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16 December 2020 1,827 views 6 Comments

TBL Archive Special:

Golden Lion Reunion 39 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 39 years ago. The first, but not the last grand reunion…

DL – December 16 ,2020


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

Jimmy Page

Robert Plant

  • In a new interview, Joan Jett blamed Robert Plant for the time she was arrested on tour.

John Paul Jones

  • When asked in a new interview about a potential reunion of Them Crooked Vultures, Dave Grohl said: “I’m sure it’ll happen again. It’s only a matter of time.”

Upcoming events:

December 15 – Robert Plant will perform as part of Saving Grace in the Nordoff Robbins virtual Christmas concert.
December 31 – The video of Fretwork’s performance of “The Tudor Pull,” which was composed by John Paul Jones, will be removed from the London International Festival of Early Music’s website.
January 15, 2021 – The 7-inch vinyl reissue of “Immigrant Song” will be released.
April 17, 2021 – Ross Halfin’s book “Led Zeppelin Vinyl” will be released by Reel Art Press.
June 18-20, 2021 – Robert Plant will perform as part of Saving Grace at the Black Deer festival in Kent.
September 25, 2021 – The 2021 John Bonham celebration event will be held in Redditch.

Led Zeppelin News Update:

For all the latest Zep and related news check out the Led Zeppelin news website at:


New Cleveland April 27,1977 (Destroyer) 8mm cine film via LedZep Film:

I’ve been hearing about this for a while and what a find it is – 13 minutes from the legendary Cleveland gig -Led Zeppelin in all their on stage glory in 1977… another great job by the LedZep Film guys…

Here’s their background info via YouTube…

With the permission of the original filmer, I am very proud to unveil a brand new 1977 8mm film from the famous “Destroyer” show! He also took 35mm slides at the show, which you can see here (note the confirmation of Jimmy playing Kashmir with the #2 Les Paul):

Special thanks to the filmer for kindly taping and lending out his reel, Genesismuseum for their gorgeous 2K digital transfer, and ledzepfilm, TAFCIA, June72, publicnemy3, Sticks of Fire, Ed, and Bert13 from The Dogs of Doom for funding the digital transfer.

If you have old film reels of Led Zeppelin laying around, please get them digitized properly and share them out for the community to see.

…now watch in awe…

Led Zeppelin Pinball Wizards…
It would of course be nice to fit these in the house somewhere but I cannot see them getting by the good lady Janet…here’s all the gen on the Zep Pinball Machines via LZNews…


Robert Plant performed “I Bid You Goodnight” with Suzi Dian and Saving Grace for the virtual Nordoff Robbins charity Christmas concert. View their superb performance on this YouTube segment from 59:43 – There’s some other great performances on this including Roger Daltrey with Paul Rodgers and Neil Young to name but a few…

More on the Nordoff Robbins charity concert:



Hosted by Nile Rodgers


Sir Cliff Richard, Sir Rod Stewart, Tony Bennett, Neil Young, Robbie Williams, Florence Welch and many more of the biggest and best names in music


Watch & Donate at 

Watch Trailer Here

This week (Tuesday 15th December) saw Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy hold their annual Christmas concert virtually for the first time ever, with THE biggest and most star-studded line-up of the year. The festive streaming event has raised £300,000 so far for the UK’s largest independent music therapy charity, with thousands of viewers tuning in from around the world, helping to recuperate some of the funding gap lost this year due to Covid-19.
The Stars Come Out To Sing At Christmas’ is available to watch on demand until 5 January – so there’s still time for music lovers to watch and donate here donations will support Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy in enriching the lives of people affected by life limiting illness, isolation or disability through music. This has been a challenging year for Nordoff Robbins, who lost over half their income due to the pandemic, but funds from this event will have a huge positive impact.Hosted by music legend Nile Rodgers, ‘The Stars Come Out To Sing At Christmas’ saw the biggest names in music and the arts come together to raise funds for Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy. The once in a lifetime evening was packed with performances and readings from Tony Bennett, Neil Young, Sir Cliff Richard, Sir Rod Stewart, Robbie Williams, Florence Welch, Chic, Bill Nighy, Katherine Jenkins OBE, Roger Daltrey and Paul Weller, Rebecca Ferguson, Jack Savoretti, Lily James, Kaiser Chiefs, Saving Grace ft. Robert Plant and Suzi Dian, Noma Dumezweni, Alexis Ffrench, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Freya Ridings, Simple Minds, Ryan Tedder (OneRepublic), Mica Paris, Dean Bradfield (Manic Street Preachers), Danny O’Donoghue (The Script), Friederike Krum, Freddie Fox and Kwame Kwei-Armah OBE.Nile Rodgers says: “I’m very happy to have been able to do this for Nordoff Robbins and that Merck and I were able to bring so many of our artist friends along in support of Nordoff Robbins’ important work. Thank you to those who gave generously and I hope this continues to bring joy to everyone throughout this holiday season. It’s crucial that we raise as much as possible for Nordoff Robbins to continue to provide music therapy to every who needs it. It truly makes such a difference.”Merck Mercuriadis – Founder Hipgnosis Songs Fund said: “We’ve had an incredible year at Hipgnosis, which we are extremely grateful for, but we are very aware 2020 has not been a comfortable year for the vast majority of the planet. This has made it virtually impossible for people that know, appreciate and support the incomparable work of Nordoff Robbins to be as generous as they have been in the past. It was therefore important that we give back in a way that would help bridge that financial gap. Hipgnosis, Nile and I are delighted to have not only supported financially but also to have had the support of so many wonderful artists and friends, both in and outside of the Hipgnosis Family, to ensure this is almost as special as the work of the Nordoff Robbins therapists it is in aid of. I hope everyone will take advantage of the on demand feature which makes it possible to enjoy this over and over again throughout the holidays. Please enjoy and give what you can.”Sandra Schembri, CEO of Nordoff Robbins says: “What a truly amazing night. Christmas is all about coming together, and music plays such a huge part in those celebrations, so to see everyone come together to support Nordoff Robbins through the gift of music this Christmas is simply wonderful.  Not only was the event amazing, but so is the money that has been raised so far. This year we’ve lost over half of our income due to the pandemic, yet we have seen demand for our services increase, so the £250,000 raised will help Nordoff Robbins to provide more music therapy for people like Thomas, Innez, Ava and Dot, who you all saw throughout the night.I cannot thank all the artists, our sponsors (Hipgnosis, LSEG, OE and SSE), and our committee enough for making this magical event happen, it would not have been possible without them. And I want to especially thank everyone who joined us last night and donated, helping more people access music therapy – which is such a lifeline for so many. 

Thank you again, and remember the show is on demand, so you can watch again and share with your family and friends, all the way up to January 5th.”

The evening was a celebration of music and a line up this legendary won’t be seen again anytime soon! To catch all the highlights, watch our video made by Hipgnosis Songs Here

The annual event by the charity is normally held in the 900-capacity St Luke’s Church in Chelsea – by going virtual for 2020, they brought the concert to a new global stage, and were able to celebrate the power of music with thousands of people far and wide.

This year’s incredible line-up would not have been possible without the hard work of the Hipgnosis Songs Fund and its CEO and Founder Merck Mercuriadis, who along with co-founder Nile Rodgers have worked tirelessly to rally many of the artists together for the special Christmas concert.

Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy would also like to thank Sony ATV and YouTube Music for their significant donations.

Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy was delighted to have SSE as partner for the event, as well as Scala Radio as their media partner for a second year running, Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited as a funding partner and Modern English Digital as digital partner.

About Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy:

Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy is the largest independent music therapy charity in the UK, dedicated to enriching the lives of people affected by life limiting illness, isolation or disability. We receive no direct government funding, which means we rely on the generosity of our supporters.

Our music therapists are expertly trained to tune into each movement, reaction and expression of the individuals they work with to discover how music can enrich their lives. This could be to unlock memories, to communicate where words have failed, to socially connect with family and friends, and to build confidence and self-esteem.

We provide a range of different sessions for children and adults of all ages in our centres in London, Manchester, Newcastle and Scotland – from specialised one-to-one music therapy to shared sessions for groups of different sizes and formats.

We also work in partnerships across the UK to bring music therapy to as many vulnerable people who could benefit from it as possible. These include schools, care homes, hospices, hospitals, mental health services, and brain injury units.

Find out more about Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy here:



Here’s a piece that I wrote back in 1996 on the Rock Machine Turns You On sampler album…


A series spotlighting those unexpected Zep related delights to be found amongst the bargain bin racks.

“On stage the song’s opened up so much. We’d do As Long As I Have You, the old Garnett Mimms track, Fresh Garbage by Spirit, Flames by Elmore Gantry and his Velvet Opera. All these things would come creeping out the woodwork. That was the beauty of Led Zeppelin”. Robert Plant 1990

The Rock Machine Turns You On: Various Artists (CBS PR2)

Ah yes, the sampler album, Those of us with long memories will recall the deluge of budget priced sampler albums that surfaced around the late ’60s and early ’70s – Island’s You Can All Join In and Nice Enough To Eat being amongst the most popular. Their attraction was that they normally sold for around 19 shillings and 11 pence (the equivalent of a quid, younger readers note) and provided the opportunity for teenagers like myself to climb on board the hip and trendy world of the underground. The CBS stable came up with The Rock Machine Turns You On series which focussed on their mainly American contemporary/ underground rock stable of the time. At any major record fair I always try and have a look through the cheap bargain bin clear out vinyl racks and I chanced upon this little gem a year or so back with its asking price of just £2.

The attraction for the Zeppelin collector within the fifteen selections presented on the album is that in amongst tracks from the more well established CBS artists of the era (Dylan/ The Byrds/Zombies/ Leonard Cohen etc.) there are no less than six that have vague and not so vague Zepp connections. In the influences department there’s Moby Grape’s Can’t Be So Bad – very much a part of the young Robert Plant’s musical heritage. Then it’s hats off to one Roy Harper, represented by a quaint busk through Nobody’s Got Any Money In The Summer, taken from his Come Out Fighting Genghis Smith album. In the vaguely connected department there’s Tim Rose presenting in dynamic style Come Away Melinda from the 1968 album. That was the year Tim Rose was supported by The Band of Joy where he spotted the young John Bonham and later offered him the drum stool for his summer UK tour. It was during that particular tour at the Hempstead Country Club that Page witnessed the Bonham phenomenon for himself when he was assembling The New Yardbirds.

The real meat though is supplied by three tracks on his album that were covered by the early Led Zeppelin. Spirit’s Fresh Garbage was incorporated into the As Long As I Have You medley during the de-but Zep American tour. As is plainly evident on the original, its strident riff was tailor-made for interpretation on that psychedelic painted Fender Telecaster. The Electric Flag with Mike Bloomfield on guitar attack Chester Burnett’s Killing Floor. It was this arrangement (also used by Jimi Hendrix) that Page and co. loosely based their Zepp 2 staple the Lemon Song upon, much of course to publisher Jewel Music’s eventual dismay who insisted on a cut of the publisher fee and a change of label credit. Bloomfield’s fluid guitar dominates this slightly faster work out that features some jazz rock like sax towards its climax.

And finally Elmore Gantry’s Velvet Opera tune, in with their most famous offering Flames. Elmore who? You may ask, and what’s it got to do with the Zep? Well, although there is no surviving taped evidence, both Page and Plant have stated that this was one of the numbers The New Yardbirds/early Zeppelin fleshed out their initial sets with. It may have also been considered as a possible studio contender for the first album sessions. The Elmore Gantry original is certainly typical of the aggressive R and B stance that Page brought to The Yard birds in their final days and its soulful refrain “You’ve been burning me up” would have been perfect fodder for the raw vocal technique of the young Plant. As for Elmore Gantry’s Velvet Opera, two of their members, Richard Hudson and John Ford, went on to join The Strawb’s and later formed their own Hudson Ford group scoring a top ten UK hit with Pick Up The Pieces. Elmore himself went on to form the bogus Fleetwood Mac that went out in the mid-70s when the real Mac was off the road. After facing legal proceedings, the imposters stayed together, formed Stretch, and enjoyed a hit in the mid-70s with Why Did You Do It.

This Rock Machine Turns You On sampler was originally released around late 1968. With this thread of influences revolving amongst the grooves, could it possibly have been one of the albums Robert Plant took along to spin to Page in that first meeting of minds in Pangbourne? There’s enough evidence in their early repertoire to make that claim plausible One for the theorists amongst you to discuss.

If you want to hear some of these influences for yourself, well the Sony label have recently reissued this album on CD (Columbia 4844392). However you won’t be able to enjoy the surface noise and intermittent clicks that ac-company my vinyl version or smile at the original inner sleeve jargon from CBS that proclaims eight reasons why “Records give you more of what you want”. This one contains some of those songs that, as Plant put it, “came out of the woodwork.

Dave Lewis – September 9, 1996.

Rock Machine Turns You On update:

Last year’s David Hepworth a superb book A Fabulous Creation once again sparked my interest in this album series so here’s a bit more on the subject…

In 1968 The CBS Rock Machine Turned You On – Including Jimmy Page and Robert Plant?

The Rock Machine Turns You On – Various Artists (CBS PR2)

In the 1968 chapter of the excellent David Hepworth book A Fabulous Creation, David relays the importance of the rock sampler album, notably the CBS release of that year The Rock Machine Turns You On

Ah yes, the sampler album, those of us of a certain age will recall the deluge of budget priced sampler albums that surfaced around the late ’60s and early ’70s. Their attraction was that they normally sold for around 19 shillings and 11 pence (the equivalent of a quid) or 14shillings and 6. This provided the opportunity for teenagers like me, to climb on board the hip and trendy world of the underground.

Due to the more affordable price, one of my first albums I purchased aged 13, was the Island sampler You Can All Join In. This opened my ears to a host of inspiring tracks from the likes of Jethro Tull, Free ,Fairport Convention, Traffic, Spooky Tooth ,Tramline and the exotically named Wynder K Frog.

The purpose of these samplers was to draw attention to the variety of performances on offer and perhaps lead you on to the equivalent album. That worked for me later on in the pursuit of albums by Free, Jethro Tull and Fairport Convention

David Hepworth’s entry in the sampler world came a little earlier in June 1968 with the release of The Rock Machine Turns You On. The CBS label (Columbia in the US) were the pioneers of such releases and in the book, the compiler of this set David Howells recalls how Columbia in the US suddenly found them with a breadth of emerging rock talent. This from a label that was more associated with the likes of easy listening artists such as Ray Conniff, Andy Williams and Tony Bennett.

Inspired by a cheap sampler set on RCA titled Pop Shopper and issued in the early 60s, Howells saw the potential of compiling tracks from the CBS stable to promote their catalogue in the UK. The Rock machine Turns You On was stickered 15 tracks for 15 shillings. The 15 artists featured lined up as follows: Bob Dylan, Moby Grape, Spirit, The United States of America, The Zombies, The Peanut Butter Conspiracy, Leonard Cohen, Blood Sweat And Tears, The Byrds, Simon & Garfunkel ,Taj Mahal, The Electric Flag featuring Mike Bloomfield, Roy Harper, Tom Rose and Elmore Gantry’s Velvet Opera.

On the back cover it featured some heady words of wisdom extracted by Howells from a US Columbia advertising campaign for this hip new emerging era. It read as follows:


The Rock Machine isn’t a grind-you-up. It’s a wind-you-up. The sound is driving. It’s your bag. So it’s ours. It’s the Super Stars. And the Poets. It’s the innovators and the underground. It’s the Loners and the lovers. And It’s more. Much more…

This all worked a treat and led on to many major labels following suit – the aforementioned Island Records with You Can All Join In and Nice Enough To Eat  plus the pleasingly titled El Pea and Bumpers . Polydor waded in with the double set Bombers – Harvest with Picnic, a Breath of Fresh Air and the Harvest Bag, Atlantic with the Age of Atlantic and New Age of Atlantic , Liberty with Gutbucket. Probe with Handle With Care. CBS extended the Rock Machine Turns You On into a second volume Rock Machine I Love You and then issued the superb double album samplers Fill Your Head With Rock and Rockbuster. There were many others.

At the time I loved looking at these samplers in the local record shops – the line-up of tracks providing a gateway into a brave new musical world – and I invested in a few too.

Unsurprisingly, I am still a big collector of such items and the David Hepworth book reminded me of the importance of the original The Rock Machine Turns You On sampler.

As mentioned above this a remarkable collection – not least because it has various Led Zep references amongst the 15 tracks. Alongside the more well established CBS artists of the era (Dylan/ The Byrds/Zombies/ Leonard Cohen etc.) there are no less than six that have Zep connections.

So here’s the thing:

David Hepworth notes This Rock Machine Turns You On sampler was originally released in early 1968.

With this thread of Zep influences revolving amongst the grooves, could it possibly have been one of the albums Robert Plant took along to spin to Jimmy Page at that first meeting of minds in Pangbourne in the summer of 1968?

Or that Jimmy Page already had a copy lying around?

There’s enough evidence in their early repertoire to make that claim fairly plausible.

Here’s a quote from a 1990 Robert Plant interview:

“On stage the song’s opened up so much. We’d do As Long As I Have You, the old Garnett Mimms track, Fresh Garbage by Spirit, Flames by Elmore Gantry and his Velvet Opera. All these things would come creeping out the woodwork. That was the beauty of Led Zeppelin.”


On a final note – my copy of The Rock Machine Turns You On has the original CBS inner sleeve and it’s a beauty.

One side comprises of eight reasons to buy records under the title ‘’Here’s how records give you more of what you want’’.

It’s a fascinating snapshot of the way records were perceived and 50 years on, much of it still rings true

Here’s the full text:


1: THEY’RE THE BEST ENTERTAINMENT BUY: Records give you top quality for less money than any other recorded form. Every album is a show in itself. And once you’ve paid the price of admission you can hear it over and over again.

2: THEY ALLOW SELECTIVITY OF SONGS AND TRACKS: With records it’s easy to pick out the songs you want to play, or to play again a particular song or side. All you have to do is lift the pick-up arm and place it where you want it. You can’t do this easily with anything by a long-playing record.

3: THEY’RE CONVENIENT AND EASY TO HANDLE: With the long playing record you get what you want to hear when you want to hear it. Everybody’s familiar with records too. And you can go anywhere with them because they’re light and don’t take up space.

4: THEYRE ATTRACTIVE , INFORMATIVE AND EASY TO STORE: Record albums are never out of place. Because of the aesthetic appeal of the jacket design, they’re beautifully at home in the living room and library. They’ve also got important information on the backs – about the artist, about the performance or about the programme. And because they are flat and not bulky. You can store hundreds in a minimum of space and still see every title.

5: THEY’LL GIVE YOU HOURS OF CONTINUOUS AND UNINTERUPPTED LISTEING PLEASURE. Just stack them up on your automatic changer and relax.

6: THEY’RE THE PROVEN MEDIUM. Long -playing record look the same now as they did when they were introduced in 1948 but there’s a world of difference. Countless refinements and development s have been made to perfect the long playing records technical excellence and ensure the best in sound reproduction and quality

7: IF IT’S AVAILABLE IN RECORDED FORM, YOU KNOW IT’LL BE AVAILABLE ON RECORDS. Everything’s on long playing records these days…your favourite artists, shows ,comedy, movie soundtracks, concerts, drama, documented history, educational material…you name it. This is not so with any other recording.

8: THEY MAKE A GREAT GIFT because everybody you know loves music. And everybody owns a record player because it’s the musical instrument everyone knows how to play. Records are gifts that say a lot about to the person you’re giving them to. And they keep on remembering


The reverse of the inner bag lists 25 CBS label albums with sleeve illustrations. This mirrors the changing tide of tastes as the likes of Leonard Cohen, Chicken Shack, Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper, Bob Dylan, The Byrds, Simon & Garfunkel, Taj Mahal, Tim Hardin, Gun and, Blood Sweat and Tears rub shoulders with Tony Bennett, Ray Conniff, Andy Williams, Johnny Mathis, Funny Girl and West Side Story.

The musical times they were a changing and The Rock Machine Turns You On was a tangible testament to that statement.

In summary: The Rock Machine Turns You On is a vinyl gem. I would advise any Led Zep fan to check it out at their earliest convenience.


Collector’s Update 1:

You can never have too many copies of The Rock Machine Turns You On. I am now up to 7. They include a couple with the original 15 shillings sticker and another with a rare poster insert. I also have mono and stereo copies of the follow up Rock Machine I Love You. Vinyl gold indeed…

Collector’s Update 2:

A few weeks ago at the Vinyl Barn I was well pleased to find an original copy of Flames by Elmar Gantry’s Velvet Opera – the 1968 single on the CBS owned Direction label.

Dave Lewis – December 16,2020.



Watching the clip of The Band Of Joy performing House Of Cards on Brian Johnson’s Robert Plant Life On The Road episode, reminded me of what a fantastic period that – all of ten years ago. It prompted me to pull out this piece form the TBL archive…and of course the album itself which also sounds superb – a warm pleasure of a record that will brightened up these cold dark nights…try yourself and bask in it’s light…


Robert Plant –Band Of Joy

It’s nothing if not a challenge being a Robert Plant fan. His musical landscape is an ever changing one. Whilst he is aware there will always be a section of his audience who would prefer him to be back in the company of his Zep compatriots, he carries on undaunted. Those ready to join his latest journey with open ears will find much to admire.

The latest twist in the story finds him in the company of some of the Nashville based band mates that were prominent in his Grammy winning Raising Sand duet with Alison Krauss. Buddy Miller being most central to the sound of particular Band Of Joy. He has also enlisted the voice of Patty Griffin to add as he described a touch of Cocteau Twins/Shangri-Las feel to the arrangements.

Resisting the easy route of a further Krauss collaboration, Robert taps further into the wealth of Americana, blues and folk roots that has often influenced his best work. Mostly covers but constantly flavoured by Plant/Miller to add a contemporary edge.

Central to proceedings is of course the voice. And from the shuffling warmth of the Los Lobos cover Angel Dance through to the relentless groove of Even This Shall Pass Away the listener is never in doubt that Robert Plant still maintains an unrivalled standard of vocal supremacy.

The Band Of Joy album us released on September 13.

By way of a preview here are some initial thoughts:


Track by track guide to the original sources, song reflections and playlist recommendations with which to mix the new material in with on your ipod.

Get ready to soak up the only sound that matters…

Angel Dance (3mins .50)

Original Source: Los Lobos 1990 album The Neighborhood.

Ushers in proceedings with its shuffling warmth. Love the ‘’yeah yeah yeah’’ Plant refrain and key change at the end and the stop gap ending ‘’Dance!’’

Playlist with Shine It All Around from Mighty ReArranger and 29 Palms from Fate Of Nations.

House Of Cards (3.14)

Original source Richard & Linda Thompson 1978 album First Light.

An exquisite version of the Richard Thompson song. Robert sings with a purity and strength supplemented by Patty Griffin’s effectively layered harmonies. There’s some Achilles like ‘’Ahh ah ahh’’ in there. In fact this writer would love to hear a whole album of the singer’s take on that period of English folk rock ala Incredible String Band, Sandy, Fairport, Traffic etc.

Playlist with Come In To My Life from Fate Of Nations and Great Spirit from Fate Of Nations.

Central Two O Nine (2.49)

Original source – based on and old blues Hello Central (209) recorded by

Lightening Hopkins in 1965. (Note Worse Than Detroit opens with the lines ‘’ ‘’Operator, give me Central, Central’’)

Re arranged by Plant/Miller

This finds Plant in his best ‘blow- that- whistle’’ black country blues mode.

Excellent banjo work here.

Playlist with Black Country Woman from Led Zeppelin Physical Graffiti, Nobody’s Fault But Mine from No Quarter Unledded

Silver Rider (6.06)

Original source: Low’s 2005 Great Destroyer album

First of two songs from Minnesota based trio Low’s 2005 album Great Destroyer. Close to mic and at time double tracked vocal in the Little Hands tradition backed up by close harmonies with Patty Griffin. Bleak haunted atmosphere. Reminded me of the sort of tortured arrangements that graced Scott Walker’s work. Nice reverb and crash cymbal effects too.

Playlist with Heart In Your Hand from Page & Plant Walking Into Clarksdale and The Window – Page & Plant extra track on the Most High CD single.

You Can’t Buy My Love (3.10)

Original source: 1964 Barbra Lynn recording.

First of two consecutive performances that would have lit up a Honeydrippers Vol 2 record had there been such a thing. Jump blues arrangement of R and B songstress Barbra Lynn’s 1965 single. Bo Diddley drum beat and authentic retro guitar solo from Miller. Wonderful stuff.

Playlist with I Got A Woman from the Honeydrippers Vol 1 and My Buckets Got a Hole In It – Page & Plant from the Sun Records tribute album.

I’m Falling In Love Again (3.37)

Original source: B-side of a single by Chicago soul quintet the Kelly Brothers in 1966.

Straight take on the Kelly Brothers do wop arrangement. The sort of song as he would put it, he has held his back pocket for years and probably one he’s sung in the shower. Lovely pedal steel guitar.

Playlist with Young Man Blues from The Honeydrippers Vol 1 and Valley Of Tears from the Fat’s Domino tribute album Goin’ Home.

The Only Sound That Matters (3.44)

Original source: Written by Greg Vanderpool for the Milton Mapes 2003 album Westernaire

Lovely lilting county ballad opens with some cool acoustic strumming over laid by pedal steel guitar – beautiful yearning vocals. This is a total joy.

Playlist with if It’s Really Got To Be That Way –Arthur Alexander tribute track on 66 To Timbuktu and Naked If I Want To – Moby Grape cover on 66 To Timbuktu.

Monkey (4.58)

Original source: Low’s 2005 Great Destroyer album

Absolute stand out and as good as anything he has done for years. The other Low cover – mournful close to mic vocal with Patty in harmony . Backed by brooding sustained guitar soundscapes from Buddy Miller that reminded me of Robert Fripp’s work on David Bowie’s Heroes. The arrangement is Cure like and not unlike Lullaby as performed on the early dates of the Page & Plant 1995 tour. Another reference might be Presence – it has that uncomfortable intensity. Masterful.

Playlist with Down By The Seaside Robert Plant & Tori Amos from 66 To Timbuktu and No Quarter –Page &Plant No Quarter Unledded

Cindy I’ll Marry You Someday (3.37)

Original source: American folk tradition song known as Cindy and Get Along Home Cindy, and recorded by amongst others Bascom Lamar Lunsford.

Another close to mic vocal – bluesy lament backed by banjo and pedal steel guitar. Gains momentum with Buddy adding authentic guitar licks

Playlist with Colour Of A Shade from Fate Of Nations and Win My Train fare Home (If I Ever Get Lucky) from Dreamland,

Harm’s Swift Way (4.19)

Original source: Tons Van Zandtz demo written before he died.

Another slice of bright and light country rock pleases with its sweet ‘’Oh Me Oh My’’ chorus.

Playlist with Dancing In Heaven from Mighty ReArranger and Stick With Me Baby – Plant/ Alison Krauss Raising Sand

Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down (4.13)

Original source: Another traditional song recorded through the years by the likes of Frank Proffitt, and Willie Nelson.

A spiritual croon in a sparse traditional setting – the sort of thing that Zep might well have considerably rocked up ala In My Time of Dying. Instead the arrangement here has the banjo creating the plaintive mood.

Playlist with 21 Years with Ranier Ptacek from 66 To Timbuktu and Great Spirit acoustic take B side

Even This Shall Pass Away (4.02)

Original source: Even This Shall Pass Away contains the lyrics of a poem penned in 1866 by Theodore Tilton and adapted in 1979 by Chuck Berry for his album Rock It.

Punctuated throughout by a percussive groove swing from Marco Giovino over a Plant vocal of total conviction.

Playlist with Last Time I Saw Her from Dreamland and Page & Plant Whiskey From The Glass bonus cut on the Japanese package of Page & Plant’s Walking Into Clarksdale.

In summary:

As with most recent Plant works, this is an album that needs to be listened to intensely. The content is varied eclectic and durable – his voice remains a most potent force and if anything is even more impressive than in recent years with an upfront breathy clarity that once it gets under the skin burrows deep. It may be less Plant Rock and more Planet Plant… but Band of Joy vividly demonstrates it’s a pretty wonderful place to inhabit.

Dave Lewis August 19th, 2010

Thanks to Steve Sauer for additional research.


John Parkin on Radio 2’s  Champions League PopMaster:

My very good friend, TBL contributor, long time fellow record collecting buddy and all round top man John Parkin from Crowle near Scunthorpe is back on the Radio 2  Popmaster quiz.

As a winner earlier in the year, John is participating in the Champions League PopMaster on Friday December 18 on the Ken Bruce show on Radio 2 at 10.30am

Good luck John!



DL Diary Blog Update:

Friday December 12:

Friday treats at the Vinyl Barn…

After last week’s fainting incident it was time to get back in the saddle as it were and a visit to the Vinyl Barn this morning…

Thankfully there was no drama this week and amongst the vinyl record pickings, I was well pleased to find a copy of the excellent 1977 Decca double album compilation The Joe Meek Story and I could not leave a copy of The Faces Long Player album in its original stitched cardboard sleeve in the racks as you can never have too many copies of that one – top stuff – thanks Darren!

Friday December 12:

On the player The Rolling Stones Rock’n’Roll Circus TV soundtrack 3 LP set featuring a host of acts including The Who, The Rolling Stones ,Jethro Tull Taj Mahal,M arianne Faithfull ,The Dirt Mac supergroup line up of John Lennon, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton and Mitch Mitchell as recorded 52 years ago today and yesterday December 10/11 1968…

Update here:

A difficult week here – I had a consultancy with the doctor at the hospital on Saturday regarding some heart issues and I have some further tests in the new year. One of these is to check my heart rate to see if my recent fainting issue is anyway linked. These are hopefully precautionary measures to monitor some things. While it’s good to be monitored, it does add to my ongoing anxiety.

My mobile phone has also ceased to function and I am in the process of sorting a new phone which has proved something of a hassle.

Mentally, I was really struggling again earlier in the week  – the above issues were casing anxiety as was the fact it was one year ago that Janet had her accident and my 4 day stay in the psychiatric hospital – this, plus the ongoing worry of the spread of the virus and all the confusion of the government guidelines for the seasonal period had be succumbing to a very low mood.

Janet has once again been amazing in her support and I am really hoping I can lift my mood back up as we go into the Christmas week.

Some particular inspirations this past week…

Music is always a salvation so the current playlist has provided much needed inspiration:

Led Zeppelin – All is Safe For Rock And Roll – LA Forum March 28 soundboard Eeelgrass label 4 CD set

The Band Of Joy – The Band of Joy LP – see above TBL archive piece

Elton John – Empty Sky and Elton John LPs  – I’ve been wading through Elton’s highly entertaining autobiography ME and his first two albums always hit the mark…

John Martyn Grace And Danger 2 CD deluxe edition – I am just about to read the recent John Martyn biography by Graeme Thompson so I am revisiting some of his great work

Simon & Garfunkel – The Essential Simon & Garfunkel 2 CD  

Phil Collins – Face Value 2 CD reissue – love this album, so many 1981 memories…simpler times when looking for the bridge (and sometimes finding it) was so much easier…

Paul McCartney  – McCartney Record Store day remaster LP – gearing up for the imminent release of McCartney III


Watching the superb Robert Plant & Suzi Dian with Saving Grace performing I bid You Goodnight on the Nordoff Robbins concert…

Watching the brilliant Brian Johnson Life On the Road Robert Plant episode on Sky Arts…

A great catch up on the phone with long time TBL supporter Ian Saikia…

The new issue of Mojo dropping through the door…

A lengthy catch up on the phone earlier with long time TBL contributor Phil Tattershall…

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

Dave  Lewis – December 16 , 2020

Until next time, stay safe and stay well…

Website updates written and compiled by Dave Lewis

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  • Roy JOHN Watson said:

    for many years ive always wanted to know what inscptions jimmy wrote on those 9 zep albums i know that on phyical graffiti he wrote old and new

  • Isaac McHelicopter said:

    Tim – I can confirm that the Led Zeppelin Phil and the Never Never Band Phil are the same person.

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    And to you Ed

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Tim not sure on that!

  • Tim Fox said:

    Dave, is your Phil Tattershall also the Never Never Band “superfan” Phil Tattershall ?

  • Ed Dowling said:

    Wishing you, Janet and your family and the TBL family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Take care.

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