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WORD IN YOUR EAR PODCAST/JIMMY PAGE & ROBERT PLANT MTV UNLEDDED 25 YEARS GONE – TBL ARCHIVE PART TWO/FREDDY BANNISTER RIP/LZ NEWS/JAPANESE BOOK/ HOT AUGUST NIGHT/DL DIARY BLOG UDATE

21 August 2019 1,241 views 2 Comments

The Word – Word In Your Ear Podcast with David Hepworth and Mark Ellen:

The Islington pub, Tuesday August 20,2019:

I’ve long admired David Hepworth and Mark Ellen as music journalists and broadcasters. I watched them during their Old Grey Whistle Test years and have avidly read their books and writings, notable in the much missed Word magazine.

When The Word magazine folded, the pair developed the Word In Your Ear podcast – this has proved to be a very popular forum for them to feature guest writers, performers etc. Given my long standing interest in their work it, was a big thrill to be invited to be a guest on the Word In Your Ear podcast.

This came about after I had interviewed David Hepworth for the recent TBL issue 45. He was very impressed with the Evenings With Led Zeppelin book written by Mike Tremaglio and I , and was keen to discuss this further.

So on Tuesday night I ventured to the excellent Islington pub in London for the recording of my guest spot.

First on was journalist Ian Penman talking about his new book It Gets Me Home, This Curving Track: Objects & Essays 2012-2018

Then was time for the TBL editor. The presentation took the format of Mark and David asking me various questions about my enduring fascination with all things Led Zep. The conversation was built around a series of images on the backdrop screen. Commencing with the 1971 Electric Magic show,moving through the early history of the TBL mag and 45 minutes later, coming full circle to discuss the 02 reunion and the likelihood or otherwise, of such an event happening again.

The packed sold out audience lapped it all up and it all went down very well. This Word In Your Ear podcast is available on the link below.

Many thanks to David and Mark for being such great hosts for what was as a very special night for me. I was more than humbled to receive an email from Mark Ellen this morning that read as follows:

”Thanks for being a wonderful guest, Dave, and what a fascinating relationship you’ve had with the band and their music. Unique and extraordinary stories told with such wit, boundless energy and enthusiasm!”

What a fantastic accolade that is from a man I’ve admired for many years…

So like I said, it was some night – many thanks to Krys Jantzen for his support and pics.

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Here’s the Word In Your Ear podcast:

When Dave Lewis first went to see Led Zeppelin at the Empire Pool, Wembley in 1971 it cost him 75p. When they played their final show at the O2 in 2007 he was on Robert Plant’s guest list. From the germ of his teenage scrapbook he built a small empire, based on his fanzine “Tight But Loose”, which has produced a staggering range of titles dedicated to every aspect of Led Zeppelin’s career. His book “Evenings With Led Zeppelin” has the distinction of being literally the heaviest book ever to feature on “Word In Your Ear”. Dave came in to the Islington to talk about what got him excited in 1971 and, as you’ll hear, still excites him today…

Word podcast 305 – Dave Lewis on 40 years in the service of Led Zeppelin

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At the Word In Your Ear podcast recording last night at the Islington pub, it was great to see long time TBL supporter Pat Crowther – Pat was over from Italy where he now lives – it was great to look back on the Zep Conventions of 1992 and 1994 Pat attended and much more…

Dave Lewis, August 21,2019

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Jimmy Page & Robert Plant MTV Unledded – 25 years gone….TBL Archive Special – Part Two:

25 years ago this week, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant reunited for two performances filmed by MTV at the London TV Studios for their Unplugged series. Appropriately dubbed Unledded, this saw the pair roll back the years with an inspiring re-evaluation of the Led Zeppelin catalogue. In its way this was every bit as significant as the 2007 O2 reunion as they sort to put into perspective their past achievements. The omission of John Paul Jones was in hindsight, a poor misjudgement but at the time, we were more than grateful for this reuniting of the pair. I was lucky enough to attend both days filming – indeed I was involved in supplying the TBL database for the ballot of ticket distribution. Looking back It was an incredibly exciting period that would lead on into more memorable nights in the company on the ensuing 1995/96 world tour.

This TBL archive special reproduces the passionate review of those two MTV Unledded performances I wrote for TBL issue 10 – it’s incredible to think that it’s all of 25 years ago as once agin it seems like a second ago –but a lifetime. It was another of those truly fantastic times to be a Led Zeppelin fan again…..so let’s travel back to the late summer of 1994 and two very special August days.

DATELINE: FRIDAY AUGUST 26

“I Want My MTV”.

Twelve hours later I’m sitting in the Dog And Trumpet pub off Carnaby Street as the appropriate soundtrack of Sting’s voice cuts across the smokey bar from the Dire Straits juke box choice.

I want my MTV? You bet I do. Last night had been truly remarkable. I can hardly believe it has actually taken place. I mean I’ve dreamed it often enough. Sharing our fresh memories around the Royal National Hotel (which seems to have become something of a Zepp stop off landmark since the Conventions) in the afternoon with TBL staffers Gary and Kam, Grant from Canada, Billy Fletcher from Scotland and Liz and co., well it certainly did happen – and despite a period of daytime fatigue which reduced me to drinking water(!) I was now ready to gird my collective loins for another memorable evening.

Festival Pier 5 p.m.:
Here we go again. The waiting this time out takes place in an orderly queue along the Thames. It’s a markedly more relaxed atmosphere amongst us – many are here for the second night and we know what to expect. The prospect is mouth-watering and aids the good natured banter amongst the faithful. It’s good to see so many familiar faces again – fans I’ve been in touch with for years – Howard Mylett, Luis Rey, Tim Ellock, Andy Adams – this gathering is a mini convention in itself.

Over at the London Studios the demand for entry seems to have heightened considerably with many more red ticketed guests in line. Lining up towards the door is a tense time with more than a little confusion of who is eligible to go in and who is not. Once inside studio 2 it’s evident there is far more in attendance tonight with many standing around the doorways at each corner of the studio. The warm up music is one of Robert’s Indian choices. Once the big door is shut with a boom and the red light goes on, it’s also evident that those assembled are a lot more relaxed tonight and in the mood to enjoy every moment of this last night of filming.

This state of mind transcends to the players involved and, after a polite intro, Jimmy and Robert stride up and take the stand. Looking well at ease, Robert throws a nutmeg to the intended set list by switching into What Is And What Should Never Be and then Thank You. The opening number is marred slightly by some feedback but Thank You is spot and inspires the first spontaneous cheer of the evening when Jimmy turns his back towards Michael and spits out a fluid Gibson solo. As Luis Rey might put it – tonight Jimmy Page is definitely on!
The set list for the rest of the proceedings is similar to last night. The Battle Of Evermore is perfection – a modern day mantra that puts any previous precarious incarnations well in the shade. During a break following a false start for Gallows Pole, Robert sings the opening line to When The Levee Breaks explaining that “this was one we did to eight people including two sheep in Wales last week”. Gallows duly follows and is again heightened by some intensive Plant scat singing at the close.

The end of part one break allows again for some exchange of views amongst the crowd. The consensus of opinion is that the latter two takes will surely end up in the finished article.
Back on stage with the orchestra. Rain Song is performed with much subtlety if not just slightly more hesitantly than the previous night. “This is one of everybody’s favourites ‘ is the signal for them to take it up a gear for another startling delivery of Since I’ve Been Loving You the solo of which inspires another spontaneous burst of applause from the appreciative audience.

Another considerably enjoyable factor tonight is he relaxed on stage banter between Robert and the audience. The intimacy of the studio allows for a clear rapport – inspiring heckles from the likes of Mr Gary Foy – “Tell us a joke, Jimmy” – “He doesn’t know any” replies Robert – “I know you’re here David . . . although I can think of one . . . Dear David . . what would we do without our Dave .. .

Another sketch revolves around Robert’s comment on his in-between song rap on the various bootlegs – “Have you heard some of the talking on the bootlegs – crap isn’t it?” – “Especially last night” shouts out some wag – “Oh wait till I tell Jimmy that!” says Robert, moving over to where Jimmy is tuning up.
The Moroccan roll of Four Sticks and Friends bursts forth with the latter infinitely better than Thursday’s version. I am sitting next to the wife of one of the string players and her enthusiastic whoops and hollers confirm the fact. During another change over of gear Robert muses on a call from the audience on what it’s all about. .. “What’s it all about? Well . . . it’s a way to spend a life.”

unledded six

 

Indeed, and for the next fourteen minutes, my life is considerably enhanced, spent in the company of messes Plant and Page as they deliver a new revamped version of Kashmir. This really is awesome. A mesmerising performance complete with retro “Woman talkin’ to ya!” adlib from Plant during the drawn out section and an Improvised last five minutes which really does reincarnate the spirit of Led Zeppelin with dazzling accuracy as they Improvise dangerously around the speeded up finale. Page In particular Is so spot on, laughingly aping the dance steps of Mr Finger Cymbals – and then tearing nonchalantly Into a battering blistering clatter of notes against the similar battalion ot Michael Lee. It brings to mind the crazed unpredictability of middle period Zepp live epics such as Dazed and No Quarter – and all the while Plant undercuts It with the pleading charm of the lyric and the Egyptian section bring It on home, quite literally. It’s a devastating statement that had me hugging and shaking hands with fellow devotees at the finish In glazed triumphant abandon. Truly, this Is the pride of Plant and Page.

A standing ovation Is nothing less that they deserve. Back they stride for the new look That’s The Way . . . and off they go again as the lights go up. Some people think it’s all over… but a welcome announcement to return to our seats signals the arrival of Jimmy and Robert who group seated at the front of the stage. Jimmy dons the Ovation double neck. A tape loop recreating the absent Moroccan musician due to play on this number revolves around the studio. This Is the starting point of the premier of the new Plant/Page composition Wonderful One. The loop has a repetitive percussive feel similar to the opening of Come Into My Life from Fate Of Nations. The song itself develops mournfully as Jimmy drifts over the strings. Plant sings, poeting couplings In the All My Love vein as the gentle love song washes over. It’s shivers down the spine time yet again for me.
Intact the exercise Is repeated when they decide to run through that number again for the benefit of the camera angles as Plant baits the technical crew – “Mike we need the loop now but not that loud.”

Wonderful One Is the first newly premiered live Plant Page composition since they ushered In Hot Dog and In The Evening in Copenhagen and Knebworth. I feel the same Instant affinity for Its as I did for the latter epic. If this Is where the future lies then let them take you there,.,

Exit stage left and again It seems all over, ., until an MTV official consults with the outside Manor Mobile Studio and realises there need to be more , and back they stride again, “We’re going to do one number again and then one we didn’t think we were going to do. So here goes” I for one have no objection for them doing another take of That’s The Way with Jimmy weaving some beautiful descant chording around those familiar lyrics. Finally, and this time it really is finally, with help from Paul on guitar and the hurdy-gurdy man, Robert leads them through a welcomed Nobody’s Fault But Mine (“Another one we did in Wales to eight people Including two sheep”). However this is not the heavyweight blues stomping Presence arrangement but a swinging rootsy semi-acoustic run through with Jimmy on the Ovation double neck, In fact this arrangement has far more In common with the Blind Willie Johnson original than any other version I’ve heard them attempt and It all flows to a satisfying climax, “We’ll see you again soon.” There’s a great moment for the cameras as they make their way from the stage – Jimmy and Robert cuddle together both smiling gleefully. It’s a moment that crystallises the spirit of the whole event.

The lights go up, revealing so many similarly smiling happy faces. As the technical crew move In, talk goes around that Jimmy and Robert will reappear once the crowd has dispersed to re-shoot Gallows Pole minus the audience as some of the camera angles didn’t quite come off. In the end they decide against it – staying In the studio canteen to meet and greet the well-wishers before exiting the building after twelve, For Robert, It’s back to the Midlands to follow the latest fortunes of Wolverhampton Wanderers, A relaxed looking James Patrick emerges with chauffeur, happy to pose and sign autographs.

For me It’s all too much – along with several fellow shell shocked members of the Zepp fraternity it’s down to the pub to celebrate and dissect Just what It’s all meant, “Dancing Days are here again” Is the repeated chorus. And really I guess that’s how It’s been.

It’s a strange feeling that prevails In the 48 hours that follow me back to Bedford and relative normality. “Daddy, how did you get on in London?” asks Sam – one day I hope she will grasp the enormity of It all. But, like all key Zepp related events, It’s virtually Impossible to explain the feeling that has been evident throughout these remarkable days. But it did happen and that Is happened with the utmost Integrity for the legacy of Led Zeppelin makes me feel so good.

UNLEDDED ONE

AFTERMATH
Just twelve months ago, such events of course would have been beyond the wildest expectations. With Jimmy seemingly set to hit the road with Coverdale and Robert committed to the Fate Of Nations World Tour – that was until fate took a hand Itself with that meeting In Boston last November. And then came the Initial rehearsals, the Buxton appearance and now this.
What was most striking about the MTV filming was the sheer integrity with which they approached the whole affair. Without all the hyperbole of a fully-fledged Led Zeppelin reunion, Jimmy and Robert have managed to recreate the key ingredients of the Zepp ethic by cleverly reinventing the catalogue. In recycling those original songs for ’90s consumption, the pair have brought a respect to this project that has been sorely lacking in the mega tour reunions of their ’70s peers. It also goes to prove what dividends a lengthy period of rehearsal can provide. The chemistry of this re-alliance was more than plain to see and perhaps it put into perspective once and for all the shortcomings of the ill-prepared Atlantic 1988 reunion. You can’t expect it all to come flowing back within days – but given a responsible period of preparation and the affinity these long term musicians and friends have for each other becomes very evident.

Finally in employing the extra trappings of the orchestra and Egyptian players, this MTV project has definitely proved to be a case of them completing the painting of a previously unfinished picture. The experimenting with those numbers is something that maybe would have emerged had there been a 1980s tour Part One. This was always the beauty of Led Zeppelin – never a vehicle for mere rock music. Time and again they transcended the genre. Now 14 years on in the hands of two of the main components, the group’s legacy has been reborn. And they have ultimately proved that they really were the very best. Page and Plant. . . Plant and Page . . . whichever way it lines up, the chemistry remains.

It’s been an undoubted privilege to witness this artistic rebirth at first hand. And when I recall the intensity of performances such as the reworked Kashmir and the newly created Wonderful One, I’m filled with the hope and pure joy that this really is a new beginning and that very soon both on screen and on tour, every one of their followers worldwide will get the opportunity to bask in their glory.

For never before in the post 1980 years, has the spirit of Led Zeppelin shone so vividly than when Robert Plant and Jimmy Page recreated the magic within the intimate surroundings of Studio 2 in the London TV Centre over August 25/26 1994.
And when it’s subsequently aired on MTV, I’m sure seeing will be believing.

Dave Lewis  September 7th, 1994

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Freddy Bannister RIP:

It was very sad to hear the passing of Freddy Banister – the UK rock promoter – the promoter of the Knebworth Festivals from 1974 to 1979 amongst many shows. I had a fair few with Freddie over the years regarding his books and memorabilia along with his wife Wendy and daughter Henrietta. He was always a very gracious man – he will be much missed and his promoting skills within the UK music industry will be forever remembered. Freddie dies aged 85 poignantly on August 11 -the 40th anniversary of his final Knebworth presentation.

Here’s a LZ news posting:

http://ledzepnews.com/2019/08/17/knebworth-festival-organiser-freddy-bannister-has-died/?fbclid=IwAR26LkAGGbj-ka8YWlzmsuvgfRuJmUp8fa5pW_O4LgBszhunTA3G5lE1A9I

One on the Stairway case…

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/trump-administration-picks-a-side-led-zeppelins-stairway-heaven-copyright-fight-1232537?fbclid=IwAR2idAVxiW-_VD47EN0OfQcYCPpl2hOsOjm7NSguLt9-fT8Hdvrc-K79WLA

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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.

 

Upcoming events:

September 13 – Robert Plant will perform at the Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival in Fredericton, Canada.
September 15 – Robert Plant will perform at the CityFolk festival in Ottawa, Canada.
September 17 – Robert Plant will perform in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
September 20 – Robert Plant will perform at the Outlaw Music Festival in Indianapolis.
September 21 – Robert Plant will perform at the Bourbon & Beyond music festival in Louisville, Kentucky.
September 23 – Robert Plant will perform in Clear Lake, Iowa.
September 25 – Robert Plant will perform in Moorhead, Minnesota.
September 27 – Robert Plant will perform in Missoula, Montana.
September 29 – Robert Plant will perform in Spokane, Washington.
October 1 – Robert Plant will perform in Salt Lake City, Utah.
October 3 – Robert Plant will perform in Bend, Oregon.
November – The “Play It Loud: Instruments Of Rock And Roll” exhibition will move to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
December – Jimmy Page’s new book, “Jimmy Page: The Anthology,” will be released.

Many thanks to James Cook.

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

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

http://ledzepnews.com/

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New Japanese Led Zeppelin photo book:

TBL contributor Hiroshi spotted this one…

Shinko Music (28 Sept)

A4 size

304 pages

¥3,200 (excl. tax)

300 plus photos including many unpublished shots from the newly unearthed negative film rolls

ISBN:978-4-401-64810-8

See link at:

http://amass.jp/124511/

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More from the TBL Archive…

Hot August Night in 1971:

As it’s that time of year, it was good this week to pull out the August 23, 1971 recording from Fort Worth – all of 47 years gone. Here’s some thoughts on this fantastic  performance which remains one of my all time faves…

Going to Fort Worth…A Hot August Night of Electric Magic in 1971…

By comment consent the go-to recording for evidence of the Zep prowess on their seventh US tour is Going To California the famous audience recording from Berkeley September 14th. Alongside that undoubted gem, I have great affinity for the less profiled audience sourced tape that captures part of their set live at the Tarrent County Convention Center Fort Worth in Texas on August 23rd 1971. This surfaced around the late 1990’s on a two CD set titled Hot August Night via the Diagrams Of Led Zeppelin label (TDOLZ042).

The story behind this recording came to light in an interview with the taper published in Hugh Jones’ superb Proximity magazine in the summer of 1997.It revealed how the taper had used a Sony TC110 recorder –rather foolishly he only took a Sony C120 cassette to record on –thus when he turned over the tape he began recording over the opening segment of the show he captured on the first side of the tape. For that reason the recording kicks off just as Jimmy is getting into the violin bow solo during Dazed And Confused. The good news however is that from a vantage point of being in the fifth row right in line with Jimmy – the sound quality of the guitar resonates loud and clear. As an example of the aggressive virtuosity the guitarist effortlessly achieved that night–this is a riveting recording. Stairway To Heaven is captured in its intense embryonic live setting while Celebration Day comes reeling out of the traps in a full on double neck bombardment.

The taper is so close to the action you can her several off mic comments from Plant and Bonham. ‘’Can I have a cup of tea’’ says Robert before a perfect delivery of What Is And What Should Never Be. The version of That’s The Way is thrilling in it’s intimacy with JPJ’s mandolin shining brightly. An edit of Moby Dick showcases the usual Bonzo stampede.hot_august_night_r

Whole Lotta Love opens with one of those improvised muscular choppy riff exercises that Jimmy often slotted in eventually forming the riff that ate the world. Following a stirring medley, the taper took a stroll backstage and bumped into Plant as they awaited an encore – he was quite a way back in the venue for the taping of Communication Breakdown which abruptly cuts.

It’s a shame this Fort Worth recording only exists in a series of set list highlights. However, what is here in my view, is as at times as good as anything captured from the entire 1971 era. With Robert’s vocals being slightly low in the mix, this is an absolute primer in illustrating the instrumental side of the band. Page, Jones and Bonzo are on fire here locking in to some incredible musicianship time and time again. Put simply, as a live band Led Zeppelin at this period were just breathtaking in their ambition.

There are certain audience recordings that genuinely capture the pure authenticity and intimacy of Zeppelin in full flight. Hot August Night is one of them. It remains one of my favourite remnants of this era. What might be dubbed as Going to Fort Worth, is a scintillating Zep audio experience right up there with Going To California. It’s what the term ‘Electric Magic’ was invented for.

Dave Lewis  August 21, 2019

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DL Dairy Blog Update:

In the always excellent Empire Records in St Albans last Saturday they showed me  a copy of the ultra rare Led Zep I turquoise sleeve pressing which will be on sale at the shop for at least £600 next week  – a vinyl treasure for sure – luckily I got one for £10 in 1979 via Dec Hickey.

This pic was taken 40 years ago today at Wembley Stadium at The Who gig that also included The Stranglers, AC/DC and Nils Lofgren.
We are in front of the stage after The Who’s set – the pic includes the late Karl Bergin, Dec, Max Harris and me…40 years ago …phew…

Another memorable day out. It was strange seeing The Who without Keith Moon but they just about pulled it off.

 

We did have some sad news when we got back from holiday last week. One of our friends who frequents our local pub The Fox And Hounds had quite suddenly passed away following heart problems. Nick Raynor was a great character – always ready to chat to me about music and Zep. He will be much missed around these parts – RIP Nick…

I thoroughly enjoyed the Woodstock 50th anniversary documentary aired on BBC 4 last week along with the Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock film. I vividly remember purchasing the Woodstock triple album on September 6 1972 from Carlows in Bedford. As a 16 year old it exposed me to a variety of amazing music from Richie Havens, John Sebastian, Ten Years After, Joe Cocker, The Who, Country Joe, Joan Baez, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, Hendrix etc. I listened in awe and wonder – and some 47 years later did so again when I played the album through again this past few days.

Finally just prior to the Word In Your Ear podcast recording, I visited the excellent Flashback Records, I was well pleased to find the Laura Nyro album The First Songs which has been on my wants list for a good while – a top result. It’s a great shop and if you are in the Islington area be sure to check it out.

Dave Lewis  – August 21,2019

Until next time –  have a great bank holiday weekend…

TBL Website updates compiled by Dave Lewis

with thanks to Gary Foy and James Cook

Follow TBL/DL on Facebook:

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The TBL/DL Facebook page has regular updates and photos – be sure to check it out.

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2 Comments »

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    I am a fan of that one Ray!

  • Ray said:

    Hi Dave,

    Dug out the Fort Worth August 71 show “Hot August Night” Boot this weekend, not listened to it for ages. Has you say an amazing show (Pity it isn’t complete) they were at their peak in 71, my personal period for the Band live is March 70 to June 72, they were on fire in this period. Don’t get me wrong I will pick them live anytime over anybody, but 70/72 is the Best. TBL45 is another triumph thanks for all your efforts they are really appreciated.

    Cheers

    Ray

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