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5 October 2012 5,534 views 4 Comments

Countdown to the Celebration Day…12 days to go.

To mark the impending momentous worldwide screening of the Led Zeppelin Ahmet Ertegun 02 reunion concert on October 17th, we are counting down to the day with a daily Celebration Day Newsletter post. This will feature relevant news and updates plus the TBL Countdown Collection – a daily celebration of Zep moments, memories and artefacts.


The contents of the new issue of the Tight But Loose magazine was finally signed off with designer Mick Lowe earlier this week and is now at the printers. Distribution should commence towards the end of next week.  A further update on all that will follow.

Looking over the proofs there really is so much to soak up in this issue I am more than happy with what has been achieved during a period of a fair bit of stress here.

Here’s the line up:

*A full overview of the Celebration Day announcements plus review of the Press Screening and on the spot report of the London Press Conference.

* Mike Tremaglio’s comprehensive 1972 USA tour log which is is guaranteed to have you searching out those amazing recordings from that esteemed Zep era,

*Part One of Nick Anderson’s guide to the Led Zeppelin UK singles pressings which provides a fascinating insight in to how these pressings surfaced complete with rare illustrations.

* Part two of the exclusive Warren Grant interview focuses on the post Zep years

*An intensive interview with Barney Hoskyns that digs deep to reveal how he collated his new book Trampled Under Foot – The Power and Excess of Led Zeppelin.

* Stephen Humphries offers a summary of recent Robert Plant activity from the release of the From The Artist Den DVD through to his Sensational Space Shifters activity.

* Latest John Paul Jones news with reports on the Sunflower Jam and Minibus Pimps appearances

* Plus Jimmy Page summer watch, Jeff Strawman’s instrument watch, Gerard Sparaco’s CD reviews and you have another packed TBL edition.

If you love Led Zeppelin – you will love this magazine.

Having spent many hours collating this issue, I really want it to be seen, read and enjoyed by as many fans as possible….so the usual call to arms:

If you are reading this and have never purchased a TBL magazine -there is no finer issue to take the plunge than this forthcoming TB 33 – it really is a brilliant issue packed with essential Zep reading that will act as a perfect backdrop to all the Celebration Day activity ahead

I know it’s a bit of hassle to go on to pay pal etc, but I believe the tangible thrill of this issue dropping through your door will be well worth it.

Investing in the TBL magazine also contributes to the running costs of this web site – so by supporting the TBL magazine you are also ensuring that the service provided by the TBL web site is made possible.

In a word of websites and social media, the TBL magazine remains a true tangible Led Zeppelin artifact to be read, collected, stored and re- read time and time again.  

TBL issue 33 is written, compiled and produced to enhance your appreciation of what is yet another great time to be Led Zeppelin fan.

So click on the order link and indulge yourselves  in some essential Zep reading as the countdown continues…

The arrival of the TBL magazine on your doorstep will add yet more enjoyment to the weeks ahead… 

You can pre order the new issue 33 as a single issue here:

You can subscribe for the three 2012issues here:

Many thanks for your support in advance (DL)


As a taster for the Collectors Countdown below…the remarkable Communication Breakdown medley from the LA Forum 0n 1970: 




Number 15 in the countdown to Celebration Day:

Today’s choice is Led Zeppelin Live On Blueberry Hill –one of the iconic bootlegs.

Here’ an overview of this recording from the TBL Archive:

Led Zeppelin’s impact on their initial American tours made them a prime targets for the then emerging bootleg recording business. The bands’ penchant for extending and improvising upon their studio recorded repertoire made their live shows very different from listening to their albums.

During the first eighteen months on the road they cleverly inter wove the basic recorded material to be found on the first two albums with additional impromptu jams. Early examples of this included the long jam on Garnet Mimms As Long As I Have You employed on many of their 1969 shows, the medley of numbers to be found within How Many More Times and an improvised jam session in the middle of the live delivery of Communication Breakdown. Then there was Dazed And Confused Page’s late Yardbird remnant that by 1970 was
developing into a marathon twenty minute opus with differing sections including the violin bow episode and a call and response battle between Page and Plant. Whole Lotta Love the catalytic Zep 2 opener soon became another forum for exploration as they regularly employed it as a platform to playfully insert a variety of rock’ n’roll classics.

During 1970 they also began previewing songs from the yet to be released third album -initially an embryonic Since I’ve Been Loving You and then in a bold move, the acoustic That’s The Way a performance that helped break the myth that Zep was just going to be about Marshall amplifiers. It’s unlikely the two separate team of fans intent on recording the Zeppelin gig at the Inglewood Forum in Los Angeles on the night of September 4th 1970 were quite aware of the full spectrum of Zeppelin’s live performances but they both came away with lengthy representations of the band’s current state of play recorded on reel to reel recorders close to the stage.

The source that would became known as the album Led Zeppelin Live On Blueberry Hill was captured by a pair of west coast bootleggers who had been previously responsible for Bob Dylan’s Great White Wonder set and the Rolling Stones LiveR Than You’ll Ever Be. The latter had been recorded on a Uher 4000 reel to reel tape recorder with 71/2ips inch reels and a Sennheiser 805 shotgun microphone. It was this set up they took into the Forum to record in stereo the Zeppelin September 4 performance. Unbeknown to them, a separate bootlegger known as Rubber Dubber also recorded the show and quickly issued it as a double bootleg album stamped Led Zeppelin Live Los Angeles Forum 9-4-70.

The more common Blimp label version (later to appear on the high profile bootleg label Trade Mark Of Quality) with a distinctive surreal cover insert came out within weeks of the LA show. It’s worth noting however that it was not the first Led Zeppelin bootleg to be released. That distinction fell to a vinyl album known as PB (the title derived from the chemical symbol for lead). This came packaged in a brown sleeve and with the words P.B. Live on side one and Recorded Live -Pure Blues on side 2. The album was pressed in limited quantities around the Seattle area. Pure Blues subsequently reached a wider market when it was picked up by the Trade Mark Of Quality label and pressed as Mudslide..

The UK music press of the time chronicled the constant stream of bootleg titles from the likes of Bob Dylan,The Beatles and The Rolling Stones that were being imported into the country. The reports of Zeppelin titles surfacing came to the attention of Peter Grant and unsurprisingly he was none too happy. In one of the few naive statements of his career,Grant was quoted in the Melody Maker as saying: ”As far as I know there can be no Led Zeppelin tapes available. After hearing some time ago that there was going to be an attempt to bootleg some tapes of the band, I flew to America. We’ve managed to retrieve all the tapes and we know nothing in existence that can be issued”.

When Grant heard that copies of Live On Blueberry Hill were being sold from a shop in Chancery Lane in London, Grant and Richard Cole along with RAK management partner Mickie Most paid the proprietor Jeffrey Collins a visit. He questioned Collins on the Zeppelin album and with a little not so gentle persuasion made sure he knew that this was one bootleg album he might be best to leave alone. In a separate incident a year later in Vancouver fearing another case of bootlegging ,Grant promptly smashed the equipment being used by a team of anti pollution scientists set up to measure noise levels at a Zeppelin show in Vancouver.

Of course ultimately Grant was powerless to stop the proliferation of Zeppelin underground records of which Blueberry Hill was the forerunner. If you knew where to look, such rare artefacts were possible to come by . For this particular enchanted Zep obsessed teenager Live On Blueberry Hill represented the forbidden fruit and in 1971 I began a quest to track it down. Luckily the then relative newcomer to the pop press Sounds began offering a free service for reader advertisements. I scoured these columns religiously for many weeks and finally struck gold when I spotted an advert that ran along the lines ”Live albums for sale : Stones, Dylan ,Zeppelin etc”. The list came back and amongst the many Dylan and Beatles titles there it was – Live on Blueberry Hill a double album on the TMQ label catalogue number TMQ 72002 and pressed on coloured vinyl. -asking price £6. Back then six quid was a small fortune but it was more than worth it.

About three weeks later the postman dropped an LP size package on the doorstep .I anxiously ripped it open and there in all its glory was the genuine article: ”106 minutes and fifty three seconds of pure and alive rock as the sleeve insert put it. Was it ever.

The excitement of playing through that double album on blue and red vinyl remains an unforgettable musical memory for me. It was a novelty that never wore off. Indeed the variousincarnations I’ve obtained since- the Rubber Dubber vinyl set, the various re issues, the various bootleg CD packages – all these have only heightened the listening pleasure of that celebrated Los Angeles stop off during Led Zeppelin’s sixth American tour.

The overriding factor of the Sepember 4th 1970 recording regardless of which version one is subjected to – is that it remains one of the greatest audience recordings of the era.. The sheer dynamic thrust of Bonzo’s drum sound, the sinewy grind of Page’s guitar, Jonesy’s resonant bass lines and piecing keyboards and the outstanding clarity of Plant’s siren shrieks, (suitably enhanced by the echo unit employed at the time), all merge into a ferocious mix that magically re creates the electricity of the occasion.

For me personally and I’m sure anyone else who was weaned the original TMQ long players, there’s an authenticity in their performances ingrained in the grooves that has rarely been captured so effectively. Alongside the Winterland ’69 recordings,the Texas ’69 International festival, Japan 1971 shows, the various Earls Court sets and the LA 1977 gigs, there are few finer unofficial examples of the complete Led Zeppelin concert experience.

The September 4th 1970 concert as captured on the TMQ double set was just choc full of off the wall surprises. There was no sign of any set list sterility back then -they just did as they pleased.Moments to relish include:

The sheer aural assault of the Immigrant Song (the original insert listed this as From The Midnight Sun as it had yet to be announced under its official title for its appearance as the opening track on Zep 3) exploding into Heartbreaker. The slightly menacing tone of a relatively compact Dazed And Confused with Plant’s bursting in mid way through screaming ”I don’t care what people say rock’n’roll is here to stay”. Page and Bonham linked in glorious tandem for that solo exercise on Bring It On Home, The electric finale of Moby Dick (”The big B!” exclaims Plant), the sheer unpredictability of Communication Breakdown as Zep play the Buffalo Springfield and Beatles songbooks and throw in the rarely played live Zep 1 opener Good Times Bad Times.Freshly minted nuggets from the yet to be heard Zep 3 on record such as Since I’ve Been Loving You and the rarely played Out On the Tiles. The tentative introduction of the acoustic material, a stark and sensitive That’s The Way and the rare try out of Page’s instrumental solo Bron Yr Aur a clear five years before it was officially released. Thank You proceeded by the meandering organ solo from John Paul Jones and finishing with a drawn out ending featuring Page’s delicate strumming. Whole Lotta Love and the ensuing Zep 50′s revival show and finally the breathless rendition of Fat’s Blueberry Hill.

”Goodnight and thank you for everything” utters a breathless Plant at the close followed – ”Did ya dig it’?’ by the evening’s MC…

Yes we did and still do.

The greatest live album of all time? It’s certainly up there with the best. Official or otherwise. The reason is simple. It captures a group of musicians brimming with confidence. On stage that night in September 1970 Led Zeppelin were truly coming of age.

Live on Blueberry is also something of a yardstick for the neccessity of bootlegs. Back then Zeppelin’s recorded output was just the tip of the iceberg. On stage in live action was where the real creative inspiration occured and indeed where they really built their reputation. I recall Peter Grant summing ti all up when he told me ”Led Zeppelin was primarily an in person band that’s what it was really about”. Bootleg recordings of the band offered a whole new level of appreciation and Blueberry Hill was the watershed for the subsequent flood of live Zep bootleg that would emerge throughout the next four decades.

The whole bootleg CD market may be well out of control now and beyond any reasonable realm of quality control, but there was a time when bootlegs like Blueberry Hill were considered almost as important as the groups official output by fans and chroniclers alike and if they were honest, probably the group themselves.

Maybe that’s the greatest compliment that can be paid to this iconic bootleg recording. It remains as essential a part of their discography as any of their official albums.

More than four decades on, Live On Blueberry Hill is still an absolute thrill. Find it – play it –love it.

Dave Lewis

Until tomorrow…keep reading – keep listening  and have a great weekend…

Dave Lewis/Gary Foy

October 5th , 2012

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  • Graeme said:

    Great piece on Blueberry Hill mate. I love all the history and intrigue about those early bootleg releases. As you say… almost as important as the official releases back in the day. Great stuff Dave!

  • André Cruz said:

    Hi Dave and TBL friends,

    so good that TBL 33 will be another historic issue !

    Blueberry Hill was the first Zep Boot that I bought, in early 80`s (double vinyl but mine was not coloured). It was the second that I heard – the first one was Going To California. Unfortunately I don`t have it anymore because in 1991 I got to sell almost my entire collection to buy a motorcycle – and I stay with the same one up till now, 21 years after. At least nowadays I got all the zep shows that were recorded. Looking forward to Celebration Day (no tickets on sale here in Brasil yet) and the Plant brazilian tour. A very nice Zep weekend to all TBL friends.

  • darren said:

    amazing performance

  • Lee said:

    Cheers Dave, should be a good reading material prior to my three visits to the movies this month. Looking forward to hanging out with the TBL crew next week…

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