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5 October 2017 2,163 views 15 Comments

TBL issue 43 out on the streets…

TBL 43 mail out update: I counted them all in and I counted them all out…TBL 43 is out on the streets. As of Wednesday, every subscriber copy and pre order was in transit night on 800 copies. The pic shows the scene at the main Bedford Royal Mail sorting office as the good lady Janet and I dropped the bulk of them off on Saturday afternoon.

TBL 43 is on the way to over 30 counties including England, Scotland, Wales, Republic of Ireland , Ireland, Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Poland, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg Portugal, Spain, Russia, Malta, Indonesia, Taiwan, Israel, Ecuador, China, Japan, Brazil, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, , USA and Canada.

The TBL global phenomenon for Led Zep fans everywhere…it’s coming your way soon…

Here’s some initial feedback:

Dave – thrilled to have received TBL43 yesterday. I’ve started reading the mini-book and it’s a belter….as if it would be anything but!!! Ian Saikia

Thanks for the latest, brilliant, TBL. As always, it’s a fascinating read. Just when you think you know pretty much everything about a band along – Neil heritage

Mine arrived yesterday. An excellent read, particularly the 77 tapes and the new Plant review. Thanks Dave, the quality remains the same – Paul Stevenson

Absolutely fabulous read. Gave me goosebumps reading about THAT gig  – Michaela Tait

Dave just a quick line to say latest TBL is exceptional. I spent a happy hour perusing the contents and I am not finished with it yet. Your piece on the new Robert Plant album  is one of the best balanced pieces of journalism on the man I have read for a while – Andrew Ricci 

Here is the review of  TBL 43 via the Underground Uprising website:

“Tight But Loose” Issue 43

Issue 43 of the longest running and best Led Zeppelin fanzine “Tight But Loose” has just been released. Yet another bumper edition, crammed full of interesting articles and excellent photos, starting with the superb Ross Halfin cover photo taken at the O2 Arena concert ten years ago. In the editorial Dave Lewis warns all his avid and loyal readers that due to other commitments the TBL magazine will in future be released as and when time allows. We know from Dave’s posts on Facebook just how much time, effort and passion goes into each issue, and this news is understandable. This issue opens with a look at Robert Plant’s forthcoming solo release “Carry Fire”, which just illustrates Robert’s passion and hunger to push himself on new and different projects. Robert has been busy in 2017, and three of his solo concerts this year are given full page coverage for each one in this issue.

There is coverage of a blue plaque for the house where John Bonham was born, and then we have an interview with his sister Deborah, covering the reissue of her albums and discussing her music and current work. This leads on to an interview with Glenn Hughes of Black Country Communion, followed by an extremely interesting interview with Chris Farlow, and the London music scene in the early 1960s, and meeting with Jimmy Page.

With the tenth anniversary of the O2 Arena concert rapidly approaching, not surprisingly this monumental event gets the lion’s share of coverage in the magazine. Dave gives us the story and events leading up to that night (I still can’t believe that it was 10 years ago and that I was lucky enough to have been there too!). There are some newspaper reviews, what the band members though, and a few reminiscences from people who attended. This is followed by a very detailed coverage of the wonderful Celebration Days UK Convention in May 1992. I went to this tremendous event on both days, it was a brilliant experience. Organised by Dave Lewis and Andy Adams,it was the first ever UK gathering of fans. It was at this convention that I met many fans who have become great friends over the years, and we all keep in touch and meet up whenever possible. Many thanks to both Dave and Andy for organising a truly classic gathering of the faithfull!

Andy Crofts follows with detailed coverage of the 1977 US tour, looking at the outstanding concerts and recordings, and then examining all the songs played, which is most illuminating. And neatly tying into the 1977 coverage we have an article from John Meacham, an 18 year old who got tickets to attend their Birmingham, Alabama, concert on 18th May. This is followed by Paul Sheppard’s analysis of the Bombay Sessions from October 1972. The songs played with local musicians are discussed, as are the numerous CD releases of them. We then have an article looking at one of Jimmy Page’s songs from 1965, She Just Satisfies. As this issue draws to a close there is coverage of recent Empress Valley CD box set releases, and the vinyl reissue of the classic “Going To California” LPs. The final word comes from Dave as he looks at Jimmy Page’s release of his collaboration with the Black Crowes on vinyl of their Jones Beack concert from July 2000.

As usual, the extremely high production and print quality standards are adhered to, and TBL 43 is another great success. You can order it from Dave here: Many thanks as always to Dave for flying the flag for all matters relating to Led Zeppelin (to paraphrase JJ Jackson:: “individually and collectively”), and continuing to keep interest in the band and its members vibrant and informative. (Jules McTrainspotter, September 2017

Here is an extract from Chris Charlesworth’s view on his Just Backdated blog:

Back in the far off days when Led Zeppelin welcomed me into their midst I learned from favoured photographer Neal Preston that there was only one brief moment in their entire show when it was possible to get a shot of Robert Plant and Jimmy Page in the same frame. It was during the chorus of ‘Whole Lotta Love’, invariably the encore, when Page would sidle up to Plant and stand alongside him, the two of them yelling the three word title together before Page skipped off to Robert’s left and redoubled his efforts on guitar.

No such problem seems to have inconvenienced Ross Halfin, whose shot of the two of them together at the 2007 O2 Reunion Concert graces the cover of the latest Tight But Loose, my pal Dave Lewis’ state-of-the-art Led Zep fanzine, still going strong after almost 40 years of chronicling all things Page, Plant, Jones and Bonham. Ross is Led Zep’s favoured photographer these days and was one of only two permitted to shoot the show on December 10, 2007, officially promoted as a tribute to Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun but in reality dwarfed by Led Zeppelin’s decision to reunite, Page, Plant, Jones and, taking his dad’s place at the back, Jason Bonham closing the show with a 16-song set that was later released as a two-hour movie and a double CD, both titled Celebration Day.

Read the full review at:

Many thanks for all the positive feedback. This issue was produced during a period where many plates were being spun here – as TBL designer Mick Lowe would confirm. We had many a long session at StudioMix getting it into shape – may I again offer sincere thanks to all the contributors to this issue and in particular Mike Lowe for bringing it all alive, Mike Tremaglio for all his text overseeing and help -and to Gary Foy for the TBL subscriptions/labels admin. Considering the pressure we were under, I am pleased with it. There’s always a few errors and typos that get through which are really annoying but we did the best job we could in the hours we had!

TBL Subscription state of play:

Just to clarify the comments in the TBL 43 review on the Underground Uprising site.

”In the editorial Dave Lewis warns all his avid and loyal readers that due to other commitments the TBL magazine will in future be released as and when time allows”.

Firstly this is by no means the demise of the magazine – but I do need a new way of working ahead.

Updating this website every week, managing and distributing all the magazine and book orders that come in, dealing with emails, Facebook updates, working on book projects, consultancy work etc – all that takes it’s toll on my time. Within all that – producing a 32 page magazine is intensive work and it’s become increasingly hard to fit in more than one magazine in a 12 month period.

I do not want to be in a position of not being able to fulfill a three issue subscription over a reasonable time period – so I’ve decided on a revised flexible schedule for the TBL magazine as follows:

This TBL issue 43 actually completes the current TBL 43 issue subscription – all TBL subscriptions are now fulfilled.

Moving ahead, I am going to cease running a three issue subscription – future issues will be on a ‘buy as published’ basis.

This enables me to keep the TBL magazine schedule flexible within the TBL projects and workload.

I will inform all current subscribers via email in advance of the next issue appearing. At this point, TBL 44 is planned for some time in 2018. Keep an eye on the TBL website and my Facebook page for further updates.

Basically, I need to have some breathing space in the TBL magazine schedule.

In the short term, this is mainly necessary for me to complete the major book project currently work in progress –this is the Evenings With Led Zeppelin log of every known Led Zeppelin concert which I am co-authoring with Mike Tremaglio with design by Mick Lowe. It’s due to be published by Omnibus Press in late 2018.

This has proved to be a far greater undertaking that initially envisaged – it’s a massive 600 page volume and we need to clear the decks to concentrate solidly on it in the coming months. It will be our way of marking the 50th anniversary of Led Zeppelin’s formation.

Taking away the TBL subscription is a bit of a risk. So when the time comes to invest in the next TBL your support to do so on a single issue basis will of course be crucial. So like I said, keep an eye on the TBL communication platforms

Looking further ahead, I have many ideas under consideration – a chronicle of the 02 reunion concert, a possible reissue programme of the early TBL magazines, a possible best of TBL compendium and my own memoirs somewhere along the line.

I aim to continue to be right in the mix of things, chronicling the world of Led Zeppelin in one way or another – as I have been doing since 1978.

Fundamentally, the main point of contact and news of the latest TBL developments remains the TBL website and my Facebook page – the regular updates will continue to inform you of TBL projects ahead, not least the progress of the Evenings With LZ book and the schedule of the next TBL magazine. So keep reading the TBL website and my Facebook page.

Many thanks as ever for your support.

Meanwhile back to TBL issue 43:

So the usual mantra – if you are reading this website posting and have yet to indulge  – why not go over to the TBL ordering link and order a copy of this issue 43?If you love Led Zeppelin, you will love this magazine and at some 50,000 words – it will immerse you in the world of Led Zeppelin in a way scanning websites cannot.

In this social media whirl of here today, gone tomorrow instantly digested info, the Tight But Loose magazine remains a true tangible collectable -with exclusive content all pleasingly presented in an all colour format that can be stored and re -read.

Websites are for browsing – the TBL magazine is for reading time and time again…


You can order the single issue TBL 43 at the link below:


You can still subscribe to the 2016/17 TBL magazines to receive all three issues together – 41/42 and 43. Subscription order link below:


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

Led Zeppelin

  • The latest issue of Led Zeppelin magazine Tight But Loose was released this week. Issue 43 of the magazine includes a feature on the tenth anniversary of Led Zeppelin’s 2007 O2 performance, interviews with Chris Farlowe, Deborah Bonham, and Glenn Hughes, as well as tape analysis of Led Zeppelin’s live shows in 1977 and more.

Jimmy Page

Ralph McTell and Jimmy Page in London on September 25 (Twitter/Ralph Mctell)

Robert Plant

February 9 – Raleigh, North Carolina, US
February 11 – Charlotte, North Carolina, US
February 12 – Norfolk, Virginia, US
February 14 – New York, US
February 16 – Boston, Massachusetts, US
February 17 – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
February 20 – Chicago, Illinois, US
February 22 – Minneapolis, Minnesota, US
February 24 – Denver, Colorado, US
February 26 – Phoenix, Arizona, US
February 28 – Oakland, California, US
March 2 – Los Angeles, California, US

Upcoming events:

October 6 – Robert Plant will perform at BBC Radio 6 Music Live 2017 in London.
October 7 – A guitar signed by Robert Plant will be auctioned by the PAUL For Brain Recovery charity.
October 11 – Redditch Council will decide on plans for a statue of John Bonham in the town centre.
October 13 – Robert Plant’s new solo album “Carry Fire” will be released.
October 23 – Jimmy Page will reportedly speak at Oxford Union.
November 5 – “Yardbirds ’68” by The Yardbirds will be released.
November 16 – Robert Plant will perform in Plymouth.
November 17 – Robert Plant will perform in Bristol.
November 20 – Robert Plant will perform in Wolverhampton.
November 22 – Robert Plant will perform in Llandudno.
November 24 – Robert Plant will perform in Newcastle.
November 25 – Robert Plant will perform in Liverpool.
November 27 – Robert Plant will perform in Glasgow.
November 28 – Robert Plant will perform in Perth.
November 30 – Robert Plant will perform in Manchester.
December 2 – Robert Plant will perform in Belfast.
December 3 – Robert Plant will perform in Dublin.
December 6 – Robert Plant will perform in Sheffield.
December 8 – Robert Plant will perform in London.
December 11 – Robert Plant will perform in Portsmouth.
December 12 – Robert Plant will perform in Birmingham.
February 9 – Robert Plant will perform in Raleigh, North Carolina.
February 11 – Robert Plant will perform in Charlotte, North Carolina.
February 12 – Robert Plant will perform in Norfolk, Virginia.
February 14 – Robert Plant will perform in New York.
February 16 – Robert Plant will perform in Boston, Massachusetts.
February 17 – Robert Plant will perform in Toronto, Ontario.
February 20 – Robert Plant will perform in Chicago, Illinois.
February 22 – Robert Plant will perform in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
February 24 – Robert Plant will perform in Denver, Colorado.
February 26 – Robert Plant will perform in Phoenix, Arizona.
February 28 – Robert Plant will perform in Oakland, California.
March 2 – Robert Plant will perform in Los Angeles, California.
March 30 – Robert Plant will perform at the Byron Bay Bluesfest in Australia.

Many thanks to James Cook.

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

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


Las Vegas Shootings:

Like everyone, I was shocked and saddened by the mass shooting in Las Vegas. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by this senseless act.


Tom Petty 1950 -2017:

I was so terribly sad to hear the passing of Tom Petty

Some memories of Tom…

I bought Anything That’s Rock’n’ Roll on a 12 inch single from a record shop off Carnaby Street in May 1977 – he had a groove and a swagger all of his own – I knew right then this was a great American rock talent.

In the early 80s I recall the band I was in (on drums of course) rehearsed a passable cover version of Tom’s Breakdown.

On the night of March 6, 1980, I attended the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers gig at the Hammersmith Odeon – supported by the Fabulous Poodles (wonder what happened to them). My diary says it was a night of good old tight rock’n’roll. The pervious night I had been in London at the Japan with David Sylvian  gig at The Venue in London – two gigs in two nights – those were the days.

Seven years later on October 11, 1987, I saw Tom Petty again on a bill with The Byrds Roger McGuinn and Bob Dylan at the Birmingham NEC with my good friend Jerry Bloom.

Up until this year, he was an artist I hadn’t played much – but when I did that compact rock ‘n’roll always hit home. That situation changed a few months back when I got a copy of the superb Tom Petty CD box set Playback from the Vinyl Barn. That one was on a lot during the summer around the time Tom performed at Hyde Park. I didn’t go myself but know of a fair few who did and relayed that he was on fabulous form. It felt good to know that this seasoned rocker was out there and still pleasing the masses.

Now he has gone -it’s a great shock to us all and it’s like John Lennon said in 1974 – ”you don’t know what you got until you lose it…”

RIP Tom Petty…


Jimmy Page to talk at the Oxford Union:

On October 23 , Jimmy Page will be giving a talk at the Oxford Union – more details at the link below (thanks James Cook)


Physical Graffiti Counter Stand Sells:

This via Bucks Burnett:


This is one of the highest prices ever paid for a Led Zeppelin collectible. This window piece is extremely uncommon. It was sold with the original Atlantic Records shipping container and one page assemble sheet.

Special thanks to the staff at Eagle Postal on Mockingbird Lane for superb protective packaging for shipment to New York.

I will miss this amazing relic. But it’s going to higher ground. One of the most amazing things I have ever owned and enjoyed.


TBL Countdown to the new Robert Plant album – 13 days to go and counting…

There’s a Robert Plant interview with Mark Blake in the in the new issue of Q magazine – the Carry Fire album is reviwed by Classic Rock at the link below:

Robert Plant on BBC 6 Music Live:

Here’s the latest on Friday’s BBC 6 Music Live appearance by Robert Plant:

Our week celebrating live music at the BBC’s Maida Vale studios concludes with Mr Robert Plant. No stranger to Maida Vale, he first played here with Led Zeppelin back in 1969.

Fast forward some 48 years, Robert’s eleventh studio album, Carry Fire, is due out next week and re-unites him with the Sensational Space Shifters. The band now includes fiddling folk star Seth Lakeman, who joins them for this performance.

Details of how to tune in to this below:



As featured in TBL 43…

‘’Carry me back, Carry me back… ‘’

Dave Lewis reflects on the 35 year solo career of Robert Plant and assesses the merits of his new album Carry Fire…

So, to the eleventh Robert Plant solo album – in fact his twelfth if you include The Honeydrippers set from 1984.

Once I started assessing where it all stood in the scheme of things, it led me on to elaborate not just on the content of this new album but also reminisce about this musician who has loomed large in my life and many others for many a year.

As an ardent fan and long-time chronicler of his work, I’ve been with him on every step of this journey – right from the tentative beginnings of a solo career mapped out around the highways and byways of the north of England during The Honeydrippers’ ad hoc gigs in the Spring of 1981, of which I was lucky enough to attended five.

The thrill of placing a white label advance copy of Pictures At Eleven on my turn table on a balmy Friday evening in early June, 1982 remains a very memorable listening experience. It signalled there was life for this particular singer after Zep and we could all prepare ourselves for some very interesting musical times ahead.

From then on there have been many twists and turns. To give it an appropriate football analogy, following Robert Plant’s solo ventures is a little like supporting Tottenham Hotspur, as I resolutely do. Like Plant, the North London club is steeped in tradition and talk of past glory days is always prevalent. The fortunes of the team, however, are somewhat mixed, offering moments of brilliance with the mediocre but within all that, the entertainment value on the pitch is always high.

You could say the same for Robert’s output over these past 35 years. Plenty of highs, a few lows, some marking of time, occasional strange curve ball moments but ever entertaining along the way – and of course, always within the shadow of his work between 1968 and 1980. It’s something of a challenge being a Robert Plant fan – but I am always a little surprised when keen Zep supporters claim no interest in following his solo work – to me, this is still the man and musician who proclaimed ‘’Are you cold?” in front of my very ears as Led Zeppelin kicked into Immigrant Song at Wembley in 1971, held the audience in the palm of his hand at the Forum, the Garden and in Earls Court and thanked us for turning up on a blind date in that field just outside Knebworth all of 34 years ago. His heritage is ever present and ever lasting.

He carries that legacy pretty well I’d say and although his flippancy in interviews often obscures his pride for Led Zeppelin, be assured, for all the one liners, that pride is there deep in his psyche. While we are on that subject, such flippant comments are often, in my view, taken out of context to look much worse than they really are, or were intended. I still believe he cares much more than is portrayed. In interviews, he is never one for much deep reflection. ‘’I do the gig and move on’’ I remember him once telling me with matter of fact intent.

Back to the story: Eleven albums – that’s now more than Led Zeppelin clocked up. From that initial, naïve blast of Pictures At Eleven (which still sounds great) with the erstwhile Robbie Blunt as the song writing foil, Robert quickly recorded The Principle Of Moments, a heady mix of 80s synths and riffs. After a weekend of rockabilly fun with Jimmy, Jeff and Nile for the Honeydrippers’ Vol One album in 1984, there was the somewhat difficult third album – the totally offbeat Shaken ‘n’ Stirred which confused audience and band mates alike. Around that time, performing on a stage that looked like a block of cheese only added to the confusion. Too Loud live anyone?

In 1987 he made the first of many a clean band sweep, bringing in Phil Johnstone, Doug Boyle, Chris Blackwell and co for Now And Zen, a refreshing blend of chorus-led songs that reconciled his past with the present in confident manner. At the same time, he hit the Zep legacy head on ensuring more bums on seats on the live circuit by inserting Zep numbers into his set.

Manic Nirvana hit the racks as the early 90s hair metal phenomenon got into its stride. Some of it has not stood the test of time too well but he could still turn a retro trick or two – witness Tie Dye On the Highway and the acoustic Liars Dance. Elsewhere the content was more blatantly big love than big log.

Three years on, there was further reinvention with Fate Of Nations – aided by Francis Dunnery and the late Kevin Scott MacMichael, providing a melodic platform for Robert to present his most pure and organic work to date. Come Into My Life and I Believe are just two examples of a refreshing maturity and depth he was now bringing to his craft.

Just as he appeared in his solo career stride, the call of the past and MTV put him back on the road with Jimmy Page – the ensuing No Quarter Unledded and Walking Into Clarksdale albums providing their own set of anomalies, ripe for discussion another time.

By the time he was back in solo career mode, the song writing muse was, by his own admission, at something of a low – so he took the opportunity to revisit his pre Zep era with the Priory of Brion, working with old pal Kevyn Gammond before forming Strange Sensation with Justin Adams. It was around this time Robert began to develop a much deeper resonance to his voice, leading to the breathy style first deployed on the Skip Spence tribute, Little Hands.

The 2002 Dreamland album was an intelligent blend of covers and new forays –later to expand more fully on the well received Mighty ReArranger. I initially struggled with that album’s over inventiveness but time has been kind to many of the tracks – the likes of Tin Pan Valley and Freedom Fries still hit the mark whenever I return to it.

Career retrospectives Sixty Six To Timbuktu and the expansive Nine Lives box set, conveniently brought together his achievements to date, with the singer noting that the ‘’future was bright ahead’’.

2007 and another curve ball. This time it was into the bluegrass world of Alison Krauss for the enormously successful Raising Sand, an admirable marriage of vocal styling that subsequently swept the Grammys and in doing so helped scupper any plans for a long term Zep reunion after that one night of glory at the 02 on December 10th of that year.

I actually found the ensuing tour with Alison a little disconcerting – the sharing of the stage did not work for me and the Raising Sand album is never high on the playlist.

Given this sidestep into Americana, I’m therefore surprised how much I loved (and still do) the Band Of Joy album and tour that grew out of his penchant for all things Nashville and his working with the great Buddy Miller. There were some life affirming moments viewing that line up in 2010 and the album retains a warm glow all of its own. As I noted at the time, it was hard to define exactly what it was about the Band Of Joy set up that worked so well but it was undeniable that something did. As I passed my 100 nights of being in front of that Shure microphone with Robert Plant on vocals, gig number 103 at the Birmingham Symphony Hall in November 2010 was up there with the best.

Being around the likes of Buddy Miller certainly bought the best out in him. There was yet more side-stepping in 2012 – or in this case, shape shifting. Off we all piled to the Gloucester Guildhall in May of that year to view another ad- hoc line up debut that saw former Strange Sensations members mix with the African influence of Juldeh Camara. The gig was a heap of fun, although at the more high profile London Forum gig in the summer, the inclusion of now partner, Patty Griffin in the set confused his audience somewhat.

Seemingly happily ensconced with Patty, one expected another Band Of Joy set and there was talk of a project with noted producer, Daniel Lanois. Instead, Robert took the Space Shifters on a tour – one to the far corners of the world, stretching from Australia to Argentina via the US. His wry comment to an Australian journalist that he had ‘’nothing on his calendar in 2014’’ foolishly fuelled the Zep reformation rumours. The wiser amongst us, however, guessed it was a suitable smokescreen, as he ventured into the studio with the Space Shifters unit. The result was the 2013 release of the album lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar.

As we know from the various interviews Robert has conducted, the album found him in a reflective state of mind. After his split with Patty Griffin, he has returned to the UK and principally to the Black Country and Welsh border area – the influence of which was more than apparent. The call of home was strong and there really was a feeling he gets when he looks to the west… Lyrically, it was Robert’s most deep and meaningful album since Fate Of Nations. Such was the confessional nature of songs such as Embrace Another Fall and A Stolen Kiss, one could almost dub this a break up album in the grand tradition of Dylan’s Blood On the Tracks.

It’s worth noting that arrangements combining African roots and ethnic rhythms do not go down favourably with certain sections of Robert’s past audience. He also receives a fair bit of criticism for his live interpretations of Zep numbers – Black Dog coming in for the lion’s share of the stick.

In fact, like a number of fellow fans I’ve spoken to, I would much prefer solo numbers from his past rather than some of the Zep resprays – Pledge Pin, Life Begins Again, Come Into My Life, Skip’s Song and Ship of Fools being on my wish list of tracks I’d like to see Robert and the SSS perform live.

Lullaby and… the Ceaseless Roar found Robert Plant reflecting on his past, seemingly content with the present and excited about the future. Like all his best work, it looks back to look forward. Often eclectic but with a strong sense of consistency, it was his most significant work on record for some considerable time. There’s a refreshing openness and honesty in the songs that basically tells us that even rock gods need love… and lots of it. He touches on universal themes of ageing, loneliness, longing and hope.

So to the new album Carry Fire:

’‘All that’s worth the doing is seldom easily done, all that‘s worth the winning is seldom easily won’’

First things first.

Carry Fire pretty much carries on from where Robert Plant’s previous album left off. In fact, it might be a good idea to reacquaint yourself with the last album, lullaby and… the Ceaseless Roar to remind yourself where Robert’s head is at.

Those that enjoyed the previous album will find much to enjoy here. As for anyone who has fallen by the wayside and has not subscribed to his recent work – well, there’s nothing here that will influence a change of mind.

Let’s face it, Robert has long since denounced any notions of keeping up with his fellow ‘voice of rock’ veterans His is an entirely different plan of his own making.

On Carry Fire there’s hardly a riff or a vocal histrionic in sight. Those that are looking for that kind of fix would be better off in the direction of the new Black Country Communion album.

However, the good news for anyone checking out this new album is that, vocally, he is singing with mature authority deploying that close-to-the-mic, breathy vocals style that he first perfected on Little Hands, his contribution to the Skip Spence tribute album More Oar.

Having listened to the tracks on Carry Fire, in reviewing the album , I’ve purposely listed songs from the Plant back catalogue that hint at the mood of these new offerings.

The album opener and first single, The May Queen sets the tone for much of the album. Semi acapella vocals over a slight Another Tribish with bendir/ tambourine back beat – drowning out any snare drum presence. As more than one listener to the preview has commented, the opening segment on this track has a passing resemblance to Factory Girl from The Rolling Stones Beggars Banquet.

New World is a slightly grittier stomp with a mid tempo riff that sounds like a descendent from the Page & Plant arrangement of Please Read The Letter. A melodic cascading vocal refrain brightens the mood.

The folksy Seasons Song benefits from lush multi layered vocals that reminded me of I Cried For You (off Manic Nirvana). Also, there’s a nicely crooned ‘’crazy crazy fool’’ vocal line in the style of the live arrangement of Ship of Fools. All The Kings Horses (from the Mighty ReArranger album) is a further reference point here.

The Trump inspired Carving Up The World Again… A Wall And Not A Fence is another in the vein of Another Tribe – a jumpy urgent nagging affair with some neat bluesy guitar lines.

Bones Of Saints has an effective echo added to the vocal, coupled with some guitar licks in the syle of The Enchanter from Mighty ReArrnanger

A vibey John Baggott keyboard synth sustains throughout Keep it Hid, which could be described as a Tin Pan Valley without the bombast. “Silver key in a golden cup’’ repeats Plant over the incessant synth pattern.

The title track, Carry Fire lends itself to the oft favoured North African influence. Mid tempo, with exotic sounding oud playing from Justin Adams, it’s a haunted, tension building affair, not unlike the Unledded track, City Don’t Cry.

The cover of Ersel Hickey’s Bluebirds Over The Mountains (also recorded by The Beach Boys and Richie Havens, amongst others) is, as Robert commented, ‘’put through the Bristol sonic mill’’. This makes for a trip hop, grungy affair that renders Chrissie Hynde’s vocal contribution somewhat understated in the mix. Personally, I’d have rather heard a more simplistic approach.

That leaves three tracks that all return to the reflective themes of ageing, loneliness and hope that featured strongly on the lullaby and… the Ceaseless Roar album. A Way With Words is very much in the Stolen Kiss vein, with stark piano and a mournful feel akin to Page & Plant’s BlueTrain, and Seth Lakeman’s fiddle work adds to the dreamlike atmosphere.

Dance With You Tonight harks back to the Raising Sand territory of Killing The Bues. For me, this is the outstanding track. Lyrically, the singer aspires to enjoy ‘’one more chance for the last dance”. He sings it with immense grace and majesty. Down To The Sea and Come Into My Life are reference points to the reflective nature of this superb outing.

The album closes in a downbeat manner with Heaven Sent – a bleak atmospheric piece that reminded me of a slowed down Sixes And Sevens from Manic Nirvana again without the bombast. Robert adds yet more words of wisdom repeating the lines “All that’s worth the doing is seldom easily done, all that‘s worth the winning is seldom easily won.’’ Before it all fades away.

Those lines are a pretty accurate appraisal of the album.

Like his previous album, this one needs working at and getting used to. Play it randomly a couple of times and it’s likely to pass over your head. Give it some dedicated listening time and there are some very rewarding performances.

As previously mentioned, some sections of his past audience will not find the inclination to do so and that will be their choice. As for comparison to his past works, aside from the last album, this new one stands on its own – and all a long way from the days of Fate Of Nations. That was a different era with different players.

In his advancing years, Robert’s muse has become more introverted, less flamboyant and increasingly dignified – all of which is reflected in the music he now produces.

So no, you won’t be dancing around the Christmas tree to this album. However, it will be something of a thought provoking warm pleasure as the winter nights kick in. In fact, for a man who has much empathy for the seasons, this feels like a Robert Plant winter album.

As can be seen by the virtual sell out of the forthcoming UK tour, the attraction to see this signer perform live on stage is plainly still fervent. I for one will be very keen to see, and hear how this new material integrates with his past work in a live setting.

So, to summarise: For all his idiosyncratic traits, being a Robert Plant fan remains a richly rewarding experience. He does everything an artist should do: he enchants, he intrigues, he frustrates, he confuses and above all… he inspires.

Carry Fire carries on that tradition.

Dave Lewis – September 12, 2017


John Lennon at 77– The Beatles In Bedford:

Monday is  John Lennon’s 77th birthday.

The events of nearly 37 years ago surrounding his comeback album Double Fantasy and his shocking death in December are intrinsically linked for me with the tragic events going inside the Zep camp this time back in 1980.
I can vividly remember Simon Bates airing the Starting Over single and there was a real optimism about his return to recording. I purchased the album in the Kings Road in November after a visit to the Swan Song offices. That optimism (as with the Zep events) turned to agony on the morning of December 9th when the news broke here that John Lennon had been shot dead in new York.

I’ve recently been playing The Beatles 1962 – 1966 double set. I originally bought this and the 1967 -1970 set the day they came out back in April 1973. For some reason those orginals have gone astray so it’s been great to get re aquatinted with the sequencing of the 1962 to 1966 set.

It’s a stark reminder of the sheer exuberant joy of his rasping vocal in those formative years. Performances such as Please Me, Eight Days a Week etc  are ample evidence of his genius –  John Lennon is right up there  in my top five vocalist of all time. His post Beatle output has it’s moments for sure but what he achieved in those short eight years between 1962 and 1969 is awe inspiring. Hearing those innocent upbeat early Beatles tunes has been a tonic this past week.

More Beatles:

55 years ago this week – on October 5 1962 , The Beatles first single Love Me Do was released.

A couple of months later – on the night of December 13,  The Beatles performed at the Corn Exchange venue in Bedford. They were a replacement for Joe Brown and were supported by Robin Hall and Jimmie Macgregor.

I would have loved to have been at that show – my debut to live music would occur two years later around the corner at the Granada Cinema with the arrival of The Dave Clark Five. Heady days indeed for this then 7 year old…


I will be frequenting the hallowed walls of Bedford Corn Exchange over the next three days on more than one occasion as it plays host to the annual Bedford Beer Festival- one of the key dates in our local calendar.

The esteemed venue was the scene of many gigs during the 1960s and 70s  and more recently has enjoyed a revival in the past few years with appearances by Hawkwind Adam Ant and Marc Almond.  Back in September 1966, both Cream and The Who performed there within the space of a week –The Who on September 10th, Cream on September 15th. Wish I’d been old enough to attend those gigs myself.

After one or two of the old dark mysterious ales, I may well be proclaiming ‘’I Feel Free’’ rather than ‘’I Can See For Miles’’…



DL Diary Blog Update:

Friday treats at the Vinyl Barn – at the always excellent Vinyl Barn last Friday, I was well pleased to find this copy of the 5th Dimension album The Fantastic 5th Dimension on the UK Liberty label- full of great Jimmy Webb songs – perfect music for packing TBL magazines to! Thanks Darren Harte

The TBL 43 mail out is complete and sticking on stamps has proved thirsty work – so last night I did pay a first visit to the annual Bedford Beer Festival to meet up with my good friend Nick Curruthers.  Very good it was too and I aim to go back again over the next couple of days. It’s been going now for 40 years and I’ve been there for the past 39 so the tradition continues.

October is here and boy there is a lot to do. With the TBL mail out underway, I now need to focus back on the work in progress Evenings With book big time. There are also various other projects mulling, not least the planned December 10 ”Ahmet We Did It” 02 Reunion Ten Years Gone TBL meet event – more of which in the next week or so.

Dave Lewis  – October 5, 2017  

Until next time –  have a great weekend…

TBL Website updates compiled by Dave Lewis

with thanks to Gary Foy and James Cook

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You Tube Clip:

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Anything That’s Rock’n’Roll….   





1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)


  • VHP said:


    Great web site as ever & thanks for everything you do.

    Zoso, re Jimmy another year (nearly) passed and nothing all new studio wise or concert wise.

    Don’t wish to be too sceptical but I wonder if 2018’s excuse will be – “sorry, but the 50th anniversary Zep celebrations have kept me busy, see you in 2019!”.

    I hope when (or if) Jimmy ever does something all new that it isn’t too little too late. If he does tour, he needs to play venues the size that Robert is playing next month, as I don’t think he will be able to fill O2 / NEC / Wembley sized venues having not toured properly for at least 15 years.

  • Matt Walsh said:

    Fantastic magazine!!! Great job Dave!

  • Hiroshi said:

    Received TBL 43. It certainly takes more than 15 minutes to finish this packed issue, especially for this non-native speaker of English. More like 15 hours…

    Here, sparred by Andy Croft’s thoughtful analysis on the 1977 US tour that is one of the featured articles in the latest issue, I submit an interesting observation.

    Over the years, on one Japanese LZ internet forum I have come across comments from three people in total who witnessed both 1971 Japan tour and 1977 US tour. In a nutshell, they share the view that the 1977 US shows are better than the 1971 Japan shows somehow. One of them, who saw all of the Tokyo and Osaka shows in 1971 (lucky bustard!), and also caught the first nights in New York (June 7) and L.A. (June 21 — yes, that night), respectively, commented;

    “In 1977, I was stunned by the tremendous charisma of Jimmy.”
    “I got the impression that the guitar play was rougher than on the first Japan tour, but it didn’t matter at all.”
    “The whole band sparked, and — forgive me if I sound exaggerating — there was a small cosmos created there.”
    “As much as I was impressed by the 4-hour [sic] Osaka show, I can say for sure that the 1977 N.Y. and L.A. shows were more terrific.”

    And this from the person who was there to see all but one of the shows that are collectively regarded as one of the high points (some claim the greatest tour they did) of the group’s career by many of their aficionados.
    Being another 1977 hater myself, these words from an eyewitness who was there made me think twice — he may have had a whole different experience from this armchair Zep head who indulges in the audio source, which is only a part of the bigger picture.

  • Dave M said:

    The latest TBL mag is a great read as ever.

    Been dipping in and out since it arrived last weekend.

    Enjoyed the 02 and 1977 pieces, but especially the Robert Plant solo albums reappraisal.

    Excellent, frankly-written piece by Dave, perfectly summing up why so many Zep fans – me included – are sometimes ambivalent about Plant’s often challenging solo work.

    The upcoming album is sounding like it falls into that last category.

    Anyway, look forward to the next TBL in 2018 – but enjoy your ‘breather’ from magazine duties!

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Mark he was awesome!

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Thanks Ian!

  • Ian D said:

    TBL 43 has got to be one of the very best. All Killer. From the heady days of the ’77 US tour to the magical night at the O2 and the dawn of a new Robert Plant album. Thanks Dave for all the hard work.

  • Mark Williams said:


    Well just watched Roberts & SSS performance on BBC 6 Music live. Have to say the new track ‘Carry fire’ was really standout,a tad Kasmiry (but that’s no bad thing right).Lovely to hear an inspiring rendition of ‘ In the Light’ – choice song that fits Robert’s voice these days so well.

    Transfixing as ever,pure class and very impressively, the ‘ mane remains the same’ ….good on ya Robert.
    Ps; and not too much Dad dancing from J.A, well done !

  • Zoso said:

    “I want to be seen to be playing.”
    Well Jimmy it’s nearly 2018 and yet another year has passed without you making good on your continued pledges to release new music or play live.
    Instead you are doing a talk, or releasing a book, or remastering Yardbird’s releases, etc.
    Anything, it seems, but picking up a guitar and playing.

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Thanks Colin!

  • colin hunter said:

    Dave. Re your change to the TBL subscription for 2018. Like Mr Page you owe us nothing…we support whatever your future plans are.


  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Many thanks Jon!

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Thanks Mark!

  • Mark Williams said:

    Fabulous write-up on the new album as well as solo chronology there Dave.I saw Robert & SSS in NYC in September 2015 on the ‘Lullaby & Ceasless roar’ tour. Vocally Robert hit his own sweet spot on pretty much every song,certainly inspiring,but I have to say the endless ‘ Dad dancing’ on stage from his cohorts still doesn’t work for me – and I’m a Plant solo lifer.

    Personally,I’d love to see Robert go out on a short acoustic tour with Roy Harper,playing material from both their catalogues. Brothers in Arms so to speak.

    Turning to the very sad loss of Tom Petty this week,my wife,brother & I were at Hyde Park in July.Tom & his band were on awesome form,and the duet (last time they ever shared a stage) with Stevie on ‘ Stop dragging my heart around’ was predicted,but absolutely fantastic.It was a triumphant,overdue return to the UK, just so sad he’s now gone.

    Thanks for the brilliant updates all all things Zep & solo-wise, Dave.

  • Jon Scriven said:

    Just received TBL 43 and as usual it’s a must have for any true Led Zeppelin fan. You have done a great job again Dave. I think I can speak for all subscribers by saying we appreciate all the work you have put in over the years and if there is only one TBL mag released next year I am sure it will be a cracker as I bet there will be much to report given it’s the bands 50th anniversary and I know I won’t be the only one in the queue to buy it!

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