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ROBERT PLANT ON STAGE AT FRANK FREEMAN REUNION/RECORD STORE RELEASE/LEADBELLY GIG/ PHYSICAL GRAFFITI MORE FEEDBACK/DL DIARY UPDATE

5 March 2015 3,965 views 3 Comments

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Robert Plant back on stage with Robbie Blunt at Frank Freeman’s Reunion show in Kidderminster…

Dave Shuck and Kevyn Gammond have been in touch to feedback on the recent Frank Freeman reunion concert which took place in Kidderminster on Saturday Feb 21.
The reunion was in homage to the famous Frank Freeman’s Dancing Club venue in Kidderminster that played host to the likes of Captain Beefheart, Tyrannosaurs Rex, Fleetwood Mac etc. Robert Plant was a big supporter of the club – this reunion show saw him back on stage with Robbie Blunt, Big Log being a highlight of the night – full review here. Photos by Rod Gilchrist -many thanks to Dave, Kevyn and Rod.

Frank Freeman’s Reunion at The Gainsborough Hotel February 21, 2015:

An enthusiastic crowd came together in Kidderminster last week-end at a concert organized to reunite audiences at the Frank Freeman’s Dance Club in the 50s 60s and 70s.

Resident DJs Rod Gilchrist and Paul (Pig) Jennings worked together for the first time in forty five years and entertained the crowd with a mix of 60s Soul, R&B, and Progressive Rock from their collection of 33s 45s and 78s.

Carlisle Egypt (alias Kevyn Gammond) said:

“Frank’s gave us all an open comprehensive view of music, fashion, arts. Tonight again saw the cross-pollination of live music, and the Pig and Rod armed with their treasured vinyl rinsed out our eyes and ears, giving the town a great lease of life.”

Everybody that managed to get one of the hottest tickets in town went home a big smile; especially  over seventy invited guests who were treated to free food and drink  at a pre-concert reunion sponsored in the memory of Nigel (Rupert) Grove, a much loved regular of Frank’s in the 1960s.

They met an hour before the show, some for the first time in 45 years, to re-ignite their friendship and reminisce.

Frank Freemans in its day was more than just a simple music venue, it was the social hub of a whole scene for musicians and patrons alike. Other towns had good clubs but nothing quite like Franks which was amongst the first to host rock’n’roll, in the vanguard the sixties “mod” scene and one of the first venues in the country to go “progressive” DJ Rod Gilchrist said: It was no accident that John Peel ‘fell in love’ with “Franks; like him we tried to introduce music that was new and exciting and when I look back at the music we played and the acts that appeared there, I think we did a remarkable Job.

Another ground breaking DJ at Franks at the time was Paul (Pig) Jennings and on reunion night the two teamed up again and treated their audience to a feast of great music that was rapturously received by all.

The first band to appear was “The Stubble Brothers” who hit the ground running with material in keeping with the late ‘60s followed by the House Band comprising Rob Newhall, Andy Sylvester and Robbie Blunt on guitar, Steve Atkins- drums, Abbie Brant on keyboards and Colin Youngjohns vocals.  The band played a set of vintage Rock n’ Roll, tongue in cheek, that was obviously well rehearsed and soon had the audience dancing.

“Wow, from planet rock to planet Mars”, someone said when Carlyle Egypt  stepped up and stunned the audience with an avant-garde, virtuoso- performance that defied description and, according to both DJs was truly in accord with the ethos of Frank’s early progressive period.

The programme for the evening listed house band and guests so there was an audible gasp of excitement when a long standing supporter of Fran Freeman’s Robert Plant took to the stage to deliver a memorable set; firstly performing two Everly Bros songs, Love Hurts with Deborah Rose and Gone- Gone-Gone with Abbie Brant.

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The highlight of the night, judging by the response from an already incredibly appreciative audience, was the performance of Big Log, a hit single in the 80s that Robert co-wrote with Robbie Blunt; who held everyone spell-bound with his guitar play throughout.   All in all a superb night, the old regulars had a great time catching up and renewing friendships, and to top it all, catch a superstar in a tiny venue.

When asked for a quote Robert said simply; “Well that was a real success”; but the last word, in my mind, belongs to a couple strolling happily across the car park heard saying;

“Wow. I’ve never been to gig like that before, it seemed like they were all mates”.

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Robert Plant Record Store Day Release:

Robert Plant has joined the growing list of artists releasing special limited-edition vinyl titles for Record Store Day 2015.

Plant’s contribution, titled More Roar, is a 10″ EP that collects three performances from his world tour with the Sensational Space Shifters in support of 2014′s lullaby … and the Ceaseless Roar album. Limited to 10,000 copies, it includes live versions of Ceaseless Roar tracks “Turn It Up” and “Arbaden” on Side A, with a medley of “Poor Howard” and “Whole Lotta Love” on Side B.

The release of More Roar comes several months after Plant expressed a desire to work with vinyl enthusiast and Record Store Day hero Jack White. Saying he’s intrigued by White’s use of the Voice-O-Graph, the restored instant vinyl apparatus White used to cut the “world’s fastest record” last year and brought onto The Tonight Show for a Neil Young live recording, Plant applauded White’s “buccaneer spirit, and the way he dodges through the musical horizons.”

One of many Record Store Day 2015 releases from the Warner Bros. label family, More Roar will be available at participating outlets on April 18. For more information about the event and local shops near you, visit the official Record Store Day site.

Plant joins an Record Store Day 2015 classic-rock contingent that also includes Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl — who, as previously reported, has been named this year’s official ambassador. The Foos will be releasing their own four-track EP, Songs From the Laundry Room, which collects previously unreleased demos, covers and songs.

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Robert Plant & Alison Krauss for Leadbelly tribute:

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will top a star-studded lineup for “Lead Belly at 125: A Tribute to an American Songster” on April 25 at the Kennedy Center.

On Wednesday, the Kennedy Center and the Grammy Museum announced the performers who will celebrate the music and legacy of Huddie William Ledbetter, better known as Lead Belly.  Tickets are $20 to $89 and are on sale through the arts center’s box office.

More details at:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/style-blog/wp/2015/03/04/robert-plant-and-alison-krauss-to-headline-lead-belly-at-125-tribute-at-kennedy-center/

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Physical Graffiti enters UK chart at number 6:

Physical Graffiti entered the UK chart at a credible 6 – discounting the Brits factor which saw sales spikes for Sam Smith, Royal Blood, Ed Sheeran etc  – any other week it would have made it to number one.

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More Physical Graffiti Feedback:

This on from long time TBL contributor Larry Bergmann Jr:

 Of all the Led Zeppelin reissues, Physical Graffiti feels like the biggest.  Not least because it certainly contains the biggest wealth of material on any of their original studio albums.  But also because in many ways it seems it is their finest album.  And, it was one of their albums (In Through The Out Door being the other) which had the most compelling need for a sonic overhaul.  Jimmy Page and John Davis have certainly given it that.
The entire album sounds better than ever in its updated incarnation.  Some of the moments that caught my ears:
Custard Pie – One of my favorite Page riffs, and one of my absolute favorite vocals by Plant.  Jones’ contributions on the clavinet are more vivid.  Jimmy’s solo is more crisp and clear than ever, and Plant’s wicked harp solo has never sounded more incendiary.  Bonzo’s drum blasts at the end rattle the foundations more now.  My grin was from ear to ear.
The Rover – one of their more underrated performances, Plant and Page are just terrific here.  And the remaster really amps up Jones’ smoking bass.
In My Time Of Dying – If there’s ever been a greater, more thrilling long form rock piece than this, I haven’t heard it.  That sentiment also applies to John Bonham’s sustained brilliance here, I think one would be hard-pressed to name a better drum performance on record than this!  The entire band is magnificent, and this is easily one of the greatest cuts they ever put down.  And it’s never sounded better than it does now.
Houses Of The Holy – I’m just happy that Jimmy has recently thought to share the reason it didn’t appear on the album which bared its name (“It was left off on purpose”).  That’s only been bothering me for 40 years…
Trampled Underfoot – The thing that struck me most here was that Jimmy’s colorings seemed more swooping and powerful.
Kashmir – hearing it this way took me straight back to the first time I ever heard the track in 1975 (which also was the moment that I became a lifelong fan).  The dramatic midsection seems more clear, and Robert’s backing vocals are more pronounced.
In The Light – Jones is simply brilliant, and his beautiful playing throughout this piece has never been more evident.  The entire band is superb here.  Another of the quintessential Zeppelin tracks on this album.
Bron-Yr-Aur – Beautiful and timeless, now more than ever.
Down By The Seaside – This is one of Jimmy’s finest moments.  From his appropriate underwater sounds, to the understated up-tempo section, dissonant rock soloing, and then downright countrified blues, this might be the greatest single song tour de force of his career.  And now all of the nuances are more prevalent than before.
Ten Years Gone – One of Plant’s more accessible and poignant pieces of writing, and his singing is well crafted.  Another song construction triumph for Jimmy.  The clarity of the opening immediately grabbed my attention.
Night Flight – Sounds more gutsy than ever.  Another of the more underrated cuts, the entire band lands punches on this one.
The Wanton Song – The sounds coming from the instrumentalists are impossibly overwhelming here, and Plant’s swooping and exciting vocal cuts right through it all with a new clarity.  This is one of the best results of the remastering in my opinion.
Boogie With Stu – the good time, out of tune piano of the song’s criminally underrated namesake has never been more fun to listen to.  The only Led Zeppelin track on which the members of Led Zeppelin are, well, upstaged!
Black Country Woman – the opening is sublime, and the entire piece has a smoothness to it that was not present before now.
Sick Again – once again the clarity is astonishing.  Robert’s vocals are much more audible, and Jimmy’s soloing much more clear.  Another of the tracks most aided by the sonic upgrade.
I am absolutely falling in love with this album all over again, a neat trick for something I’ve been listening to across parts of five decades.  This remaster is a real triumph, and so far the most essential issue of the series in my opinion.  I’ll be listening to this for quite some time to come.
The companion disc is a bit spotty however, I’m afraid.  I enjoyed Trampled, I mean Brandy & Coke, and hearing Robert’s vocal in such clarity might give one an added appreciation for his gritty performances during the 1974 sessions.  Ditto Jones’ artistry, and one of the nice things about these companion discs is that perhaps JPJ claims more of the prominence he deserves in the construction/execution of some of these great pieces of music.
Sick Again struck me in hearing Bonzo so vividly doing his (unmatchable) thing, and I thought it was really interesting to listen to Jimmy on this one.  The effects heard on his guitars aren’t as prominent on the finished product, and they seem to foretell some of the effects-drenched, monumental live deliveries of the piece, particularly in 1977.
In My Time Of Dying also makes me think of live performances.  Not least because this is basically a live in the studio cut minus the guitar overdubs which were added later.  Jones’ bass here would knock Godzilla on his ass!  Listening to the band work this song also reminds me that it was an absolute monster onstage, and hearing it like this, compared to what it could sound like in concert, made me also think of Jimmy’s muscular delivery of For Your Life at the O2 show, without a doubt one of my favorite Page moments.  The way he takes a great cut from a record and reimagines it for a live performance is just one aspect of his genius.
Like many Zep fans, I was already well familiar with the bootlegged track Everybody Makes It Through (In The Light).  I understand why Jimmy included it in the set (but, well, I can’t help it, still don’t understand why we didn’t get Swan Song), but in the end it’s little more than a nice curiosity in my opinion.  I hadn’t heard it in a while, and this fresh listen was fun, but to my way of thinking only reinforces how correct Jimmy’s decision was to rework the piece into the classic that wound up on the finished album.
To these ears, there’s nothing remarkable about the companion versions of Houses Of The Holy, Boogie With Stu, or (very sadly) Driving Through Kashmir.  Yes, there are some appreciable nuances (the orchestral parts in Kashmir seem more prominent), but the results sound very close to the finished product without a lot of difference.  I have to say that of all the companion discs so far, the one on Physical Graffiti is the weakest, and I am inclined toward liking the companions in general.
As for the deluxe editions, I thought this one had far and away the best book.  I have an old turntable, so I’m afraid to even look at the vinyl.
In the end, it’s Physical Freaking Graffiti, with a few nice cookies for dessert if one still has room following the main course.
Larry Bergmann Jr
Here’s the usual lengthy and always welcome overview from Ken Winovich
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First Impressions’ review of the new Led Zeppelin ‘Physical Graffiti’ Deluxe Box set by Ken Winovich 02/24/15

Back in November of last year (2014) as I finally finished my late review of ‘Houses Of The Holy’ which was because of a flurry of unexpected activity (and nothing ticks a hard-core Zep fan off more than not being able to spend or find quality Zep time….ESPECIALLY on release day including ‘+’ or ‘-‘ 2 days on the book ends of release day!), I remember saying to myself “You better start saving up for ‘Physical Graffiti’ because the price will probably be double!” I remember thinking “how are they gonna jam in two more companion albums into that Deluxe Box Set?” Plus “will there be four CD’s on the bottom of the box or will we get the ‘cut-corners’ business move and end up with very little for our hard earned Zeppelin dollars”? So what if that happens? Will they then hold the line on the price in the ‘affordable’ range” much less the thickness of the Deluxe Box Set? But of course I committed to getting it regardless of the price and expected a $200-$225 price tag. So I started saving up for it. Because ‘Physical Graffiti’s’ a close second personal favorite right behind ‘Led Zeppelin IV’ for me. How close? Very close. On a microscopic scale. But seeings how I was a little disappointed with the 2014 ‘Led Zeppelin IV’ and ‘Houses Of The Holy’ (let me clarify – NOT the originals but the Deluxe Box Sets!), I started getting restless that maybe I should take all $200-$225 of those hard earned Zeppelin dollars and spend it on a handful of other goodies or bootlegs equal in weight to the expected 14 pound weight of the ‘Physical Graffiti’ Deluxe Box Set. But “really”….I thought.

I had visions of the new ‘heavy’ Zeppelin ‘Physical Graffiti’ Deluxe Box set falling out of the hands of my UPS carrier or double hernias for myself and that’s when I said ‘that’s not realistic nor is it a sound business move from a cost-effective standpoint.’ So, having gotten a head ache over all that, it was time to take two aspirin and move on. I’d already finally managed to get the new Dave Lewis books in ‘Then As It Was’, ‘Feather In The Wind’ and ‘From A Whisper To A Scream” ordered and received them with the ‘Physical Graffiti’ budget surplus money, which irked the hell out of me for so long because those books covered monumental Zep periods as we all know and to have to lay previous money aside instead for the new remasters in ‘I’ thru ‘Houses’ hurt, but it is what it is. So finally I have them. Thanx Dave! And after I paid for this ‘double’ ‘Graffiti’ monster, it was time for a subscription to ‘Tight But Loose’ and long overdue I am embarrassed to admit. I remember subscribing to the ‘Pb’ newsletter years back (I think that’s what it was called and they published a couple of my letters back then). I’ve got a few other fanzines as well but Pb was the only one I ever subscribed to until now.

I remember Dave’s reputation as London’s/the world’s foremost Zep fan/expert on the entire planet which went back as far back as the mid seventies (I first heard of him around Earls Court time in 1975) and to wait this long for his newsletter is a crime of which I am guilty. A further plus was completing that TBL subscription with every back issue Dave could send me. So as a huge Zep fan, I am getting ‘smothered’ with Zeppelin this February and I love it! I am just about ‘set’ as realistically, we’re all getting older as are the surviving band members. Realizing that we’re starting the era of what I would call a ‘Led Zeppelin sunset’ for lack of a better term and let me clarify this…..none of us would ever want this to come to an end but realistically…we all eventually die…..and so, I just have to make sure I have the best that’s available to fully understand the ‘how’ and ‘why’ in which this awesome band effected mine/others entire lives around the globe while I myself still have time. We’re not getting any younger. There’s the issue of how marketable will Led Zeppelin be in the next decade and thereafter after all of us fans who lived while they roamed the Earth and the surviving band members have passed on? And just watch how the music industry falls down what with Led Zeppelin no longer there to prop it back up in 50-100 years time! Listener/Record Business execs BEWARE! Be careful what you ask for!

Dave Lewis’s conclusion that ‘Zeppelin is a way of life’ is just so spot on accurate and true that I spent some of my 50+ Zeppelin years trying to figure out the culprits to this seemingly endless barrage of Zeppelin in my life and not that I’m complaining! An addiction is what it is. Finding out I wasn’t the only one was also therapeutic and I discovered that decades ago. But with the new Deluxe Box Sets of remastered music, all the latest book purchases, TBL subscription complete with back issues, I am sitting just fine. Hopefully by the end of this decade, Page and the boys will empty the vaults out in one last house cleaning by their 50th Anniversary in 2018! The internet with all the Youtube videos and photographs only completes it all and comes in handy when you’re too lazy to dig out say Knebworth ’79 or Earls Court ’75 when you can just type it in and pull it up on Youtube or on the tablet! Led Zeppelin are as popular as ever and will be well into the future. And Led Zeppelin are not even on tour! Shows you how much I like the internet and technology! But laying the music aside and the new companion disc(s), I am willing to bet there will be cutting of a few corners on this one. Will they go through the trouble of cutting out all those windows? Hardly. But then again maybe. And I expect as we saw with ‘IV’ and ‘Houses Of The Holy’, the white cardboard coupler that holds both albums with uncut windows will be placed on a single cardboard sheet a la the ‘Zep IV’/’Houses Of The Holy’ lyric cards.

The biggest mystery was….would they go with the actual negative image of the cover that I tested out (an exact negative of the cover) and how would they handle the letters spelling out “P-H-Y-S-I-C-A-L G-R-A-F-F-I-T-I” on the front building windows? Make them red or orange? Would the 80-page booklet be 160 double action-packed pages? “It’ll be more” I reasoned but how much more? Zep’s penchant for top quality has only spilled over to all of us fans and we all end up with ‘higher-standards-of-expectation’ as well as our heroes but I am afraid it’s just not good business sense to go through all that so I am already expecting ‘reasonable’ corners to be cut and I hope I am correct in that these cut corners won’t bother me as much if they would somehow hold the line on the price. I’ve already added my French Zeppelin albums into the Deluxe Box Sets with the official 45 singles as well as ’75 US Tour Program/Earls Court tour programs. With all of these stuffed in vinyl plastic covers, it’s a tight fit but I feel great knowing my ‘portal back in time’ or ‘Zeppelin Time Capsules’ are finally what they should be! I intend to eventually buy the original albums on 180-gram vinyl (they looked marvelous in the store yesterday!) and slip the cut corner items in substitution with those 180-gram original albums if need be.

As I write this and look over at the five Amazon cardboard shipping cartons stacked one foot high in the first five releases, I realize there will be another four that will join them and if ‘Physical Graffiti’ isn’t kept to the same height, I may be ordering a new desk from the weight of them all! Just how am I going to deal with that nightmare I wonder? As it stands before this new release, they weigh seven pounds each. So here I go. To make the color of the box set anything other than dark brown or tan would be a mistake after I had visions of a bright banana yellow or the light blue Atlantic CD rush jobs from the early 80’s! Ugggghhhh! To make the box set THICKER might also tick me off and I can remember playing around with two of the box sets to see if four albums, plus double book, plus serial numbered print and four CD’s in the bottom of the box could be accomplished. It could but it’s too tight. So imagine if you were one of the unlucky ones who’s albums or CDs were cracked or worse yet got 60-70% damaged on the bottom of the Deluxe Box Set due to lack of support? I think you catch my drift. We were all glued to the internet, waiting, searching, looking for anything. Finally the release details came a month and a half late as I celebrated Orthodox Christmas on January 7th (We’ve always had two Christmases every year and what a present)!

Just like 1975, all of us are reliving that classic Zeppelin year forty years later! Double album. Double the songs. Two sleeves loaded with photos all in a slip-in sleeve. Cutout windows. A new colorful label in the center of the albums (Swan Song) that easily tops the boring Atlantic green/orange label. It was just such a thrill. The pasted newspaper clipping letter fonts to each track title on the white window-blind coupler was neat. Wow. Yes, I will feel like a kid all over again! I made a negative of ‘Physical Graffiti’ and I didn’t like it so I am very glad the band chose the Black & White cover for the ‘Companion’ disc. I especially like it because I didn’t like the cover of my ‘Tangible Vandalism’ bootleg with it’s 1971 Japanese photo which didn’t have much to do with the ‘Physical Graffiti’ era. So I xeroxed my ‘Physical Graffiti’ CD cover and placed that B & W xerox on top of it! Made me feel much better! So that was cool seeings the companion cover is basically the same. The companion disc was a little bit of a disappointment as I expected two of them. But that would have been ‘overkill’ to listen to every track off the double album with alternate versions now, wouldn’t it? However, I am somewhere around 50/50 on that one. On one hand it’s overkill but on the other hand I felt slightly short changed. So I asked myself – “will I be listening to all of them in the years to come more than the remastered originals”? Not likely. Then if not, what songs would I be? Why the hits of course which is exactly what’s on the companion disc! So I quickly got over that.

This is how this Zep fan handles any shortcomings in these remastered box sets to expectations set by myself and not the band. But yet again – had ‘Tangible Vandalism’, ‘Alternative Graffiti’ and all the other ‘Graffiti’ bootleg outtakes not existed, I would not have been satisfied but Jimmy Page would have included some of those versions had the bootlegs never came out. At least I don’t have to worry about a double length HD download. All the headaches aside, the book is a real pleasure as its got 16 extra pages in it which means at least 32 more things to look at front and back! And that only multiplies if they jam say 4 items onto any one page. Which now has me feeling short changed on ‘Houses Of The Holy’ as that was a pivotal ‘mega’ year for Zeppelin and it really did an injustice photo wise. That book should have been crammed with their coolest pics. But that was not an official ‘photographers Zeppelin’ was it? In terms of music though, ‘Physical Graffiti’ is the one. Great to see Pittsburgh listed in the tour dates! No second Pittsburgh date of February 2nd only continues that mystery. But also a painful reminder to me in that February 1st was my best chance to have ever seen them live and I didn’t as I was grounded by my parents for something I don’t even remember! The testament to how great a band Led Zeppelin was: just look at the tracks they left off past albums. They were GOOD TRACKS! Better than their competitors better songs! They fit in perfectly in this double bonanza and it is an album that highlights the widest spectrum of Led Zeppelin’s abilities. What’s also interesting is I don’t hear any bad reviews for this album when it has several genre’s of music on it. Which makes me wonder – what would the reviews have been like had “The Crunge” been slipped onto ‘Physical Graffiti’ and “Walter’s Walk’ been placed onto ‘Houses Of The Holy’ originally swapped with two songs off of each original?

Now moving over to the music and these so-called ‘portals back to the time the music was created’, I relish good versions of “In My Time Of Dying’ and ‘In The Light’ because I gave up the chance of hearing something remarkable from ‘Kashmir’ and ‘Trampled Under Foot’ that the bootlegs haven’t already revealed. But to leave one or both of these latter two off the companion disc would be in and of itself a crime. And sure enough as the first details of ‘Physical Graffiti’s’ remaster came over the web on January 7th, 2015, I was delighted. Sure I would have liked (4) four CD cutouts at the bottom of the box but that would mean (4) four total albums on 180-gram vinyl. And with four CD cutouts on the bottom, the carton would have been weak in structure and loaded with problems for starters. Not gonna happen. I’m glad the band held the line on the price considering many Zep fans were by the time of the fifth release ‘doing without’ in their budgets up to that point. And they shouldn’t be ashamed. When those of us who shelled out for every Deluxe Box Set are sad because our wallets are empty as the ‘do-without-ers’ start emerging over the internet with the latest hot new Zeppelin bootleg releases (‘Texas Hurricane’ ring a bell?), we all realize why each of us Zeppelin collectors have the unique collections we have. Not because we necessarily chose to but because that’s just how it all financially works out sometimes.

It’s all about CHOICE coupled with cash flow and what exactly you want as a fan. Kudos to the band for offering multiple configurations! Which means you will be satisfied depending on what you want. Sure there are some who will outshine any of us with their collections but the bottom line is ANYTHING by this band will suffice. They’re just that good. And the proof came as I updated this review one last time when a fella stated on the internet that he had to start over his collection having lost it in a flood. I looked at the beginnings of his new replacement collection and I said to myself “that’s damn good”! “That’s about what I would have restarted with”! It doesn’t take much. Anything this band has produced is just that good. And looking back with hindsight, I’ve found I wouldn’t laugh at a single fan if all they had was the ten official albums. What’s any collection without the foundation? There’s something here for everyone. That’s the beauty of it. And they didn’t have to go through the heartache and pain like I did having bought another unofficial DVD release where the cover was changed only to realize I already had the material on it (apparently they used Zep’s ‘In Through The Outdoor’ multiple covers idea)! That’s one of the reasons Zeppelin appeal to so many. No matter what type of collection each of you have, it all boils down to the music. And it’s the BEST!

First Impressions of the Remastered originals:

The real standouts on the original remastered disc are “In The Light”, “Kashmir”, “Trampled Under Foot”. “The Rover” with the superb gem in “In My Time Of Dying” the latter of which may be the BEST studio capture of Led Zeppelin in a great jam session that ended up on their album! I still can’t get over “In My Time Of Dying” and it is clearly the best recorded drumming of John Bonham! More on the original disc remastered in my ‘In Depth Review’.

First Impressions of the Companion Disc:

Initial Thoughts: ‘Brandy & Coke’ – very powerful. I’m sure all the companion songs sounded superb in the Olympic hall sound system which Jimmy Page said ‘was even better than what I/we all have at home” during the Olympic playback for Yahoo! Love the fuzzy guitar riffing in the right headphone channel. The vocals are crystal clear in the left channel. All the lyrics are now easily discernable. Plant’s “I guess I’m talking about!” are great to hear as more of the attitude in the way he sings on this track come out. Un-mistakenly classic Plant. The ending with “push……..aroooouuuunnnddddd” at the very end of the song is fantastic!

Initial thoughts: ‘Sick Again’ – Early Version – Very different beginning. A real treat! Guitar effect is more pronounced. No vocals. Plant hesitates or pauses. Complete with guitar overdubs. The outtro begins earlier than normal as it’s the early version. Bonham’s drumming is nice on the outtro. This is just Page and Bonham and Page is also on bass. Jimmy must have recorded this at home and he and Bonham then laid the drums on before Plant and Jones arrived at the recording session. Great for an original point of reference. As Zep got the basic tracks down before vocals were laid on
and it’s this raw foundational track the band began to work on to add embellishments, accents, clarifications, overdubs, etc

Initial thoughts: ‘In My Time Of Dying’ – The vocals are more up front with slight echo and depth than the original. The guitar slide solo is nice and raw! Guitar tone is nice and bluesy fuzzy & raw. The vocals are amazingly clear. The kick drum & snare are really powerful. This is a drumming bonanza! Listen to Bonzo’s shake just before “I never did no wrong! Aw! Cut it….loose!” The guitar slide solo is raw and bluesy like the old blues recordings from the 20’s. Nice drum accent! Allright! Superb slide blues playing by Page! On “Oh my Jesus”, you can hear Plant breathing in heavily. The entire band was exhausted after getting this monster on tape. Plant grasps for air to pound this finish out. Bonham is a master of calculating a triple fill so that it ends right when a break occurs! That’s really prevalent on all the bootlegs post 1975 as well. Bonham was so keen to get back to Headley because he knew his drum sounds would sound great. The sound was so good there from ‘Zep IV’ and obviously the band succeeded again in capturing Bonzo at his recordable best. My hat goes off again to Jimmy Page and all the years he spent toiling away in the sessions studios. He learned. He stuck it out. And it shows. Same applies to John Paul Jones. Because of Page’s effort, he was able to capture the greatest drummer in rock in their recordings.

Initial thoughts: ‘Houses Of The Holy’ – we were already treated to this companion track from the band’s official website but it was also great to see the falling bricks graphic at the Olympic Yahoo stream event! A classic Zeppelin stomp! This one really exemplifies that! Page’s guitar stands out in your Right headphone channel. Again there’s that squeaky hi hat. There’s no Plant “You know-ooo-oh-ho” lyric line which tells us it was overdubbed The backup vocals at “Let the music be your master” is interesting to hear as it’s all Plant. And it’s bassier. There’s no guitar outtro solo. Just the fine Zeppelin stomp.

Initial thoughts:’Everybody Makes It Through – very different! Raw! Exciting! Definitely one of the gems off the companion disc! It’s got alternate lyrics. They’re very clear! The keyboards work by John Paul Jones stands out superbly! Love Plant’s raspy vocals from this time period. Great to see that the Zep fan who had a stroke appears to be fully recovered thanx to “In The Light”! And I can vouch for myself that Led Zeppelin’s wonderful music has brought a tear(s) to my eyes the past forty years on more than one occasion as well and healed in times of trouble. Wait till you hear Plant’s raspy “Hey Baby! Hey Baby!” It’s a real treat and is another classic Plant vocal style clip.

Initial thoughts: ‘Boogie With Stu’ – the mandolin really stands out very nice. We fans WISH we had a Led Zep Daily News! (In essence we do over all the internet groups!) Love the crumbling bricks graphic from Jason Morais which got a lot of claps from the audience when this was played at the Yahoo Olympic stream! Jimmy looks great. No problems moving about and I saw no hint he’s ever gonna need a cane! ATTN Magazine journalists – find out what he’s eating instead of ‘when’s the next reunion’ because I would love to look that healthy at his age! The very beginning of the mandolin is crystal clear. Piano is on the Right channel with mandolin on the left. The ending drum sticks sound is really great.

Olympic 10

Initial thoughts: ‘Driving Through Kashmir’ – great to learn from Page the orchestral parts were in fact “recorded in this very room” (Olympic#1) as Page stated in the Olympic playback hall. We learned that Page played the bass on this companion version. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s him on the official track. And we learn that John Paul didn’t want to necessarily use the Mellotron for the middle part which is understandable with the tapes heating up and stretching inside of the instruments ‘plumbing’. John Paul “wrote the dots for it” (sheet music). A fantastic premiere! We enjoyed it the world over! Thanks again to Yahoo, Jimmy Page and Led Zeppelin!!!!!!!!! The drums stand out even more and it’s for reasons like this that these companion tracks are a must. Cello can be heard in the Right channel. Page’s dusty blues Danelectro sounds great on the left channel. The cascading orchestral parts sound clarified. I was shocked to learn Page used a 12-string electric guitar on the brass section. A real treat.

In summary, do I feel as though I am up to par now with this whole project of Jimmy Page’s and the surviving band members with this latest remastered release? Yes. And I feel happier with this release than with ‘Zep IV’. Don’t get me wrong, I love them all. Beings as I have now spent $828.96 (Deluxe Box Sets) including this latest double album package in the new remasters series with these deluxe box sets sitting on my desk like monumental pillars of music, all I have to say is….2015 is going to be just as awesome as 2014! But with a slight edge. The rumors are flying that ‘Coda’ will be the one that will knock all our sails off! I picked that up immediately when I saw the companion albums coming up a little short. Zeppelin always deliver with a fine finishing kick! The good news is ‘Presence’ and the other two are up next! And what a way to finish with a triple slam! And Jimmy has already revealed that ‘Presence’ will include two previously unheard of tracks and that’s what keeps us fans glued to our media sources! But will they be ‘unreleased and never heard’ tracks or just ‘unreleased’ versions? BIG DIFFERENCE.

2015 is shaping up to edge out 2014 what with Jimmy also creating new music and lining up a tour and if that all happens, I’m gonna be one delirious Zeppelin fan! But they’re already off and running behind schedule and with no Jimmy Page autobiography for 2015 as there was in 2014. It’s going to be interesting to see just how 2015 stacks up beside 2014 when the smoke and ashes clear! It’s gonna be close! As I update this, the new Earls Court book looks awesome and is about the same size and weight as Page’s photo-biography judging from the photos so it’s looking like 2015 is gonna be just as good as 2014 if not better! Just in: a new Page Box Set including unreleased material! A minimum prediction of at least (5) five unreleased tracks from ‘Presence’ to ‘Coda’ (and probably a few more) will more than make up for it all when compared to 2014 which included the Page photo autobiography! Please check out my ‘In depth’ review and ‘Companion Disc’ reviews to follow shortly.

Scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the best:

Content: 4.9
Audio: 5.0
Satisfaction: 4.9

Ken Winovich

To be continued:

……………

TBL Led Zep 75 Snapshot:

TUESDAY MARCH 4 1975

DALLAS, TEXAS

MEMORIAL AUDITORIUM -DALLAS CONVENTION CENTER

Set: Rock And Roll/Sick Again/Over The Hills And Far Away/In My Time Of Dying/The Song Remains The Same/The Rain Song/Kashmir/No Quarter/Trampled Underfoot/Moby Dick/Dazed And Confused (inc. Woodstock)/Stairway To Heaven/Whole Lotta Love – The Crunge – Black Dog.

Plant: “Dallas. Are you receiving us… ‘cos if you ain’t, we’re gonna make sure that you will and we’ve got two nights to do it.”

Snapshot listen: How it sounded today:  I’ve always enjoyed the Dallas shows – I had the March 4  soundboard excerpts on Great Dane’s Over The Hills And Far Away  in early 1990.

Something of a lacklustre crowd reaction but Plant works hard to overcome any adversity.  Trampled Underfoot is pretty spectacular. A few minutes of silent 8mm colour cine footage of this show exists – see below.

WEDNESDAY MARCH 5 1975

DALLAS, TEXAS

MEMORIAL AUDITORIUM – DALLAS CONVENTION CENTER

Set: Rock And Roll/Sick Again/Over The Hills And Far Away/In My Time Of Dying/The Song Remains The Same/The Rain Song/Kashmir/No Quarter/Trampled Underfoot/Moby Dick/Dazed And Confused (inc. Woodstock /Stairway To Heaven/Whole Lotta Love – The Crunge – Black Dog.

Snapshot listen: How it sounded today: I played this via the Chasing The Dragon (Empress Valley). Another strong night and more vibrant than the previous show. Robert is eager to plug the new album… “which according to the business side of things seems to have sold more than 10 copies so far this week, and we’re very grateful and happy about it.”

Another wry Plant comment: “We’d like to say what a great pleasure it is being back in Texas, even if me and Pagey have been flying back to New Orleans every night. But tonight… who knows? Whatever happened to the Butterqueen? She got margarine instead.”

He was on a roll…and so were they…

To be continued…

………………….. 

Dave Lewis Diary Update:  

Something of a tricky last few days here – I managed to shrug of my head cold pretty quickly but the good lady Janet has been well poorly with a flue virus that laid her well low and weak.  Thankfully she is regaining some strength now.

Project wise, it’s been full on with planning and preparation of the Earls Court photo book – Mick and I have been looking at some of the initial lay out and there’s been a fair few hours spent on looking over the various contact sheets for possible consideration and the accompanying text. A long way to go on this but it’s shaping up and as previously mentioned, I am well excited at the potential we have here. More on all this soon.

With the week we were having here, I did not expect Spurs to cause an upset over Chelsea in the Capital One Cup Final – the 2-0 defeat duly made for grim Sunday afternoon viewing. It was also sad to here the passing of the legendary Dave Mackay -former captain of Spurs and Scotland – an old school defender who led from the front and took no prisoners. I was lucky enough to see him play once back in the 1960s – he was mighty footballer to be sure. RIP…

On the player: Physical Graffiti naturally and keeping in the Physical spirit, I’ve also had on the excellent Physical Graffiti Redrawn CD compilation that comes with this month’s Mojo. I am looking forward to getting hold of the limited edition vinyl package of this. It was also good to hear Robert is making available a limited ten inch release for Record Store Day.  The countdown begins for the always welcome event which is scheduled for April 18. The list of limited edition release’s should be live soon. I am also very much looking forward to the reissue of the first two Bad Company albums due April 7.

Before all that, there’s the Hi Fi Lounge Classic Rock Saturday event staged on March 21 in Dunton, Bedfordshire.- more details to follow on that one shortly. Have a look at the planned line up at this link:

http://hifilounge.tumblr.com/post/110528264748/join-us-for-classic-rock-saturday-march-21st

Earlier today I made a quickly trip to London on TBL biz involved a lot of me talking about Jimmy Page which is always good for the soul. Right, better get back on to the Earls Court book and the challenge is firmly on to produce a volume that celebrates in pictures and words, the glory that was all theirs all of 40 years ago. Below is some footage of the prelude to Earls Court….

DL

…………

YouTube clips

Live in March 1975:

Live In Dallas:

Until next time…

Have a great weekend –

Keep listening, keep reading…

Dave Lewis/Gary Foy –  March 5, 2015 

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3 Comments »

  • Byron said:

    Wishfull thinking – I hope Jimmy is aware of David Gilmours announcement this week of a short Euro tour taking in some spectacular venues rather than vast characterless arenas.

  • roger berlin said:

    Thank youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu Dave.
    Roger Berlin

  • Stephen said:

    Good to see someone playing music, instead of talking about it…

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