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1 May 2014 5,116 views One Comment

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Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters at the New Orleans Jazz Festival: Photos by Suzanne McElyea…

Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters made their 2014 debut last weekend at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. The high profile festival runs for seven days spread over two weekends and this year featured Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, Phish, Santana, Arcade Fire etc.

Six months since his last show at the Royal Albert Hall and six weeks ahead of his forthcoming European tour, Robert and the band took to the stage with guitarist Skin picking out the familiar intro to Babe I’m Gonna Leave You. For this appearance the set changed very little from last year, aside from one new song -an arrangement of an old bluegrass number Little Maggie (see info below).

So we got the aforementioned Babe I’m Gonna Leave You, the heavy Tin Pan Valley, the not so heavy Black Dog, the moody Spoonful, The Enchanter, Going To California, featuring an appropriate change in lyrics (“Going to Louisiana with an aching in my heart”), the playful Bron Yr Aur Stomp, In The Mood, the home-grown Fixin’ To Die, What Is And What Should Never Be, Whole Lotta Love and Rock And Roll. The new addition is a dry drum looped track with Skin on electric banjo and Justin Adams on the one stringed dimbre picking out a repetitive riff in a Gallows Pole style, with Robert spinning a tale of a girl who “the last time I saw Maggie, she was sitting by the sea, with her 44 all around her and a banjo on her knee. Oh how can I ever stand to, just to see those two blue eyes, which are shining, like a diamond, like a diamond in the sky?”. Between verses Juldah Camara, soloed with his one-string African violin. As the tour progresses I hope that more of the new material from the forthcoming album is aired as some of the Zepp numbers are getting a little tiresome now.

Robert and the band looked and sound in good spirits with Robert’s ever present sense of humour to the fore, such as his intro at the beginning of the set “Welcome to a mellow afternoon of Americana and banjo music,” and retelling old stories from yesterday -after he’d name-checked New Orleans guitar legends Snooks Eaglin, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown and Earl King, he recalled them playing Zeppelin parties, many on the now-grounded riverboat The President, Plant recalled fondly. “What a gas. What a town. What a bunch of people.” Before breaking into Bron Yr Aur Stomp Robert spun a tale about a favorite blue-eyed dog that accompanied him in the Welsh mountains many years ago. The dog was afraid of water, “so I had to carry the bloody thing everywhere.” Nonetheless, he loved the dog, in part because it “didn’t remind me of anyone I was hiding out from.” In thanks, Plant “wrote a song about him with some old friends. It’s a good afternoon song, especially with the smell in the air.” For the encore, Robert introduced Rock And Roll as “an English folk song that we carry around in a little box. Sometimes it peeks out.” This “sea shanty,” he said, comes with “a sense of humour.”

He finished with a plug for the band’s just-completed album, due September 8th. ”It’ll be in all the record stores” he noted, before remembering, “Oh, there aren’t none.”

A good start to the year – it will be interesting to see how the set list progresses over the next few months.  Gary Foy.

Little Maggie:

Little Maggie performed by Robert and SSS at the New Orleans Jazz Festival dates back to the 1940s and was recorded by the Stanley Brothers- a bluegrass duo comprising of  brothers Carter and Ralph and issued as a 78rpm single on the Rich R Tone label.  It went on to become a staple of the US folk circuit –Bob Dylan recorded a version for his 1992 album Good As I Been To You.

Many thanks to Andre Cruz for flagging the excellent research on this song provided by the Lemon Tree Fanzine –see link at

This report from Suzanne McElyea:

For those interested, clips of Robert Plant at Jazzfest has been posted to my youtube channel. He was superb as usual. Can’t believe he made the 5,624 mile journey for this one  concert but those in attendance were very lucky. He told us his new album would drop September 8 and after that he would be back to tour the US. I am very excited that he will return to tour and support this album.

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Before the concert I took a quick video of the crowd across 1 of the 7 stages and 3 tents. It is 85 degrees, not a cloud in the sky and 100% humidity. We jammed in to see Robert. What a great day. Headliners on other stages at the same time as Robert were Robin Thicke, Boz Skaggs, Phish, etc. There are huge crowds, great food, lots of smells, and booze. Love New Orleans.

Suzanne’s excellent you tube clips of the show can be seen here:

A section of her clips can also be seen below – many thanks Suzanne for this great coverage!

Some highlights from a review via Keith Spera

Robert Plant shouldn’t have been at the New Orleans Jazz Fest. He and his Sensational Space Shifters have been recording a new album in England, with no plans to tour.

But as Plant explained during his closing set Saturday (April 26) at the Samsung Galaxy Stage, Jazz Fest producer Quint Davis kept calling, urging him to bring the band to the festival. Davis — and, undoubtedly, a sizable check — persuaded them to, in Plant’s estimation, travel 5,674 miles for a single show.

The trip was worth the trouble. The Golden God of yore is grayer now. On Saturday, his lavender shirt was sensibly unbuttoned, but he flaunted a pair of decidedly rock ‘n’ roll pointed-toe boots. He prowled the stage with a predatory glint in his eyes. And his clenched howl is still remarkably, and gloriously, intact.

He reportedly was the lone holdout to a Led Zeppelin reunion that would have been the highest grossing tour of all time. He prefers to chart his own course down roads less traveled, specifically the back-country trails that lead to forgotten corners of Appalachia, the Mississippi Delta, and ramshackle bars in New Orleans’ Bywater neighborhood. Thus, on Saturday, he and the Space Shifters exhumed a meditation by high-lonesome Kentucky folk singer Roscoe Holcomb and bluesman Bukka White’s grim “Fixin’ to Die.”

Not that Plant is above circling back around to familiar haunts. But when he raids the Zeppelin catalog, it is to mine it for fresh material. “It’s great to keep changing it and turning it around,” he said. “Here’s one of them songs.” By “them songs,” he meant, of course, a nugget culled from one of rock’s great canons. A ringing acoustic guitar and mandolin ushered in a faithful “Going to California,” recast as “going to Louisiana” for Jazz Fest.

The “big-legged woman” of “Black Dog,” by contrast, was almost unrecognizable; that particular Zeppelin warhorse was disassembled and draped in the droning of a traditional African stringed instrument that sounded like a violin. “Tin Pan Valley,” from his 2005 album “Mighty ReArranger,” actually rocked harder. Spooky slide guitar haunted “The Enchanter,” from the same album. He dug back even further in his solo catalog for “In the Mood,” from his 1983 album “The Principal of Moments.” The mood of that song, and album, released just three years after Zeppelin’s demise, clearly signaled that he was not interested in mimicking his former band’s heavy/light dynamic.

The six Space Shifters illuminated his explorations or cast them in shadows, from the African roots of the blues to rock ‘n’ roll. Guitarist Justin Adams electrified “Fixin’ to Die.” The whole band engaged in a dirty blues vamp; Plant inserted exclamations that soon came into focus as something quite familiar: “Don’t you mess with me….because you need coolin’…ohh, back to schoolin’…cause way down inside….” With that, “Whole Lotta Love” sprang fully to life, inducing chills and whoops of approval from the vast crowd. They detoured into Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love?” before the African violin brought them back to “Whole Lotta Love.”

For the encore, Plant proposed they render “an English folk song that we carry around in a little box. Sometimes it peeks out.” This “sea shanty,” he said, comes with “a sense of humor.”

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The “folk song” turned out to be “Rock And Roll,” dressed up with droning violin and fuzz-tone keyboards. Once and for all, Plant reaffirmed that his bark still has its bite; his “eww, yeah!” exclamations harkened way, way back. During a brief bout of boogie-woogie piano, he exclaimed, “Suck it!” then grinned like a schoolboy caught being naughty.

Keith Spera –

See full review at:


This news just in – Robert Plant  has signed to Nonesuch Records/Warner Brothers:

Robert Plant Signs with Nonesuch Records; Details of New Album with Sensational Space Shifters Band Coming Soon:

Legendary British singer/songwriter Robert Plant has signed with Nonesuch Records, which will release his label debut later this year. Further details about the album, which will feature the Sensational Space Shifters band, will be announced shortly, as will upcoming tour dates; for previously announced tour dates, visit

Robert Plant made his first commercial recordings in 1966. In 1967, he formed a group called the Band of Joy with drummer John Bonham. Soon Bonham, Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page, and bassist John Paul Jones formed The New Yardbirds, which eventually became Led Zeppelin. The Led Zeppelin era ended in 1980, when Bonham died. Since that time, Plant has turned his wide-ranging musical talents toward solo albums as well as recordings with Jimmy Page and with bands like the Honeydrippers, Priory of Brion, Strange Sensation, and Band of Joy.

Plant’s writing and performing reflects his infinite artistic and intellectual curiosity, fed by his global travels, with influences from West Coast psychedelic rock, roots blues, African music, and traditional American and European folk. His recent collaboration with Alison Krauss, Raising Sand, further expanded his horizons. Produced by T Bone Burnett, the album won six Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year and Record of the Year. His most recent release, Band of Joy, was co-produced by Buddy Miller and revived his 1967’s band’s name. It featured several stellar country/Americana musicians performing music from Low, Townes Van Zant, Richard Thompson, and others.

Plant says of working with Nonesuch, “I’m pleased to find such a reputable home for our renegade departures. The support and encouragement we have received has been strong and refreshing – Turn It Up!”

The new album will be released worldwide by Nonesuch/Warner Brothers Records.


Robert Plant in penalty action – this from the Wolverhampton Wanderers website: 

Robert Plant, Steve Bull and Jez Moxey pledge their support:

Robert Plant and Steve Bull have pledged their support to Jody Craddock’s testimonial by agreeing to play a part in the special half time penalty shootout at the game on Bank Holiday Monday (2pm).

Robert has already made a substantial donation to the testimonial by winning an auction which will see his son Logan take part in the game between a Wolves XI and a Sunderland XI.

But we also wanted to see if Robert would take part in the special half time shootout which he agreed to – providing Jez Moxey was in goal!

Well we couldn’t turn down a Club Vice-President, so we’ve managed to rope Jez in to between the sticks just as he did for Matt Murray’s testimonial.

And another Wolves Vice-President Bully has agreed to referee, and we don’t think he’s going to stand for any messing!

The rest of the half time penalty shootout will see three lucky ticketholders get the chance to take three penalties apiece at former Wolves keeper Matt Murray.

Supporters who have already pre-purchased tickets for the game between


Jimmy Page to address Berklee College of Music in Boston:

As previously reported, Jimmy will be honored by the prestigious music school during its May 10th commencement ceremony- here’s the latest info:

Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page will be this year’s commencement speaker at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.

bbc coverage

The private college known for its music program announced Tuesday that the 70-year-old British musician will address seniors on May 9 at the Agganis Arena.

Berklee also will present honorary doctorates to Page, Motown and R&B songwriter Valerie Simpson, jazz pianist and educator Geri Allen, and American Music Program youth jazz orchestra founder Thara Memory.


Thanks to Led Zeppelin News at:


Back to Earls Court for one last look…

Walking toward the Olympia Record Fair early on Saturday, I came face to face with a very important landmark in my life – namely the Earls Court Exhibition Centre/Arena – this was of course the scene of Led Zeppelin’s five legendary concerts staged in May 1975 – all of which I was lucky enough to attend.  I therefore could not resist what might be a last chance to pay homage, because sadly this building is being demolished in November to make way for housing and flats.

As I looked up at this distinctive building and scene of so many Zep inspired memories of 39 years ago, I’m sure I could hear DJ Nicky Horne’s voice booming out proclaiming ‘’Welcome to Earls Court’’ just as it did that Saturday night on May 24th 1975 when Led Zeppelin reigned supreme inside this wonderful arena.

EC back to 4

Here’s a pic with Dec and Gary Foy outside the esteemed Earls Court Arena  –Dec queued overnight here for the Bedford crews tickets for the Saturday  May 24th 1975 date…Block AA Row B…the glorious memories remain the same…sadly the Earls Court Arena will not…


TBL 37 Latest:

After the writing…comes the stickering…

With TBL 37 at the printers, the preparation for distribution has begun as can be seen – there are envelopes, labels and stamps to be sorted as I undertake my TBL distribution manager role ready to bring this magazine your way soon…more details to follow.

pack 1

If you have yet to invest – TBL 37 is available to pre order at a special bargain price….

Indulge yourself for the perfect companion to a very exciting period ahead…

Order now at this link!


DL Diary Update:

After the slog of completing TBL 37 and meeting various other deadlines, it was good to get out to the Olympia Fair last Saturday. Whilst there was a tinge of sadness looking up at the Earls Court building with its demolition due later in the year, being in the EC vicinity always brings back so many warm memories of that week in May of 39 years ago.

The fair itself was excellent – with many a Zep LP pressing on offer – in fact I lost count of the number of times I was at a stall and saw someone checking out a Zep vinyl –be it a Japanese pressing, original Atlantic pressing or bootleg. I succumbed to the Led Zeppelin Tear Gas album – this is a single sided set with three tracks from the curtailed July 5th 1971 Milan gig- the four symbols are etched on to the reverse of the disc and there is also has some great photos from the show.

It was great to hook up with Dec and Mr Foy and Ian Avey and Sue etc to chin wag on the usual subjects (Zep and collecting vinyl primarily!)

Amongst the DL purchases :

Jertho Tull Benefit on US Reprise

Frankie Miller Band –The Rock

Mahavishnu Orchestra – Birds Of Fire

Humble Pie -Smokin’

Janis Joplin In Concert – I originally brought this two record set for £2.49 at the local Weatherheads store in October 1972 –I foolishly sold it a couple of years later to the Bizarre second hand shop in Bedford  -I’ve been looking for it for a while now and it’s very nice to have it back – a great live set from the late great full tilt lady.

As my good friend Dec observed –I seem to be on a mission to invest in every notable rock LP issued between 1967 and 1976 – that is a bit of an exaggeration but hey, you gotta have you little treats!

Also got the King Curtis Instant Groove CD which Gary alerted to me when we paid a visit to Fopp near Charring Cross Road after the fair. In fact there was a further Zep investment in Fopp (thanks Mick Bulow for the tip) as they had in stock the BB presents Led  Zeppelin Live At the Fillmore single album on white vinyl – a limited edition of 500. Well worth looking out for.

fillmore white vinyl

On the playlist – the above newly acquired gems, plus Paul McCartney One Hand Clapping (thank you Paul H) the Sinatra EPs It Was a Very Good Year and Moonlight Sinatra (thank you John P), Nick Drake Bryter Later, Paul and Barry Ryan compilation, Small Faces Hits…and the splendid new Nick Drake CD A Day Gone By (thank you Johnny 99)

As can be seen in the above pic, I am now ensconced in the preparation for the mail out of the impending TBL 37 and as we come into May, I am gearing up for a very busy summer.

As I write there are just 32 days to go before the release of the first three Led Zeppelin reissues. I’ll have details of the TBL coverage of this landmark event and how you can get involved by feeding back your thoughts on it all shortly.

TBL 37 will be out on the streets later this month and the objective here is to drive the sales to make this issue as widely seen as possible. Other plans ahead include a new TBL T shirt offer, initial work on a significant written project (more on that to follow) and I also need to assess the plan to fit the Earls Court book into all this schedule sometime down the line though I’m not sure quite when as yet.

Right – before all that there’s stamps and labels to go on envelopes and over the next week some good friends birthdays to celebrate (hi to Shaun,Tom and Terry.)

I’ll leave you with the advice given by the Humble Pie Smokin’ A and M Records inner sleeve (proudly displayed here by the TBL 2!)

‘’Listen to your world’’

gary dl listen


And finally….Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters at the New Orleans Jazz Festival:

Little Maggie:

The Enchanter:

Whole Lotta Love:

Until next time…Keep listening, keep reading… Dave Lewis/Gary Foy – May 1st – 2014.

Have a great weekend

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One Comment »

  • Ed-Washington DC said:

    Your poignant visit to Earl’s Court got me to thinking about the various Houses of the Holy that Zeppelin graced in their heyday, that are no longer with us.

    Capital Centre, Richfield Coliseum, LA Forum, JFK Stadium, Chicago Stadium, Tampa Stadium, the Kingdome, the Pontiac Silverdome, Fulton County Stadium, Kezar Stadium, just to name a few. Not to mention the music halls of the sixties, Fillmore East and West, Boston Tea Party, the Whiskey, on and on.

    All demolished to Kingdom Come (if you’ll pardon the expression).

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