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TBL 41 DETAILS SOON/PRINCE 1958 -2016 / LZ NEWS/WALKING INTO CLARKSDALE 18 YEARS GONE /DL DIARY BLOG UPDATE

27 April 2016 3,169 views 10 Comments
TBL 41 UPDATE: prince
Full details of the forthcoming TBL issue 41 will be announced this afternoon May 6 at 3pm GMT… 
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Prince 1958 – 2016:

Just as last week’s TBL website update was being posted, the shocking and sad news that Prince had passed away aged 57 came through.

Another musical legend’s light has gone out…

The music of Prince defined the 1980s -brash, uncompromising, flashy, full of colour and excess.

His music first came to my notice in 1983. This was when I was ensconced in music retail. The Warner Brothers rep who called on the record store I managed, was doing much to break this upcoming singer songwriter from Minnesota. In amongst the gimmicks of offering double pack 12 inch singles packs to sell etc, Prince’s vast talent broke though in early 1983 when 1999 reached 25 on the UK chart.

However, it  took awhile to get his career moving, Little Red Corvette surprisingly was something of a flop on it’s first release in September 1983. By 1984, Prince was up and running when the single  When Doves Cry made the UK top 5.

From then on, Prince Rogers Nelson and I had many good retail times together – as his singles and albums racked up the sales. Purple Rain making the top ten and the re- released  Little Red Corvette reaching number 2 in early 1985.  Around that time, I vividly remember Prince accepting a Brit award at the 1985 ceremony flanked by a bodyguard.

It only added to the attraction and fasciation of this diminutive musical genius. The hits stacked up and there was also the not inconsequential matter of the Purple Rain film.

Ah yes, the Purple Rain film – that brings me to a rather humorous Prince retail story. Back in the summer of 1985 the local Civic Theatre in Bedford arranged two special showings of the film. Sensing a retail opportunity, I got in touch with them and arranged that we would have a record stall in the foyer selling the Prince catalogue.

The first night we did sell a few albums  and then revamped things for the second night so the stall was more accessible.

As we had seen the film on the first night, the good lady Janet and I decided we would adjourn to the local pub The Greyfriars in the town centre (long gone now) – I had worked out the film timings and planned we would be back at 10.30 just prior to the film ending -thus ready for the potential sales as the punters came out from the film viewing…

Alas, all did not go according to plan.

As we walked up to the theatre from the pub just before 10.30, I could see people streaming out the door…

Curses –  I’d got the timings wrong!

By the time id vaulted over the road fencing to get behind the stall – all but a few stragglers had exited the theatre and foyer. There was no big post Purple Rain sales to be had and rather dejectedly we packed up the stock and took it back to the shop.

It was not the first or last time that I had outstayed public house duties…

No matter – for the next five years Prince’s albums and singles kept the tills ringing big time.

In the late 1980s, I worked with a couple of Prince mega fans  namely Julian Knott and Kevin McCabe (Kevin went on to be a big player in the UK music industry). They were Prince crazy – buying the records, memorabilia and fanzines and attending gigs and Prince conventions.

In fact, I took a keen interest in the fanzine (called The Crystal Ball) and conventions – this Prince fan activity would later be something of an inspiration when I bought the TBL mag back and co- organized the 1992 Led Zep Convention.

At  that time I remember a memorable playback of the Prince Bat Dance single – as we all huddled around the radio to hear the first play of it  – no iTunes downloads in those days.

In the early 90s, I also met now long time TBL contributor Krys Jantzen who also worked at the Our Price record chain (for a time he was my boss) and shared those Prince retail experiences – Krys was in touch this week to offer these comments

I was fortunate to see him 19 times in concert including a  great night at Wembley in 1986, performing Miss You with Ronnie Wood. Met Prince the following day and again in 1994.

I only saw Prince live in concert on one occasion – and what an occasion it was, as the good lady Janet and our fiends including  my very good friend Alan Stutz, attended the Lovesexy tour show in the round at Wembley Arena on August 1,1988.

Alan and his sister (also a mega fan) would go on to see him countless times right up to last year – he was the first to text me the sad news.

In the  90s, Prince’s record sales dried up a little though not before he scored a number one with the brilliant  The Most Beautiful Girl In The World in 1994

As the years passed, I was always interested to see what he was up to and he continued to put on a great live show – the 2006 Brits appearance confirming his status as a true legend. As mentioned, Alan would always feedback on his Prince gig going experiences.

There are some Zep Prince references that have come to light in the past week – notably Robert Plant’s astute comments in a TV interview circa 1988 (see YouTube clip below) and a scintillating version of Whole Lotta Love (again see clip below).

His passing has prompted Bowie like outpourings of grief in the US and his music in the past seven days has been everywhere. There’s also been many a tribute from the likes of Bruce Springsteen who opened his Brooklyn show with Purple Rain and the Deborah Bonham Band who paid similar tribute in at their recent French gig  (see clip below).

Prince’s music may not have been high on my playlist recently but in the usual ”you don’t know what you got until you lose it ”style, when I turned up at the Bedford Pop Up Record shop last Saturday morning – a Prince greatest hits album was on the player,

Hearing the likes of Little Red Corvette, When Doves Cry, Take Me With You, Kiss, Alphabet Street etc. made me realize what a talent he was and what an unrivalled catalogue he leaves behind – and yes there was a lump in my throat.

Another legendary light has gone out  – and like so many other recent passing’s, the grief will eventually subside and the music…the utterly fantastic music of Prince will live on… and on.

Dave Lewis – April 26, 2016

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 Led Zeppelin News Update:

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

Robert Plant

  • Footage of Robert Plant performing in 1983 has been uploaded online for the first time. The video includes footage of Plant performing at the Cow Palace in California. There’s also footage of Jimmy Page performing as part of the ARMS tour that year. You can watch the video here.

Jason Bonham

  • Jason Bonham’s former band Black Country Communion will return next year. The band includes Glenn Hughes, Joe Bonamassa, Derek Sherinian and Jason Bonham. They recorded three albums together but split up in 2012 — now they’re going to get back together in 2017.

Upcoming events:

May 6 – Bidding ends for a statue of a saint painted by John Paul Jones.
May 10 – The “Stairway To Heaven” copyright case will go to trial in Los Angeles.
June 19 – Robert Plant will perform at the Royal Festival Hall in London with Guy Garvey, Nick Mulvey, Nadine Shah and Josephine Oniyama.
July 1 – Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters will perform at the Rock Werchter music festival in Belgium.
July 2 – Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters will perform at the Beauregard Music Festival in France.
July 4 – Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters will perform at Le festival des Nuits d’Istres in France.
July 7 – Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters will perform at the NOS Alive Music Festival in Portugal.
July 14 – Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters will perform at Festival Noches del Botánico in Spain.
July 20 – Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters will perform at the Street Music Art Festival in Italy.
July 22 – Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters will perform in Italy.
July 24 – Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters will perform in Italy.
July 27 – Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters will perform in the Czech Republic.
July 28 – Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters will perform in Austria.
July 30 – Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters will perform in Croatia.
August 2 – Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters will perform in Germany.
August 4/5/6/7 – Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters will perform at the Wilderness Festival in the UK.

The Led Zeppelin News email goes out every weekend. To receive it each week sign up here: https://t.co/yp9fGJMSGH
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TBL Retro Archive:  
walking
Jimmy flagged on his website last week that the Walking Into Clarksdale album was released in this week in 1998 – all of 18 years ago.
The release of that album brings back many fantastic memories – it was such a great time to be a Page & Plant fan. Here’s my original review of the album written for TBL issue 13.
Walking Into Clarksdale: Another Walk With Walter

Q: When is a Led Zeppelin album not a Led Zeppelin album?

A: When it’s Walking Into Clarksdale.

Jimmy Page and Robert Plant : Walking Into Clarksdale (Mercury)

Well it’s certainly not ‘Led Zeppelin 2’, as if anyone would have been daft to enough to think it would be! And initially, it may leave the listener slightly confused, but eventually this long awaited new studio album continues in the grand Page Plant tradition of moving ever onwards. In doing so they constantly refuse to merely retread the formulas of old and instead opt for innovation and surprise.

If anything, it’s something of another walk with Walter. I would draw parallel to the overall feel of the album with that of their spring 1972 Stargroves composition Walter’s Walk, which finally saw the light of day on Coda. That track has a monolithic feel that takes some plays to rise to the surface, and contains an intensity that initially may cloud it’s impressive content. But when it’s quality becomes apparent then it really hits home. So it is with Walking Into Clarksdale.

Whilst there are no blatant Zeppelin re-spray jobs, the album is littered with subtle elements of their past. One of the joys of the album is searching them out. One thing’s for sure though, this is an album that has to be worked at. However, given repeated listening, it does begin to fall into place, and the full fruits of their labour (all 35 days, if the press release is to be believed!) begins to unfold.

Much of the album carries a melancholic and wistful feel – presenting songs that carry a reflective lyrical theme. In tracks such as When The World Was Young, When I Was A Child and Heart In Your Hand, Robert seems to be pensively re-assessing events that have gone before (‘’Do your lips still call my name, would your mouth still taste the same’’). It makes for some of his most personal lyrical statements in song for a very long time. ‘’A bit of emotional debris,’’ is how he described the theme of some of the song’s to Mojo’s Matt Snow.

I’ve had many a memorable premier of their work in the past – I can recall vividly exactly where I was the first time I heard Physical Graffiti, Presence, Pictures At Eleven etc. – and this new Page Plant album was always going to be an epic initial playback. So there I was, holed up in the TBL office around 9pm on a cold early ’98 Wednesday night faced with the huge ex-pectation of this new album, knowing that over the coming months these songs would be the soundtrack to my life and countless other like-minded fans across the world.

As the semi acoustic groove of Shining In The Light swung in it was a huge relief to finally be listening to new Page Plant music. As that familiar guitar style oozed from the speakers and that voice opened up… well I knew I was in the best company again. Subsequently some of the content did seem to wash over on that initial hearing.

Having lived with it for a while now, well, it’s excellence is more than evident. It carries so much vitality and most importantly it carries a totally contemporary feel. This isn’t a museum piece as Jimmy stated recently, this is new music that can line up with any of the best of today’s modern outfits such as The Verve. Lets face it, there are few other songwriters of 30 years standing who can rival that feat.

In terms of the musical performance and production, Steve Albini’s role seems to have been more about capturing a clear sound than bringing in the rough edge that has been the focus of his work with The Pixies and PJ Harvey. Robert’s vocals throughout are a sheer delight, singing with clarity and conviction and aided by a very up-front vocal mix. Jimmy, meantime, appears to be concentrating on his strength as a craftsman of guitar sound rather than churning out endless solos.

Some may bemoan the lack of guitar army tactics but by adopting this method there is a subtlety and surprise element (that swift guitar change in the title track for instance) in his performance that is a joy to hear. Michael Lee once again more than  proves his worth to the set up ably supported by Charlie’s bass work. Aside from the odd cameo from Ed Shearmer and Tim Whelan, it’s the basic ‘four-man, live-in-the-studio’ format that has worked so well on stage in recent weeks.

Outstanding moments? Quite a few. The way they kick in relentlessly on the chorus of When The World Was Young, with all the spark of on the road spirit of ’72 Zeppelin. The way the string arrangement comes seeping in on Upon A Golden Horse – the whole track has the bizarre lyrical content that has lit up many a Plant prose in the past- and carries a great swirling sound reminiscent of Four Sticks.

Please Read The Letter opens with Sick Again like riffing from Page before settling into a very West Coast repetitive romp that echoes the work of Moby Gape and vocally, finds Plant aping the style of Roy Orbison. Most High comes over as almost a separate entity from the rest of the album with it’s Arabic tendencies offering a last glance back to the world of Unledded. I felt this sound-ed a little perfunctory as a studio track, however, it’s elevation as a live piece seems to have rectified those initial shortcomings.

The title track is a great throw back to the off-the-cuff rockabilly tradition of Candy Store Rock. With it’s jolting time change it could easily have taken it’s place on Presence, and that second solo is pure Telecaster heaven reminiscent of the fluttering style Page deployed on those final Yardbirds recordings (Think About It springs to mind).

Burning Up and House Of Love are where the guitarist steps up a gear. The former is embellished throughout by that crunching riff – a real slashing affair that jumps out of the speakers, propelled along by Lee’s tom tom barrage. It’s here that Page really steps on it, proving, if proof was needed, that he can pump those solos out in his sleep. The latter finds Page pressing down on the wah wah delightfully underpinning the incessant drum track in support of Plants “It’s just a little too much’’ pleadings.

Sons Of Freedom comes complete with a Prodigy like urgency aided by yet more impressive drumming – it’s vaguely in the style of Network News from Robert’s Fate album, and jumps around feverishly before it all grinds to a percussive halt. It’s worth mentioning that after this track the Japanese version for the album carries the bonus Whiskey In The Glass, which is nothing more than a studio jam taped towards the end of the sessions. It’s set against a Bo Diddley Mona syncopated beat with Page playing that reverberated phased guitar style heard on Rude World, and Plant in his best ad-lib vocal, but fades prematurely at under three minutes just as it’s getting warmed up.

That leaves the trio of performances that best capture that aforementioned melancholy feel. Heart In Your Hand took a while to register, initially sounding like something from a Chris Isaac album. However this is one of the prime growers… Page plays some deft Dick Dale phrasing behind Plant’s reflective longing. Overall, the song captures a dark and brooding soundtrack feel.

When I Was A Child opens with a memorable reverberating tremolo. Then Robert comes in to deliver a haunting narrative that casts an oblique shadow of his past. Page adds a suitable restrained solo and at the finale Plant ad-libs the final lines with delicate finesse, “Oh you know, so I wander through your garden, grow, when I was a boy, I was a boy…” One of the stand-out tracks and one of Robert’s best vocal performances in years.

Then there is Blue Train. Opening with some slow moving bass and timpani before Robert’s mournful vocal seeps in. It then up-lifts via some strident Zeppelinish dynamics and features a beautifully plangent Byrds like jangling guitar solo constructed in a way that is just quintessential Jimmy Page. At the close Robert raises the tempo, “Hear the blue train, hear the blue train’’, before it all calms to a close. Lyrically, there’s a reflective longing that is as close to home for Robert as perhaps I Believe was.

For me When I Was a Child and Blue Train are performance’s to rank right up there with Ten Years Gone and Down By The Seaside, as both display that unique emotional dynamism that has always characterised their best work.

So ends another walk with Walter. It’s not instant, and some of it takes a while to register but there can be no denying the sheer quality of this long awaited work. In the shadow of the Zeppelin, but essentially Page Plant music of today, Walking Into Clarksdale may turn out to be one of the most durable and ultimately satisfying albums of their entire career.

Lost in melancholy: the wistful Page & Plant

Compilation Heaven

The melancholy feel of some of the new album inspired me to trawl through the more wistful moments of their illustrious back catalogue. It was a rewarding exercise, bringing to light some rarely played gems. What I then did was mix it all up to come up with a C120 cassette representing two hours of music that randomly sequences material from the Zepp era, through the solo years and on to the new album. Compilation heaven for late-night listening with the lights down low. Lost in the melancholy of the more wistful moments of the Page Plant catalogue. Try it yourself and then press to play.

Side 1: Through With The Two Step/Tanger-ine/The Greatest Gift/Blue Train/Ten Years Gone/Moonlight In Samosa/Writes Of Winter/ When I Was A Child/Down By The Seaside/ Tea For One/Carole’s Theme (electric).

Side 2: Bron Yr Aur/Like I’ve Never Been Gone/Heart In Your Hand/I Cried/No Quarter/ The Window/Going To California/Wonderful One/The Rain Song (Unledded)/I’m Gonna Crawl/That’s The Way/Ship Of Fools.

Dave Lewai –  April 17, 1998.

Postscript April, 2016:

Walking Into Clarksdale may turn out to be one of the most durable and ultimately satisfying albums of their entire career.

Looking back that was a bit of a bold statement – Walking Into Clarksdale has actually gone down as quite a low key album. The rather thin production and lack of wide screen riffling -something so evident on Jimmy’s previous studio project – the Coverdale Page album – does reduce it’s overall impact. That said, much of it still sounds great – from the light and breezy opener Shining In the Light through to the still superb Blue Train (one of the best ever Page Plant alliances in or out of Zep) and wonderfully affecting When I Was A Child – it still has much to delight. Only  the rather cumbersome Burning Up and Sons of Freedom have really paled.

It’s a discerningly odd album – never that high on the playlist but when I do play it  – it always hits the mark and like I said, this album is steeped in late 90s memories. Walking Into Clarksdale is therefore something of a durable minor league classic. Have a listen again – I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

DL

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Larry Bergmann Jr fan summit:

LARRY BRIAN JOHN

Here’s an update for long time TBL contributor and all round great guy Larry Bergmann jr.

 The Commonwealth of Virginia was once again the scene of another Zep summit when on April 8, my old friend and fellow Zep scribe John Mattar braved the wilds of the Washington DC area (possibly the most savage place on the face of the earth as that’s where our federal government resides) for an evening of good food, a libation or three, and some serious Zeppelin blabbering and gazing.
We spent the evening in the company of our friend the legendary Zep collector Brian Knapp, who was kind enough to show us his up and coming collection, and a very Zeppelin time was had by all.  John, as some veteran Zep fans will recall, did a lot of great writing for the old US fanzine Zoso Magazine in the late 80s/early 90s, and he also penned a couple of pieces for the dearly departed fanzine Proximity.
Apart from his day job, John can also be found in his white poppy suit doing some nifty guitar picking for the bluegrass band Without A Paddle.  Their website can be accessed here:
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DL Diary Blog Update:
Friday treats at the Vinyl Barn – my pickings last Friday included a couple of vintage Dave Brubeck albums on CBS and Fontana plus a late 60s Movie Soundtracks compilation on the US Dunhill label – cool stuff for the weekend -thanks Darren!
StudioMix April 22
The pic left of a rather tired TBL editor was taken at StudioMix last Friday afternoon reviewing some newly designed pages – after a long week, good progress had been made on the forthcoming TBL issue 41 – and it’s big thanks yet again to Mick Lowe for bringing all alive.
There’s been further progress TBL 41 this week – in fact I am into that period where I seem to be spending a considerable amount of my waking hours ensconced in the text and design. The home straight is in sight and I am hoping by next week I’ll be in a position to announce the full contents.
It’s shaping up to be another epic…
Shame that Tottenham failed to beat West Bromwich Albion on Monday night – it’s not quite over yet but it looks like it’s Leicester’s title now for the taking – and you have to take your hat off to them for one of the most astonishing football stories of recent years.
 
On the player: David Bowie – Can You Hear Me Call/ The Young Americans Sessions, The Beatles Anthology set, The Yardbirds Little Games, Graham Nash This Path Tonight (RSD release), Elvis Presley I’m Leavin’ (RSD release) and Dave Brubeck Summit Sessions – The Move Something Else EP (RSD release – thanks Richard G!) plus various newly acquired singles from the 1968 – 1973 era that I keep hoovering up.
destoyer

This one will be on the player today – the Destroyer bootleg set as recorded in Cleveland – all of 39 years ago today.The classic vinyl box set, this April 27 1977 performance  is taken from a well mixed soundboard tape. John Paul Jones’ use of the thundering Alembic bass guitar is well in evidence and his meandering solo on ‘No Quarter’ is a joy – as is Jimmy’s remake able guitar solo interlude. Overall, this is a crystal clear portrayal of the band regaining their crown. The sheer juggernaut power of ’77 Zeppelin blazes though.

Records…they really are good for the soul around these parts…

 Dave Lewis – April 27, 2016
You Tube Clips:
Robert Plant talking about Prince circa 1988:

 Prince  performing Whole Lotta Love: 

 Deborah Bonham Band – Purple Rain Prince Tribute:

Until next time…

Have a great weekend,

Dave Lewis/Gary Foy – April 27 , 2016.

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10 Comments »

  • Bob Flux said:

    Hey Larry – absolutely agree with you 100% about “The Window”. I’m sure that most people won’t have heard it, but to my ears it’s one of the best things Page and Plant have ever recorded. Period. Just stunning in its “eerieness”. Very creepy, but awesome. And yes, Rude World too – also awesome.

    And as for Page on this live tour – yes, he was absolutely blinding. Would many others agree that it was probably his best consistent live showing since the Zep years, possibly even since 1972/3 – or am I pushing it too far there?

  • Larry said:

    Some really great comments on the Clarksdale album. I agree with Stephen and Bob, this was another Plant-centric album. Hard to imagine this is the way the album would have sounded had Page been producing. Albini’s mixes are simply awful, the album sounds as though it was recorded underwater. Without doubt the worst sounding commercial release Page and Plant ever put their name on. The album should be remixed and re-released.

    That said, to these ears it’s still more enjoyable than the unfortunately titled No Quarter album. Blue Train is certainly the most affecting song on the album, Heart In Your Hand is another…Most High and Walking Into Clarksdale are the most Zeppelinesque songs on the record, and Walking was a real monster in concert. Shining In The Light and When The World Was Young also fared much better in a live setting. Perhaps I’m in the minority, but I like Burning Up, it’s certainly not a classic, but it is Page letting it rip, a somewhat welcome relief on this album. His playing is also wonderful on When I Was A Child.

    House Of Love and Sons Of Freedom close it out nicely, the Japan only track Whiskey From The Glass is an insane Page rampage with a post-apocalyptic sound, and the CD single b-side The Window, a powerful and foreboding track, is also a must.

    There were other b-sides, edits of Golden Horse and Shining, as well as “radio” and “video” edits of Most High, which to these ears are more powerful and concise than the album version. And the three live b-sides in spectacular sound from the Shepherd’s Bush Empire show are stunning. Clarksdale, No Quarter and How Many More Times…I certainly wouldn’t mind having the entire show in this quality!

    I made a two disc collection of all this stuff once upon a time, and I also tacked on Rude World from the Ranier Ptacek tribute album, as well as My Bucket’s Got A Hole In It from the Sun Records tribute album, just to sort of round out the available material from the Page/Plant era.

    The Clarksdale tour was excellent. Best guitar Jimmy had played since mid-period Zeppelin, he killed it at the shows I saw. Robert was struggling to keep up at times it seemed, and that was probably the impetus for their partnership dissolving. Just my $.02.

  • Wools said:

    Dave,
    Always have had very mixed opinion of Clarksdale. I eagerly awaited its release back in the day, and was always of the belief that Robert tried too much to control Jimmy Page. I truly did not expect something from the Led Zep canon, but this reformation of musical ideas slightly missed the mark for me. This one is not a piece that is within my musical rotation unfortunately.
    Sorry for the loss of Prince, the man did have a worldwide following.

    Wools

  • Dave M said:

    I remember the opening line of Dave’s review from first time around: “Well it’s certainly not Led Zeppelin 2.”

    And, sadly, indeed it wasn’t. I found WIC disappointingly unlistenable.

    I must have played it two, maybe three, times then put it on the CD shelf where it’s remained ever since.

    For me it sounded just dull, monotone and lethargic – and far removed from why Zep became my favourite band years earlier.

    But it’s a Friday night. I’ve poured a glass of wine and I’ve put on my headphones.

    A re-appraisal is in order!

  • Bob Flux said:

    Agree with many of the comments re Clarksdale. I’m one of those who “curiously rate it amongst their favourites”, though I wholeheartedly agree that it could have been a lot better had the production been stronger and some of the weaker songs removed from the running list. Why do you think the production is so weak? People seem to universally agree that the production is a real issue with this album – it sounds very “grey”, very colourless to me. Was Page having an off day with this album, or was it Steve Albini’s influence that resulted in the sound we ended up with? Very curious.

    Song-wise, I agree re Burning Up – quite a cumbersome song – and House of Love isn’t all that strong as a song, but Sons of Freedom is fantastic. It could have been electrifying, though, if that darned production had been stronger. And Most High is just wonderful. I nearly went bang with excitement the first time I heard it at the famous Shepherd’s Bush gig, but it was even better when I heard it on record. To me, it’s that studio version that wins – it’s just incredible. Blue Train and Golden Horse and great, too.

    I always had the feeling that Plant was holding Page back on this album. They were coming at it fresh from the otherworldly Unledded, and whereas I understand that Page was raring to get back into a four-piece rock format, the absolute last thing that Plant wanted was a rerun of Coverdale-Page (which was only 5 years old at this point). He was also getting more into his “restrained” style of singing, and I always thought that he sounds pretty “thin”, vocally, on Clarksdale. In hindsight, I think that Plant was already pulling away from Page, perhaps subconsciously at this point, when they went in to record Clarksdale.

    I can’t see Page and Plant ever venturing into a studio together again, though – those days now seem permanently gone – so it’s an important part of their joint history, if not quite the Swan Song that we all knew they were capable of.

    Now, if only one of them would reunite with the legendary Norman Hale of Jersey Jam fame for a blitz round the stadia of the world!

  • Stephen said:

    With the passage of time and reduced expectation, WIC sounds not bad, but for me it is still a huge missed opportunity. By 1998 the Page/Plant dynamic had completely turned on it’s head, with Plant now fully in control. Mainly, because Page was scared Plant would walk away from the relationship again. So at Plant’s insistence we get a garage-sounding album produced by “hip”-alternative engineer Albini. No guitar army and terrible production. Like telling Picasso he can only use one brush and a tiny canvas. Also, Plant’s voice in the mid-late 90s was horrible. It sounds thin and lacking power. His voice recovered from 2000, when he employed a different vocal approach. Anyway, it’s an atmospheric ditty, but not terribly exciting and memorable.

  • Ed-Washington DC said:

    David Gilmour brought out a few measures of Purple Rain tribute in the middle of Comfortably Numb last Sunday night, bathed in purple light of course. Nice seamless transition from the Rain solo into the grand ending of Comfortably Numb, as you might expect of a musician of Mr. Gilmour’s caliber.

    From purple to pink, if you like.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcDHXoQmxu0

  • Hiroshi said:

    Prince. The last true musical genius rock has ever given to us.
    At the time of his creative zenith, i.e., from Around The World In A Day (1985) to Lovesexy (1988) IMHO, Prince was second to none.
    Saw him live eight times between 1986 and 2002. Earth-shattering at his best. Almost transcendental.
    He lives in spirit. Long live Prince.

  • Bill said:

    Great review on Clarksdale thanks Dave. It is always interesting to hear the mixed lot of views on this album. I prefer your Postscript comments.
    The album could and should have been much better. It pales on much of their other output from around the period. I guess that they took a wrong turn on the production.
    Clarksdale sits close to the bottom of my LZ and solo projects playlist. I know others who curiously rate it amongst their favourites though…

  • Richard Willis said:

    Great article about Clarkesdale, Dave. I remember the electric anticipation waiting for the album to ‘be born’. I was not disappointed as it was such a great offering that I quickly fell in love with. I remember watching Father Ted when he and Father Dougal were entering the European song contest, with their song ‘my lovely horse’. I saw this the same week as Clarkesdale was released and laughed like a drain. However, I quickly loved the song ‘upon a golden horse’, but I had great difficulty in taking it seriously for a while because of Ted and Dougal! ……. great times

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