Robert Plant

Former Leed Singer
*special introductory paragraph!
*The Honeydrippers Live At The Blue Note Club (4/13/81)
*Pictures At Eleven
*The Principle Of Moments
*The Honeydrippers, Volume One EP
*Shaken 'N' Stirred
*Now And Zen
*Non-Stop, Go!
*Manic Nirvana
*Fate Of Nations
*Sixty-Six To Timbuktu
*Mighty Rearranger
*Raising Sand (with Alison Krauss)
*Band Of Joy

In the 1970s, Englishman Robert Plant was the lead singer for a popular rock and roll band entitled Led Zeppelin. This band had a number of popular radio smashes including, but not limited to, "Stairway To Heaven," "D'yer Mak'er" and "Communication Breakdown." When the drummer of this band died of chronic asshole infection in 1979, the band went its separate ways - the guitarist went on to form the supergroup The Firm which had 58 top 10 singles and won every grammy available in 1984, the bassist became a famous record producer and has-been, and the singer, Mr. Robert Plant, struck out on a solo career that proved to be both successful and unsuccessful, depending on what year you're talking about. He mostly stuck to good old modern-day rock music, with a short excursion into new wave that didn't quite work out in his favor. Below you will find and enjoy a number of album reviews, all of which relate to albums credited to Mr. Robert Plant.

The Honeydrippers Live At The Blue Note Club (4/13/81) - Rock Solid
Rating = 3

Hold the elbow grease -- Robert Plant was doing Honeydrippers shit THREE YEARS before the stupid EP came out!?

Hold the elbow grease again -- Robert Plant was doing Honeydrippers shit even before Pictures At Eleven came out!? I realize Robert Johnson was the real mastermind behind Led Zeppelin, but what kind of asshole follows up the greatest hard rock group of all time with a bunch of awful cover tunes!?

Come on, you're supposed to do a shitty movie soundtrack first.

This thankfully unofficial live bootleg recording finds Mr. Plant, Mr. Blunt and several other people performing a collection of predictable traditional old rockabilly, electric blues, soul, rock'n'roll and country/western tunes on guitar, bass, drum, harmonica, horns and Robert Plant's tongue. There are some pleasant harmony vocals every once in a while, but Robert reigns in his "Ooooooo babe!" histrionics maybe a bit too much, the instrumentation is nothing to shout home a letter about, and the generic old songs just sit there covered in dust and cobwebs, waiting to be returned to the boring old crates they came from.

Here's what you get:
1. "Little Sister" - Elvis Presley, 1961. Unengaging rockabilly. Not a whit or hint of energy or verve, says I (or notes me).
2. "Hey Mae" - Rusty & Doug, 1958. Playful early rock'n'roll. Good energy, but pretty basic. Cute "Hey Mae!" group chorus vocals.
3 "Deep In The Heart Of Texas" - not Perry Como, 1941 at all, but the far inferior Germaint Watkins & The Dominators, 1979 song of the same title. Long, dull country-western waste of space.
4. "How Many More Years" - Howlin' Wolf, 1951. 12-bar electric blues. Really, really exciting. No, no. Really. No, no.
5. "Cross Cut Saw" - Albert King, 1967. The only song on here that I actually like, this is a '60s soul tune with that cool Booker T. feel.
6. "Bring It On Home" - Sonny Boy Williamson II, 1959. Hey! This sounds just like the intro to that Led Zeppelin II song of the same title! Why, it's almost as if they STOLE the riff from Sonny Boy Williamson II and kept the credit for themselves! Thankfully, we know that the honest men of Led Zeppelin would never stoop so low, and their song's exact similarity to Williamson's song of the same title is just a horrifying coincidence.
7. "Born Under A Bad Sign" - Albert King, 1967. What's with all the Albert King covers? On a related note, who the hell is Albert King?
8. "Keep On Loving Me Babe" - Otis Rush, 1968. A surprisingly not awful energetic soul number! And I say "surprisingly not awful" because this is the same guy who wrote "I Can't Quit You Babe," my least favorite Led Zeppelin song of all time. Say what you will about "The Crunge" and "Hats Off To (Roy) Harper," but at least those songs work as novelty material. "I Can't Quit You Babe" sounds like the blues as envisioned by a person who's not even sure what 'music' is.
9. "Tell Me How" - Buddy Holly, 1957. Close your eyes and imagine a Buddy Holly song. Congratulations! You've now heard this song!
10. "Queen Of The Hop" - Bobby Darin, 1958. Close your eyes and imagine a song from the late 1950's. Congratulations! You've now (etc.)
11. "Treat Me Right" - BB King, 1960. This song isn't even ON here! It's listed on the album sleeve, but is nowhere to be found on the vinyl itself, unless they hid it under the label. "Treat Me Right"!? More like "Treat Me BLIGHT SHITE TRITE GO FLY A KITE" if you ask a guy who knows lots of rhymes for "right"!

So what does it all mean? Why did Bobbi Plant, upon the lamented Led Zeppelin break-up, decide to retreat into a cocoon of old-timey music before re-emerging as a beautiful solo butterfly artist whose success would dwarf that of his fellow so-called 'bandmates'? Was he just trying to have a bit of a larf after ten years of impossibly high audience expectations? Or was he afraid to face the bold rock world on his own artistic merits right out of the gate? Perhaps he mischievously figured, "If I give them THIS shit first, anything else I do will sound like Zoso II: Still Untitled! by comparison"? These are all fantastic assumptions, and I'm glad we made them here today.

But more importantly, what in Sam Hill is going on with Henry The Dog these days? Last month he got lost for two hours in the Adirondacks, last week he stuck his head under a car to say 'Howdy-do!' to a lost cat residing there and got his nose scratched and bloodied as a thank you, and just last night he got in a vicious fight with a raccoon that resulted in another bloodied nose as well as a torn and frayed ear, as celebrated in the 1972 Rolling Stones track "Torn And Frayed." Is it just a coincidence that all this danger is coming his way at the same time? Or is God trying to tell him to take it easy with the hard, wild living? Because you know Henry The Dog, with the crack cocaine and $1 whores. My point is this: I hate the Honeydrippers.

Reader Comments (Harry The Dead Poet)
Mark, you have excelled yourself with this page. It went and made me laff. Again. And yet again! It's vicious - uncalled for - and possesses many other fine qualities. Hail to the Prind!

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Pictures At Eleven - Swan Song 1982.
Rating = 8

One of those should've-been-a-classic albums ruined by a horrid mix. Not that it ever would have been a classic, understand, but in my mind, it should have been because every song on here is wonderful. It's totally Zep-style rock, with jaunty "Ocean"-like rockers, dark intensity ("Slow Dancer"), a couple of awesome blues-influenced ballads and even a bit of light pluckity-plucking all Robbie Blunt's own! Oh crap, did I mention Robbie Blunt? I must be SMOKIN' a Robbie! Ha hahah!!! Yes, Robbie Blunt is a guitar player who sounds remarkably like Jimmy Page, which is to say extremely talented and note-happy, but in a messy, human manner - not pristine like Steve Vai or superhuman like Eddie Van Halen. The riffs are wonderful and diverse (nonstop greatness, truly), but the mix is SO EAR-SLICINGLY TINNY that you almost feel like tossing a dog in the stereo just so there will be some woofer action going on.

I wasn't really done with that paragraph but it's hard to follow a sentence as stupid as that one, so I thought it in my best interest to begin anew like the sprinkling of the morning dew on a summer's cock. So the tinniness makes the guitar tone sting like one of those earbees you've been reading about in National Geographic, and Robert's voice, usually a wonder of nature and the wildebeests, is rendered as annoying as my fiance thinks it is anyway. Holy cow does it grate on the brain, him screaming idiot nonsense like "Somebody! Somebody! Somebody!" and "Yes! No! Yes! No!".

But other than the whole thing being wrapped up in a layer of sonic barbed wire, the record is awesome!

Reader Comments
pictures at 11 was great!!! &what about sixes & sevens.Not a bad tune.I agree the rest is left to the floor. (Charles)
I was very intrigued with Robbie Blunt's work on "Pictures at Eleven" when it came out..., maybe because of a life situation - I had joined the military, and foresaken Civilain life and a band.... I thought both changes refreshing, as I still do.... I am now listening to aforementioned album, it really excites me with it's brilliant freshness. I like Robbie's Chorus-laden Strat sound - very mature delay effects for such an "edgy" and "clean" sound;very tasteful slide-work - very studio-minded.... I can't believe Mr. Blunt (real name?) didn't show up for more 80's pop hits....
There are few things in life which I enjoy as much as I enjoy thinking, speaking and writing about Robert Plant. I have celebrated his very existance since the first time I saw him (March 1975) with Led Zeppelin. I thank God upon every rememberance of Robert Plant and regard the sound of his voice as the sound of God's love, sent directly into my soul.

I have rejoiced in every Robert Plant recording and tour. I saw Honeydrippers, in Dallas. And, before that, I saw a show, also which Phil Collins played drums. I disagree with your comments about Robbie Blunt. Robbie Blunt no more sounded like Jimmy Page than David Coverdale ever sounded like Robert Plant.

The vibe has been different with each project, as though each project in some way has mirrored changes in my own life.

I saw Robert Plants show in Las Vegas, one year ago, today. And again, in San Diego, four days later. Today I celebrated the anniversary of las summer's tour by listening to Mighty Rearranger, Sixty-six to TBT, and Dreamland as well as other Robert Plant songs, all of which are near and dear to my heart. Many of my life's finest moments have been invested in Robert Plant.

Mine, is the voice of Robert Plant experiences and reverance for He, who has been a central figure in my life for over 30 years. He is regarded in my home as something much more important than some rock and roll myth. I have been fortunate to have seen nearly 20 Robert Plant performances and look forward, with the same jouous anticipation to the next. The trinkets, and mementos which I have collected over the years are amongst my most valued posessions, including tour t-shirts which I've never even worn. I look forward to reading through your site, as I am able and responding to each item contained therein.

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The Principle Of Moments - Es Paranza 1983.
Rating = 7

The mix is a fine shot better than that on the debut - not only bassier, but moodier, with an odd windy ambience replacing the dry crackling shit-tones of Pictures At Ennoying. Unfortunately a lot of the songs are just stupid. Sure, there are two somber art rock classics in "In The Mood" and "Big Log" (which you may know as "My Love Is At League With The Freeway" or whatever in God's name he's saying), and you can't begrudge a Jimmy Page ripoff like "Other Arms" (Oooh! Eastern scales and note bending! Phone the brilliance police!), but you certainly CAN begrudge nursery rhyme sing-songy nonsense like "Messin' With The Mekon," "Horizontal Departure" and "Stranger Here.Than Over There." I think Robbie and Robbie are trying to do some sort of avant-pop thing with the songs, but the melodies are just silly, hokey little deals, with drums by Phil Collins.

And thus endeth America's love affair with Phil Collins. He was never heard from again.

Reader Comments (Charles Owens)
Clearly...clearly Bob's best solo work consisted of the first 2 records. Pictures and Principle represent the natural extension of his capabilities. Accompianied by guitar master Blunt. Whatever happened to him? And although the other records do all have their moments(It is Plant afterall) without the booster of a supercharged lead guitar is cannot hold up to his beginnings solo work. But of course his Page/Plant work is stellar. Thanx. (James Welton)
I remember liking this album a hell of a lot when it came out, but I haven't listened to said album in about 16 years. For some reason the only two songs that I can playback in my brain are "Big Log" and "In the Mood." I'm dumbfounded that I can't recall a single note of an album that I played constantly when it came out, and for several months after. This leads me to believe that maybe it really wasn't all that great to begin with, and that's why I haven't pulled it out in over a decade, or maybe I smoke entirely too much marijuana and couldn't remember breakfast if you asked me. Still, the two songs I can remember are damn fine, moody pieces of mature, post-Zep rock... which description makes two great songs sound really boring. But they aren't. I remember that much. (Todd Lee)
Yes, Robbie Blunt was a guitar master (whatever happened to him). He was a lot like Page, but to me he was less ham-fisted. And the rest of the group comprised of the musicians in the biz, whether you like Collins or not. The only song on this album that works on my patience is Stranger Here...Than Over There. The title speaks for itself. The rest is simply the best solo work of Plant's career. Thias collection of songs range from moody (the afore mentioned I'm In The Mood and Big Log) to lavish (Thru With The Two Step) to stalking (Reckless Love) to flat out rockers (Other Arms and Horizontal Departure). A must own for Plant and Zep fans.

Does anyone else remember when Plant did the King Buscuit Flower Hour, opening up with "In the Mood?"
As though it happened yesterday, I remember driving to Dallas to see Robert Plant perform his first solo works. Oh the speculation! Fans didn't know what to expect from a show which featured Plant without Page. I remember hearing so many cliches about the possibility of a reunion with Jimmy, there at the Reunion Arena, in Dallas. I dismissed those cliches as juvenile. I didn't know if he'd be the same rock-god that I'd seen with Led Zep only a few years earlier. He wasn't. He was something so much better; so different than anything that I could have imagined. I seem to remember him opening the show with In The Mood which left the audience in awe. He was the same familiar Robert Plant, but a whole new Robert Plant as well. He was a few years older (we all were). He seemed more comfortable with himself and with the music, which was different than what we all were familiar with. The golden aura which glows around him, shone a deeper gold.

When the show was over there seemed to be utter speechlessness...And awe. It was. We couldn't have imagined that it would be anything less, simply because it was Robert Plant; but we couldn't have asked for anything more because it was perfect just the way it was.

And its only gotten's fuel is the years...

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The Honeydrippers, Volume One EP - Es Paranza 1984
Rating = 4

Here's a question that should be burning a hole through your rickety wood brain like a red hot poker: How on Earth did it take humankind 25 million years to invent rock and roll? What were they DOING all that time? And don't give me that "hunting and gathering" line of bullshit because I've had it up to here with your outmoded societal taboos. Pliopithicus should have been banging some ass-kicking rocks together; if Australopithecus could walk upright, why couldn't he rock upright?; with the invention of the primitive hand-ax 2 million years ago, Homo Erectus was perfectly positioned to play some monstrous riffs and wicked hammer-ons; Neanderthal Man should have been touring the nation in a van with "The Who" spraypainted on the side; and Homo Sapiens -- come on, it still took those pricks 100,000 years to think of playing a 4/4 beat and ROCKIN' on a guitar over it? The history of mankind is the embarrassing legacy of slow-witted fools. Because they took so long to ROCK!

With The Honeydrippers, Volume One EP, Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin set out to demonstrate that quality audio entertainment existed even prior to the invention of good music in the mid-50's. Unfortunately it didn't, so the EP is a piece of SHIT!

To be more specific, the EP features covers of three jivin' jump blues tunes and two old-timey ballads, including but not limited to:

- Wynonie Harris' "I Get A Thrill" (1951)
- Phil Phillips' "Sea Of Love" (1959)
- Ray Charles' "I Got A Woman" (1956)
- Ben E. King's "Young Boy Blues" (1962)
- Roy Brown's "Rockin' At Midnight" (1949)

Well okay, it is limited to those. But isn't that enough? How much old bag grandpa music do you want, Wrinkly? "Ooo look at me! Look at me! I've got a cane and I'm 'jumpin' the blues' to some Roy Brown! Ow, my back!" Did you see that? That was YOU.

No no, we're all just playing gags to you. There's been plenty of great music from all throughout history in more genres than you can shake a booty at -- unfortunately, Robert and his feller musicians (inc. Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page and Nile Rodgers, supposedly) have chosen mostly mediocre to middlin' compositions to share with you this EPenin'. Either that or the songs are great and the Honeydrippers suck at them, who knows (other than those people who have heard the originals, none of which are me).

At any rate, "Sea Of Love" was a big hit, which isn't surprising since it's by far the most melodic and beautiful song on here. The other ballad, "Young Boy Blues," has its share of loveliness too, but not all the way through. Then there are the speedy, swinging, horn-heavy jump blues tunes, which are sort of like pre-rock'n'roll but with even fewer hooks than the most rudimentary compositions of that genre. I'm sure the very idea of applying 'energy' to the musical form was a real gas back in the days of Brylcream and hula hoops, but by 1984 we as a planet had learned to combine uptempo 4/4 beats with music that doesn't SUCK COMPLETE ASSHOLE.

But hey! Thanks for the history lesson, Mr. Plant! Don't quit your blow job!

Man, I really took old people down a notch. I showed them a thing or two about me and my youth generation. We are 32 and YOUNG! Balding, fat and YOUNG!

And yes, my back hurts but it's a YOUNG pain! I'm the 'Positive Youth Of Today'! See these "X"'s on the back of my hands????

Well yes, I know they're varicose veins. But my point still stands.

Reader Comments
Honeydrippers may not have been Robert Plant doing what Robert Plant does best but he did it really well. I think Honeydrippers was largely misunderstood. Hell, I still don't understand the point of Honeydrippers. But it was something which was new and different and the significance to fans was that it was something from Robert Plant. I saw Robert Plant perform Honeydrippers, in Dalls and remember that there was a lot of theatrical bullshit that seemed unecessary and annoying in a Robert Plant show. Nonetheless, I love Honeydrippers, to this day as much as ever. I don't know of a single woman (with a pulse) who would deny Sea of Love as being one of the most romantic love-songs of all time. And nobody delivers a love song quite like Robert Plant. This may or may not have been Robert Plant's intention when he recorded it. It is what it is. Thats what I value most in Honeydrippers; It is what it is. And no, maybe it wasn't Robert Plant doing what he does best but he did it really well. Honeydrippers always brings to mind a Robert Plant performance (I think it was for Live Aid) many years after Honeydrippers, when he performed Crazy Little Thing Called Love.

I still get a thrill... ...from Honeydrippers.

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Shaken 'N' Stirred - Es Paranza 1985.
Rating = 8

This was Robert's attempt to make a modern mid-80s sounding album. And you must admit - he certainly did make a Mid-80s sounding album! Which is, of course, why it's so hard to listen to it in 2001 without laughing your ass clear off of hero astronaut Neil Armstrong's fondling fingers. The processed drums are really, REALLY loud and fake sounding, the neat guitar stylings of Blunt have been replaced by ridiculous B52s-sounding synthesizer noises and a most minimal amount possible of guitar - bar chords only. And hoo boy, those female backup vocals. Ah me. So but still - the songs are really entertaining! Funny, mindless, catchy, stupid fun - and every bit as dated as a very attractive man.

Or am I mistaken? Certainly the record initially comes across as foolish just because it's so 80s-synth-noise-driven, but the songs themselves don't necessarily seem "dumb," just fake. Like the rhythms themselves are somewhat complex at times, the melodies are always really catchy and available in a wide variety of flavors (moody, radio-ready "Little By Little," failed tense rocker "Easily Lead," goodtime ecstasy fun of the first few songs) and there seems to be an attempt to mix it up in a lightweight avant-garde almost worldy music kinda way during a couple of points.

It's still pretty fucking stupid though. I give this laughable excuse for a record a high 8 and play it fifty-two times a minute!!! I stop Father Time in the street, kick him in the balls and play this album fifty-two times a minute!!!!

Fifty-three????? NO!!!!!

That would be listening to excess.

Reader Comments (Todd Lee)
Little By Little was a hit from this one, and it also describes his fan base slowly slipping away. Yes, Mr Plant was gettin pretty pleased with himself and forgot that people liked him because of his link with LZ, not because they thought he was the new Elvis (Honeydrippers). This is a disposable album, IMO. He just simply tries to hard to be modern when, well...he wasn't.

Robert Plant (
Dear Mr. Prindle,

Usually I do not deign to speak to music critics directly (if I may be so bold as to characterize what you do as actual criticism), but I feel that you have judged me unfairly in regards to my solo career, particularly in the case of my album Shaken 'N Stirred.

It is generally assumed by thick-headed rock journalist tossers that Shaken 'N Stirred was a crass attempt on my part to cash in on the New Wave music fad by tailoring my sound in a way that would appeal to a more youthful market, but that simply is not the case. In spite of the image of me that my management had created - that of a Tolkien-esque feudal lord adorned in flowing robes and living in a drafty castle on the moors - I was really quite enamored with the new music being created at the end of the Seventies. I was always nudging the boys in Led Zeppelin forward in an attempt to rouse them from their handlebar mouser and bellbottom doldrums, but they were quite set in their ways by that point and resistant to any kind of change, particularly if they thought it would alienate our lucrative fan base. I'm telling you, it was like pulling teeth just to get them to cut their hair and update their wardrobes so that we weren't gadding about stage like a bloody Dungeons & Dragons parody. Jonesy was a complete and utter wanker and he would do anything if he thought it would keep the royalties rolling in, so he didn't take any convincing at all, but Jimmy and Bonzo put up a hell of a row! Jimmy kept bleating about his hair being his bloody "essence" and providing him with certain mystical "powers," but he had a nasty drug habit at the time, so we (Peter Grant and myself) caught him when he was jonesing and set the stylist loose on him. Bonzo was half in the bag most of the time in those years, so we just held him down while he was drunk and let the stylist cut his greasy locks. He screamed and cried like a little poof, and I shall never forget the sight of him - tears streaming down his fat, drink-swollen face, a dark stain of urine appearing in the basket of his trousers - and pleading, "Not me mouser! Please don't trim me mouser!" Alas, that is how I remember poor Bonzo, when I even bother to remember him at all.

But even with the velvet flare trousers and wide-collared embroidered shirts retired and a fresh, modern look on board for the dawn of a new decade, Led Zeppelin was still hopelessly outdated and insignificant by 1979. I tried to push the boys to be more adventurous and progressive with the music, but it was a lost cause by that point. Jimmy was a hopeless drug addict and would rather stay locked in his room reading obscure occult texts and buggering daft teenage runaways than show up for rehearsal, and Bonzo was a pitiful lush and beyond any salvation whatsoever. Toward the end of the In Through The Out Door sessions we had a child's crib placed in the corner of the studio, and after Bonzo would piss and shit himself - which was happening with more and more frequency - we would chain him in the crib with his ever-present bottle of vodka while we had a studio drummer overdub the parts that Bonzo was incapable of playing (if you listen closely to the coda of All My Love, you can hear Bonzo in the background wailing "Peter, I shat myself again!") Jonsey was in agreement that we should take Led Zeppelin in a more modern direction, but the best that tosser could come up with was the poncy carnival riff for "Carouselambra," which I've always thought showed precisely what an utterly talentless hack he truly was.

Thus In Through The Out Door became one more formulaic album in the interminable, bombastic Led Zeppelin style of old, and it has been the source of much embarrassment to me ever since its release. In an attempt to salvage a modicum of our integrity and perhaps connect with a hipper audience, I booked a band called the Fabulous Poodles to open for us at Knebworth, which caused a huge rift between Peter Grant and myself. Peter hit the roof when he found out about it, and he cornered me after rehearsal one night and screamed, "Led Zeppelin is the biggest band in the world! No one opens for Led Zeppelin, not even if that is what Led Zeppelin desires!" Peter had by that point obviously been compromised by his herculean cocaine intake, but his managerial contract gave him final approval over our concert appearances, so the Fabulous Poodles were dropped from the bill and once again we had to trot out the shopworn Led Zeppelin tricks and play for a stodgy crowd of wankers that had steadfastly refused to grow in the new musical climate. Who knows what may have happened if Led Zeppelin had been exposed to a hipper audience at that point. I hate Peter Grant, and I am pleased that he is now dead.

Of course, everyone knows what happened next. Bonzo thankfully died, freeing us from his plodding, Neanderthal drum beats so that we could branch out in a fresh direction. I wanted to overhaul our sound completely and enlist the drummer from Athletico Spizz '80 to begin work on a post-Bonzo Zeppelin album immediately, but the other tossers - Jimmy and that poof Jonesy - felt that it would be blasphemous to carry on without the dead boozy wanker shiteing himself behind the drum kit, so we agreed to go our separate ways and never play together again. Frankly, I was overjoyed to finally be rid of those two arseholes. They were without a doubt the most horrible, cretinous human beings on the face of the Earth.

I immediately moved to London and set to work assembling a New Wave band, Sword of Damocles. We recorded a dance number called "Dance, Little Monkey, Dance" in early October of 1980, which I think held its own among the Punk and New Romantic songs popular in the U.K. at that time. But since it contained veiled threats to Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones, for legal reasons we were never able to release it, but it was still great fun to be in the studio again. It was refreshing to work with musicians who weren't closeted bugger boys or constantly muttering oblique references about Aleistar Crowley, but even with my contacts I had a difficult time finding representation for us. It seems that I had underestimated the shadow of Led Zeppelin (Oh how I grew to loath that name!) and the expectations placed on my by my fans. No one wanted to see Robert Plant mature as an artist - at least not if it meant he wouldn't be resuscitating that horrible piece of shite "Stairway to Bleeding Heaven" for the umpteenth time - so against my better judgment I disbanded Sword of Damocles and allowed myself to be forced into recording two tepid solo albums that would satisfy the bean counters at the record company as well as the idiot Led Zeppelin fans that, if they could have their narrow-minded way, would have me singing "Whole Lotta Love" well into the next millennium. The albums were critical successes for me, but my heart was obviously not in the music anymore.

By 1984 I had given up the notion that my music would ever be relevant again, but then something miraculous happened. One afternoon Jeff Lynne from ELO came round the manor with Nick Heyward from Haircut 100, both dressed in the height of New Romantic fashion. Jeff had brought his band from the brink of obscurity by being unafraid of changing with the times and unabashedly exploiting any trend to come down the pike, and he believed that I could do the same with my career if I was willing to take the gamble. Jeff and Nick looked quite the odd pair, dressed in matching parachute pants and vinyl jumpers with matching checkered headbands, snogging each other like a couple of rutting teenagers (Jeff had to be close to 50 at this time and it was most unseemly), but listening to him describe how "Don't Bring Me Down" had rejuvenated his boring band of listless prog-rockers and garnered them a new audience, I was was sold on the idea. It was on that very day that Shaken 'N Stirred was born!

I had to fight tooth and nail to get Shaken 'N Stirred released, but it was a total labor of love and remains the album of which I am most proud. During the recording sessions, I had executives from Es Paranza hanging about the studio and screaming at me, "We need another 'Big Log,' Robert! Where's the 'Big Log'?" They didn't have any faith in the material and consequently they didn't promote it as aggressively as they could have, so it was a forgone conclusion that Shaken 'N Stirred would fail. They made sure of it, and I will never forgive those dirty bastards as long as I am still able to draw breath! I nurtured this album like it was my own child, and they maligned and destroyed it! When that arse-bandit David Bowie makes a New Wave album people can't bend over fast enough and beg to buggered by one of his calculated fey personas, but when Robert Plant does it he's labeled a "sell out" and a "crass opportunist raping the gay music culture"! Piss off, you bloodsucking wankers! This is the music that I want to play, not that boring Led Zeppelin shite!

Of course when Shaken 'N Stirred was a critical flop, I had to return to making the same boring MOR shite that I've squeezing out for the past 40 years. I even had to reunite with that warlock pedophile Jimmy Page just to keep my name in the music press. My management won't let me cut my hair (there's actually a clause in my contract the binds me to keep my hair at a certain length, if you can believe it), so I'm forced to cobble a living out of singing bad rock 'n' roll songs that I despise while looking like a geriatric Cowardly Lion. I hate my life.

And I hate all of you arseholes that still expect me to prance around like a poncy hairdresser while yelping "The Lemon Song" like it's still 1970. I am a grown man, for Christsake! I am probably older than your parents! Would you want you father to run around acting like that? I would rather go back to playing that Honeydrippers shite than play "Kashmir" again. Why can't you people just leave me alone?

So judge Shaken 'N Stirred harshly if you must, but at least I tried to show you something wonderful and new. And if you really hate it - go buy yourself another copy of Physical Graffiti. It pays my rent.

Robert Plant

Hertfordshire, U.K. (Debbie Holmes)
Dear Mr. Prindle-

After reading the letter that you say Robert Plant E-mailed to you I have a very hard time believing that the letter was written by him. Did you ever think that someone just used his name to get you to read the letter to begin with? Whoever wrote that to you has a God-awful attitude, and I'm having a really hard time fathoming that Robert wrote that letter. Maybe you should double check that it really came from him, and if there is any question, then delete it from your site. It just doesn't seem right to leave it there unless you are sure! (M. Bonet)
Kind'a strange. I'm embarrassed, insulted, and laughing all at once. And, hey, it takes a real fan to notice all the little stuff and then make one huge joke out of it [that bogus Plant letter had me in stitches, all the way down to the person who actually bothered to think it might be real]. So: Cheers. You've made my lunch hour.
I just stumbled across your Robert Plant review page. You are a seemingly witty fellow, if a bit random and irreverant. But I think it is funny stuff. I just read the one posting that is signed off as Robert Plant himself, in a letter to you. I disagree with what the true author seems to think, but his knowledge and intelligence is quite apparent. He must be English, or a very lonely american to use such country-proper limey lingo. At the very fist I was almost willing to believe it was Plant indeed because Plant in interviews and conversation is himself rather sharp tongued and witty and quippy. But as I read on I realized it wasnt him but was yet compelled to read further because the person who wrote it worded it very well and SOO funny!!! Its a crying shame that he took a hot poop on Bonham who had never reached such exaggerated extremes as this guy implied. Is he sure he hadnt been thinking of Keith Moon rather? And Jonesy and... well actually his descriptions of Page were pretty right on... okay time for bed, but first a quick wank.
'Allo Led Zep lovers!

You sad tossers just don't get it do you. Too bloody literal by far and you wouldn't recognize irony if it sat on your face and sang ....uhh 'Iron Man'. Of course it wasn't Robert Plant writing in with such hilarious self-deprecation, although I wish it was, as it would further redeem the man partly responsible for the utterly cringeworthy hogwash that is the music of Led Zeppelin.

Sorry you twats, gotta go! Time for a shot of 'Unledded' on classic bloody FM! Get a life you craven sods!

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Now And Zen - Es Paranza 1988.
Rating = 8

The best of both worlds! In fact, this album was what Sammy Hagar was talking about when he wrote that Van Halen song, "Best Of Both Worlds"! Because this is truly the best of both worlds!

Finally Bob Plant can have his Kate and Edith too because this album sounded "with the times" production-wise while still maintaining a strong enough, bass-driven, full sound to still sound decent on classic rock radio today. But it's not just the production - the songs too manage to hog the line -- ROCKING (like Pictures), creating a definite wintry mood (like Principle) and sounding "of the modern day times" (like Shaken), thanks to a group of young long hairs taking the place of Robbie Blunted & Disenchunted and Phil Suck His Own Collins. Examples - do you happen to recall "Heaven Knows," "Tall Cool One," "Dance On My Own" or "Ship Of Fools"? All great, great songs. Classics, you might say. Most of the others are good too, but "Billy's Revenge" and "White, Clean And Neat" both occupy that "cutesy-ass" area of Robert's musical obsessions that I could kind of do without, myself personally, within.

For the record, if you're only going to buy one Robert Plant record, I think it should be this one. But with two crappy songs out of a scant nine, I obviously can't give it a 9ine or 10en. I mean, obviously!!!!!

Reader Comments (Todd Lee)
This is a great album with some embarrisingly self-indulgent moments on it. The self adoring Tall Cool One with its programed drum and guitar sampling and the stupid White, Clean and Neat are as insufferable as Plant had ever been. In fact, at least four songs on this album coulda made up Honeydrippers Vol 2. Heaven Knows and Ship Of Fools are this albums saving grace. The rest of the songs are as good as anything Plant would put out in the future, but the use of drum machines makes this hard to listen to, kinda like Jethro Tull's Crest Of A Knave. (Roland Fratzl)
Let me tell you a little story. Back in the mid 90's I went to one of those old "vinyl museums" where they sold old records. Perusing through one of the 25 cent bins one day, I came across two Robert Plant albums, The Principle Of Moments and Now And Zen. I was blown away, thinking to myself "Wow, these are solo albums by that legendary singer of Led Zeppelin...they must be amazing! I gotta buy them!!". It didn't even occur to me at the time that there was a reason why they were 25 cents.

While I thought that there might a Zeppelinny influence, I figured they would be quite different, though in the back of my mind I was wary that these were 80's releases by a 60's and 70's star - usually a very bad sign.

I came home, eagerly put them on the turn table, and the ear wax began to pour out in a desperate attempt to escape the OFFENSIVELY TERRIBLE sounds forcing their way in.

The albums do not rock. They don't do anything. It's total 80's sounding sissy pop, with embarrassing parts in the music that try to convey innovation when all it is is trash. The guitar work is barely audible, and the melodic development is non existent. All I remember hearing is Plant sleepily singing softly along to arrangments and music that are boring and go absolutely nowhere. He sounds completely uninspired on his own, and the music even has that rare effect that it makes me dangerously violent when I'm exposed to it. I'd rather listen to Britney Spears albums. I'm not joking on that.

I offered to do a review page on this sheephead last year but Mark didn't let me, which is probably for the better because my version would have spewed nothing but venom. I have to admit though that when I saw Mark give 8's and 9's to this crud, I was nothing short of astonished. I tend to think that Mark and I have similar tastes in music, which means that he's cool if he likes what I like, but I had no idea his taste could stray so far from what is umm, good. Mark, I lost a lot of respect for you the day this page went up :P

I've changed since the mid 90's though and grown much more tolerant to forms of music that I couldn't stomach before, but based on my memories of this shit, you'll have to forgive me if I'm not exactly motivated to rush to the nearest HMV listening post with a stack of Robert Plain albums.

Fortunately my brother provided the perfect solution to the unique problem of having these records taking up space next to music that's more than slightly good, like oh I dunno Alice brother took Bob's albums, unwaveringly walked upstairs to the front door, and proceeded to step outside into the dark. He gently pulled the records out of the sleeves, and unflinchingly and silently tossed them straight up with all his might. To my astonishment they both landed right on the middle of the road, which is pretty far due to our large front lawn, and were obliterated into a million pieces. My brother then turned to me, and in a deadpan delivery like John Wayne after he's effortlessly blown away the evil gunslinger, said: "That's what Robert Plant albums are good for, kid."...what a brilliant man, that brother of mine.

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Non-Stop, Go! - Es Paranza 1988
Rating = 7

It's important to hear what Bobert Plant has to say. As one of this nation's leading political thinkers, Plant's words cut straight to the heart of what we all feel but can't quite vocalize. For example, who can forget when he resolved the Cuban Missile Crisis back in ' --

No hang on - that was his "Human Missile Crisis," but Viagra and hardcore pornography did the trick, and this great statesman was able to continue his reign over Congress and fight for a tempered liberalism in today's magical worldplace where Rush Limbaugh can be both a tie-dye-wearing drug addict and a loving Gandhi-esque man of peace at the same time.

But with such an opportunity to speak to the Youth Of Today about his tax Shelter plan (ha! A little punk rock play-on-words for all the punk rock-loving Robert Plant fans out there!), what did he go and do? He recorded a double-record interview disc with Dan Neer (oh yeah - THAT'S a real name. Ha! Hey, "Dan," what are you sitting "Neer"? HA! HA HA? Do you want a seat "Neer" the window, "Dan"? HA H!!! HE? DHO!!DHO!!!!) and Chuck Young (personally I used to vomit all the time when I was a kid, so I know how he feels!). The subject? Strangely, the entire double-disc is Robert Plant telling anecdotes about gay sex! I'm not sure if maybe he thought the mic was off or what the deal was, but at least now we know what he meant by "Big Log." (I'm not going to give it away, but let's just say the original title had the word "Poop" in it!

Did you know that Keith Moon was a wifebeater? He was! He was! Also, what's the deal with hunters? Why would you see a big beautiful strong animal like a deer or something, living peacefully in the woods, and immediately want to KILL IT??? SNUFF ITS LIFE OUT??? Why? What drives these assholes? Just selfishness and anti-social psychosis?

Okay, I'm less bored now. Sometimes it's just hard to write a review because they're boring. But I've "gotten my jib on" so I'm ready now to discuss this double-disc promotional album that was distributed to radio stations upon the release of Now And Zen.

Personally, I've always been fond of Robert Plant interviews because he goes out of his way to stay current, keep up with what new musicians are doing, and not go down in history as a lost dinosaur playing lost dinosaur music (Deep Purple). This particular double-disc is separated into one album for AOR radio (one side with questions and answers, the other side with answers only, so the Morning Zoo Crew could pretend that Robert was in the studio with them) and one album for College & Alternative radio (one side with questions and answers, the other side with answers only, so the hilarious asshole college DJs could pretend that he was actually answering questions like "Why did you sandpaper your penis down to half its original size?" (Answer: "I want to get through to the kids")). That's the set-up -- but the delivery is something else entirely!

While at the same time being the EXACT SAME THING!

Did You Know? "Big Log" was about driving away after having one of the greatest sexual experiences of his life? The More You Know! He was embarrassed by the success of "Sea Of Love" because it made him look like a sissy crooner when he really intended it as a b-side to an old jump blues song he loved? For Your Information! "Too Loud" was issued as a SINGLE, and the general audience reaction was "What's happened to him? Get the medication!" Have You Heard The News? He considered Bonzo the main and irreplaceable part of Led Zeppelin! Is The Rage 'Round You Yet? He admits that his solo stuff "probably isn't as good as Zeppelin." The best soundbite though is when he says that if he "and Jimmy Page got back together, it wouldn't do Atlantic any good - it wouldn't do anybody any good." Then they DID get back together later on!!! I don't think it did Atlantic any good, but it did ME good - I like those Page/Plant albums.

In short, this never-released-to-the-public promotional interview disc is a must-own, and if you don't own it, you'd might as well get rid of all your Led Zeppelin and Robert Plant albums because you'll NEVER be a REAL fan and you'll never understand what he's all about. It's all RIGHT HERE. The key to his soul. The secret of his vision. The bit where he says the word "balls."

But "these were heady times!" He "really means it, maaaaaaaaaan!"

Reader Comments
While reading through your site I was reminded of Non-Stop Go and I remembered seeing the show in Shreveport, La. Joan Jett and the Blackhearts were the opening act. It was a very strange time. After I read the part of your site where Non-Stop Go is mentioned I remembered that I still have the t-shirt and souveniers that I bought at that show. It was a nice little stroll down memory lane, taking all that stuff out of the box where its lived all these years.

I still often enjoy Now and Zen and Little by Little (Collectors Edition). I can still wear the t-shirt too.

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Manic Nirvana - Es Paranza 1990.
Rating = 7

Verity (John) similar to the last one, excepting that this one has a few too many DUMB rockers that are so underwritten, you hardly even notice there's a song there until it's whizzed by you like a congressman with a urinary tract infection ("Big Love," "She Said" and "SSS&Q" are particularly rank, but they aren't the only culprits). The best songs, however, are right up there with "Big Fuckin Log" and "Tall Fuckin Cool One" and should be regarded as just that. Best moments to Prind? Welp, there are some really neat superfuturistic guitar parts in "Nirvana," it's really darn hard not to fall in love with the T.Rex-ish hit rocker "Hurting Kind (I Got My Eyes On You)" and any Robert Plant fan would go apeshit over the mood-o-rific "I Cried" and "Watching You," wouldn't he/she? In addition, most of the other tunes (even the lamer ones) have excellent arpeggiated guitar choruses that should make you stand up, shake your fist at the world of music and enquire, "Why don't you do stuff like that, you bunch of bands that get played on the radio all the time?"

Not that this album would ever be confused with a masterpiece, but at least every song has something melodic going on in it. Can the same be said for the latest Paul Simon album? Not in my opinion. I love the guy, but he's getting further and further away from memorable melody with each record he puts out. "You Can Call Me Al" - now see, there's a catchy song! "Man walks down the street he says why am I soft in the middle now? Why am I soft in the middle the rest of my life is so hard I need a photo opportunity I want a shot of redemption don't wanna be a cartoon in a cartoon graveyard bone digger bone digger dogs in the moonlight far away my well lit castle mr. Pier man oh pier man get these mutts away from me you know I don't find this kind of thing amusing anymore if you'll be my bodyguard I can be your long-lost pal I can call you betty and betty when you call me you can call me al call me al!" See? That was just from memory, because the song is fantastic. A legendary pop song in every sense of the word. Is there anything even REMOTELY that timeless on You're The One, Songs From The Capeman or Rhythm of the Saints ? And hell, I even ENJOY those records! Don't even get me started on shit like Eric Clapton - that fuckin' guy hasn't written anything close to a memorable song since Cream broke up 30-some-odd years ago. "Tears In Heaven"? No wonder the damn kid threw himself out the window.

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Fate Of Nations - Es Paranza 1993.
Rating = 7

Rob goes Mature! Most of this CD is low-key, melancholy baby music with a bare minimum of "ROCK AND ROLL MUCHTEKWJFUCKA~". Many of the songs are lovely in mood and wistful in thought pattern with gentle understated guitar lines, underrated drum lines, underfated keyboard lines, underplated bass lines, underwaited vocal lines and undergated dickjuice, but a few kinda revel so deeply in an almost new agey somber Windham Hill drift-by instrumental background that the actual melody tunes only really register after 88 listens.

Actually, strangely - and let me know if this has been your experience as well - my first few listens were like "Nothing happens!" Then finally I got some of the songs stuck in my head and I was all like, "Aw this is a GREAT album!" Then I listened a few more times and realized that even though there are discernible melodies in every song, they for the most part are really just okay. Certainly "Memory Song" is awesome with its distorted menacing guitar, and "Come Into My Life" has a chorus every which way as pleadingful as the stuff on Walking Into Clarksdale, which I'll probably review at some point because YES! Ah-HAH IIIIIIIIIIIIIII LIKE IT!

Ah there's nothing like a Modern Problems reference, is there? Chevy Chase had girl problems, car problems! Bar problems - and a troubled mind. Until a nuclear shower! Gave him the power! To get even. And make this holiday season the funniest ever!

So yes the record is in NO way obnoxious like some of Planty's stuff is. He isn't trying to rocky and kick asshole - he's trying to be ecological-minded and act his age. He acts his age very well - this is by far his most level-headed, mature release. And that's good! It's just that the songs tend to tow the line of "pretty good," not "really, really awesome!" It's at least consistent in its pretty goodness though, so as a whole, it's a pleasantly enjoyable listen no matter what time of day you listen.

Except dusk. It blows at dusk.

Reader Comments
So which Robert Plant album gets the 10/10? You fucked up dude... (Thomas Rickert)
I don't know why, but I play this the most of all the Plant records. I especially like the title track, with it's wacky metallo-psychedelic middle eastern guitar wank. This one is really good, though as you say, kinda mellow overall.
First of all, I would like you to accept my gratitude...I am enjoying reading your site, though I must admit that I have taken offense to a few of the comments. I am not saying that I have never seen Robert Plant give a cold-shoulder performance. I have seen him give a few; such as the show I attended at The Joint in Vegas, in support of Dreamland. I think touring was wearing and tearing. I met and spoke with the tour manager who gave me a lot of insight about what it was like to actually work and tour with Robert Plant. It wasn't very favorable. But who among us is exempt from the toll of natural aging and life-stress, let alone the rigors of that kind of a tour schedule. When I saw Plant and Page in San Diego (Clarksdale) they both seemed tired and tour-weary- I saw the show in Vegas at the MGM two nights later. We stayed at the MGM while they were there. They gave a much better performance. A day off is a good thing.

The show(s) I saw last summer were splendid, even though the Vegas, at the Hilton show was kind of chaotic with all kinds of logistical problems and lots of other bullshit. It is always a joy to me to see and hear Robert Plant, no matter what kind of horseshit is going on around me.

The San Diego show, a few nights later was a completely different affair. A beautiful summer night, under the stars. Robert Plant sounded like he was singing to the heavens. It was a wonderful performance.

A few weeks prior to seeing the show at the Hilton, I saw Whitesnake at HOB at Mandalay Bay. Not that this is in any way relevant to the serious buisness of Robert Plant, but David Coverdale was on my mind this morning, as he often is. I will say only that David Coverdale is still a walking, talking orgasm and still the subject of many of my favorite fantasies. My daughter once said it perfectly ( she was talking about Lenny Kravitz), "He's a sexy bitch...David Coverdale still is...if you like that kind of thing... ...and I do.

A week after Whitesnake I saw Judas Priest . I had seen Judas Priest at the Whiskey A Go-Go in 1978. The show last summer was considerably toned-down but great nonetheless.

I saw some good shows last summer in anticipation of the Robert Plant shows, which proved to be worthy of the months worth of anticipation and preparation which for me are a part of every Robert Plant tour.

The first time I heard a song from Fate of Nations, the song was Calling to You and I was driving around in my car, on my lunch hour. I actually had to pull over to the side of the road and stop to listen...and then to give thanks.

I watched Robert Plant perform songs from Fate of Nations on VH1. I think one of my kids taped it for me. I remember that the hair on my arm stood up and that I had a heartfelt sense of joy when I saw it. I still have that sense when I listen to Fate of Nations.

Robert Plant's show at San Diego State University, to which I had second row tickets, was cancelled at the last moment. I was deeply disappointed, no doubt.

When I saw the Plant and Page shows in May and September 1995, Calling to You was one of the songs on the setlist at the San Diego show.

29 Palms and I Believe are two of my favorite Robert Plant songs. I like the Fate of Nations version of I Believe more than the version that was recorded on Sixty-six to TBT.

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Dreamland - Universal 2002.
Rating = 8

A lot of people say that Robert Plant should give up, that he's too old, that he'll never be able to match the power and majesty of his work with the Honeydrippers. But those people haven't heard Dreamville. 80% of the songs on this new compact disc are fantastically well-written folk and blues songs. Interestingly, out of 10 tracks, only two are original Robert Plant compositions! Coincidence!?!?!!?!??!???~?~??

No it's not, the new songs suck.

My guess would be that Bob Plant wanted to put out a new album and maybe tour, but he didn't have any song ideas in his head. This is no crime, people! The crime is when you write and record a new album ANYWAY (Jackson Browne has been ESPECIALLY guilty of this, subjecting us to such hacked-up stomach bile as Lawyers In Love, Hold Out, World In Motion, Looking East, I'm Alive, Lives In The Balance, Running On Empty, The Pretender, Late For The Sky, First Album (Unreleased), Jackson Browne, Saturate Before Using, For Everyman and The Best of Jackson Browne).

So taking a trick from something Bob Dylan did twice in the early 90s (following his career peak Under The Red Sky, featuring the protest anthem "Wiggle Wiggle"), he decided to have his band perform extremely dark, minor-key updates of several folk & blues songs from days gone yore. Both the songs and the performances are cold and evocative, with the acoustic guitars, ukuleles and accordians of yestertimes sloshing uneasily in time with modern scuzzy, fuzzed-out electric guitar, electric piano and strange backwards electronic noises -- all topped with an unpleasantly loud plate of Robert (Egg) Plant Quesadilla, voice more quivery and off-key than ever before, as befits Mr. Wrinkles-So-Plenty in his golden years.

Dreamtown isn't the most emotionally diverse record in my erection (there's like 4 or 5 others in there - I've got a pretty big vas deferens), with only the two confused, rhythmically upsetting originals serving as "happy" times to balance out the eight parables of darkness and death spread among the rest of the C-Disc (I totally just made up that abbreviation for "Compact Disc" - now FINALLY people won't have to write out the entire phrase "Compact Disc" anymore! With the time saved, we can fix up a park! Clean a neighborhood! Mentor a child! All to pay tribute to those lost on September 11th, as part of the Unity in the Spirit of America (USA) Act -- when this comes up on google, I'm totally counting it as a placement). Classics include a one-chord version of "Hey Joe" that abruptly breaks out into Hendrix's psychedelic break a couple times, an update of Bukka White's "Fixin' To Die" and an "original" (my ass) that "borrows" the lyrics from four old blooze songs you know so well. Here they are by name:

Songs you may also know, even though I didn't, include Tim Rose's "Morning Dew" (I had to listen to it 58 times before I realized he wasn't talking about his dog taking a 7 AM poop in the yard!), Bob Dylan's "One More Cup Of Coffee" (I had to listen to it 72 times before I realized he wasn't talking about drinking poop!), Tim Buckley's "Song To The Siren" (Song to the POOP!), Skip Spence's "Skip's Song" and the Youngbloods' "Darkness Darkness." Every one of these is somber, beautifully arranged and entirely unembarrassing.

Then there's the two originals. Peyooo-ey! Talk about.....



See, that's what flabbergasts me - how could an album of folk/blues covers not include anything by M?

Reader Comments
Robert Plant by himself is crap. His songs suck and he sounded completely out of place like the rest of Dead Zeppelin by 1980. Zeppelin was of strictly musical importance, there were no lyrical themes of any groundbreaking nature or any real substance to Plant's words anyway.

"Oooooohhhhh....yyyyeeeaaaahhhh...and simulated orgasmic wails were his style. That may have sounded innovative in 1972, but by 1980 it sounded trite and silly. Plant has a great vocal what? So do a lot of other cockjock frontmen for bands...who cares? Give me Johnny Rotten.
Rating: *****
In Robert Plant's voice I find color as in painting. I write about visual art and Robert Plant is a constant inspiration for me. I have background in music playing piano since the age of 6 and visual art master's degree. Plant is creating his songs as a painter with perfect composition, high taste of perfectionist who allow free improvisation that never fails him, total harmony. His voice is never separated from the sound of musical instruments fully integrated but at the same time the great singer allows his band mates to develop their parts without worries as he accumulates full attention to the sound of his voice. "Da'kness da'kness...", he misses r avoiding more American sound. It's very sexy. "Hide my yearning for the things I can't see. Da'kness da'kness be my blanket, cover me this endless night..." His voice sounds so youthful with mix of mature fatherly voice, what a paradox...
You are the most accurate ,if not FUNNY, opinionater of Robert Plant I've ever read!!!! Yeah, I'm the typical Zep lover from the 70's and thought that even Plant solo projects were just as "Holy" at the time they were released.....but.... between the BAAAAD sound qualities and too often stupid stupid stupid songs, very little of his stuff stands the test of time as many Zep things still do. The only thing I don't agree with you on is Clarksdale. I felt physically ill when I heard the few promo tracks on the radio. My brother bought it for me and I insisted he return it. What a huge pile of shit. At least it shouldn't stink - but it does. "Shining in the Li-Hi-Hi-higheeet" ??? Wow. Thank God they gave up after that frickin' abortion. But being open minded, maybe I just don't like music that dosen't make you feel good. Some people like being miserable. Dreamland and Clarksdale and most of Fate of Nations (except CallingToYou) are a good reccomendation for the land of the lost crowd.
ToiletDate4U: Simply judging by your choice of words in your comment about Robert Plant being individually "CRAP", I can discern that you are a very numb, casual, impulse driven listener of music. If something isnt obvious enough to jump out and grab your almost non-existant attention, then you will pass it by. Johnny Rotten was at one time a trend setter. He HELPED start a new era in rock music. Johnny Rotten's novelty has well worn off and he now is reduced to doing very poor, almost heart breaking one off shows with whoever the hell is left from the Pistols. He is old, and soft, and still very ugly, but the potency is gone. He is now a shadow. Robert Plant, like him or not, (and I realize that your level of intellect renders you nearly incapable of appreciating him), has had a fully exploratory, experimental, creative, progressive, and active career ever since Led Zeppelin disbanded in 1980. Good bit of research on your part for the dates and deaths that you cited in your post by the way. Anyway, even Plant himself will openly say that he doesnt look back fully proud of each and every individual piece of music he has ever made in his solo career. But the fact is that when he sought out new and cutting edge projects, he immersed himself fully, and from each of his experiences, he has drawn wisdom. I imagine an interview with Johnny Rotten these days to be an incoherent and nearly sleep inducing event. Whereas with what Plant has seen and done throughout his life, he has come to know many things and he is a true sage of wisdom. And one last thing, you said toward the end of Zeppelin's existence they had become irrelevant or something like it. Im not sure what you think about In Through The Outdoor, but pretentious and self indulgent as the Punks of the time may have thought it to be, the fact is that record is a fucking super album. All be it for a bad reason...That Jimmy Page was LESS involved with the production due to his constant altered, and withered state of mind and body. (AKA a bottle of Jack like a bottle of water, and some LSD and Heroine for good measure) Jones and Plant had matured both in their individual sounds, and their skills as composers. The work on that album almost gave some foreshadow of whose careers would thrive in the years to come. Well, Bonham died, so not his, and not all of theirs together, Page made bad bad choices in his solo career, and went from shining star genius, to empty shell. Plant and Jones are the only two that are currently working and moving forward. Dont you try and bring your peasant's theories to the BIG PERSON table. Go back to the kiddie table and eat your fucking applesauce. To say that ANY point of Zeppelin's career bore no fruit is just completely ignorant. Shut your.... fingers.
yeah shut yer faggot mouth you limey faggot fuck! eat cock! jonny rotten sucks shit! faggot!
I have to pretty much agree with that one really nasty Toilet4u or whatever reviewer that said that Plant is dull and pointless by himself. His orgasmic wails and cucumber in the pants showmanship were just part of that whole 70's bell bottom pants English psychedelic blues riff scene that WAS of strictly musical importance. Led Zeppelin did some great hard rock tunes and were innovative from a musical standpoint as well as great live performers. End of story. Plant by himself would probably never have even been signed or considered by a major label or charted an album in the eighties and would have been eventually dropped from his label as another middle aged pseudo lounge singer pop star pretty boy experiment gone bad had it not been for Zeppelin's previous success and huge throng of fans that still worship them today. When you listen to Plant's solo stuff it is obvious that the true innovative talent and just plain rock and roll guts behind Zep didn't lie with Plant. Sorry, I find Plant's solo stuff to be dull, boring and basically throwaway pop crap more akin to Tony Bennett than anything resembling rock and roll. I saw a Page/Plant reunion several years ago in Dallas and thought that it was a decent performance and was entertained. They pulled it off well considering they were using side musicians and considering their increasing ages, but in retrospect the best parts of the show were watching them rehash old Zep tunes and reliving the seventies, from what I heard of that new Clarksdale album I would be hard pressed to use it for anything other than skeet practice.
I have to stand up for JP after the toilet4 u guy.....I think he has done some OK stuff since leaving Zep. And morever....anyone who could master the guitar and play such original, innovative never to be repeated tunes....(I mean really has anyone come close, no one can even immitate) has my eternal respect. I think Zep was a matter of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts.

I mean look at the Beatles....they each did a few good things after splitting...but nothing like the Beatles. Can you expect someone to be in their prime constantly? Good on them all for following their bliss. After the gift of such moving music, I think we should be thankful and wish them all health and happiness.

Think about early Chicago...and late Chicago. Even worse...early Moody Blues vs late Moody blues....and my favorite case of going stale....Elton John. Love the early...hate the late!Those are some real cases of losing the plot!! Smashing Pumpkins cranked out some masterpieces...and some flat crap!Anyhow...I digress. No one can crank out non stop masterpieces all the time. That they did as much as they have and the genius behind all the players and the way it all came together is a gift. Enjoy it and don't bite the hand that feeds!!
In my opinion there is relevance in every Robert Plant project I am put off by those who assosiate Robert Plant soley with his work with Led Zeppelin. It is true that he will always be a Lion Among Zebras and Wholelotta Loverman etc...But there are decades of something so much deeper and more meaningful to the man and his work. I am disheartened by the fact that Robert Plant's solo works haven't been recognized for their heartfelt maturity and genius, and that the man isn't as recognized for his greatness and his status as rock and roll royalty.

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Sixty-Six To Timbuktu - Universal 2003
Rating = 8

Look, nothing against you personally but I've spent all fucking day copy editing articles by idiots and retards ("Deeuuuuur, say there, Mr. singer in the band Franz Ferdinand -- where did you get the name of your band? DEEEEEUUUUR") and now it's 10:52 PM and I still have to eat dinner and take Henry The Dog to the park before bed so you'll have to excuse me if I come across as a little curt in this review of this Robert Plant double-CD.

First of all, who the hell is this package supposed to entice? Robert Plant completists would already have most of the tracks on the "greatest hits disc," and newfers interested in a quick overview of his biggest hits are (a) going to have no use for the dozens of cover tunes sprawled across both discs, and (b) going to be really pissed off when they realize that the so-called "greatest hits" compilation fails to include two of the biggest hits he ever had ("In The Mood" and "Hurting Kind"), as well as ignoring his kickass debut solo album entirely! And is there ANYBODY who honestly believes that Fate Of Nations had FIVE hits on it? Well, I was there! And believe me -- it didn't!

For more specifics, the title of the disc means that the earliest track is from 1966 and the newest is a live track recorded in Timbuktu. See? The humor! :7D Also, I personally like Robert Plant's songwriting. Most of his best songs have been original compositions. So why on God's Hell of Earth Shit do TWENTY-ONE of these 36 tracks feature no Plant co-writing input at all!? Oh, but enough griping. I did after all give it an 8! That's because I love all his hits and disc two collects a ton of rarities, b-sides and compilation tracks all in one easy-to-lose package. Ahem. Disc one = 1 Honeydrippers song, nothing from Pictures, one each from Principle, Shaken and Manic, 2 from Dreamland, 3 from Now And Zen, five (???) from Fate and two rarities (one horrendous unreleased electro-rock track and one U2-ringingly-good Dreamland international bonus track). Disc two starts with five pre-Zeppelin songs -- a Young Rascals cover (I'm told) with a band called Listen, a solo ballad single, two obnoxious cover tunes with Band of Joy ("Hey Joe" and "For What It's Worth") and a generic blues with Alexis Korner. After that, you got your unreleased numbers, your Crawling Kingsnakes song from the Porky's soundtrack, your Rainer Ptacek, Skip Spence, Arthur Alexander and Elvis Presley covers, your b-sides, your collaborations with Afro Celt Soundsystem and Jools Holland -- PIZZA'S HERE! FUCK OFF!!!

(the next day)

When I said "Fuck Off," I wasn't at all intending to be rude. I was actually trying to promote a new bug spray called "Fuck Off." Apparently a lot of times, ticks, fleas and mosquitos jump onto your person because they want you to ram them with your big fuckin' cock and or big fuckin' vagrana. But with "Fuck Off" (new from K-Tel), you spray it all over yourself and a bunch of tiny ass dildos grow out of your pores so the mosqjitos, tix and ants "get theirs" without you losing all your blood in the process like those American Corpses that were dragged around by Iraqis today. I have something to say about Islam, by the way. Moslems can all suck the dick. Every one of them. Fuck you bunch of assholes.

Oh shit, did I say "Moslems"? I'm sorry - that was a typo. I have a confusing new computer keyboard and every once in a while, I accidentally write "Moslems" when I mean "that guy who used to sing for Hot Chocolate."

Reader Comments
I bought the long-awaited "66 to BFE" the day it was released and must say, I was very happy with it.

While I don't understand why there are so many songs from Fate of Nations and none from Pictures at Eleven (meh...I never liked Pic @ 11, anyway), it is a wonderful compilation of both Percy's greatest hits and his pre-Zeppelin work. I won't list every song, just the ones that stand out.

CD 1 kicks off with my favorite song from the album Manic Nirvana: "Tie Dye on the Highway". This is just a cool song anyway you slice it. The sampling of Stephen Stills' comments from CSN&Y's Woodstock performance just add to the dimension of this song about the long lost hippie days of the 60's (We must be in heaven, man!)

"Little by Little" (the only good song from Shaken 'N Stirred) is included. The bass line in this song was always impressive to me.

And of course, there's "Tall, Cool One". The MTV Big Vid Pic of the late 80's with the cool video where Bob was sporting a mullett, eye shadow and leather.

CD 2 begins with the track "You Better Run" from Robert's Band of Joy days. The sheer, raw power of his then, 18-year old voice was a precursor of one of the things that would make Zeppelin so mighty.

The live version of "I Believe" is, IMHO, better than the studio version on Fate of Nations. Any image of Robert's legendary cockiness melts away when you hear the emotion in his voice while he sings this song in memory of his late son.

"Rude World" is easily the 2nd fave track and has Robert teaming up with Jimmy Page on guitar. Great edgy vocals and riffs in the classic Page/Plant style.

Gotta admit - I REALLY like "Let's Have a Party" This was obviously an outtake from the Manic Nirvana period and starts out with this country, twangy, Hank Williams-ish steel guitar intro then suddenly morphs into a ripping rock-a-billy instrumental with Robert coming in about 8 measures later. I liked the Manic Nirvana era. It was good.

The track "Life Begin Again" was recorded for the Afro Celt Sound System and is a beautiful, heavy Morrocan-themed, Kashmir-sounding song which may as well have been an outtake from the album "Unledded - No Quarter."

"Win My Train Fare Home" is the closing track on CD 2 and was recorded in where else? TIMBUKTU! Really cool number that grows on you each time you hear it. It's a flawless performance by Plant and his band.

I give the entire CD a 10. (Just skip over the grueling 80's number"Red Is For Danger") (Craig the official critic of everything.)
Hey... when are you going to review Robert's latest excersize in "strangeness"- Mighty Rearranger ?

Are you gonna jump on the "lets be nice to old warhorses and write a nice little review like all the kids who were still pooping in diapers when Plant was still worthy, " or, will you shoot from the hip like a true critic and unveil it for the whinning oddness that it is?

(five days later)

Guess what Mark? It turns out that I never gave the CD a chance on a good audio system - only the basic sound coming off of my home computer spkrs. I was wrong. I just got to hear it on an excellent car system and the mix on it , if not the tunes, are probably the best he's done as a solo guy. I don't care much for the middle eastern flavor that he's been puttng in since Fate Of Nations, but aside from that, I was wrong in my early opinion. Take a listen when you can.

(one week later)

This is to correct my previous statement about Mighty Rearranger: I should have waited to hear the CD in HiFidelity before making such an opinion. Wow, was I ever wrong. It's a great CD and the best thing he ever did solo, as a whole.
A thought about Sixty-six to TBT...Several months prior to the release of Sixty-six to TBT I had written a letter to Mr. Plant through his management team. I don't know if Robert Plant ever actually recieved the corespondence but I had asked a question about Robert Plant's favorite music from his childhood and from his children's early childhood. When TBT came out I was suprised to hear the song, Little Hands. Little Hands is a song I use in my own work as a preschool teacher. It has a lullabye quality that is like magic to the children at naptime and the words are easy to teach.

I also asked if Mr. Plant had ever recorded or performed music in any languages other than English. To the best of my knowlege he hasn't.

Add your thoughts?

Mighty Rearranger - Sanctuary 2005
Rating = 6

Whoops, there goes another Robert "Ree" Plant (album)! Please understand that I love Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant and eagerly look forward to each new release. However, I'm not going to lie and claim that this album is stronger than it is. It is in fact the weakest and least melodic release of his entire career (aside from perhaps the Honeydrippers EP, which is nearly unlistenable aside from "Sea Of Lub").

Recorded with a boring band called The Strange Sensation, this disc presents a novel squishing-together of the 'old' and the 'new.' Unfortunately, the 'new' side of that equation refers solely to weird synth noises, electronica beats and crystal digital production; the music meanwhile is just a bunch of 'old' folk-country and blues-rock cliches, further marred by Robert's failure to come up with any memorable vocal melodies. The record certainly SOUNDS neat, with tons of interesting guitar tones and effects, wildass 'moog bass' effects, and instruments with names like 'Bendir' and 'Tehardant." But once you get past the first two winning tracks (very lovely "Another Tribe" and groovy/bombastic "Shine It All Around"), there are almost no gripping melodies at all.

So enjoy the five billion times they play an acoustic chord from high note to low, get wig-wild about the zany 5/4 and 6/4 time signatures, and go "aw man!" every time the moog bass does a freaky swoop, because if you're not careful, you might notice that all the riffs are empty, simplistic and boring, the closest thing to a hook is a Byrds/Beatles ripoff ("Dancing In Heaven"), and the most interesting guitarwork is total Jimmy Page idolatry (the big soaring echoey solo in "The Enchanter," the "All My Love" bendy notes in "Dancing In Heaven," and what's with naming a song "All The King's Horses"??? Does the name 'The Firm' mean NOTHING to you people?!??!).

Let me make one thing clear, though: I don't hate a single song on here. Hell, I like Robert's voice a lot and, as I said, the whole thing just SOUNDS neat because of the interesting instrument choices, warm and wonderful guitar tones and intriguing old-meets-new mix. It's just that, damn, the melodies themselves don't stick to the ribs of my ear. Shit, I like the first two songs a lot, and the odd twiggly-wiggly/punching loud rock dichotomy of "Takamba" is quite interesting, but fuck, there are no "Big Log"s or "Little By Little"s to be found here at all. Assballs, I still get "Come Into My Life" stuck in my head all the time, and there's not even anything on here like THAT! I mean butthole, you know? Ream cream. Quiff.

Nevertheless, I eagerly await his next project, though I would prefer that it be a Page/Plant album. Unlike every other creature ever born or to be born at some point in the future, I actually really liked Walking Into Clarksdale.

Ooo, you know what'd be even cooler though? If Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham got together and recorded a new album as "Bonham." Goddamn man, with a line-up like that, the resultant album might even be as good as The Disregard Of Timekeeping!

Not Mad Hatter though, I mean what world are you living in?

Reader Comments
Mighty Rearranger is the best CD I have ever heard. You have to be spiritually connected to get it.
Your thoughts on Mr. Plants solo records are stupid. You must be stupid too. I must be stupid to waste my time emailing you to say this.
Hello there Mark,

I bet a lot of Robert Plant fans rag you about your opinions when it comes to the different Robert Plant CDs. I do have to agree with a lot of what you have said about Mighty Rearranger.

For me there is something missing and I can not put my finger on it. I know that when I say this many people assume I do not like the CD and that's far away from the truth. I do like it but I'm not in love with it--the only thing for me is I don't keep going back to this CD and I don't need to hear it which is something I have been trying to figure out why.

I think it's because I believe Robert Plant was holding out on us when he made this CD. Perhaps, the thing I think is missing from Mighty Rearranger is Robert Plant's soul. Mighty Rearranger has a lot of good songs and lyrics on it and Robert's voice still has the power to send chills but I don't hear his soul speaking to me. I think when the songs are performed live they have the energy that's missing from the CD.

I do not feel that this is Robert Plant's best CD and perhaps that's a good thing because it keeps the bar high for more Plant greatness. I do think it's good for Robert and the Strange Sensation to have fans like yourself, because it's people like you and non fans that they should be enchanting and that's where the truth test of the music lies. Thank you for your honesty. Of course there will be people who say that those who do not enjoy this CD just do not "get it" which I do not agree with that...I get it alright...I'm a Plant fan but I'm not satisfied and this should be a good thing for Mr. Plant and the Strange Sensation to know because if I was then I'd probably be moving a long like this...

Stop holding out on us Robert Plant...Push it, Punch it-- just give it to us!

and Mark...Page/Plant/Jones--that's what I want!
I personally think that Robert Plant still has a lot to offer the music world he is still writing good songs and is doing what he enjoys ,i think it is easy to look back and say his work with Led Zeppelin is his best but he still gives a lot iof peple pleasure with his singing,

while this album is by no means his best work i think it is as good as anthing being produced by performers more than half his age
This year U2 won Best Album of the year for How to dismantle an atomic bomb. Mighty Rearranger, Robert Plant and the Strange Sensation's album; hands down, no questions about it, blows any new album releases out of the water. After listening to Mighty Rearranger I cannot believe this album didn't win Best Rock Album of the year. It's all about advertising. That is it! Robert Plant has no need to agressively advertise any releases due to his overwhelmling lifetime of success. Along with minimal advertising, I believe Robert Plants subdued personal/band publicity hault his releases from being constantly at the top. But again I have to say that hands down, no questions about it, the nominees and winner of the Best Rock Album are not even close to the talent on Mighty Rearranger.
I completely agree with the reader who wrote that its all a matter of marketing and advertising. Mighty Rearranger is Robert Plant's finest work in 20 in years. But at this point in his career, Robert Plant has already well acheived status as rock royalty, as I understand it he is exceedingly rich and certainly no 'slave to a record company grind' I've seen tired old rock stars who are 'doing it' because they are bound by contractual, money, money. Robert Plant seems to have laid those burdens down. He doesn't have to be concerned with fame and fortune because he's already attained the level of such that he has. Now he can do more of what He wants and less of what critics and other cynical assholes expect him to do. I admire and respect him for that and I love Mighty Rearranger.

I read several reviews of Mighty Rearranger and of the U.S. tour. Unfortunately, the reviews I read were somewhat less than favorable, such as the one written by Dan Aquilante for the New York Post which couldn't have been any more scathing. The concert review describes Robert Plant acting as though applause are his birthright and insinuated that Robert Plant regards the adoration of fans as more important than the music. Mr Aquilante had some very unkind things to say about Robert Plant's show at the Beacon in NYC. Things which only prove that he doesn't know a thing about Robert Plant...or true greatness. Show some respect
To be fair to Robert Plant, I think he tries really hard to make something fresh every time he sets out to make a recording. MR is just another example of perhaps trying way too hard. I am in agreement with everything you've said, because you state the obvious. To deny your observations is to be in denial as a truly hopeless fanatical fan, or to be unaware of what Plant used to be capable of (young person newbie fan who likes everything new no matter what). Plant used to be able to really grab a listener's psyche, and take it for a long term ride with at least ONE cut from the album. With MR, it leaves me with the reminder that we all have to age, and with that, there is only so much that trying hard will produce. Added to the fact that Robert himself admits that he no longer likes projects (therefore- albums) that are a "Big Deal". Robert Plant always meant "Big Deal" to me. So, I guess that's why I haven't dug too much from him lately. Give him credit for trying. But I don't think we'll ever get another blast from the ultimate tripster. Unless maybe if he'd collaborate with some geniouses as he did with N&Z and MN. Real writers with great ideas and a guy named Robert to make it happen.
I hope you rot in hell for what you said about John Bonham in Robert Plant album reviews.
Man, oh man... All I can say to you Mark, and all you overly-indulged Zeppelin die-hard fanatics/followers out there - who continue to carry this mighty "blimphatic torch'' so high in hand.. {like some sort of token "Bic (tm) lighter" at a mid-70's rock concert or something, is... well, as Dan Ackroyd used to so aptly say to co-anchorperson Jane Curtin, on the old SNL Weekend Update News: "Jane, you ignorant slut(s)..!".

Y'all just don't seem to get it, do you?? The whole "Zeppelin" saga... the whole shmear! You say: "Oh, well this is so weak for a R. Plant album" or: "it's the marketing. If only he had promoted it .. but of course he doesn't need to , because.." etc., etc - Yadda, yadda, yadda. Get lives! Would ya'all!?? Wake up and smell the damned cappacino! - 'cause.. WELL, SURPRISE!!!!, I've got news for all you mis-directed blindered sheep out there! - I say "blindered sheep", because you've ALL been played into this entire thing; yep,.. worse than a trail of dead gnat corpses in a flourishing venus fly-trap, you have!

Think about it.. I mean Led Zeppelin in of itself. From the moment the band formed, they.. well, EVERYONE who knows and enjoys Rock Music, KNEW what they had here. It was a combination of genius that was to become "stellar". "Immortal" even, if you will. Ok, that's a given. And that's exactly what it became. Then, somewhat tragically; Bonham kicks the bucket. Sad, true - but hey, .. that's life.

What to do now? Well, Zep could go the usual route of all the great Rock 'n Roll bands. Either they stick it out (like the Who; if somewhat pathetically!), or disband (like the Beatles; Those bastards!). Aaah, ...but wait! Suppose they did something completely different? Something not only "different", but something ... well, EPIC! in every sense of the word? - because, after all, this is LED ZEPPELIN we're talking about.. Not some flash in the pan two-bit group like ("fill in with the name of any of hundreds of rock bands"- here).

So here's what we'll do, agree Jimmy , Jonesy and Robert. We seperate.. tell 'em we're through. A few "flashes" 'round & about, a handful of "sparks" here and there (i.e. - The No Quarter stint).. nothing "too" grand though; maybe a few monkey wrenches thrown in here and there too (like, maybe make it look like Jimmy has lost his touch, ('scoff!'), even) - just to add a bit more "realism" to it all).

Then, lets say, ..oh, 30 years from now, we pull it all back together - full force! Pump that Leaden (No, not "leeden"; you stupid Americans!) Blimp back up!! And thus, proceed to give the world the answer to their long savoured, yet unquenched, JONES they've been drooling for all these many decades. We'll go down as not just greatest rock and roll group ever, but the ultimate musical ensemble of all time! Now THERE's your ultimate Marketing Plan for ya! And all you half-wits bit into it (the scheme).. hook, line and sinker. Suckers! All I can say is: "God BLESS capitalism!!" ( Lol. ) (Linda)
What's all the fuss? Let's face the facts. There will never be anyone like Robert Plant ever again. He was the voice of someone every rock and roll legend wants to be! So what if his music changes. All things change, we grow, everything cannot stay the same. There would not be no Led Zeppelin without Robert! His voice and presence were magical! Why do you think today, even the young kids love Led Zeppelin! Because no band can even come close to what they brought to Rock and Roll. So, even though Robert isn't what he use to be, we still have all his music to remember him by. I know just listening to their music was a great mind and soul experiment, and still is! Thanks for all the great music you gave to the world! Love and a fan always!

Add your thoughts?

Raising Sand (with Alison Krauss) - Rounder 2007
Rating = 7

Alison Krauss is a 36-year-old bluegrass singer/fiddler who has won 30 grammy awards -- one each year starting at age 7 (possibly). Nevertheless, having not seen O Brother Dude, Where Art My Car?, I've never heard a single song she's recorded. In fact, I've never even heard a single song she's heard, which tells you exactly how different our upbringings were. Nevertheless, Bob Plant called her on the mimeograph and said, "Hay, let's make a ablum."

A collection of 13 mostly old-timey cover tunes, Raising Sand is the sort of project that seems specifically designed for rock critics, yet surprisingly I like it too! Covered artists include Sam Phillips, Dillard & Clark, Everly Brothers, Tom Waits, Mel Tillis, Doc Watson, Townes Van Zandt and Page/Plant. Covered genres include country/western, 3-penny opera, jumpin' jive jazz, rock'n'roll, 50's balladry, brooding modern rock, and r'n'b. Covered songs include "Trampled Rose," "Fortune Teller," "Please Read The Letter" and ten songs I've never heard. Covered wagons include pioneers and supplies.

But enough facts and figures. Data's great and all, but you can get data by shittin in your hand and opening a book. Hell, you don't even have to shit in your hand most times, that's just an added bonus. But my point is this: the reason that this CD is so good is because Robert Plant has at some point over the course of his career learned the skill of 'restraint.' Let me illustrate this point with a real-life story that's not very interesting.

I was out in Sam Frank's Disco a couple of weeks ago shopping in Amoeba Records while my friend Brandan did some work in a nearby coffee shop. Five thousand hours later when I was finished shopping, Brandan told me, "They played Led Zeppelin II in its entirety, and I think it may be the worst album I've ever heard." After I finished picking my eyebrows off the ceiling, I asked Brandan, "Are you fucked up the fucking ass, you fucking piece of fuck? That album has 'Thank You' on it." And he replied, "Well, if you can find me an instrumental version of the album, I'll give it another chance." I saw where this was heading, but he continued: "I realized something I'd never noticed before. They double-tracked Plant's gibberish at the end of 'Ramble On.' Which means that some studio engineer heard the original ending, with all that "whooo yeah! whoo yeah!" bullshit and thought, 'You know what this song could use? Some more of that gibberish at the end.' So now you get two tracks of 'Whoo yeah! Whoo yeah! Ma ma ma ma ma! Ramble on baby! Doo! Doo! Doo! Doo!'" And you know? I hated to say this, but you were right, Brandan.

And it's not just Brandan. My wife can't stand Robert Plant's Led Zeppelin voice either. Even I have trouble sitting through his ridiculous The Song Remains The Same performance (ex. "You need coo-ooo-lin'! Ah baby I'm not ah-foolah-foolah-foo-foolin'!"). So imagine the surprise that we all would feel when/if we all sat down to Raisin Bran and heard how Mr. Plant completely buries his ego in order to merge his voice like a (castrated) male angel in gorgeous, heartbreaking harmony with 30-time Grammy Winner Alison Krauss. When these two put their voices together for a depressing country ballad ("Killing The Blues," "Through The Morning, Through The Night," "Your Long Journey," the not-country-but-I'll-put-it-here-anyway "Stick With Me, Baby"), the results are absolutely breathtakingly harrowingly beautifully beautiful harrowing breathtaking absolute results. "Your Long Journey" is a song sung to a dying life partner, for Pete's Christ! Talk about SADD! (Students Against Dying Dearests)

Unfortunately, they don't sing harmony in every track; some feature one lead and the other backup, and a couple seem to be missing one or the other entirely(!), but even a few of these are as strong as anything Robert's released in years. How so, you wonder? Let me paraphrase Bill Clinton: "The economy, stupid." (except replace "economy" with "musical accompaniment" and "stupid" with "you stupid, stupid asshole") T-Bone Burnett handles the bandmaster and production duties with impressive results, particularly in his ability to create an appropriate ambiance for a full half-century's worth of music. In other words, when he wants a song to sound like a 1950's ballad, it sounds like a 1950's ballad, down to the correct amount of tremelo and reverb on the guitar. When he wants to capture the feel of a suicidal country ballad, the pedal steel purtiness puts you right there in that Waffle House. And when he wants to bring things Up-To-Date a bit, the instrumental approaches and stereophonic mixes sound as futuristic as an Eno (particularly in Robert's awesome foreboding rock cover of Townes Van Zandt's "Nothin'").

I'm not Bill Fanatic about every song they chose to cover (hence the 7/10), but there are only three real misfires:

(1) I love the Rolling Stones' version of "Fortune Teller," so it's a kick in the teeth to hear Robert Plant ruin it with his (solo) oversinging. Does the previously dark'n'mean song really need cock rock asides like "Ooo, yes I did!"? Ooo, no it doesn't.

(2) "Let Your Loss Be Your Lesson" is probably intended to be an r'n'b song, but Alison's twangy delivery and Burnett's surprisingly over-slick mix put it right in the company of modern shit-country artists like Garth "Chris Gaines" Brooks and Tim "Chris Gaines" McGraw.

(3) I appreciate Sam Phillips allowing Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash to record at her famous Sun Studios, but her "Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us" song is fucken gypsy music. And you know how I feel about gypsies, ever since one of 'em knifed a farmer and stole his horse. Never caught the gypsies, nor the horse.

The music creates a really nice mood. The band's excellent use of reverb, tremelo and light delay helps create an old-timey yet timeless feel. Most of the songs are very slow though, so don't go into it expecting another grindcore album like The Honeydrippers, Volume Two: The Bathtub Shitter Catalog.

Reader Comments
You've at least heard Alison's band, you liar. I sent you (oh probably 7-8 years ago) at least 1-2 of her bluegrass things.

Alison Krauss is goddess.

Plant went up miles in my estimation by working with her. Even with her gazillion Emmy's, she's criminally underheard.
A step down by Plant as he feels sorry for the sorry ass Krauss. He's a rock God for God's sake! Why they hell does he feel the need to do a bluegr, a blue, a, I can't even say it.

It's a charity case by Plant because he is repenting for the many tunes he ripped off the po' black blues men of years gone by. Your penitence has been paid Mr. Plant. Now go back to LZ where you belong. [(Rev Dr) Bernard Honeytop]
That dude who couldn't bring himself to type the word 'bluegrass' - that gave me plentiful yuks.

I live approx 2 miles from Robert Plant. It's probably him who's playing that 'Raising Sand' CD on giant speakers across the hillocks. Buy more bluegrass... buy more bluegrass.... buy more bluegrass... buy more bluegrass....

Robert - you've got the CBE for your services to R.O.C.K, not to M.O.R.

Get the Led out!

Add your thoughts?

Band Of Joy - Rounder 2010
Rating = 6

Okay, so I'm at karaoke the other night just doing my thing and singing my songs (in this case, "Pac-Man Fever," "Pencil Neck Geek" and "The Curly Shuffle" -- or as I like to call them, "Instant Snatch Pts. 1, 2 and 3") when my friend Heather shows up. She's clearly had a few, as have I, as has every other person in the place -- after all, it's a day of the week. So all of a sudden I see this hilarious broken bottle on the floor next to my foot. Being a born card, I picked it up and pretended to drink out of it. But within seconds, I turned from card to cad as Heather whined, "Hey, you cut me!" "Wait.... wuuuuuut?" I asked, to which good old Jim Laakso replied, "Wow! You really cut her!" Apparently when I'd picked up the broken bottle, I had somehow swiped it against her arm without realizing it, and sure enough (or "Sho 'Nuff" if you're a member of the Black Crowes) there was a bloody cut right there. I tried to kiss it better, but my defective lips wouldn't secrete any antibiotics so I figured the next best thing was to cut myself with the broken bottle in a chivalrous act of self-sacrifice. This I attempted to no avail. So I tried again. And a third time, and a fourth. Finally I looked at Mr. Jim Laakso and said, "How could I have cut her? I can't even cut myself!" And it was about this time that four bloody lines suddenly appeared on my arm. Curse you, ten-second delay! Now I look like a regular asshole!

Regular Asshole

But onto Robert "Jimi" Plant's Band Of Joypsys. Like many of you, I grew up with Led Zeppelin. I rode dirt bikes with Johnny Paul Jones, and me and Jimmy Page had fun in the sandbox until the day stupid Johnny Bonham took a doodie in t

Like many of you, I grew up listening to Led Zeppelin, enjoying their bombastic hard rock and learning all I could about their influences and what a "Brown Bomber" is. During this educational period, one of the many extraordinary and titillating things I learned was that Robert Plant began his career in a blues-folk-rock band called Band of Joy. So imagine my sprightliness upon believing that Old Man Plant was exiting the 'bluegrass covers' arena for a return to his bloozy belting "ooo babe!" roots.

Nope. This is an all-new band consisting almost entirely of country-western musicians, performing an album of nearly all covers. Interestingly though, the expected banjo bluegrassers and ukulele yee-haws are accompanied by forays into '00s slowcore, '80s shitfunk, '70s singer-songwriter, '60s rock'n'roll, '50s teen balladry and (previous) '00s traditional folk music. Can you imagine being a country-western musician and having some wrinkly old bag tell you to learn two songs from Low's The Great Destroyer!? You bet your ten-gallon hat you'd be all "Things We Lost In The Fire, dick"! Then a brutal massacre would ensue, leaving Robert Plant dead at age 62.

Famed Vocalist Found With 437 Stab Wounds; Police Suspect He Choked On An Olive

It's always a terrible tragedy to lose an iconic pop culture figure like Robert Plant. We can only hope that when he placed that fatal olive onto his tongue, he was aware that this album suffers from a poor track listing. Actually, hold that thought. I've never heard the original renditions of any of these songs, but unless the Band of Joy were the physical embodiment of The Hollies' "King Midas In Reverse," I can only assume I wouldn't get much from stock material like Los Lobos' "Angel Dance," Richard and Linda Thompson's "House of Cards," Barbara Lynn's "You Can't Buy My Love," Milton Mapes' "The Only Sound That Matters" and The Kelley Brothers' "Falling In Love Again." Even the songs that legitimately excite me are differentiated mostly by their bewitching tremeloed guitar tones and grim atmosphere, rather than the melodies themselves. In other words, yes, there is more to music than just melody, but sometimes a melody is so routine that even excellent musicianship can't save it.

Plus I hate rednecky vocal harmony, and some of this shit has that shit all up its ass. As my karaoke acquaintance Lauren's new tattoo puts it, "Fuck that shit." Speaking of making love to fecal matter, here's a bunch of my recent Facebook status updates:

Mark Prindle is getting tired of his parents asking him if he's "met anybody new yet". I've met plenty of "people new." And I've alienated nearly all of them because I'm a mentally damaged emotional disaster. You'd think women would like that quality in a man, but these days they're getting uppity.

Mark Prindle is curious whether any of his karaoke friends have this "Karaoke Warehouse" ad on their Profile page. It looks like a guy sticking his penis into a keyhole! Surely that's not the image they were going for.

Mark Prindle slept all day out of sheer fucking depression. Which I guess is better than sheep fucking depression, but still

Mark Prindle just awoke from a dream in which Cheap Trick's "Surrender" was actually about a young co-ed who naively decides to visit an apartment of junkies just to see what they're like, only for them to trap her there and rape her over and over again. I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IS WRONG WITH MY BRAIN.

Mark Prindle is still drunk from last night, and is going to jury duty that way. Ha ha ha! Up your ass, the accused!!!!

Mark Prindle is shocked and a bit frightened to report that I literally just woke myself up crying. I guess I don't have to tell you what recent personal crisis I was dreaming about. (the new Linkin Park album)

Mark Prindle is curious why they don't just call the show "Shat, My Father, Says...."

Mark Prindle just awoke from a dream in which I was telling somebody about a dream I had in which I fell asleep and had a dream. Keep it up, brain.

Mark Prindle just remembered another asinine dream I had yesterday: I was appalled to find that TV Guide had started publishing nude photos. I realize this would be no big deal in Australia, but here in America we frown on naked people.

Mark Prindle is still awake, so you know it's not morning yet. Getting ready to go jog around Central Park! I hope Jury Duty understands when I sleep through their entire day.

Mark Prindle is amazed by how many of his female friends "can't find the right guy" when it's clear that Mark Prindle *is* the right guy. Can't they see my adorable, dainty muscles and fun-loving American personality? That settles it: women are God's mistakes.

Mark Prindle plans to award the new Robert Plant "Band of Joy" CD a 6/10. As a comparison, I gave his last one, "Raising Sand" with Allison Krause, a 7/10. So this one is 1 less good.

Mark Prindle is the kind of person who would get a tattoo of Herve Villechaize just for the hilarious play-on-words.

Mark Prindle just watched "Witch Board Bunshinsaba," an Asian horror movie about a vengeful female ghost with really long hair covering her face. I'd like to congratulate the filmmakers on their unique concept.

Mark Prindle says, "Good night. I urge you to let the bedbugs bite."

Mark Prindle got one hour of sleep last night, because you know how God feels about sloth.

Mark Prindle is currently having his face smashed in by the rock action of Chrome Cranks' self-titled LP. How come nobody ever told me about this band? Or, if you did, how come I completely ignored you?

Mark Prindle has discovered that you can't make people like you. You can, however, make them hate you, and then suddenly do something nice so they think, "Okay, maybe he's not THAT bad." This is my goal.

Mark Prindle has jury duty next Tuesday. Finally, a paycheck!

Mark Prindle jogged around Central Park at 9 PM last night, and is now going to do so again at 8 AM on only two hours of sleep! This kind of exercise regimen is crucial when your entire diet consists of pizza and vodka.

Mark Prindle is glad his name isn't Jimmy Jonga, because then he'd be hungry for a chimichanga all the time.

Mark Prindle isn't going to tell you which new CDs he's been listening to tonight, but one of them is a "Band" that brings "Joy" to his "Plant"s, "Robert," and the other is a real "Grinder, Man" too! ("2").

Mark Prindle demands that "Weird Al" Yankovic record a parody of Faith No More's "We Care A Lot" entitled either "We Care For Tots" or "We've Got The Trots." If necessary, I will fight and die for this important cause.

Mark Prindle will not rest on his laurels until "Weird Al" Yankovic records a parody of The Who's "Bargain" entitled "Jargon" (i.e. "I call that some jargon - the best I ever heard"). ("THE BEST I EVER HEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRD!").

Mark Prindle can't understand why there's no line of women gathered outside my apartment building. I've been playing this YES tribute CD for like 45 minutes.

Mark Prindle Could you guys keep it down? I'm trying to listen to Pink Floyd's "Hey You" as performed by 'Furnace' on this terrible Cleopatra tribute disc.

Mark Prindle Can you guys keep it down? I'm trying to listen to Pink Floyd's "Money" as performed by Styx's Tommy Shaw, Poison's Richie Kotzen, King Crimson's Tony Levin, Journey's Mike Baird, and Edgar Winter on sax.

Mark Prindle Could you guys speak a bit more quietly? I'm having trouble hearing Pink Floyd's "Run Like Hell" as performed by Chicago's Jason Scheff, The Firm's Tony Franklin, Yes's Tony Kaye, Journey's Aynsley Dunbar, and Dweezil Zappa on guitar.

Mark Prindle can't believe how putrid this "Moody Bluegrass" tribute CD is. Which is weird, because you'd expect it to be really, really good.

Mark Prindle is about to post the entire Genesis studio discography on ebay (trespass through invisible touch on vinyl -- from genesis to revelation, we can't dance and calling all stations on cd), as well as three live albums. Bidding starts at $21 (free shipping). My seller name is "puppymoose." Genesis stinks, but don't let dissuade you from bidding.

Mark Prindle is listening to the first Three Dog Night LP and reminiscing fondly about the time Chuck Negron's penis exploded in the bathtub.

Mark Prindle just listened to five Standells albums in a row while getting extremely angry at the Cision online database tool. It's for special moments like these that Facebook's Status Update was invented.

Mark Prindle just realized you can't spell "Failure" without "I Lure." So step right up, laydeez!

Mark Prindle laughed heartily when Jim Laakso answered the Trivial Pursuit question with a rude "Duhhhh... cunt." (The answer was "Duck Hunt")

Reader Comments (JC Carrera)
Man, you are heading into Darby Crash territory with that performance!
OK, I'll give Plant credit for not taking the easy way out and doing "Allison Krauss II" (or Allison Krauss, too, for that matter) but not much else.
The most arrogant cunt I ever met in Dudley, what a prick, he showed hiself up as a pop star shining arse hole at a Dudley venue he had no invite to in 1970's.
The cunt turned up at Dudley college got in for free on his namesake and got a load of coke cans thrown at him for demanding free entrance to the venue based on his royalty, he was is just an arrogant cunt with no talent.

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