Email This Post Email This Post
Home » Dave Lewis Diary, Featured, TBL News


22 February 2017 2,710 views 5 Comments

Robert Plant lined up for Royal Albert Hall Appearance with Nigel Kennedy:

This news via Music Week:

Robert Plant and jazz violinist Jean-Luc Ponty will join Nigel Kennedy for a one-off concert at the Royal Albert Hall next month.

The Led Zeppelin vocalist and jazz-rock virtuoso are among the high-profile stars confirmed to appear with  violinist Kennedy as he headlines the venue’s Love Classical festival on Tuesday, March 14.

Other guests announced include violinists Michael Guttman and Pieter Daniel, Bulgarian gadulka player Georgi Andreev, and Kennedy’s own ensemble, the Orchestra of Life.

Lucy Noble, artistic director at the Royal Albert Hall said: “We’re incredibly excited to be announcing this amazing collaboration between one of Britain’s greatest rock legends and a violinist who has spent his career pushing the boundaries of his art, creating incredible music that breaks down the boundaries between genres.

“This meeting of two of our most acclaimed musicians promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and with the likes of Jean Luc Ponty also confirmed for this gala celebration, it’s destined to be an incredible night.”

Robert Plant made appearances with Led Zeppelin in 1969 and 1970 at the iconic London venue, later returning as a solo headliner. He first worked with Kennedy on his album Fate of Nations’in 1993.

The exact details of Nigel Kennedy and Friends: Gala Celebration are being kept under wraps, but the show is expected to include Bach, Vivaldi, jazz, world music and a tribute to Jimi Hendrix, who made his first appearance at the Royal Albert Hall 40 years ago.

Love Classical runs from March 4-17 and includes headline shows from Kennedy, pianist Lang Lang, and Classic BRIT-winner, Alison Balsom, among the 21 shows across seven spaces.

Nigel Kennedy said: “This is shaping up to be an amazing concert. Planty is a genuine rock legend and a true musical trailblazer. He’s always pushing and challenging himself and immersing himself in music. When we work together it’s a combination of power and creativity.

“The other guests are incredible too. Jean-Luc Ponty is a genius, one of the greatest in jazz ever, an innovator with a unique visionary spin. Then we’ve got Georgi over from Bulgaria, which will be special. What drags me into his music so successfully is his honesty and sincerity.

“I’ll have a strong relationship with everyone on that stage, it won’t just be some generic orchestra. That’s what music gives you, it gives you killa friends.”

Lucy Noble, Artistic Director at the Royal Albert Hall said fans would be wowed by the teaming of Kennedy and Plant on two very special songs. “We’re incredibly excited to be announcing this amazing collaboration between one of Britain’s greatest rock legends and a violinist who has spent his career pushing the boundaries of his art, creating incredible music that breaks down the boundaries between genres,” she said.

“This meeting of two of our most acclaimed musicians promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and with the likes of Jean Luc Ponty also confirmed for this gala celebration, it’s destined to be an incredible night. If you didn’t already think that Nigel Kennedy’s show was unmissable, it is now.”

Robert Plant made unforgettable appearances with Led Zeppelin in 1969 and ’70 at the iconic London venue, later returning as a solo headliner. He first worked with Kennedy on his album ‘Fate of Nations’ in 1993.

The exact details of Nigel Kennedy and Friends: Gala Celebration are being kept under wraps, but the show is expected to include Bach, Vivaldi, jazz, world music and a tribute to Jimi Hendrix, who made his first appearance at the Royal Albert Hall 40 years ago.

Read more at the link below:



Jimmy Page – Vintage  1965 She Just Satisfies clipping discovered:

A vintage clipping of a Jimmy Page news story from 1965 has recently emerged. Who archivist Andy Neill came across the news item whilst researching at the British Library – he kindly passed it for my attention.

The report and photo originally appeared in the Darlington based Northern Despatch. Under the heading ”One Man Band Out On Road To Fame”, it reports the release of Jimmy’s 1965  solo single She Just Satisfies – noting that he has worked with PJ Proby, Brenda Lee, Kathy Kirby and Jackie De Shannon.

The guitar he is holding in the photo looks to be the Cromwell G 4 Archtop . This was probably one of his favoured guitars for session work. The only other photo I can recall with this guitar was taken at a photo session conducted at Jimmy’s then Pangbourne home in early 1970.


 The emergence of this clipping is a timely one as it’s now some 52 years ago this month that Jimmy released that solo single.

It was great to get my hands on Universal’s Record Store Day release of the She Just Satisfies/Keep Moving single last April. I’ve been fascinated by this record for many a year. Back in 1979 I thought I had acquired an original copy of this 1965 release – catalogue number Fontana TF 533. I answered an advert in Sounds music paper for a copy that was listed as for sale of this elusive gem. I duly sent off my £10 postal order – at the time quite an outlay. Alas, when the record was delivered, the sleeve and label were of the Fontana variety I had expected but the record sent was not the She Just Satisfies single .

Instead, I was sent Skin Deep/Zoom,Widge And Wag by session drummer Bobbie Graham catalogue number TF 521. This was released on Fontana around the same time in early 1965 and it did have Page involvement with him playing on both sides of the single – and the B side being credited to Graham/Page. The seller informed me he had sold out of the She Just Satisfies single and would I like this instead for £4 or a full refund.

I decided to keep the Bobbie Graham single – unfortunately I never did track down an original She Just Satisfies – but I did get to hear it on the excellent Jimmy Page Session Man bootleg that came out in the late 70s.

Fast forward to 1990 – and the writing of the first chapter of the A Celebration book. The opening chapter was an overview of Jimmy Page’s performances across his career titled The Master And His Art. Selection one was She Just Satisfies.

When the book was about to be published, Fontana in the UK re issued the Page single as a CD single – but only as part of a box set release of other Fontana singles titled The Fontana Singles – Box Set Hits And Rarities Volume One which came out on vinyl and CD.

At the time, I was putting together a promo pack to line up alongside the A Celebration book and I got in touch with Universal with a view to securing the single for my pack. I was able to buy up 100 of the She Just Satisfies CD singles and these duly became part of the limited edition A Celebration promo pack that I sold to promote the book in September 1991.

Back then, this was the only way to secure the vintage Page single on CD without investing in the Fontana box set -It was never commercially available on its own. The only other way to get it on it’s own was if any of the boxes were split up.

Thus, the A Celebration pack remains a unique way of collecting the CD single of She Just Satisfies on it’s own. If you have that pack with the CD single , it’s one of only 100 I produced.RSD 2016 ONE

She Just Satisfies remains a true one off recording, capturing the early 60s enthusiasm of the youthful J. Page.

This new Northern Despatch clipping can now add to one or two others that have surfaced surrounding that release of that fabled Fontana single in February 1965.









 LZ News:

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.

Led Zeppelin

  • There’s a new soundboard bootleg release on the way. What’s confirmed so far is that it’s titled “Deus Ex Machina.” But rumours suggest that it’s a recording of a 1975 Led Zeppelin show, and that it’s due to be released in May. We’ll keep you updated as we learn more about this release.
  • Bob Walker, the editor and publisher of Hot Wacks Press, who published the Hot Wacks bootleg books, died on February 14.

Jimmy Page

Robert Plant

The drum setup for recording of Robert Plant’s new album (Instagram/davesmithdrums)

  • Robert Plant may feature in an upcoming More4 documentary about Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. Photographer Emm Hobbs posted a photograph of Plant talking to the crew during filming at the BBC Radio 6 Music office in London. See the photograph here.
  • A trailer has been released for “Song to Song,” the Terrence Malick movie that reportedly features Robert Plant. You can watch the trailer here. Rolling Stone, however, is skeptical of how many cameos will remain in the film. “Song to Song has undergone extensive editing over the past four years,” Rolling Stone said. “With Christian Bale admittedly doubtful that his brief role made the final cut.”

Upcoming events:

February 19 – The 2016 Classic Rock Awards, which featured Jimmy Page, will premiere on AXS TV.
March 10 – “Song To Song,” the Terrence Malick film featuring Robert Plant, will have its world premiere at SXSW in Austin, Texas. Also, the new Fairport Convention album 50:50@50, which features a 2014 performance by Robert Plant, is released.
March 14 – Robert Plant will perform with violinist Nigel Kennedy at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
March 17 – “Song To Song,” the Terrence Malick film featuring Robert Plant, is scheduled to be released in the US.
April 5 – John Paul Jones’ band Tres Coyotes will have their debut performance in Helsinki, Finland.
April 16 – John Paul Jones will perform at the PRÉSENCES électronique music festival in Paris as one half of the band Minibus Pimps.
May – The rumoured new 1975 Led Zeppelin soundboard bootleg “Deus Ex Machina” is rumoured to be released this month.
May 27 – Unrestored footage of Led Zeppelin performing at the Royal Albert Hall in 1970 will be screened there as part of an event about the director Peter Whitehead.
June 23 – John Paul Jones will perform at the Sun Station Vadsø festival in Norway.
June 24 – John Paul Jones will perform at the Sun Station Vadsø festival in Norway.

Many thanks to James Cook.

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


Bob Walker RIP:

It was very sad to hear the news that Bob Walker has passed away aged 62.

Bob published the pioneering Hot Wacks bootleg guides and the early editions of Luis Rey’s seminal Led Zeppelin Live book and Robert Godwin’s Led Zeppelin The Press Reports – amongst many other titles. I met him when he came over for the 1992 Led Zeppelin Convention I co organised with Andy Adams and kept in touch with him ever since. His enthusiasm for all things Led Zep was always evident – a true enthusiast, chronicler and promoter of the music we all love…RIP

Some tribute comments to Bob Walker on the TBL/DL Facebook:

Very sad news. I just sent him a box of Luis Rey’s latest books a few weeks ago, too. From the courier info he got them on 20th January. Julian Walker

Very sad news Dave. Bob truly was an inspirational figure to me, from the days of Hot Wacks on. Meeting and spending time with him at our Convention was fantastic. Just shocked and saddened. Andy Adams

We were in communication just two months ago… he got several of my new books. My story with him dates back to the late eighties… he was the only person in the world that dared to publish my Led Zeppelin Live. We were working close all the time up until 1997 and almost got involved in the new edition of the Tape Documentary, but at the end he couldn’t. We were family friends and they were both at our home and we were at their’s in Owen Sound… hope Ann Thomas, his wife is OK. Can’t believe he could be doing so much all the time even with ill health… you virtually forgot he was wheelchair bound. He will be missed. Luis Rey


So sad to hear this. I met Bob once (at that Led Zeppelin Convention organised by Dave and Andy). A very nice guy and his contribution benefited a lot of collectors worldwide. Peter Chow – The photo here is Peter with Bob and his wife Ann at the 1992 Led Zeppelin Convention in London.

Very sad indeed. Very helpful in my earliest years of collecting. Another Zeppelin fan pioneer gone to the Great Gig in the Sky. Nech Tytla




King Arthur: Legend of the Sword – Official Trailer [HD] Out May 12 – the soundtrack is rather familiar…


TBL Archive – February 1975: More from a very memorable month, all of 42 years gone…






Background Details: Bob Harris presented two exclusive previews from the Physical Graffiti album. Houses Of The Holy and Trampled Underfoot cut to abstract films.

The Trampled Under Foot clip was  compiled by Philip Jenkinson of Filmfinders depolyed old black and white footage of 1920’s dancers and would be an often repeated item on the programme.

The very title of the album indicated something mysterious and special when I first saw it announced in the NME in late ’74. Then there was the waiting. Ah yes the waiting. Initially it was set for November 29th 1974. That date passed and nothing. Then it was going to be January 10th 1975 -that date passed and nothing.

Finally came the news that the Whistle Test  would be airing teo previews from the album on the evening of Friday February 21st. On that particular evening I  was out at the Rainbow Theatre  attending the Black Oak Arkansas gig with support form Sassafras. I arranged for the Whistle Test to be taped on my trusty Sanyo unit (with microphone up against the TV speaker. The next morning fighting off an expected hangover I was able to marvel at the commercial groove of Houses Of The Holy and the funk rock of Trampled. Bob Harris ahd also announced Alan Freeman would be airng five more tracks from the album on his Saturday afternoon show on Radio One.

On that Saturday Alan aired Custard Pie, Night Flight, The Wanton Song, Down By The Seaside and Sick Again in that sequence with no break. As Robert uttered the opening line ‘’I received a message from my brother across the water he sat laughin’ as he wrote the ends in sight’’ I remember exclaiming ‘’Oh that voice!’’ in excited wonderment.

There was one more preview ahead – John Peel aired Kashmir on his early afternoon show – he co hosted a documentary  type show I think called Rockweek.

To say I was overawed by all this would be a complete understatement. All that remained was for the physical product of Physical Graffiti to be in my hand. Surely that would be soon…



Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti – 42 years Gone:

It’s that time of year again – whenever late February swings around, thoughts of that monumental release of this week in 1975 spring to mind. It’s the opportunity to be immersed in the world of Physical Graffiti and all that goes with it.

On that note, here is a TBL  Physical Graffiti Archive special  – it rounds up material I compiled for the Physical Graffiti 4oth anniversary reissue in 2016.

I am sure it will inspire you to bring out the vinyl or CD and wallow in the expansive delights of a double album that remains at the very core of the whole recorded Led Zeppelin experience..

TBL Archive Retro: 

The Physical Graffiti reissue  – some DL thoughts:

The Reissued Graffiti: Physical Sequencing with no cherry picking required……

So this is it…the big one – an embarrassment of riches –

I played the vinyl version yesterday all in one sitting – as it should be and I have to say I was totally overwhelmed..… totally beyond expectation …so many moments of unparalleled greatness now heard in more clarity than ever before…absolutely incredible…they are, were and always be the best – this reissue of Physical Graffiti is yet further proof.

To backtrack 42 years: My Physical Graffiti:

Physical Graffiti. The very title indicated something mysterious and special when I first saw it announced in the NME in late ’74. Then there was the waiting. Ah yes the waiting. Initially it was set for November 29th 1974. That date passed and nothing. Then it was going to be January 10th 1975 and so it went on ….

On Saturday February 22nd 1975 , Alan Freeman previewed five tracks from the album on his weekly rock show. The previous night I’d had the Old Grey Whistle Test taped on a cassette to hear the previews of Houses Of The Holy and Trampled Underfoot. I was out at the Rainbow grooving to Black Oak Arkansas at the time.

On that Saturday Alan aired Custard Pie, Night Flight, The Wanton Song, Down By The Seaside and Sick Again in that sequence with no break. As I mentioned above, Robert uttered the opening line ‘’I received a message from my brother across the water he sat laughin’ as he wrote the ends in sight’’ I remember exclaiming ‘’Oh that voice!’’ in excited wonderment.

Three days later, on a grey February morning, I took receipt of the record boxes delivered that day at WH Smith where I worked. And there in a parcel marked WEA/CBS Distribution was a box full of that beautiful double album. Had it out of the box immediately –took it down the pub lunchtime to show Dec, Phil, Tom and co…oh yes this was the big one – a massive outpouring of new Zeppelin music. Below is a pic of me in the Dents Road shrine of a bedroom surrounded by suitable visual inspirations – it was here on the evening of Tuesday February 25, 1975 that I first heard Physical Graffiti in all it’s glory.

It ushered in a memorable year that would peak with those five glorious days in May. Since then Physical Graffiti has been a constant in my life. Not long after its release, the WEA rep kindly gave me the original sleeve artwork mock up which still takes pride of place in my collection. On holiday in Spain that year I could not resist handing over a pocket full of pesetas for the Spanish pressing. I have it on cassette and 8 track cartridge. When I first got a CD player in 1988 it was the first CD I purchased.  The emergence of the Tangible Vandalism rehearsals bootleg in the early 80’s was a shot in the arm in a less than vibrant Zep period, and the first time I heard the 33 minutes of outtakes that surfaced in 1997 remains one of my most memorable listening experiences.

Then there have been the numerous live Graffiti moments – selections from Physical Graffiti played live over the years have also provided some of my all time fave gig going moments.

Ten Years Gone and Sick Again at Knebworth, Trampled Underfoot at Leicester University in ’88, Kashmir at MTV Unledded, The Wanton Song at Later With Jools, Night Flight at the ULU in ’98 , In My Time of Dying at the 02 Reunion.

In today’s internet driven world of instantly accessible everything, it’s easy to forget the impact a mere record could have.

A mere record? Physical Graffiti was and could never be a mere anything.

It’s a living breathing, masterpiece.

So happy 42nd birthday Custard Pie, The Rover, In My Time Of Dying, Houses Of The Holy, Trampled  Underfoot, Kashmir, In The Light, Bron Yr Aur, Down By The Seaside, Ten Years Gone, Night Flight, The Wanton Song, Boogie With Stu, Black Country Woman and Sick Again.

These 15 performances continue to enrich my life and thousands of others across the globe. Even more so with the arrival of the 2015 reissue…

To backtrack 42 years: Their Physical Graffiti:


In the scheme of things the timing on the recording of this album was just so right.

There was nothing like the pressure they had in following Zep IV with Houses Of The Holy. The lukewarm press reaction to Houses would only spur the four  to greater on stage heights. The touring period from March in Europe through to the lengthy US jaunt in the summer of ’73 saw Led Zeppelin perform to overflowing audiences with increasing confidence.

There may have been a period of burn out following the US tour – the initial sixth album sessions were scrapped due to John Paul Jones illness/reticence – but it can be clear that the vigour and vitality they displayed during that US tour was more than in evidence when they came to park Ronnie Lane’s mobile studio outside Headley Grange in early 1974.

The decision to work at their own space with no pressure of a tour to prepare was a crucial one. Jimmy’s wry comment that ‘’1974 didn’t really happen’’ was a something of a smokescreen – as creatively it very much did happen and it would set the seal on a six month period in 1975 that would see them conquer America yet again and present five shows at London’s Earls Court that really did capture them at the peak of their powers.

All this and Physical Graffiti too. A double album idea that Page had been eying for some time  as he commented recently:‘’ I hoped it was going to be a double album because other people had put out double albums and I thought it would be good to do that. I knew that we already had material left over the material was coming out and it was clear that we were working towards a double. I did want to do a double album that would really show a working band at a really creative process”.

The eight recordings honed at Headley Grange were merged within seven older tracks held over from previous albums. We now know that had been the clear intention with Houses Of The Holy as Page recently revealed ‘’ It was left off the Houses Of The Holy album on purpose. It was saved for whatever the next album was going to be which turned out to be Physical Graffiti’’. The rest…they were never mere leftovers as such a thing did not exist. These were quality ideas ready to be unleashed

All that was required was a final mix and a song selection and sequencing. This is where Physical Graffiti really triumphs

You could just never envisage Physical Graffiti not being played in the sequence that Jimmy Page prepared back in 1974. .

It’s akin to a whole symphony greater than the sum of its parts – take any song away and it loses its thread.

So let’s be under no illusion, the arrival of this new remastered reissue is principally all about those 15 tracks – the Companion Disc is of course a very  welcomed dessert but the main course kicks right off with track one side with a chew of the Custard Pie and closes with the brutal last gasp salute of Sick Again.

And that my friends, is the way to listen to Physical Graffiti – there’s no cherry picking required. It’s the whole first course in one sitting and no messing. That is the way it should be.

This is no mere 42 year nostalgia trip. Physical Graffiti could be no mere anything. It’s a living breathing beautiful sounding testament to the sheer greatness of Led Zeppelin.

Every facet of the spectrum beautifully detailed – every moment wonderfully sequenced.

Now sounding better than ever via the dutiful care taken to represent this landmark album by Jimmy with John Davis at the helm. Weather you are listening to a top of the range Hi Fi lounge unit or on something a little more basic…the effect will be shattering…

Moments to marvel at on this new reissue:

Custard Pie

Just so much raunch to the riff and John Bonham’s jigging hi hat driving it all the way through… and the solo cuts in across the speakers with so much verve and swagger.

The Rover

Utterly fucking sensational. The drum sound – on first play it took my breath away – simple as that.

In My Time Of Dying

The forcefulness of that opening drum part…it has to be heard to be believed. The clarity of the bottleneck parts – we are right there in that hall in Headley. The echo on the first solo…glorious.

Houses Of The Holy

So much brightness and colour in the lyrics and performance.

Trampled Under Foot

Jones’s clavinet all the way through – pure musical arranging brilliance.


The moment they come out of the middle sequence and that elongated Plant howl…oh yes!

In The Light

We now know how much work went into this with varying tempo changes. The closing two minutes with Page’s multi overdubbing cascading around Bonzo’s drumming might be the best two minutes of their recorded career – here it sounds utterly sensational. As does the opening drone.

Bron Yr Aur

Acoustic perfection…

 Down By The Seaside

Love the keyboard sound from JPJ, now even more accented.

 Ten Years Gone

The intro – totally stunning…

 Night Flight

”Oh mama well it must be time….”  what a vocal!

 The Wanton Song

The way they come back from the Leslied guitar effect solo back into the riff… just  masterful.

 Boogie With Stu

The percussion at the beginning now more powerful than ever.

 Black Country Woman

The mandolin – so precise.

Sick Again

The final onslaught from John Bonham ..oh yes!

The Companion Audio Disc:  


Brandy & Coke (Trampled Under Foot – Initial Rough Mix) 5.39:

To me this has the feel of of a radio friendly single mix – and hearing Brandy & Coke aka Trampled Underfoot in this way makes Led Zep sound like the greatest singles band ever. Imperious funk meets revved up riffing with refreshing clarity…

Sick Again (Early Version) 2.22:

There’s also a delightful ‘’wooshing’’ effect on the riff at 0.55. Overall this flexing of the riff foundation brings out the melodic tendencies of Page’s plangent riffing. You really want this to go on for another ten minues. Wonderful work in progress riff exercise for a sometimes underrated part of the Graffiti wall..not anymore..

In My Time Of Dying (Initial Rough Mix) 10.48:

A cleaner intro – the vocal coming in with added clarity to the version we know. Double tracked at times. The delicacy of the bottleneck parts are more evident. Jonesy’s bass accentuated behind the bottleneck riff parts is also high in the mix. As it moves into it’s stride, Robert’s vocal are striking clear and crisper providing a real live in the studio atmosphere. Mesmerisingly spacey mix of a towering performance…

Houses Of The Holy (Rough Mix With Overdubs) 3.51:

What we have here is a rough mix with overdubs and it’s a fascinating listen – Robert’s initial vocals have less echo and are pleasingly upfront and clear. Bonzo’s cowbell is much more pronounced in this mix.  The backing vocal ”oooh oooh” is also higher in the mix and you can clearly hear a tambourine as additional percussion towards the close. Jimmy had yet to layer on his solo and it fades at 3.51. Bright and breezy mix of one of their most commercial outings…

Everybody Makes It Through (In The Light Early Version/In Transit) 6.29:

The complete alternate version that was previously bootlegged on the Physical Graffiti outtakes that surfaced in 1997.

A totally different work in progress arrangement with John Paul Jones’ Elizabethan harpsichord keyboard sequence being later replaced by the drone links.  The closing moments from 5.42 to 6.29  with John Bonham’s relentless drum fills are some of the very best applied to any Led Zeppelin track. Those that have heard it before already will know this is a phenomenal piece – those that haven’t… well the pleasure will be all yours -it’s just sensational. An unabashed joy from start to finish – this pleasingly inventive initial arrangement adds new colour to the canvas of one of their finest achievements …

Boogie With Stu (Sunset Sound Mix) 3.39:

The mandolin is well to the fore in this mix – you can hear the precise plucking right from the off while the piano and vocals are both further back in the mix. A barrelhouse of mandolin and piano led fun…

Driving Through Kashmir (Kashmir Rough Orchestra Mix) 8.41:

That intro is immediately grandiose -the vocal remains in the centre of the mix while in the riff parts and the  strings are more prominent. From 4.06 to .25 it sounds altogether crisper and chunkier and all beautifully dramatic and the closing orchestral overdubs are clearer going into the fade. Progressive rock in the true sense of the word and this mix is further confirmation of the fact that this composition remains the pride of Led Zeppelin…


Put simply -the paintwork on this particular piece of graffiti remains as fresh as ever… now it’s been recoated to give it an even brighter sheen the end result is simply magnificent…

Dave Lewis 


TBL ’75 Snapshot Retro Review One:

NO OTHER top band in the world gets as much stick as Led Zeppelin.

Every time they bring out an album there’s six months of carping because it’s not full of re-makes of ” Whole Lotta Love “; followed by an¬other six months of moaning because they haven’t played any live dates; finishing up with a final six months of complaints about the time it’s taken them to make the new album. Then, of course, it all starts over again.

Not this time, though, I suspect. By allowing themselves the luxury of a double album, they’ve managed to cram in a bit of everything and in enough quantity to keep that vocal minority of moan¬ers at bay.

For once they will have to admit that the wait since ” Houses Of The Holy ” has been worthwhile; some may even be moved enough to recognise “Physical Graffiti ” for what it is; a work of genius, a superbly performed mixture of styles and influences that encompasses not only all aspects of Led Zep’s record-ing career so far but also much of rock as a whole.

This is not just a collection of great tracks, but a perfectly balanced selection of music that weighs heavy rock with acoustic, ballad with out-and-out rocker in such a way that you can play the album non-stop day and night without ever needing to pause for a bit of peace.

And for one of the world’s heaviest bands, that’s some achievement.

“Physical Graffiti” has not just been “worth the wait”, it had to take a long time to produce music of this calibre.

Physical ad

Unlike so many bands today, who hurl out albums like they were frisbees in Hyde Park, Led Zep can be bothered to take the time and trouble to make this one even better than the last one.

They are, if you like, one of the few “progressive” bands left — you remember them, the groups who were always going to move for¬ward and keep exploring new

Zeppelin have, and still are doing just that. They established their base with heavy blues/rock on “Led Zeppelin 1″, and have constantly sought to build on that, investigating new fields; from the folky “Battle Of Ever¬more” to the reggae in¬fluenced “The Crunge”.

Now they’ve taken electronic space rock for “In The Light”, one of the two most immediately striking cuts on “Physical Graffiti”.

It opens with eerie keyboards that sound like they belong to the Pink Floyd’s “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun”, before moving on to more familiar Zeppelin riffing.

What marks it as the work of true musical craftsmen, though, is the linking: those space sounds are not just a frill tagged on for the hell of it, but .properly joined to the core of the song, first led in by Robert Plant’s voice, then led out for a reprise in the middle by Jimmy Page’s acoustic guitar.

“Kashmir”, hits you just as immediately. It’s in a Completely different vein: heavily orchestrated, with a chopping string riff which builds up to a crescendo at the end of each verse. The nearest equivalent is the work of the classical composer Moondog, who uses the same richly- descriptive style.

So effectively is it used though on “Kashmir” that it actually sounds like you’re travelling on a caravanserai through the East.

And Plant is at his magnificent best, letting his voice be gradually enveloped in the rich orchestral text¬ures and then suddenly soaring through,, like the sun coming out from behind a cloud.

Certainly this is one of the most imaginative and out¬standing numbers Led Zeppelin have ever cut.

But the band’s strength does not always rest on the new. They take that old, old theme of the blues on “In My Time Of Dying” and came up with a fresh approach, by constantly changing the pace, veering from the breakneck to the dead slow.

The song is never fractured: Plant holds a note here, John Bonham continues a drum pattern there, and it joins together as tight as a clam.

And if it’s heavy rock you want, Zeppelin can drive a number along like no other band on earth. Listen to them roar through ” Custard Pie”, “Night Flight” and “Sick Again”, always giving that little bit extra that’s the sign of class — a bubbling keyboard here, a nifty riff there, an intricate pattern elsewhere.

They can be wistful (“Down By The Seaside”), fun (“Boogie With Stu”), acoustic (“Bron-Yr-Aur”), me¬lodic (“The Rover”) — just about anything in fact. They can take as long as they, like with the next album: “Physical Graffiti” will last 18 months or 18 years. And then some.


 physical ad 2

TBL ’75 Snapshot Retro Review 2:

Led Zeppelin: Physical Graffiti

John Tobler, ZigZag magazine March 1975.

NOW I SHOULD make clear in this context that I’m not by nature a fan of this band in the same way that I like Van Morrison or Love. My position is one of deep respect, mind you, and while I was heard to say some harsh things about Beck copyists, etc, when the first album came out, such notions no longer seem to apply. I feel that I would have to perform a masterpiece of justification if I wanted to put L.Z. down, and in all honesty, there’s no fuel for that particular fire.

I suspect that someone somewhere will go into that old thing about making one great album out of two flawed same, as used with the Beatles’ White Album and so on, but again, I can’t subscribe, and this is where the review really starts. There are fifteen tracks on display here, and three of them, accounting for about a third of the playing time, appeal to me so much that were they on one side of the record, I would find it difficult to play anything else until I knew them from every direction. Specifically, these are ‘In My Time Of Dying’, ‘Houses Of The Holy’, and best of all, in a class shared with only a dozen or so tracks in my entire musical existence, ‘In The Light’.

That’s not to write the rest off in a terse few words but for my part, the record would be breaking down fresh barriers if it was all as good. It’s a question of stand-outs, and if you can imagine putting ‘She Loves You’ on the first Beatles album, you’ll see what I mean. Without my three choice cuts, the album would be of very good quality. Perhaps a little routine, but certainly to be among the critics’ choices at the end of the year. With the tracks included, it gets a distinct lift off, and while it’s just as certain to figure similarly in critical and public polls, we’re all getting a bonus for which we should be grateful. I would say with certainty that prolonged playing will produce several more tracks which will become highly pleasing, but it all comes down to what makes the biggest initial impact. And that’s not to say that the three I’ve mentioned have a singalong chorus.

Beyond saying “Get it if you’re even vaguely into this type of confection,” there’s not much to add. Jimmy Page as producer has to be one of the most tasteful people there is, and he continually rejects the temptation to fall into Black Sabbath traps, He also plays the guitar with consummate brilliance, and perhaps that’s part of the key to Led Zeppelin. They are all musicians of the highest calibre, and the length of time taken to produce this package is a testimony to the fact that second best for them is as bad as nowhere. One for your lists.

© John Tobler via

Postscript February 2017:

The intervening 42 years have done absolutely nothing to diminish the impact of a double album that continues to highlight every facet of the Led Zeppelin creative process. It’s been my favourite record from the moment I first played it all the way through, in my bedroom as a mad obsessive 18 year old fan back in 1975…now at 60 (and how mad is that!) in 2017 it still sounds every bit as impressive.

It was the record that changed my life because it told me about life – the lyrics spoke to me in a way that few records have since…it’s Physical Graffiti – and it’s still brilliant…

DL February 22, 2017


DL Diary Blog Update:

Last Friday the good lady Janet and I ventured out to see the Absolute Bowie tribute band at Bedford’s Corn Exchange – meeting up with our good friends Tom, Phil, Jenny Steve and Anne Marie. The first major gig Janet and I attended together was David Bowie at Milton Keynes Bowl on the Serious Moonlight tour in July 1983 – so it was great to be back in front of live Bowie music again in celebration of the Golden Years…and it was a splendid evening.

Here’s the DL review:

Absolute Bowie – Absolutely Spot On…

Tribute bands have long since been a part and parcel of the gig going scene and the pressure to get it right can be pretty high. No more so, than when the artist being paid tribute to is David Bowie.

I’m pleased to report that Absolute Bowie at Bedford’s Corn Exchange on Friday night got it absolutely spot on. Front man John O’ Neill took on the Bowie role with supreme confidence – the period costume changes from Ziggy Stardust through the Thin White Duke and on to the Serious Moonlight era, were all totally convincing. As was the music, with Chris Buratti handling the Mick Ronson guitar parts with genuine empathy.

At one point Moonage Daydream did wander into Led Zep like Dazed And Confused length (probably to aid a costume change) but overall, the arrangements were in keeping with the originals. Life On Mars?, All The Young Dudes, Rebel Rebel, Ashes To Ashes, Let’s Dance, Heroes – the hits just kept on coming.

It made for a great atmosphere and inspired the enthusiastic crowd (including our gang) to put on their dancing shoes and revel in the golden years Absolute Bowie so brilliantly recreated.

Catch them when you can – and thanks to the Pad Presents crew for staging another top night out. Dave Lewis – February 19, 2017.


Here’s a post Absolute Bowie gig pic of our gang on Friday night:

At short notice, on Saturday morning, Tom Phil and I decided to head for Cambridge on the bus for some record shopping. Tom and Phil had yet to visit the excellent Black Barn Record shop and they were suitably impressed.  

There’s always so much to see in the store and I came across this rather large Led Zeppelin II plastic cassette case in Black Barn Records in Cambridge on Saturday. Not quite sure of the source (it mistakenly has a 1968 credit on the track listing so it’s not official) but it looked quite quirky – there’s not a lot of room for it here and it would have been a job getting on the bus (plus I had a feeling the good lady Janet might not have welcomed it with open arms!) so I passed on it – £75 was the asking price. I’d also purchased one or two records by then – including a very nice In Through The Out Door Japanese pressing – a top find!

Below – as seen on the counter at Black Barn Records in Cambridge on Saturday – a rather neat vinyl cleaning device – the album being cleaned is Nirvana – Local Anaesthetic. The rare 1971 album on the legendary Vertigo label by the psych rock outfit not to be confused with the later Nirvana. It goes for around £150 plus.

On the player here:

Led Zeppelin Berkeley Daze 2nd Night (full review to follow), Terry Reid The Other Side Oof The River, The Beatles Anthology 1, The Beatles Let It Be (I’m having a bit of a Beatles phase at the moment), George Harrison Extra Texture – a much underrated album, Fleetwood Mac Tusk  and David Bowie The Gouster album.

TBL workload wise, it’s all about the Evenings With book project and will be for some time to come – designer Mick Lowe and I are working on it pretty much Monday to Friday and there are many an email exchanges with Mike Tremaglio and skype sessions as we piece it together. There’s already been some great reaction to last week’s posting on this news and I’ll be explaining more and regularly updating the progress of this major project in the weeks ahead.

Right, I’m off to pull out that album with the UK catalogue number SSK 89400…it’s nearly time to get lost in the world of Physical Graffiti…

Dave Lewis – February 22 ,2017

Until next time – have a great weekend…

TBL Website updates compiled by Dave Lewis

with thanks to Gary Foy and James Cook

Follow TBL/DL on Facebook:

The TBL/DL Facebook page has regular updates and photos – be sure to check it out.

And follow TBL/DL on Twitter.

And finally…

YouTube Clips:

Led Zeppelin – Brandy & Coke (Trampled Underfoot -Initial Rough Mix)

Robert Plant with Nigel Kennedy – Kings Head pub MTV filming May 1993:

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)


  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    nothing on thatone

  • JAY said:

    Hello Dave–Regarding the statement ‘You could just never envisage Physical Graffiti not being played in the sequence that Jimmy Page prepared back in 1974’–of course this is true of the larger disc-formats, and in a Guardian interview ( Page claimed his intention that ‘nothing follows (‘Kashmir’). In fact I recall seeing at retail here in US in early 1980s (and borne out today: ) that the cassette format of the album flipped ‘In the Light’ and ‘Bron-Yr-Aur’, tacking the latter on after ‘Kashmir’ to close the first half, likely due to format limitations. For such sequence ‘Bron-Yr-Aur’ might conceivably still serve its place as an antidote to another epic, yet side three’s two outer epics would then flank only one semi-acoustic interlude, not the more balanced two.

  • Graham Rodger said:

    February’s Record Collector magazine states that a “new” Jimmy Page album called “The 80s Revisited” is released this month. I can’t remember the label… Wiener-something… any ideas what that’s all about…?

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Great story Kevin!

  • kevin curry said:

    Hi Dave

    I have got the original Jimmy Page single, i bought in a record shop in Kentish Tonwn in 1980
    for £30 It has the white label on it not for resale.In 2003 i won a competition to meet Jimmy and he duly signed It and he nearly walked away with it,i said to him he could have it for £1000. Keep up the good work



Leave your response!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.