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27 May 2021 952 views 4 Comments

Led Zeppelin at Knebworth cover feature in the new issue of Rock Candy magazine:

The new issue of Rock Candy magazine has a major feature written by yours truly on Led Zeppelin at Knebworth. I’ve been working on this for past few weeks and I am very pleased with the end result.

It’s a 7,000 word 12 page story of their Knebworth appearances – the build up, the concerts and the aftermath. It also includes a new interview with Richard Cole that I conducted with him on the phone a few weeks ago. This adds his personal perspective on the Knebworth era.


This new issue is available from May 28 and in the UK should be available in WH Smith and other newsagents.

It’s available on the Rock Candy website – see link below:

More info on this issue can be found at their Facebook page




More essential Led Zep reading…

Classic Rock

Led Zeppelin 50 years On -The Ultimate Celebration

I also contributed to this new issue of Classic Rock which celebrates the Led Zeppelin IV album

Here’s the info:

All that glitters is gold. A 20-page spectacular celebrating Led Zeppelin’s epic fourth album in its golden anniversary year. A complete track-by-track musical breakdown, including stuff you never knew, unpublished thoughts from its late engineer, Geddy Lee on the album’s genius, Jimmy Page on his Stairway solo and so much more

It’s the album we’re celebrating in this month’s issue; an album that’s celebrating its half-century in 2021; a little record most commonly known as Led Zeppelin IV.

We’ve tried to offer a different insight into the oft-told tale of Zeppelin’s mighty fourth album, with a deep-dive track-by-track, and thoughts and explanations from the band, the engineer, a music professor, rock-star fans and more. We’ve also included a super special gift of a sheet of ‘Write Your Own Led Zep Lyrics’ fridge magnets.

Elsewhere in this issue we speak to Billy Gibbons and Blackberry Smoke, get to know Wolfgang Van Halen, lean a lot more about Paul Gilbert, and catch up with German metal legends Helloween.

Again in the UK this issue can be found in WH Smith and other newsagents.

More details and online ordering link below:


Robert Plant Digging Deep Season IV:

The Robert Plant podcast Digging Deep is back for a fourth series – same format with Robert discussing a track from his back catalogue with Matt -in this first episode Robert talks about Bluebells Over The Mountain from the Carry Fire album. In setting the scene Matt also ask  Robert what has kept him occupied during lockdown. Robert reveals he has been wading through his archive – it’s an excellent listen -see link below


Saving Grace featuring Robert Plant & Suzi Dian Birmingham Town Hall August 2

Just announced – tickets on sale Friday May 28

On the occasion of John Bonham’s 73rd Birthday – May 31, 2021…

I love this photo – it may not be the sharpest image but for me, it captures the joyous spirit of John Bonham in full flight during Kashmir. It’s taken at Knebworth of course and frames the screen shot of Bonzo as it was being relayed on the backdrop screen by the video cameras. John Bonham’s total commitment to making it all tick over those two nights was pivotal to the success of that comeback. They all knew they had a lot to lose if they did not step up to the mark. As Robert reflected years later ” One or two of us might have been struggling at that point but Bonzo still had it.’’.

His performances on August 4 and 11 were exemplary and as you will read on below, were amongst his finest. John Henry Bonham…forever missed and forever loved….Happy 73rd Birthday on Sunday..…

Dave Lewis – May   


Greatest Beats – Percussive Perfection – 72 Examples of the John Bonham Drum Craft

Monday May 31, 2020 is John Bonham’s 73rd Birthday. The intervening years since his untimely death at the age of 32 in 1980, have only enhanced his reputation as the outstanding rock drummer of all time.

To quantify that statement and in celebration of his life and legacy, what follows is a listing of 73 of his most notable performances.

It’s continually evident how integral the percussive element was to the overall impact of Led Zeppelin’s unique sound.

This was well apparent at the 02 reunion -clearly Jason Bonham’s understanding and contribution to that ethic was a key factor in the overwhelming success of that night.

It was his father of course who first laid down the template – the following listing highlights the varied aspects of his playing – from snare drum stampedes, though hi hat syncopation, jazzy interludes and sheer brutal power – it was this percussive talent that was at the heart of the group from the very start.

As with any celebration of their music, it’s designed to point readers in the direction of the 71 selections that span the man’s entire career. So be ready to be overawed once again by the sheer inventiveness of this very special musician.

For John Bonham at 72, this is his greatest beats…and percussive perfection…

Notes about this listing: The 72 selections are presented in chronological order of their year of recording – for the studio inclusions that means not necessarily the year they were released (ie in the case of Physical Graffiti recorded 1974 released 1975). The list covers John Bonham’s entire recorded career from the first Band Of Joy demos in 1967 through to the final performance on stage with Led Zeppelin on July 7, 1980 – it also hones in on performances  on the Companion Audio Discs of the Jimmy Page produced reissues released during 2014/5/6.The commentary tracks his ongoing prowess and periodically clocks the appropriate points of percussive perfection to be heard amongst the various examples of his vast percussive skills.

So air drumming at the ready….

For What it’s Worth Band Of Joy (1967)

Hear It: Robert Plant – Sixty Six To Timbuktu (Atlantic)

Hey Joe – Band Of Joy (1967)

* The earliest recorded remnants of the teenage Bonham with the Band Of Joy and fellow Midlander one Robert Plant.

Robert Plant said: ‘’You can hear Zeppelin in there. Bonzo’s doing a lot of those drum figures and fills which were quite popular with drummers like Carmine Appice all that virtuoso drumming. It was like ‘’Here I am everybody: somebody get me in a really big band quick -I want to get away from Plant!‘’

Hear it: Robert Plant – Sixty Six To Timbuktu (Atlantic)

Jim’s Blues/George Wallace Is Rollin’ In This Mornin’ – PJ Proby (1968)

* Enter The New Yardbird and his speed king foot pedal is heard for the first time with his new band mates on this PJ Proby session just prior to the recording of  the first Zep album.

Hear It: Your Time Is Gonna Come /The Roots of Led Zeppelin (Castle)

Good Times Bad Times (1968)

*From the dramatic two beat opening, John Bonham puts the whole kit through it’s paces. That pioneering use of bass drum triplets heralded the arrival of a very special drummer.

Jimmy Page said: ‘’In terms of John’s playing, a big point of reference is Good Time Bad Times. He’s playing brilliantly on everything else but this is right out of the norm – playing a bass drum pattern that no one else has ever heard.’’

Hear It: Led Zeppelin (Atlantic)

Babe I’m Gonna Leave You (1968)

* The noble art of percussive dynamics as Bonzo alternates from cymbal crashing crescendo to hi hat swing.

Hear It: Led Zeppelin (Atlantic)

Sugar Mama (Mix) (1968)

*To quote from my review of Sugar Mama when it first appeared on the Coda reissue, in 2015 – ”Then there’s drummer John Bonham – long time friend of the aforementioned Plant and drafted into this new line up at the recommendation of the singer who had performed in the Band Of Joy with him. John had more recently forged a reputation touring with Tim Rose – Jimmy Page duly checked him out at a Tim Rose gig in Hampstead the previous July and saw the immense percussive potential. That potential is all over this track, most notably from 1 minute 23 to I minute28 -in that space of time, Bonzo as he will become known, delivers one of those seemingly impossible bass drum shuffles that will became a unique part of the Led Zep sound.”

Hear it: Coda Reissue –  Companion Audio Disc (Atlantic/Swan Song)

Pat’s Delight (Live Fillmore West 1969)

* Before Moby Dick, Bonzo’s live solo outing was known as Pat’s Delight affectionately named after his wife. On this early live rendition from the April 27 Fillmore West show in San Francisco ,you can clearly trace elements of the soon to be recorded Led Zeppelin 11 solo.

Hear It: Kozmic Blues (Beelzebub bootleg)

Communication Breakdown ( BBC Session 1969 )

* This take from their first John Peel session cut on March 3 1969 sizzles along -and Bonzo’s right at the heart of it.

Clock the percussive perfection: From 2 minutes 22 seconds the point were it veers off and the drummer free falls across tom tom and snare of the much employed maple Ludwig kit.

Hear It: The Complete BBC Radio Sessions (Empress Valley bootleg)

How Many More Times (Live BBC Playhouse Theatre 1969)

* An early live fave of course with that stimulating Gene Krupa inspired jazzy opening.

John Bonham said :‘’Gene Krupa was the first big band drummer to be really noticed. He came out and played the drums much louder than they ever had before. People didn’t take notice of drums until Krupa came along’’

Hear It: The Complete BBC Sessions (Atlantic)

Whole Lotta Love (Rough Mix with vocal)  (1969)

Nearly four decades on this track has lost none of it’s originality or power. One of one of their most potent studio moments and perhaps Bonzo’s best studio performance.

On this welcome alternate take from the 2014 reissues there’s no cough at the intro and straight to the riff. Where the chorus should come is a wonderfully disorientating moment because there is no chorus! Equally startling is the middle section which is devoid of the later overdubbed backwards echo effects. Instead, there’s sparse use of tympani and some neat rim shots from Bonzo. The whole mix has Bonzo right upfront enabling to him shine on this track like never before.

Clock the percussive perfection: Where else but that battering ram snare roll at 2.24 that leads into where Jimmy’s solo normally kicks in – but not on this occasion…

Hear It: Led Zeppelin II reissue Companion Audio Disc (Atlantic)

Ramble On (1969)

* The pitter patter of bare hands against drum dominates throughout.

John Bonham said: ‘’You get a lovely little tone out of the drums that you couldn’t get with the sticks. You get an absolute true drum sound because there’s no wood involved’’

Hear It: Led Zeppelin 2 (Atlantic)

Moby Dick (1969)

* The drum solo to play to those that claim they don’t like drum solos. A veritable Bonham stickfest.

Hear It: Led Zeppelin II (Atlantic)

La La (Intro Outro Rough Mix) (1969)

A newly discovered instrumental for the 2014 reissue, this is  a brilliant piece of Page wizardry with Jones keyboards to the fore initially all supplemented by Bonzo’s speed fast playing. He is in there  tearing along and then on into yet another time signature switch as it slows to a bluesy feel and then a step on the wah wah for a scintillating Hendrix like finale.

Clock the percussive perfection: At 1.05 just prior to Jimmy’s switch to acoustic – Bonzo kicks in at lightening speed across the kit.

Hear it: Led Zeppelin II Reissue Companion Audio Disc)

Good Times Bad Times/Communication Breakdown (Live at The Olympia 1969)

*A short lived set opener that combined the instrumental intro of Good Bad Times with a frantic Communication Breakdown.

Clock the percussive perfection:  At 00.39 when John leads them into the into of Communication Breakdown with a storming barrage of snare and tom tom attacks.

Hear it: Led Zeppelin reissue Companion Audio Disc) 

Wailing Sounds – Lord Such & Heavy Friends (1969)

* A rare session for the outrageous Sutch. Note Bonzo’s two beat snare drive that dominates the track – a tactic that he would later repeat notably on the live Over The Hills And far Away arrangement and Candy Store Rock on Presence

Hear It: Your Time Is Gonna Come -The Roots of Led Zeppelin (Castle)

We’re Gonna Groove (Live at The Royal Albert Hall 1970)

* Simply Devastating. From the moment Bonzo warms up the kit through the frenzied opening and ride cymbal onslaught. Definitive John Bonham.

John Paul Jones said: ‘’I’ve seen all three James brown drummers stand around him at the Newport Festival in disbelief wondering how one guy does what all three of them did’’

Hear It: Led Zeppelin DVD (Warner Music Vision)

I Can’t Quite You Baby (Live Royal Albert Hall 1970)

* A wonderfully atmospheric performance from the glorious Royal night of Albert thankfully all captured on film.

Hear It: Led Zeppelin DVD (Warner Music Vision)

Moby Dick (Live at The Royal Albert Hall 1970)

* Yes seeing is believing – superbly restored for the 2003 DVD this is 15 minutes of sheer percussive brilliance. Bonzo clatters, rattles, shakes and bangs his way into percussive immortality.

John Bonham said: ‘’My son Jason plays. I’ve got a kit made to scale for him. He’s got a great sense of time- even when we go out in the car he takes his sticks to bash on the seats. Before the end of Led Zeppelin I’m going to have him onstage with us at the Albert Hall’’

Hear It: Led Zeppelin DVD (Warner Music Vision)

Immigrant Song (1970)

* Marvel at how he drives this tremendous opening track  with a forceful full on percussive attack. The pace here is just relentless.

Hear It : Led Zeppelin III (Atlantic)

Friends (1970)

* In which Bonzo forfeits the sticks for the bongos, and has no trouble in keeping up with JPJ’s relentless string swirl.

Hear it: Led Zeppelin III (Atlantic)

Since I’ve Been Loving You (1970)

* Proving there’s no sin in omission, Bonzo’s sparse incisive back beat allows the rest of them to build the tension. The opening two minutes are just masterful.

Clock the percussive perfection: 48 seconds in with that positively nuclear cymbal crash over Page’s Gibson squeals and Plant’s instinctive shout of ‘’Oh!’’

Hear It: Led Zeppelin 3 (Atlantic)

Out On The Tiles (1970)

* Not for nothing did he have a joint song writing credit for a performance of sheer explosive power.

Clock the percussive perfection: At 2.35 as the long fade out kicks in with Bonzo flailing around the kit – all deftly panned in stereo splendour.

Hear It: Led Zeppelin 3 (Atlantic)

Gallows Pole (1970)

*Again that sense of  light and shade dynamics is applied to this tradition tune in a manner only they could muster.

* Clock the percussive perfection: The tension builds and then blam! John Henry is in at 2.04 to gallop amongst the gallows.

Hear It: Led Zeppelin 3 (Atlantic)

Poor Tom (1970)

* An invigorating New Orleans jazz straight eighth shuffle opens and carries the track throughout. An absolute masterclass of controlled percussion.

Hear It: Coda (Swan Song)

St Tristans Sword (rough mix) (1970)

This three way instrumental work out from 1970 is built around a totally invigorating bass and drum pattern – the bass and drum syncopation between JPJ and Bonzo is just outstanding. Bonzo putting to good use his best New Orleans shuffle ala Poor Tom. This was one of the finds of the whole reissue series and yet another prime example of Bonzo pushing the percussive boundaries beyond the norm.

Hear it: Coda Reissue –  Companion Audio Disc (Atlantic/Swan Song)

Bring It On Home (Live at LA Forum 1970)

*One of the all time great Zep live performances.

* Clock the percussive perfection: From 6.25 as Page and Bonzo lock horns in a classic guitar and drums battle.

Hear It: Live On Blueberry Hill (Trade Mark Of Quality bootleg)

If It Keeps On Raining (When the Levee Breaks Rough Mix) (1970)

* This is a simply sensational initial run through from November 1970 with a totally alternate laid back swampy feel, slightly faster in tempo to the original. Robert’s vocals have a sparse low register echoed scat singing element to them, adding to the almost soundcheck run through quality of the piece. It certainly has a total groove of its own with incessant bass line from JPJ, Bonzo’s drumming funky as hell with a distinctive snare drum sound

Hear it: Coda Reissue –  Companion Audio Disc (Atlantic/Swan Song)

Rock And Roll (1971)

* Guaranteed to cause severe outbreaks of air drumming from the moment that cymbal crashing intro commences.

*Clock the percussive perfection: It has to be that final flurry at 3.25. The most concise percussive statement ever committed to tape.

Hear It: Led Zeppelin 4 (Atlantic)

Black Dog (1971)

* To paraphrase a Jason Bonham album title, this is clear case of the disregard of time keeping. Simple in it’s execution -nigh on impossible to copy -John is totally locked in to the rhythm with JPJ.

John Paul Jones said: ‘’Musically we were very proud of our capabilities. The empathy we had when we played was always incredibly exhilarating, but then I was fortunate. I was playing with the best drummer Id ever known – and I’d know a lot’’

Hear It: Led Zeppelin 4 (Atlantic)

Misty Mountain Hop (1971)

* Clock the percussive perfection: From 3.55 to 4.01 as Bonzo strikes up a magnificent drum roll and the whole affair drifts off into the psychedelic sunshine. ‘’I really don’t know..ohoh ohoh.’’

Hear It: Led Zeppelin 4 (1971)

Four Sticks (1971)

* Yet another remarkable percussive statement. Bonzo tears along with a four stick attack clicking the rims of the drums in the process. Innovative and totally infectious.

Hear It: Led Zeppelin 4 (Atlantic)

When The Levee Breaks (1971)

* The remake – one drum kit, one stairwell, one microphone over the banister…a thousand samples…and the greatest of beats.

Robert Plant said: John always felt his significance was minimal but if you take him off any of our tracks, it loses it’s potency and sex. I don’t think he really knew how important he was‘’

Hear It: Led Zeppelin 4 (Atlantic)

Heartbreaker (Live at Berkeley 1971)

A classic live performance as recorded on September 14 1971 and immortalized on the Going To California bootleg.

Clock the percussive perfection: At 5.04 the moment Bonzo re enters after Jimmy’s virtuoso guitar solo. The power of his pummelling even for him is just immerse…

Hear it – Going To California TMQ Bootleg double album

Immigrant Song (Live in Osaka 1971)

Another classic live performance as recorded on September 29 ,1971 at the Festival Hall Osaka – available again on the More Comedy Less Work 4 CD set.

Clock the percussive perfection: From the moment Bonzo’s shouts ”Louder, louder” and crashes into the intro and locks right in with Page and Jones – a perfect example of the way he drove the rhythmic machine…

Hear it – More Comedy  Less Work  4 CD TARC Bootleg set

No Quarter (Rough Mix with JP keyboards -overdubs -no vocals) (1971)

Another standout highlight from the 2014 reissue. A December 1971  instrumental mix with JPJ piano very prominent, theremin effects and the drums crystal clear. This is a clear case of Bonzo allowing the feel of the song to breath – as was so often the case – it’s not what he plays  but what he doesn’t play that provides the air between it all.

Clock the percussive perfection: At 3.58 when he comes in out of JPJ’s solo to add a subtle hi hat shuffle – the right effect at the right time…

Hear It: Houses Of The Holy Reissue Companion Audio Disc (Atlantic)

Don’t Freak Me Out – Jimmy Stevens (1972)

In April 1972  John took time out to contribute two tracks to this Maurice Gibb produced album by English singer songwriter Jimmy Stevens. He was billed on the album under the name Gemini. On this title track of the album recorded at Morgan Studios, John adds some suitably strident percussive weight to a bluesy stomper – throwing in the bass drum triplicates at will…

Hear it: Jimmy Stevens – Don’t Freak Me Out (Atlantic)

The Crunge (1972)

* Talking of which – the boys get off on the good foot and Bonzo applies a ridiculous 9/8 time. Could anyone do The Crunge..? John Bonham evidently could…

Hear It: Houses Of The Holy (Atlantic)

Walters Walk (Rough Mix) (1972)

This vocal less rough mix only heightens Bonzo’s driving of the rhythm – it’s a relentless groove

Clock the percussive perfection: From 2.28 when the riff kicks back in and Bonzo tears along with it right to the fade…

Hear It: Houses Of The Holy Reissue Companion Audio Disc (Atlantic)

D’yer Ma’ker (1972)

* Less reggae, more 50’s fun time led all the way by Bonzo’s huge upfront wide screen playing -leading to a deserved lead song writing credit.

Hear It: Houses Of The Holy (Atlantic)

The Rover (1972)

* First tried for Houses, it’s eventual release three years later was well worth the wait. Bonzo’s snare drum torrents subside for Page’s melodic embellishments.

Hear It: Physical Graffiti (Swan Song)

Dazed And Confused (Live at LA Forum 1972)

* A 25 minute tour de force with Bonzo in the middle of it all guiding them through early stabs at Walters Walk and The Crunge in the process.

Hear It: How The West Was Won (Atlantic)


Happy Birthday Dear Bonzo/Heartbreaker (Live LA Forum 1973)

* A fantastic sequence – ‘’John Bonham! John Bonham! John Bonham!’’ exclaims R. Plant on the night of John’s 25th birthday. Then it’s the obligatory ‘’Happy Birthday To You’’ and a comment of ‘’Far out’’ from Plant. Bonzo’s intro to the old live warhorse Heartbreaker is just that.

Hear It: Bonzo’s Birthday Party (Trademark Of Quality bootleg)

The Rain Song (Live Madison Square Garden 1973)

* More controlled dynamics.

Clock the percussive genius: From 5.59 after Robert’s ‘’But I know that I love you so’’ line. Bonzo is all across the tympani right though to the final flurry on the gong.

Hear It: The Song Remains The Same Soundtrack (Swan Song)

No Quarter (Live Madison Square Garden 1973)

* Clock the percussive perfection: From 9.01 as Bonzo plays behind Jimmy’s wah wah solo displaying a hi hat syncopation favoured by the likes of 70’s funkateers Sly Stone and Tower of Power

Hear It: The Song Remains The Same Soundtrack (Swan Song)

The Ocean (Live Madison Square Garden 1973)

* Totally uplifting. This is mid period Zep in all it’s unchained unabashed carnal glory. Via the DVD we can vividly see Page playing not only to an ocean but right off the drummer’s cues and shouts. Absolutely joyous.

Hear It: The Song Remains The Same Soundtrack  2007 reissue (Swan Song)

Kashmir (Demo 1973)

* Heard in it’s purest form – no overdubs, no vocals – just Page, Jones and Bonham driving the riff on and on.

Hear It: Brutal Artistry (Midas Touch bootleg)

Everybody Makes It Through (In The Light) Early Version/In Transit) (1974) 

A totally different work in progress arrangement with John Paul Jones’ Elizabethan harpsichord keyboard sequence being later replaced by the drone links.  Very much a Headley Grange mix with live drumming. Some elements of this version were retained for the re make  –notably Bonzo’s drum parts and Jimmy’s guitar melody.

Clock the percussive perfection: 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.

Hear It: Physical Graffiti Reissue Companion Audio Disc (Atlantic)

The Wanton Song (1974)

* Classic machete Zep. Again it’s John Henry steadying the ship as Page’s angular riffs take hold. It’s that rock steady beat that keeps it all in line.

Hear It: Physical Graffiti (Swan Song)

In My Time Of Dying (1974)

* Perhaps their most intense and brutal studio performance – and it’s Bonzo constantly underpinning it all.

Clock the percussive perfection: From 7.12 and those four military barrages of power shared by Bonham and Page before Robert comes in with the line ‘’And I see it in the streets’’

Hear It: Physical Graffiti (Swan Song)

Trampled Underfoot (1974)

* Journalist Lisa Robinson commented at the time ’’It sounds like The Beatles battled the Stones in a parking lot, and Led Zeppelin won.’’ Yet another example of their diversity.

John Bonham said: ‘’When we first ran through it John Paul and Jimmy started off the riff and we thought it was a bit souly for us. Then we changed it about a bit. It’s great for me – a great rhythm for a drummer.It’s just at the right pace and you can do a lot of frills.’’

Hear It: Physical Graffiti (Swan Song)

Kashmir (1974)

* Now in it’s full splendour and yet another masterful Bonham contribution. There’s no doubt that the economy in his playing gave the song it’s vastness.

Robert Plant said: ‘’A lot of Kashmir was done to Bonzo. He was a real thrifty player. It was often what he didn’t do that made it work.’’

Hear It: Physical Graffiti (Swan Song)

Over The Hills And Far Away (Live Earls Court 1975)

* Always a live favourite – the studio version was merely the starting point for this particular tangent within the framework.

Clock the percussive perfection: From Plant’s shout of ‘’Acapulco gold’’ at 2.35 as Bonzo drives the rhythmic experiments of Page’s solo with a two hit snare run not dissimilar to that employed on Candy Store Rock

Hear It: To Be A Rock And Not To Roll (Watch Tower bootleg)

In My Time Of Dying (Live Earls Court 1975)

* The brutality of the studio version carries though to the live performance and as can be seen in close up on the DVD. Bonzo’s bass kick was all important here.

Hear It: Led Zeppelin DVD (Warner Music Video)

Bron Yr Aur Stomp (Live Earls Court 1975)

* The good vibes of the time perfectly encapsulated. Bonzo’s the star as he leads them on a merry dance, contributing backing vocals and even castanets.

John Bonham said: ‘’I enjoyed those concerts. I thought they were the best shows we‘ve ever put on in England. I thought the video screen was really worth doing. You could get close ups you would never be able to see normally at a concert’’

Hear It: Led Zeppelin DVD (Warner Home Vision)

Achilles Last Stand (1975)

* The chemistry of all four perfectly in sync to pull off perhaps their most inventive composition.

Clock the percussive perfection: So many to choose from – how about 1.17 and the first fill ,then again at 2.29 and another burst of power, or there’s the point at 4.08 when the first machine gun rally with Page kicks in.

Hear It: Presence (Swan Song)

Royal Orleans (1975)

* Bonzo cleverly plays against the riff with a funky edge on another of his co compositions.

Clock the percussive perfection: 1.56 and the interjection of bongos with the main drumming. A deft touch.

Hear It: Presence (Swan Song)

Hots On For Nowhere (1975)

* As Charles Shaar Murray noted, what the Glenn Miller orchestra would have sounded like had they been a murderously heavy four piece rock band. This one swings along with some incredible fills.

Clock the percussive perfection. At 4.01 through to the finish as he clatters around the spiralling Page runs.

Hear It: Presence (Swan Song)

10 Ribs & All/Carrot Pod Pod” (Reference Mix) (1975)

So Jonesy did take the piano out of the flight case for the Munich recordings – it’s emergence on the 2015 reissue throws a new light on what had previously thought to be an  18 day frenzy of guitar, bass and drums arrangements.

Mournful, forlorn and reflective, it creates a beautiful atmosphere. Jimmy drifts in at 2mins 39 with some minor descending electric strumming, quite possibly courtesy of the Telecaster B bender. Behind all that there’s an acoustic guitar – all very autumnal and Ten Years Gone- ish. Then John Bonham enters at 3 mins 02 and like Jimmy says, it will make you smile – it might even make you cry. It all leads on to something of a crescendo in an All My Love outro tempo.

Clock the percussive perfection: The aforementioned entry at 3.01 -so poignant – the three of them instrumentally coming together in perfect harmony.

Hear It: Presence  Reissue Companion Audio Disc (Atlantic)

Bonzo’s Montreux (1976)

* Enter the John Bonham orchestra. Bonzo had long harboured a plan for a dramatic new solo piece and the period in tax exile gave him the opportunity to experiment in Mountain Studios. The result – another percussive landmark.

Hear It: Coda (Swan Song)

The Song Remains The Same (Live LA Forum 1977)

* Despite all the off stage lunacy surrounding them now, Bonzo came through when it mattered. It certainly mattered any time they played Los Angeles and this opening night in LA was a triumph.

Clock the percussive perfection: From 1.25 to 1.36 a ten second torrent of furious snare attack as the song builds.

Hear It: Listen To This Eddie (Empress Valley bootleg)

Over The Top/Moby Dick (Live LA Forum 1977)

* The last hurrah for the long drum solo. On the ‘77 tour the opening riff preceding the solo was cribbed from Out On The Tiles.

Hear It: Listen To This Eddie (Empress Valley bootleg)

Keep Your Hands On The Wheel – Roy Wood (1978)

* With Zep off the road there was ample time for extra curricular work. Helping out fellow Brummie rocker Roy Wood, he brings that huge Bonham sound to a melodic stomper from the Wizard man

Clock the percussive perfection: From 2.42 to 3.03 with Bonzo reprising the mighty snare roll of Whole Lotta Love as they switch back to the main chorus.

Hear It: Roy Wood On The Road Again (Warners)/The Bonham Sessions (Hammer Jack bootleg)

Rockestra Theme – Paul McCartney & Wings (1978)

* A massive jam sharing the drum chores with Kenny Jones and Wings Steve Holly down at Abbey Road for the fab Macca’s rock orchestra – later to be reproduced on stage at the Hammersmith Odeon for what would be Bonzo’s last live performance in the UK. Footage of this studio session where he plays a black Billy Cobham flared style kit, can be seen on the Paul McCartney Wingspan DVD

Hear It: Wings – Back To The Egg (EMI)/The Bonham Sessions (Hammer Jack bootleg)

South Bound Suarez (1978)

Another masterclass of understated percussion as he underpins the shuffle of the song with pin point precision.

Clock the percussive perfection. At 3.27 as John’s snare, bass drum and hi hat combination ushers them into that delightful ”sha la la la” fade out

Hear It: In Through The Out Door (Swan Song)

Fool In The Rain (1978)

* On this outstanding Bonham showcase we can hear the fusion influence of jazz players such as Benard Purdie and Alphonse Mouzon.

Clock the percussive perfection. Firstly at 2.25 when the whistle blowing ushers in a Latin samba delight, then to the dexterity of his playing from 3.32 to 3.50 and the entry of Jimmy’s solo.

Robert Plant said: ‘’If you listen to Bonzo on that album -things like Fool In The Rain ,well he was weaving with as much dexterity and finesse as on the early days. One or two of us might have been struggling at that point but Bonzo still had it‘.’

Hear It: In Through The Out Door (Swan Song)

Wearing And Tearing (1978)

* He’d mixed it with the punks down at the Roxy club in ‘77 so attacking this track with Rat Scabies like vigour was chicken feed. Fast and loose and then some…Punk rock? Never ‘eard of it…

Hear It: Coda (1978)

Sick Again (Live Knebworth 1979)

* As mentioned above, Knebworth was an absolute triumph for Bonzo -his playing throughout was exemplary. One of the surprise highlights of the set was this  stand alone version of Sick Again – and he is just phenomenal all the way.

Clock the percussive perfection: From 3.44 and onwards as he puts the metallic kit through it’s paces and whips up a storm right through to the stop gap ending at 5.07

Hear It: Led Zeppelin DVD (Warner Home Vision)

In The Evening (Live Knebworth 1979)

*More magnificence as Bonzo builds the drama with that phased tympani intro.

Clock the percussive perfection: From 7.10 onwards as he compliments Plant’s pleading and Page’s Stratocaster strut with a tribal tom tom assault.

Hear It: Led Zeppelin DVD (Warner Home Vision)

Whole Lotta Love (Live Knebworth 1979)

* The finale – a stripped down remodel with added spice and a new middle section that gave the song a new lease of life.

Clock the percussive perfection: From 2.16 where Page kicks in the new riff and Bonzo supplements it with a solid beat.

Hear it: Led Zeppelin DVD (Warner Home Vision)

Nobody’s Fault But Mine (Live Cologne 1980)

* The 1980 Over Europe tour brought with it a clear sense of  rejuvenation. John attacked this latter day favourite with all the verve and bluster of their first Europe trek nearly eleven years earlier.

Hear It: A Close Shave bootleg (Condor)

Whole Lotta Love (Live Munich 1980)

* With Simon Kirke guesting, Munich witnessed the rare sight of two drummers jamming it out for what would be the penultimate delivery of the classic anthem

Simon Kirke said: ”I remember we were in his hotel room literally with our hands on our knees just getting the rhythm. It was a wonderful experience to be on stage with Zeppelin.’’

Hear It: Munich 1980 (Tarantura bootleg)

Kashmir (Live Berlin 1980)

* Perhaps the best received number on the tour – rightfully taking it’s place at the latter end of the set.

Clock the percussive perfection: At around 7.12 as Bonzo paves the way home with a serious of phased drum fills each one a little more frenzied as they reach the climax.

‘’John Bonham on drums….’’

They did not know it but Robert Plant had just made the last introduction to his life long friend and integral band mate.

Hear It: Last Stand (Toasted Condor bootleg)

Stairway To Heaven (Live in Berlin 1980)

* And finally…

An extraordinary performance. Page’s solo on this last ever Led Zeppelin delivery meandered to take the track to nearly fifteen minutes in duration. Bonzo’s task was to intrusively follow the guitarist lead which he does with deft skill.

The camaraderie of recent weeks seemed to will them on to keep the flame burning for as long as they could on this final night.

A little over 80 days later Led Zeppelin were no more

Robert Plant said: ‘’The band didn’t exist the moment Bonzo had gone to me.”

Hear It : Last Stand (Toasted Condor bootleg)

So there you’ve it – 73 vivid examples of the John Bonham drum craft – play them today and remember him this way…

Happy 73rd Birthday John Bonham…

John Bonham 73 at 73 listing compiled by Dave Lewis

More John Bonham celebrations due…

John Bonham Celebration Event Details…a great day in prospect…


The Government have announced their intention to allow large gatherings including music festivals to be staged without restrictions from June 21st onwards. This means our Festival in September can go-ahead as planned…

So with Government guidelines permitting, the one-day Rock and Blues event celebrating the life of John Henry Bonham takes place on Saturday 25th September in Redditch town centre, Bonzo’s hometown

Two live shows, matinee & evening*, featuring headline acts and special guests at Redditch’ Palace Theatre (Tickets only)

Outdoor festival stage with top local & regional artists on Saturday afternoon (Tickets only) *

Free Pub Gigs in and around the town

Here’s the line up:

John Coghlan’s Quo


Coda- a Tribute to Led Zeppelin

The Groundhogs


Michael MacCourt

More acts to be announced soon….

Here’s more details from Ros Sidaway:

Redditch Gets Set to Rock as John Bonham A Celebration Festival Returns

After having to cancel the 2019 festival and then postpone last year’s planned music event, John Bonham

Memorial Friends are looking forward to finally staging the John Bonham A Celebration II festival in Redditch

on Saturday 25thSeptember.

“The Government’s announcement of their intention to allow large gatherings, including music festivals, to be staged without restrictions from June 2st onwards, came as a huge relief to all involved after what has been a dreadful year, particularly for the ‘live’ music industry “ says Festival Director, Ros Sidaway “It’s also been tough for charities unable to fundraise so we are hoping to raise as much money as possible for our nominated charity, Teenage Cancer Trust West Midlands”

Organised in partnership with the Palace Drum Clinic, this year’s event will have a different format to the big marquee celebration held in 2018. With an open-air music event close to John’s memorial in Mercian Square from midday to 6pm, and matinee and evening shows featuring top rock & blues acts being held at the

Palace Theatre, Redditch is set to rock once again.

The first of the Headline Acts were announced on Friday evening and include John Coghlan’s Quo, Stray, Ken Pustelnik’s Groundhogs, CODA – A Tribute To Led Zeppelin and VAMBO, one of the leaders of the New Wave of Classic Rock. Opening the matinee show, will be Young Drummer of the Year 2019 winner, Michael MacCourt. They will be joined on stage by Special Guests and friends of John Bonham sharing their memories of Bonzo.

Tickets for the shows are now on sale via the link below:

or the Palace Theatre Box Office on 01527 65203.

If you would like to be involved in this September’s festival, or are interested in sponsoring, advertising or donating raffle prizes, please contact JBMF through the website or contact Ros Sidaway on 07887 525107 or pop into her record shop, Vintage Trax, at 11a Church Green East, Redditch B98 8BP.

Many thanks to Ros for all the info on what is a great day in prospect – more on this as it unfolds in the coming weeks.

LZ News:

Led Zeppelin News Update:

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

Led Zeppelin

  • Previously unseen footage of Led Zeppelin performing in Detroit on January 31, 1975 that was originally published in February has been reposted online.

Jimmy Page

  • Barry Mason, who co-wrote Jimmy Page’s 1965 solo single “She Just Satisfies”, died aged 85.

Robert Plant

  • Robert Plant confirmed plans for a tour of the UK with Saving Grace in June and July. We’ve added all of the confirmed dates to our upcoming events schedule below. The initial tour announcement included a performance in Tenbury Wells on June 22 but this was deleted and replaced by a new schedule that does not include that date.

John Paul Jones

Upcoming events:

June 9 – New music written by John Paul Jones will be performed at the Swaledale Festival in Yorkshire.
June 12 – Parts of Robert Plant’s Knebworth 1990 performance will be released on vinyl for Record Store Day.
June 18 – The remastered box set of Yardbirds aka Roger the Engineer, featuring Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones, will be released.
June 24 – Robert Plant will perform as part of Saving Grace in Exmouth.
June 25 – Robert Plant will perform as part of Saving Grace in Poole.
June 27 – Robert Plant will perform as part of Saving Grace at the Black Deer festival in Kent.
June 29 – Robert Plant will perform as part of Saving Grace in Shrewsbury.
July 26 – Robert Plant will perform as part of Saving Grace in Dudley.
July 31 – Robert Plant will perform as part of Saving Grace at the Underneath the Stars festival in Barnsley.
August 10 – “Led Zeppelin Vinyl: The Essential Collection” by Ross Halfin will be published.
September 7 – “Beast: John Bonham and the Rise of Led Zeppelin” by C.M. Kushins will be published.
September 9 – The revised and expanded edition of “Evenings With Led Zeppelin” will be published.
September 25 – The 2021 John Bonham celebration event will be held in Redditch.
November 9 – “Led Zeppelin: The Biography” by Bob Spitz will be published.

Many thanks to James Cook.

The complete Led Zeppelin News email goes out periodically. To receive it sign up here:

Led Zeppelin News Website: Check out the Led Zeppelin news website at

TBL Fate Of Nations Archive special:

27 years….now where did that go?

It was all of 27 years ago this month that Robert Plant kicked off his Fate Of Nations touring campaign with two low ley appearances in Fulham. It was the beginning of a hugely enjoyable period as he toured across the globe in support of the truly excellent Fate Of Nations album. We pick up the story right at the beginning. These secret appearances were incredibly exciting and I count myself very lucky to have been right there in the forefront of a new Plant era. I actually got wind of the dates by a tip off from Charlie Jones at the press launch of the album in April 1993. He told me to look out for a band named Fate Of Nations in the coming weeks gig listings. Sure enough in the NME of week commencing May 10 there was the ad – Fate Of Nations -Kings Head Fulham May 14.

So it was on the afternoon of that day that we, that’s me Gary Foy, Krys Jantzen and Kam Assi turned up at the Kings Head pub. I was still in that seeing is believing mode as we grouped in the bar…then from the band room area we could hear the plaintive tones of an instrumental What Is And What Should Never Be.

We were on…big time!

So let’s travel back to the spring of that year when it was all happening down in Fulham…here’s the TBL on the spot report that appeared in issue 8:

First Night of the Fate Of Nations World Tour Reviewed

Rejuvenation in Fulham…       

What Is And What Should Definitely Be…


King’s Head, Fulham, May 14 1993

Just prior to their European dates, Robert Plant chose to premier his new touring band under the pseudonym Fate Of Nations for a date at London’s King’s Head, Fulham on the Friday preceding the FA Cup Final.

Although thousands will witness the projected 1993/4 Fate Of Nations tour, a mere 150 packed in to the South London pub to see Robert debut a new band and a new set. For the staff and locals it was no real surprise that Robert should select this venue for a warm-up as he and his band have used the place to rehearse throughout the past year.

One of the last times I had seen Robert perform in his own right was amongst the thousands at Knebworth ’90 and the opportunity to view the new line-up in this most intimate of surroundings was incredibly exciting and a throwback to those early ’80s Honeydripper days.

Even back then though, the stages were never as small as the one Robert walked on to around 10p.m. Dressed in black Jeans and a cut off T-shirt, emblazoned with what appeared to be an Arabic slogan. Flanked by Charlie, Phil, new guitarists Kevin Scott McMichael and Francis Dunnery plus drummer Michael Lee, he proceeded to kick start the 1993 campaign in to action with a vibrant ‘Calling To You’ which works great live. Over the next hour, the band ran through a tight no-messing selection of numbers which are likely to form the basis of the festival set they will take around Europe this summer. ‘Calling’ was followed by a return to active duty for ‘Trampled Underfoot’ played with a nagging insistency which then segued into Tall Cool One now devoid of all the samples and sounding well refreshed.

There was little in-between chat from Robert aside from the obligatory ‘’Good Evening’’ and a brief opening statement: “Welcome to the first night of a tour that takes in Morocco, Casablanca and many other strange places”. ’29 Palms’ came next, clearly the song of the moment to be found on radio, on TV and now live and happening in Fulham High Street and embellished with a slowed-down complete ending.

The new line up is firmly spearheaded by Francis Dunnery’s lead playing supplemented by Kevin Scott McMichael with Phil Johnstone concentrating on guitar rather than keyboards. This makes for a much punchier sound than the ’88 to ’90 outfit and the whole set up echoes the air of rejuvenation that Robert is experiencing with this new phase of his career. It was immediately apparent that on stage, he has already created a productive alliance between the two new guitarists.

Judging by this opening set, it would also seem that Roberts fave Zep album at the moment might well be ‘Led Zeppelin 2′ as there were no less than three selections included from that album.

First up was What Is And What Should Never Be’ (what a joy it is to write that statement!). Incredibly, it’s first live airing in 21 years. And it sounded wonderful, performed very faithful to the original right down to the stereo planning between the PA for the power chord guitar outro shared by Kevin and Francis. Following a passionate pairing of ‘Tie Dye On The Highway’ and ‘Nirvana’, Francis slugged out the intro to ‘Whole Lotta Love’ and Robert proceeded to re-enact a slice of his history with his first ever solo non-Zep reunion rendering of that old cock rock classic.

The middle part found Francis delivering the required fret board effects across Robert repeating the line “Just a little bit, just a little bit”, ala the old BBC Session version.

All too soon this compact performance was over, but not before the band were called back for two encores. They ran down the new ‘Promised Land’, a number that grows in stature on repeated hearings (I’m constantly waking up with the chorus in my head). Finally a rousing Livin Lovin’ Maid’ with Robert stalking the stage majestically and baptising the front row (yours truly included) in a shower of sweat in the process.

The message was clear for all those in attendance at this first night run through. The Fate Of Nations tour is underway and ready to trail blaze its way across Europe and beyond, with a vitality that will impress any audience it encounters.

“We must be in Heaven” laughed Plant as he left the stage, paraphrasing that Woodstock ‘Tie Dye On The Highway sample. Indeed we were . . .and incredibly, there is more to come at this venue very soon…

Dave Lewis  – May 16, 1993


Venue: Kings Head Fulham

Friday, May 14, 1993

Background: Robert and the band have been consistent visitors to the popular London pub venue for the past year (pics of Robert and the staff adorn the walls in the public bar) and he had promised landlord Les a couple of warm up dates as far back as early April. This first show was much more low key than the May 20 show. Those with a keen eye would have seen a group called Fate Of Nations billed as the Friday attraction at the Kings Head in the NME gig guide for that week. The lucky few that were in the right place at the right time and paid the £5 entrance fee were treated to a very personable first night preview with around 150 in attendance.

In The Crowd/Backstage: Nigel Kennedy puts in a non playing appearance and Fontana’s Dave Bates and ‘Fate Of Nations’ engineer Mike Gregovich also spotted. General low key turn out mostly filled by Fulham set regulars with just a few lucky Plant/Zep heads down the front (say hello Gary, Krys, Kam and Julie!)

Soundcheck: The band (minus Robert) come in around 5pm and run through instrumental versions of ‘Trampled Underfoot, Tie Dye On The Highway’ and ‘Nirvana’. Francis practises the solo of ‘What Is And What Should Never Be.

Set List: Calling To You/Trampled Underfoot/Tall Cool One/29 Palms/What Is And What Should Never Be/Tie Dye On The Highway/Nirvana/Whole Lotta Love-Encores: Promised Land/Livin’ Lovin’ Maid. (NB – The written set list taped to the stage had ‘Heaven Knows’ crossed out after ‘What Is, so it can be assumed that number had been rehearsed).

Performance Notes: Robert wears a cut down ‘Om Kalsoum’ T-shirt and just for safe measure has the lyrics of Nirvana’, ‘Tall Cool One and ‘Hurting Kind’ taped to the floor of the stage (‘Hurting Kind’ is subsequently not performed). The band are a little rough at the edges but look to be well at ease with each other and perhaps well relieved to be finally playing in front of an audience. There’s a no messing approach to the set with little in between spiel. Trampled’ and Tall Cool One’ sound particularly vibrant in their new guise, but What Is And What Should Never Be is the song of the night, returning to live duty for the first time in 21 years and causing this writer to swoon just ever so slightly as Plant effortlessly delivers the opening line.

A truly manic ‘Livin’ Lovin’ Maid’ completes a great night in the most intimate of surroundings and for me personally the best live Zep related experience since Leicester University five years previous. The next day’s FA Cup Final stalemate draw between Arsenal and Sheffield Wednesday seemed all the more tedious with the hangover I was experiencing!

Dave Lewis – May 22,1993

Wow those were the days…it seems like a lifetime ago but then again a second…

What memories of such a great time to be a Robert Plant fan …

Dave Lewis May  27, 2021

Jimmy Page novel:

Searching For Jimmy Page  forthcoming novel:

Christy Alexander Hallberg has been in touch to inform me about her forthcoming novel – here’s the info:

Christy Alexander Hallberg’s debut novel, Searching For Jimmy Page, is forthcoming later this year fall 2021 from Livingston Press.

Per the synopsis on the back cover of the novel, “The unraveling of eighteen-year-old Luna Kane’s haunted past begins in the winter of 1988, when her dying great-grandfather, a self-proclaimed faith healer, claims he hears phantom owls crying in the night. ‘Them owls, like music. Can you hear the music?’ His plea triggers Luna’s repressed memory of her dead mother’s obsession with Jimmy Page, Led Zeppelin’s legendary guitar wizard, and sends her on a pilgrimage from North Carolina to England,” to search for the man whose music her mother held sacred.

Liza Wieland, author of Paris, 7 A.M., named one of The Best Books by Women of Summer 2019 by O, the Oprah Magazine, offers this praise for the book: “In her wondrous first novel, Christy Hallberg gives us a mystery, a mother-daughter love story, a paean to rock and roll, and a window into the culture of eastern North Carolina, all joined seamlessly by the elegance and poetry of her writing. It’s a book that begs to be read twice, first to find out the true story of Luna’s parentage, and then again, immediately but more slowly, to savor the beauty of the language.”

Pre- order now via this link:

Bob Dylan at 80:

Bob Dylan was 80  years old on Monday.

I have been enthralled by his music since I was aged 12. 53 years later I still am – as can be seen by this pic taken this morning of a few of my favourite Bob things…

I have had a deep lasting affinity for his work and this milestone Birthday has inspired a wave of wave of recollections

I remember Blonde On Blonde being on our radiogram in Dents Road –it was the first LP I ever saw that had one song (Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands) take up the whole of one side. I can vividly recall the excitement of his Isle Of Wight festival appearance in 1969 and when I purchased his Self Portrait album a couple of years later I loved those live cuts from that show.

A feature on his bootleg catalogue by Michael Gray in the fantastic Let It Rock magazine in 1972 had a huge influence on me. It took me on a journey of discovery. The first bootleg albums I ordered were Led Zeppelin Live On Blueberry Hill and Bob Dylan’s GWW Live At The Royal AlbertHall on Trade Mark Of Quality. In 1972 I paid £5.50 to invest in The Concert For Bangla Desh by George Harrison & Friends which has a brilliant side of live Bob.

I remember first hearing Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door and listening intensely to the preview of his comeback album Planet Waves on the Friday night Rockspeak show programme.

Two years later the Desire and Blood On The Tracks albums were my constant companions during the intensity of teenage love – seeing him live for the first time at Blackbush in 1978 was a near spiritual experience.

In the 80s and 90s I saw him live with Tom Petty and a couple of times at the Hammersmith Odeon

In recent years my appreciation of Bob Dylan’s studio work has centered on the superb Bootleg Series of retrospective releases – the Another Self Portrait the More Blood On The Tracks being absolute stand outs for me.

However last year’s Rough And Rowdy Ways was a real return to form and a work of rare reflective beauty.

At aged 80 he may not be as he once sang, forever young but Bob Dylan remains forever compelling- long may he do so…

Happy Birthday Bob…

One final Bob related anecdote – Jimmy Page is a big Bob Dylan fan –at a record fair in 2017 I had a chat with him about this and he told me he first saw him on his UK tour in 1965. Jimmy mentioned he was after a copy of the Bob Dylan film Renaldo and Clara on DVD. I managed to obtain this particular DVD and sent it to him. A few days later Jimmy rang me up to personally to thank me for it – a very nice touch.


On the occasion of his Birthday here’s some of my previous musings on Bob Dylan… 


My thoughts on…

Bob Dylan  More Blood – More Tracks -The Bootleg Series Vol 14:

Blood On The Tracks turned up at the WH Smith record department I worked at in early February 1975. At the time I was anxiously tearing open every record box that arrived hoping that the new Led Zeppelin album Physical Graffiti would appear before me. It was imminently due but would not arrive until later in the month.

Back to Mr Zimmerman. I knew this new Bob Dylan album was an important release –it heralded Dylan’s return to recording with Columbia (CBS) after a brief sojourn to Asylum/Island. I’d also already seen Nick Kent’s peview of the album in the NME.

”Already I’m enthralled with this album to a point where I can’t even remember a time before where I’ve been this drawn to a recorded work”-wrote Mr Kent. ”The Bob Dylan of Blood On The Tracks is a changed man -fatalistic and fairly desperate from what I can see”

I was more than intrigued and knew I had to invest in this latest Bob outpouring at my earliest convenience.

I had been an avid Dylan fan since 1969. My first Dylan album purchase was the much maligned Self Portrait double album set. I had played his amazing set from the Concert For Bangla Desh triple album non stop when it came out in 1972  I’d also purchased the previous studio album Planet Waves released in early 1974 on the day of release – a very fine set with The Band as the back up.

Much had happened in his life since and Blood On the Tracks. Aside from going back on tour in the US with The Band, around this time he was separating from wife Sara. Though things are never that simple, this record was dubbed Bob’s break up album – a fact he later denied and the sleeve notes dispel.

Rather conveniently, I was going through a bit of a painful quest for love, which in the early months of that year appeared to be in vein. As it tuned out, sharing the young lady in question’s company watching Led Zeppelin over five nights at Earls Court put us on the straight and narrow path of true youthful love.

Break up album or not, the songs felt like Bob was hurting and at the time so was I – and in the opening months of 1975, this album was more than good company. The lyrical imagery just tumbled out in a series of sparsely constructed songs – with Dylan in that distinctive nasal whine that some just don’t get – but others find irresistible. I’m in the latter category of course – the fragility of that vocal never sounded so vulnerable than on this album.

I loved it then and I love it now – and over the years there’s been much to learn about this record –not least that five of the tracks  had been hastily re-recorded in December 1974 in Minneapolis after Dylan scrapped the initial versions from the September New York sessions. The songs re -recorded were Tangled Up In Blue, You’re a Big Girl Now, Idiot Wind, Liley,Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts and If You See Her Say Hello.

The original New York versions have emerged on several bootleg collections. There’s also been a smattering of outtakes and alternate versions that have officially surfaced – notably on the Biograph box set in 1985 and very first Bootleg Series release in 1991. Via the bootlegs, I have long since enjoyed these original New York versions – notably the superb take of You’re A Big Girl Now on the Biograph set.

So when it comes to the Blood On The Tracks album, I’m well versed in its history. When it was announced that these sessions would form the next release in the Bootleg series I was well excited. The expensive and expansive 6 CD set is a bridge too far at the moment (I may add it to my Christmas list!) but I was more than happy to snap up the double vinyl package at a very reasonable price.

So here it is – More Blood – More Tracks The Bootleg Series Vol 14:

Tangled Up in Blue (9/19/74, Take 3, Remake 3)

Simple Twist of Fate (9/16/74, Take 1)

Shelter From The Storm (9/17/74, Take 2)

You’re a Big Girl Now (9/16/74, Take 2)

Buckets of Rain (9/18/74, Take 2, Remake)

If You See Her, Say Hello (9/16/74, Take 1)

Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts (9/16/74, Take 2)

Meet Me in the Morning (9/19/74, Take 1, Remake)

Idiot Wind (9/19/74, Take 4, Remake)

You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go (9/17/74, Take 1, Remake)

Up to Me (9/19/74, Take 2, Remake)

All Tracks Recorded
A & R Studios
New York 9/16 – 9/19/1974

Tracks Recorded 9/16 & 18
Bob Dylan – vocals, guitar, harmonica

Tracks Recorded 9/17 & 19
Bob Dylan – vocals, guitar, harmonica
Tony Brown – bass

So what we have on the double vinyl and single CD edition is an eleven track total re- working of the original – all alternate takes recorded at the initial in September 1974 at A and R Studio sessions-  and one outtake that never made the final cut of the album but has appeared since on the Biograph box set (in a different take to what is presented here).

It’s a fantastic package with superbly informative sleeve notes by Jeff Slate- the labels replicate the original Presswell Records Test Pressing design, a brilliant touch.

This is Bob Dylan laid bare – mostly in a solo acoustic setting – occasionally supported by Tony Brown on bass – and mostly previously unheard in these arrangements.

As such, the songs we know so well live and breathe again with a new found fragility and melancholy. As Jeff Slate in the opening the sleeve notes astutely notes, it feels like Bob Dylan is performing for you and you only. The intimacy of his storytelling is quite astonishing.

In summary: The Bootleg Series Vol 14 offers More Blood and More Tracks…and ultimately more Dylan magnificence…

Dave Lewis, November 6, 2018

Bob Dylan at Blackbushe – it was 40 years ago…

40 years ago this week on July 15, 1978, I was lucky enough to attend the massive Bob Dylan event at Blackbushe. To mark the event, here are my recollections of the day and my affinity for Bob Dylan. For many reasons, as you will read on – this was  one of the most memorable gigs of my life.

Bob Dylan at Blackbush: Seeing was believing.

Bob Dylan came into my life when I was 12 years old in 1969. That was the year I discovered a copy of Blonde On Blonde in our house. Everything about it was mesmerising. From the starling fold out cover to a single song (Sad Eyed lady of The Lowlands) taking up one side of this expansive and illuminating double album. I was totally hooked. From that point on, I followed his every move scouring the weekly music papers for information.

The first Dylan album I purchased was Self Portrait – so keen was I to hear live recordings of his 1969 Isle of Wight performance. Though much maligned at the time, I found the free and easy flow of this double set very appealing. In early 1972, at vast expense (£5.50 new pence) I splashed out for The Concert For Bangla Desh set that has that marvellous side of Dylan’s surprise performance at George Harrison’s benefit concert staged at Madison Square Garden in August 1971.

A year later, much inspired by a major feature on Dylan bootlegs in Let It Rock magazine, I became the proud owner of the famous Royal Albert Hall bootleg on the Trade Mark Of Quality label. I’d searched this gem out in a small ad in Sounds for live albums. It kick started my lasting obsession with bootlegs -being a massive Led Zeppelin fan their Live On Blueberry Hill was purchased at the same time as the Dylan set.

Over the next five years, I was captivated by Dylan’s recorded output. Planet Waves, Before The Flood, Blood On The Tracks, Desire and Hard Rain were all soaked up by this then teenage Bob Dylan fan with passionate devotion.

So come 1978 and the announcement that Dylan was to perform a series of concerts at Earls Court, I was well excited. However, ticket demand was huge and unfortunately I missed out on those shows.

My then girlfriend Fiona and I did hatch a plan to tout for tickets outside Earls Court but seeing the prices they were commanding, that idea was shelved. At the time, I avidly read all the Earls Court reviews in the music press – and there was also the considerable silver lining of the new truly excellent Dylan album Street Legal. This became the soundtrack of the summer. I’ve only got to hear that faded in intro and Bob to utter the words ”Sixteen years” to be right back in that rather crazy summer – where in the space of some seven weeks I was lucky enough to see The Who, David Bowie and Bob Dylan.

There was an event greater silver lining in the late June when promoter Harvey Goldsmith announced that Bob Dylan would be appearing at was to be known as ‘’The Picnic At Blackbushe’’. An open air one day festival to be staged at an old airport runway at Blackbushe Aerodrome.

Tickets for this event proved much easier to obtain. I travelled into London to purchase a couple at the Music Boutique shop in Shaftesbury Avenue. Saturday July 15, 1978 was going to be a landmark date in the calendar.

Fiona’s enthusiasm for Dylan had been influenced and honed by me over the preceding three years that we had been going out – I was now 21 and she was 19. When I first met her she initially found it hard to share my passion for the Zim. She even wrote a half joking letter to the NME explaining of her dilemma.. To our surprise it was printed in the May 17, 1975 edition. ‘’ Under the pysudenum ‘’Worried Zep Fan – Bedford’’ Fiona proclaimed

‘’Is there something wrong with me? I reckon there must be coz I cannot get into Bob Dylan.

Bob Dylan! Yes isn’t it amazing?

I must be the only music lover in Britain who considers him one of the best songwriters ever but doesn’t get off on him 99.99 % as other people I know do.

I am not musically frigid when it comes to Zeppelin, Floyd and, Stones, so what’s the matter with me?’’

The rather caustic reply being:

‘’But if you consider him one of ‘the best songwriters ever’, you are getting off on him, Buffoo.’’

We both considered it an honour her letter had been printed – such was the esteem for the weekly music press back then..

Sadly, as Blackbushe beckoned, our relationship was beginning to sour. I saw this event as a way of perhaps revitalising our relationship. So it was on the evening of July 14 1978 we left Bedford, sleeping bags packed with all the festival essentials and headed off for London’s Waterloo station. From there in the darkness of the night, double decker busses were laid on to take us from Fleet Station to the Blackbushe grounds.

Once there, we spent a somewhat uncomfortable night sleeping in a field between the bus and a few parked cars. As daylight broke we got ourselves together and headed for the Blackbushe runway. By 7am, we had picked a fairly central spot to begin our vigil for the master.

Of course a few thousand other like minded enthusiasts had already done the very same thing. We were therefore already some way back in the crowd. However as we were to discover, countless more fans would be converging behind us throughout the day. Weather wise it was a little cloudy at times but mostly dry and warm.

The prospect of Bob Dylan at Blackbushe was a very big deal indeed. It was his first UK outdoor appearance since the Isle of Wight Festival a decade previous. The reaction to his recent Earls Court shows had been unanimously positive. This event, and make no mistake about it, it was an event, brought out a host of rock royalty to witness it all unfold – including Ringo Starr, Bianca Jagger,Billy Connolly and one Jimmy Page. Led Zeppelin would go onto play their own events at Knebworth the following year. In an interview with Chris Salewitz in the NME just prior to their appearances in August 1979, Jimmy had this to say about Dylan at Blackbushe:

‘’Knebworth is like a natural amphitheatre. I should imagine its quite a good gig to be at. I went to Blackbushe but that was a bit of a sea of bodies -.but it was great to see Dylan’’.

I know exactly what he means about that, because by midday the Blackbushe aerodrome really was a sea of people. It was quite astonishing. Previously Fiona and I had been amongst large outdoor rock events such as The Who’s performance at Charlton Athletic football ground in May 1976 and again later in the year witnessing Queen at Hyde Park. They had been large gatherings but Blackbushe was altogether on another scale.

I didn’t see too much of the two opening acts Lake and Merger as I was catching up on some sleep. In the afternoon though, I thoroughly enjoyed Graham Parker & The Rumour’s set. Graham was a good bridging act between the old wave and new as the time the musical climate was a changing. Rapidly so, in the light of the punk rock explosion.

Not that you would have noticed too much at Blackbushe. Flares and denim was the order of the day still. Eric Clapton and his band followed in the late afternoon. It’s worth noting here that the Blackbushe bill was superior to the one Led Zep would assemble at Knebworth in 1979 – Chas & Dave, Fairport Convention, Commander Cody Southside Johnny,Todd Rundgren and a slightly haphazard Keith and Ronnie in the New Barbarians made for a rather lackluster line up.

Back at Blackbushe, Eric was a much brighter bet. He gave an assured performance that included Badge, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, Layla, and Wonderful Tonight.

The sound quality did meander a little as a breezy wind did blow the sound around a little. Thankfully this was not so apparent during the Dylan set.

I did actually tape some of the performances on my rather cumbersome Phillips tape recorder. Some of the Graham Parker and Clapton extracts came out pretty well –  unfortunately by the time Dylan appeared the batteries had run low – a situation I found myself in a year later taping Zep at Knebworth. I was always too fixed on watching the action than bothering too much about any potential recordings.

Eric was followed by Joan Armatrading. Her brand of pleasant sounding semi acoustic soft rock (of which Love And Affection was the highlight), went down very well and acted as the perfectly calm backdrop to the now mounting anticipation for the man…the man known as Robert Allen Zimmerman.

After all the waiting….there he was, centre stage amongst a slew of fellow musicians looking suitably enigmatic in a top hat – and oh yes, seeing was believing.

The opening numbers – an instrumental My Back Pages , Love Her With A Feeling and Baby Stop Crying were slightly low key but by the time Dylan romped through a vibrant Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues, the game was definitely on.

We were set next to an older couple from Oxford who had seen him in 1966 and at the Isle of Wight. They were particularly impressed with my youthful enthusiasm as a number of whoops and hollers escaped from my mouth as each song unfolded – not to mention some wild air drumming.

And what a list of songs it was. Through reading the many reviews I was pretty aware of what he might be offering up, but even by his standards this was a mighty long performance – over three hours in length. It did include an interlude when he ambled off stage for backing singers Carolyn Dennis and Helena Springs to take the spotlight but mainly it was full on royal Bobness.

Along the way, there were moments of great musical celebration such as Maggie’s Farm, Like A Rolling Stone, All I Really Wanna Do, Aall Along The Watchtower and Blowin’ In The Wind.

All mixed with moments of sheer emotion – witness Girl From the North Country , I Shall Be Released, It’s All Over Now Baby Blue, Forever Young (what a beauty that is),  the slowed down I Want You and Is Your Love In Vain?

The latter song from the recent Street Legal album, he might have just been singing that just to me. It was evident that my love was in vain as during the long day, Fiona and I discussed our relationship and we both knew the end was in sight. Sadly, as many young lovers do, we had out grown each other and my first intense love affair was drifting into the sunset.

‘’Do you love me, or are you just extending goodwill?

Do you need me half as bad as you say, or are you just feeling guilt?

Will I be able to count on you?

Or is your love in vain?’’

How those words resonated with me on that memorable evening.

Which brings us appropriately enough to the defining moment of the whole day. For the final few numbers we decided to move back to the perimeter of the arena. From there we could see the mass of people some crowded around makeshift fires and others were holding candles. It was a truly stunning sight made all the more poignant by Dylan’s closing performance.

This was an encore performance of The Times They Are A Changin.’ During the song Fiona and I both glanced at each other as the master delivered those iconic lyrics – we never uttered a word but I know we were both thinking the same thing. For this relationship the times really were a changin’…

Totally overawed by what we had witnessed, we somewhat solemnly trudged along the dark lanes of the Surrey countryside in search of Fleet Station. However, the planned coaches to take us there were nowhere to be seen. We slept on Fleet Station eventually catching a packed train to Waterloo in the morning.

Bob Dylan at Blackbushe was to be the last gig I attended with Fiona. Gigs had been very much part of our adventure, indeed Fiona had been next to me for the five Led Zeppelin shows at Earls Court. Once back in Bedford our near three year relationship came to and end and our lives moved on in different directions. I’m pleased to say we still keep in touch and look back fondly on these days of youthful innocence.

Some six months later, the Bob Dylan at Budokhan album was released. Having been recorded on tour in early 1978 it was a welcomed reminder of the glory of that Blackbushe appearance

It was to be another ten years before I saw Bob Dylan on stage again – a very enjoyable night at the Birmingham NEC where he linked up with Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. I did a couple of the early 90s Hammersmith gigs as well.

As for his recorded output, after Slow Train Coming my interest waned somewhat. Oh Mercy was something of a return to form and latterly Modern Times hit the mark

I still follow his career with interest and I’m glad he is still out there on that never ending tour. In recent years, I’ve avidly soaked up all those official Bootleg Series retrospective sets and he remains the greatest living poet.

I will never forget seeing Bob Dylan at Blackbushe not least for it being Fiona and myself’s last stand.

It was an absolute privilege to be in the company of an artist at one of the peaks of his career (and there have been many).

He has been a spokesman for more than one generation and on that July night back in 1978, he was a spokesman for me. The quest to finally see him perform live was certainly not in vain…

Dave Lewis – July 15 , 2018.

The above recollections can be seen in the excellent Wymer Publishing book The Picnic At Blackbushe -which in words and pictures tells the story of this epic event.

Ordering link here:


Boy Dylan… 

My thoughts on the new Bob Dylan album Rough And Rowdy Ways…

Bob Dylan

Rough And Rowdy Ways (Columbia)

The first Bob Dylan album I bought with hard earned cash was Self Portrait. The 1970 covers based double album mish mash that confused his audience and critics alike. It prompted the writer Greil Marcus to open his review of the album in Rolling Stone magazine with the immortal line ‘’What’s this shit?’’

Maybe I was easily pleased aged 16 but I actually loved it so you could say I am used to Bob Dylan’s artistic quirks. I might add the second Bob Dylan I purchased not long after, was the legendary bootleg Live at the Royal Albert Hall 1966 so that put my particular credibility way back up.

The fact is the career of Bob Dylan has been fascinating me for the past 50 years and it continues to do so.

In recent years my appreciation of Bob Dylan’s studio work has centered on the superb Bootleg Series of retrospective releases – the last of which was the magnificent Blood On The Tracks set.

I very much enjoyed his Sinatra’s covers album Shadows n the Night and I always follow his career – I am glad he still out there performing though I have long since experienced that for myself – I checked out around 1992 on that score not before experiencing some concert highs the 1978 Blackbushe appearance being the most memorable.

He is the greatest living poet and he is right up there in my favourite artists of all time – and always will be.

Now comes a new album Rough And Rowdy Ways – his 39th studio album of which I am proud to say I own a bulk of.

Like so many aspects of this pandemic world, this one comes with its own set of circumstances. It was preceded by the unexpected arrival on Friday March 27 of the streaming of an extract from it. I say extract more an epic. For Murder Most Foul is the longest ever studio track he has composed.

Along with The Rolling Stones’ Living In A Ghost Town, for me it’s been the defining musical moments of the past three months. The shock, bewilderment and sheer awe which I experienced when listening to it for the first time – a mere three days after the announcement of the UK lockdown, will long live in my memory. We will return to that subject presently.

Any appreciation of the modern Bob Dylan now comes with the added challenge of dealing with the quality of his voice. Once a delightful distinctive nasal whine, in recent times it has often been reduced to a frog in the throat falter. Age does wither us all, so the first question in approaching this new set of songs has to be – how is the voice shaping up Bob?

The answer?

Pretty well..

I am very pleased to say throughout the album he applies a seasoned deep toned burr with, as Chris Charlesworth noted in his Just backdated review, a similar texture to Tom Waits.

The sparse backing on the album fits the mood with this line up of players:

Charlie Sexton – guitar

Bob Britt – guitar

Donnie Herron – steel guitar, violin and, accordion

Tony Garnier – bass

Matt Chamberlain – drums

So to the album…

I Contain Multitudes sets the plaintive mood , all serene and reflective and like Murder Most Foul, stock full of cultural references – The Rolling Stones , David Bowie and Indiana Jones among them.

The line ”Keep your mouth away from me ‘’ carries a certain poignancy given these modern times. Overall it’s a comforting opener that caresses you in to this latest Dylan planet wave.

False Prophet carries that timeless R and B chug and groove Dylan is such a master at conjuring up. It recalls the relentless stomp of New Pony from the Street Legal album which is no bad thing.

My Own Version Of You is another low key affair taken at a slow walking pace. Now here’s a thing –the descending melody line is very similar to Dazed And Confused – not the Page led Zep arrangement but Jake Holmes folksy original.

I’ve Made Up My Mind To Give Myself To You…

Never one to write a straight love song this one has a slow wistful feel that draws you right in from the start. The vocal is slightly treated in a manner that took me back to Oh Mercy’s Most Of The time. The tender nature of his vocal is just achingly beautiful – so fragile and delicate in its delivery.

Brush stroked drums and a crooning backing adds to what could be described as a Lay Lady Lay for the modern era. The title really speaks to me as this is a mantra I have found myself relating to the good lady here given her circumstances here in recent months. I am in no way ashamed to say  playing this for the first time It moved me near to tears. it’s as good as anything he has done in the last 40 years.

Black Rider is another melancholy crooned affair in the style of Sinatra’s One For My Baby –the influences on those covers albums has obviously not been wasted on him.

Goodbye Jimmy Reed is an utterly delightful R and B stomp – up tempo and bluesy with a pleasing roller coasting Rainy Day Women strut to it.

Mother Of Muses follows – all stately and subtle with a deep dreamy vocal.

Crossing The Rubicon – back to the blues for a sometimes semi spoken drawl in the Tom Waits tradition (In the Neighbourhood springs to mind) with pleasing lyrical couplets.

Key West (Philosopher Pirate) – a warm pleasure with accordion accompaniment as the singer  goes in search for love and inspiration on ”that pirate radio station coming out of Luxemburg’’.

Then there is Disc Two…

Murder Most Foul –the already much heralded marathon that unfolds over a sparse piano and violin. At nearly 17 minutes long, his longest track ever .The main topic is the assassination of JFK and then it leads on to all manner of lyrical references with name check for The Beatles, Patsy Cline, Dizzy Miss Lizzy, Tommy, The Acid Queen, Etta James and a host of others…Meanderingly beautiful and captivating.


In these ‘new normal’ days boy do I need this new Bob Dylan album. It speaks to me just as Blood On the Tracks and Slow Train Comin did all those years back when I was going through the pain of young love. I needed those albums so much back then and I need this one now to temper moments of delusion and mental seclusion.

Here’s an aside and a personal one. When Janet went into surgery to have her broken leg pinned on December 10 last year two days after her accident, I came home from the hospital and wrote a heartfelt letter to her. It’s something I felt I really needed to do. I wrote it with Blood On the Tracks on the player. Never did an album of music so fit the mood.

”So bleak outside I wrote ”and Bob Dylan Blood On The Tracks on the player –‘’All because of a simple twist of fate’’ he sings on one song on that album and how that phrase resonates after what has happened in the last 72 hours.”

There’s something deeply connecting when listening intensely to Bob Dylan. I feel I know him and I know he knows us…and wants to guide us..

Here he is guiding us again. This is an album  that alternates between semi spoken shimmering croons and free falling R and B grooves. Lyrical references abound, the voice similar to Tom Waits  and as Charles Shaar Murray noted in his review shades of Dr John and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. lyrically there is much to analyse and I am sure the serious Bob cats out there will spend hours doing so. The total playing time clocks in at 70 minutes making it double album length,

The overall production echoes the sparseness that Daniel Lanois brought to Oh Mercy and Time Out Of Mind . The Johnny Cash Rick Rubin produced striped down American Recordings album is another reference point here.

In  these crazy uncertain times, there will be many occasions ahead when musical salvation will need to be at hand. I’ll therefore be looking repeatedly to Rough And Rowdy Ways to accompany me when I feel the need, as another Dylan (Thomas) put it, to ‘rage at the dying of the light’.

At 79 he may not be as he once sang, forever young but Bob Dylan remains forever compelling and this new album is a work of rare reflective beauty.

Dave Lewis – July 1, 2020

And finally on Bob…

Dinner With Dylan:

This is an excellent play which aired on BBC Radio 4 last Saturday.

I found it an enchanting and poignant listen with many parallels with my own musical passion and no doubt many of you reading this…it’s well worth a listen…

Here’s the info:

With Bob Dylan’s 80th birthday due on Monday I’ll be tuning in to this on BBC Radio 4 later today…

“My name’s Jon Canter and I’m a Bobaholic. That means I’m addicted to the songs and mystery of Bob Dylan. But it’s an addiction from which I never want to recover, because it’s sustained and nourished and challenged me for nearly 50 years.

There are millions of people like me and this play is dedicated to them. But it’s also dedicated to the people who know and love Bobaholics and have to live with their addiction, which isn’t always easy.”

Dinner with Dylan is a play about three grown men – Bobaholics – who meet in a restaurant to chat about the meaning of life and Dylan. It’s set in 2017, in the week when Dylan played a series of shows at the London Palladium and after an accidental meeting between playwright Jon Canter and writer and producer Richard Curtis. This is what happened next….


Richard Curtis played by himself

Kerry Shale played by himself

Lucas Hare played by himself

Eileen Atkins played by herself

Sam Akbar Kurtha

Produced and Directed by Clive Brill

Listen at this link:

My Home town…Bedford

Bedford has been in the national and local news here for all the wrong reasons – it currently has the third highest infection rate for Covid 19 in England due to the Indian variant. We all hope here this improves.

On a brighter note  here’s a very funny wry look at my home town…

This episode of Mark Steel’s In Town first aired in 2017 was re broadcast today on Radio 4 – listen at the link below..…thanks Paul Hagen for this tip…

‘’Mark Steel visits Bedford, uncovering some surprises and performing a bespoke stand-up show for the residents. From 2017.’’

DL Diary Blog Update:

Thursday May 20:

On the player a new acquisition via my very good friend and fellow record collecting comrade John Parkin – he spotted this one in a record shop in Hull and sent it down. It’s a Bad Company bootleg LP titled Stuff That Duck on the Red Devil label – the same label that pressed the very rare Led Zeppelin No Quarter Earls Court May 18 1975 bootleg – it has similar artwork.

This Bad Co album was recorded at Lancaster University on December 7 1974.

It’s from a lively but clear audience tape -and they are on sparkling form – track listing Deal With A Preacher (sic),Rock Steady, Little Miss Fortune, Bad Company, Good Lovin’ Gone Bad ,Stealer, Movin On and Can’t Get Enough – £6? I’ll take it! Thanks John!

Saturday May 22:

Saturday is platterday -with his 80th Birthday due on Monday Bob Dylan will be high on the playlist over the weekend here so on the player this morning the brilliant Desire album…

Saturday May 22:

Saturday is platterday – on the player more brilliant Bob Dylan – Blonde On Blonde – this copy is one of my all-time great charity shop finds – original 1966 CBS mono pressing with inner bags – and gatefold sleeve before some of the photos were switched- £3? I’ll take it!

Sunday May 23:


CD sounds on Sunday …with his 80th Birthday tomorrow the celebrations are starting here..

Loading up the excellent 3 CD Bob Dylan 1985 compilation Biograph with a few other Dylan CD’s ready to follow…

Monday May 24:

Celebrating Bob Dylan at 80 here today – surrounded by a few of my favourite Bob things from the DL collection…


Monday May 24:

Led Zeppelin Earls Court related memories 1975 and 2014…

It was 45 years ago today:
May 24, 1975: The Bedford crew in the front of the Earls Court stage ready to take our second row seats – myself,

Dec Hickey Phil Harris and Gary Felts..

It was 6 years ago yesterday:
May 23 2014: Three of the Bedford crew (myself,Phil and Dec) 39 years later at the Team Rock Led Zeppelin Reissues Playback at HMV Oxford Street – pictured with DJ Nicky Horne who hosted the event and the man who introduced Led Zeppelin on stage on that celebrated night of nights on May 24,1975……Nicky is holding an original Earls Court ticket…


Monday May 24:

It was 46 years ago…loading up the Led Zeppelin To Be A Rock And Not To Roll 4 CD bootleg set on the Watch Tower label – the May 24 1975 concert –great sound – amazing show -all of 46 years ago today…

Tuesday May 25:


It was 46 years ago today…

Loading up the truly excellent 4 CD bootleg set Led Zeppelin When We Were Kings on the Empress Valley label – a splendid reminder of how good they were on that final night at Earls Court on May 25 1975…

Wednesday May 26:

Wednesday treats at the Vinyl Barn…

At the always excellent Vinyl Barn this morning I was well pleased to find a copy of the 1965 Century 21 Production The World of Tomorrow album featuring music and dialogue from the classic Fireball XL5 and Stingray Gerry Anderson produced 1960s TV series which I am a big fan of.

My very good friend and record collecting comrade Steve had come across the LP sleeve of this for me at a car boot sale a few months back and it was great to find the record and sleeve together. I also picked up a very nice original pressing of the Be Bop Deluxe Axe Victim album on the Harvest label – top stuff thanks Darren!


A quick trip to the Spitalfields Record Fair on Friday with Steve L where we met with long time TBl supporter and all round top man Cliff ‘the ticket man’ Hilliard…it was great to catch up with Cliff for the first time in 18 months…

Tuesday May 25:

Loading up the truly excellent 4 CD bootleg set Led Zeppelin When We Were Kings on the Empress Valley label – a splendid reminder of how good they were on that final night at Earls Court on May 25 1975…

Particular inspirations this week:

Always a welcome sound – the new issue of Record Collector dropping through the door – great to see a feature on the late great singer songwriter Laura Nyro …

Leicester based musician and long time TBL supporter Kevin Hewick sending me his latest CDs…

Update here:

Many thanks for all the kind comments and support that came in last week in the light of my post that I was struggling a bit.

It’s been up and down in the past few days – as mentioned above, the infection rates are a big worry here. it certainly gave me a lift to have so many encouraging words and as usual the good lady Janet has been amazing. Janet of course  has her own things to deal with and her physiotherapy on her leg is a  priority -thankfully she is able to attend a regular on one physio session now.

I have been focusing on some projects ahead and there’s plenty of reasons to be more cheerful and I am hoping I can get back on track. It will be very pleasing to see the new issues of Rock Candy and Classic Rock out on the streets – I worked hard contributing to these issues in recent weeks and it will be great to know the fruits of all that work is finally being seen – let me know what you think…

Thanks for listening – stay safe and well you very lovely people…

Dave  Lewis – May 27, 2021

Until next time, stay safe and stay well…

TBL website updates written and compiled by Dave Lewis

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  • Charles Tattersall said:

    Dave I also have my original mono copy of Blonde on Blonde, I think they later removed the photo of Claudia Cardinale. Only saw Dylan once, at the Isle of Wight in August 1969, but it was an important gig as he had been out of circulation for some time.

  • Ed B said:


    just wanted to share this with fellow zep fans. out here in chicago illinois our local radio station 97.1 WDRV The Drive has a friday night show called 10 at 10. they will pick some sort of theme and play 10 songs based on this theme. this past friday was remembering john bonham on the weekend of his birthday so what 10 songs would you pick to represent bonham?? i did not disagree with their choices ( how could you really–lol) but also not sure that its what i would of picked (achilles last stand must be in there as far as im concerned)

    anyway here is the list of the 10 songs they picked

    the ocean
    we’re gonna groove
    out on the tiles
    trampled underfoot
    immigrant song
    dyer maker
    when the levee breaks
    rock and roll
    good times bad times
    moby dick (studio version)

    oddly enough they chose to play the version of gtbt from celebration day maybe it was their way of jason wishing his dad a happy bday??
    whatever the reason happy birthday to bonzo you were truly one of the best in the business

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Thanks Graham

  • Graham Rodger said:

    When I was getting heavily into Led Zeppelin as a teenager during the mid-1980s it was very hard to find any information about the band. Today,it feels like every music magazine has Zep on its cover and an in-depth feature about the group, week-in, week-out. Is it just a generational thing, to satisfy the interest of a new audience?

    Also, with regard to Dylan turning 80, it’s strange to think about those 1960s music heroes who died young, but kept their legendary status forever (Hendrix, etc) and those who are still around, but gradually lost that heroic status. For example, does anybody notice if Eric Clapton releases a new album these days? Clapton was God in the late ’60s, and if he’d died young (thankfully he didn’t) Eric would be one of those immortals forever on the cover of music magazines. Same with Dylan. It seems that an early death secures the legend, but a long life exposes the ordinariness of Gods.

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