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16 October 2019 1,583 views No Comment

Led Zeppelin II at the Cat Club – 50 years to the day:

Following on from last year’s  presentation of Led Zeppelin IV, I am going back to the excellent CAT Club to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Led Zeppelin II. This will be staged at the excellent Tap & Barrell venue on Tuesday October 22 – 50 years to the day of the original US release. Tickets are now sold out  I look forward to seeing all that can make it along.

More details at:






TBL Archive 1 : October 12,1969:

Above 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 50 years ago on October 12  that 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 via research from Mike Tremaglio:




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 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)


TBL Archive 2:

box set 2


Here’s the second of the exclusive TBL Led Zeppelin Reissues previews.

This is my view of the Led Zeppelin 2 Companion Disc:

Led Zeppelin II

The Companion Audio Disc:

The second Led Zeppelin album came together during a hectic period of touring, and was recorded in a variety of studios dictated by which part of the US Zep were performing in. Studio’s visited during the making of Zep II included stints at New York’s Juggy Sound, R&D Studios in Vancouver, and A&M Studios and Mystic Studios in Los Angeles. During the band’s 1969 US tours, Page hooked up with engineer Eddie Kramer – noted for his work with Jimi Hendrix on Electric Ladyland. Kramer had also worked at Olympic Studios when Page and Jones were session musicians in the mid ’60s and his work on Zep II would afford him a ‘Director of Engineering’ credit. The Companion disc is therefore something of a studio travelogue as they pieced together the album as they were on the road.

This is what is in store:

Whole Lotta Love (Rough mix with vocal -5:39)

No cough at the intro and straight to the riff. This is a completely different vocal take. Robert incorporates the ‘’Baby you need love’’ refrain that he deployed on the BBC June session take, but this would be discarded for the final released studio version. There’s a few other ad-libs, such as ‘’Honey we’ve been sharin…’’ and if your blood does not start pumping a whole lot faster when the chorus part is due to come in well… you can’t be alive.

Where the chorus should come is a wonderfully disorientating moment because there is no chorus! Equally startling is the middle section which is devoid of the later overdubbed backwards echo effects. Instead, there’s sparse use of tympani and some neat rim shots from Bonzo. Robert is in there with the ‘’Luuuvv, Luuuvvv’’wailing, and then folks I had a complete well up moment at the playback when suddenly across the speakers Robert utters the phrase ‘’You’ve been yearning.’’ The total shock of it coming when least expected – what can I tell you. It moved me totally because with this version you really are hearing them tearing up the rule book. They know they are onto something here and the beauty of this first try out is that you can hear them tentatively building the wall of sound that would echo across a million plus stereo units come the autumn.

From the middle section the familiar stinging solo from Jimmy is absent, and they go into the fade sounding funky as hell, with Plant again echoing the ‘’Baby you need love, woman you need love’’ lines and adding other vocal nuances such as  ‘’baba ba oh baba oh’’…echoed to full effect. There’s a full ending as they wind down the piece and are unsure of quite what to do and where to end it all. Jimmy eventually pushes the faders down and this embryonic version of Whole Lotta Love eventually ends. Stunning in its sheer naivety and sparseness. This tells us so much more than we already knew about the Zep II opener, and will elevate this early Zep anthem to even greater status.

What Is And What Should Never Be (Rough mix with vocal – 4.33)

Slightly less phrasing on the first verse with the bass more prominent. There are few minor mixing differences. The stereo panning of the outro has also yet to be perfected. Nothing too radically different here.

Thank You (Backing track -4.20)

A complete backing track which brings John Paul Jones’s organ to the fore. A very similar mix to the Zep II version. It’s wonderful to hear the precision of Jimmy’s chiming Vox guitar. The acoustic picking has yet to be overdubbed on this version. It’s worth noting that these backing tracks are much more than mere ‘karaoke’ fodder- they genuinely bring it out the instrumental nuances in a way we haven’t been privy to before.

Heartbreaker (Rough mix with vocal 4.25)

The first thing to notice on this mix is that Bonzo is right up front and you can hear the hi hat jigging along with immense clarity. His ride cymbal parts are equally to the fore. The guitar has a real crunchy sound and you will know what I mean by that when you hear it. I would say the vocal is very similar to the released version other than one or two ad-libs such as a ‘Give it’ before the solo – which is different from the Zep II version and laid down with typical Page authority. Again, there’s a clarity about the whole thing as you here Jimmy’s delicate string work, then it’s into the fast solo with Bonzo back in for the finale.. and blam ‘’Heartbreaker, Heartbreaker …Heart!’’

Living Loving Maid (She’s Just A Woman) (Backing track – 3.11)

A basic backing track with no major overdubs –very clean take with Bonzo high in the mix. Great snare sound. It’s pleasingly unnerving to hear the silences between the verses where Plant would normally come in. This also highlights the pop sensibility of the track which could have easily been vying for top 40 singles success had they had such inclination. There’s no main guitar solo and it all moves on to a funky finale with a full chord ending rather than the abrupt close of the released version.

Ramble On (Rough mix with vocal – 4.44)

Slightly differing texture to the vocal and the bass guitar is more prominent. This basic reference mix was yet to be fully overdubbed – there’s no guitar solo here so you can hear Jimmy’s acoustic guitar strumming very effectively alongside Bonzo’s precision drumming and the ‘’I ain’t telling no lines ‘’adlib from Robert in more clarity. The fade is a simpler mix with again a few overdubs yet to be applied notably the ‘’Bluebird ‘’ insert. It fades to a full ending.

Moby Dick (Backing track – 1.38)

This presents the two sections of the officially released riff part that opens and closes the track. John’s solo is omitted – he then counts back in to the riff with a jigging hi hat –there’s a full ending as opposed to the cross fade into Bring It On Home on the official Led Zeppelin II version. This recording has appeared on bootleg, surfacing in the early 90s on a tape that also had the drum insert with an alternate solo.

La La (Outro rough mix – 4.07)

Now for something completely different.

This is four minutes of what is dubbed an outro mix – in fact, one might presume there was a vocal part before this piece or it was intended as a reference for Robert to add a guide vocal. Whatever it is –it’s a brilliant piece of Page wizardry.  It opens in untypical Zep fashion with a Hammond organ drawl from JPJ before moving into an uptempo organ led descending riff piece – reference points that I wrote down on initial hearing: Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, Derek & The Dominoes, Tommy period Who.  Then there is a moment of true magic as an acoustic guitar motiv changes the direction of it all – and let me tell you this counterpoint moment is quintessentially Jimmy Page –like that one in Swan Song where the acoustic guitar comes in. From there things just keep happening. A barrage of guitar ala In My Time Of Dying to move the tempo back up with Bonzo tearing along, then yet another time signature switch as it slows to a bluesy feel and then a step on the wah wah for a scintillating Hendrix like finale.

Folks this new recording dubbed La La is what the phrase ‘tangents within a framework’ was invented for…

There are just so many ideas going on here and it’s a tantalising glimpse of what might have been – was it some sort of idea for a single? It certainly contains some radio friendly hooks. Whatever the intention, La La is an illuminating find as it vividly demonstrates the sheer instrumental prowess of Led Zeppelin – with Jimmy Page very much at the helm driving them ever onward…and I mean driving…. get ready to add this to your playlist as the perfect roller-coaster summer instrumental soundtrack.


One thing that became evident to me listening back to this companion audio disc, is how Jimmy has purposely sequenced the set in line with the original album – in light of that fact, it should be listened to as one complete experience rather than dipping in on a few choice cuts. The mission to explain the creative process that went into making the second Led Zeppelin album is therefore more than accomplished with many an unexpected delight along the way. In short, peering into the portal of where Led Zeppelin were at during 1969 opens up a whole new perspective. Get ready for a full viewing soon…

Dave Lewis May 26th, 2014.


Led Zeppelin News Update:

In conjunction with the Led Zep news site, each week I will be re- producing highlights from their weekly email update news summary. This goes out every Sunday. Sign up details are below. Many thanks to James Cook.

Hello! Welcome to the 193rd Led Zeppelin News email. We email out a summary of the week’s news every weekend so that you don’t miss anything.

Jimmy Page

Robert Plant

  • Robert Plant has another performance scheduled for December with Saving Grace: December 20 in Stourbridge. We’ve added it to the full list of upcoming events below.

John Paul Jones

  • John Paul Jones will perform as part of his new musical project Sons Of Chipotle at the Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, Tennessee on March 26-29, 2020.

Upcoming events:

November – The “Play It Loud: Instruments Of Rock And Roll” exhibition will move to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
December – Jimmy Page’s new book, “Jimmy Page: The Anthology,” will be released.
December 9 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Devon, UK.
December 10 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Salisbury, UK.
December 11 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Bristol, UK.
December 13 – Robert Plant’s vinyl singles box set “Digging Deep” will be released.
December 16 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Lancashire, UK.
December 17 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Blackpool, UK.
December 19 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Powys, Wales.
December 20 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Stourbridge, UK.
December 22 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Birmingham, UK.
March 26-29, 2020 – John Paul Jones will perform as Sons Of Chipotle at the Big Ears music festival in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Many thanks to James Cook.

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


Robert Plant Digging Deep Podcast:

Latest episode Robert talks about Patty Griffin’s Ohio …


Led Zeppelin Live Tour In Japan 1971 -1972:

Some feedback here from TBL contributor on the above new book just out…

Received a copy — here is my firsthand account.
The bad thing first. Of the photos published here, the September 1971 performances are from Tokyo 23rd, Hiroshima 27th and Osaka 28th. None from Tokyo 24th and Osaka 29th. As for the 1972 tour, all of the onstage shots are from Tokyo Oct 2nd but nothing else.
The good thing is, there are TONS of unseen shots — mainly outtakes that were not chosen for the publication (i.e. the Music Life magazine) for some reason or other back then. Some of them are obviously flawed results, bad postures, unfocused shots etc, but because of (rather than despite) that, they somehow give a more candid, vivid impression of Led Zeppelin in action than all those impeccable but often slick pics you see elsewhere. A plenty of offstage — and unseen as well — shots are also included here, members as well as entourage on sightseeing, mixing with journalists and fans, among others.
Of all the photo books focused on the group, this is quite a unique publication and worth having on the bookshelf if you are a Zep connoisseur




Evenings With Led Zeppelin one year gone…

The Evenings With Led Zeppelin book was officially published one year ago today…Mike Tremaglio and I are incredibly proud of what we achieved with this book and the highly positive feedback that followed.. If you have yet to indulge order link for UK Amazon is here…




This is Abbey Road – and the songs we’ve known for all these years but not necessarily in the right order and all the better for it…

My thoughts on The Abbey Road Sessions from the new 50th anniversary vinyl three LP box set (also on the three CD set).

Perhaps fittingly on what is John Lennon’s 79th birthday today, I finally made time for a through listen to the session outtakes on the new Abbey Road vinyl box set ( the sound throughout is crisp and well separated) and what an array of delights.

Demos, instrumental versions, take breakdowns , no moog synthesiser, no orchestral overdubs, revealing off mic chat – this really is The Beatles as nature intended.

Far from the doom laded mood that was said to prevail at the time, there is so much joy in their performances. This is (for one last time) The Beatles loving being The Beatles again and it’s just fantastic to be able to eavesdrop on the creative process that made these 1969 recordings so special.

And what a creative process it was and is:

Sessions Record 1:
I Want You (She’s So Heavy) (Trident Recording Session & Reduction Mix): This hints at Lennon’s increasingly loud and menacing approach to recording (previous reference points here: Yer Blues and Revolution)that would lead to the creation of the Plastic Ono band – and Billy Preston’s swirling organ embellishments dominate throughout. This track more than any other has grown in stature with this 50th anniversary release.

Goodbye (Home Demo): Quaint and sweet Macca as ace tunesmith and one that got given away to Mary Hopkin. Mark Lewishon’s Beatles meeting tape reveals that John was pushing for the more McCartney commercial songs to be given to others artists.

3. Something (Studio Demo): Marvel here at the fragility of George’s vocal -quite breathtaking and dig those vocal adlibs ‘’Oh I love that woman, I need her all the time’’

4. The Ballad Of John And Yoko (Take 7): John and Paul acoustic guitar and drums with no overdubs. Thrilling to hear the two of them ‘riding nowhere on their way home ‘– in total harmony like the day they met at that church fete in 1957. The single that preceded the album in May 1969.

5. Old Brown Shoe (Take 2): Wonderfully complex George song with Paul on drums again and John adding a rollicking piano solo. A classic Beatles B side.

6. Oh! Darling (Take 4): Utterly magnificent – Paul in his best Little Richard I’m Down voice – possibly even more impressive than the finished released version.

7. Octopus’s Garden (Take 9): There’s smiles all round when the take breaks down – Ringo being Ringo as only he could.

8. You Never Give Me Your Money (Take 36): Wonderful early version taped at Olympic Studios May 6 ,1969. The lyrical theme may have hinted at their business troubles but once again they sound united as a band.

9. Her Majesty (Takes 1-3): Closely miked, Paul does his simple short royal thing – in three takes for good measure.

10. Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight (Takes 1-3 / Medley). Love Paul’s teasing ‘’Day after day’’line from The Fool On The Hill before this early attempt at the merging of these two songs.

11. Here Comes The Sun (Take 9): Moog-less, and orchestral less, the sheer beauty of the song shines through…

12. Maxwell’s Silver Hammer (Take 12): I may be in minority but I’ve always loved the lyrical theme of the much maligned Maxwell. Minus the anvil and moog here – simple but effective.

Sessions Record 2:

1. Come Together (Take 5): What a vocal performance…and only a guide one too but Lennon gives it his all ‘’I’m losing my cool’’ he blurts out at the end.

2. The End (Take 3): Great to hear Ringo’s drum solo in such clarity – not the best drummer in the Beatles? Think again – simply one of the best drummers of all time in my view.

3. Come And Get It (Studio Demo): Another one they gave away – superbly constructed in this demo version – Badfinger did not have much to add when they recorded their hit version of a song used on the Magic Christian film Ringo starred in with Peter Sellers.

4. Sun King (Take 20)into 5. Mean Mr Mustard (Take 20): Work in progress version of the Fleetwood Mac Albatross like Sun King and Mean Mister Mustard.

6. Polythene Pam (Take 27) into 7. She Came In Through The Bathroom Window (Take 27). More medley moments in progress –love Lennon’s references to The Dave Clark Five and The who’s Tommy.

8. Because (Take 1 – Instrumental): breathtakingly beautiful in this instrumental version featuring George Martin on electric harpsichord.

9. The Long One (Trial Edit & Mix – 30 July 1969) (Medley: You Never Give Me Your Money, Sun King, Mean Mr Mustard, Her Majesty, Polythene Pam, She Came In Through The Bathroom Window, Golden Slumbers, Carry That Weight, The End): The experimental mix with her Majesty included. They made the right decision to strip it out. The mix itself is quite enlightening minus the finished overdubs.

11. Something (Take 39 – Instrumental – Strings Only)
12. Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight (Take 17 – Instrumental – Strings & Brass Only)
Finally…the genius of George Martin laid bare…a moving testament to the importance he played in the sheer majesty of this album.

Summary: This double album of Abbey Road Sessions include some of the best Beatles outtakes yet to surface.

So this is Abbey Road – and the songs we’ve known for all these years but… (with a nod to Eric Morecambe) not necessarily in the right order.

Hearing them this way I feel all the better for it …and closer to The Beatles musical state of mind in 1969 than I ever have been these past 50 years…

Thank you Giles Martin, thank you Apple Records , thank you John, Paul, George and Ringo.

The Beatles – the act we’ve known for all these years, and through this incredible Abbey Road outpouring ,we now we know and understand them a whole lot more.. .

Dave Lewis, October 9, 2019


Dave Lewis Diary Blog Update:

Friday treats at the Vinyl Barn at the always excellent Vinyl Barn last Friday, I was pleased to find a copy of The Ides of March 1970 single Vehicle top stuff thanks Darren!pic here with my very good friend Dec Hickey over from Ireland.

Saturday was platterday – and on National Album Day – on the player Led Zeppelin II nearly 50 years old….playing in it’s entirety from 3.33 PM – and sounding as brilliant as ever…

It’s Led Zeppelin II that is at the forefront of the current projects as next Tuesday all roads lead back to the CAT Club in Pontefract. I’ve been fighting off a cold for the past few days but aim to be back on form to celebrate this legendary album 50 years to the day from when it was issued.

Dave Lewis  –  October 16, 2019

Until next time –  have a great  weekend…

TBL Website updates compiled by Dave Lewis

with thanks to Gary Foy and James Cook

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