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IT’S ROBERT PLANT WEEK ON TBL : DAY 5 – THE NEW ALBUM CARRY FIRE – TODAY’S THE DAY – THE VINYL REVIEW / BBC6 MUSIC PERFORMANCE REVIEW/JOHN BONHAM STATUE PLANS APPROVED/ DL DAIRY BLOG UPDATE

13 October 2017 1,538 views 9 Comments

It’s Robert Plant week on TBL and the countdown is finally over…

Today’s the day – the release of the eleventh Robert Plant solo album Carry Fire:

’‘All that’s worth the doing is seldom easily done, all that‘s worth the winning is seldom easily won’’

Carry Fire updated review

The Vinyl Review:

As a follow up to my preview a couple of weeks back, here’s the view from three sides of vinyl edition. Note with the aid of the lyrics and track details on the vinyl version, I have revised some of my initial observations.

To re iterate:

Carry Fire pretty much carries on from where Robert Plant’s previous album left off.

Vocally, he is singing with mature authority deploying that close-to-the-mic, breathy vocals style that he first perfected on Little Hands, his contribution to the Skip Spence tribute album More Oar. This album is amasterclass in pure vocal control.

Having listened to the tracks on Carry Fire, in reviewing the album , I’ve purposely listed songs from the Plant back catalogue that hint at the mood of these new offerings.

Side A:

The album opener and first single, The May Queen sets the tone for much of the album. Semi acapella vocals over a slight Another Tribish rhythm with bendir/ tambourine back beat – drowning out any snare drum presence. As more than one listener to the preview has commented, the opening segment on this track has a passing resemblance to Factory Girl from The Rolling Stones Beggars Banquet. Seth Lakeman’s contribution has a touch of Zep’s Poor Tom about it.

An effective echo on Robert’s vocal aids New World – a grittier stomp with a mid tempo riff that sounds like a descendent from the Page & Plant arrangement of Please Read The Letter. A melodic cascading vocal refrain brightens the mood and Skin’s solo here is a real delight.

The folksy Season’s Song benefits from lush multi layered vocals that reminded me of I Cried For You (off Manic Nirvana). There’s a touching romantic quality to the vocal delivery here. It all leads to a nicely crooned ‘’crazy crazy fool’’ vocal line in the style of the live arrangement of Ship of Fools. All The Kings Horses (from the Mighty ReArranger album) is a further reference point here.

Side B:

The beautifully reflective Dance With You Tonight is for me, the outstanding track. Lyrically, the singer aspires to enjoy ‘’one more chance for the last dance.” lamenting that ”We shared a word forever changing – through dancing days and wondrous nights’. He sings it with immense grace bringing a Roy Orbison melancholy into the mix. Down To The Sea and Come Into My Life are reference points to the organic nature of this superb outing.

The politically inspired Carving Up The World Again… A Wall And Not A Fence is another in the vein of Another Tribe – a jumpy urgent nagging affair with some neat bluesy guitar lines. Robert delivers this in a more familiar high register vocal style.

A Way With Words is very much in the Stolen Kiss vein, with stark piano and a mournful feel akin to Page & Plant’s BlueTrain. Redi Hasa’s cello dds to the dreamlike atmosphere.

The title track, Carry Fire lends itself to the oft favoured North African influence. Mid tempo, with exotic sounding oud playing from Justin Adams, it’s a haunted, tension building affair. Seth Lakeman is again prominent adding a meandering solo that merges with Redi Hasas cello work.

Side C: (Note Side D is an etched inscription of the title and logo)

Bones Of Saints is another highlight with an urgent vocal delivery , coupled with some guitar licks in the syle of The Enchanter from Mighty ReArrnanger. The clarity of the vinyl version brings out the purity of the finely textured backing vocals and I detected a slight Four Sticks like wail at the fade.

Keep it Hid is a jazzy 5/4 time vibe unlike anything else on the album. John Baggott keyboard synth sustains throughout -Silver key in a golden cup” repeats the singer effectively.

The cover of Ersel Hickey’s Bluebirds Over The Mountain (also recorded by The Beach Boys and Richie Havens, amongst others) is, as Robert commented, ‘’put through the Bristol sonic mill’’. This makes for a trip hop, grungy affair that renders Chrissie Hynde’s vocal contribution somewhat understated in the mix. Seth and Redi add some pleasing string work. Rich Newman guests on drums.

The album closes in a downbeat manner with Heaven Sent – a bleak atmospheric piece that reminded me of  Heart In Your Hand from Walking Into Clarksdale. Robert adds yet more words of wisdom repeating the lines “All that’s worth the doing is seldom easily done, all that‘s worth the winning is seldom easily won.’’ Before it all fades away.

Those lines are a pretty accurate appraisal of the album.

Like his previous album, this one needs working at and getting used to. Play it randomly a couple of times and it’s likely to pass over your head.

It took me a good few plays before it really got under the skin.

Give it some dedicated listening time and there are some very rewarding performances.

In his advancing years, Robert’s muse has become more introverted, less flamboyant and increasingly dignified – all of which is reflected in the music he now produces.

So no, you won’t be dancing around the Christmas tree to this album. However, it will be something of a thought provoking warm pleasure as the winter nights kick in. In fact, for a man who has much empathy for the seasons, this feels like a Robert Plant winter album.

As can be seen by the virtual sell out of the forthcoming UK tour, the attraction to see this signer perform live on stage is plainly still fervent. As demonstrated at last Friday’s BBC 6 Music session, the songs are already developing further identity on stage – notably the title track Carry Fire.

So, to summarise: For all his idiosyncratic traits, being a Robert Plant fan remains a richly rewarding experience. He does everything an artist should do: he enchants, he intrigues, he frustrates, he confuses and above all… he inspires.

Carry Fire carries on that tradition.

Dave Lewis – October 12, 2017

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The Grand Unveiling of Carry Fire live: A lunch time date with Robert Plant…

So to Maida Vale on a bright Sunny early October morning for another new beginning…

Scene of two visits by Led Zeppelin all of 48 years ago. They were here on Wednesday March 19, 1969 between 5.30 and 9 pm to record a session in Studio 4 for the Alexis Korner Rhythm and Blues show. Alongside I Can’t Quit You Baby and You Shook Me, this session included Sunshine Woman, never performed live or on record and given a very belated release on last year’s Complete BBC Sessions release.

Some four months later they were back in Studio 4 from 2.30 to 9.30 pm on Tuesday June 24, 1969 for a memorable session for John Peel’s Top Gear. Alongside versions of Whole Lotta Love and What is And What Should Never Be, they recorded another rarity – Travellin’ Riverside Blues that would eventually see the light of day on the Remasters 1990 box set.

The old white building looks much as it did back then as I wait patiently to enter. Then it’s into the hallowed Studio 2. This week the studio has played host to a week of BBC 6 Music Live broadcasts. Morrissey, Mogwai, alt-J, and Loyle Carner have all participated. Now it’s the turn of, as  BBC 6 Music host Lauren Laverne described him ‘rock royalty.

For today is the day Robert Plant and the Strange Sensations will perform for the first time live, material from the forthcoming album Carry Fire. Robert’s eleventh studio album and his second with the Space Shifters line up.

Once inside, I am more than pleasantly surprised by the close proximity of the stage to the audience area. It’s no trouble at all to casually walk right in front of the main mic (and we all know who that’s for).

Thought number one. This is going to be very exciting.

Thought number two. I have not been this close to the Robert Plant live action for some considerable time. Probably since the very first Space Shifters at the Gloucester Guildhall in 2012 and before that the Kings Head pub in Fulham back in 1993

Some other thoughts that occur. At 12 noon, this will be the earliest in the day I’ve seen Robert Plant sing live –beating the 5pm starts of the Knebworth 90 Silver Clef show and the Priory of Brion appearance in a tent at Ashbury De La Zouch back in 1999. This will also be the first time I hear Robert Plant greet a crowd with ‘’Good Morning’’ as opposed to the usual ‘’Good Evening’.

The audience itself has been drawn from the BBC 6 Music ballot for tickets to attend this the performance – the BBC 6 Music announcer informs us that 35,000 applied for just 200 tickets.

Privileged to be here? Just a bit

There are some moments when it all comes right and being here today right in front of the action makes all the effort I make to share and enlighten fellow fans via the magazine,website,facebook etc all worthwhile. And then some…

The live broadcast of Lauran Laverne’s BBC 6 Music show is aired over the PA and then the lady herself comes out to introduce Robert to the stage- this is to initially conduct a short pre gig interview with him on stage. On he walks looking good in black leather jacket (the same one he had on for the Oxford Paul Rodgers gig)

The very fluent Lauren conducts a relaxed interview honing in on the new album. Robert is on fine spieling form. Showing derision on the idea of an autobiography he remarks ‘’If it ain’t funny it ain’t worth remembering. He talks up his affinity for the Space Shifters noting it’s ”A jigsaw of music – everybody’s got a groove’’

The interview ends – there’s a few minutes of preparation as the camera crew in front of me test their angles. Lauren’s back on for the official introduction and to a huge roar, Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters walk on stage. A quick tune up -I momentarily detect a slide guitar effect from a Led Zep II classic and sure enough, Robert walks up to the mic to utter the words ‘’And if I say to you tomorrow…’’

I’m watching Robert Plant perform What I And What Should Never Be on a Friday lunchtime and boy life is good. What follows is an hour in rock’n’roll dreamtime – one of those pinch me I’m dreaming’’ affairs. I’ve been lucky enough to have been involved in a fair few of those occasions witnessing this singer over the years.

First impressions – the sound is crystal clear, Robert’s delivery quite joyous – full of smiles as he ad-libs the familiar fade out. it strikes me this is a very appropriate opener given that he performed the song with Led Zeppelin in this very building all of 48 years ago.

Next up a tough and no messin’ delivery of Turn it Up from the Ceaseless Roar album. Robert stalking the mic closely – throughout the performance he will hug the mic ra – although with a rather cramped stage, there was not a lot of  room for any mic off poses.

Having not seen them for three years, it’s easy to forget the undoubted chemistry of the Space Shifters unit. Justin Adams to the right as enthusiastic as ever, often duck walking over to Skin Tyson, the latter ever impressive on an array of guitars. John Baggott underpinning it all with a variety of psych loops, electronic samples and keyboard parts. Billy Fuller steadfast on bass (Robert would comment that Billy is the ring master of it all) while Dave Smith adds an unorthodox percussive element playing the kit left handed in a Phil Collins style. His role is also pivotal, driving the rhythms along with ethnic feel.

The first adventure from the new album is New World – led by the duel guitar thrust of Justin and Skin. Having lived with the album for a good now, the urgent nagging nature of this song really comes alive on stage – and Skin lays down a soaring solo.

Robert then introduces Seth Lakeman on violin and they swing into a very different arrangement of Misty Mountain Hop –  guitar led rather than keyboards and with Seth on violin. It takes a while to actually recognise it’s the Zep IV staple but it grooves along nicely and the outro refrain of ”I really don’t know” is sung with much intent. Previous Plant re- workings of Zep songs have not always fully succeeded (No Quarter and Black Dog spring to mind) but this one is likely to go on to be something of a crowd pleaser on tour.

The already familiar May Queen is the next Carry Fire premiere – there’s something of a gospel effect in the vocal and Seth leads it into a bluesy jam which reminded me in places of the bluesy strut of Zep’s Poor Tom.

A word about this latest and important addition to the Space Shifters line up. The exotic presence of Juldeh Camera added a distinctly North African element to their sound – Seth’s comes in from a much more English folk traditional angle. His boyish enthusiasm is most apparent – he reminds me of a younger Dave Swarbrick the late legendary Fairport man. On the evidence of this opening performance Seth is going to be a revelation.

Robert’s inbeween song patter is full of humour playing up the new album ‘’if you need any I’ve got some in the car’’ he comments tongue  in cheek.

The title track….this is where it really takes off. From its meandering Indian flavoured intro, through to the stop start dynamism of the repeated line ”Just like, just like I scarred you” this is just magnificent. In between all that, Skin, Justin and Seth cook up a mighty roar of sound. Robert for his part, holds the mic nodding appreciatively at the noise he is in the centre of. It reminded me of the way along with Jimmy and JPJ, he crowded around Jason’s drum kit at the 02 reunion -soaking it all up.

This performance of Carry Fire sent shivers down my spine – it was one of those truly unforgettable moments of live music delivery (like the Black Dog part in Kashmir at the MTV Unledded show) that unfolds in front of me with quite awe inspiring intensity.

What a moment…and there’s another one coming up

They next kick into a melodic sequence that at first I thought was Hey Hey What Can I Do – but in fact leads into a surprise delivery of In The Light. Oh yes!

This was briefly part of the Strange Sensation set back in 2001. It’s the first time I’ve seen Robert sing it live – and  what joy it is as he free falls into the familiar refrain. There’s a pleasing descending chord sequence led by Seth that delights every time it comes around. The overall delivery is a little tentative – but rest assured, by the time In The Light has been performed a few times it’s going to be a standout part of their set – and a major indulgence for fans in search of some Zeppelin retro. This arrangement ended with the opening lines being sung communality amongst the band members.

The good vibes prevail as they deliver a wonderfully upbeat Rainbow which as Robert playfully inserting lines from Sea of Love at the close.

Bones Of Saints is another new number that benefits from a live arrangements. Justin and Skin grinding down on the riff..

Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down is another standout. This compelling spiritual croon from the 2010 Band of Joy album unfolds in a sparse traditional setting. Plant builds the tension verse by verse while behind him a plaintive banjo from Skin offers a jaunty counterpoint to the dark theme of the lyrics. The final lines including that one from In My Time of Dying are delivered with daunting menace.

With time running out, they steer into the middle jam a part of Whole Lotta Love-  Skin eventually unveiling the riff that ate the word and we are off to a fun filled nod to the signature opening track of Led Zep II.

”We’ll’ see you again probably in a minute’’ is Robert’s coy comment indicating that there may be just a little bit more to come.

The main broadcast has come to an end but there is one more bonus. We had been advised earlier that there would be some final camera angles to be shot after the main set and that there might be one extra number.

Indeed there is, as they return to zip through a riveting Lemon Song with Robert between Skin and Justin totally immersed in the bluesy groove we know so well from that fabled Zep delivery.

A final wave and smiles all round and Robert and the Sensational Space Shifters leave the stage. The BBC announcer is back on. He leaves us with this statement:

”In thirty five years of working at this studio that has to be the best thing we’ve ever had here at Maida Vale…’’.

As I’m leaving I over hear another conversion from one of the tech staff – ‘’That was incredible – I can retire happy now’’

Indeed…

So there you have it. I’ve had worse lunch hours…

It was quite a lot to take in and the train journey back is something of a haze.

Back home around 5pm, by the wonders of the BBC red button service remarkably I’m watching the footage in the company of the good lady Janet – who is mightily impressed too. The party continues into the evening with a visit to the Bedford Beer Festival – watching Robert Plant unveil a new campaign is thirty work you know!

Summary: Having viewed the footage a few times, even by his standards, this was an outstanding performance.

Relaxed, confident, and utterly transfixing. There was a real sense of urgency from the whole band and one could feel how keen they all were to finally unleash this new music on an audience.

And what new music it is – even on one live outing, its more than evident how these new songs will develop and grow in a live setting. Add in some very special Zep related excursions – well, are all in for a real treat when the tour gets underway.

I’m still slightly reeling from it all  Beng in such close proximity near the front of the stage was incredibly exciting – I could really feel the depth of vocal agility the singer brings to the proceedings. By my reckoning, this is the 117th time I’ve seen Robert Plant sing live onstage since 1971. When the dust settles on it all, this BBC 6 Music Live lunch time session in the histrionic surroundings of the Maida Vale Studios will be right up there as one of the most memorable occasions in his company.

Suffice to say, it was an absolute privilege to be there as the Carry Fire campaign commenced.

Get ready to feel it’s white hot noise in the months ahead…

Dave Lewis

October 12 ,2017

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John Bonham statue plans approved:

On Wednesday, Redditch Borough Council’s planning committee unanimously approved the plan to build a statue of John Bonham in the centre of his home town of Redditch. The statue is due to be unveiled on May 31,2018 on what will be John’s 70th birthday.

This is very good news indeed and well done to all at the John Bonham Memorial Fund for all their efforts to make this happen.

 

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Chris Charlesworth Just Backdated Blog:

An interesting piece here Chris wrote recently about Jimmy Page’s various homes.

http:​//justbackdated.​blogspot.​co.​uk/2017/10/jimmy-page-bolskine​-house-tower-house.html

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DL Diary Blog Update: 

Robert Plant 35 year solo career –from the maker of…the DL weekend Robert Plant playlist lined up and ready and a lot to choose from…

Friday treats at the Vinyl Barn. Before attending the amazing Robert Plant BBC 6 Music lunchtime session last Friday, there was just time for a quick look at the Vinyl Barn. A mono copy of The Beatles Please Please Me on the yellow Parlophone label was a very nice purchase. Thanks Darren.

 

 

 

 

More treats – the countdown is over and how nice to be able to purchase the new Robert Plant album Carry Fire at the new local record shop – with shop owner Warren Alsop at Slide Records Bedford taking receipt of Carry Fire on vinyl…oh yes!

A very busy week of Robert Plant activity as can be seen by the above and the previous days Robert Plant Week TBL daily updates. I am still reeling from the events of last Friday – that one really was a very special performance and one I am privileged to have witnessed. Once again it’s a great time to be a Robert Plant fan.I am still a little exhausted from dealing with the TBL 43 mail out distribution but there’s really no time for exhaustion as I now need to power on with several initiatives ,not least the Evenings With LZ book project. I am also liaising with Julian Walker regarding the 02 Reunion Ten Years Gone TBL London meet for December 10. Despite one or two set backs, we are hoping to announce something soon. The pic here is from yesterday as I worked with Mick Lowe at Studio Mix on the digital download version of TBL 43. This should be available via Magster  early next week. Right I’m getting ready for a weekend of Robert Plant on the playlist – as seen above, I have quite a lot to choose from – and Carry Fire will be echoing out around these parts for sure…you gotta love it..

 

 

Dave Lewis  – October 13, 2017  

Until next time –  have a great weekend…

TBL Website updates compiled by Dave Lewis

with thanks to Gary Foy and James Cook

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You Tube Clips

Carry Fire:

Bones Of Saints:

New World:

 

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
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9 Comments »

  • Cragkeeper said:

    Question to all fans :
    Was it really necessary for Robert to describe his early Zep vocals as “horrific” to a magazine ????
    Disheartening . Like fans don’t go to a Robert Plant concert in 2017/2018 and play Zep One whilst getting In The Mood for a show? I take it as nothing less than Fan abuse. Not very happy with “The Bloke” at this phase of turning another shade of gray. As if Babe would have sounded better with Joni Mitchell soft hearted lyrics. Or Carry Fire soft sing.
    In America we call that kind of commentary Dumb.

  • Cragkeeper said:

    Hello again (updated my email as well)
    New album continues to grow on me.
    But please…. does anyone know the full and actual translation to English of his
    oft printed : “enwog yth wnair, gair gyrddbwyll armes, telynores twyll”
    or does it not translate well?
    Very difficult to just Google…..
    Celebrity
    Youth
    Will Be Done
    Patch of Fertile Grass
    Chess Game (of sorts)
    Prophecy
    Harpist
    Fraud

    That’s all I could decipher.

  • Ken Winovich said:

    ‘CARRY FIRE’ Video Review by Ken Winovich – October 15, 2017

    Wow! What else can you say about this new video to Robert Plant’s latest album ‘Carry Fire’? With this one, Robert’s playing with fire and that usually means somebody’s gonna get burned and it’s the viewer who gets absolutely singed by this outstanding performance. Whether it’s this live version or the dancers, I’ll leave that up to you. It’s RED HOT! The video compliments the music so well which was recorded at London’s Maida Vale Studio#3 on October 6th, 2017 during a simulcast on BBC6 Radio. The opening is very reminiscent of ‘Most High’ from the Page/Plant era. For this video, Robert Plant gathers together a harem of leather-clad majorettes, fiery baton twirlers, hoop dancers, a belly dancer and even three female samurai performing in a flaming square! Belly dancers always have that….something special. How appropriate there’s plenty of fire, smoke and dance and it’s only appropriate for a number titled ‘Carry Fire’. It’s a cornucopia of fire and sound. But things really get ‘cooking’ when the bass comes in and there’s no finer a bottom end than the one Billy Fuller delivers here. The track has a fine deep ‘inhale/exhale’ beat. And who would have expected to hear three fiddle solos, two acoustic guitar solos and one blazing hot electric guitar solo all in one 6-minute track? All the solos are just right – not too long nor too short. Remember Charlie Daniels’ ‘The Devil Went Down To Georgia’? Well Seth Lakeman’s the fiddle player to win that bet and he delivers three fine solos! Skin Tyson also rips off a superb aggressive guitar solo in classic Page-esque style at the very end! If you don’t think this ‘Carry Fire’ video is that great-maybe you haven’t seen a good belly dancer live. I’d seen a very good one in Boston after a fine dinner on a business trip. Remember the ‘green lady’ from the two-part Star Trek episode? It’s the eye contact maintained while the slickest of body moves are orchestrated thru exquisite dance and it will certainly leave you going “Ohhhh….ohhhhhh…..ohhhhh…ohhhhh” just as Plant does before the agitated guitar solo. It’s a build-up. And every great belly dancer knows just how to well it up inside you. I wouldn’t be surprise if Robert Plant’s daughter Carmen choreographed the dance to this video as she teaches belly dancing. The belly dancers’ hips gyrating slowly in a circle with either hip raised higher one after another followed by an ‘over-the-shoulder’ killer look and a quick fling of the hair always does it and the blonde belly dancer in this video does it well! They shot it waist-up to keep it clean. This video could have gone in any number of directions. Geishas. Even a pirouetting ice skater! I could even imagine Robert in some club atmosphere, in necktie and jacket, with jealous girlfriend in tow, quickly loosening his collar in the uneasy heat of a belly dancing moment, as his girlfriend storms off. I think you get the picture. This video brings back fine memories of those female Hawaian dancers at a Luau on the island of Mali. Robert and his band (the Sensational Space Shifters) deliver the music so well on this version which easily overshadows the album version. The video would have been even better had it included the four or six-armed Hindu goddess Kali – the destroyer of evil forces! But maybe so as not to offend, they instead go for a similar effect. This song’s got that classic Zeppelin trademark. It starts off soft and builds to a crescendo (does ‘Stairway To Heaven’ ring a bell?). The video is six minutes of sensual dance, fire and smoke coupled with a toxic mix of music! It’s the ringing out of the guitar chords. The near Eastern tempos and rhythms. Spanish-style acoustic guitar. It’s just short of perfection! It’s the fine interplay of Justin Adams’ infectious fingerpicking and the call-and-response of Plant as he delivers each lyric verse. You can just see it at the next Winter Olympics in the Womens freestyle skating event with all the classic moves – triple sow cows coupled to this music! A sure gold medal! All the girls in this video move with grace and may even feature some of Plant’s own grand-daughters for all we know. They’re all twirling flames abover their heads and even line up single file to acheive a 16-armed centipede look! The video compliments the sounds weaving in and out of your imagination, creating a fiery dream-like landscape. Play this version in the car while driving on one of those long highway stretches and it’s the perfect music! Don’t be surprised if Plant locks up both ALBUM and VIDEO OF THE YEAR awards! Bravo!

    Scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the best:

    Content: 5.0
    Audio: 5.0
    Satisfaction: 5.0

  • Ken Winovich said:

    Review of the new Robert Plant ‘Carry Fire’ album by Ken Winovich – October 15, 2017

    01-‘The May Queen’ (04:14)

    A delightful nice ‘n’ fast acoustic strumming like ‘Zep III’s ‘Friends’ with keyboard meandering in and out. Nice acoustic hook. Good electric guitar finger picking. Nice short fiddle interlude that comes in like a door opening. The meandering of the keyboard at 3:42 is cool. Nice album opener.

    02-‘New World…’ (03:29)

    Good ring-out chords a la ‘The Song Remains The Same’. Good different guitar tone on the notes between verses. Very smooth lyric delivery. Robert uses his voice in each verse like another instrument. This band is good at establishing a fine beat allowing various instruments to meander in and out in a nice flow. Skin Tyson delivers a fine sculpted sounding guitar solo like The Edge (U2).

    03-‘Season’s Song’ (04:19)

    A Zeppelin ‘Thank You’ BBC organ style sounding opening from that famous Zep bootleg. Hints of Robert’s first two solo albums on the “Ahhhh’s”. A fine delicate and quite pleasant number.

    04-‘Dance Wth You Tonight’ (04:48)

    Nice lyrics. Who doesn’t like good-luck four-leafed clovers? Roberts’ lyrics have always had those magical mushrooms or magical landscapes in them.

    05-‘Carving Up The World Again… A Wall And Not A Fence’ (03:55)

    Another track with an early Plant solo albums feel. Nice chorus of “Call up the cavalry and double up the guard”. Nice dusty and chimey guitar solo.

    06-‘A Way With Words’ (05:18)

    A simple low-end-of-the-piano song. Very experimental Plant here. Seth Lakeman adds some nice embellishments. A fine moody song guaranteed to get you daydreaming on life.

    07-‘Carry Fire’ (05:28)

    I like the rubber-bandy acoustic sound. This album track version reminds me so much of the group ‘Dead Can Dance’ who were known for their “constructed soundscapes of mesmerising grandeur and solemn beauty” as Australian music historian Ian McFarlane described them and I’m getting quite that same impression here. You’d swear that’s Lisa Gerrard in the background on backing vocal after the bass comes in. Great ‘Ohhhhhhh’s by Plant!’

    08-‘Bones Of Saints’ (03:47)

    Has a ‘Most High’ (Page/Plant) beat to it. Love Plant’s high-pitched in-the-background wails with the song’s infectious “No! No! No’s!”

    09-‘Keep It Hid’ (04:07)

    Unique opening sounds. Another experimental track for Plant and he pulls it off. Nice guitar snippets. Very Prince’ish funky guitar snippets. Very tricky vocal’s on this album and this is one of them! Nice drum textures by drummer David Smith. With this track, it shows the band clearly took time to work on this album. It has none of the rushed-urgency of so many albums of today under the demanding record label execs watchful eyes. A fine track to preface the next.

    10-“Bluebirds Over The Mountain” (04:58)

    Powerful distorted opening bass – John Paul Jones ‘Zomma-ish’. The drum beat is the outstanding component on this track. Guest vocalist Chrissie Hynde sounds George Harrison-ish when she starts till her trademark “eyessssss o’ blue” adds the perfect touch! She comes back in again, stretching out the lyric words – a trademark vocalists use as Bing Crosby instructed Yves Montand to do in the film ‘Let’s Make Love’. Track has a ‘Shaken ‘n’ Stirred’ feel to it. Some interesting distrotions throughout the song. Seth Lakeman’s fiddle adds more color. Would have easily fit in the Alison Krauss/Robert Plant era.

    11-“Heaven Sent” (04:43)

    Another experimental piece. Nice tremelo guitar. Has a slight Yes ‘Tales From Topographic’ feel. Nice double tracked vocal at ‘Never Really Done’ lyric in the verse. This is a good snippet of what a future Zeppelin album might have sounded like vocally.

    Summary – A very nice palette of sounds on this album both vocally and instrumentally. Plant experiments on a few tracks on this offering and they work. A pleasure to listen to and the type of album to get your day started. The buildup of track arrangements will have you ready and out the door. It has none of the rushed-urgency of so many albums of today on tracks like ‘Seasons Song’, ‘Dance With You Tonight’ and ‘A Way with Words’. Plants’ latest sounds that he and his band The Sensational Space Shifters create continue to meandre in, through and around within each song’s structure with a pleasantness and vibe that’s quite unique. Contains several infectious moments vocally and lyrically. Delightful. Carefully sculpted and nice. Several standout tracks.

    Scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the best:

    Content: 4.7
    Audio: 4.7
    Satisfaction: 4.7

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Thanks Ian!

  • ian baker said:

    Great review as always Dave, just got the album and I love it already.
    Keep ‘Carrying the Fire, mate.

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Great comments there Craig

  • Cragkeeper said:

    I just want to say that you are as “true” a Robert and Zep fan as there possibly ever could be. Adding myself to “that list” I can say that your review of Carry Fire is at once accurate and honest at the same time. Your descriptions are far more spot on than the reviews given by the “industry” writers who seem to dare not sa anything even remotely negative toward ANY new release – as though their paycheck would cease after a personalized opinion of what they’ve just heard.
    I will say, that at age 61 (knocking on 62) and being a Zep concert attendee since the early days , as well as Plant solo concerts since day one, that I agree with your kind review. It may be just a tad TOO kind though when I pause to reflect on how many times I’ve listened to the NPR preview already. I’m not “knocking it” by any means. But after nearly six listens, I feel like I have to “convince myself” that I should be liking it “more”, even though I understand the work that he is intent on producing. But then again, I’ve always been a bit of a “entertainment junkie” when it comes to music. The BBC6 show was great. Plant seems to loosen up once the concert practices roll along. If only he could mentally loosen up ahead of time before sitting down to write and before pondering his intent. I just can’t help but feel the cloud of disdain that is human nature’s inner most response to the process of aging. But , did you ever visit someone in their 90’s and observe their sense of humor? A bit more fun and a bit more humor would be welcome on Plant’s hopeful next recording. You don’t have to be wide-eyed and 19 to be the bearer of “Fun Times At The Schoolyard Mentalities”. Poetry is largely about processing the pain of the Human Condition. Rock and Roll is, at it’s core, the Opioid of musical entertainment. And what we have here is not Rock and Roll. I could listen to Moby Dick, with no vocals, for an eternity. And I don’t think I’m a party of One. Cheers, Dave! Good review though…… it’s Robert Plant – after all! Right? Tell me I’m right. Because I want to believe.

  • Candice said:

    My birthday present. Love it. Takes you to so many places. Still a love maker..

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