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JIMMY PAGE & ROBERT PLANT UNLEDDED 26 YEARS GONE/LZ NEWS/ROBERT PLANT DIGGING DEEP PODCAST/LOGAN PLANT/TEXAS INTERNATIONAL POP FESTIVAL 51 YEARS GONE/ROLLING STONES/RSD DROP/DL DIARY BLOG UPDATE

27 August 2020 1,158 views 2 Comments

Jimmy Page & Robert Plant MTV Unledded – 26 years gone….TBL Archive Special – Part Two:

26 years ago this month, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant reunited for two performances filmed by MTV at the London TV Studios for their Unplugged series. Appropriately dubbed Unledded, this saw the pair roll back the years with an inspiring re-evaluation of the Led Zeppelin catalogue. In its way this was every bit as significant as the 2007 O2 reunion as they sort to put into perspective their past achievements. The omission of John Paul Jones was in hindsight, a poor misjudgement but at the time, we were more than grateful for this reuniting of the pair. I was lucky enough to attend both days filming – indeed I was involved in supplying the TBL database for the ballot of ticket distribution. Looking back It was an incredibly exciting period that would lead on into more memorable nights in the company on the ensuing 1995/96 world tour.

This TBL archive special reproduces the passionate review of those two MTV Unledded performances I wrote for TBL issue 10 – it’s incredible to think that it’s all of 26 years ago as once agin it seems like a second ago –but a lifetime. It was another of those truly fantastic times to be a Led Zeppelin fan again…..so let’s travel back to the late summer of 1994 and two very special August days.

DATELINE: FRIDAY AUGUST 26

“I Want My MTV”.

Twelve hours later I’m sitting in the Dog And Trumpet pub off Carnaby Street as the appropriate soundtrack of Sting’s voice cuts across the smokey bar from the Dire Straits juke box choice.

I want my MTV? You bet I do. Last night had been truly remarkable. I can hardly believe it has actually taken place. I mean I’ve dreamed it often enough. Sharing our fresh memories around the Royal National Hotel (which seems to have become something of a Zepp stop off landmark since the Conventions) in the afternoon with TBL staffers Gary and Kam, Grant from Canada, Billy Fletcher from Scotland and Liz and co., well it certainly did happen – and despite a period of daytime fatigue which reduced me to drinking water(!) I was now ready to gird my collective loins for another memorable evening.

Festival Pier 5 p.m.:
Here we go again. The waiting this time out takes place in an orderly queue along the Thames. It’s a markedly more relaxed atmosphere amongst us – many are here for the second night and we know what to expect. The prospect is mouth-watering and aids the good natured banter amongst the faithful. It’s good to see so many familiar faces again – fans I’ve been in touch with for years – Howard Mylett, Luis Rey, Tim Ellock, Andy Adams – this gathering is a mini convention in itself.

Over at the London Studios the demand for entry seems to have heightened considerably with many more red ticketed guests in line. Lining up towards the door is a tense time with more than a little confusion of who is eligible to go in and who is not. Once inside studio 2 it’s evident there is far more in attendance tonight with many standing around the doorways at each corner of the studio. The warm up music is one of Robert’s Indian choices. Once the big door is shut with a boom and the red light goes on, it’s also evident that those assembled are a lot more relaxed tonight and in the mood to enjoy every moment of this last night of filming.

This state of mind transcends to the players involved and, after a polite intro, Jimmy and Robert stride up and take the stand. Looking well at ease, Robert throws a nutmeg to the intended set list by switching into What Is And What Should Never Be and then Thank You. The opening number is marred slightly by some feedback but Thank You is spot and inspires the first spontaneous cheer of the evening when Jimmy turns his back towards Michael and spits out a fluid Gibson solo. As Luis Rey might put it – tonight Jimmy Page is definitely on!
The set list for the rest of the proceedings is similar to last night. The Battle Of Evermore is perfection – a modern day mantra that puts any previous precarious incarnations well in the shade. During a break following a false start for Gallows Pole, Robert sings the opening line to When The Levee Breaks explaining that “this was one we did to eight people including two sheep in Wales last week”. Gallows duly follows and is again heightened by some intensive Plant scat singing at the close.

The end of part one break allows again for some exchange of views amongst the crowd. The consensus of opinion is that the latter two takes will surely end up in the finished article.
Back on stage with the orchestra. Rain Song is performed with much subtlety if not just slightly more hesitantly than the previous night. “This is one of everybody’s favourites ‘ is the signal for them to take it up a gear for another startling delivery of Since I’ve Been Loving You the solo of which inspires another spontaneous burst of applause from the appreciative audience.

Another considerably enjoyable factor tonight is he relaxed on stage banter between Robert and the audience. The intimacy of the studio allows for a clear rapport – inspiring heckles from the likes of Mr Gary Foy – “Tell us a joke, Jimmy” – “He doesn’t know any” replies Robert – “I know you’re here David . . . although I can think of one . . . Dear David . . what would we do without our Dave .. .

Another sketch revolves around Robert’s comment on his in-between song rap on the various bootlegs – “Have you heard some of the talking on the bootlegs – crap isn’t it?” – “Especially last night” shouts out some wag – “Oh wait till I tell Jimmy that!” says Robert, moving over to where Jimmy is tuning up.
The Moroccan roll of Four Sticks and Friends bursts forth with the latter infinitely better than Thursday’s version. I am sitting next to the wife of one of the string players and her enthusiastic whoops and hollers confirm the fact. During another change over of gear Robert muses on a call from the audience on what it’s all about. .. “What’s it all about? Well . . . it’s a way to spend a life.”

unledded six

 

Indeed, and for the next fourteen minutes, my life is considerably enhanced, spent in the company of messes Plant and Page as they deliver a new revamped version of Kashmir. This really is awesome. A mesmerising performance complete with retro “Woman talkin’ to ya!” adlib from Plant during the drawn out section and an Improvised last five minutes which really does reincarnate the spirit of Led Zeppelin with dazzling accuracy as they Improvise dangerously around the speeded up finale. Page In particular Is so spot on, laughingly aping the dance steps of Mr Finger Cymbals – and then tearing nonchalantly Into a battering blistering clatter of notes against the similar battalion ot Michael Lee. It brings to mind the crazed unpredictability of middle period Zepp live epics such as Dazed and No Quarter – and all the while Plant undercuts It with the pleading charm of the lyric and the Egyptian section bring It on home, quite literally. It’s a devastating statement that had me hugging and shaking hands with fellow devotees at the finish In glazed triumphant abandon. Truly, this Is the pride of Plant and Page.

A standing ovation Is nothing less that they deserve. Back they stride for the new look That’s The Way . . . and off they go again as the lights go up. Some people think it’s all over… but a welcome announcement to return to our seats signals the arrival of Jimmy and Robert who group seated at the front of the stage. Jimmy dons the Ovation double neck. A tape loop recreating the absent Moroccan musician due to play on this number revolves around the studio. This Is the starting point of the premier of the new Plant/Page composition Wonderful One. The loop has a repetitive percussive feel similar to the opening of Come Into My Life from Fate Of Nations. The song itself develops mournfully as Jimmy drifts over the strings. Plant sings, poeting couplings In the All My Love vein as the gentle love song washes over. It’s shivers down the spine time yet again for me.
Intact the exercise Is repeated when they decide to run through that number again for the benefit of the camera angles as Plant baits the technical crew – “Mike we need the loop now but not that loud.”

Wonderful One Is the first newly premiered live Plant Page composition since they ushered In Hot Dog and In The Evening in Copenhagen and Knebworth. I feel the same Instant affinity for Its as I did for the latter epic. If this Is where the future lies then let them take you there,.,

Exit stage left and again It seems all over, ., until an MTV official consults with the outside Manor Mobile Studio and realises there need to be more , and back they stride again, “We’re going to do one number again and then one we didn’t think we were going to do. So here goes” I for one have no objection for them doing another take of That’s The Way with Jimmy weaving some beautiful descant chording around those familiar lyrics. Finally, and this time it really is finally, with help from Paul on guitar and the hurdy-gurdy man, Robert leads them through a welcomed Nobody’s Fault But Mine (“Another one we did in Wales to eight people Including two sheep”). However this is not the heavyweight blues stomping Presence arrangement but a swinging rootsy semi-acoustic run through with Jimmy on the Ovation double neck, In fact this arrangement has far more In common with the Blind Willie Johnson original than any other version I’ve heard them attempt and It all flows to a satisfying climax, “We’ll see you again soon.” There’s a great moment for the cameras as they make their way from the stage – Jimmy and Robert cuddle together both smiling gleefully. It’s a moment that crystallises the spirit of the whole event.

The lights go up, revealing so many similarly smiling happy faces. As the technical crew move In, talk goes around that Jimmy and Robert will reappear once the crowd has dispersed to re-shoot Gallows Pole minus the audience as some of the camera angles didn’t quite come off. In the end they decide against it – staying In the studio canteen to meet and greet the well-wishers before exiting the building after twelve, For Robert, It’s back to the Midlands to follow the latest fortunes of Wolverhampton Wanderers, A relaxed looking James Patrick emerges with chauffeur, happy to pose and sign autographs.

For me It’s all too much – along with several fellow shell shocked members of the Zepp fraternity it’s down to the pub to celebrate and dissect Just what It’s all meant, “Dancing Days are here again” Is the repeated chorus. And really I guess that’s how It’s been.

It’s a strange feeling that prevails In the 48 hours that follow me back to Bedford and relative normality. “Daddy, how did you get on in London?” asks Sam – one day I hope she will grasp the enormity of It all. But, like all key Zepp related events, It’s virtually Impossible to explain the feeling that has been evident throughout these remarkable days. But it did happen and that Is happened with the utmost Integrity for the legacy of Led Zeppelin makes me feel so good.

UNLEDDED ONE

AFTERMATH
Just twelve months ago, such events of course would have been beyond the wildest expectations. With Jimmy seemingly set to hit the road with Coverdale and Robert committed to the Fate Of Nations World Tour – that was until fate took a hand Itself with that meeting In Boston last November. And then came the Initial rehearsals, the Buxton appearance and now this.
What was most striking about the MTV filming was the sheer integrity with which they approached the whole affair. Without all the hyperbole of a fully-fledged Led Zeppelin reunion, Jimmy and Robert have managed to recreate the key ingredients of the Zepp ethic by cleverly reinventing the catalogue. In recycling those original songs for ’90s consumption, the pair have brought a respect to this project that has been sorely lacking in the mega tour reunions of their ’70s peers. It also goes to prove what dividends a lengthy period of rehearsal can provide. The chemistry of this re-alliance was more than plain to see and perhaps it put into perspective once and for all the shortcomings of the ill-prepared Atlantic 1988 reunion. You can’t expect it all to come flowing back within days – but given a responsible period of preparation and the affinity these long term musicians and friends have for each other becomes very evident.

Finally in employing the extra trappings of the orchestra and Egyptian players, this MTV project has definitely proved to be a case of them completing the painting of a previously unfinished picture. The experimenting with those numbers is something that maybe would have emerged had there been a 1980s tour Part One. This was always the beauty of Led Zeppelin – never a vehicle for mere rock music. Time and again they transcended the genre. Now 14 years on in the hands of two of the main components, the group’s legacy has been reborn. And they have ultimately proved that they really were the very best. Page and Plant. . . Plant and Page . . . whichever way it lines up, the chemistry remains.

It’s been an undoubted privilege to witness this artistic rebirth at first hand. And when I recall the intensity of performances such as the reworked Kashmir and the newly created Wonderful One, I’m filled with the hope and pure joy that this really is a new beginning and that very soon both on screen and on tour, every one of their followers worldwide will get the opportunity to bask in their glory.

For never before in the post 1980 years, has the spirit of Led Zeppelin shone so vividly than when Robert Plant and Jimmy Page recreated the magic within the intimate surroundings of Studio 2 in the London TV Centre over August 25/26 1994.
And when it’s subsequently aired on MTV, I’m sure seeing will be believing.

Dave Lewis  September 7th, 1994

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LZ News:

Led Zeppelin News Update:

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

http://ledzepnews.com/

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Robert Plant Digging Deep Podcast: Episode 3

The third series the excellent Robert Plant Podcast has kicked off – the third podcast available now talks about Song To The Siren  – this is the third of the live recordings taken from the Q and A event staged at the Rough Trade East record shop in London on February 27 – an event I was lucky enough to attend.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4T-hmsx5-Ic

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Logan Plant – Beavertown Brewery:

Logan Plan’t Beavertown Brewery is expanding and providing 150 new jobs – full story here…

https://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2020/08/beavertown-launches-major-new-brewing-site/

https://www.newschain.uk/news/craft-beer-producer-beavertown-opens-londons-largest-brewery-150-new-jobs-28221

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It was 51 Years Ago – Led Zeppelin at the Texas International Pop Festival:

August 31st is nigh on upon us – back in 1969 that was the day Led Zeppelin performed at the Texas International Pop Festival as can be heard via a great sounding tape. I’ve just been playing the vinyl LP release and from the moment the kitch MC is heard to say ‘’Ladies and gentlemen please welcome the Led Zepp-elin’’ and they kick in to Train Kept A Rollin’ this is an absolute sensational performance.

This is for me one of, if not the best if the best Zep live remnants of their first 12 months together.

Here’s a summary of that celebrated gig as compiled by Mike Tremaglio for the Evenings With Led Zeppelin book..

 August 31, 1969 – Texas International Pop Festival, Dallas International Speedway –                                     Lewisville, Texas, USA

Setlist:

Train Kept a Rollin’, I Can’t Quit You Baby, Dazed and Confused, You Shook Me, How Many More Times Medley (incl. Suzie Q, The Lemon Song, Eyesight to the Blind, Shake for Me), Communication Breakdown (incl. Cat’s Squirrel, It’s Your Thing)

 Background Info:

The Texas International Pop Festival was a fine ending to an amazing summer of outdoor festivals for the band. It goes without saying that the festivals gave the band much needed exposure and firmly established the group in the eyes of fans and music industry folks alike. Their extremely high level of festival performances also gave fair warning to their peers that Led Zeppelin was a world-class band with limitless potential.

The festival was also the last performance of the third US tour. After relentlessly touring for most of 1969, the band would finally get a much-deserved break, taking off the entire month of September before embarking on a short Holland tour beginning October 3.

Participating Artists:

August 30 – 4:00 p.m.: Canned Heat, Chicago Transit Authority, James Cotton Blues Band, Janis Joplin, B.B. King, Herbie Mann, Rotary Connection, Sam & Dave.

August 31 – 4:00 p.m.: Chicago Transit Authority, James Cotton Blues Band, Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, Incredible String Band, B.B. King, Led Zeppelin, Herbie Mann, Sam & Dave, Santana.

September 1 – 4:00 p.m.: Johnny Winter, Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, B.B. King, Nazz, Sly and the Family Stone, Spirit, Sweetwater, Ten Years After, Tony Joe White.

Press Reaction:

Dallas Morning News (September 3, 1969): “Unlike the proverbial balloon, Led Zeppelin flew high late Sunday night. ‘Communication Breakdown’ was one of the fine numbers they offered. They tended, however, to drag their heavy interludes out a little too in their lengthy but superb segment of the festival…But even this could not dull the crowd’s appreciation.“

Billboard (September 13, 1969): “Jimmy Page lived up to expectations for the Saturday (sic – it was Sunday) performance his facile command of impressive guitar styling highlighting Led Zeppelin’s set, which also showcased a noticeably improved vocal performance from Robert Plant.”

Rolling Stone (November 1, 1969): “Led Zeppelin turned in a fantastic set.”

Bootleg Video Recording:

A 79 minute “underground” 16mm documentary of the festival exists with a few minutes of ‘Dazed and Confused’ included. A total of 11:10 minutes of Led Zeppelin bootleg footage exists, including clips of ‘I Can’t Quit You Baby’, ‘Dazed and Confused’, ‘You Shook Me’, ‘How Many More Times’, and ‘Communication Breakdown’.

Bootleg Recordings

3 sources (64 & 62 minute audience & 63 minute soundboard sources):

The festival was yet another major triumph for the band, as they made the most of their hour-plus long set and turned in another strong performance. Fortunately, this time the evidence exists in the form of a stellar soundboard tape, one of the finest examples of early Zeppelin and a ‘must have.’ Despite being the end of an extremely long summer for the group, they still had enough energy left to deliver another dynamic performance.

During the show, Robert Plant made reference back to their appearance four weeks earlier (August 4) in Dallas at the State Fair Coliseum: “It’s very nice to be back in Texas. Last time we were here it was a near disaster when we said we weren’t doing the festival and everything. This is the last date before we go back to England, so we’d really like to have a nice time…and you can help us.”

Compiled by Mike Tremaglio

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My thoughts on a new Rolling Stones bootleg double album…

The Rolling Stones, ‘69RSTrax’ (No Label CD and Soundcraft LP) 

I’ve been searching out outtakes and rare recordings of The Rolling Stones since my initial obsession with bootlegs aged 16. Around that period I invested in a fair few albums on the Trade Mark Of Quality label including Beautiful Delilah, Smooth, Summer Reruns and Bright Lights Big City – all of which offered much enlightenment.

The complex copyright arrangements between ABKO Records who own much of their 1960s output and the Stones own label, has prevented any major official anthology box set offerings. There have been some very worthwhile Stones official releases via their website and the forthcoming Goats Head Soup deluxe version has some previously unheard fresh material notably the much published Stones/Jimmy Page collaboration Scarlet.

Now comes 69RS Trax a new double album based on recordings that were briefly dumped onto the internet on December 31 as a 50 year copyright get out – a policy also flavoured by The Beatles and Bob Dylan

This extensive archive of mainly 1969 recordings were only briefly available on line but that was long enough for enterprising fan forums to snap them up and hey presto, they were very quickly emerging as unofficial bootleg CDs and now on a double vinyl set.

This double album in a limited edition of 300 via Soundcraft Records, comes in an attractive package – the cover is an outtake from the photo session that produced the Through The Past Darkly cover. Inside, there’s a nice spread of 68 period photos most of them from the Goddard One Plus One film. The sleeve notes offer anecdotal info for each track but disappointing is written in something of a cod English style and is hard to understand.

The 16 performances spread over the four sides offer some major insights into the coming together of material from the golden 1968 – 1970 period – which basically covers the Beggars Banquet, Let It Bleed and Sticky Fingers albums –much of it is previously unheard.

That is certainly the case with the opening track – a run through of Ruby Tuesday, the B side of the Lets Spend The Night Together single released in early 1967. This is probably from a rehearsal session for the Rock n Roll Circus TV special. A sparse acoustic piano led arrangement with tremendous input from Charlie Watts.. The vibrant run through Sympathy For the Devil is also likely to be from the same December 1968 session,

Elsewhere from 1969 there’s a cracking take of Honky Tonk Women with an alternate Jagger vocal and different lyrics and the ‘’Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie’’ chorus refrain favoured on the live Hyde Park version

Also of much interest is a backing track version of Country Honk. This features Ian Stewart on piano and has the barrel house piano feel that he brought to Led Zep’s Boogie With Stu released on their Physical Graffiti album. A May 1968 take on Love In Vain has a loose and playful feel. Instrumental takes of Stray Cat Blues, Let It Bleed and Midnight Rambler capture the work in progress process.

Then there’s the role reversal of Keith on vocals on Gimme Shelter and Mick on You Got The Silver. Another alternate take of Gimme Shelter has Mick double tracking the lead parts in the same manner he applied to Street Fighting Man. A Wild Horses with added strings does not work that well and the versions of Brown Sugar and Wild Horses marked as Hot Rocks takes bring little to the table.

Side 4 presents 20 minutes of Mick coaxing the best out of the Lonon Bach Choir as they run through their parts that lit up the opening and closing sequences of You Can’t Always Get What You Want. As a studio insight it’s interesting to hear how the they strived for the end result.

I’ve saved the best to last- a March 1969 Olympic Studios take of Sister Morphine –this is a longer version with Keith on dobro and is on a par with the version that appeared on Sticky Fingers.

Summary: 69RS Trax is a bit of a mixed bag – some very interesting stuff combined with some less interesting offerings and along the way a few gems that really shine a light. I’ve been collecting Stones outtakes and unreleased rarities long enough to know that with these unofficial releases, that is often the case. Overall though there’s much to enjoy.

Dave Lewis – August 19,2020  

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Record Store Day Drops: First Drop Saturday August 29:

The much delayed Record Store Day finally gets underway this Saturday. This year it’s being staged in three RSD drops -on August 29, September, and October. This spreads the releases. I’ve lost a bit of heart for it all but I plan to connect with our excellent local store the Slide Record Shop on Saturday -Warren and Nerys have a good system in place for a safe purchasing environment.

 

 

 

On The Player:

August 20: On the player celebrating his Birthday today…the brilliant Robert Plant debut solo album Pictures At Eleven – a rather splendid Japanese pressing…

August 25 -More Unledded reflection:

It was 26 years ago today – Jimmy Page & Robert Plant LWT Studios:

26 years ago today on Thursday August 25 1994 I was very lucky to be at the LWT Studios in London for the first of two nights recordings of Jimmy Page & Robert Plant Unledded for MTV.

It was an astonishing reunion as they recreated the Led Zep magic with immense skill and pride -accompanied by amongst others Charlie Jones, the late great Michael Lee and the late great Hossam Ramzy…

Like I say it was just astonishing…what a time it was as all those reading this who shared the experience will know.

Thank You was the opening number and watching again it has sent shivers down my spine and brought a huge lump to my throat…playing through the No Quarter Jimmy page and Robert Plant album has had a similar effect…

When Jimmy took that first solo we were all collectively willing him to nail it – and nail he did…

They were back together and my life was good…

Dave Lewis – August 25 2020

DL Diary Blog Update:

Always a welcomed sound – the always excellent Free Appreciation Society magazine dropping through the door – a 1970 special so right up my street…ordering details for the Free mag here

http://freeappreciationsociety.blogspot.com

August 21:Friday treats at the Vinyl Barn…

At the always excellent and rather windy Vinyl Barn this morning I was well pleased to find a copy of the 1978 Yes Tormato album – a US promotional copy with ‘Promotional Copy Not For Sale’ stamp and ‘Suggested Cuts’ for radio Atlantic Records guideline sticker – very nice indeed…

As a collector of the Immediate record label I also picked up an Amen Corner Half As Nice single, a picture sleeve French pressing on a red Immediate label and I could not leave a copy of the Led Zeppelin 203 DVD in the racks…you gotta have your little treats – thanks Darren!.

Some particular inspirations this past week:

Listening to the Bob Harris 50th anniversary tribute programmes on Radio 2…

Watching the re run of The Old Grey Whistle Test For One Night Only BBC 4 programme …

Watching the Page & Plant MTV Unledded footage…

The news of the forthcoming John Lennon Gimme Some Truth compilations…

Update here: Busy on various projects ahead – I did have a bad dip early in the week and succumbed to going to bed to try and get away from the horrible anxiety and depression feelings. Thankfully I was able to re surface with more positivity thanks to the good lady Janet once again…talking of whom…

Happy Birthday Mrs Janet Lewis…we will begin celebrating Janet’s Birthday over the weekend leading to the actual Birthday on Monday August 31 with planned visits from Sam and Adam.

Janet is continuing to make progress in her recovery from her broken leg and after seven months on crutches is now walking well unaided. Her positive attitude throughout has been incredible and continues to be. She is one special lady…and I am looking forward to making her feel very special on her Birthday on Monday…

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

Dave Lewis –  August 27,  2020

Until next time, stay safe and stay well…

Website updates written and compiled by Dave Lewis

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2 Comments »

  • Larry said:

    Ah yes, Unledded. Loved it at the time and went to quite a few shows on that US tour. It was great to see Page and Plant together again (who would’ve thunk it?). I don’t think the No Quarter album holds up as well for me all these years later however. And the omission of Mr. Jones was poor form to say the least in my opinion. His contributions were sorely missed.

  • Graham Craig Rodger said:

    Happy Birthday Janet Hope you all have a lovely day on Monday.

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