Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Lawsuit alleges Jimmy Page infringed copyright on 'Dazed and Confused'

A lawsuit claiming Jimmy Page copied a 1967 song called "Dazed and Confused" on Led Zeppelin's debut album seeks reimbursement from the author of the original work under that title.

Jake Holmes confirms to Lemon Squeezings the authenticity of an eight-page document appearing on the blog Miss Tila OMG in which he claims Page "copied" his song "without authorization or permission."

Holmes's song called "Dazed and Confused" appears on his album The Above Ground Sound of Jake Holmes, released more than a year before Led Zeppelin's first album contained a song of the same name. Both songs received separate copyright entries from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.

Attorneys for the New York-based singer and guitarist filed the suit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on Monday.

Holmes declined to offer any additional comments to Lemon Squeezings about the suit. In past interviews, he has explained that Page would have heard him play "Dazed and Confused" at a 1967 concert date in New York when Holmes closed his set with the tune. Page's band at that time, the Yardbirds, was headlining the concert.

Two other members of the Yardbirds, Chris Dreja and Jim McCarty, have said in interviews that both McCarty and Page liked the song so much when they heard Holmes perform it that, separately, both purchased copies of Holmes's album the following day. An adaptation of "Dazed and Confused" was added to the Yardbirds' live sets in 1968, the year that Page's new Yardbirds lineup became Led Zeppelin.

It was not until January 1969 that Atlantic Records released Led Zeppelin's first album, which contained a song called "Dazed and Confused" whose copyright was granted solely to Page.

Representatives for Page's management have so far not commented to Lemon Squeezings on the litigation. In the past, Page has denied any knowledge of having heard of the Holmes recording. This includes an interview published in the November 1990 issue of Musician magazine, in which Page denies any connection between his song and Holmes's.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down (Band of Joy song of the week, No. 1 of 12)

Each week until the release of Robert Plant's new album Band of Joy, Lemon Squeezings will focus on the roots of a different song featured on the album. We kick off this 12-part series today with a look at the track with perhaps the longest history, "Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down."

Recall that the late music historian and performer Mike Seeger played autoharp on "Your Long Journey," the Doc Watson-penned closing track of Raising Sand by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. In 1958, Seeger helped to found a string band called the New Lost City Ramblers, a group of musicians steeped in old-time Americana music.

One of the eventual members of this group was Tracy Schwarz, who released an album on the Smithsonian's Folkways label in 1975 called Look Out! Here It Comes. His disc contains no fewer than 17 songs, and only two of them bear his own songwriting credit. The rest hail from other authors or from traditional sources.

In providing his own liner notes for the album, Schwarz presents a good case for cover songs. His argument surely provides something fans of Robert Plant may want to consider as this September he unveils his second straight album on which a majority of the songs are not original -- and Plant's third such disc out of his last four. Schwarz writes:
"You can be sure that on this record I've recorded some music that I've wanted to play very much for a long time. Why record music that someone else has already done, anyway? Well, I believe that a person can always make learned music their own as long as that person is personally involved with it -- committed to it -- and doesn't treat the music as a one-time glass-encased phenomenon. ... This is my favorite music, and I'm committed to it for life."

Friday, June 25, 2010

Austin songwriter's 'never-ending quest' lands him spot on Robert Plant's album

Once, I spent part of an afternoon tucked away inside Robert's Western World, one of the honkytonks on Broadway in Nashville, Tennessee. I was so enthralled by the music a local by the name of Dave Cox was playing that I found myself incapable of leaving to go visit anything else in town. Of course, there would have been plenty of other places on Music City's main drag for me to check out, but why leave when I'd already found it?

What I'd found, I suppose, was "the only sound that matters."

Texas native Greg Vanderpool coined that phrase during the two years he spent as a struggling musician in Nashville.

"Texas is home, but I had a really good experience while I was in Nashville," he says in an interview for Lemon Squeezings. "I was spending a lot of time just really going out and hearing music almost every night and just soaking up everything I could. In a lot of ways, it was secondary education just because there are so many good players and writers in Nashville. ... I would go hear bands play all the time, and a lot of times by myself, and maybe drinking a little bit more than I should, in the constant, never-ending quest for some sort of musical fulfillment or gratification."

It's a familiar scenario in Nashville. You can just duck your head into one of the many buzzing establishments, where people are free to come and go as they please, with nobody at the door to collect a cover charge. But you can step inside and hang, just to check out what the music's like in there. If it's not your speed, you can go on to the next place. At each entrance, you hope for the best and mutter to yourself something akin to the words of this refrain:
"I'm looking for the only sound that matters. Is there one in here?"
Listen to the interview

Vanderpool returned to Texas with that finished song and a lot of other original tunes he'd written during his days in Nashville. "The Only Sound that Matters" made it onto the second album from his Austin band Milton Mapes. The album is Westernaire, released in 2003. And now that track has been picked up by Robert Plant for his new album.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Jimmy Page spotted among percussionists in Brazil

Portuguese-language websites have been spreading the images of a Jimmy Page sighting in Brazil. Reports say Page landed in Rio de Janiero on Monday and plans to depart on June 28 after visiting some more samba schools, like the one where he was photographed on Wednesday.

The published pictures -- see two here, another pair here and three more here -- are from his June 23 stop by a samba school, where Page flashed his own camera while in a circle of samba percussionists. Page also loosened up with musician Ivo Meirelles, a school official, who can be seen at right playing air guitar.

Page's visit to Rio de Janiero for a charity fundraiser last November saw the guitarist play a single power chord on guitar over the duration of his stay. He avoided playing guitar and joining in with student musicians who were performing some Led Zeppelin tunes and other numbers.

While no guitar was in sight while the snapshots were taken, it's possible this trip could lead to some jamming from Page, who recently told reporters in London to expect new music from him later this year. One article mentions Page plans to return in September to record the musicians.

On this trip to Brazil, Page has so far not spoken directly with the media. On June 10 in London, he declined to reveal what his new material would sound like and said he hoped to surprise listeners. He also said he wouldn't be recording with big names.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Can Led Zeppelin save the world?

Some "world citizens" with an ambitious stated goal, "to save our planet," are organizing a two-day concert to be held this September in Toronto. And they want Led Zeppelin to reunite for the event.

In fact, the organizers of the "Imagine Concert for World Change" want Led Zeppelin to reunite so badly that they have already obtained a double-neck guitar for Jimmy Page to play and even had a representative of the Mohawk Traditional Council bless it.

According to the description of a video posted to YouTube on Monday:
This sacred guitar will give birth to 3 other sacred instruments, each representing the four directions of the medicine wheel. Attached to the instrument is a medicine bag and an eagle's feather[.]

After rubbing the medicine bag which contains white magickal medicine, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham will be given special powers to unite humanity for healing Mother Earth.
During his spiritual invocation, the tribal cleric chanted and shook the medicine bag in front of the guitar. In the company of a prayer circle, he then intoned, "We ask that the energy flow through this instrument to bring back to our Mother Earth the true spirit of the great law of peace."

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Zep tribute band to revisit California '77 show on anniversary

The California-based tribute band Led Zepagain is scheduled to perform its rendition of a 1977 Led Zeppelin concert 33 years after a six-night string of shows all at the Forum in the Los Angeles area. The tribute act is to perform an all-ages show this Saturday, June 26, at the Grove of Anaheim.

Led Zepagain has performed retrospectives of the concerts from that era for the past two-and-a-half years under the banner of "The '77 Tour Revisited." Guitarist Steve Zukowsky tells Lemon Squeezings the band attempts to keep everything pretty true to the form of those concerts.

"We've got the same outfits," he says. "I've got the white dragon poppy suit that [Jimmy] Page wore, and [drummer] Jim Kersey has the stainless steel drum kit that Bonham used then. We try and make it look like a '77 show and do a typical set list."

Part of Zukowsky's affinity toward the shows of the '77 era was because he attended one in Oakland, California, at age 14. "I had been playing guitar for probably a couple of years at that point. I think I started when I was 12," he says. He said he found the concert to be "just very inspiring -- I remember coming back from that show [saying], 'Man, I've gotta learn how to play "Over the Hills and Far Away."' That was so great."

In January 2004, Zukowsky had the opportunity to turn the tables around and perform for Jimmy Page. The Led Zeppelin guitarist showed up, unannounced, at a Led Zepagain concert in Hollywood. "It was a complete surprise to us," Zukowsky says, laughing.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Yardbirds bassist Chris Dreja drops Zeppelin bombshell; Auditions spurred opinions 'Bonham was an absolute must-have; A little iffy about Robert'

Chris Dreja, the original Yardbirds rhythm guitarist turned bassist turned rock photographer, has spoken out recently about his involvement in the transition from the Yardbirds to Led Zeppelin. When his bandmate in the Yardbirds, guitarist Jimmy Page, was auditioning prospects for the new rock group that turned out to be Led Zeppelin, Dreja was literally along for the ride.

He accompanied Page and their manager, Peter Grant, to the auditions of singer Robert Plant and drummer John Bonham over the summer of 1968. In a new interview to be broadcast this week on Carol Miller's "Get the Led Out," Dreja reveals that only one of those two musicians was a certainty upon the audition. (Disclosure: I work as a consultant to the show and its website.)

"John Bonham was an absolute must-have. A little iffy about Robert," says Dreja, who shared the ride with Page and Grant on the way back from both auditions. Listen to a minute's worth of the interview here.

Shown at right is the 1968 photo Dreja took of the newly formed Led Zeppelin lineup that appears on the back cover of the band's first album.

Dreja continues to tour with a modern-day version of the Yardbirds. Shown at left is a publicity shot taken of the 2005 lineup, featuring Dreja at right and founding drummer Jim McCarty at second from left. Dreja's interview for "Get the Led Out" was conducted earlier this month at the conclusion of the band's American tour.

The 60-minute "Get the Led Out" episode with Dreja's interview airs at 8 p.m. Eastern tonight on New York's Q 104.3 FM and streams online at www.q1043.com at that time. The show also airs at various dates and times this week in more than 70 other markets. Click here to find a station near you broadcasting "Get the Led Out."

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Indie rockers Low excited to hear Robert Plant sing pair of their songs

Ask Alan Sparhawk what it's like to have a song of his covered by Robert Plant, and you're asking only half of the question. Not one but two songs written with his Duluth, Minnesota-based band Low are making it onto the release Band of Joy this September.

"Come on, man, it's Robert Plant singing your tunes," he laughs in a phone conversation. "He can do whatever he wants, man. I'm excited. I'm super excited."

The two songs, "Silver Rider" and "Monkey," originally appeared on Low's album The Great Destroyer, released five years ago on the Sub Pop Records label. Sparhawk, who plays guitar and sings alongside his wife Mimi Parker in Low, says that although he hasn't yet heard either of Plant's takes, he has a feeling they'll be to his liking -- in part based on some of Plant's past cover material.

"Because of his skills and because of the people he's working with, I think he has tons of freedom to really find the essence of how he wants to play a song," says Sparhawk. "I think songs really are sort of little roadmaps, and I think good artists can take a song and work with it and make it their own."

In an interview for Lemon Squeezings, Sparhawk discusses the meanings behind both songs, but he's also quite talkative when he's asked about some of his favorite Led Zeppelin recordings. One of them is the posthumous outtakes compilation Coda, which he says is how he first started listening to the band:
"That one really kind of got me in and, I don't know, people may disagree, but I do feel it was a great first record to absorb."
Sparhawk is also a fan of the early concert footage on Led Zeppelin's DVD set, and he's particularly impressed with how Plant comes across:
"In '69 and '70, people were barely starting to use monitors and stuff, and Robert's just totally nailing that stuff. That's really hard to do. It's really hard to sing well and in pitch and with that much tone in a live rock situation, and he was just nailing that stuff. You just don't see that when you see footage of other bands playing live even back then. It's pretty rare that somebody had it together that much."
You can listen to the interview with Alan Sparhawk of Low here:

Also, check out the group's official website, www.chairkickers.com.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Two Led Zeppelin members gigging in London on same night?

There was one week last December in which Jimmy Page appeared at the London theatrical premiere of the movie It Might Get Loud; Robert Plant's son Logan played with his band Sons of Albion in London one night later; and John Paul Jones spent the following two nights playing in London with Them Crooked Vultures.

There may be another close call of the Zeppelin kind in London in two weeks if rumors turn out to be true. One show featuring John Paul Jones is confirmed, but two shows -- including one on the same night -- are rumored that would be headlined by Robert Plant.

Tickets went on sale this morning for a special appearance by Them Crooked Vultures at the O2 Academy Brixton. The show on July 5 is a benefit for Brian O'Connor, a friend of Vultures singer Homme and bassist for the Eagles of Death Metal. Reports say O'Connor has been diagnosed with cancer and has no medical insurance coverage.

In the meantime, Tixdaq has published speculation that Robert Plant would announce two shows at London's HMV Forum. According to the reporting, the first show would take place the same night as the Vultures concert elsewhere in town. The second show would be July 6.

So far, no official word on the dates has been released. (Update, June 19: TBL/Web reports, "We have it on good authority that this will not be the case." Further, TBL/Web linked to an exclusive deal on pre-sale U.K. concert tickets for Plant album pre-sales placed on HMV.com by July 5.)

Tickets went on sale between March and May for 12 Plant shows booked in the Southern United States with the Band of Joy lineup that is to accompany him on his Sept. 13/14 album release. These are the only officially announced concert dates so far for Plant, although his U.S. label, Rounder Records, has said other dates would be announced.

On a related note, tickets go on sale tomorrow for a Them Crooked Vultures show to take place July 28 in Shibuya, Japan. For the moment, it is one of only six concerts remaining for the band before a scheduled hiatus so that members Homme and Dave Grohl can focus other projects with Queens of the Stone Age and Foo Fighters, respectively. Jones has not commented on what plans he may have in store beyond after their tour comes to a close following a July 30 festival appearance in Japan.

Jimmy Page made headlines last week when repeating his intention to release new music this year and to be playing concerts as well.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Blues tricks are best on Mojo, new disc from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

It's been well over 30 years since "American Girl" and "Breakdown" kicked off a giant catalog of memorable songs for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. It's hard not to associate the veteran band with epic videos like "Don't Come Around Here No More" and chart-toppers like "Runnin' Down a Dream" and "Mary Jane's Last Dance." Will tomorrow's release of the Heartbreakers' studio album No. 12, Mojo, add to that list of memorable songs?

To this reviewer, it already has. Watching their "Saturday Night Live" performance in May has gotten both songs on permanent repeat in my head ever since. And there's more on the disc where those came from.

One constant throughout much of this album is that it wears its influences on its sleeve. Obvious from Steve Ferrone's drum entrance in "I Should Have Known It" is distinct inspiration from John Bonham. It was his style, perfected on "When the Levee Breaks" and "Kashmir" among others, to lay down a plodding and authoritative rhythm to support a guitar riff. Yet this method has also been the domain of numerous Bonham imitators, heard on AC/DC's "Back in Black" and Whitesnake's "Still of the Night." Thus, Billy Squier's "Lonely is the Night" seems to be the biggest direct influence on Petty and the Heartbreakers here, especially in terms of song structure. Note the reprise of the riff in double-time rocking out at the end of the song: That's totally Squier territory.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Fresh from honors, Jimmy Page refuses to comment on current musical direction

The concept of picking up awards the way Jimmy Page does is something few others can comprehend. He hasn't exactly been an active musician for some time now, yet it seems that almost anytime somebody somewhere holds an awards ceremony of some kind, Page is on hand to take home one of the top honors.

This again proved to be the case Thursday night at the annual Mojo Honours List Awards gala exalting musicians for their talents. The soon-to-be-published author was all smiles as he was inducted into Mojo's Hall of Fame.

With John Paul Jones at his side two years ago this month, Page showed up at Mojo's 2008 awards ceremony the night Led Zeppelin was named the previous year's "best live act" as voted on by readers in recognition of the group's single reunion concert. Remarkably, the one-off show in 2007 had been Page's first show anywhere in more than five years.

And the question then was: What would Page's next move be?

Two years later, the question is just as relevant. The tired and silly question of whether Led Zeppelin will reunite has been debunked enough.

Previously unheard '70s interview with Jimmy Page to air on radio

Jimmy Page rarely sat down for interviews in the late 1970s, a fact that has been attributed to his growing mistrust of the press at that time. One interview with the Led Zeppelin guitarist taped during this successful period for the group will be heard for the first time next week.

This interview of Page was conducted by one of his peers in the musical field, singer Long John Baldry (shown at left), who along with Page had been a member of the Cyril Davies R&B All Stars in 1963. Their recorded conversation takes place during Led Zeppelin's heyday, looking back on the time both musicians took part in the U.K. blues boom of the early '60s.

Their interview is both "intimate and revealing," according to a press release issued by Denny Somach Productions for the nationally syndicated "Get the Led Out" radio show hosted by Carol Miller. (Disclosure: I work as a consultant to the show and its website.)

In addition to reflecting on their days performing live with Cyril Davies, Page recalls the formation of Led Zeppelin and discusses their first tour as a new lineup of the Yardbirds. In this exclusive, Web-only audio sample of the interview, Page chats about Led Zeppelin's earliest American gigs leading up to a supporting role at the Fillmore West in San Francisco in 1969.

"Get the Led Out" airs on about 70 radio markets in the United States, including New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and Indianapolis. Local airdates for this episode vary by station but should take place between Monday, June 14, and Sunday, June 20. Check your local listings or call your local classic rock station for more information.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Black Country Communion provides details of September album release

Along with the scheduling of a release date this September, the Black Country Communion supergroup has officially announced the track listing of its debut album, Black Country.

The album -- featuring Jason Bonham on drums, Joe Bonamassa on guitar and vocals, Glenn Hughes on lead vocals and bass, and Derek Sherinian on keyboards -- is to be released:
  • Sept. 20 in the United Kingdom on the Mascot Records label
  • Sept. 21 in the United States on the J&R Adventures label
In this regard, the album follows the release of Robert Plant's Band of Joy by exactly one week.

The name of the album, Black Country, is almost nearly a self-titled one. Would the band have been legally allowed to keep its earlier announced name of "Black Country," it would have worked out that the band, the album, and the first song on that album are all identical.

The track listing of Black Country is as follows:

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Les Paul Foundation launches website on late guitar innovator's 95th birthday

Twenty-three years ago today, when Les Paul turned 72 years young, Jimmy Page turned up at Fat Tuesday's jazz club in New York for a jam session attended by stars including Jeff Beck.

On Monday nights between 1984 and 1996, Paul played weekly sets there. From 1996 on, he moved those gigs to his own New York jazz club, the Iridium. The innovator of modern guitar and recording was just that accessible to fans long after he was said to have "retired from performing" all the way back in 1964.

Last night, Beck returned to New York, performing at the Iridium the first of two shows, in part to celebrate the first Les Paul birthday since his death last summer. Beck's second show takes place tonight, on the same day a foundation established in Paul's name officially launches a new, interactive website, www.LesPaulFoundation.org.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Led Zeppelin still bigger than the Beatles

What a weekend for Led Zeppelin! The band topped a BBC poll for "I'm in a Rock N Roll Band!" over the also short-listed Beatles and Queen. And John Bonham earned the nod for best drummer as well, during the week he would have turned 62 years old.

Here in the United States, I didn't know much about this until I received the following from Simon, a reader in England who was one of the first guys to fill me in on Led Zeppelin's reunion gig in December 2007. Simon says (he always does that):
The BBC has been running a series of programmes on TV & Radio these past 6 weeks to find the best Guitarist, best Drummer, best Singer, best Bassist and best Band. You might be interested in the results from the national poll:

  • Best Band - Led Zeppelin (runners up - The Beatles & Queen)
  • Best Guitarist - Jimi Hendrix (runners up - Jimmy Page & Slash)
  • Best Singer - Freddie Mercury (runners up - Robert Plant & Kurt Cobain)
  • Best Drummer - John "Bonzo" Bonham (runners up - Keith Moon and Dave Grohl)
  • Best Bassist - Flea (runners up - no details, but John Paul Jones was in the top 10!)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Ian Anderson remembers Jethro Tull sharing bill with Led Zeppelin

Jethro Tull is back in the United States again today for another tour. Singer/floutist Ian Anderson and guitarist Martin Barre have made a habit of touring the United States for many years, going back to the days when they shared bills with Led Zeppelin in 1969.

Today, Anderson remembers getting on well with most of the members of Led Zeppelin but admits the relationship between him and Robert Plant might not have gotten off to a good start. And although offstage antics distanced the two bands, he still has a big respect for Plant's vocal abilities and looks.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Roger reiterates Page plea; Daltrey wants work with Led Zeppelin guitarist

For the second time this year, Roger Daltrey has taken his desire to make music with Jimmy Page to the press.

"Why not?" the Who singer says in Uncut magazine. "I'm a huge fan, and he's such an immense talent -- a wasted talent at the moment, it's criminal."

Daltrey's interview figures into this piece by Neil Spencer, published in Uncut's June 2010 issue and focusing on a possible end to the Who.

Discussing the topic of continuing to collaborate with Pete Townshend, his only fellow surviving original member of the Who, Daltrey shows his age. He says things such as, "Our bodies are beginning to give up on us," and "I'm really enjoying singing again, but you have to be realistic -- I'm 66 f---ing years old!"

A few remarks of Daltrey's are aimed once again at coaxing the Led Zeppelin guitarist into some kind of a working relationship with him. Daltrey says, "I would love to get together [with Page] and put a bit of fire into things, just to show that we're still alive and kicking -- and can kick well!"

Earlier this year, Daltrey said in an interview with BBC Radio 6 Music's Shaun Keaveny, "I'd love to do something, I'd love to do an album with Jimmy Page. He needs a singer to drive him. I'm a great blues singer. I don't sing the blues with the Who, but that's what I used to be before Townshend started writing. I was a great blues singer."

This is Jimmy Page we're talking about, named one of "The 30 Greatest Classic Rock Heroes" in the latest special collectors edition of Guitar Legends magazine currently on newsstands. He must have no shortage of offers coming in from people with their eyes set on having him as their guitarist.

One such offer may have just come in from one of Page's former bandmates in the Firm, drummer Chris Slade.

A May 26 article for the Contra Costa Times focusing on artwork by former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted says "he received a message from former AC/DC and The Firm drummer Chris Slade, who texted he was 'looking for (Jimmy) Page and Newsted."

Laughs Newsted:
"Jimmy Page and Chris Slade. What time do you want me there? When you get called by your first name by guys whose posters you used to have on the wall -- and still do, as my dad has kept my old room the way it was with the posters of Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith and AC/DC -- surreal is the word for it."

Them Crooked Vultures, returning to Europe, so far find it 'delicious'

hi europe ! we're baack & so far it's delicious !!
The above is understood only along with the context of the picture shown at right.

This is how Them Crooked Vultures first communicated with fans on Twitter to announce the full band's presence in Europe on the day of the group's first gig on the mainland continent since December.

The current string of shows in Europe features only two nights off in the next nine days, followed by more than two weeks of scheduled rest before taking in two Scandinavian festival appearances on June 30 and July 1. The full European itinerary ahead:
  • Thu, 06/03/2010 - Vienna, Austria - Open Air Arena
  • Fri, 06/04/2010 - Nurnberg, Germany - Rock Im Park Festival
  • Sun, 06/06/2010 - Nurburgring, Germany - Rock Am Ring Festival
  • Mon, 06/07/2010 - Luxembourg - Rockhal
  • Tue, 06/08/2010 - Paris, France - Le Zenith
  • Thu, 06/10/2010 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - Heineken Music Hall
  • Fri, 06/11/2010 - Donington Park, United Kingdom - Download Festival
  • Wed, 06/30/2010 - Arendal, Norway - Hove Festival
  • Thu, 07/01/2010 - Borlange, Sweden - Peace & Love Festival

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Full track listing revealed for Robert Plant's 'Band of Joy' album

Planet Rock Radio's Rob Birnie attended the June 1 listening party of Robert Plant's forthcoming album Band of Joy in London, and today a story posted by Planet Rock's Liz Barnes reveals the disc's full track listing.

The seven song titles that were reported in yesterday's review by Richard Smirke for Billboard.biz were only some of the tracks on the album. According to Planet Rock, there are five others.

The full track listing, as reported by Planet Rock, is:

  1. Angel Dance
  2. House of Cards
  3. Central Two-O-Nine
  4. Silver Rider
  5. You Can't Buy my Love
  6. I'm Falling In Love Again
  7. The Only Sound That Matters
  8. Monkey
  9. Cindy, I'll Marry You One Day
  10. Harms Swift Way
  11. Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down
  12. Even This Shall Pass Away

Back in February, before Robert Plant himself ever made any public mention of the album being in the works, Darrell Scott revealed in an article published by the Bristol (Va.) Herald Courier that he had participated in the recording of an album with Plant. The article even mentioned one of the album tracks was called "Cindy."

On Feb. 11, LedZeppelinNews.com reported that song is "a traditional bluegrass number also recorded and performed under the title 'Get Along Home, Cindy.'" Today's reported track title, "Cindy, I'll Marry You One Day," appears to be another variation on the theme.

One additional note: The album's working title that LedZeppelinNews.com reported on Feb. 11, It's Rude to Say No, has obviously been rejected in favor of the name Band of Joy. That tentative title was first included in a biography of Plant that appeared on the Web site of a charity concert in which he was participating that month.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Robert Plant holds 'Band of Joy' album preview in London

Billboard's Richard Smirke gave his thoughts on the new album from Robert Plant titled "Band of Joy" after attending an exclusive preview of the disc in London today.

While Plant attended the preview and spoke briefly about the album, very few details were distributed to attendees about the personnel. Song titles were revealed, as contained in Smirke's report.

As of today, Amazon is also listing dates for the album release on its U.S. and U.K. sites. The U.K./international release of the album is listed for Monday, Sept. 13, on the Universal label, with the U.S. release to follow a day later, on Tuesday, Sept. 14, on the Rounder label. Pre-orders are being taken on both sites.

Smirke describes the album as "similar in tone and instrumentation to Raising Sand" and makes for "a triumphant follow-up" to that album with Alison Krauss. While he says Band of Joy capably "replicates the raw organic sound of its predecessor," here's the very intriguing part: It often rocks more.

Seven song titles conveyed by Smirke's review for Billboard are as follows:
  • "Angel Dance" is the opening track, described as "a driving blues" and one of the "standout tracks"
  • "Silver Rider" is described as another of the "standout tracks" and "an epic duet" with a female vocalist (probably Patty Griffin, Smirke surmises), and the song "alternates between quiet relaxed verses and an infectiously catchy rock chorus"
  • "I'm Falling in Love Again" is "a beautifully soulful country ballad," Smirke reports
  • "You Can't Buy My Love" is said to convey "a foot-tapping cross between Johnny Cash and Hamburg-era Beatles"
  • "Monkey," he says, "momentarily harks back to Plant's days in Led Zeppelin" featuring a "potent mix of feedback, grinding rock riffs and deep bass" (my observation: note the monkey on the album cover)
  • "Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down" is another "blues number" that, he says, "pushes Plant's still-powerful vocals to the fore"
  • "Even This Shall Pass Away" (my observation: perhaps a mournful title mirroring the Raising Sand closer "Your Long Journey") is one Smirke says "finds Plant singing, 'What is wealth, the King would say/Even this shall pass away,' before culminating in an extended instrumental outro"
Update: Digging up some information on the album tracks:
  • There's a band called Low with a 2005 album called The Great Destroyer. This album shares two song titles with Plant's Band of Joy: On The Great Destroyer, the first track is called "Monkey," and the fourth track is called "Silver Rider."
  • "You Can't Buy My Love": If you happen to have a 1995 CD called Immediate R&B: Charly R&B Masters, Vol. 8, then there's a chance you bought it because of some Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton tracks on it. (Charly Records owns the masters to a lot of old tracks from the '60s like a few Clapton and Page played on together, and the label is also known for liberally licensing those records for new albums rehashing the same material over and over again, at the drop of a hat.) One of the 20 tracks on this particular Vol. 8 is a song called "You Can't Buy My Love" by singer/guitarist Barbara Lynn. The song is credited to B. Babineaux. Whether there is any relation between this number and the song of the same name on Plant's Band of Joy album remains to be seen, but it may be one in the same. This blogger describes Lynn's "You Can't Buy My Love" as "a delightful, a beatles kind of song with some sort of jazz added to it ... really upbeat ..." Smirke also makes the Beatles comparison when he says Plant's version has "a foot-tapping cross between Johnny Cash and Hamburg-era Beatles." Or maybe everybody's just confused by the song title resembling a Beatles song title.
  • "Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down" appears as a traditional or in the public domain on a number of albums in the past several years. The oldest version I've discovered so far is by Blind Joe Taggart, recorded all the way back in the early 1930s. Uncle Tupelo, Jeff Tweedy's other band besides Wilco, may have popularized the song in 1992 by including it on the album March 16-20, 1992. Other versions have since appeared, including by Paul Hostetter in 1994, Dick Kimmel in 2000, Jason Boone in 2008, Medeski Martin & Wood in 2009, and Willie Nelson earlier this year on his Rounder Records album Country Music.
  • Chuck Berry's 1979 album Rock It contains "Pass Away," which is credited to himself although it is a spoken-work adaptation of Theodore Tilton's 1886 1866 poem "The King's Ring." Based on the lyrics cited in Smirke's Billboard review as part of Plant's Band of Joy album closer "Even This Shall Pass Away," Plant probably did the same thing as Chuck Berry, giving the poem a new title. It does not appear to have been recorded under this title previously. If Plant is indeed singing as Smirke says, rather than speaking, it may be an original melody.