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14 December 2016 1,568 views 3 Comments

TBL 42 Announcement:

TBL issue 42 due early 2017 – including a Limited Edition Jimmy Page Collectors Cover Edition!

The new issue of the long running Led Zeppelin magazine is due out early in 2017. It’s another packed edition with some 40,000 words of news, views and features. All subscribers will receive the standard edition with a great Robert Plant photo by Robert Ellis from the Led Zeppelin Royal Albert Hall performance on June 29, 1969.

I am also making available a special collectors limited edition featuring a superb photo of Jimmy Page again by Robert Ellis from the 1969 Royal Albert Hall gig. This is being produced in a run of just 300 individually numbered copies.

This can be pre ordered now at the link below. Pre orders will be allocated the lowest numbers as received. Note the content is the same as the standard issue – the collectability is in the unique cover – and when it’s gone, it’s gone! Keen collectors I am sure will want to own both editions!

Both TBL 42 cover images are in keeping with the monochrome style of The Complete BBC Sessions cover design and indeed feature photos from a concert staged one day after the Playhouse Theatre One Night Stand BBC recording.

Pre-order your copy as an extra Christmas present now!

TBL 42 –with two vintage cover images – pre – order now and get ready for some essential Zep reading in 2017…

The Limited Edition:

The TBL 42 Robert Plant standard edition single issue can be pre-ordered at this link:

TBL Subscriptions:

You can also subscribe to the TBL magazine to receive issues TBL 41 (which will be sent immediately) the forthcoming TBL 42 and 43 ahead.

All subscribers receive a 10 x 8 John Paul Jones photo perfect for framing.


TBL 42 Preview:

The Complete BBC Sessions – An Audio Appreciation

TBL’s resident audio expert  Richard Grubb dissects the remastered Complete BBC Sessions set… 


I need to confess something: I’m too young to have bought any Led Zeppelin albums released during the band’s lifetime. As a child of the 80s and a relative newcomer to the world of Zep, I’d devoured all the official output but for most of my formative years I only knew the band as a retired unit, as a closed chapter from the past. I never expected any more releases in my lifetime, so 1990’s announcement of a four disc box featuring many of the band’s key tracks along with UNRELEASED MATERIAL set my pulse racing. It made me realise the group were still capable of surprising me, even after they’d disbanded and the tantalising prospect of experiencing NEW MUSIC such as Travelling Riverside Blues and White Summer was something to look forward to with relish… Even with my expectations at levels that were nigh on impossible to satisfy, those tracks didn’t disappoint. How on earth could they have been kept hidden for so long wondered my nineteen year old self, and, more intriguingly, if these two tracks were now released, what other treasures could lay in those BBC archives? Fast forward 26 years, via a stop off in 1997, and we arrive at the 2016 release of the remastered, expanded, and now (virtually) Complete BBC Sessions. Finally the BBC’s secrets are revealed…officially.

Before we begin, let’s wind things back a few notches…

I’m not a big bootleg collector. I have the obvious ones such as Blueberry Hill, Destroyer, a full set of Earls Court, and some notable others, but without doubt it’s the official catalogue that has been my principal roadmap to the work of Led Zeppelin.

This meant that, for a considerable time, live Zep was an unknown quantity to me. There was The Song Remains The Same double LP of course, which gave suggestion as to how adventurous the band could be in extending and developing their compositions into entirely new aural adventures, but that was it. There was always something huge about that 1976 release, a double gatefold sleeve, the expansive sound, the extended workouts. It felt fit for the arenas and stadiums the band had graduated to by this stage of their career, and that’s how I assumed Led Zeppelin live sounded on every occasion: huge, swaggering, a beast of a thing, bigger and grander than everyone else.

When BBC Sessions was released in November 1997, it came as something of a revelation. The performances were lean, compact, and aggressive. For sure they lacked the strut and majesty demonstrated on The Song Remains The Same, but in their place they offered no frills, an intent to get in, explode with an untamed ferocity, and move on to the next unsuspecting target in their quest for global domination, leaving the audience (quite literally) dazed and confused by what they’d just heard and witnessed. A real case of hit and run… Before jets, entourages and bloat, this was fierce, purposeful and exciting. I was thrilled.

The difference between The Song Remains The Same and the BBC Sessions couldn’t be more apparent. Many songs were familiar, but those showcase events for Auntie Beeb sounded like a completely different band, one stripped of swagger but possessed of a hunger and ragged ambition to build a following, one explosive show at a time. It’s the sound of a band evolving, stretching out, experimenting, and learning about – and from – one another. That these sessions took place over such a short time span is extraordinary. Even in the limited time between the first and final 1969 sessions (all superbly catalogued for the liner notes of this release by our host Dave Lewis), the group’s development is exponential. I loved the BBC Sessions from the moment it hit me almost twenty years ago and in the intervening years it’s become one of my favourite releases. The 2016 announcement of a revamped version to include even more lost gems triggered all those feelings of hearing NEW MUSIC once again.

With the riches afforded by the 2014/15 reissues and their associated companion discs, you’d be forgiven for thinking that purchasing new Led Zeppelin music has become a little too routine (a feeling of entitlement even) but there’s nothing of the sort with this one. Firstly, the announcement for The Complete BBC Sessions was unexpected, which injected an element of surprise, and the added bonus of unreleased tracks salvaged from the airwaves, resulted in a resurgence of the anticipation that swept over me in 1990 for the Remasters boxset. After Coda’s triumphant release, many (including me), thought the reissue programme was complete, so the chance to ride on the Zeppelin Express one more time with a release as crucial as this one is one of the highlights of the past few years. As well as the welcome addition – officially at last – of those lost tracks, John Davis and Jimmy Page are reunited once again to sprinkle their magic dust over the audio of this release. Having lived with it for a few months, I can categorically say it has never sounded better. Let’s explore that in more detail…

The Complete BBC Sessions An Audio Appreciation by Richard Grubb is one of the many highlights in the forthcoming TBL issue 42 due out early 2017.

TBL issue 42 – what’s in store…

News round up:

Jimmy at Classic Rock Awards/Stairway Court case wrap/JPJ latest/ Detective Reissues

Robert Plant at Bill Wyman’s 80th Birthday gig:

On the spot report by Kryz Jantzen

Robert Plant Lampedusa Tour – Boston Show:

On the spot report by Stephen Humphries

TBL Photo Special: Lost & Found – Led Zeppelin Sound checking at the Subiaco Oval, Perth 1972:

Nick Shaw recounts the story of how he came to shoot some remarkable photos of Led Zeppelin sound checking for their appearance at the Subiaco oval Perth

Call & Response: The writing of  The Complete BBC Session Liner Notes:

From a small café in west London, to the grand launch south of the river at Olympic Studios, Dave Lewis chronicles another remarkable journey

Reeling In the year – Capturing the sounds of Led Zeppelin on a Sunday night in April 1971:

Recording the 1971 broadcast – one fans story.

The Complete BBC Sessions – An Audio Appreciation:

TBL’s resident audio expert Richard Grubb dissects the remastered Complete BBC Sessions

Under the bedclothes illict blues orientated power rock:

The views on The Complete BBC Sessions set from Ian Dixon, a fairly recent convert to the Zep catalogue

TBL History 1: The comeback:

Dave Lewis recounts the story of the comeback of the TBL magazine in 1992

TBL History 2: TBL goes into cyberspace:

Dave Linwood looks back at the pioneering days of the TBL website he created in 1995 – this is the story of the TBL website  the first ten years 1995 – 2005

TBL Collector Focus on collecting Jimmy Page Session singles:

Cliff Hilliard rounds up 10 examples of the artistry to be found on collecting Jimmy Pages 1960s session work

The Top 100 Most Valuable Led Zeppelin Albums Listing:

A fascinating list of the rarest 100 pressings compiled by Nick Anderson

Nick Andersons Collectors Column:

The Soundtrack From the Film The Song Remains the same 40th Anniversary Special – The rare and interesting pressings

Led Zeppelin eBay o meter:

Nick’s regular report on the highest value recent eBay results for Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin & The Trarantura Bootleg CD Label by Paul Sheppard – Part 2 Glorious Daze:

Paul Sheppard sheds further light on the rare bootleg CD releases from the Tarantura label.

Book Update 1 – No Quarter, No Scandal, Plenty of Reverence:

Dave Lewis wades through the expansive new Jimmy Page biography plus…

An Interview with the author Martin Power

Book Update 2 – On the Road and in the studio – Led Zeppelin Day By Day:

The latest addition to the Zep book shelf plus…

An Interview with the author Marc Roberty

From The Underground Reviewed & Rated:

Scott Heck focuses on new releases from the Empress Valley and Trarantura labels


LZ News:

LZ news will be back with a bumper catch up next Sunday online

Many thanks to James Cook.

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


Golden Lion Reunion 35 years gone…

December 15 – that is a date that always revives memories of the first public reunion of Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones which I was lucky enough to be in attendance.

Here’s the story:

Back in the early months of 1981, Lynn Sizemore who was PR to the Golden Lion Roadies Charity For Children Association, the charity formed from the Fulham pub often frequented by the Zep / Swan Song entourage, approached me to publicise in the next issue of TBL, a children’s charity raffle being held in December. I was only too willing to help and we began planning how this would all work. The raffle was duly featured in TBL issue 6 which came out in the late summer of 1981. I had a few meetings with Lynn during this period including one memorable occasion at the Golden Lion pub in Fulham. Robert’s sound man Benjii Lefevre was in attendance and I was introduced to John Bindon the notorious London character who had been with the Zep entourage on the 1977 tour and involved in the infamous Oakland fracas. Robert and John Paul Jones had already promised to attend and give prizes out on the night set for December 15th, so it was always going to be a special evening.

Even more so after the call I made to Swan Song the week before the event. Sian at Swan Song informed me that Jimmy was also due to attend. It duly turned into something of a grand Swan Song reunion – in true Zep style.

On the night itself, Peter Grant arrived with Jimmy around 8.30. A combat attired Robert and smartly dressed JPJ were already in tow. Various roadies, Swan Song employees and guests (including Cozy Powell) were there as was John Bindon again. Tom Locke and I spent a memorable night in the pub as Jimmy, Robert and JPJ mingled by the bar and duly got up on stage to present the prizes of Jimmy’s Yamaha acoustic guitar (wonder where that is now?) and a set of personally signed albums. The main winner was an American guy ( pic above) while runner up was, Steve Simmons, a TBL subscriber from Bristol. Here’s a pic below of Steve on stage receiving his prize.

golden lion 1

Jimmy looked in slightly better shape than he had in Europe the previous year and told me he was working on the Death Wish 2 soundtrack. As a Christmas present I gave Robert a copy of a large format History Of The Blues book (wonder if still adorns his book shelf?) to which he acknowledged with the classic “Eye Thank yew” catchphrase so prevalent on the Over Europe tour. I took the opportunity to tell Peter and Atlantic’s Phil Carson of my plans to write a major reference work on the band’s music though it would be another eight years on in the Marquee (at a Jason Bonham gig) when I was able to tell the pair of them that the book (Led Zeppelin A Celebration) was soon to be a reality.

It may have been a strictly non playing role, but this unexpected Led Zeppelin reunion was full of warmth and good cheer. Underlying all that though was the definite feeling that they now all had separate plans – Jimmy with the soundtrack, Robert with the in progress recording of his debut album and Jonesy who wryly informed someone at the bar that he was now on permanent school run duty for his daughter’s back in Devon. It would be another eleven years before all three appeared in public together in the UK again to attend the 1992 Q Awards to collect the outstanding achievement award, and another 26 years before they played together on that night of nights in December 2007.

Fast forward to August 29th, 2013 and the Colston Hall Bristol.

golden lion 2

As we were making our way into the arena for Robert’s Sensational Space Shifters show amazingly enough I bumped into Steve Simmons for the first time since that night at the Golden Lion back in 1981. Steve was carrying a photo book of the pics he took back then – we had a good old chinwag about how he had been the runner up in the competition and the signed albums he was presented with on that night all of 35 years ago. The first, but not the last grand reunion…



TBL Guest Spot:

Here’s a guest spot from TBL contributor Ian Dixon…

Joining The Faces Party – a Bit Late…

In the late ‘80’s early 90’s additions to my music collection came from two main sources. New mid-price CDs of classic artists and second hand vinyl from the Thursday market at Milton Keynes. From the former, I acquired a superb Charley Records collection of The Small Faces finest moments on Decca and Immediate, and from the latter, a Rod Stewart Best Of on Mercury. But the missing piece of the jigsaw, The Faces, eluded me. For a while Faces CDs were only available on import and I always held a nagging doubt that unlike Zep, The Faces whole was less than the sum of their parts. Much later thanks to Rhino’s Good Boys… When They’re Asleep, I joined the dirty boogie.

Three Button Suit from this disc illustrates everything great, provoking and frustrating about the band. The kick off glorious bass line is joined by honkey guitar that seems to have no relevance, until suddenly like two silhouette heads turning into a candle stick, it makes perfect sense. Rod’s vocals feel half-hearted until realisation hits this is confessional singing. The track ploughs into a suitably over indulgent Mac organ solo and just as everyone gels, the momentum stumbles off the rails leaving Kenny Jones to rescue the ending. He repeats the same trick in Bad N Ruin adding a thrilling slowing freight-train flourish, proving he is the best Kenny Jones style drummer there is, even if he was not the best Keith Moon one.

The self-produced material taken from their first two albums works more by luck than judgement, but enter producer Glyn Johns to shape the unit and improve the UK chart positions. Miss Judy’s Farm, Ooh La La and Stay With Me. Great slabs of rock, underpinned by keyboard and drums, modelled by Ronnie Lane and with enough space for Rod and the other Ronnie to stomp all over them. Wood is the definition of a rock and rolling 70’s guitarist, it is almost possible to hear the ash fall from his fag onto the guitar strings. The sound is infectious, the misogyny forgivable, even too the blatant steal of Dylan’s I Don’t Believe You in Cindy Incidentally.

The other side of The Faces coin is an interweaving English folk into their sound. The impetus came from Ronnie Lane, chiming with the Maggie May element of Rod’s solo output. Debris and Sweet Lady Mary contain lilting cascades adding a new flavour to the cocktail  pure cool organ and hot, overdriven lead guitar. Sometimes you have to take a breather before the next round lands on the bar.

I am still not convinced that any one studio album would be truly satisfying and that with Stewart’s superstardom and Wood’s entire career being an audition to join The Rolling Stones; the seeds of their destruction were always present. But this Good Boys ..When They’re Asleep collection creates a smoky, teetering, driving, wistful dream. To enjoy fully, a combination of  volume, a decent Hi Fi and hard liquor are probably required.

Just as with any good party.

Ian Dixon


DL Diary Blog Update:

Friday treats at the Vinyl Barn last Friday – Ray Charles Genius + Soul = Jazz UK original on HMV , Hitmaker 1960s Pye sampler with early John Paul Jones single Foggy Day In Vietnam on, Isaac Hayes Live at the Saraha Tahoeon Stax, John Lennon Number Nine Dream UK Apple demo single  and I could not leave the best Of Emerson Lake & Palmer in the racks now could I? Thanks Darren !


Last Saturday I took  receipt of a piece of Bedford night life history – namely the sign for Winkles Night club in Lurke Street. The quaintly name Winkles (it had a nautical theme inside originally) was a popular local club venue in the 1980s and 90s. Dec Hickey salvaged the sign a few years back when the club closed and subsequently changed its name to Limehause then The Pad. Paul Burridge(Budge) has been looking after it for Dec and handed it over for me to store. I must have walked past this sign upon entering the club many a time back in the day – we had some nights in there Mr Hickey – and a fair few other  people I know around these parts!


There’s been good progress on the forthcoming TBL issue 42 this week – and Mick and I are closing in on a wrap. Looking over the 32 pages, there really is a lot to soak up with nigh on 40,000 words of text to wade through. Get ready to put some serious reading time aside early in the new year when it gets out on the streets. Here’s the TBL 42 at Micks StudioMix feeling pleased with ourselves at the end of another day of TBL 2 design.

As you will have read above, I am going with two covers for TBL 42 – the two images supplied by Robert Ellis both worked so well I really did not want lose one of them. It’s another landmark moment in the magazine’s history to produce a unique Jimmy Page limited edition cover. Don’t miss out on another unique TBL collectable.

On the player: The Rolling Stones Blue And Lonesome, Bob Dylan – The Real Royal Albert Hall 1966 Concert, Julie Covington – The Beautiful Changes Plus – an obscure early 1970s album with lyrics by Pete Aikin and Clive James. I’ve always loved Julie’s voice form her stint in the Rock Follies 1970s TV show. I saw this See For Miles label CD reissue on Darren’s Vinyl Barn stall and it’s a real time piece – with subtle string arrangements by Nick Harrison plus contributions for seasoned session players drummer Clem Clattini and bassist Herbie Flowers. Bit of a lost classic I’d say.

Also on: Phil Spector’s Christmas Album – I recently acquired the sough after 1972 reissue on the Apple label -still one of the all time great Christmas records.

Like countless others, we are running around here getting all those last minute things done that we thought we had ages to do and suddenly it’s just a week away. We will be welcoming Sam back next week for a few days before she flies of to Sydney with her job early in January for six months. Adam is already here so it will be great to all be together. I’ll be posting the next TBL website update on Christmas Eve…

Dave Lewis – December 14, 2016

Until Christmas Eve, have a great week ahead…

TBL Website updates compiled by Dave Lewis

with thanks to Gary Foy and James Cook

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  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Ed many thanks and to you!

  • Ed-Washington DC said:

    Merry Christmas to Dave and family, and the entire TBL staff, and thank you for your fine reportage in 2016. Best available Zeppelin resource, full stop. I raise my eggnog to one and all.

  • Graham Rodger said:

    There’s a very funny story doing the rounds at the moment about Jimmy and Noel Gallagher bumping into each other whilst Xmas shopping in Harrods, and a bunch of Japanese visitors asking for photos. It sounds perfectly credible and Jimmy’s last laugh is a classic.

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