Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Led Zeppelin on Twitter

The question came up last week on FBO, who do you follow on twitter for Led Zeppelin news?

Here are a few, which I will also add to the sidebar:

Start with the lists:
Led Zeppelin Tweets

The artists themselves:
Jason Bonham
Black Country Communion
Them Crooked Vultures

Lemon Squeezings (Steve Sauer)
Achilles Last Stand
Led Zeppelin Examiner
Manic Nirvana (Robert Plant Site)
Robert Plant Homepage (Fan Site)
The Year of Led Zeppelin
ZepFest 2011


Foo Fighters
Joe Bonamassa
Glenn Hughes

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Jeff Woods Talks to Robert Plant

Here in the Toronto area, Jeff Woods has been doing the Legends of Classic Rock on Q107 radio for years. He's a known entity as a top notch rock journalist and radio personality.

When Robert Plant did his recent rounds of media in support of his new album, Band of Joy, he did lots of TV and newspaper, but no radio. It wasn't accidental, as Plant intentionally decided to do no radio interviews. Woods, and Legends of Rock, wouldn't take no for an answer and got the only radio interview with Robert Plant on his recent promotional tour.
A little background - let me tell you, getting Robert Plant to speak to radio stations, was not an easy task, despite it not being the first time I sat down across from him to talk music. You see, he’s not a fan of commercial radio any longer. Getting asked for the millionth time about his old band getting back together no doubt part of the problem. In fact Robert didn’t want to speak to commercial radio stations, PERIOD, and so none were granted interviews this time around.

Taking no for an answer is not something Legends likes to do, so with the efforts of Universal Music Canada, we pushed until in the 11th hour, we got the green light, the ONLY such approval for commercial radio in North America, apparently.

Despite our usual approach being recording audio and video, as we’ve done in recent months with Carlos Santana, Rush, Bachman/Turner, Ronnie Wood, and others, – in this case, for reasons unknown – no video. We figured audio was better than nothing at all, and so on the 16th of September 2010, I walked into the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto with my recorder and there he was, ready to go. After making a joke about really enjoying Supertramp on the radio that morning … followed by the punchi-line: ‘with the volume turned to zero’, we got down to talking about how his new album came together …

You can hear the interview in it's entirety here.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Jimmy Page Book Due for Shipping Today

If you ordered the Genesis Publication, Jimmy Page by Jimmy Page, today is the day you have been waiting for. Originally scheduled for release in August, the pictorial autobiography is due to ship today.jp12pr240910

If you haven't ordered a copy of the limited edition book, Genesis has some available on a first come basis. The leather bound hand made book sells for £495 (plus shipping) (approximately $800) and can be ordered from Genesis Publications.

Order fast as this fantastic book is sure to sell out. I only wish I could spring for it: it would be a jewel in any collection.



John Henry Bonham (May 31, 1948 - Sept 25, 1980)

Saturday, Sept 25th, was the 30th anniversary of John Bonham’s death. While many of us listened to recordings, watched Zeppelin DVD’s, had a drink in his honour or held a concert, some fans went to John Bonham’s grave site to pay respects.

One fan, Dawn, who posts online under the name Badge Holder, wrote of her visit and posted it on For Badgeholders Only (FBO), the Led Zeppelin mailing list. She solemnified the occasion with such dignity that I requested permission to repost it here:

Hi Everyone

I just wanted to let you all know that I went to pay my respects at Bonzo's
grave today. I had never been to Rushock before, but suffice to say - thank
God for sat-nav. I'll try to paint a little verbal picture of the place,
for the benefit of those who have never been.

Rushock is a tiny village in the middle of some of the most beautiful
countryside that England has to offer. I drove down several miles of
narrow, winding country lanes bordered by high hedgerows. Several sections
were single-track and with blind bends, I was driving very carefully, as
there was no way of knowing if another car was coming the opposite way.
Thank goodness that didn't happen, as one of us would have been faced with a
lengthy, tricky reversing manoeuvre to execute - I'd probably have ended up
in a hedge or a ditch somewhere. It did also make me think of Bonzo roaring
down those country lanes that you see in TSRTS.

The church and the village hall next door are at the top of a hill. It's
typical of a well-kept English village and there were lots of parish
notices on the noticeboards. The church was open, although there was no-one
from the church around there as far as I could see. I walked inside and
noticed a strong smell of floor polish. The church is very small, very
simple and beautifully kept. A blue carpet runs the length of the aisle,
with dark wooden pews either side and there's a stained glass window at the
far end.

I then went outside into the churchyard. It's been a beautiful day today -
warm with bright sunshine, a perfect end-of-summer day in England. I
spotted Bonzo's grave immediately, all the drumsticks are still there along
with some beautiful floral tributes, messages, badges, CDs and all manner of
Zep-related paraphernalia. There was a beautiful all-white floral
arrangement of lilies, carnations and some other flowers which I don't know
the name of (sorry, I'm no horticulturalist!) - from Dave Lewis and all at
TBL. Then I noticed the flowers from Bonzo's family. I don't mind
admitting that I stood there and the tears poured down my face - just
thinking of all that Bonzo gave to us all through his music and how tragic
it was that he was gone too soon. The love that so many people still feel
for him was plain to see, and I just found it so moving.

There were a few other people around who were almost certainly Zeppelin fans
- so if any of you are reading this, yes, I was that woman in the black
jeans and Zep T shirt, crying and sniffling.

I said some prayers for Bonzo and thanked him for all that he did and all
that he left us with - such incredible, life changing music. I said all of
this from myself, but also on behalf of our FBO family. I hope you're all
okay with that. I feel really lucky to have been able to go to Rushock
today, it really is a beautiful place.


Friday, September 24, 2010

Black Country Communion on Planet Rock

Black Country Communion played a private gig for London radio station Planet Rock listeners on Monday, the day before the release of their fabulous self titled debut CD. There is video of the event and while, sadly, the vocals are buried in the mix (likely due to bad camera position), the videos give a nice peek at BCC.

A few thoughts: A Les Paul run through a Marshall Amp: Joe bonamassa has a Wah-Wah pedal and he’s not afraid to use it: A Hammond Organ for God’s sake. I love this band.

Black Country

One Last Soul


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Black Country Communion Release

bccomcd-1The Black Country Communion album hits the stores, and download sites, today. My review is here, and after a few weeks listening I can say unequivocally, I love it.

Black Country Communion

1. Black Country 3:15
2. One Last Soul 3:52
3. The Great Divide 4:45
4. Down Again 5:45
5. Beggarman 4:51
6. Song of Yesterday 8:33
7. No Time 4:18
8. Medusa 6:56
9. The Revolution in Me 4:59
10. Stand (At The Burning Tree) 7:01
11. Sista Jane 6:54
12. Too Late For the Sun 11:21

Meanwhile Planet Rock had a preview on Sunday, which can be heard for a limited time, and a live show today, which isn't on the website yet.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Robert Plant on the Today Show

Robert yesterday morning on NBC's today show. Including the controversial statement that original The Band of Joy played American "Spook" music.

Also played a pretty funky version of Angel Dance.

It will be interesting to see if there's any fallout from the statement.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Robert Plant and the Band of Joy released today.


Robert Plant and the Band of Joy hit the stores this morning. It is available on CD, Vinyl LP, on iTunes, and probably a hundred other formats I have never heard of.

Robert Plant himself was on Jimmy Fallon last night to promote the album (note: Fallon holds up an LP). He did not, however, play any songs.

My review of Band of Joy.

Review: Black Country Communion

bccomcd-1I woke up this morning with a part of a song stuck in my head. I had listened to Black Country Communion’s debut CD three times yesterday. Before the CD arrived in my mailbox Friday, I had heard two songs: One Last Soul was released as a single and The Great Divide was released as a video. It is the latter song I can’t shake today. Specifically, it is the part of the song when the band comes out of the chorus: they have built up to a great crescendo, Glenn Hughes voice straining, Marshalls at 11 and they transition to guitarist Joe Bonamassa coming in with a tasty little guitar lick, bringing the band back down a notch. It is such a sweet, melodic little line: one of those moments when the music seems to sigh.

It’s also indicative of the whole album. Bonamassa’s playing shines throughout, without ever dominating the disk. On Beggarman, Bonamossa offers a 30 second wah-wah laced Hendrix-style introduction, yet, Beggarman is by no means a guitarists vehicle. It is more Black Dog style lick/vocal/lick/vocal song than a Hendrix one, although the comparison is hardly adequate.

Black Country Communion is listed as a “supergroup,” a group made up of musicians that were stars before the formation of the band. Joe Bonamassa on guitar, Glenn Hughes on bass and vocals, Jason Bonham on drums and Derek Sherinian on keyboards. Each has an impressive pedigree, each shines in their own way on the debut, self titled, album. The rhythm section carry song after song with pounding regularity. Derek Sherinian offers subtle touches of 70’s era keyboards, adding ambiance and feel, never taking over. And Joe Bonamassa is brilliant, his licks imaginative without overplaying.

black-country-communion-2Black Country Communion wears their influences on their sleeve, too often and too obviously to be accidental. Song of Yesterday, sounds like Bad Company (the song), with Glenn Hughes doing an admirable Paul Rogers. Black Country (again, the song) is all Iron Maiden, Sista Jane runs like an AC/DC song, until it is Won’t Get Fooled Again: Sherinian riding the keyboards, Bonham sounding more like Kenny Jones than Kieth Moon. There is a hint of The Doors, a bit of Heartbreaker, Jaime’s Cryin, even a touch of King Crimson. While Stand sounds too close to Deep Purple’s Space Truckin’, Down Again may be the best Deep Purple song Glenn Hughes ever recorded.

None of this is too suggest any of the music sounds like it is ripped off. Rather it is a chord here, a lick there, a vocal performance or keyboard section that brings influence to mind. The songs themselves are wholly original.

At 73 minutes long, it would be my normal MO to complain that Black Country Communion is too long, anything over standard LP length of 45 minutes being an extravagance. But for the life of me, I can’t suggest anything to cut. Everything seems to work and have a place, every song is good enough, every performance high enough quality. Other than the six minute jam, which some fans will love, at the end of Too Late for The Sun there’s nothing here to cut.

I don’t give stars when I review an album, but if I did I this would be the first album where I would be tempted to give five stars. If not for that six minute, album ending jam, perhaps Stand and Medussa, (two songs that, while still good, are the albums weaker moments) it would be a five star album.

As it is, Black Country Communion is the best post-Zeppelin work of anyone associated with Led Zeppelin.

Black Country Communion

1. Black Country 3:15black-country-communion-3
2. One Last Soul 3:52
3. The Great Divide 4:45
4. Down Again 5:45
5. Beggarman 4:51
6. Song of Yesterday 8:33
7. No Time 4:18
8. Medusa 6:56
9. The Revolution in Me 4:59
10. Stand (At The Burning Tree) 7:01
11. Sista Jane 6:54
12. Too Late For the Sun 11:21

Release date: Sept 21, 2010

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Review: Robert Plant and the Band of Joy

There are certain phrases that I am always uncomfortable using in a piece. They signify I am about to write something that may be controversial. One of those phrases is “of course,” as in of course not all coke drinkers are obese, but...".  Another phrase is “at the outset,” as in, “at the outset, I’d like to make it clear that my testifying before the committee here in no way indicates …”

robert-plant-band-of-joy-artworkAt the outset, I’d like to make a few things clear. I am no fan of what Robert Plant has done the last number of years. Moreover, I have not been impressed with the direction he has taken his music the last number of albums.

His last album, Raising Sand with Alison Krauss, was my emperor has no clothes moment with Plant. I’d been buying in (and buying) for years, convincing myself I liked what he was doing. I didn’t, and haven’t listened to any solo CD he’s released since 1988 in years, unless it was within six months of release.

Of course, it’s not all awful. And of course, bad Robert Plant beats good Dr. Dre. And of course, at least he’s doing something, following his muse, unlike Dr. Page who has talked a better game than he’s played for too many years now. On the other hand, John Paul Jones got busy with Them Crooked Vultures and it was great. Jason Bonham’s Black Country Communion sounds like it’s going to be good, and the one song they’ve released, One Last Soul, is better than anything Plant has released in I don’t know how long.

So it was with trepidation that I heard he was continuing the same old path. Oh, this was different I heard: Allison Krauss was gone, and Buddy Miller was the musical director on this project, and he was only on from the previous touring band, but had no responsibility for the music itself. The music, I heard, was newer, edgier. The songs all from the last ten years. The first single, Angel Dance, was released and my hopes rose. While he still sang like he didn’t want to strain himself, it was the best thing he had done in a number of years. So yes, there was trepidation, but also a spark of hope. Maybe, just maybe.

Maybe not.

There is good news, and bad news actually. The good news is, some of the songs are good, very good. And it is, at times edgier, grittier. The bad news is, not often enough, and that Plant is still singing with caution, not a rock and rollers exuberance. And while some of the songs have life to them, there’s not enough there to sustain fourty-five minutes of interest.

The album mixes rock and country with some blues, some rockabilly, a little Beatles, a little Sea of Love, and always with an eclectic instrument mix.

It opens with Angel Dance, the above noted single. Weeks after first listen, it still sounds good. This one falls lovely into Plant’s singing style, and he hit’s the chorus with a bit of emotion, shows some of the old Robert Plant impeccable sense of timing. It also tells us something about what‘s to come. While it is a pretty grinding mid-tempo rocker, there’s a mandolin coming out in the mix. A really good song and also, a bit sadly, the class of the album.

House of Cards adds the backing vocals of Patty Griffin. This adds that Alison Krauss feel, but again, with dirtier kick-ass guitars. Vocally, this could be on Raising Sand, but musically it’s a gem.

Central Two-O-Nine is ‘old timey,’ mandolin and resonator guitar based up-tempo dirge. Did they have distortion in the depression? If they did, this is what it would have sounded like.

Silver Rider is the first fail on the album. Slow and weighty, Silver Rider sounds like Dreamland at 16 RPM. All that I haven’t liked in the past number of albums, slowed down.

You Can’t Buy My Love is an Early Beatles-esgue rockabilly. Chorus is all Beatles, as is the guitar solo. And is that a Rickenbacker bass? But after a very Hendrix like introduction it steps into Plant singing over a rockin’ drum beat and little else. It’ll remind you of John, Paul George and Ringo, and then just when you think you have the influence nailed, they pull it away.

You Can’t Buy My Love could have been the best song on The Honeydrippers.

I'm Falling in Love Again: speaking of the Honeydrippers, here’s my initial note on this song: Sea of Love meets Sea of Love. It’s that tempo, it’s that groove and it’s that feel. A solid 50’s croon and there’s nothing wrong with that.

The Only Sound That Matters is mundane with far too much steel guitar. Plant sounds like he’s mailing it in and letting his country buddies run the show. The feeling is that this could be a really good song, but not here, not like this.

Monkey sees us right back to Raising Sand. Boring nothing over an un-interesting backdrop. Psychedelia on Quaaludes and the Quaaludes win. Wake me up when he has something interesting to sing.

Cindy I’ll Marry You Someday is Gallows Pole with a happy ending. Another old timey gem, this would be near perfect if they replaced the pedal steel guitar with a mandolin. But that’s nit-picking on a good arrangement of the song. However, if your looking for how Plant is singing different as he enters his senior discount years, compare this with Gallows Pole. Plant never, ever reaches for a note that might fail, never brings the voice out of his comfortable range.

Harm’s Swift Way: this album is starting to sound tired. Reminiscent of old Steve Earle - think Guitar Town - it’s the same tempo, the same vocal range as too many songs on this collection.

Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down: if In My Time Of Dying had been played on a banjo, it would be Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down. But whereas In My Time of Dying gets away with being eleven minutes long, Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down is saved by being only 4:16.

Even This Shall Pass Away sounds like an outtake of Poor Tom recorded on a boat. As Poor Tom was itself an outtake, that could be a bad thing. But there’s nothing wrong with Even This Shall Pass Away. Mostly vocals over drums, it has a rockabilly tempo and feel, but harder. And what’s with the foghorn?

Robert Plant and the Band if Joy comes in at a nice 45 minutes. It’s not one of those overlong discs that have become the norm the past 20 years. This is a plus, as much of the disc is in too restricted a vocal and tempo range. It is, however, the best thing Plant has done in a number of years. It has it’s weak moments, but far more strong ones.

Bottom line, if you have liked the direction Robert Plant has been moving in his music, you’re probably going to love this. If your like me and have found Plant disappointing in recent years, give Band of Joy a listen, you might be pleasantly surprised.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Listen to Robert Plant and the Band of Joy

Live streaming at NPR:

You can listen to the whole album, or song by song.


Track List

Angel Dance
House of Cards
Central Two-O-Nine
Silver Rider
You Can't Buy My Love
I'm Falling in Love Again
The Only Sound That Matters
Cindy I'll Marry You Someday
Harm's Swift Way
Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down
Even This Shall Pass Away

Tight But Loose has an excellent review with notes on original sources.

Friday, September 3, 2010

New Black Country Communion Video

The Great Divide: