.

From the mountains, ‘No Quarter’ fascinates with its phased reverb and modal tunings while ‘Nobody’s Fault But Mine’ stomps and grinds to a knockabout climax (listen carefully for the off mike “Thank you very much”- comment at the end). I’d love to hear ‘Levee Breaks’ and ‘Gallows’ from the same session and hopefully along the way we will. From London there are some truly outstanding moments: ‘Thank You’ delights in its sheer familiarity, ‘Friends’ via its dramatic intro, ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’ as a classic blow and ‘The Battle Of Evermore’ with its ethereal feel and Najma’s searing vocal

That leaves the final four numbers: ‘That’s The Way’, ‘Gallows Pole’, ‘Four Sticks’ and ‘Kashmir’. Here the sequencing is really spot on as one classic dovetails magnificentiy into another. This pan of the album really does capture the excitement so evident on screen. And as a bonus ‘That’s The Way’ appears as the previously unheard treat. Led by Jimmy’s swaying Ovation double neck, Robert offers an evocative trip through the memory bank in an arrangement enhanced by Michael Lee’s subtle drum pan and Porl’s lilting banjo. It’s a performance that again reflects Page’s ‘same picture within a different frame’ ethic.

The travelogue nature of proceedings on the No Quarter CD may skip uncomfortably across the continents at times but the journey is ultimately a fulfilling one. I find myself treating it like a favourite radio station – dipping in and out with repeated pleasure every time. Because here on Radio Unledded via the World Service you’re never too tar away from a solid gold classic.

Dave Lewis, October 1994 – first published in TBL issue 10


New issue of Mojo:

The new issue of Mojo due out very soon has a cover story feature on Led Zeppelin IV to celebrate the 50th anniversary…

 


 Bedford VIP Record Fair Saturday October 16  and the Slide Record Shop to visit on National Album Day:

Saturday October 16 is shaping up to be another day of record collecting delight in Bedford…

Firstly the VIP Record Fair at the Harpur Suite:

Here’s all the info via VIP:

BEDFORD RECORD FAIR BACK THIS SATURDAY

16th OCTOBER

The world famous VIP Record Fair road show returns to Bedford’s Harpur Suite, on Saturday!

Expect the BIGGEST selection of vinyl and CDs in the area, with an absolute feast for the serious music fan, as regular traders mix with new participants.

On sale will be a major selection of vinyl, CDs and music memorabilia – from The Kinks to Kasabian! Most regular traders have records on sale for the very first time.

Whether a serious collector or a trader looking for more stock, the Harpur Suite, on Saturday, is the place to be!

Admission £3 – 10am to 3-30 – free admission after 1 pm.

More info at the links below:

http://www.vip-24.com/venues/bedford.htm

https://www.facebook.com/events/204774077874226

 

 

TBL Stall at the Bedford VIP Fair…

I aim to be in attendance at the Bedford VIP Fair with the TBL stall.

I’ll have copies of the recently published Evenings With Led Zeppelin Revised & Expanded edition on sale plus a selection of  LPs, singles,CDs and books.

The Slide Record Shop…

Nearby the Harpur Suite venue is the excellent Slide Record Shop – another place of record collection sanction to check out on the day – the shop is situated at 9 The Arcade, Bedford MK40 1NS

On the day the Slide Record shop will be celebrating National Album Day  -this year it celebrates women in music with a host of exclusive vinyl releases.

More details here:

https://www.sliderecordshop.com/

It all adds up to a great day for record collecting enthusiasts in Bedford – if you are in the area and can make it along we look forward to seeing you!

 


John Lennon at 81…

Last Saturday  October 9 was  John Lennon’s 81st birthday.

The events of 41 years ago surrounding his comeback album Double Fantasy and his shocking death in December are intrinsically linked for me with the tragic events going inside the Zep camp this time back in 1980.
I can vividly remember Simon Bates airing the Starting Over single and there was a real optimism about his return to recording. I purchased the album in the Kings Road in November after a visit to the Swan Song offices. That optimism (as with the Zep events) turned to agony on the morning of December 9th when the news broke here that John Lennon had been shot dead in new York.

I’ve recently been playing a lot of Beatles lately and  I went back to those first four albums -Please, Please Me, With The Beatles , A Hard Days Night and Beatles For Sale.

It’s a stark reminder of the sheer exuberant joy of his rasping vocal in those formative years. Performances such as Please Please Me, Eight Days a Week etc  are ample evidence of his genius –  John Lennon is right up there  in my top five vocalist of all time. His post Beatle output has it’s moments for sure but what he achieved in those short eight years between 1962 and 1969 is awe inspiring. Hearing those innocent upbeat early Beatles tunes has been a tonic this past week.

Saturday was also a day of playing John Lennon albums among them Mind Games, Imagine, Walls And Bridges and the Shaved Fish compilation.

……………………………….

DL Diary Blog Update: 

Saturday October 9:

A very misty scene by Bedford Embankment this morning…

Saturday October 9:

Saturday is platterday and a day of marking John Lennon’s Birthday so on the player the classic Imagine album – still sounding every bit as good as it did upon its original release 50 years ago this week…

 

 

 

 

Sunday October 10:

It was 52 years ago today…

Sunday sounds on CD – loading up the excellent Live At The Olympia Companion Disc to the 2014 Led Zeppelin I reissue – this is a recording of the superb Zep performance at the Olympia in Paris on October 10 1969 – all of 52 years ago today…

Monday October 11:

Always a welcome sound – the new issue of Uncut dropping on the doormat – and this month is real good one a David Bowie special celebrating the release of his lost album Toy complete with retro Bowie Bulletin supplement …

 

 

 

Wednesday October 13:

It’s a Happy Birthday today to the great Chris Farlowe.

On Friday July 5, 2019 at the Spitalfields Market record fair in London I was well pleased to find a copy of the single Dawn by Chris Farlowe and The Thunderbirds- a German Immediate label pressing…

I was even more pleased that the singer himself was on hand to sign this copy for me…

In an amazing random co- incidence, I had recognised Chris walking around the fair, so I had a really nice chat with him. I reminded him I had interviewed him for the TBL magazine when the Chris Farlowe Jimmy Page produced Beginnings album was released via Jimmy’s website in 2017.

As I was flicking through the racks, I came across this single – Chris came over to have a look at it and was only too pleased to personally sign it for me – a lovely gesture…

Thanks Chris and a Happy Birthday…

Update here:

I was very anxious about attending the Cheltenham Literature Festival and was not in the best frame of mind to be going – thankfully as can be seen above, it turned out to be a memorable day and I got through it all ok.

There are some challenges going on here. For the past few weeks  Janet has been struggling with her leg and we feel something has changed as she is in more pain and discomfort. Last week the physiotherapist requested a medical referral to the hospital as we need to get some guidance and advice and find out what is wrong. That process is not an easy one as we are finding – so it’s all a worry. As ever, Janet’s fortitude is incredibly inspiring and she is admirably keeping on track at the pre school. Hopefully we can get a consultation soon.

It’s a very busy few days ahead with the Bedford VIP Record Fair on Saturday and I look forward to seeing all that can make it along.

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

Dave  Lewis – October 15 , 2021

TBL website updates written and compiled by Dave Lewis

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