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14 March 2012 8,729 views 5 Comments

As we mentioned last week, Robert Plant has announced his first US date of the year. He will be among the headliners for the Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival, which marks its 25th anniversary this year. The festival will be held August 10-12 in Clarksdale and will feature more than 40 bands over the course of the three-day event. Robert’s band lineup has been announced as Patty Griffin, West African virtuoso musician Juldeh Camara, guitarists Justin Adams, Billy Fuller on bass, keyboards John Baggott and Dave Smith on drums. For updates, of the completely free festival visit:
This of course follows on from his much anticipated appearance at this year’s Womad Festival at Charlton Park.
Heres a short clip of Robert with Justin Adams and Juldeh Camara at 2009 Abu Dhabi Womad appearance.

Prior to last week’s appearances at the English National Opera in London on Saturday and at the Manson stand at the London Bass Guitar Show staged at at Oympia Conference Centre on Sunday, John Paul Jones appeared on Friday night at Abbey Road Studios for the annual Sound and Vision evening to raise awareness for Cancer Research UK. John appeared alongside Robyn Hitchcock as part of a duo calling themselves “Biscotti”

The evening was a great success and various one off pieces, including a ‘doodled’ Damien Hurst print were auctioned off raising over a quarter of a million pounds for Cancer Research UK. Al Murray did a great job auctioning off the pieces alongside co-compare Bob Harris from Radio 2.

There’s an interesting interview from The site with Madhukar Dhas, a singer from the Indian psych rock band Atomic Forest. Madhukar tells of the time back in February 1972 when he jammed with members of Led Zeppelin in a Bombay night club.

Here’s an extract:
Madhukar told Amanda Barokh; ”Slip-Disc was a very small venue, about thirty feet deep by eighteen feet wide. No tables, nothing. The ceiling height might have been about fourteen feet maybe. I used to climb on the speakers, touch the ceiling and jump off the top of them. The atmosphere was always very dark with psychedelic lava lamps, strobes and UV lights. The ideal place for teenagers to come in and neck as much as they wanted without being recognized.
I was at Slip-Disc one evening, just hanging out. I was not on contract to perform there. It was nothing out of the ordinary until three gentlemen walked in. Some of their faces seemed unbelievably familiar. It was Robert Plant and Jimmy Page and another guy who I later learnt was Richard Cole.
Ramzan [owner of Slip-Disc] was one of the shrewdest businessmen I knew. But he had no clue who Led Zep were. I can recall him snapping his fingers at Jimmy and calling him Plant. “Come on Plant, Plant, Plant, have another drink.” The beer was pretty bad. It was called “Bombay Beer”, when you opened a bottle it had no head. It looked more like soap bubbles. Nevertheless Plant and Page had quite a few and got tipsy.
I was commanded by Ramzan to go and talk to them. My feet were colder than ice but I did it. I looked like a total geek. I was introduced to Plant as India’s No. 1 rock singer. Plant asked me. “What kind of music do you do?” And I went,”Hummana… hummanaa… hummanaaa… we try to copy you.” Clearly Plant was not impressed. His next question to me was, “Where are the chicks man?” I promised that a few would show.
Ramzan’s next command to me was, “Sing.”
Not being under contract, and also with such cold feet, I refused. He dug his fingers into my left ribs, commanding me, “Go sing, you bastard!” And I did. I sang ‘Honky Tonk Women’. Robert Plant was sittings about ten feet away from me. When I was done, he gave me a thumbs-up. That image is forever etched in my mind and perhaps why I will never stop singing.

I have a faint feeling I enthused Plant and Page to get up and jam with the band after my cover rendition. Plant went into a wild ad-lib and after a ten-minute ramble, went into ‘Whole Lotta Love’. Jamal who was drumming and Xerxes were very familiar with the song and did a great job backing them. Keith Kanga’s rented equipment was very inadequate for the power of the Zep. Richard Cole fed one amp into another and managed to get a pretty good sound. I used a guitar amp to sing through, a Fender Super-Reverb and my mic was Indian made and had to be screwed on to the stand. Not the kind where one could whisk the hand-held off the stand. Towards the end of that song, Plant tried to do so and realized it was screwed on and began to spin it off the stand, wrapping the mike cord around the stand. The soldering broke loose and just as he was doing his famous “Loooooooooooooooooove” it started cutting off. I wish I could vocally express how it went, but in type, more like “Looo…uuuu…oooove” I went to his rescue and held the mic wire to the mike to keep it from cutting out. I was shoulder to shoulder with Plant and wished someone had taken a photograph. I even tried to get the attention of the photographer, but he was looking the other way”.
See more at

And finally, if you have time, check out the Bill Withers documentary, Still Bill over on the BBC-iplayer . No Zeppelin connection just one of the finest soul singers ever best known for his classics Ain’t No Sunshine, Lean on Me, Lovely Day and the beautiful Grandmas Hands. As Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times said in a review of the film “Withers seems as close to everyday Zen as I can imagine. He talks a great deal about his philosophy, to be sure, but it’s direct and manifestly true: Make the most of your chances, do the best you can, stop when you’re finished, love your family, enjoy life”. How true.(GF)

TBL news Round Up compiled by Gary Foy for TBL

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 And absolutely finally: Some gems from you tube:
Firstly, get on down to a truly excellent mash up of James Brown Sex Machine with Whole Lotta Love

Here’s British Soul singer/songwriter Michael Kiwanuka, who recently took home BBC’s coveted Sound of 2012 award, at the legendary Maida Vale studios with a live performance of Whole Lotta Love. Assisted by an acoustic guitar, an electric guitar and a Sitar. Michael’s silky smooth vocals more than does the Zep standard justice.

Here’s French singer Alice Michel’s cello-and-piano cover of Whole Lotta Love.

Then there’s this version of another classic…the Fab Four never sounded so good….

Stairway To Heaven – The Beatnix


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (3 votes, average: 3.67 out of 5)


  • Dave Whorlow said:


    Some other cover versions worth checking out on YouTube:

    Pink ‘Babe I’m Gonna Leave You’

    Gabriel y Rodriguez ‘Stairway to Heaven’ live

    Phish ‘No Quarter’

  • Kathy Urich said:

    I love The Beatnix very cool clip thanks Dave

  • Bob Flux said:

    Awesome mashup! Get some Norman Hale into the mix and it would be wicked, man!

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Yes I’d say you are correct in that thinking -looks to be late 1972.

  • Hiroshi said:

    If their encounter with Madhukar Dhas had happened in February 1972 , Jimmy would have sported a beard. See the photos and Jimmy’s clean-shaved face and hair length coincide with what he looked like on his second Japanese tour, October 2nd-10th. Also pay attention to Robert’s quote on the local article that is found on The site; “Man, it’s great to be in India for a *second* visit.”

    Page, Plant and Cole may well have paid a second visit to the area on their return home from Japan, October 1972 — an incident about which little has been reported to this day except locally.

    Now another piece of Zeppelin’s history is found.

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