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TBL LED ZEP 1975 SNAPSHOT/ ROBERT PLANT US FESTIVAL DATES/ HISTORY OF JB’S CLUB BOOK REVIEW / HONEYDRIPPERS RETURN REVISITED/ DL DIARY UPDATE

15 January 2015 3,283 views 7 Comments

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TBL Led Zep 1975 Snapshot:

With the 40th anniversary of Led Zeppelin’s activities in 1975 upon us -I will be celebrating this era with a series of TBL Led Zep 1975 Snapshots – these will take the form of postings covering specific gigs and events from the era, with particular spotlight on the period January to May 1975. They will run periodically on the TBL Facebook pages and on the TBL website.

This is designed to track the progress of the year as it unfolded. I will also be listening to the relevant bootleg of the chosen gig on the day to add a perspective of how it sounds 40 years on.

1975 was of course a pivotal year for Led Zeppelin with the US tour, the release of Physical Graffiti and the run of Earls Court shows. This was followed by Robert Plant’s accident and the enforced decision to record the album that would become Presence in Munich in the fall of the year.

In celebration of this 40th anniversary, TBL will be constantly revisiting this landmark period in the coming weeks with the aim to enhance your enjoyment manifold – these celebrations will of course include the forthcoming release of the reissue of Physical Graffiti.

So without further ado…

TBL LED ZEP 1975 SNAPSHOT – NUMBER ONE:

DATE: SUNDAY JANUARY 12 1975

VENUE: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM

VORST NATIONAAL

Setlist: Rock And Roll/Sick Again/Over The Hills And Far Away/When The Levee Breaks/The Song Remains The Same/The Rain Song/Kashmir/The Wanton Song/No Quarter/Trampled Underfoot/In My Time Of Dying/Stairway To Heaven/Whole Lotta Love – Black Dog/Communication Breakdown.

Snapshot Notes: The second warm up date for their forthcoming US tour – the previous night they had played Rotterdam. Before the show Robert conducted an interview backstage with Bob Harris for broadcast the following Friday (January 17th) on BBC2’s Old Grey Whistle Test.

There were five previews aired from the forthcoming Physical Graffiti set – Sick Again, Kashmir, The Wanton Song (which would only be performed on a few of the opening US dates), Trampled Underfoot and In My Time Of Dying. They also included an arrangement of the never before played live When The Levee Breaks – this again did not last for too many performances on the US tour. With Page possibly dealing with a recently damaged finger (see more on this below), the set was less than two hours in length with little improvisation – Dazed And Confused and Moby Dick were both absent – rare omissions for the time. Robert Plant was also beginning to struggle with an oncoming cold. Presentation wise these two warm up warm-up dates were performed with a relatively simple stage set up for the final time.– the US tour will see John Bonham’s drums mounted on a rostrum and a major new light and laser show.

These dates were announced in the UK press at the end of 1974, but I somehow missed this info – – in fact I did not know the gigs  had taken place until a week later such was the low key nature of the gigs – oh for the internet back then! If I had known, I would have made an effort to go for sure!

Snapshot Listen – how it sounded today:

brus 3

It’s Time To Travel Again (Diagrams of Led Zeppelin)

The January 12th Brussels show exists on a fair to good audience recording that I have on the Diagrams of Led Zeppelin CD It’s Time To Travel Again.

Here’s my overview of how it sounded today:

Given the physical frailties of Robert’s voice and (possibly!) Jimmy’s injured finger, once they get in their stride there are some fine performances. The set is a quant one with the notable omission of Dazed And Confused – along with the Rotterdam gig the night before, it was the first time this Zep I standard had not been played live in a Zep performance since their inception. There’s no Moby Dick either making for a much shorter performance than was the standard.

Sick Again kicks in after Rock And Roll and Robert plays it safe on the vocal histrionics. Jimmy is equally tentative on Over The Hills And Far Away with none of the expansive solo improvisation that will be a highlight on the US tour and Earls Court shows.

Their onstage rustiness is evident early on – amply demonstrated by Bonzo going into the intro of When The Levee Breaks when he should have been readying for Over The Hills – where’s that confounded written set list!

When The Levee is duly performed (‘’here’s one we always enjoyed and we’ve finally got around to playing’’). Bonzo is spot on but it’s a rather ponderous plodding arrangement – it will not last too many outings on the US tour. ‘’Jimmy Page steel guitar’’ proclaims Robert at the close.

The Song Remains The Same/The Rain Song are fairly perfunctory performances while the new Kashmir is initially a little hap-hazard. Robert loses the lyrics early on but they recover well for the final ‘’Let me take you there’’ sequence which prompts both Page and Plant to up their game.

‘’Another song of lust, a little habit I picked up after meeting Phil Carson (NB: Atlantic Records exec)– one of my idols’’ is Plant’s tongue in cheek intro into The Wanton Song – this works really well with Page now suitably animated in his playing – it’s a shame it was to fall off the setlist after a few performances in the US.

No Quarter is very much a 1973 arrangement with no extended grand piano section – which might be just as well as the crowd seem impatient and slow hand clap as the chorus comes back in. Before that, Jimmy gets into some very delicate and pleasing wah wah effects.

Two back to back Physical Graffiti previews follow: Trampled Underfoot is fast and furious and In My Time Of Dying is a valiant performance given the physical restraints. Both of these of course will come good with a few more performances

Finally…’’A song from not too long ago …what you might call a permanent favourite ‘ as Plant explains.

So come in Stairway To Heaven – now elevated to the main setlist closer. From the slightly extended strummed intro though to the crescendo ending, this performance strongly hints at the majesty this piece will attain ahead. It’s a great performance and worth the price of admission alone with Plant adlibbing away (note he still sings ‘’Dear lady’’ and ‘’Your Stairway’’ tonight – this will change to ‘’Dear people’ and ‘’Our Stairway’’ during the US tour). As for Jimmy, he delivers that long and winding jittering solo with sheer intent – a solo that will further develop and extend in the coming months and reach something of a zenith in Earls Court come May. It’s already very evident how much they have moved this piece on from the 1973 tour.

Encores: A brief Whole Lotta Love that segues into Black Dog and a strident Communication Breakdown with a chugging mid-section (‘’I don’t need…I don’t want’’) and gig number two of 1975 is over.

In the coming weeks in America , Plant’s voice will initially become weaker and Page’s finger injury will deem that How Many More Times temporarily replaces Dazed as the violin bow showcase. The stage setting will become more extravagant and the light and laser show ever striking. The audiences will become increasingly crazy, and a double album called Physical Graffiti will create a fervent rush at record stores across the land.

This night in Brussels is a quint and fascinating transitory performance – the health problems may be evident but inspired by their new material, this slightly tentative Led Zeppelin are very keen to make their mark in 1975.

And make their mark they will do as you will read in the next TBL Led Zep 1975 Snapshot…

To be continued…

Dave Lewis – January 12th, 2015.

Jimmy s Injured Finger:

It was well documented that Jimmy injured his finger – shutting it in a train door in early 1975 – it’s difficult to pin point the actual date it happened – I was under the impression it was just before the Rotterdam and Brussels dates but I could well be wrong. here are some thoughts on the topic form TBL contributor Andy Crofts

The 1975 finger thing, I couldn’t resist a quick word about that. It is frustrating, because it’s very hard to square all the reported facts.

You are right that it is simplest to assume that it happened pre-Brussels, but the Rolling Stone interview from March 75 is equally clear that it happened ‘just a week’ before the US tour started, and JP had only one rehearsal to work out how to play everything. Both Keith Shadwick and Mick Wall back this up in their books, although neither gives a proper reference, maddeningly.

The Brussels gig is weird, because they don’t play Dazed And Confused  and How Many More Times -or Moby Dick for that matter, which I’d have thought ideal if the guitarist is unwell! But… JP plays very well in Brussels (this initially surprised me when I started listening), RP doesn’t make any mention of fingers onstage (which he does do on later US gigs), and the Bob Harris interview with him the same day doesn’t touch on it either. I also can’t help shake the feeling that they would just have cancelled those warm-ups had JP done his finger in immediately prior.

My take is that initially they never intended to play Dazed And Confused in 1975. They had other stuff in the set, like Levee and Wanton, and potentially others too; the setlist from the disputed Minneapolis rehearsal tape is an indicator here (I don’t believe this can be from 1973, but that’s a whole other argument!). So that’s why it’s not played in Brussels. They get to the US and realise they don’t like Levee, and need more material to fill the gap. This needs to be familiar to the audience, which won’t have heard the new stuff yet. The unrehearsed Dazed And Confused is considered a stretch too far, given the by-now broken finger, so they have a go at How many More Times for a few nights… equally unrehearsed, but it worked quite well when they did it impromptu in Southampton in 1973. Putting my guitarist’s hat on, I don’t see how a shortish Dazed And Confused is necessarily harder on the fingers than How Many More Times (something else that’s always bothered me about that part of the story), but the latter is certainly easier to pick up if you haven’t played it for a while.

All this squares the known and reported facts, and also makes sense of Jimmy’s other comment in Rolling Stone, that he wants Dazed And Confused back in the set ASAP… he preferred playing that to How Many More Times , which was probably a bit old-fashioned for him by 1975.

There’s another possibility of course, which is that the Brussels tape is incomplete, and other songs were played… it does seem very short. But I don’t think so. It’s maddening not to have anything from Rotterdam or indeed Minneapolis to compare it with.

Oops, I’ve written an essay. These nitpicking things are interesting in an ubergeek kind of way, and I think it’s fascinating how things which may not be quite right become accepted fact, just through repetition. I think Led Zeppelin simply started with one set list in 1975 and abandoned it in the face of their US audience. A shame. I’ve recently been reading about Cream’s experiences in the US, and they were the same; lots of parallels actually. Jimmy’s finger is ultimately a red herring, because – painful or otherwise – he plays very well throughout Jan 75.

Many Thanks Andy for those comments.  

 ……………………….

 Robert Plant USA Today interview:

Good new Robert Plant interview in USA Today – see link at

http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/music/2015/01/11/robert-plant/20588859/

Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters US festival Dates:

Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters will have headline appearances this summer at two of the US’s biggest music festivals – Mountain Jam Festival in Hunter Mountain, NY ( June 4-7) and Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee (June 11 -14). These appearances, alongside BottleRock Napa in May and are the first festival appearances announced this summer with more dates expected to be announced in the coming months. See link at Robert’s official site for more details:

http://www.robertplant.com/#news/bonnaroo-and-mountain-jam-summer-festival-appearances

…………………………….

 History Of JB’s book:

robert jbs

This one came out just before Christmas and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed wading through it..as has the man pictured here with the book…

JB’s Club in Dudley: Graft, love and energy in the Black Country chronicled…

JB’s: The story of Dudley’s legendary Music Venue – by Geoff Tristram

‘’JB’s club was the shining light – with graft, love and energy, a small bunch of eager loons created a home for thousands of disaffected music lovers and subterranean socialites. A truly valuable, much loved and sorely missed beacon of Black Country life’’ 

With those eloquent words, local resident Robert Plant sums up the standing JB’s Club in Dudley had amongst the gig going fraternity of the Midlands from 1969 through to its closure as a rock music venue in 2011.

This is just one of countless accolades paid to the club in Geoff Tristram’s hugely enjoyable book JB’s: The story of Dudley’s legendary Music Venue published just before Christmas.

The book traces the origins of the club driven by the enthusiasm of former footballer and speedway rider Sam Jukes and local DJ John Bryant. From there, the saga unfolds with much humour, irreverence and affection.

In fact, the book reads like a virtual history of British rock, pop and punk and new wave as JB’s plays host to countless emerging bands eager to make their mark in the vicinity of the nearby second city.

Wonderfully nostalgic images of these times compliment the lively text. Terry Reid, Vinegar Joe with Elkie Brooks, Thin Lizzy, Dr Feelgood, The Pretenders,   Blur, Seasick Steve  etc  and plenty of local heroes such as Little Acre, The Possessed, Bronco with Jess Roden,  Glenn Hughes, Stan Webb, Steve Gibbons , Ricky Cool Mick Sanchez and the Big Town Playboys and of course Robert Plant in his coiffured hair early 80s pomp.

There are several revelations of the returning ex Zep hero, including a report of a less than vibrant reaction from the not always easily pleased crowd at a Honeydrippers gig, the story of two visiting American Zep fans who randomly turned up in the hope of seeing Robert at the club and later met Robert who subsequently paid their airfare home, plus how Robert’s daughter Carmen would frequent the club’s Monday Rockabilly nights in the 1980s.

The book also chronicles the contribution of many integral local supporters and enthusiasts who made the club what it was – amongst them long time Plant associate and sound man, the near legendary Roy Williams and ‘Big Dave’ Hodgetts. Big Dave was an appropriately big presence around the cub and Robert himself – Roy tells the poignant story of how Robert arranged for the sadly cancer stricken Dave to be taken by private ambulance from his hospital bed to attend the Led Zeppelin reunion at the 02 in December 2007. Robert’s on stage comment at the close of the show ‘’What do you think Dave?’’ was directed at his loyal friend who would sadly pass away a couple of weeks later.

This history of JB’s is littered with anecdotes of such colourful characters – in fact it’s not so much a book about the venue, as the culture that surrounded it for so many years.

I myself only attended only one gig at JB’s Cub but it was a very memorable one and is duly chronicled in the book. It was the Honeydrippers reunion show staged on Valentines night in 2007 – this also acted as a 60th birthday party for Roy Williams and not only featured a blistering set from Robert and co but also a thrilling unscheduled appearance by Jeff Beck.(see below for TBL archive report from the time)

It goes without saying that for Midlands fans, this book is an essential read – but it also has vast appeal to anyone who wants to understand the roots of the vibrant Black Country music scene that inspired both John Bonham and Robert Plant as residents in this most musically productive area of the Midlands.

Dave Lewis – January 14, 2014

The book is officially lunched at a Signing and Book Celebration to be held at The Lamp Tavern, Dudley on Friday January 16th  -start at 19.00. No tickets required and no admission charge. Copies of the book will be available to purchase on the night.

You can order the book direct via:

http://www.jbsbook.com/

………….

Return of The Honeydrippers JB’s TBL Archive Special:

Here’s a look back to a very memorable night at JB’s Club in 2007…one I was very lucky to be in attendance at…

Honeydrippers Rockola and surprise Beckola at JB’s in the Black Country

The Return of The Honeydrippers

Set-List: Mess Of Blues, Little Sister, She Little Sheila, Gonna Work Out Fine, Black Magic Woman,I’ve Been Loving You, Put A Spell On You, Big Log, Down In The Bottom,Can’t Be Satisfied, Rattlesnake Shake, Croossroads, Big Hunk Of Love, Daddy Rolling Stone,

Encores: Stormy Monday/ I Can’t Quit You Babe, Comin’ Home, What I’d Say,

Just back from a whirlwind stop over in Dudley to catch The Return Of The Honeydrippers charity show at JB’s Club.

And quite a night it was. Mike Sanchez and The Big Town Playboys got the evening off to a suitably rocking start with an hour long set of pure roughshod rock’n’roll aided by Ricky Cool and Andy Silvester. Before the main event there was a real surprise. Jeff Beck strolled on the stage, white Telecaster in hand to perform three instrumental jams supported by a two man rhythm section with the Playboys Ian Jennings on bass and Jimmy Copley on drums.

Looking for all the world like he’d stepped off the set of that famous Yardbirds club appearance in the Blow Up film, he proceeded to deliver those familiar guitar histrionics that has carved his legend. The total surprise element in viewing one of the pioneering guitarists of all time right there just a few feet away was absolutely startling. Scrubbing the axe for all it’s worth, finger picking up the fret- this was a masterclass of electric guitar playing. Listen to this Eddie? He really ought to because this man still has it … In droves.

Then followed the return of The Honeydrippers. Highlights: The back to back Elvis Mess of Blues/Little Sister opening, Robert taking a backing vocal role to Mo Birch’s lead on Gonna Work Out Fine, a beautifully laid back Black Magic Woman, a nostalgic Big Log with Robbie Blunt recreating the spirit of ’83, Muddy’s Just Can’t Be Satisfied with Robert on harp and a vibrant Daddy Rolling Stone with great back up vocals from Mo and Nadia Pearson. In the encores they even did a version of Delaney And Bonnie’s Comin’ Home, one of my all time faves  which I brought as a single on the Atlantic label when it first came out in 1970.

Once again, this unique Black Country affiliation of musicians have come together to create a very special evening. In a week where rumours of everyone from The Police to a certain rather successful band in the 1970s were said to be reforming – 26 years to the day of their first gig, The Honeydrippers made this the only reunion worth talking about around these parts – and provided a memorable 60th birthday for sound engineer Roy Williams.

Witnessing the singer away from his day job, here amongst friends effortlessly guiding the audience through the backwaters of his record collection was a total joy.

DL – February 15th, 2007.

Postscript: Little did I know at that time of course that such rumours concerning the reformation of a certain rather successful band in the 1970s were not without foundation!

………………………….

Trevor Ward -Davies:

Sad to hear the passing of Trevor Ward- Davies age 70 better known as Dozy –bassist in the 1960s group Dave Dee, Dozy ,Beaky ,Mick and Tich –they recorded some of the best produced  pop records of the era, including Zabadak, Hold Tight and Legend Of  Xanadu – lead singer Dave Dee who passed away in 2009, went to be a record executive and worked with Led Zeppelin at Atlantic in the UK.

…………………

The Bron yr aur Project:

There are various initiatives being undertaken via the Bron yr aur Project – latest news on this see link at

http://www.bronyraur.com/news.htm

………………………….

Led Zeppelin in Iceland ROK Archive:

Interesting collation of Led Zeppelin  press coverage during their Iceland trip in June 1970 -put together by ROK Archives – thanks to Richard Borg for that spot – have a look at :

http://icelandicmusicmuseum.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/153-led-zeppelin-in-iceland-1970.html

…………….

DL Diary Update:

TBL39-Cover

After the announcement and planning of the Evenings With and Five Glorious Nights book projects, the plate spinning axis has swung back to the TBL magazine this week with work on the planned content for issue 39.

Mick and I also had a look at the cover design and here’s the work in progress TBL 39 cover – there’s a mighty long way to go with issue this but you can get the idea – with the 40th anniversaries upon us,unsurprisingly Physical Graffiti and Earls Court will be high on the agenda as can be seen by this preview. Publication is planned for early May – more on all this to follow as it unfolds in the coming weeks.

It’s been something of a high profile week for Jimmy away from the music with coverage of his recent companion and his concern over his new neighbour Robbie Williams plans to undergo structural work on his newly acquired house. Both stories as you know doubt have seen, garnered much press interest.

Back to the music which is what we deal in here – the countdown continues to the release of Physical Graffiti reissue with 39 days to go as of today and counting. The tension for that one mounts. It’s good to see Robert announcing US festival dates and it looks like there will be John Paul Jones activity on the Minibus Pimps and Supersilent at some point this year.

On the player here: Led Zeppelin It’s Time To Travel Again Brussels 2CD as reviewed above, and a recent vinyl acquisition the brilliant Simon & Garfunkel Bridge Over Troubled Water on quadraphonic pressing which sounds great on stereo I’m pleased to report.. -and it wasn’t quite the sound of things to come as quad sound never really took off..file next to DCC digital cassettes and mini discs as sound carriers that didn’t catch on…also on, some other early 2015 vinyl purchasers Santana Moonflower, Steppenwolf Live and The Compact King Crimson double album compilation which includes the rare single Cat Food. Top stuff.

Finally, 40 years ago on the evening of Friday January 17th I watched in some awe at the screening of the interview Bob Harris conducted with Robert for the Old Grey Whistle Test. It was the first time I’d seen any member of Led Zeppelin on TV. His words about the gig, the forthcoming double album and plans ahead were eagerly soaked up . I taped the interview on my trusty Phillips cassette player by that tired and trusted method of putting the microphone in front of the TV speaker. It came out fairly well except for periodically interruptions from our budgerigar chirping away in his cage..curses!  Luckily Robert’s final statement came out crystal clear and as it’s edited out of the YouTube clip below, I’ll relay it here:

BH: Just finally Robert, at the end of the American tour, Led Zeppelin’s long term plans -are you going to do England after that?

RP: Well I think it’s about time that we did. What we would like to do is make it some kind of event like when we did the (Wembley0 Empire Pool. I think we were the first band to take that place and do something special, not extraordinary but a little bit of an event performing pigs with ruffs around their necks…they didn’t do too well but they were there and trampoline acts -just an atmosphere of an occasion – and if we can, in early summer find a suitable place to do something on a large scale as entertaining as that  – then we will…” 

Something big was brewing – little did I realise as I was watching that interview back then-that some 40 years on, these unfolding events would be ripe for celebration by Led Zeppelin fans across the word…as they no doubt will be in the coming weeks… In 2015 …1975 is still a very good place to be…

DL – January 15th,2015

YouTube clips:

Robert Plant Interview extract with Bob Harris backstage in Brussels  – January 12th, 1975 for Old Grey Whistle Test: 

The Wanton Song live – Brussels January 12th, 1975:

Robert Plant Interview with Jools Holland at JBs Club for The Tube 1982:

Have a great weekend…

Until next time…Keep listening, keep reading…

Dave Lewis/Gary Foy – January 15th , 2015

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7 Comments »

  • Graham Rodger said:

    Did we ever find out what was on the quarter-inch tape that Robert Plant recently uncovered…? I know that he invited Jimmy to listen to it, and they were pondering how/if/when to use it… I’d love to know what was on it.

  • roger berlin said:

    The new TBL, super Dave.
    Roger

  • Andrew r said:

    A bit off topic,but with P.G. re-release imminent
    will there be any chance of JPJ being interviewed?
    His recollections of the orchestral mix of Kashmir
    would be fascinating.His silence on the whole reissues
    front is somewhat perplexing

  • Del said:

    Yea I see Pagey’s been doing his bit for today’s youth !! Also busy putting his noisy neighbour Robbie Williams in his place I see. Respect you olders and betters Mr Williams !

  • Glen said:

    Hi Dave,

    I was kept suitably riveted with Andy Crofts analysis regarding Jimmy’s finger. Strange that such minutiae should keep us entertained … but it does. Thanks for your input Andy.

    Also saddened by the passing of Trevor Ward- Davies; which brought to mind their cover of a Led Zeppelin classic. Albeit a medley. “Stairway to Heaven” and “Pinball Wizard” by Led Zeppelin and the Who, respectively.

    Looking forward to all TBL news / info / product for 2015. – All the best.

  • paul aspey said:

    what a great night at JBs for sure , Memories are made of this

  • Stephen said:

    Hey Dave,

    I’m really looking forward to the Earls Court book. Great news you are taking it on. I bought the Feather in the Wind and Knebworth books and they were brilliant. My favourite is FITW, as the Knebworth tome had a bit too many fans’ concert memories for my taste. Other people may have found them interesting, but when you don’t know the actual people involved, after one or two anecdotes, they cease to resonate. Anyway, it looks like we know why Jimmy’s been a bit slow off the mark with the music recently. He’s been busy with some other top secret projects in the Tower bedroom 😉
    For those about to eat Nandos, we salute you…!

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