Sunday, August 26, 2012

Episode #20

On the one year anniversary of Ramble On Radio, I celebrate Robert Plant's birthday with some kind words about Plant, plus I discuss Plant's upcoming schedule, live and recorded, a Jimmy age book and auction, a Led Zeppelin book and John Paul Jones opera.

Also discuss some newly released songs, upcoming music by Black Country Communion, what a fine smoke sounds like and why Robert Plant's management team should reply to my emails.

The podcast is available on Podbean, or subscribe via iTunes.

Battle of Evermore Cover

Shel is a band of 4 classically trained sisters, ranging in age from 18-23 who's debut album was released on August 7. The album features a wonderful version of Battle of Evermore.

Below is a live version of the song, and it is wonderfully done, I must say.

Friday, August 24, 2012

"Daunting is What I Do"

There is a short John Paul Jones interview in the October 2012 edition of Uncut, which hit the newstands today.

uncutcover210812w1In the interview, Jones describes playing with Led Zeppelin, especially in the early days, and compares it to playing with the "Norwegian noisemakers," Supersilent.
There was great unplanned improv sequences in Led Zep songs...  Quite often I found myself onstage with absolutely no idea of what I was going to do, and that's the fun of it...

When asked to play with Supersilent for the first time in 2010, he asked what they did:
Well, we don't talk about it, we don't rehearse, we just play.

"I thought it sounded intriguing," Jones says.

When playing with Supersilent, Jones plays a 12 string bass through a programming system called Kyma. Of Supersilent, Jones says:
It can be extraordinarily delicate and beautiful, or it can sound like the end of the world.

Of Jones, Supersilent's Helge Sten says:
(he has a) really big palette of things - he's playing bass but what you hear sounds completely different.

Jones also talks about the opera he is working on, August Strindberg's play, The Ghost Sonata, due for completion in 2015. "It's more than slightly daunting," he says. "But daunting is what I do."

Jones will be performing with Supersilent in Birmingham on November 14, Glasgow on November 15, Manchester on November 16, Bristol November 17 and London on November 18.

Robert Plant Writing Again

Is Robert Plant set to release two albums in the upcoming year or so? That seems to be the logical conclusion as Plant tells The Telegraph's Paul Sexton that he has almost completed an album with The Sensational Space Shifters.

This comes on the heels of telling The Independent that he had completed a new Band of Joy record, "with psychedelic pedal steel and all sorts of stuff."

Besides recording two new albums, Plant appears to be writing songs again, as he told Sexton of the Space Shifters recording:

12 tracks (completed), 11 originals and no sentimental stuff.

If true, the album will be Plant's first album with new, original material since 2005's Strange Sensation album Mighty ReArranger. Last year, Plant told Rolling Stone that he was through writing new songs and hadn't written anything since "Tony Blair became a Roman Catholic (Dec 2007)".

I have contacted Plant's management to verify whether he actually has two new albums coming up, but they have so far not responded to my emails.

Black Country Communion Artwork

Black Country Communion released the artwork for their third studio album, Afterglow, today.


As well as the artwork, they released a short video on the making of Afterglow. If the musical clip played on the video is any indication, this album will be a treat for fans.

Afterglow is available October 30th and can be pre-ordered beginning September 11th.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Brazilian Space Shift

On the back of Robert Plant's announcement of a South American tour earlier this week, Plant today announced that The Sensational Space Shifters will do a number of shows in Brazil in October before heading to Argentina, Chile and Peru in November.sss_rp1

The new dates announced are:

  1. October 18 - HSBC arena
    Rio De Janero

  2. October 20 - Mirante Olhos D'Agua
    Belo Horizonte
    Ingresso Rapido

  3. October 22 - Espaco das Americas
    Sau Paulo

  4. October 23 - Espaco das Americas
    Sau Paulo

  5. October 25 - Nilson Nelson Arena

  6. October 27 - Teatro Positivo

  7. October 29 - Gigantinho
    Porto Algere

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Jimmy Page Donates Guitar

A video was posted on YouTube yesterday of Jimmy Page playing a Yamaha FG-403MS Acoustic guitar that he signs and donates to Care 4 Kids. Page, who is in Pattaya, Thailand, plays snippets of Kashmir, before signing the guitar and authenticating the instrument for viewers.  The guitar is being auctioned off at a Jesters Care for Kids auction. The current bid is ฿220000.00 (220000 Thai baht = 7,006.36 US dollars).

Also up for auction is a signed Death Wish II album, and a signed Ross Halfin photo of Jimmy.

Monday, August 20, 2012

South American Space Shifters

Robert Plant's official website today announced five South American concerts in November for his Sensational Space Shifters. From November 1st to November 9th, the Sensationals will play three shows in Argentina, plus one each in Chile and Peru. Here's the full listing:sss_rp

  1. November 1, 2012 – Luna Park
    Argentina, Buenos Aires.

  2. November 2, 2012 – Luna Park
    Argentina, Buenos Aires.

  3. November 4, 2012 – Orfeo Superdomo
    Argentina, Cordoba

  4. November 7, 2012 – Arena Movistar
    Chile, Santiago

  5. November 9, 2012 – Jockey Club
    Peru, Lima

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Robert Plant on Amy Cook's It's Gonna Rain

Singer/Songwriter Amy Cook was working on her new album, laying down a vocal track with guest artist Patty Griffin when a voice from the control room chimed in:amy_cook_summer_skin
Do you mind if I give it a go?

In Cook's words: "I did not mind."

When the person offering to lend a vocal to your new album is Robert Plant, who would mind.
He sang it a couple of times and it was perfect.

"It" is the Cook song, It's Gonna Rain, which will appear on Cook's new album, Summer Skin, due for release August 28th.

The track can be previewed on Rolling Stone's flash music player.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Light and Shade: Conversations With Jimmy Page

Last October I mentioned a new book by Guitar World's Brad Tolinski called Light and Shade. At the time there was some confusion over release date. No more. A release date of October 23rd has been set.light___shade_jacket_image1

Light and Shade: Conversations with Jimmy Pageis pieced together from a number of interviews Page has done with Tolinski, creating, "the closest thing Led Zeppelin fans will ever get to a published autobiography" according to the early press release.

The book can be pre-ordered for $16.07 through Amazon ($18.03 Kindle Edition?).

Robert Plant and his Walk Into Birmingham

Robert Plant and his Sensational Space Shifters brought their show to the US last week for a 2 shows, including Birmingham Alabama Sunday night at the Alabama Theatre.

While I've kept in touch with what the singer is doing enough to have a reasonable expectation what fans could have expected, I'm not on top of how well they performed, or how the performances went over. Thus, I use reviews to figure out how the night was. According to, Sunday night went exceedingly well, getting 5 stars out of 5:
When you're the 63-year-old lead singer of one of the most legendary bands on the planet, you can pretty much do whatever you want to.

That's why, while his homeland of England was showcasing U.K. rock 'n roll groups during the closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympics, Robert Plant rode through Alabama in the midst of a brief U.S. tour with his newest group, Sensational Space Shifters...

Right from the start, it was clear that this performance would be one that avoided being pigeonholed into a specific genre...

Robert Plant may not be as young as he once was. He may not be able to hit the highest levels or hold out the longest notes. And he probably didn't trash whatever hotel room he stayed in.
But the fact that the singer can continue to conjure new projects and mesh well with just about any musician is proof: he's still got it.

Reaction from Clarksdale on Saturday was similar. While in Clarksdale, Plant was honoured with an induction into the Mississippi Delta Blues Hall of Fame.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Zacron 1943-2012

"I remembered  those old gardening catalogues. You'd turn it to roses and find out what kind of manure to use." Jimmy Page would later say of the cover for Led Zeppelin III.  "There are some silly bits..."

led_zep_3Although Page had the original idea, he turned the project over to his old friend Richard Drew, aka Zacron. After 4-months work Zacron came back with the now iconic cover, which Page has called "very teeny-boperish." Teeny and/or boperish or not, I can attest that I spent hours playing with that cover, examining the objects in the wheel.

Classic Rock Magazine today is reporting that Zacron died in January from bowel cancer. The news only comes to light now because the artist had been estranged from his family, and they are only learning the news themselves now. It must be a very difficult time for them, and RambleOnRadio's condolences go out to the family.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

From a Whisper to a Scream: The Complete Guide to the Music of Led Zeppelin by Dave Lewis

I was driving home from Chicago and put Led Zeppelin III on the CD player. Since I've Been Loving You came on and I said to my wife, "hear the squeak?" She agreed she did and I said, "that's his bass drum pedal.

whisper-1"How could you possibly know that?" the woman who thinks I know far too much about Led Zeppelin asks.

"I just read it in Dave Lewis' new book."

As Dave says on the insert he's signing for all the books, "enjoy listening to the book." Yea, well Dave, I used to enjoy listening to Since I've Been Loving You until I noticed the squeaking bass drum pedal.

From a Whisper to a Scream is a biography of Led Zeppelin told through the music. Missing is the superfluous: no sharks, no groupies, no drinking or drugs. Just the music, year by year, album by album.

Starting with The Yardbirds demise, Lewis takes you through Led Zeppelin's 11 year journey album by album, song by song and, to a lesser extent, tour by tour with the music always being the sole focus of the narrative. By focusing on the songs, how and when they were created, recorded and performed, Lewis creates a biography that's extraordinarily detailed.

It's chock-a-block full of information, some that was new to me, presented in such a way From a Whisper to a Scream also works as a resource. It is simply, one of the best Led Zeppelin books out there.

From a Whisper to a Scream can be bought through, and should be considered a must read for any Led Zeppelin fan.