Sunday, December 18, 2011

Ramble On Radio Episode #9

George Case, author of Jimmy Page: Magus, Musician, Man joined me this edition to discuss his newest book, Led Zeppelin FAQ: All That's Left to Know About the Greatest Hard Rock Band of All Time.

There was news on Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones, as well as an Alton Brown Haiku.

Don't miss the Merry Christmas edition of Ramble On Radio. Or subscribe via iTunes, and never miss another episode.

Episode #9 links

John Paul Jones w/ Minibus Pimps video #1

John Paul Jones w/ Minibus Pimps video #2

John Paul Jones w/ Minibus Pimps video #3

1936 Cord 810 Phaeton formerly owned by Jimmy Page

John Carter Trailer: Bond plays Kashmir

Yarbirds Boxset: Glimpses 1963 - 1968

Thursday, December 8, 2011

John Paul Jones Honoured

John Paul Jones was given an honourary fellowship from a prestigious UK music school.

img_0043The Led Zeppelin bassist received the fellowship during a ceremony this morning at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in Deptford. Jones went to school himself in nearby Blackheath.

Previous recipients of the award are Sitar player Ravi Shankar and composer John Powell, who was nominated for an Oscar for the score to How to Train Your Dragon.

Congratulations to John Paul Jones.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

On The Cover of the Rolling Stone

The current edition of Rolling Stone Magazine features an article on the 100 greatest guitar players of all time. Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page comes in at #3, behind top guitarist Jimi Hendrix and #2 Eric Clapton, and ahead of Keith Richards and Jeff Beck, who came in at #4 & 5 respectively.Jimmy Page

The issue hit the new stands this week with four covers, one depicting each of the top four guitar players.

The Jimmy Page picture has a shot of him in full guitar slinger action, holding his Les Paul out to his left. His dress indicates it was a post-Zeppelin shot, possibly from the Outrider tour.

Inside, there is a short article on each guitar player. Joe Perry wrote the 190 word piece on Jimmy Page, stating:
Listening to what Jimmy Page does on guitar can transport you. As a lead player, he always plays the right thing for the right spot – he's got such remarkable taste...

He had this vision of how to transcend the stereotypes of what the guitar can do.

Will he buy five copies to send to his mother?

Page has appeared on the cover of the legendary magazine at least six times previously, so I doubt he'll be buying five copies to send to anybody.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ramble On Radio Episode #8

Ralph Hulett joined me for an interview on Ramble On Radio Episode #8, which is now available.

On this edition I discuss the Led Zeppelin IV @ 40 Gallery Exhibition, my role in putting Led Zeppelin IV back on the Billboard charts,  Jimmy Page and the age of chivalry, and a Robert Plant back yard charity show.

On the what's for sale topics, a Black Country Communion "note for note" guitar DVD, Frank Reddon's Sonic Boom: The Impact of Led Zeppelin. Volume 1 - Break & Enter on e-book, a biography of Ahmet Ertegun, The Last Sultan: The Life and Times of Ahmet Ertegun and a Jimmy Page Coffin.

Ralph Hulett told stories about seeing Led Zeppelin, and stories from his book, Whole Lotta Led: Our Flight with Led Zeppelin, co-authored with Jerry Prochnicky.

Ramble On Radio Episode #8 is available at Podbean or you can subscribe at iTunes

Links from Ramble On Radio Episode #8:

Robert Plant with Roger Daltry and Pete Townsend for Teenage Cancer Trust

Get Ramble On Radio Episode #8 at Podbean, or subscribe through iTunes

Ralph Hulett Links: get his blog (plus links to his podcasts) plus see some pictures exclusive to the ebook edition and more.

Podcast #1

Podcast #2

Ralph's photography.

Death Wish II Re-Release

jimmypagedeathwishiicoverJimmy Page's Death Wish II Collectors' Edition LP is released this Thursday (December 1st 2011) at 15:00 GMT (07:00 PST / 10:00 EST) exclusively through The heavyweight vinyl package includes previously unreleased material, all-new 2011 sleeve notes and updated artwork.

There are only 1000 individually-numbered copies available and Jimmy Page has personally signed the first 30 copies of this limited edition release.

The standard Collectors' Edition of Death Wish II is priced at £30.00 with signed copies available for £195.00.

Explaining the release of the album, Jimmy said: “In 1981, Michael Winner asked me if I would compose the soundtrack to Death Wish II. The songs with vocals were only going to appear in the film for a matter of seconds but I had recorded full versions of them anyway - which is how I ended up doing my first soundtrack and soundtrack album. I’ve re-released this because I wanted it to be available again.”

Editions will be sold on a first come, first served basis, so you'll need to be quick tomorrow to reserve a low number edition. Numbers 1-30 have been signed by Jimmy Page, while numbers 31-1000 are available unsigned.

You know, if I could guarantee I'd get one of those signed copies, I might just get this. But they "can't" (read: won't) let you know what edition number you are getting.

If you are interested, the Shop section of the webpage will be available from the top navigation bar of the website.

Shipping will be by courier, costing £10 in the UK, £15 international. Here in North America that's $41 for the record plus $20 for the shipping - between $60 and $65 all in.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Flood Gallery Commemorates Led Zeppelin IV

The Flood Gallery in Greenwhich had an exhibit last week commemorating the 40th anniversary of Led Zeppelin IV. The exhibit featured eight different pictures, created specially for the exhibit, each commemorating one song on Led Zeppelin IV. The Black Dog and Stairway to Heaven posters are also available in different colour patterning. As well, there is an exhibition poster, plus a poster depicting the entire set.

In total there are 15 posters ranging in price from £20 to £500. Personally, I ordered the exhibition poster.


Posters can be seen, and ordered from the Flood Gallery website.

Dave Lewis was, of course, there and has more.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Official On-line Store

From their official website,, Led Zeppelin have launched an official store.

This evening, an email went out to subscribers of the website announcing the new online store. So far, the store just offers mens, women's and youth t-shirts. No word on whether they will make other items available in the future, but based on other acts online stores, I would expect so.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ramble On Radio Episode #7

front-picture-smallIs Robert Plant married? While he and Patty have been seen with wedding rings, it seems quite possible they are having some fun with the media and gullible bloggers. Jimmy Page played, "Same old Rock," with Roy Harper in London, while Jason Bonham was playing Orillia.

Add in a little Idi Amin and what's that drum beat on The Ballad of John Henry?

Ramble On Radio Episode #7, now uploaded. As always, subscribe via iTunes and never miss a show.


- Whole Lotta Led
- Robert Plant in GQ
- The Led Zeppelin Ladder
-Jimmy Page and Roy Harper
- Tight But Loose' tribute to Howard Mylett

Tuesday, November 8, 2011



If you came of age in the mid-1970’s, as I did, Led Zeppelin IV (aka ZOSO) was always there. You go to the carnival, and the Tilt-a-Whirl guy is blasting Rock and Roll, Black Dog and When the Levee Breaks. Guys driving down the street would be blasting it out of their 8-track player. You didn’t hear it for the first time, you absorbed it over time.

IV wasn’t even the first Zeppelin album I found and loved. That honour would fall to their third album, which I “borrowed” from my older brother on such a regular basis he bought me my own copy for Christmas the next year.

The follow up fourth album soon joined III as a staple of my record player. Mostly side one, it has to be confessed, for the obvious reasons. Frankly, song  for song, I’ll still take side one even now, with the exception of When the Levee Breaks which may be my favourite song on the album.

Everybody has favourites, and most Zeppelin fans will probably chose an album other than IV as their’s. But make no mistake, none will deny the greatness of Led Zeppelin IV. From song 1 to song 8, it contains no flaws, no misses. And in fact, in age when artists worried about the flow of the entire album, IV has two very different, but flawless sides, and still works as a complete unit. In other words, whether you throw on side 1, side 2 or the good old standby, 8-track and hear the whole thing through, it works.

But it’s still the songs that make the album, and IV features Led Zeppelin at their best. Rock and Roll, the bands answer to critics who said they had gone soft. Black Dog, a unique call and response style song unlike anything recorded before or since.

Battle of Evermore, the prelude to Stairway: Angry Hobbits with mandolins. Page and Jones, with just mandolins, acoustic guitar and, reportedly, a Dulcimer make the earth shake. Stairway to Heaven, in the aftermath of Battle of Evermore is like the dawn after battle. It’s message of hope in direct conflict with Evermore’s war call. Stairway to Heaven, the song that ended a thousand dances, more of a ritual than a rock song.

Side 2, if your using old school formats like me (or actually track 3 and 4, which is how I have listened to IV the last few times I’ve had it on), starts with the albums two weakest songs. Misty Mountain Hop, the hippy anthem. This falls in the category of second tier Zeppelin songs that prove just how good Zeppelin was. Four Sticks is a drum driven song with rather complex time structure. Again, most bands would kill to have this song in their repertoire, for Led Zeppelin in 1971, it was weak.

Going to California is the ultimate Zeppelin folk song. They had done folk before, had built the third album around folk songs, but Going to California trumps them all. Give Led Zeppelin acoustic guitars and mandolins and they were still the best rock band in the world, and Going to California is exhibit A.

Finally, the tour de force. Of all the songs on Led Zeppelin IV, When the Levee Breaks may have aged the most gracefully, which is odd considering it has all the grace of a charging Rhino. Built around John Bonham’s great drum pattern, the most sampled drum pattern in all of rap, Zeppelin rolls for 7 minutes of chicago blues like no other. It is pure driving rock yet, thanks to Bonham, swings like an old soul song.

Left off the album destined to  appear on 1975's Physical Graffiti, the songs Night Flight, Down By the Seaside and Boogie With Stu. Those three songs, the afterthoughts, those are a career for some bands.

Forty years ago today, November 8, 1971 Led Zeppelin IV was released. It  may have been the best album of the rock era, yet not Led Zeppelin best album. It is good enough to be called that, and Zeppelin good enough to transcend it.

Monday, November 7, 2011

What, No Black Dog?

Can it be done? Can Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience do their show and not perform Black Dog? Not perform Dazed and Confused? Not even have guitarist Tony Catania use the Theremin?

It can be, and was done Saturday Night at Casino Rama in Orillia, Ontario.


There were problems it seems, both technical and logistical. From a technical standpoint, Tony Catania seemed to be having some issues. Early on he slipped into a solo, hit on a pedal, and nothing. The sound died. At other times he just seemed to be having trouble. The theremin sat on the stage all night un-used, another clue of technical difficulties.

This is not to say Catania didn't play well, or spent all night with a deer in the headlights look, wondering why God was failing him so. All told, the look of "what the..." totalled thirty second or a minute of a two hour show, and if you weren't close enough, weren't watching the guitarist with the intensity only a hobbyist can apply to a professional, then you probably noticed nothing wrong.

[caption id="attachment_1573" align="alignnone" width="422" caption="James Dylan, "Goin Down Now...""]"Goin Down Now..."[/caption]

The logistical problem was venue related. The casino's love to get 5,000 music fans into their casino who might not otherwise come. But once there, they don't really want them sitting pin the hall watching a show. If they had their choice, you would buy your ticket, then just come to the casino and gamble. So they put a rider in the bands contract, maximum 90 minute show.

After the show, both James Dylan and Stephen Leblanc mentioned that they had to cut songs from the set list. The longer songs took the hit, with Dazed and Confused, it was mentioned by both Dylan and LeBlanc, getting cut. With the tight time, Whole Lotta Love got a short, Over Europe 1980 treatment. It wasn't until the next day I realized Black Dog wasn't played either.

[caption id="attachment_1579" align="alignnone" width="410" caption=""I would like to thank..." "]"I would like to thank..." [/caption]

Problems aside, Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience didn't miss a note Saturday night. They kept the show rolling, not taking their usual break after Moby Dick, instead rolling along, keeping it moving. And in the end, they packed a lot of songs into a 90 minute set. They packed, it seemed to me, a lot of minutes in as well, as the show ran far closer to 2 hours than 90 minutes by my count.

Dazed and Confused and Black Dog notwithstanding, they didn't miss a trick. Immigrant Song, Rock and Roll, Kashmir, When the Levee Breaks, Stairway to Heaven: they touched all the bases.

[caption id="attachment_1581" align="alignnone" width="432" caption="James and Tony doing Stairway to Heaven"]James and Tony doing Stairway to Heaven[/caption]

Musically, the band gets better and better, the music of Led Zeppelin, so complicated to perform, seeming to roll off them. They are tighter than last time I saw them, and they are playing with an ease I don't remember. Stephen LeBlanc has become essential to this band, adding lap steel here, an electric guitar part there. Keyboard, acoustic guitar, mandolin, every song is given that extra touch by LeBlanc, who has also developed his theatrical flair.

Dorian Heartsong, the new guy in the band, although he has probably played more shows with them now than Michael Devon has, lays down a perfect groove every time. He fit's in so well he was barely noticeable, which is the highest compliment I can pay to a bass player.

James Dylan was once again, note perfect. Hitting Robert Plant's notes and phrases, without ever sounding just like Robert Plant. If you didn't miss Robert Plant, if you closed your eyes, you still knew it wasn't Plant. The perfect frontman for a cover band, he sings in a way that is flattering to Plant, without being imitative.

Tony Catania, technical issues aside, hit all the notes, strutted and preened ala Page. He plays with energy and plays his part musically. He is as good as anyone doing the Jimmy Page circuit.


As for Jason, he obviously can play the parts, and he did so with energy. He tells his stories, sometimes prowling the stage while doing so. He is amusing, self  effacing and a hell of a drummer. Combined with the guys mentioned above, and he is putting on a fabulous show in the name of the father.

If Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience is coming to your town, it's well worth checking out.
* Note: Notices at the Casino informed fans the show was being recorded for possible later use. During the show, auditorium lights often came on as songs were ending, quite obviously to film the crowd reaction.

Is Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience planning on releasing a DVD of the show, or doing a broadcast at some point in the future?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Robert Plant and Alfie Boe: Fair or Foul

Even though the official release date is still a few days away, if you live in the UK you can download the Alfie Boe and Robert Plant duet, Song to the Siren, from iTunes now.

mzidsgekftr170x170-75As it's not available by means fair or foul outside the UK, here in Canada I can only speculate that it is a surprisingly good duet. Boe is a magnificent singer, and Song to the Siren is in his wheelhouse.

The revelation is Plant. Not that he can sing, of course, but that his voice works so well in the style with which this song is done.  Plant has changed his singing style dramatically over the last ten years - maybe it's even fair to say five. Nowhere does the positive aspects of that change come across as well as it does singing next to a very musical operatic singer.

An Alfie Boe and Robert Plant duet is, to use a phrase I frankly don't like, outside the box. Yet it works far better than I expect most fans of either artist expected it to. Wether Alfie Boe can sing Black Dog remains to be seen, but this combination works.

At least that's what I might say, if I had means to access the iTunes download. If only I had relatives in the UK to do a £1 favour for me.

Jimmy Page Joins Roy Harper

If you came by this site Friday and read about Jimmy Page playing at Roy Harper's 70th birthday celebration, then went and bought a ticket based on that article, your welcome.

If you didn't, here's what you missed:

As per usual, if it happens in London, Dave Lewis was there.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Ramble on Radio Interviews James Dylan

Jimmy Page to Release Lucifer's Rising Soundtrack

What Soundtracks does Jimmy Page have hiding in the vault? According to his “On This Day” feature at jimmy, Page plans to release the soundtrack to the Kenneth Anger movie, Lucifer’s Rising, “and other soundtracks.”screen-shot-2011-10-31-at-11538-am

The Lucifer Rising prohject dates from the Led Zeppelin days, when Page agreed to do the soundtrack to fellow occult’s Anger’s defining movie. The finished project never happened, and Anger and Page’s collaboration ended in acrimony.

The soundtrack has seen the light of day as a bootleg, but it is unknown if what appears on bootleg is all there is, or if there is more. Page’s release of the music will be the first official release of the music.

But what of that cryptic phrase, and other soundtracks? Page has already announced that The Death Wish II Soundtrack will be given a limited re-release through his web page. As far as I know, there is no other known full Jimmy Page soundtracks. Is he implying there is more in the vault that have been heretofore unknown?

More likely, Lucifer's Rising is incomplete, and not enough material for a full album, so Page will add in some other songs, such as Come With Me from the Godzilla Soundtrack, some unreleased music that made it on to Death Wish III, and songs on which he performed on John Paul Jones' Scream For Help.


However, like Page promises to release material in the past, how seriously should we take these announcements anyway? When his website announced his Death Wish II Soundtrack re-release on September 15, it promised more information "over the coming weeks." It's now been 8 weeks and no new information has come out about this release, never mind the release itself. When you heard about the re-issue on September 15th, how many thought it would be out in time to surprise your favourite Zeppelin fan by Christmas?  Instead, it is 7 weeks from Christmas, and nothing except a vague promise to release yet another old soundtrack album. And, of course, "further information," on the Lucifer's Rising Soundtrack will be "in the coming weeks." Where have I heard that before?

Jimmy Page with Roy Harper

Roy Harper is celebrating his 70th birthday with a concert this weekend at Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre in London. The concert will feature Harper and special guests.

[caption id="attachment_1547" align="alignright" width="199" caption="Jimmy Page & Roy Harper, 2005"]Jimmy Page & Roy Harper, 2005[/caption]

According to Nech Tytlia, guru of FBO, one of the guests will be Jimmy Page. If he does appear, it will be the third such appearance this year, after his impromptu performance with the Black Crowes in August, and helping Donovan re-create his Sunshine Superman album by performing on the title track of that album.

However, Tytlia goes further, emphasising it will be Page and special guests.  That leaves things open to speculation as to who the other special guests might be. Will John Paul Jones or Robert Plant also show up? Plant seems unlikely as he is reported to be recently married and living in Texas, and he will be in Los Angeles Friday at a press conference with Pete Townsend and Roger Daltrey. That leaves John Paul Jones as a potential special guest.

One person we know won’t be there is Jason Bonham, as he is scheduled to be at Casino Rama in Orillia with his Led Zeppelin Experience, hanging out with yours truly - at least that’s the plan.

If you are in London and can't make it to Orillia, you may want to help Roy Harper celebrate his 70th birthday. Who knows, Jimmy Page might just be there.

Robert Plant and Patty Griffin Married?

This site is not, nor has it ever intended to be a gossip site, intent upon the personal lives of the musicians of Led Zeppelin. However, some stories of a personal nature are certainly of interest to Led Zeppelin fans, and if they have potential impact on future musical decisions of band members, relevant.

screen-shot-2011-09-23-at-102650-amWith that caveat in, a report emerged last week that Robert Plant and his Band of Joy singing partner, Patty Griffin, have married. Nech Tytlia, co-administrator and guru of For Badgeholders Only, considered by myself to be a reliable source, sent a message to subscribers last week. The content of the posting was a simple acronym SSIA (Subject Says It All).

So it would appear that Plant and Griffin, long rumoured to be romantically attached, have exchanged matrimonial vows, although no official word or announcement has emerged as of yet.

Assuming the report to be true, what does it say about Plant’s future musical plans?

Last month he appeared a the El Cosmico for the Trans-Pecos Festival of Music & Love, in Marfa, Texas, with Griffin and a new band, called Crown Vic. They played old rock standards, including some reworked Led Zeppelin songs, in a similar vein to Band of Joy. Plant was also reported to have bought a place in Texas, near the members of Crown Vic (Griffin also resides in Texas).

Based on the marriage report and the report of him moving to Texas, it seems reasonable to assume that Robert Plant’s next project going forward will be Crown Vic, with Griffin.

However, at the Americana Music Awards last month, Plant said of guitarist Buddy Miller, “... I'm never gonna go anywhere without Buddy Miller, ever."

As available evidence suggests that Crown Vic is, in fact, Plant’s next thing, it may be that Plant had already decided not to work with Buddy Miller on his next project. Miller is, however, a busy in demand musician with his own projects, and it may be that Miller was unavailable for a period.

Whether it's with Crown Vic, the Band of Joy, or something entirely new, one thing seems likely, wherever Plant goes in the next few years, Patty Griffin will too.

Update: A number of sites have picked up this story, including Classic Rock and Blabbermouth. They are also citing sources as saying Plant and Griffin are sporting wedding rings. Robert Plant, however, is apparently denying they are married.
Update #2: A picture of the couple giving out Halloween treats is currently making the rounds. It is very low def, however, it appears Griffin is wearing a ring on her left hand ring finger

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sunshine Sketches of Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience

Jason Bonham rolls into Central Ontario this weekend, playing Casino Rama in Orillia. Orillia’s claim to fame is the home of Canadian author and humourist Stephen Leacock, and the setting of his most famous book, Sunshine Sketches of a Little Townis reputed to be Orillia.jason-bcc

Heading into the show, Toronto Sun’s Darryl Sterdan has a short interview that is full of information. Bonham tells Sterdan that, should there be another Led Zeppelin Reunion, he’ll find out when we all find out:
When I was last with those guys they said, ‘You will always be the last to know of anything from now on because you can’t keep your mouth shut.’

He adds defeatedly, “They said ‘What are you going to do? Say no?’”

There are a few more very interesting tidbits in the interview, including that the band had to learn “the entire catalogue.” These guys are prepared to play any Zeppelin song (note to Bonham: Fool in the Rain on Saturday Nov 5, please).

As well, he Bonham reports that Black Country Communion will be recording ‘3’ sometime next year. This was reported previously, but Glenn Hughes has since announced he’s recording a solo album and doing a world tour in 2012, which seemed to preclude also doing a BCC album.

Hopefully Black Country Communion doesn't have the same "don't tell Jason rule" as Led Zeppelin does.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Episode #6

front-picture-smallIn Episode #6 of the Ramble On Radio Podcast I discuss Robert Plant's possible wedding, Jimmy Page's possible upcoming performances, a Seasick Steve download and Black Country Communion's Live Over Europe DVD. I also review Chuck Klosterman's "Thee Led Zeppelin Essays," and Ralph Hulett  and Jerry Prochnicky's "Whole Lotta Led."

James Dylan, lead singer of Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience, stopped by for an interview and casually dropped the news that the band has been writing songs together.

You can subscribe to the podcast at iTunes or download it directly from Podbean.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Jason Bonham Working on Original Material

In an exclusive interview with James Dylan, word that Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience (JBLZE) is writing material, with plans to record and release at some point down the road. img_2453_stdJames told me:
Since we’re back out on the road, Jason’s band (JBLZE) started to write songs together. So we’re hoping before too long, we’ll have some stuff for everybody to check out

On a follow-up message, James said:
We are just in the beginning stage so it is just something we would all like to do right now. The idea is to write music while we’re on the road. It started last tour when we were in sound check.

The full interview with James Dylan can be heard on Ramble On Radio, Episode #6, which will be released by Tuesday.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Black Country Communion: Live Over Europe

Black Country Communion: Live Over Europe hit the shelves in DVD format this week with rather a whimper in my part of the world. black-country-communion-live-over-europe1

The DVD was available Monday in Europe and Tuesday here in North America. In my little part of Canada the large electronics chain didn't have it, and HMV had three copies squirrelled away in the concert DVD section, not up front in the new release display.

The concert film is almost two hours long (1:49 specifically) and features performances of 16 songs. To put things succinctly, the footage is top notch, the sound quality excellent and the performance as good as it gets. Black Country Communion is an excellent live band, and that tells in this DVD.

The second disk in the 2-disk set features a 25 minute feature video, Forging BCC, The Making of Live Over Europe and two photo collections.

The video will be available in Blu-ray November 15th (14th in Europe).

There was talk of an audio release as well, but that talk seems to have dried up, and I can find no evidence of a CD/MP3 release coming soon.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Podcast #5 Released

Ramble on Podcast #5 was a week late waiting for a James Dylan interview to come together, it never happened. If your looking for the interview, sorry to disappoint but hopefully it will be there next time.

front-picture-smallMeanwhile, I discussed Jimmy Page's home movie, why I was tough on Robert Plant last time, John Paul Jones and Seasick Steve once again and Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience. I also reviewed Tight But Loose #30 and Gomer Pyle dancing to Led Zeppelin's Rock and Roll.

In the future, I hold for no interview, if I don't have it in my hands by the time I record, it doesn't get on. So #6 will come, interview or no, next weekend.

As usual, here's the links: Ramble On #5 on Podbean, or subscribe on iTunes.

Thanks to everyone who has been listening and making comments. I do appreciate it.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Band of Joy Gets Americana Award

The Americana Music Awards were handed out last night at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.

Robert PlantRobert Plant and the Band of Joy received an award for Album of the Year for their self titled album. However Plant lost out on Artist of the Year to his own guitarist, Buddy Miller, who tok the top prize.

Miller received three awards in all, as he recieved Instrumentalist of the Year as well.

The Band of Joy also played the song Monkeyat the ceremony. Plant also reappeared onstage for the finale.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Jimmy Page: Light & Shade

A new book on Jimmy Page is in the works.

By Guitar World Magazine's Editor-in-Chief Brad Tolinski, the book's main source is 50 hours of conversation Tolinski has had with the guitarist.

To be released by Virgin Books in the UK and Crown Publishers in the US, Light & Shade will document Page's early years, his time in Led Zeppelin and cover songs such as Going to California and How Many More Times.

According to Virgin's Publishing director Ed Faulkner:

Jimmy Page is a music legend. Light & Shade will undoubtedly be considered the closest thing Led Zeppelin fans will ever get to a published autobiography, making it an essential read.

Release date is unknown at this time.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Podcast #4

front-picture-smallDave Lewis was scheduled to be on Podcast #4, but the technical details didn't get worked out in time. None the less, I paid tribute to John Bonham, covered a lot of Robert Plant news and discussed the newest issue of Tight But Loose, the updating of Then As It Was, 2 upcoming reissues of Zeppelin led books in e-format and my new name.

You can get in on the fun, Ramble On Podcast #4 is available here, or as always, you can subscribe on iTunes and never miss a podcast.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Logan Plant Leaves Sons of Albion

The Sons of Albion are reported that Robert Plant's son, Logan, has left the band. via Facebook:
Hello everyone, unfortunately Logan left the band due to personal reasons.

Sons Of Albion will keep on with Gones - Lead vocals/Bass, Nuno - Guitar and Francisco - Drums.

Was hard times till now... But we've overcome!!! We've been writing new tunes and we just recorded them!!! So very soon you'll be listening to them... And we really want your opinion!

We hope you understand and you keep following us... After all you guys are what makes this band great.

Thank you so much for your continued support x

See you very soon...

Francisco, Nuno and Gones
Sons Of Albion

Last Monday the Sons of Albion played Water Rats at Kings Cross London, their first advertised gig since the spring.  It is unreported whether Logan was with the band that night, but it is likely he was.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Kitchener Nov 4, 1969: Part II

Led Zeppelin was “the best rock ever to be held in this arena,” says Douglas Fisher, writing for the University of Waterloo student newspaper, The Chevron, on November 7, 1969. Led Zeppelin had played the local hockey rink, The Kitchener Auditorium a few days earlier, on November 4, 1969.

Being a local event, I have written before about this show, noting the concert seems to have been put together not long before. In this case, the first ad appears in the Chevron on October 10th (shown). (And Wilfred Laurier University's The Cord, on October 17th).uofw-chevron-ad

But it is the review by Douglas Fisher, with picture by Kent Houston that is significant. The review is new as far as the Led Zeppelin record goes. It has been buried in the library of the University of Waterloo rare books division pretty much since 1969.

The headline speaks volumes of the review to come: Zeppelin: Best Rock Concert Ever.
When Led Zeppelin hit the stage of Kitchener auditorium tuesday night everyone present realized at once this was not going to be just another concert. They were right, before the evening was over they had experienced and lived the Led Zeppelin group.

Ludicrous insanity could best describe their performance. Jimmy Page running, jumping, straining getting unbelievable sounds and or noises on his guitar. From old blues riffs to distortion to feedback it all came off with finesse and wild beauty.

The lead singer Robert Plant is the ultimate extension of the school of lead singers started by Rolling Stone’s Mick Jagger, including Jim Morrison and Iggy Stooge. Plant’s incredible voice range which goes from gutsy blues to high screams puts James Brown to shame.

Most of the time all you could see was his huge fuzzy ball of blonde hair shaking wildly and emitting unreal sounds. His body wriggling with every note of the music. Backing these two up were John Paul Jones laying down a perfect blues line and John Bonham on drums completing the rhythm section.

When the Led Zeppelin group do their songs they don’t just present a copy of their album cuts. They go all out, making them even more ludicrous and insane than the originals, adding parts of the old blues or rock songs in the middle of the number.

One of the highlights of the concert was the groups rendition of Dazed and Confused. In the middle of the number, Jimy [SIC] Page played his guitar with a bow just to add to the general insanity of the number.

The rest of the review is more technical, complaining of inadequate acoustics or a shorter than normal set, “leaving out the drum solo and Page’s guitar solo Black Mountain Side.”

The review reports Zeppelin ended with an “Eddie Cochrane Song.” This is likely C’Mon Everybody, which they are reported to have played 2 nights later in San Fransisco as part of How Many More Times.

The Kent Houston picture is of Plant, with John Paul Jones in the background. Plant is wearing the fur boots that are specific to the Kitchener concert. The heading under the picture reads: Emitting unreal sounds Plant shakes and wiggles to the music.

[caption id="attachment_1494" align="alignnone" width="520" caption="click for full size"]review[/caption]

Robert Plant in Kitchener Ontario

Turned over a few leaves this week, checking some local archives for information on Led Zeppelin's Nov. 4, 1969 gig in Kitchener Ontario. I have turned up what is, I believe, a review of the concert that is not in the official record as of yet.

While I'm working on a post on the review, this picture appeared with it. The picture is available on led, but this is a much clearer shot.


Note the headline on the review: Best Rock Concert Ever. Almost 40 years later, that's the same thing people were saying after the O2 show in December 2007.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A New Duet Partner for Robert Plant

Ever since teaming up with Alison Krauss in 2007, Robert Plant has been singing more in duet style than as a front man. First with the Plant Krauss album, Raising Sand, and following that up with The Band of Joy, where he shared vocal duties with Patty Griffin.

alfie-boe-and-robert-plant-395616801Meanwhile, his Led Zeppelin partner John Paul Jones was appearing in an opera based on the life of Anna Nichole Smith and talking about writing his own opera. But nobody saw this one coming.

Robert Plant will appear on tenor Alfie Boe's latest collection, Alfie. The opera star and Plant combine on Tim Buckley's 1968 piece, Song To The Siren. Plant previously recorded Song to the Siren in 2002's Alfie, with his then band Strange Sensation, and Plant has often talked about the song as a favourite of his. Now it appears it will get a different treatment.

Boe is currently playing Jean Valjean in Les Misérables at the Queen's Theatre in London. His new album, Alfie, will be released November 8th.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Mr. Plant Goes to Marfa

Patty Griffin stepped onstage  last night at Marfa, Texas for the first night of the El Cosmico Trans-Pecos Festival of Music and Love, and introduced her new band, Crown Vic: "I'd like to introduce you to my dear, dear friend, Robert Plant."screen-shot-2011-09-23-at-102650-am

Plant joined the band of Texans for a run through a set of old songs, including at least three Led Zeppelin numbers, Rock and Roll, Misty Mountain Hop and Black Dog. A poster on YouTube noted, "(Crown Vic) Played a lot of Zepplin. One of the best shows I have ever seen."

Rumour is that Plant will stay in Texas and work with Crown Vic when Griffin goes out for a series of dates with Buddy Miller later this month.

More at Lemon Squeezings.

OA Online.

From Robert Plant's official website.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Feather in the Wind: Led Zeppelin Over Europe 1980

Led Zeppelin have impressed me in different ways over the years. As musicians, as performers, as writers, as people. Tonight they impressed me as a working rock ‘n’ roll band - above everything, that’s important.

Tight but loose? - you ain’t joking... And this is only the second night of the tour.

Dave Lewis
Feather in the Wind page 96

Dave Lewis has said that Feather in the Wind: Led Zeppelin Over Europe 1980, is a companion book to his earlier work, Then as it Was - At Knebworth 1979*. This is the most accurate statement you can make about it. Feather in the Wind is so perfectly synchronous with Then as it Was it could be called part 2. Between the two books, Lewis thoroughly covers the time in Led Zeppelin’s career beginning with the last US show in July 1977 and ending at the announcement of their dissolution in Dec 1980.

[caption id="attachment_1267" align="alignright" width="214" caption="Led Zeppelin Feather in the Wind - Over Europe 1980"]Led Zeppelin Feather in the Wind - Over Europe 1980[/caption]

Feather in the Wind is in the main about Led Zeppelin’s underreported final tour through Europe in the summer of 1980. In the telling, however, Lewis starts at Knebworth the summer before, and carries the story to the end of 1980 and the end of Led Zeppelin.

Lewis was there, that’s the key point of the book. Dave Lewis was able to get to a number of the 1980 shows. He was a fan, buying his tickets, but he wound up getting treated like a journalist and seeing 1980 Led Zeppelin from a variety of vantage points: backstage, the photography pit, the cheap seats. After show he hung about with the band members in the hotel bars, and talked about the tour, and the future of Led Zeppelin. That access is at the heart of the narrative.

Feather in the Wind is both the telling of the last Led Zeppelin story, and a reference book. If you want to know when they played Nuremberg, what songs they played, what was said between songs or any other number of facts about the show, it is all in there. From short venue history and seating capacity to what each band member wore onstage, you can find it.

Yet it’s not an encyclopaedia. With personal stories, Lewis’ personal experiences and a store of never before seen pictures taken by the author himself, Feather in the Wind tells a great story. It is, in fact, one of the best Led Zeppelin books you will ever read.

*Lewis has published a second edition of Then as Now: Knebworth ‘79, with a “
revamped cover and new layout design,increased colour content and additional text.” It looks great, and would nicely sit beside Feather in the Wind on the bookshelf.

Both books can be bought at Tight But Loose. If you have a Led Zeppelin fan on your Christmas list, buying both would make a great gift.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Dave Lewis on BBC

Last Tuesday Dave Lewis called into Vic Morgan on BBC Radio's weekday Late Show for a chat about writing and his new book Feather in the Wind: Over Europe 1980.

I talked about the book myself on my first PodCast, available here.

The book can be ordered from the Tight But Loose website.

h/t Steve Sauer

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Jason Bonham Led Zeppelin Experience Add Dates

Edited and Bumped

img_2480_stdLast spring, Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience had to cancel 4 shows due to singer James Dylan's illness. The shows in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Sacramento and Napa Valley were rescheduled for this fall. The band has added three more California shows, plus a number of dates in the North East, including three in Canada.

Here is the full schedule for Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience fall tour:

  • October 12: Riverside, CA - Fox Performing Arts Center

  • October 13: Bakersfield, CA - Fox Theatre

  • October 14: Los Angeles, CA - The Greek Theatre (make-up date)

  • October 15: Las Vegas, NV - Alliente Casi (make-up date)

  • October 17: Sacramento, CA - Crest Theatre (make-up date)

  • October 18: Napa Valley, CA - Uptown Theatre (make-up date)

  • October 27: Englewood, NJ - Bergen PAC

  • October 28: Huntington, NY - Paramount Theater

  • October 29: Upper Darby (Phil), PA - Tower Theater

  • October 31: Boston, MA - The Wilbur Theatre

  • November 1: New York, NY - Best Buy Theater

  • November 2: Hartford, CT - The Webster

  • November 4: Buffalo, NY - Town Ballroom

  • November 5: Orillia, ONT - Casino Rama

  • November 6: Ottawa/Gatineau, QC - TBD

  • November 7: Quebec City, QC - TBD


New dates added:

  • Nov 10: Silver Spring MD - The Fillmore

  • Nov. 11: Poughkeepsie NY - The Chance Theatre

  • Nov. 12: Richmond VA - The National

  • Nov 13: Atlanta GA - Sun Center Stage

  • Nov 16: Orlando FL. - The Hard Rock

  • Nov. 17: Hollywood FL. - Seminole Hard Rock and Casino

  • Nov 18: Clearwater FL. - Ruth Eckerd Hall

Podcast #3

The 3rd Ramble On Podcast is complete and uploaded. This week, I have an interview/chat with Steve, The Lemon, Sauer. Steve offers some of his recent experiences, and we talk about Death Wish II, Robert Plant in Texas and a possible Jeff Beck/Robert Plant collaboration.

The podcast can be found at my PodBean site, or subscribed to on iTunes.

If you're interested in providing an intro and outro bumper ("hi this is XX and you are listening to the Ramble On Podcast."), contact me and I'll set up a time to be on Skype or iChat or FaceTime. You don't have to be Steve Sauer, I'm looking for anybody to do this.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Death Wish II Soundtrack to be re-Released

Jimmy Page announced today on his personal website, that he will be re-releasing a special edition vinyl Death Wish II: The Original Soundtrack

To mark today’s 30th anniversary, will be re-releasing a special, limited, re-mastered vinyl edition of the soundtrack to Michael Winner’s Death Wish II, featuring a previously unreleased instrumental version of the death wish main title and new liner notes by Jimmy Page…

Only 1,000 copies will be released next month from the forthcoming Jimmy Page shop, so stay tuned to over the coming weeks to find out more information about this exciting release.

Death Wish II was released to accompany the movie in February 1982. It was Page’s first album after the death of John Bonham and dissolution of Led Zeppelin. Recorded in late 1981 at Page's own Sol Studio, music from the album was also used in 1985's Death Wish III, also directed by Michael Winner.

The re-release of the album also marks the first item to be sold at the Jimmy Page Shop, which will hopefully provide some real product for fans of the guitarist over the next while.

But Will They Do a Rap Version of Achilles Last Stand?

Back in August 1968, the Jeff Beck Band released their first album, Truth. Featuring Beck’s guitar playing, including a traditional solo arrangement of Greensleeves, and Willie Dixon’s You Shook Me, the three piece band plus big voiced, wild blond-haired singer, Rod Stewart, looked ready to take on the world.

jeffbeckSix months later in January 1969, Beck’s childhood friend and former Yardbird playing partner, Jimmy Page, released the first album with his new band, Led Zeppelin. It featured a solo guitar piece and You Shook Me, and the three piece band was fronted by a big voiced wild blond singer. Jeff Beck, it has been reported, was not pleased.

Is Beck about to turn the tables?

Planet Rock today reports that Beck told them in an interview that there’s the possibility of a project involving him and Robert Plant:
There's whispers about Robert Plant.

I met him recently. He came into my dressing room. I was playing in the New Orleans Jazz Rock Blues Festival... And then I hear 'Alright. How you doin'?' and it was Robert Plant!

We had a lovely chat. I think maybe he saw the act; I put on a pretty good show. And I think that there may be something there. Who knows?

I think that the common denominator would be the Eastern, you know, the kind of Arabic... I love that. That's prevalent in Zeppelin's music. The quarter tone scale, I just love that. There's more mileage in that... the exciting rhythms that he likes.

We're both pretty busy at the moment but if the desire's there you make it happen.

As Jimmy Page sits at home playing X-Box, writing “on this day’s,” watching The X-Factor and waiting for Plant to phone and say  "Alright. How you doin'?", Plant may be working with the other greatest guitar player, Beck.

All in, Beck didn’t really say much, a few maybe’s here, a “there’s whisper’s,” there. He may have been pulling the interviewers leg, and it reads like he probably was. But it’s exciting to think about: Robert Plant singing along side a great blues-rock guitarist.

It’s enough to get a guy up off the couch, if only because he just fell off it.