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Old Yardbirds Never Die—They Get Famous, Rich (LZ I review)


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Old Yardbirds Never Die—They Get Famous, Rich

Appleton Post-Crescent | Appleton, Wisconsin | Sunday, March 30, 1969


Led Zeppelin (Atlantic SD 8216, stereo).

Old Yardbirds never die: they just formulate other groups and go on to become rich and famous. Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck have been successful with their own groups and now Jimmy Page lends his guitar playing and compositional skills to the English quartet, Led Zeppelin. Joined by bassist-organist

John Paul Jones (of early Manfred Mann ), drummer John Bonham and lead vocalist Robert Plant, Page is still required to accept most of the difficult musical touches they attempt. He is a competent

guitarist of the bluesy cum psychedelic raga school which the Yardbirds helped develop and popularize, but I wonder if his style hasn't frozen at that point (if his artistic vision isn't decidedly backward to the good old old Yard days), rather than moved forward to the fresh musical

experience of a new group.

For instance, his little instrumental theme, "Black Mountain Side," is only a slight rewriting of his "White Summer" (heard on the final Yardbird LP, "Little Games"). The piece is nearly two years old, and while it is good to hear it under better engineering and without fret noises, its inclusion does not speak of great creative activity on Page's part during the interim.

Nostalgia for times farther back is shown on "I Can't Quit You Baby," a Willie Dixon slow blues , very

straight with a strong vocal by Plant, yet it's the same old scene of young Englishmen trying to sound black

"Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" has the best and most imaginative arrangement of anything here. It's layered-parfait quality of hard and soft sounds follows logical emotional tension-release patterns

that are nonetheless unpredictable and delightful. "You Shook Me," another Dixon blues, is dragged

through heavy changes and slide effects, which is okay but not new. A harmonica solo by Plant is adequate. "Dazed and Confused" is about half way through when its graphic anguish loses the song's direction.

My favorite cut is "Your Time Is Gonna Come," mostly because it recalls a lot of the best rock that ever came from Britain (Stones, Animals, Procol Harum are conjured up.) Hendrix is the inspiration for "Communication Breakdown" — and it's better than one might think for a short rocker.

A confused entry, "How Many More Times," closes the set. In it the old rock, the new rock and "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine" are all involved; but I'll be damned if I know why.

* * *

How Jimmy Page got tied up with Cartoone (even as a guest artist) is beyond me. The group is like the Bee Gees without the charm of the Gibb brothers; just syrupy music. Comparing Led Zeppelin

and Cartoone is like judging real life against "The Heart of Juliet Jones." It's gutless and insignificant.

I can see almost any single track being played on the radio as easy fill-in material; but two Cartoone tracks in a row and you're on to them. * * *

Led Zeppelin is a good group, but Jethro Tull is an important group; important because it introduces (as do several other combos) jazz to rock listeners. ("Serenade to a Cuckoo" by Roland Kirk

features Ian Anderson on flute and is a nice, light, lilting number. The guitar solo by Mick Abrahams is assured and appropriated.) The other numbers on side one are loose, funky things not precisely

r & b or rock.

Side two opens with a mover instrumental, "Dharma for One," featuring a powerhouse drum solo by Clive Bunker; an inventive and irreverent outing; all sockoflash and not too long. "Cat's Squirrel" is traditional blues offering a change of pace more than anything else, though it goes on for 5 minutes. "A Song for Jeffrey" moves again and gets just a little too involuted to suit my tastes.

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Cartoone were formed in 1967 from a band called The Chevlons. Cartoone toured all over Scotland in support of many top bands like The Tremeloes, The Merseybeats and The Hollies, to name just a few.

After a year of touring Cartoone decided to join Derek Creigan in London in 1968 to write some new songs and possibly gain a recording contract. Through singer Lulu they contacted Mark London to play him some of the songs they had written. Mark was so impressed with the band and their songs he took them into a recording studio the next day and put down 4 songs with just acoustic guitars. Mark then took those songs to Jerry Wexler world famous producer, and Ahmet Ertegün President of Atlantic Records who signed Cartoone for a two album deal.

The album was made with Jimmy Page as guest artist. The album was released on Atlantic Records in 1969 Guest Artists:- 1st Album- Cartoone -Jimmy Page--- 2nd Album- Reflections - Les Harvey--- Producer:- Mark London--- Engineers:- Brian Humphries and Eddie Offord--- Cartoone appeared on Top of the Pops on 16th Jan 1969 with their single "Penny for the Sun". They also appeared on BBC TV on It's Happening for Lulu the 12 Dec 1968 which also featured her hubby Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees. Cartoone were to form a close friendship with Lulu and Maurice around that very exciting time in the 60's.

In April-June 1969 Cartoone went over to USA to support Led Zeppelin on tour, - with their very first gig in USA at Madison Square Gardens, New York.

Unfortunately the Led Zeppelin audience didn't appreciate the soft melodic sound of Cartoone in their support slot with Zeppelin. Consequently the album didn't sell as well as expected to that type of audience who were after long guitar and drum solos, plus heavy riffs.

After the tour Atlantic were disappointed with what they saw as poor sales of Cartoone's album (80,000 copies sold in USA ) so they dropped Cartoone and refused to release their second album which was called Reflections this and the original album have been deleted, and gather dust in the Atlantic Records vaults at present. The first album is a very rare vinyl record that is worth £50 (UK version) and the gatefold USA version can be bought on ebay, but you will have to bid for it.

Hopefully the Atlantic Records or Rhino Records will re-release both albums once again on CD to allow the general public to hear Derek Creigan's unique voice with his band Cartoone. Plus all the Jimmy Page fans can listen to him with Cartoone in session man mode. It would make sense, as there is a market for 60's bands like Cartoone as there is a resurgence of nostalgia for that era and it's music.

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My favorite cut is "Your Time Is Gonna Come," mostly because it recalls a lot of the best rock that ever came from Britain (Stones, Animals, Procol Harum are conjured up.

In other words - I like it because it is like everything else.

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I'm loving these old articles you're posting Cat...it shows the

kind of mindset among reviewers Zeppelin was up against back

then. Keep them coming!

And, SteveAJones, I have to second your hopes that Rhino or maybe

somebody like the Sundazed label re-releases Cartoone.

I have that great double-cd compilation of Page's 60's session work

"Hip Young Guitar Slinger" and I tried to find some cds of First Gear

and the Primitives but had no luck. And I was completely ignorant of

Jimmy's work with the band Cartoone...never even heard of them until

just now!

Somebody should realize there is a market for these old bands' records!!!

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Yep, nice work Cat, enjoying this post and many others, thanks for the background info on Cartoone, Mr Jones. Americans must have seemed narrow minded to Brits. I think David Bowie had that impression.

Funny how this reviewer picks "Your time is gonna come" as his favorite.

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I also agree that Cat is doing a fantastic job retrieving old reviews/interview clips. I have always read about how the press was against Zep (Rolling Stone on a first hand basis), but it is great to see just how misguided they were.

No mention of Good Times Bad Times?! I guess the reviewer must have been sharpening that axe. What's up with the polishing Tull received?! How the tables turn over time.......

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