RECORD COLLECTOR/BLUEBERRY HILL/DEBORAH BONHAM TOUR DATES/JIMMY PAGE SESSION MAN WEBSITE/CLASSIC ROCK AWARDS/ROBERT BIOGRAPHY/JASON-HEART/DL DIARY UPDATE
The new issue of Record Collector out this week, includes my 40th anniversary feature on The Rolling Stones Goats Head Soup album. This is the seventh cover story feature I have had published in Record Collector over the past five years – four Led Zep, two on The Who, a Nick Drake, Rod Stewart and now The Rolling Stones. These back issues are still available at
See more on this below…
Firstly…a bit of timely TBL Archive to kick off proceedings …as the legendary Live On Blueberry Hill album comes under the spotlight…
With September upon us, it’s an appropriate moment to reflect back to a September of 43 years back when a recording of a Led Zeppelin concert captured by some enterprising fans resulted in one of the iconic bootlegs. This TBL Archive feature first written in 2003, focuses on the story and impact of the recording of September 4th 1970 that captured Led Zeppelin on stage in full flight at the Los Angeles Forum.
Led Zeppelin’s impact on their initial American tours made them a prime targets for the then emerging bootleg recording business. The bands’ penchant for extending and improvising upon their studio recorded repertoire made their live shows very different from listening to their albums.
During the first eighteen months on the road they cleverly inter wove the basic recorded material to be found on the first two albums with additional impromptu jams. Early examples of this included the long jam on Garnet Mimms As Long As I Have You employed on many of their 1969 shows, the medley of numbers to be found within How Many More Times and an improvised jam session in the middle of the live delivery of Communication Breakdown. Then there was Dazed And Confused Page’s late Yardbird remnant that by 1970 was developing into a marathon twenty minute opus with differing sections including the violin bow episode and a call and response battle between Page and Plant. Whole Lotta Love the catalytic Zep 2 opener soon became another forum for exploration as they regularly employed it as a platform to playfully insert a variety of rock’ n’roll classics.
During 1970 they also began previewing songs from the yet to be released third album -initially an embryonic Since I’ve Been Loving You and then in a bold move, the acoustic That’s The Way a performance that helped break the myth that Zep was just going to be about Marshall amplifiers. It’s unlikely the two separate team of fans intent on recording the Zeppelin gig at the Inglewood Forum in Los Angeles on the night of September 4th 1970 were quite aware of the full spectrum of Zeppelin’s live performances but they both came away with lengthy representations of the band’s current state of play recorded on reel to reel recorders close to the stage.
The source that would became known as the album Led Zeppelin Live On Blueberry Hill was captured by a pair of west coast bootleggers who had been previously responsible for Bob Dylan’s Great White Wonder set and the Rolling Stones LiveR Than You’ll Ever Be. The latter had been recorded on a Uher 4000 reel to reel tape recorder with 71/2ips inch reels and a Sennheiser 805 shotgun microphone. It was this set up they took into the Forum to record in stereo the Zeppelin September 4 performance. Unbeknown to them, a separate bootlegger known as Rubber Dubber also recorded the show and quickly issued it as a double bootleg album stamped Led Zeppelin Live Los Angeles Forum 9-4-70.
The more common Blimp label version (later to appear on the high profile bootleg label Trade Mark Of Quality) with a distinctive surreal cover insert came out within weeks of the LA show. It’s worth noting however that it was not the first Led Zeppelin bootleg to be released. That distinction fell to a vinyl album known as PB (the title derived from the chemical symbol for lead). This came packaged in a brown sleeve and with the words P.B. Live on side one and Recorded Live -Pure Blues on side 2. The album was pressed in limited quantities around the Seattle area. Pure Blues subsequently reached a wider market when it was picked up by the Trade Mark Of Quality label and pressed as Mudslide..
The UK music press of the time chronicled the constant stream of bootleg titles from the likes of Bob Dylan,The Beatles and The Rolling Stones that were being imported into the country. The reports of Zeppelin titles surfacing came to the attention of Peter Grant and unsurprisingly he was none too happy. In one of the few naive statements of his career,Grant was quoted in the Melody Maker as saying: ”As far as I know there can be no Led Zeppelin tapes available. After hearing some time ago that there was going to be an attempt to bootleg some tapes of the band, I flew to America. We’ve managed to retrieve all the tapes and we know nothing in existence that can be issued”.
When Grant heard that copies of Live On Blueberry Hill were being sold from a shop in Chancery Lane in London, Grant and Richard Cole along with RAK management partner Mickie Most paid the proprietor Jeffrey Collins a visit. He questioned Collins on the Zeppelin album and with a little not so gentle persuasion made sure he knew that this was one bootleg album he might be best to leave alone. In a separate incident a year later in Vancouver fearing another case of bootlegging ,Grant promptly smashed the equipment being used by a team of anti pollution scientists set up to measure noise levels at a Zeppelin show in Vancouver.
Of course ultimately Grant was powerless to stop the proliferation of Zeppelin underground records of which Blueberry Hill was the forerunner. If you knew where to look, such rare artefacts were possible to come by . For this particular enchanted Zep obsessed teenager Live On Blueberry Hill represented the forbidden fruit and in 1971 I began a quest to track it down. Luckily the then relative newcomer to the pop press Sounds began offering a free service for reader advertisements. I scoured these columns religiously for many weeks and finally struck gold when I spotted an advert that ran along the lines ”Live albums for sale : Stones, Dylan ,Zeppelin etc”. The list came back and amongst the many Dylan and Beatles titles there it was – Live on Blueberry Hill a double album on the TMQ label catalogue number TMQ 72002 and pressed on coloured vinyl. -asking price £6. Back then six quid was a small fortune but it was more than worth it.
About three weeks later the postman dropped an LP size package on the doorstep .I anxiously ripped it open and there in all its glory was the genuine article: ”106 minutes and fifty three seconds of pure and alive rock as the sleeve insert put it. Was it ever.
The excitement of playing through that double album on blue and red vinyl remains an unforgettable musical memory for me. It was a novelty that never wore off. Indeed the variousincarnations I’ve obtained since- the Rubber Dubber vinyl set, the various re issues, the various bootleg CD packages – all these have only heightened the listening pleasure of that celebrated Los Angeles stop off during Led Zeppelin’s sixth American tour.
The overriding factor of the Sepember 4th 1970 recording regardless of which version one is subjected to – is that it remains one of the greatest audience recordings of the era.. The sheer dynamic thrust of Bonzo’s drum sound, the sinewy grind of Page’s guitar, Jonesy’s resonant bass lines and piecing keyboards and the outstanding clarity of Plant’s siren shrieks, (suitably enhanced by the echo unit employed at the time), all merge into a ferocious mix that magically re creates the electricity of the occasion.
For me personally and I’m sure anyone else who was weaned the original TMQ long players, there’s an authenticity in their performances ingrained in the grooves that has rarely been captured so effectively. Alongside the Winterland ’69 recordings,the Texas ’69 International festival, Japan 1971 shows, the various Earls Court sets and the LA 1977 gigs, there are few finer unofficial examples of the complete Led Zeppelin concert experience.
The September 4th 1970 concert as captured on the TMQ double set was just choc full of off the wall surprises. There was no sign of any set list sterility back then -they just did as they pleased.Moments to relish include:
The sheer aural assault of the Immigrant Song (the original insert listed this as From The Midnight Sun as it had yet to be announced under its official title for its appearance as the opening track on Zep 3) exploding into Heartbreaker. The slightly menacing tone of a relatively compact Dazed And Confused with Plant’s bursting in mid way through screaming ”I don’t care what people say rock’n’roll is here to stay”. Page and Bonham linked in glorious tandem for that solo exercise on Bring It On Home, The electric finale of Moby Dick (”The big B!” exclaims Plant), the sheer unpredictability of Communication Breakdown as Zep play the Buffalo Springfield and Beatles songbooks and throw in the rarely played live Zep 1 opener Good Times Bad Times.Freshly minted nuggets from the yet to be heard Zep 3 on record such as Since I’ve Been Loving You and the rarely played Out On the Tiles. The tentative introduction of the acoustic material, a stark and sensitive That’s The Way and the rare try out of Page’s instrumental solo Bron Yr Aur a clear five years before it was officially released. Thank You proceeded by the meandering organ solo from John Paul Jones and finishing with a drawn out ending featuring Page’s delicate strumming. Whole Lotta Love and the ensuing Zep 50′s revival show and finally the breathless rendition of Fat’s Blueberry Hill.
”Goodnight and thank you for everything” utters a breathless Plant at the close followed – ”Did ya dig it’?’ by the evening’s MC…
Yes we did and still do.
The greatest live album of all time? It’s certainly up there with the best. Official or otherwise. The reason is simple. It captures a group of musicians brimming with confidence. On stage that night in September 1970 Led Zeppelin were truly coming of age.
Live on Blueberry is also something of a yardstick for the neccessity of bootlegs. Back then Zeppelin’s recorded output was just the tip of the iceberg. On stage in live action was where the real creative inspiration occured and indeed where they really built their reputation. I recall Peter Grant summing ti all up when he told me ”Led Zeppelin was primarily an in person band that’s what it was really about”. Bootleg recordings of the band offered a whole new level of appreciation and Blueberry Hill was the watershed for the subsequent flood of live Zep bootleg that would emerge throughout the next four decades.
The whole bootleg CD market may be well out of control now and beyond any reasonable realm of quality control, but there was a time when bootlegs like Blueberry Hill were considered almost as important as the groups official output by fans and chroniclers alike and if they were honest, probably the group themselves.
Maybe that’s the greatest compliment that can be paid to this iconic bootleg recording. It remains as essential a part of their discography as any of their official albums.
More than four decades on, Live On Blueberry Hill is still an absolute thrill. Find it – play it –love it.
Deborah Bonham UK and French dates:
Deborah Bonham on TL7 – French TV Show
Deborah signs new record deal with USA label Spectra Records
BAD CO 40th Anniversary Tour – Deborah Bonham opens shows in Illinois USA July 2013
More News and updates on the website and message board
If you’re on facebook, please click ‘LIKE’ and ‘SHARE’ Deborah’s page
Classic Rock Roll of Honour Nominees Announced:
Just a reminder that the Led Zeppelin Celebration Day film is a contender for this years Classic Rock Roll of Honour Awards – here’s the info:
Classic Rock magazine has announced nominees for its 2013 Classic Rock Roll of Honour awards, which will be handed out during a November 14 event at London’s Roundhouse. Among the many artists competing for honors in several fan-voted categories are The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Fleetwood Mac, The Moody Blues, Blue Öyster Cult and Black Sabbath.
The Film/DVD of the Year nominees include the Rolling Stones documentary Crossfire Hurricane; Celebration Day, the concert film focusing on Led Zeppelin’s 2007 reunion show; Beware of Mr. Baker, the warts-and-all profile of Cream drummer Ginger Baker; the Status Quo comedy caper Bula Quo; and Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl‘s star-studded Sound City documentary.
Artists whose archival releases will be vying for the Reissue of the Year prize include Deep Purple, Fleetwood Mac, Blue Öyster Cult, The Moody Blues, King Crimson and The Velvet Underground.
Meanwhile, Black Sabbath will be receiving Classic Rock‘s prestigious Living Legend award at the ceremony. Previous recipients of the honor include ZZ Top, Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Alice Cooper and Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osbourne.
To vote for your favorites in these and other categories visit
Jimmy Page Session Man website:
Dadgad productions have launched a superb new website that logs the countless studio sessions Jimmy took part in during the 1960s. Well laid out with relevant artist links and masses of info. Highly recommended..
Be sure to have a look at
* Jimmy was in attendance at last Friday’s Queen of The new Stone Age gig at London’s Roundhouse.
Robert Plant biography due:
Robert Plant A Life – a new biography written by former Q editor Paul Rees is due for publication on October 24rd
Amazon pre -ordering link here –
Here’s a catch up review of the Jason Bonham /Heart show by Ed Bode of Plainfield Il.
Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience with Heart
July 29th 2013 Ravinia Highland Park Illinois
Ravinia is a old venue that is literally set in the middle of a residental neighborhood, it is one of the most
beautiful outdoor venues you can go to.
While rock and roll is no stranger to Ravinia it is known more for it’s classical music concerts, but on this night it was for Classic music.
It was a very hot night and it was a full house for a crowd and Jason and bandmates along with Heart did not disappoint.
As this was not Jason’s full set naturally the song selection was a bit more limited and there was not as much video as in the full Led Zep Experience shows, but there was still plenty of great music to be heard and to satisfy all.
Jason Bonham setlist was as follows:
Rock & Roll/Black Dog/Over The Hills & Far Away/Babe I’m Gonna Leave You/Houses Of The Holy/Nobody’s Fault But Mine/When The Levee Breaks/Whole Lotta Love
Jason’s band sounded great but special notice must be given to James Dylan, he was really bringing it this night and it was most evident on songs like Houses Of The Holy- he hit every high note without fail (i encourage everyone to youtube this and see for yourself)
Heart came on with a blistering opener of Barracuda and sounded great throughout their whole set, for me this was a first time seeing Heart and i was very impressed and hope to see them again, Ann has not lost any of her voice and she really hit all the high notes with conviction, i’ve always known that she has a great voice but experiencing it live was very impressive.
After a short intermission Heart came back on stage with jason on drums and Tony on guitar and together they performed more Zeppelin classics, and as was done at the Kennedy awards they brought a local choir out to perform Stairway To Heaven (complete with boiler hats), this sounded great and the choir was very into it and having a great time with it.
Heart/Bonham setlist was as follows: The Battle Of Evermore/The Song Remains The Same/The Rain Song/Kashmir/Stairway To Heaven
All in all a fantastic night with two great bands. If you have a chance to see this tour do yourself a favor and don’t miss it, you will NOT be disappointed
Ed Bode , Plainfield Il.
DL Diary Update:
To paraphrase the evocative sleeve notes of the Frank Sinatra September Of My Years LP ‘’September can be an attitude or an age or a wistful reality.’’
And suddenly the summer has gone. It’s already getting colder and there’s an autumnal feeling in the air. The pressure is now on for me to bring to fruition a number of TBL initiatives between now and the end of the year – primarily the Knebworth book and TBL 36. I had a three hour plus skype session on Monday evening with Mike Tremaglio going over the book text and there’s another similar skype session ahead (thank you Mike – your eye for detail is amazing!). There’s plenty of stuff already lined up for the next TBL issue –more on all of this as it unfolds. Suffice to say it’s been heads down and right on it these past few days and more ahead.
I managed to slip and fall off my bike on early on Tuesday grazing my elbow and thigh –now that is either a sign of age or my mind being too full of TBL matters. Whichever, it’s made for some uneasy sleep and added to a somewhat melancholy state of mind here right now – I’m sure I’m not the only one ruing that summer has gone and the rest of the year looks a bit daunting. At 57 you gotta be careful out there and don’t I already know it…
On a more inspirational note, the coming of autumn brings with it an autumn playlist here and I’ve been searching out plenty of relevant stuff such as Nick Drake Five Leaves Left (Nick’ stuff always has that autumnal glow) and Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here, The Who By Numbers and Bob Dylan Hard Rain – originally issued around this time in 1975 and 1976 and prompting memories of September’s past.
Other stuff ready and waiting to get on includes Zep Shout It To The Top (MSG Sept’ 70), Berkeley Daze 1st Night (Sept 13th ‘71), Family A and B Sides, Bob Dylan New Morning…and keeping with the Zim – the new Another Self Portrait set is a real gem . I’ve always loved the original Self Portrait album – I originally brought it back in 1972. The new fresh presenting of these sessions are a revelation –and thanks John P for the bonus Isle of Wight disc too which is also a joy to hear in full.
As mentioned above, the new issue of Record Collector out this week includes my 40th anniversary feature on The Rolling Stones Goats Head Soup album. This is the seventh cover story feature I have had published in Record Collector over the past five years – four Led Zep, two on The Who, a Nick Drake, Rod Stewart and now The Rolling Stones. I’m well pleased with the end result (and a big thanks to Mike Tremaglio and Dec Hickey for their help.)
When I was searching the feature, I came across a bit of DL written history.
Maybe it’s the melancholy feel of the summer gone and autumn on the way but it prompted some deep reflection today …which I’d like to share.
DL Reflections 1
(Extracts from Music Is Life To My Ears –The Dave Lewis Memoirs (TBL Publishing – work in progress for future publication)
Back in 1972/3 , I was absolutely obsessed with reading the weekly music press ie NME/Melody Maker, Disc etc – and the regular monthly mag the brilliant Let It Rock. I devoured every word of these publications – soaking up these only sources of info greatly enhanced my appreciation and knowledge of music – central to which was of course Led Zeppelin.
I’m reminded here of something Brad Tolinski astutely noted in Guitar World – ”Led Zeppelin music was designed to stimulate the imagination, to encourage kids to dream ,to see an open space beyond the grind of daily existence’’.
Along with my affinity for the music of Led Zep, The Beatles, Stones Who etc, my weekly intake of these publications did open up a world of possibility.
Massively inspired by the NME writers Charles Shaar Murray and Nick Kent, I began writing my own reviews in my bedroom basically as an outlet for my opinions and thoughts – this from a young man with no formal qualifications whatsoever having left school at 15 to work as a storeman at the local British Home Stores. Deep down, I harboured a strong desire to write about the music I liked – I was always fairly good at English so undaunted, I wrote these reviews for an audience of one for the time being….me.
The first thing I wrote was a review of the Led Zep Alexandra Palace gig I attended in December 1972. I also wrote reviews of the Wings albums Red Rose Speedway and Wildlife and started compiling top tens with written commentary of tracks I liked inspired by a popular column in Let It Rock. I then wrote a review of the Rolling Stones Wembley Empire Pool gig. More reviews would follow over the next couple of years including the Television, The Who, and Bowie gigs I attended in 1977/78.
Most significantly and unsurprisingly, I began logging lots of my own personal Zep scribing’s including an extensive feature on Jimmy’s solo sessions and work with The Yardbirds (wish I still had that). My first ever printed work in the music press was an impassioned letter to Let It Rock about the merits of bootlegs of which I was already an avid collector – duly published (under the rather grand byline David Lewis) in their February 1974 issue.
Here it is:
At the time I was still working as a storeman in the stockroom at British Home Stores. Alongside the desire to write about it, I also knew I wanted to work with music in some shape or form. The opportunity to do that came when I met up with the guys who would became my lifelong friends namely Dec, Phil and Tom. Phil worked at the local record shop Carlows. Inspired by Phil’s role as highly knowledgeable record shop salesman, I spotted a vacancy for a job in the record department of WH Smith and in the late October began as a junior salesman behind the record counter. It was an absolute dream job for me and for the next 35 years, I enjoyed every minute of a hugely fulfilling career in music and entertainment retail that unfortunately came to a somewhat abrupt end when I was made redundant in February 2009.
Back to the story:
By 1977 I had amassed a lot of my own writings on Zep including my extensive reviews of Earls Court and Presence plus a feature on the imaginary contents of the live chronological album that Jimmy had talked up a lot back then. Armed with all this, I set to work formulating a fanzine about Led Zeppelin – inspired by the do it yourself ethics of the punk fanzines Sniffin’ Glue and Ripped And Torn, hand writing the entire contents. The pages of a first proto type issue of a this Led Zeppelin fanzine I dubbed Tight But Loose (after an expression Jimmy and Robert had used to describe the band’s music in interviews on the 1977 tour) were duly photocopied around late 1977/early 1978.
The catalyst that would bring this idea onto the streets and commence a platform of communication between like minded fans across the world was just around the corner – I’ll explain more on that next week in part two of these DL Reflections.
Back to The Rolling Stones. During the research for the Goats Head Soup album, I found my original hand written review as compiled back in September 1973 after I had attended their afternoon show at Wembley Empire Pool. It makes for incredibly quaint reading but the passion is all there….that same passion that has fuelled every written project I’ve taken on since.
Back in my bedroom age 17 in 1973 as I scrawled out my thoughts on that epic Stones gig, I knew I had ambitions and aspirations to write about rock music and share my enthusiasm with others –the problem back then was that I had no real idea of quite how I was going to achieve that objective. Many things have happened in between to make that dream a reality.
It’s therefore with some considerable pride that I look over the cover story feature I wrote on the Stones earlier this summer – now published in the new issue of Record Collector before me. 40 years on from my bedroom writings to an audience of one, my thoughts on the Rolling Stones are available to be read on newstands across the country. It’s a very good feeling.
It’s been a long old journey this music journalism lark, with many a twist and turn along the way –but I’m absolutely blessed to have been able to undertake it and to paraphrase the singer, writing and talking about music – be it Led Zeppelin at Knebworth, on the TBL website, in the TBL magazine, or features on Nick Drake The Who, Rod Stewart, The Stones etc.- totally defines who I am and gives me a reason for being…rather than having been.
God willing, that mission continues…ever onward.
As for the latest printed musings…forever in the shadow of Exile On Main Street, this 1973 album is in my view a greatly undervalued part of the Stones catalogue. As I explain in the feature, the time is ripe to reheat Goats Head Soup – it’s a great album…you can find out why I think so in the new issue of Record Collector…
See more at
Part Two of these DL Reflections to follow next week…
TBL The Global Phenomenon :
A couple of latest examples of the TBL message spreading across the world…
Cheers Dave – I take my hat off to you and all that you’ve done with TBL. Regards Craig
..and here he is at work with the required reading!
TBL Over Venice:
and this pic of Gary Foy’s good lady Carol with the required reading in St Marks Square in Venice…
Until next time…Keep listening, keep reading…
Have a great weekend…
Dave Lewis/Gary Foy – September 13th , 2013.
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