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Archive for November, 2014

Art by James Dylan

November 25th, 2014
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Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience singer James Dylan is, by day, an artist. Last year at this time, James offered a pencil drawing of Robert Plant. This year, he turned his hand to John Bonham

These pencil drawing look incredibly like photographs, and lend credence to the idea that James is as good an artist, if not better, than singer. No small praise that.

Cost of the pictures is $95 for a 9 x 13 print signed by Dylan or $65 for a 6.5 x 10 signed print (plus shipping) and can be ordered from JamesDylanOfficial.com. There appears to be Robert Plant prints still available too.

Last year the original pencil drawing was also made available for $2,000 (plus S & H). No word on whether the original is available this time.

via Ramble On Radio, the only Led Zeppelin Podcast.


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Here in Hespeler, We Don’t Separate the Boys from the Men

November 24th, 2014

… the boys are men. But hey, don’t ask me, ask USA today:

While we here in the United States have taken the rather sane approach of postponing high school events scheduled for days in which massive snow arrived, our Canadian counterparts are significantly more brave about playing on through the snow.

In fact, they’re playing as if the snow isn’t even a big deal. The tweet you see above comes from a Central Western Ontario Secondary Schools Association football semifinal competed between the Lourdes Crusaders (of Guelph, Ontario) and Hespeler Hawks on Tuesday night… See you if you can spot any yard lines on that field. We sure can’t.

Even more notable than the snow were the overall weather conditions for the semifinal. This is from the Guelph Mercury, which bravely covered a game that was bravely being played in completely absurd cold conditions…

Below minus-10? That’s absurd, skin freezing on contact cold.

Now, agreed, the writer gets a “Moral and intellectual superior” award for not realizing it was -10 Celsius, not Fahrenheit, about 14F. But still, as someone who was there, brutal game, brutal conditions.

The Hespeler Hawks had a 10-1 season, and won the Waterloo County Secondary School Athletics Association championship.

Here’s a few pictures from the game, and a few more below.


Sports , ,

Jimmy Page by Jimmy Page

November 14th, 2014
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I came home from New York with my Jimmy Page pictorial autobiography,Jimmy Page by Jimmy Page, and my wife picked it up. It’s a big book, and heavy, but beautifully laid out with high quality paper and exquisite pictures throughout. She started nosing through the book, and next thing she is asking questions about Page, looking him up in Wikipedia to see his marital history and does he have kids. You need to understand, she usually rolls her eyes at my Led Zeppelin habit, and has never shown any interest in anything Led Zeppelin related. But here she was keeping me from my Jimmy Page book.

It’s not a cheap book, retailing for $70+ up here in Canada, I bought it for $50 at Jimmy Page’s Q&A in New York last week. But it’s not a book you’ll ever look at and think, “why did spend so much on this?” It’s a beautiful book, it really is. It weighs about as much as a Datsun, the lettering on the cover is gold inlay and the paper photographic quality. It may be a bit steep for a book, but it’s good value for the money.

But the real magic happens when you open it up. Page one, 10 or 12-year old Jimmy Page as a choir boy, and the caption “it might get loud.” It did. The last page is a now famous shot of Page by his friend Ross Halfin, grey haired and holding his guitar in front of him. “It might get louder.”

In between choir boy and mature gentleman, between loud and louder, is more than 500 pages of pictures, telling the story of the musical life of Jimmy Page. Playing his guitar outside his school, his earliest bands, his session days. And look at the pose on his schoolboy picture, or on his knees playing for Neil Christian and the Crusaders. He had those Jimmy Page moves long before anyone called him “Jimmy F-in Page.” Onward to the Yardbirds, then Led Zeppelin. Onstage, backstage, leaping through the air and tuning his guitars behind and amp, massive crowd in the background. All minimally captioned, walking you through the story, but letting the pictures do the yeoman’s work, the captioned merely filling in the details.

Open Jimmy Page by Jimmy Page to any page, and you’ll find a picture to enjoy. And if you don’t happen to like any of the pictures on that page, try the next one, it’s sure to have something. So many of the pictures are excellent, so many interesting. There’s very few you won’t study a bit, absorb the story it tells. Page reportedly spent a lot of time tracking down pictures and it shows. If you’re a Led Zeppelin fan, you’ll have seen many of them, but never in this detail, not in this quality. And there are plenty others that you’ve never seen, won’t see outside of this book.

If there’s one thing missing, considering he does refer to it as an autobiography, it’s any pictures of Page when he’s not, in one way or another, at work. There’s no pictures of any of his children (or his granddaughter for that matter) and only one of any of his wives, a fairly well known shot of he and Charlotte Martin exiting a helicopter backstage at Knebworth in 1979. This book is strictly about Jimmy Page, musician.

Jimmy Page by Jimmy Page, the pictorial autobiography of the Led Zeppelin guitarist is, simply put, an excellent book.


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Tears for Fears: Songs from the Big Chair

November 13th, 2014

Being a rock guy in the 80’s was hard. All these keyboards, all the pop was being done by primarily synthesizer bands. Even the guitar players in rock bands had tone that sounded like it was coming from a little girl guitarist instead of big hairy guys: Maybe it was the make-up. But still, you found you liked a Poison or a Def Leppard or a Cinderella, mostly I suspect because you can’t hate everybody. But those electronic bands, pushing out pop songs on Casio keyboards and Roland drum machines. Those guys you could hate, every one of them.tears-for-fears-v

Except, occasionally one snuck through. It was songwriting mostly that did it, and Tears for Fears where one of those bands. Listening again after all these years to their big album Songs From The Big Chair, remastered and available in a Deluxe Edition, I’m reminded of how good the songs were. The hits especially, Shout, Everybody Wants to Rule the World and Head Over Heels.

The sound on this remastering is excellent. From the opening percussion intro of the mega-hit Shout, to the gentle sway of the sax of I Believe you hear the crystal clear quality of this remastering. This is a fun album to listen to after all these years, and a should get for any fan of 80’s music.

The Super Deluxe Edition is a 4-CD 2-DVD set that comes with a 32 page booklet and a replica tour programme. The Cd’s are loaded with bonus tracks, some of which are for the strictly hardcore fan, but a lot of other, specifically the disc full of singles versions and live recordings, are worth the listen for more casual fans. The DVD’s consist of an audio-DVD and a video DVD


Tears For Fears – Songs From The Big Chair (Super Deluxe Edition) [4CD + 2DVD]
Super Deluxe Edition
TRACKLIST:

DISC ONE
1 Shout
2 The Working Hour
3 Everybody Wants To Rule The World
4 Mothers Talk
5 I Believe
6 Broken
7 Head Over Heels
8 Listen
9 The Big Chair (B-Side Shout)
10 Empire Building (B-Side Mothers Talk)
11 The Marauders (B-Side The Way You Are)
12 Broken Revisited (Ltd Cassette Version)
13 The Conflict (B-Side Change)
14 The Working Hour – Piano Version ( Ltd Cassette Version)
15 Pharoahs (B-Side Everybody)
16 When In Love With A Blind Man (B-Side Head Over Heels)
17 Sea Song (B-Side I Believe)

DISC TWO: Edited Songs – 7″ Versions
1 The Way You Are (7″ Version)
2 Mothers Talk (7″ Version)
3 Shout (7″ Version)
4 Everybody Wants To Rule The World (7″ Version)
5 Head Over Heels (7″ Version)
6 I Believe (A Soulful Re- Recording)
7 Everybody Wants To Run The World (7″ Version)
8 The Way You Are (Short Version)
9 Mothers Talk (US Remix)
10 Shout (US Single Version)
11 Everybody Wants To Run The World (Running Version)
12 Head Over Heels Radio Version)
13 Mothers Talk (Video Version)
14 Shout (Short Version)
15 Listen (Clean intro)
16 Interview With Curt and Roland

DISC THREE: Remixes From The Big Chair
1 The Way You Are (Extended Version)
2 Mothers Talk (Extended Mix)
3 Shout (Extended Remix Version)
4 Everybody Wants To Rule The World (Extended Version)
5 Broken / Head Over Heels / Broken (Preacher Mix)
6 Mothers Talk (Beat Of The Drum Mix)
7 Shout (US Remix)
8 Everybody Wants To Rule The World (Urban Mix)
9 Mothers Talk (US Remix Alternate)
10 Shout (Dub)
11 Everybody Wants To Rule The World (Instrumental)
12 Shout (Acappella)

DISC FOUR: Unreleased Songs From The Big Chair
1 Head Over Heels (Richard Skinner Session)
2 The Working Hour (Richard Skinner Session)
3 Broken (Richard Skinner Session)
4 Mother’s Talk (Live At Massey Hall)
5 Broken/Head Over Heels (Live At Massey Hall)
6 Memories Fade (Live At Massey Hall)
7 The Working Hour (Live At Massey Hall)
8 Everybody Wants To Rule The World (Live At Massey Hall)
9 Shout (Live At Massey Hall)
10 Mothers Talk (Early Mix / Instrumental)
11 The Way You Are (Early Mix)
12 Broken (Early Mix)
13 Shout (Early Mix)
14 Everybody Wants To Rule The World (Alternate Single Version)

DISC 5 – 5.1 Mix and Stereo Mix
1 Shout
2 The Working Hour
3 Everybody Wants To Rule The World
4 Mothers Talk
5 I Believe
6 Broken
7 Head Over Heels
8 Listen

DISC 6 – DVD
1 Scenes From The Big Chair – Documentary
2 Interview with producer Chris Hughes
3 The Way You Are (Music Video)
4 Mothers Talk (Alternative UK Video)
5 Mothers Talk (Music Video)
6 Shout (Music Video)
7 Everybody Wants To Rule The World (Music Video)
8 Head Over Heels (Music Video)
9 I Believe (Music Video)
10 Mothers Talk (US Mix – Music Video)
11 Everybody Wants To Run The World (Music Video)
12 The Way You Are (Top Of The Pops)
13 Mothers Talk (Top Of The Pops)
14 Mothers Talk (Top Of The Pops)
15 Shout (Top Of The Pops)
16 Everybody Wants To Rule The World (Wogan)
17 Everybody Wants To Rule The World (Top Of The Pops)
18 Everybody Wants To Rule The World (Top Of The Pops)
19 The Working Hour (Wogan)

2CD Deluxe Edition
DISC ONE
1 Shout
2 The Working Hour
3 Everybody Wants To Rule The World
4 Mothers Talk
5 I Believe
6 Broken
7 Head Over Heels
8 Listen
9 The Big Chair (B-Side Shout)
10 Empire Building (B-Side Mothers Talk)
11 The Marauders (B-Side The Way You Are)
12 Broken Revisited (Ltd Cassette Version)
13 The Conflict (B-Side Change)
14 The Working Hour – Piano Version ( Ltd Cassette Version)
15 Pharoahs (B-Side Everybody)
16 When In Love With A Blind Man (B-Side Head Over Heels)
17 Sea Song (B-Side I Believe)

DISC TWO: Edited Songs – 7″ Versions
1 The Way You Are (7″ Version)
2 Mothers Talk (7″ Version)
3 Shout (7″ Version)
4 Everybody Wants To Rule The World (7″ Version)
5 Head Over Heels (7″ Version)
6 I Believe (A Soulful Re- Recording)
7 Everybody Wants To Run The World (7″ Version)
8 The Way You Are (Short Version)
9 Mothers Talk (US Remix)
10 Shout (US Single Version)
11 Everybody Wants To Run The World (Running Version)
12 Head Over Heels Radio Version)
13 Mothers Talk (Video Version)
14 Shout (Short Version)
15 Listen (Clean intro)
16 Interview With Curt and Roland

1CD, Blu Ray Audio and 1LP formats
1 Shout
2 The Working Hour
3 Everybody Wants To Rule The World
4 Mothers Talk
5 I Believe
6 Broken
7 Head Over Heels
8 Listen

Record Release, Review , ,

Book Review: The Neon Lawyer

November 11th, 2014

Brigham Theodore is a newly minted lawyer, looking for a job the day after passing the bar. He finds one, run by a Russian mobster, and almost immediately finds himself trying a capital murder case. Drama ensues as a sympathetic defendant gets her hotshot young lawyer up against the ambitious district attorney and a system aligned against them.

I love a good legal thriller, and Victor Methos The Neon Lawyer is a good one. All the right elements are there, the little guy lawyer, young and southern, up against the best. The evidence is against him, but the emotional weight of the case is on his side. Fighting the ambition of his opponent, the small time lawyer with his team consisting of one young woman has to convince the jury to ignore the legalities and do the right thing.

If The Neon Lawyer was a John Grisham book, it would have been much longer. Jury selection would take 60 pages, the trial another 150. But Methos keeps things tight, not bogging it down in legal details. This makes for a quick easy read, and a thoroughly enjoyable one at that.


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Album Review: Rated X

November 10th, 2014
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“Oh God, another supergroup.” I thought as I downloaded Rated X’s self titled debut album. While Rated X are designed as a vehicle for singer Joe Lynn Turner, it was the rhythm section that jumped out at me: drummer Carmine Appice and bassist Tony Franklin. Appice has been around forever, showing Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham the ropes to being a professional touring drummer back in ’69 when Zeppelin opened for Appice’s band, Vanilla Fudge. Appice has since drummed for Rod Stewart and Ozzy Osbourne. Franklin, meanwhile, has his own Zeppelin connection, having played bass in Jimmy Page’s post-Zeppelin band The Firm. He has also slapped da fretless bass in Whitesnake and with Appice in his pre-Firm band, Blue Murder. Filled out by Ace Frehley guitarist Karl Cochran, Rated X is a band with a hard rock pedigree.

carmineappicejoelynturneralbumcover640

They are guilty of sounding too 80’s at a time when the older sounds fresher, too much Whitesnake in the sound. Songs like Fire and Ice, and Get Back My Crown cut a little close to the 80’s bone for taste. However, you soon realize that the songwriting is better than most 80’s bands and Turner, who has sung with Rainbow, Deep Purple and Yngwie Malmsteen, has a more soulful voice than anybody who ever sang for Whitesnake. If You Are the Music or Maybe Tonight were 80’s songs, they would be among the best. Our Love Is Not Over is excellent and the Kashmiresque Lhasa could only be pulled off by a band with a rhythm section this good.

Despite my misgivings, Rated X turned out to be an excellent album. A must have for any hard rock fan.

Track listing

  1. Get Back My Crown
  2. This Is Who I Am
  3. Fire And Ice
  4. I Don’t Cry No More
  5. Lhasa
  6. Devil In Disguise
  7. You Are The Music
  8. Peace Of Mind
  9. Maybe Tonight
  10. On The Way To Paradise
  11. Our Love Is Not Over
  12. Stranger In Us All.


Book Review

Review: Robert Plant The Voice That Sailed the Zeppelin by Dave Thompson

November 9th, 2014

It came up last Christmas, one of my guests asked the question that comes up too often: “What the hell is wrong with Robert Plant? Why won’t he do a Led Zeppelin reunion?” It seems so easy, just sing the old songs, make a big pile of money and everybody gets to go away happy. So why won’t he do it? It doesn’t help that Plant tends to answer the question with a series of non-sequiturs: I don’t want to be singing cabaret; I want to move forward with new material – even as he spreads the old liberally through his set lists &tc.

In his new book, Robert Plant: The Voice That Sailed the Zeppelinby Dave Thompson looks at Plant and examines the man through the lens of his history, and the effect it has on Plant today. There are two major events in the Plant narrative, the death of his son Karac in 1977 and the death of his best friend from youth, whom he brought into Led Zeppelin, John Bonham.

On Karac Thompson writes:

His (Plant’s) lifestyle, he knew, had already placed his marriage under incredible strain—the months he spent away touring, leaving Maureen to raise two children on her own. Now there was just one, and Plant could not help but wonder whether things might have been different if he had been at home.

and on John Bonham:

It was John Bonham who sat next to him on the hastily arranged flight back to London, and then for the drive up to the farm. There the boy was buried, at a funeral where Bonham was the only one of the singer’s bandmates or management to even bother attending… Now, the very person who had stood alongside him throughout that terrible night, providing much of the glue with which he repaired his shattered psyche, had himself been taken away.

Those two quotes represent, as much as anything does, the thesis of The Voice That Sailed the Zeppelin. Those two events, presented as they are above, explain so much about Plant’s decisions, including the one not to re-unite Led Zeppelin in any long-term way. Thompson delves into what makes Plant tick far more deeply than into what Plant does or says, using the former to explain the latter. It’s a good thing that he does such a good job of examining Plant the person, because he gets far too many of his facts wrong.

Details like what year Page and Plant played Glastonbury, what they played at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction or the heretofore unheard claim that Yardbirds bassist Chris Dreja actually rehearsed with Plant, Page and John Bonham before turning down the job of bassist in Led Zeppelin and John Paul Jones was brought on board. Furthermore some of his opinion statements, such as the tone of Zeppelin’s songs come from Plant’s lyrics or that the last five albums in Plant’s career – Dreamland to lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar – are the best set of five he has done, including say Led Zeppelin II through Physical Graffiti, are laughable.

But Thompson isn’t after the facts of the case, so much as explaining Plant through the lens of those facts. The fact he got a date wrong here, a song wrong there doesn’t do unrepairable damage to the book. Neither does the obvious fact that Thompson’s trying, for reasons unknown, to tear down the mythology of Led Zeppelin and raise the myth of Robert Plant in it’s place.

In fact, Thompson’s conversational writing style, of which I have been a fan for a long time, makes The Voice that Sailed the Zeppelin a thoroughly enjoyable read. I did not always agree with Thompson, and he gets some of the basics wrong, but Robert Plant: The Voice That Sailed the Zeppelin by Dave Thompson is one of my favourite of the Led Zeppelin books out there. It’s well worth the read.


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Saturday Fluffernutter: The Consummating Like a Dugger Edition

November 8th, 2014
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All the fluffy news about those nutty celebrities

fluffincolorJust when Spotify makes it to Canada, Taylor Swift pulls her music from the streaming service. On the eve of releasing her new album, 1987, Swift refused to release the album to the streaming music service and pulled her previous material. The result: 1984 is the first Platinum album of 2014, selling 1,287,000 copies, 22% of all albums sold in the US.39010007_lg

So much for that whole pick a fight with Spotify strategy.

fluffincolorThe women of the English speaking world are, I am reliably told, suffering a mass heartbreak this week Sherlock actor Benedict Cumberbatch has announced his engagement to to actress Sophie Hunter. Cumberbatch being, I am led to understand, somewhat handsome, this caused much gnashing of teeth and tweeting of Cumber-bitch jokes.

A quick survey of my own home led to tears and weeping, which I’m not sure what exactly that means, However, it seems some of womanhood is upset over this whole Sophie Hunter episode.

Tears or no, here at the Fluffernutter World Headquarters we wish the Cumberbatches every happiness.

fluffincolorIn one of the weirdest, non-fluffy but definitely nutty, stories I have ever covered, AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd’s arrest this week for trying to hire a hitman is among the top.

The story has yet to unfold in court, presumptions of innocence must be maintained and all statements here are alleged, however, it appears the “Hugh Hefner of Tauranga,” which is in New Zealand, likes the hired ladies. He does not like, however, to pay these ladies once they have offered their services, causing friends of the ladies to come looking for the money.

You’ll have to connect your own dots between the above and “attempting to procure the murder of two men,” a charge that was laid, and withdrawn within 48 hours.

Rudd still faces some less serious charges, but nothing that should stop him from touring with AC/DC next year.

fluffincolorThe Duggers are, apparently, a reality TV family of some religious bent. There are 20 or so of them, and the ones of marriageable age do not do any marriagy things. That is to say, kissing is out.

Daughter Dugger Jessa married herself off to one Ben Seewald last weekend. Once married, like most young couples, consummation was on the virginal young minds. As a Dugger, their responsibility is to “wait until the evening to pray and then consummate God’s marriage.” The Seewald’s however, had a peppier timeline than that. They, it seems, were seen to be consummating like bunnies in the church cloakroom immediately after the ceremony.

Hey, when the family tradition is twenty or something kids, there really is no time to spare.


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