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12 April 2018 1,913 views 9 Comments

TBL Archive 1 – Jimmy Page & Robert Plant – Walking Into Clarksdale – 20 Years Gone:

Photo by Eric Ubben

To mark the release of the Walking into Clarksdale album 20 years ago this month, here’s a TBL archive piece that looks back to the release of the album.

On the back of the Shepherds Bush gig and all the media coverage, it was such a great time to be a Page & Plant fan. Here’s my original and very optimistic review of the Walking Into Clarksdale album written for TBL issue 13.

 Walking Into Clarksdale: Another Walk With Walter

Q: When is a Led Zeppelin album not a Led Zeppelin album?

A: When it’s Walking Into Clarksdale.

Jimmy Page and Robert Plant : Walking Into Clarksdale (Mercury)

Well it’s certainly not ‘Led Zeppelin 2’, as if anyone would have been daft to enough to think it would be! And initially, it may leave the listener slightly confused, but eventually this long awaited new studio album continues in the grand Page Plant tradition of moving ever onwards. In doing so they constantly refuse to merely retread the formulas of old and instead opt for innovation and surprise.

If anything, it’s something of another walk with Walter. I would draw parallel to the overall feel of the album with that of their spring 1972 Stargroves composition Walter’s Walk, which finally saw the light of day on Coda. That track has a monolithic feel that takes some plays to rise to the surface, and contains an intensity that initially may cloud it’s impressive content. But when it’s quality becomes apparent then it really hits home. So it is with Walking Into Clarksdale.

Whilst there are no blatant Zeppelin re-spray jobs, the album is littered with subtle elements of their past. One of the joys of the album is searching them out. One thing’s for sure though, this is an album that has to be worked at. However, given repeated listening, it does begin to fall into place, and the full fruits of their labour (all 35 days, if the press release is to be believed!) begins to unfold.

Much of the album carries a melancholic and wistful feel – presenting songs that carry a reflective lyrical theme. In tracks such as When The World Was Young, When I Was A Child and Heart In Your Hand, Robert seems to be pensively re-assessing events that have gone before (‘’Do your lips still call my name, would your mouth still taste the same’’). It makes for some of his most personal lyrical statements in song for a very long time. ‘’A bit of emotional debris,’’ is how he described the theme of some of the song’s to Mojo’s Matt Snow.

I’ve had many a memorable premier of their work in the past – I can recall vividly exactly where I was the first time I heard Physical Graffiti, Presence, Pictures At Eleven etc. – and this new Page Plant album was always going to be an epic initial playback. So there I was, holed up in the TBL office around 9pm on a cold early ’98 Wednesday night faced with the huge expectation of this new album, knowing that over the coming months these songs would be the soundtrack to my life and countless other like-minded fans across the world.

As the semi acoustic groove of Shining In The Light swung in it was a huge relief to finally be listening to new Page & Plant music. As that familiar guitar style oozed from the speakers and that voice opened up… well I knew I was in the best company again. Subsequently some of the content did seem to wash over on that initial hearing.

Having lived with it for a while now, well, it’s excellence is more than evident. It carries so much vitality and most importantly it carries a totally contemporary feel. This isn’t a museum piece as Jimmy stated recently, this is new music that can line up with any of the best of today’s modern outfits such as The Verve. Lets face it, there are few other songwriters of 30 years standing who can rival that feat.

In terms of the musical performance and production, Steve Albini’s role seems to have been more about capturing a clear sound than bringing in the rough edge that has been the focus of his work with The Pixies and PJ Harvey. Robert’s vocals throughout are a sheer delight, singing with clarity and conviction and aided by a very up-front vocal mix. Jimmy, meantime, appears to be concentrating on his strength as a craftsman of guitar sound rather than churning out endless solos.

Some may bemoan the lack of guitar army tactics but by adopting this method there is a subtlety and surprise element (that swift guitar change in the title track for instance) in his performance that is a joy to hear. Michael Lee once again more than  proves his worth to the set up ably supported by Charlie’s bass work. Aside from the odd cameo from Ed Shearmer and Tim Whelan, it’s the basic ‘four-man, live-in-the-studio’ format that has worked so well on stage in recent weeks.

Outstanding moments? Quite a few. The way they kick in relentlessly on the chorus of When The World Was Young, with all the spark of on the road spirit of ’72 Zeppelin. The way the string arrangement comes seeping in on Upon A Golden Horse – the whole track has the bizarre lyrical content that has lit up many a Plant prose in the past- and carries a great swirling sound reminiscent of Four Sticks.

Please Read The Letter opens with Sick Again like riffing from Page before settling into a very West Coast repetitive romp that echoes the work of Moby Grape and vocally, finds Plant aping the style of Roy Orbison. Most High comes over as almost a separate entity from the rest of the album with it’s Arabic tendencies offering a last glance back to the world of Unledded. I felt this sound-ed a little perfunctory as a studio track, however, it’s elevation as a live piece seems to have rectified those initial shortcomings.

The title track is a great throw back to the off-the-cuff rockabilly tradition of Candy Store Rock. With it’s jolting time change it could easily have taken it’s place on Presence, and that second solo is pure Telecaster heaven reminiscent of the fluttering style Page deployed on those final Yardbirds recordings (Think About It springs to mind).

Burning Up and House Of Love are where the guitarist steps up a gear. The former is embellished throughout by that crunching riff – a real slashing affair that jumps out of the speakers, propelled along by Lee’s tom tom barrage. It’s here that Page really steps on it, proving, if proof was needed, that he can pump those solos out in his sleep. The latter finds Page pressing down on the wah wah delightfully underpinning the incessant drum track in support of Plants “It’s just a little too much’’ pleadings.

Sons Of Freedom comes complete with a Prodigy like urgency aided by yet more impressive drumming – it’s vaguely in the style of Network News from Robert’s Fate Of Nations album, and jumps around feverishly before it all grinds to a percussive halt. It’s worth mentioning that after this track the Japanese version for the album carries the bonus Whiskey In The Glass, which is nothing more than a studio jam taped towards the end of the sessions. It’s set against a Bo Diddley Mona syncopated beat with Page playing that reverberated phased guitar style heard on Rude World, and Plant in his best ad-lib vocal, but fades prematurely at under three minutes just as it’s getting warmed up.

That leaves the trio of performances that best capture that aforementioned melancholy feel. Heart In Your Hand took a while to register, initially sounding like something from a Chris Isaac album. However this is one of the prime growers.Page plays some deft Dick Dale phrasing behind Plant’s reflective longing. Overall, the song captures a dark and brooding soundtrack feel.

When I Was A Child opens with a memorable reverberating tremolo. Then Robert comes in to deliver a haunting narrative that casts an oblique shadow over his past. Page adds a suitable restrained solo and at the finale Plant ad-libs the final lines with delicate finesse, “Oh you know, so I wander through your garden, grow, when I was a boy, I was a boy…” One of the stand-out tracks and one of Robert’s best vocal performances in years.

Then there is Blue Train. Opening with some slow moving bass and timpani before Robert’s mournful vocal seeps in. It then up-lifts via some strident Zeppelinish dynamics and features a beautifully plangent Byrds like jangling guitar solo constructed in a way that is just quintessential Jimmy Page. At the close Robert raises the tempo, “Hear the blue train, hear the blue train’’, before it all calms to a close. Lyrically, there’s a reflective longing that is as close to home for Robert as perhaps I Believe was.

For me When I Was a Child and Blue Train are performance’s to rank right up there with Ten Years Gone and Down By The Seaside, as they both display that unique emotional dynamism that has always characterised their best work.

So ends another walk with Walter. It’s not instant, and some of it takes a while to register but there can be no denying the sheer quality of this long awaited work. In the shadow of the Zeppelin, but essentially Page & Plant music of today, Walking Into Clarksdale may turn out to be one of the most durable and ultimately satisfying albums of their entire career.

Dave Lewis – April 17, 1998.

Postscript – April 2018:

Walking Into Clarksdale may turn out to be one of the most durable and ultimately satisfying albums of their entire career.

Looking back that was a bit of a bold statement – Walking Into Clarksdale has actually gone down as quite a low key album. There’s no doubt it still divides opinion amongst fans.

The rather thin production and lack of wide screen riffling -something so evident on Jimmy’s previous studio project – the Coverdale Page album, does reduce it’s overall impact. That said, much of it still sounds great – from the light and breezy opener Shining In the Light through to the still superb Blue Train (one of the best ever Page Plant alliances in or out of Zep) and wonderfully affecting When I Was A Child – it still has much to delight. Only the rather cumbersome Burning Up and Sons of Freedom have really paled that much.

It’s a discerningly strange album – never that high on the playlist but when I do play it  – it always hits the mark and like I said, this album is steeped in late 90s memories. Walking Into Clarksdale is therefore something of a durable minor league classic.

I’ve just played it through and aside from sounding really good – it inspired a wave of personal 1990s nostalgic memories of the time – Istanbul, Shepard’s Bush Empire, managing the Our Price Record shop, the big Victoria Record Fairs, meets at the Eastern Monk pub. This was the last opportunity we had to revel in a union of Jimmy Page and Robert Plant together. great days indeed.

Have a listen to Walking Into Clarksdale again – I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

Dave Lewis – April 11, 2018.


TBL Archive : Jimmy Page & Robert Plant: World  Tour 1995/6

Leading on from the above – here’s Page & Plant 1995 tour retro focus – this is a piece that originally ran in TBL 11:

Jimmy Page & Robert Plant – On The Road 1995/6:

With the MTV film in the can, the next logical move was to take the show out on the road.,

The pair decided to extend the formula used for the MTV shows, employing the Egyptian string and percussion ensemble led by Hossam Ramzy and dubbed The Egyptian Pharaohs. Under the direction of Ed Shearmur they enlisted the assistance of local orchestras in each area they performed, thus enabling them to repeat the successful formula used for the Unledded filming which allowed fresh interpretations of the Zeppelin catalogue.

Just prior to the tour opening in February, Page and Plant reunited with John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham for an appearance at New York’s Waldorf hotel to accept Led Zeppelin’s induction into the Rock’n’Roll Hall Of Fame. Jonesy’s comment – “Thanks for my friends for remembering my phone number” – during his speech was a curt acknowledgement of his displeasure at being ignored.

Rehearsals for the Page Plant tour took place in London, and a preview of what was in store occurred when the pair did a live link up for the American TV Awards, performing ‘Black Dog’.

In early April I was lucky enough to catch their two day stint at the Meadowlands Arena in America (see my review for Mojo below). The second night where they strolled on to the stage and moved into ‘Thank You’ remains a defining memory. Further shows in Paris, Glasgow, Sheffield, St Austell, Poole, Birmingham and London proved conclusively that despite their advancing years the duo’s ability to recreate the power and grace of Zeppelin was without question.

It was a glorious period as long time fans and those too young to have seen Zep in their prime revelled in what was all in name the Zeppelin reunion we had all hoped for. By the tour’s end it was evident that Jimmy Page was playing better than at any time during the previous fifteen years. Indeed for a project that began as a request to strum a few Zep tunes unledded style for MTV’s acoustic showcase, when played live night after night this reappraisal of the Zeppelin catalogue developed into a fully ledded experience. A trend that would continue when they returned to the live action in 1998.

With so many tapes at our disposal, there is ample scope to take a retrospective view of the tour. Having listened to hours of material drawn from the many tapes of the tour, I have compiled an imaginary four-CD compilation that takes in all the major developments along the way. It includes the one-off gems slotted in, the stand-out performances, the offbeat sequences and all the historic moments building into a true overview of the entire tour. It features 53 extracts drawn from 26 different locations spread over 28 shows; nearly five hours of musical Page and Plant highlights that capture the often barely believable events that thousands of fans were privileged to enjoy during those 370 days.



So this is Page and Plant on tour together at last in 1995 and 1996. Proving conclusively that the evolution of Led Zeppelin continues…

Part One

CD1: US Tour First Leg:

Intro: Tales of Bron – Robin Williamson poem

‘Immigrant Song’ intro/’The Wanton Song’

(Thompson Bowling Arena, Knoxville, Tenessee, March 3 1995)

The previous date in Atlanta had seen the amalgamation of ‘Immigrant Song’into ‘Wanton Song’ as the set opener. On that occasion they had some trouble sorting out the ending (it was after all the first live airing of ‘Wanton Song’ in 20 years!). In Knoxville it all came together with Page leading the way with some dexterous runs. The atmospheric opening introduction poem that proceeded became a familiar opening ritual to a majority of the US first leg and some European dates. The choice of the little known Incredible String Band album extract recalled Plant’s fondness for this Sixties outfit, and by the time Robin Williamson had got to the line “There is the flavoured haunt of pleasure, no haunt or threat or malediction, but sweet of music strikes the air” the fans knew what was coming next as the silhouettes on stage burst into life.

‘Wanton Song’ went on to become the favoured set opener, clocking over 80 performances during the tour.

‘Achilles Last Stand’

(The Omni, Atlanta, Georgia, February 28 1995)

‘Achilles’ was always a prime contender for reworking on this tour so it was no real surprise when it turned up in the set lists of the two opening dates in Pensacola and Atlanta. More baffling was the fact it was never played again. On the evidence of the passion they brought to this performance there appears no logical reason why. It was a more than competent display that kicked along with all the verve of the best Zep deliveries circa 1977.  Robert introduced it as “One of the first songs Jimmy and I wrote relating to travel” – a similar spiel would be given over to introducing The Song Remains The Same which effectively took over the Achilles slot the next night.

Watching the video shot from the show, it’s clear they were enjoying reliving this crucial Zep track – the pair could be seen clustered together in a classic pose during the “Aha… Aha” refrain.

At times the February 28 delivery of ‘Achilles Last Stand’ recreated the spirit of Led  Zeppelin better than any other single performance on the tour. Maybe that’s why they decided to drop it. Perhaps they both felt it was just a little too close to what went before…

‘House Of The Rising Son’/‘Good times Bad Times’

( UNO Lakefront Arena, New Orleans, Louisanna, March 11 1995)

From the moment Plant casually walked up to the mic and oozed into the traditional local blues standard ‘House Of The Rising Sun’, this second night in New Orleans was destined to be special.

They then switched straight into ‘Good Times Bad Times’, the only performance of the rarely played Led Zep I opener. And it was a joy to hear them rumble through the familiar stops and starts of the track with Michael Lee on drums proving his worth.


(UNO Lakefront Arena New Orleans Louisanna March 11 1995)

When the first set lists were posted on the Internet many presumed this was a new song and listed it as ‘Spiderman’. In actual fact  it was a revivial from Porl Thompson’s Cure days. It worked as an offbeat interlude amongst the Zep numbers with Plant immersed in the lyric and Page cutting fine precise lines against Porl’s rhythm work. ‘Lullaby’ survived in the set until the early part of the Europran dates before being deleted.

‘The Song Remains The Same’

(UNO Lakefront Arena, New Orleans, Lousinna, March 11 1995)

“There’s a ….”

At the beginning of this mid-period Zep classic, Plant twice taunted the crowd with the opening line from the well known Rolf Harris cover. Instead Page led them into a powerful rendition of the Houses Of The Holy opener. This was a definite highlight of the US leg with Page and Porl Thompson trading licks most effectively, with the latter’s speed on the Gibson jumbo guitar really pushing the song along. Plant reached the high notes with ease as it led it into a glorious finale. “Can you feel it?” asked the singer afterwards. Absolutely.

‘Tangerine’/’Hey Hey What Can I Do’

(US Air Arena, Landover, Washington, March 23 1995)

Two superb performances lined up back to back during this show. ‘Tangerine’ made its only appearance on this leg performed in a full band arrangement. The crowd reaction as Page hit the familiar notes was nothing less than euphoric. Porl played some suitably laid back electric parts against Page’s Ovation acoustic strumming. A nostalgic first outing for the Zep III standard that was last performed live twenty years back at Earls Court.

The underrated Zep III leftover (and subsequent US B side to ‘Immigrant Song’) ‘Hey Hey What Can I Do’ was another revelation with the crowd egarly joining in the chorus. Videos from the tour of this track show Page beaming with pride and duck walking along the stage.

‘Boogie Chillun’ sequence

(Skydome Arena, Toronto, March 27 1995)

“One night I was laying down”… The John Lee Hooker standard was an integral part of the ‘Whole Lotta Love’ medley in the Zeppelin era. This was its only appearance on the tour, emerging during the ‘Calling To You’ medley. The way it developed out of a lengthy Page solo was invigorating and for those in attendance a rare revival for another part of the Zep live canon.


‘Calling To You’ including ‘Break On Through’/’As Long As I Have You’/

‘Dazed And Confused’ inserts

(Brendan Byrne Arena, Meadowlands, East Rutherford, New Jersey, April 6 1995)

‘Calling To You’ had previously been a highlight of Plant’s Fate Of Nations tour. With Jimmy on board it quickly developed into an extended piece that included a compelling guitar battle with Porl, a seminal riff exercise and then into an anything-could-happen medley sequence in the grand Zep tradition. This night in Meadowlands was exceptional for the inclusion of Garnett Mimms ‘As Long As I Have You’, a staple of the first two Zeppelin American tours but not performed by Page or Plant since. It followed the now customary delivery of The Doors’ ‘Break On Through’ and then merged with a few lines from ‘Dazed And Confused’. Another  memorable sequence.

‘Shake My Tree’

(Great Western Forum, Inglewood, Los Angeles, California, May 17 1995)

On the face of it this was a rather bizarre choice for inclusion on the tour. A highlight of the 1993 Coverdale Page album, it says much of Plant’s compatibility with Page at the time that he agreed to sing the Coverdale lyrics, albeit in a slightly amended form. ‘Shake’ was actually a great riff exercise which allegedly was first conceived during the Zep In Through The Out Door sessions. On stage it gave Plant the chance to pull out the old “Suck it!” refrain at appropriate moments and for Page to weave those weird sounds from the theremin.


(Great Western Forum, Inglewood Los Angeles, California, May 17 1995)

When Page and Plant breezed back into the Forum some 17 years after the night of Listen To This Eddie, a tradition of spontaneity was upheld. During ‘Kashmir’ they were joined by guest violinist Lili Hayden who brought a impulsive virtuoso feel to the end section as she pitted her talents against the Egyptian Pharaohs. “Ladies and gentlemen Lili Hayden appears at the Viper Room in Holly wood every Sunday night,” Plant informed the audience at the close.


Part 2 to follow


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

Led Zeppelin

Robert Plant

  • Robert Plant played three shows in Australia this week and ended his Australian tour. He performed in Melbourne on April 2, Adelaide on April 5, and Perth on April 8. See the setlists below and click through for videos of the songs:

April 2: Melbourne, Australia
The Lemon Song
Turn It Up
The May Queen
That’s the Way
All the King’s Horses
Please Read the Letter
Gallows Pole
Carry Fire
Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You
Little Maggie
Fixin’ to Die
What Is and What Should Never Be
New World…
Bring It On Home / Whole Lotta Love

April 5: Adelaide, Australia
New World…
Turn It Up
The May Queen
Black Country Woman
Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down
Please Read the Letter
Gallows Pole
Carry Fire
Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You
Little Maggie
Fixin’ to Die
What Is and What Should Never Be
In the Mood
Bring It On Home / Whole Lotta Love

April 8: Perth, Australia
New World…
Turn It Up
The May Queen
Black Country Woman
Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down
Please Read the Letter
Gallows Pole
Carry Fire
Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You
Little Maggie
Fixin’ to Die
What Is and What Should Never Be
In the Mood
Bring It On Home / Whole Lotta Love

Upcoming events:

April 15 – The online auction for Robert Plant’s 1977 US tour tracksuit will take place.
April 21 – Led Zeppelin will release a vinyl single for Record Store Day.
May 17 – An updated version of Stephen Davis’ Led Zeppelin biography “Hammer of the Gods” will be released.
May 26 – Robert Plant will perform at the Bearded Theory Spring Gathering Festival in the UK.
May 27 – Robert Plant will perform at the Bath Festivals in Bath, UK.
May 31 – The statue of John Bonham in Redditch is planned to be unveiled.
June – The gold edition of “Five Glorious Nights” will be released.
June 8 – Robert Plant will perform in Atlanta, Georgia.
June 10 – Robert Plant will perform in Richmond, Virginia.
June 12 – Robert Plant will perform in Columbia, Maryland.
June 13 – Robert Plant will perform in Forest Hills, New York.
June 15 – Robert Plant will perform in Toronto, Ontario.
June 17 – Robert Plant will perform in Chicago, Illinois.
June 19 – Robert Plant will perform in Vail, Colorado.
June 21 – Robert Plant will perform in Berkeley, California.
June 23 – Robert Plant will perform in Stateline, Nevada.
June 24 – Robert Plant will perform in Pasadena, California.
June 26 – Robert Plant will perform in Troutdale, Oregon.
June 27 – “Led Zeppelin Live,” a photo book edited by Dave Lewis, will be released and Robert Plant will perform in Redmond, Washington.
June 29 – Robert Plant will perform at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival in Canada.
July 19 – Robert Plant will perform at the Black Sea Jazz Festival in Georgia.
July 22 – Robert Plant will perform at the Vielles Charrues Festival in Carhaix, France.
July 23 – Robert Plant will perform in Paris, France.
July 25 – Robert Plant will perform at the Festival de Carcassonne in France.
July 27 – Robert Plant will perform at the Milano Summer Festival 2018 in Milan, Italy.
July 29 – Robert Plant will perform at the Stimmen Festival in Lörrach, Germany.
July 31 – Robert Plant will perform in Pardubice, Czech Republic.
August 1 – Robert Plant will perform in Dresden, Germany.
August 11 – John Paul Jones will perform as part of Snoweye at the Varangerfestivalen in Norway.
September – Official celebrations of Led Zeppelin’s fiftieth anniversary are expected to start this month.
September 14-16 – Robert Plant will perform at the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival in Colorado and the KAABOO festival in California.
October – The official Led Zeppelin photo book will be released.
October 16 – “Bring it on Home,” a new biography of Led Zeppelin manager Peter Grant, 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:

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


Record Store Day/Bedford Pop Up Record Shop:

It’s a little over a week now before Record Store Day is upon us. I have one or two titles in my sights (well about six actually!) with of course the Led Zeppelin single a high priority to say the least. I’m getting a bit edgy about that as it really is going to be in big demand.

Before all that, this Saturday April 14 sees another Bedford Pop Up Record Shop event. This is always worth a visit with it’s mix of record stalls, live music and beer – come on what’s not to like! This time around it’s at the popular Esquires music venue in Bromham Road Bedford.

More details at:



It was 54 years ago: 

54 years ago on the night of April 11,1964, I attended my first ever gig – a package tour presentation at the local Granada Cinema that included The Kinks, The Hollies and The Dave Clark Five. I was already a big fan of the latter (and still am!).It was an amazing night and unsurprisingly, it left a rather big impression on this then 7 year old. I would subsequently divert my young interests to the likes of Thunderbirds, James Bond and The Man From UNCLE  and then return to music in a big way in 1969 – a trend that continues to this day. That night in 1964 though shines ever brightly – it was the moment I knew that appreciating guitars, drums ,vocals, lights, amps etc. would be my calling ahead…and what a calling it’s been…DL



DL Diary Blog Update:

Friday treats at the Vinyl Barn – at the always excellent Vinyl Barn last Friday an early morning visit with a day of Zep book work ahead – and I was pleased to find a copy of the John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band single Give Peace A Chance – South African tri- centre pressing on the Parlophone label (as opposed to Apple) –very nice indeed plus a copy of the Best of Isaac Hayes on the US Enterprise label – top stuff – thanks Darren!


Last Friday night we went to watch Adam play for Bedford Albion v Henlow in the Junior Challenge Cup Final at Potton United’s ground. Adam opened the scoring with a cracking 25 yard shot but Henlow equalized in the second half and went on to win 2-1. it was a great game and both teams did themselves proud . Here’s an after match pic with or friends Max and Julie plus  Adam, and the good lady Janet..

Not much else to report other than that a considerable amount of my waking hours has been spent on the Evenings With Led Zeppelin book – alongside the Led Zeppelin Live 1975 – 1977 photo book via Iconic Images. There really is a lot of work going into these books and I feel a big responsibility to ensure they are as good as they can be.
As mentioned before, the Evenings With book is at that crucial stage of checking and re checking, filling the gaps, altering layout and design, sourcing photos etc.  Co- author Mike Tremaglio and myself are totally immersed in all this as is designer Mick Lowe -and we will be for a good few weeks yet – the quest continues….

Dave Lewis – April 12, 2018

Until next time, have a great weekend

Website updates written and compiled by Dave Lewis

with thanks to Gary Foy, Mike Tremaglio and James Cook

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  • eric said:

    thanks for using my Page/Plant picture from their Ghent performance in 98. Happy to share it with the Zep community, but mentioning the author would be nice. Shot was taken with a Leica M6 and a 90mm Elmarit BTW

  • Kurt said:

    Greetings, ah yes, the Clarksdale realease…..Featuring Jimmy Page and one Bobby Plant, solo artiste….I too look back on those years fondly, and they will go down in my personal history as the dream that came through. Being 52, just missed the Zeppelin in full flight. Being such a fan of the band, then all the solo work, was just hoping and hoping that Jimmy and Robert (and maybe JPJ!) would do something again. And they did! I appreciate that they decided to release some new music together to go with their tours. Seeing them four times over both tours will remain some of my greatest music memories of my life. I will admit I don’t get to Clarksdale very often, but I’m still a fan of the album, I need to listen to it for this anniversary for sure. I’m at peace with where these three gents are these days. JPJ doing his thing, last thing I really paid attention to was Crooked Vultures. Jimmy working with Zep material, last thing I paid serious attention to was film Might Get Loud, and Robert with is solo work, last album I bought was Mighty Rearranger, but Dreamland his is last album I still give notable airtime to. Obviously, they can do whatever the hell they want, however, seeing Robert rock with Jack White Lemon Song live awhile back, it does make me thing it would be great to have him Rock it up again?! Maybe one more time? I am at peace with the O2 Performance being the bookend regarding Zep, it was the greatest! just Fantastic! TBL was one of the first, best sites on the Intermutt that I found, all those years ago, many thanks for giving us fans such a great resource over all these years, Cheers to you!

  • Ian D said:

    Great memories Dave, those 60s package tours must have been amazing, through very short sets from each artist. No way would The Dave Clarke 5 have topped the bill above The Hollies and the Kinks a year later, though I do understand your dedication to The Tottenham Sound! The old Granada was also a wonderful venue, sadly long gone.

  • Richard I said:

    Re. the quality of Walking into Clarksdale. Like most Zep fans the arrival of the album and the brilliant stripped back tour that followed was really exciting. The album itself always left me cold despite trying to eek our pleasure from Most High and the title track. I am not sure that Larry is right about the ‘blame’ maybe lying with Plant. Steve Albini may have a bit to answer for, and certainly Jimmy was no longer able to play with quite the accuracy and power of old – hence the overly reverb/distortion drenched tones. In terms of where it ranks with post-Zep output… I still like the album with Coverdale, but never listen to Outrider- especially not the dreadful rushed Only One with Plant. I would much more likely put on Manic Nirvana, Fate of nations, Might Rearranger, Lullaby….. etc….than Walking into Clarksdale. But of course all those albums get much less time on the turntable than a certain body of work created between 1968-80!

  • Graham Rodger said:

    Always thought “The Window” was a tremendous song that should’ve been on the Clarksdale LP, similar murky, menacing vibe to “Cadillac” by The Firm. Love that slow burn.

  • Larry said:

    Nice walk down memory lane on Clarksdale…

    “Much of the album carries a melancholic and wistful feel…” And indeed it does. And to these ears it’s too subdued at times. The album unfortunately doesn’t spend a lot of time in the air.

    The slower numbers are well done, but a bit listless at times. When The World is a good one. Shining also moves along very nicely. The title track is a corker, especially in the live performances. That’s one of the things about the Page/Plant era for me…the live shows (and I was lucky to see some of them on both tours) were far superior to the albums. The sadly deceased Michael Lee really gave the band quite the pace-setting onstage, he was vital to success of the live performances.

    Quite right about the divided opinion among fans. It seems cleat that Jimmy ceded a lot of control to Robert during this era, and I think that’s the reason the albums don’t come off as well I’m sorry to say. This may be sacrilege, but I’d rather put on Outrider or Coverdale Page than one of the P/P albums. That said, it would be nice to see Clarksdale get a sonic upgrade/reboot but of course the chances of that happening would figure to be remote. Thanks to Andrew’s suggestion, I might finally spring for an LP of Clarksdale, I’ve often wondered if that would enhance the appreciation for it.

    Achilles from Atlanta on the first tour is exciting to hear and watch. Might have been tough for Robert to envision signing that one every night, but they maybe should have played it more than twice… Lullaby was a well-chosen curve ball for the set, that was always powerful and well done. Liked your choice of the Landover performances of Tangerine and Hey Hey as I was there (for fans who may not be aware, US Air Arena was originally named the Capital Centre, where Zep played once in 1975 and four nights in 1977). Toronto featured the best Calling To You from the tour imo, the solo during that night’s show was Pagey at his finest. And certainly Kashmir (which suffered from overlong staidness from night to night if one saw it a number of times) from The Forum with Lili Hayden was one of the great moments.

    All in all, for this fan the Page/Plant era was well appreciated for the opportunity to see them together onstage again, but in the end the records come off as too much a compromise. For the ability to see them together again, it was a compromise this Zep fan was happy to accept, but I don’t think time has been kind to the records.

  • Ed-Washington DC said:

    ‘Tangerine’/’Hey Hey What Can I Do’
    (US Air Arena, Landover, Washington, March 23 1995)

    Vivid memories of this wonderful evening at the old Capital Centre, as seen up close from the floor. I prefer this memory and those of the subsequent 98 tour to the Clarksdale release, which simply never took flight for these ears.

    This strikes me now as very odd, considering how much I thoroughly enjoyed the Fate of Nations and Coverdale-Page releases along with Dreamland, which sandwiched the Clarksdale period.

    For me, it was the live exposure of that era which I will always treasure.

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    I am going to give it a good blast on vinyl!

  • andrew R said:

    Dave ref Clarksdale, i have found the vinyl production and sound
    to be far superior to the cd .It seems to eliminate the “thinness” present
    on the cd. The only fly being the price and availability of a 1st press!!
    Nice piece on an underrated piece of Zep history.

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