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29 September 2021 1,811 views 5 Comments


John Bonham  A Celebration II Festival Event – Saturday September 25,2021

Redditch Rocked…

So to Redditch for the much delayed John Bonham Celebration II Festival Event. I was in attendance at the 2018 gathering and since then the John Bonham Memorial Friends group led by Festival Director Ros Sidaway have been trying to stage a follow up.

With the pandemic to contend with this –  like so many events this as been a difficult task.

Admirably, earlier in the year Ros and her team began piecing together a 2021 event –and an ambitious one at that.

With restrictions lifting in July it was full steam ahead for an event that would stage two performances at the Redditch Palace Theatre plus a fringe festival and arena venue to showcase local bands. Money raised at the John Bonham Celebration II Festival goes to help fund vital services for the work of  the Teenage Cancer Trust in the West Midlands.

With a lot going on here and in the light of Andy’s funeral, I was feeling more than anxious about attending – especially as the good lady Janet was coming along too. We always have Janet’s leg issue to contend with whenever we go out – plus of course there’s the ongoing Covid situation.

With our very good friends Steve and Marie kindly driving us there, we decided to go for it.

We arrived in Redditch around 10.30 am and met with fellow TBL crew member and record collecting comrade Ian Saikia. Around the green there were a few events starting up as part of the Fringe Festival including a live band on the John Bonham Legacy Stage. While the ladies went off shopping Steve, Ian and I ventured over to the Vintage Trax record shop – owned by  John Bonham Celebration Day II main lady Ros Sidaway and her husband David. Last time I was here it was situated slightly out of town – now it has a prominent spot on the church green area.

Inside we met Ros’s sister Teresa and her husband Alan. First things first -Vintage Trax is a superb record shop – two floors packed with all manner of stock – second hand albums and singles, CD’s, cassettes, T shirts and books. There’s something to engage in wherever you look – the upstairs rock floor also has a mini John Bonham exhibition with unique photos and info. Most of the albums have stickers with various bits of info on -this to me shows true record selling knowhow and passion.

In the ”it’s not everyday you find” category  well it’s not everyday you find a rack of albums owned by a legendary rock singer – but there they were under the ”Owned by Paul Rodgers’ section – a fair few albums by the likes of Humble Pie and more. These have come into Vintage Trax via various connections and are totally authentic. The sales of these albums are forwarded to the Willows Animal Sanctuary which Paul and Deborah Bonham are both involved in.


It was amongst this unique section that I discovered a true gem – a Japanese promo sampler compilation album titled Rock Age Campaign with tracks by Led Zeppelin, Stephen Stills, James Taylor, Yes, Jethro Tull,  etc. I wonder where Paul picked that one up from. As my friend Steve is wont to say ”this one is coming home with me.”

The shop was closing at 12 for the staff to help out on the merchandising at the Palace Theatre so we left after being there a good hour – we could easily have waded though for double that time -Vintage Trax is s a brilliant record shop and if you are in the area be sure to check it out.

We met back in the afternoon with the ladies and after a rendezvous at the always impressive John Bonham Memorial, we took in more of the John Bonham Legacy Stage entertainment. With a lot activity take in  – there was also a nearby outdoor arena stage profiling local bands, it was hard to catch everything – we missed the first acts on at the matinee show at the Palace Theatre. I heard hear good reports of Michael MacCourt (Palace Drum Clinic Young Drummer of The Year at the last event) and Birmingham based Blue Nation.

Then it was time for another ”It’s not everyday you find” moments.

It’s not everyday you find an original member of The Senators, one of John Bonham’s early bands. But hanging out in the hospitality area was Bill Ford – their former bass player and easily identified by his unique Senators T shirt. The amiable Bob looking well sprightly in his early 70s, relayed to me some fascinating tales of playing with John Bonham  and the mid 60s Midlands music scene. He also told me the how The Senators came to be on the Brum Beat compilation album which I own – this has The Senators track She’s a Mod. It was an absolute pleasure to meet him.

I took in the end of Geordie’s set which was suitably loud and raucous then it was time for Coda – a tribute to Led Zeppelin. This is the first time I’ve seen them with new guitarist James Yorke-Starkey and he was most impressive. Coda never fail to do justice to the Zep legacy and their compelling compact set featured Thank You, Celebration Day, In My Time of Dying,Stairway To Heaven  and Whole Lotta Love – the latter in the Boogie Chillun’/Let That Boy Boogie arrangement.

It was good to pack in some socialising during the day and say hi to a few people including Ian Avey and Sue Bewley Mazzone over from Ohio with her friend Mary – it was also great to meet up with PR and artist liaison lady Gemma Varnfield.



Very sadly Gemma’s Dad Allan had passed away earlier in the year. He has been great company to me on previous Redditch visits and was an avid TBL reader. Fittingly, the whole event was dedicated to his memory and poignantly an empty front row seat was held to honour him. It was also a pleasure to chat with Ros and hand over an Evenings With Led Zeppelin Revised & Expanded edition book she had requested.

We missed the Clearwater Creedence Revival set but were back for John Coughlan’s Quo and they were excellent – highlights being a delivery of the Tom Jones hit Something Bout You Baby I Like and a surprise Pictures Of Matchstick Men.


Ros Sidaway then came to the stage to be rightly acclaimed for all her amazing work – and that of her equally amazing team.

Then it was time to say a fond farewell to all and sundry and get some sleep at the end of what had been a very full on day.

Sunday September 26…

In the morning, Steve drove us to Rushock to visit John Bonham’s grave. I have been once before via visiting Australian fan Michael Rae back in 2017.

I was a bit apprehensive about going as it had already been a highly emotional few days what with Andy’s funeral. However I am very glad I did.

It was peaceful and serene and myself, the good lady Janet, Steve, Anne Marie and Ian were able to have time to reflect and gather our thoughts in the beautiful surroundings of the Rushock countryside.

It was evident that John Couglan’s Quo had also visited the grave as there were flowers laid with a poignant note attached – how lovely that one veteran drummer had acknowledged a fellow much missed percussionist. This was made all the more poignant with the news that had just broken of the passing of original Status Quo bassist Alan Lancaster.


As ever, the warmth and love for John Bonham in his home town was evident throughout the weekend – what shines through at these events is the humbleness and heritage of the Bonham story. Unsurprisingly and as with many a live music event, there was a somewhat lower turn out than they would have liked – however those that were there were thoroughly entertained throughout and we had a fabulous time.

Ros did mention to me they might need a re- think as to how they present the event next time out – possibly reverting to one central area of live music but there’s no doubt they will want to honour the legacy of John Bonham again.

For myself, the good lady Janet and the TBL crew, it was a privilege to be there to share this always heartfelt celebration of the much missed John Bonham …

Dave Lewis – September 28,2021

For more info on Bill Ford, John Bonham and The Senators visit:

LZ News:

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

 Many thanks to James Cook.


Led Zeppelin

  • An extended video of Led Zeppelin performing “Celebration Day” in Tokyo on September 23, 1971 has been posted online.

Jimmy Page

  • Jimmy Page has spent the last month promoting “Becoming Led Zeppelin,” the upcoming documentary film about the birth of Led Zeppelin. Since our last email, an interview with Page alongside filmmakers Allison McGourty and Bernard MacMahon was posted on YouTube. Page also spoke to Rolling Stone Italy about the new film. The Associated Press published the full video of Page and his girlfriend Scarlett Sabet walking the red carpet at the Venice International Film Festival where “Becoming Led Zeppelin” premiered. Much attention has been given to the unearthed tapes of an Australian interview with John Bonham. A curator at Canberra’s National Film and Sound Archive discussed the discovery in a new interview.

Robert Plant

  • Robert Plant and Alison Krauss spoke to The Guardian for a new interview promoting their upcoming album “Raise the Roof.” The pair were both in Nashville for the conversation. “None of this music is rock, it’s not about power and posture,” Plant said. “How remarkable for me to be able to jump ship so long ago now. But I have a jetpack on my back in case I want to go back.”

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.

The complete Led Zeppelin News email goes out periodically. To receive it sign up here:

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


Toby Jug Pub History book:

Hello Tolworth, I’m Ziggy – The Life And Times of The Toby Jug Pub  

This info via Good Life Publishing…

After five years of research, Tim Harrison’s epic history of The Toby Jug pub, Tolworth, and its importance as a music venue, is finally in print.

The pub was where David Bowie launched Ziggy Stardust (the 50th anniversary is looming), where Led Zeppelin played to 250 in the back room and where dozens of 60s and 70s bands – some household names, some utterly obscure – entertained the locals.

Hello Tolworth, I’m Ziggy tells the story of the pub, from drawing board to wrecking ball, and celebrates the musicians who played there, including Jethro Tull, Fleetwood Mac (Peter Green could walk to the pub from his home in 20 minutes), The Stranglers, Rod Stewart, Status Quo and Genesis.

The book explains the pub’s role in a 1960s spy scandal, reveals that it was one of Hitler’s invasion targets, and details how John Lennon’s dad lived and worked there, and got down on one knee to propose to a Surbiton teenager in the sawdust of its walk-in larder.

Illustrated with more than 300 pictures, Hello Tolworth, I’m Ziggy is available in a numbered 1st Edition for £15

I’ve just started wading through this and it’s a fantastically detailed history of the venue with every aspect covered. There’s three pages on Led Zeppelin’s appearance on April 16,1969 with eyewitness accounts and more. The gig listing during the key music years of 1964 to 1972 is absolutely fascinating. As a cultural history of a venue through the decades and as a key insight into the ground breaking appearances made by countless acts -from blues to rock and punk, Tim’s brilliant account has it covered. Superbly illustrated throughout – this book is highly recommended (DL)

Sounds Four Part The Complete Led Zep –  43 years Gone – DL Reflections.

43 years ago this month I had my first Led Zeppelin written work published in a major UK music paper – my research for a 10 year retrospective look back on the band’s career in Sounds was extensively used across four weekly parts. It was an incredible thrill to see my work reach a wide audience and it was the kick start to many great things – here’s how it all came to be…

During 1977 and into 1978 I had built up an amount of  ritten work on Led Zeppelin and was ready to unleash my Zep fanzine  project Tight But Loose – of which a prototype first issue was already under construction.

In early 1978 I replied to a query in the Wax Factor column in Sounds –one of the weekly music papers of the time. This column was run by the late Barry Lazell and basically offered information to queries sent in by readers. One such letter requested how to obtain Hey Hey What Can I Do. Under the guise Dave Lewis ‘’Ace Zep Fan’’ (yes it was pretentious but hey I was young!), I replied giving the correct info. I made similar correspondence with Barry over a query about the Blueberry Hill bootleg– both of these were published.

In late May (around the time of my leap of faith with The Who at Shepperton), I received a call from Geoff Barton one of the main writers at Sounds. He had evidently seen the Wax Factor replies and wanted to enlist my assistance on an upcoming Led Zeppelin feature. This was to be an ambitious three week series celebrating the band’s tenth anniversary.

The brief was for me to supply a timeline history of the band for Geoff to work with plus a full discography – I suggested to Geoff that we include a bootleg listing and other pre and post session details. I’d only ever seen the basic Zep discography and I saw this as a major opportunity to present an extensive showcase of the band’s recording history to that period.

On June 8th I met with Geoff Barton at the Sounds office in Long Acre Covent Garden, to discuss all this at length.. I took in a whole load of memorabilia for them to photograph to illustrate the feature – programmes, photos and a fair few vinyl bootlegs (no jpeg scanning in those far off days!). Looking back I was a bit naive entrusting them with all this and one or two items did go missing.

Back in the Dents Road bedroom during the summer of ’78, I set to work on collating all the info required – all hand written I might add. It was a real thrill to be finally finding an outlet for the masses of info I had collected and logged –and knowing that it would be seen by fans across the country.  I was also in touch with Swan Song and told them of my involvement. I have to say there did seem some tetchiness between Sounds and Swan Song – not that it was any of my business – this uneasiness would later result in Sounds being banned from having press passes for Knebworth – which is another story altogether.

So, by early August all my info was at the Sounds office ready to be incorporated into this lavish series. Boy was I excited.

On Thursday September 14, the first part appeared- with a cover photo of the now much seen group posing by the car shot taken by Dick Barnatt (see TBL 35 for the full story). The series was dubbed ‘The Complete Led Zep’

Week one kicked off with a re appraisal of the Zep albums to that point by Geoff Barton. As the ordinal blurb put it, ‘ Geoff gives the albums a going over….he did that alright and for someone who was pretty defensive of any criticism of Zep – I was a little surprised at his often negative comments.

Zep 4 he summarised as as ”overrated” (two and a half stars out of five,)

Song Remains soundtrack got 2 stars Physical Graffiti 3 stars and Presence 2 and a half. Geoff’s alliegence was clearly for early Zep where Zep I was four and a half stars, , Zep II five and Zep III five.

Barton 16

It’s worth noting, that Sounds was one of the music weeklies facing an identity crisis in the wake of the punk/new wave explosion. Zep of course were seen as the dinosaurs of the old wave and there were some agendas at play in how they were being covered. Sounds would later develop a platform for the so called ‘New Wave of British Heavy Metal’  pioneered by Geoff Barton himself.

Oh well..  the series was up and running.

Week 2 was the timeline chronology. Geoff had incorporated my facts and info into the piece pretty well to unfold the Zep story but the whole feature suffered by some seriously odd lay out being spread over several pages – one page being dwarfed by an advert for a Godley And Crème album.

Barton 9

There was good news and bad news about week 3. The bad news first: I had taken the rare Robert Plant 1967 solo single Long Time Coming for them to photograph. For whatever reason, when it came to being re- produced the whole of the CBS label was illegible –looking like a blank label and nothing else …the caption the Robert Plant rare single almost looked a bit of a tongues in cheek – ie so rare you can’t actually see it! Note also the sticker on the label which states min bid £15 which is what I paid for it around a year earlier -it’s now worth minimum  £250!

Barton 7

The good news was all the other bootleg covers came out fine and surrounded what was then the first ever comprehensive bootleg listing drawn from my research and info and own collection. It was literally everything I knew up to that point and I was also well pleased with the overall presentation of the pre Zep information and the outtakes references etc. Again this type of information had never been collated as extensively.

Barton 6

When I visited the Sounds office around that time, I did point out to Geoff about the uneven lay out and the record sleeve problem. Frankly he was not that receptive with such criticism.I was learning fast that these guys were under pressure to produce a weekly music paper and time was not of the essence.( Geoff and I have since laughed about this since when I’ve seen him at the Classic Rock Awards).

Barton 4

When I was in the office, then Editor Alan Lewis suggested we run another week with all the TV and radio info I had supplied –so the three week series became four and again presented the known Zep TV and radio spots – this was a little limited in accuracy back then –  I would get to know a whole lot more on the subject of the BBC sessions etc over the next few years. Another quick aside -there was a bit of confusion of names going on at Sounds as they already had a writer named Dave Lewis (no relation) working for them at that time – he went on to be a press officer at RCA Records. Many is the time down the years I’ve been asked if I worked at RCA!

barton 1

Following the running of the series two things happened. Firstly, I began to get letters and correspondence via Sounds from fans requesting further info and discussing the info I’d presented.

It’s worth mentioning here that being a Zep fan back then was quite an insular thing. There was no social media to share this enthusiasm – I myself was in touch with a few fans notably Howard Mylett and Brian Knapp in the US. The Sounds piece did much to galvanise a lot of interest and though the feedback I was receiving , I quickly realised there were many fans out there as keen as I was on the band..

Secondly, I got a paid for the feature and hatched a plan to use that money to fund the printing of the first issue of Tight But Loose. That autumn I scribed away on the contents of the hand written first issue incorporating features on Earls Court, latest bootlegs , A complete Swan Song discography with commentary and the speculative feature on a live chronological live album set./

There was also a report of the very inspiring conversations I had with Robert Plant at the Goaldiggers football tournament he took part in at the Empire Pool Wembley which I attended on November 5th, 1978.

The first adverts to notify the soon to be published Tight But Loose ran in Sounds and NME late in the year – there was a slight delay to getting the first issue out when the UK suffered a bout of very snowy weather over Christmas and the new year.

I printed  200 of that first hand written issue – and they sold out within a 6 weeks. Tight But Loose was up and running and the rest, as they say is history…


Incidentally, I do have a plan to re publish a special edition of that first issue at some point –it’s a key part of the TBL story that needs to be back out there.

Looking back now some 42 years later, there’s no doubt that my involvement in the Sounds Ten Years of Led Zeppelin feature was the absolute catalyst for me to bring to fruition the idea to produce a regular Led Zep magazine,  which I’d had kicking around for over a year.

It was more than evident that fans across the globe were in need of regular Zep info and reading matter. Tight But Loose began to fulfil that role.

As for the Sounds piece, I’m still very proud of it. I can recall at a UK record fair in the early 80s seeing fans with that bootleg centre page listing in the hands wading thought the LP racks using it as a guide.  Eventually it would be superseded by the likes of excellent Robert Godwin’s Illustrated Collectors Guide and my own listings in the A Celebration book in 1991.

Looking over it today, it’s very evident that presenting this outpouring of Zep info in Sounds back in September 1978 was clearly the moment I broke out of my bedroom as it were, and found a true connection for my thoughts, passion and enthusiasm for Led Zeppelin.

A connection that 43 years on is as strong as ever…

Dave Lewis –September 29,2021

(Extracts from Music Is Life To My Ears –The Dave Lewis Memoirs  – work in progress for future publication)

DL Diary Blog Update:

Friday September 24:

I am so looking forward to the new album Robert Plant & Alison Krauss album Raise The Roof…

I love this typically enigmatic quote from Robert in today’s Guardian interview…

‘’None of this music is rock. It’s not about power and posture. How remarkable for me to be able to jump ship so long ago now. But I have a jetpack on my back in case I want to go back’’

You gotta love Robert Plant and I have for over 50 years and his music continues to thrill and enthral. Roll on November 19…

Tuesday September 28:

It was 50 years ago today…

Loading up the 6 disc CD bootleg set Please Please Me Complete 928 on the Eelgrass label – a great package of the audience and soundboard sourced recording of the superb Led Zeppelin performance at the Osaka Festival Hall in Japan on Tuesday September 28, 1971 – all of 50 years ago today….

Wednesday September 29:

It was 50 years ago today…


Wednesday sounds on CD…loading up the excellent More Comedy Less Work 4 CD bootleg set – this captures the complete performance of Led Zeppelin’s amazing concert at the Festival hall Osaka on September 29 1971 –all of 50 years ago today…as you can see you can never have too many versions of this show…it’s one of their very best…

Update here:

Being out and about for both Janet and I has had some perhaps inevitable consequences. Janet’s leg was  sore early in the week and on Tuesday I went down with what I hope is just heavy cold and feel very tired and achy. I am hoping I can shrug it off and will be monitoring it if it does not improve…


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

Dave  Lewis – September 29, 2021

TBL website updates written and compiled by Dave Lewis

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  • Steve Benson said:

    Hope you’re feeling better Dave! Thanks for the summary of all the ‘goings on”. I am looking forward to getting my updated copy of “Evenings With” this month.
    All the best from Southern California!

  • Steve Hall said:

    Thanks for the notes on the JB celebration in Redditch, Dave, it all sounded great! Me and the wife missed it, though, because I completely forgot I’d ordered the tickets for the 2020 event which was postponed to this year!!! I ordered the tickets for last year but, like everyone else, got an e-mail to say it was being postponed and the tickets would be valid for this years event. I saved the e-mail into my personal folder, then completely forgot about it! I think dementia must be setting in!!!!!!!!
    At least the money still went to the Teenage Cancer Trust, so I’m not too bothered, but just sad that we missed what was a great event!

    Anyway, stay safe both of you.



  • Steve A. Jones said:

    Bill Ford of The Senators! Now that is a gentleman who could take a John Bonham enthusiast on a walk down memory lane. What a thrill that must have been. With regard to the Paul Rodgers’ Japanese vinyl, he did of course have a Japanese wife at one time. If he didn’t obtain that album while on tour it’s nice to think he did somewhere along the line while with her.

  • Rosella Foullon said:

    Hi, I just want to say THANK YOU!! I LOVE reading your site always. I have been a Zep fan for almost 50 yrs. & how different things are now with the internet. In the 70’s & 80’s I have subscriptions to Circus & Creem which you could get here in the USA (esp. my hometown which is in the middle of California between San Francisco & Los Angeles) , how I used to wait by the mailbox for them! We would of been so much more informed if we had today’s technology . I have just retired as a healthcare professional after 43 yrs & would of loved to come to the Bonham festival but with Covid & I also just left the USA & moved to Mazatlan, México to retire but this is the 1st thing on my bucket list to go to the UK & see everything I have read about for yrs. I really wanted to go to the Pub meetings you guys had for the 50th. I hope someday I get to meet you & have you sign your book it would be a pleasure. Please stay safe so you can be around when I finally get there .Respectfully your fan, Rosella Foullon.

  • Simon Cadman said:

    How about an interview with Bill Ford for TBL, Dave?

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