Namely, Plant contributed two tracks that will be included on a compilation to be out in September that will benefit Fats Domino's foundation, established to help rebuild some portions of New Orleans that are still in poor shape from Hurricane Katrina two years ago. TBL details the track names plus where and when they were recorded and with whom. Also, Plant performed a set including both songs and some Elvis Presley songs as well as some Zep material onstage just after recording the album. I'll leave it to Dave Lewis to provide those details rather than repeating them here.
The Plant-Krauss coverage in TBL, while mostly stuff I'd seen elsewhere and even reported myself in the Aug. 20 edition of my newsletter, does reveal one detail that was new to me, although precise details are still pretty sketchy. There is talk of a single to be released from the Raising Sand album, probably prior to its release. Again, I won't reveal here which track Dave Lewis cites as most likely. TBL promises the next issue will go behind the scenes with the making of Raising Sand, and personally, I can't wait!
I did get some song samples from rounder.com and also on the album listing at amazon.com. From what I've heard, I'm particularly excited about the Everly Brothers track, "Gone, Gone, Gone."
Something Plant said in an interview for Rounder's electronic press kit struck me as particularly cool: that it was with this project that he was first paired with a singer of equal talent who could follow him. Look back through his history: Who all else has dared to sing harmony with Robert Plant? It's a short list. But probably nobody has done it as well as Alison Krauss did. Oh, I'm getting ahead of myself here. I haven't heard the full album yet! Thirty-second song clips and testaments from those who have heard the album, however, tend to support this statement.
Somebody just politely prodded on John Paul Jones' official discussion group that he's overdue for another update. They are pretty infrequent at that site; the last was in December 2006. Jonesy told me in December 2001, in a four-hour interview conducted in Philadelphia during the "budget tour" with King Crimson that preceded the release of his album The Thunderthief, that he wanted to interact with fans much more often than he was doing at the time. Jonesy soon handed off his Web design and maintenance to Canadian fan Sam Rapallo, the guy behind the Electric Magic site at led-zeppelin.com (yes, I was jealous, but he had a better résumé, and I still no nothing about making Web sites). They launched a new site, and JPJ's resolve to post more often quickly waned. Granted, maybe it's partially because he updates readers almost entirely on his solo activities, like progress on a new studio album that's been in the works for a long time but keeps getting shelved for other projects.
Jonesy has had his hands full, though, no doubt. There was producing Uncle Earl's album, there are bluegrass festivals, there's improving his skills on a mandolin and other assorted string instruments. But he did show up at Bonnaroo, the jam band festival in Tennessee earlier this year. A former coworker of mine texted me from Bonnaroo and told me he was watching JPJ play "Dazed and Confused" onstage. I thought my buddy was just messing with me! But I checked it out, and it's all over Youtube (in two parts). JPJ looked young -- way younger than he should, by comparison to Page and Plant anyway -- and he really appeared to be enjoying himself while revisiting this song he might not have played in front of a crowd since 1975 (verification/corrections, anybody?). Full coverage of this and his other Bonnaroo onstage guest spots in TBL.
The magazine also has a nice rundown of what to expect from the Mothership and TSRTS releases in November. As far as Mothership, I will go out on a limb and agree with Dave Lewis that the real prizes will be on the limited edition versions, especially the collector's edition. I might just happen to have a little inside information on this project myself. Stay tuned to my newsletter for anything I can reveal about that.
While there was nothing particular in this TBL about the ever-elusive Page other than a brief at-press-time mention of his role in testifying in trial against a man in Scotland who subsequently pled guilty to a charge of profiting from the sale of unauthorized live recordings of Led Zeppelin and other bands, TBL promises the next issue will have an interview with Page and info on a biography. Very ambiguous. Do they mean autobiography? It would be very interesting to read Page's own words on himself.
Finally, Dave Lewis discusses those Led Zeppelin reunion rumors and even points to the seemingly errant one-off rumor of a reunited Beck/Page Yardbirds. As for Zep, Lewis feels -- as do I -- that getting together for a once-only tribute show for Atlantic Records' Ahmet Ertegün is not far-fetched; anything further than that, on the other hand, is unlikely. For one thing, Plant will be touring with Alison Krauss to support Raising Sand! This much is sure.