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ROBERT PLANT BAND OF JOY ALBUM RELEASED TODAY: MORE PLANET PLANT THAN PLANET ROCK – BUT STILL THE ONLY SOUND THAT MATTERS

13 September 2010 8,822 views 26 Comments

Robert Plant’s Band Of Joy album is released in the UK today. It has already garnered some of the best reviews of Robert’s career. I previewed the album here back in August and having lived with it over the past few weeks,  I can only add  that repeated plays have further enhanced my appreciation of the scope and depth of Robert and the band’s performance.

As he noted in yesterday’s Sunday Times Culture magazine, ”It’s a place where I can actually sing, instead of just trying to compete. I like that zone of being able to hear myself sing. I don’t want clutter. I don’t want manly volume for some vapid, masculine cause and effect. I love rock music, but I don’t like superflous gesture”

It will be interesting to see how The Band of Joy album fares on the Billboard and UK charts. Here in the UK it will have a chart battle against the new Phil Collins Motown covers collection Going Back which is also out today.

To celebrate the release of The Band of Joy album, here are a couple of perceptive  reviews from the past few days, plus the TBL Guide to The Band Of Joy that appeared on the site a few weeks back.

Feel free to let us know what you think of the album by using the Comments facility below.

We here at TBL think it’s the only sound that matters this autumn…and judging by the positive reviews it’s already achieved, we are certanly not alone in this view.

Robert Plant  Band of Joy (Es Paranza/Decca)

(Rated 5/ 5 )

Reviewed by Andy Gill

The Independent September 10th 2010

It’s not hard, listening to Band of Joy, to understand why Robert Plant should have resisted such potentially lucrative offers for a Led Zeppelin reunion tour.

Plant is one of a select few rock musicians of his generation to have sustained an inquisitive musical potency throughout his career, and probably the only one to have completely reinvented his own modus operandi with substantial success, morphing from the shrieking, priapic blues-hound of his youth into the warmer, more reflective folk and country singer that made this album.

It’s a manoeuvre which all singers have to face as they grow older and their voice gets deeper, and for Plant it’s virtually the equivalent of slipping from counter-tenor to bass-baritone. That he managed it with increased profile, sales and awards (for Raising Sand) is little short of miraculous; that he should now extend that success with what is largely a further selection of cover versions reborn as timeless folk-blues antiques speaks volumes about the imaginative sensitivity that Plant and co-producer Buddy Miller have brought to bear on the project.

The album opens with its most infectious cut, a version of Los Lobos’s “Angel Dance” in which mandolin dances nimbly over the deep, throbbing pow-wow pulse, while Plant’s cajoling vocal blends persuasively with those of Miller and Patty Griffin, both well-versed in the subtleties of country harmonies. The three voices continue their alignment on Richard Thompson’s “House of Cards”, which with its warning that “they’re washing the streets with the blood of your kind”, leads into darker, more menacing territory, as Miller’s skirling guitar drone combines astringently with Darrell Scott’s mandolin. “Central Two-O-Nine” is perkier, a 12-string skiffle number inspired by, but not beholden to, Lightnin’ Hopkins, into which Plant and Miller have tipped a dollop of satanic blues imagery about black mares and long black trains. It neatly balances the more sombre, watchful tone of “Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down” later in the album, on which Plant’s murmured vocal and the dry-gulch plunking of Scott’s banjo evokes a vista of dusty rural hardship and superstition.

That song in turn seems linked with the similarly refurbished traditional piece “Cindy, I’ll Marry You Someday”, whose mysterious, predatory lyric contains intimations of transgression that defeat sober analysis, tapping into some subconscious vein of desire: “Cindy got religion/ She had it once before/ She spilt it on a Saturday/ Upon a hard wood floor”. This constant to-and-fro between god and satan, good and bad, lust and piety, acts like a gyroscope at the album’s heart, and finds its most potent release in the two covers of songs by the Mormon indie trio Low, “Monkey” and “Silver Rider”, which respectively balance suicidal impulses and dark warnings of “the great destroyer” within glittering drone-rock settings. But equally when exulting in the rolling simplicity of Barbara Lynn’s “You Can’t Buy My Love”, or sinking into the fathomless melancholy of Townes Van Zandt’s “Harm’s Swift Way”, this grips one’s imagination with a compulsion rare even among Plant’s most exalted peers.

Robert Plant  Band Of  Joy (Decca/Es Paranza)

Reviewed by Alexis Petridis

The Guardian

www.guardian.com

It seems surprising that Robert Plant is never considered part of rock’s sexagenarian awkward squad, that select cabal of artists who’ve turned bewildering audiences and critics into an art form, who see pleasing the crowd as dereliction of duty. Judging by his solo career, that’s where he belongs – in the old contrarians’ clubhouse, basking in the sunny glow of Lou Reed’s winning personality, wiping a tear of mirth from his eye as Neil Young recalls how his fans hated 2009’s Fork in the Road so much they actually pleaded with his record label not to release it, nodding while Van Morrison revisits the time he decried music magazines for their “obsession with the past” during an interview to promote an album of 50s and 60s country-and-western covers.

Plant could certainly hold his own with them, at least on musical terms. No sooner had he minted a new-wave AOR style distinct from Led Zeppelin and scored a hit single with the unfortunately titled Big Log than things started to go off-road. First an album of high-camp 50s rock’n’roll covers as the Honeydrippers, then the flatly indescribable Shaken ‘N Stirred: whatever Plant’s fans imagined he’d end up doing in the 80s, it probably wasn’t singing a song called Doo Doo a Do Do over honks of atonal synth and flailing bass. On the occasions he’s acquiesced to the clamour for something Zeppelin-shaped, he’s thrown some kind of curveball: singing over samples of the band on 1989’s Now and Zen, enlisting Steve Albini as producer for the Page and Plant album Walking Into Clarksdale, then abandoning the reunion altogether, first to play the Queen Mary Ballroom in Dudley Zoo with the Priory of Brion, then to form Strange Sensation, the latter making Plant one of the few musicians in the world who’d rather be in a band with a bloke out of Cast than Jimmy Page. When Led Zeppelin finally did re-form, Plant appeared to go out of his way to talk the event’s significance down, then coolly walked away to promote his country album with Alison Krauss, Raising Sand.

Not even Raising Sand’s mammoth critical acclaim, multi-platinum sales and five Grammy awards could quell the clamour for a Led Zep reunion, much of it emanating from his former bandmates. Those who like to read deep meanings into things might feel there’s something telling in his decision to resurrect the name Band of Joy for his latest solo album: originally the name of Plant and John Bonham’s 60s psych-blues band, it harks back to a world in which Led Zeppelin never existed.

The preponderance of Nashville session players in Band of Joy’s ranks might lead you to expect a continuation of Raising Sand’s country explorations: singer Patty Griffin – her desolate voice a fascinating counterpart to the downhome warmth of Alison Krauss – and guitarist Darrell Scott have both written mainstream country hits for the Dixie Chicks. It’s an idea immediately upturned by the opening cover of Los Lobos’ Angel Dance. The mandolin riff in the chorus suggests it could have been performed as straight country, but instead the pretty melody is swamped in tremolo-heavy guitars: it sounds humid and mysterious. It’s evidence of Band of Joy’s often thrillingly tangential approach to their material, which is brilliantly chosen. You wouldn’t think it based on the way he dressed in the 70s, but Plant is a man of exquisite taste, hence two tracks from slowcore band Low’s 2005 album The Great Destroyer – their creepy intensity ratcheted up by guitarist Buddy Miller’s opaque smears of feedback and Plant and Griffin’s eerily controlled vocals – rub shoulders with a Richard Thompson song, House of Cards, a fabulous, obscure bit of mid-60s New Orleans r’n’b called Can’t Buy My Love and the late Townes Van Zandt’s heartbreaking final song, Harm’s Swift Way. Rather than play up the song’s weary pathos, the performance is straightforward, propulsive country-rock: you notice its sweet tune before the lyric’s stark intimations of mortality.

At the other extreme, there’s Even This Shall Pass Away: a 19th-century poem set to a clattering syncopated beat and buzzing synthesised bass, Plant’s voice entwining with fragments of densely effected guitar. You could, if you squint hard, see the ghost of Led Zeppelin lurking around its sound, yet it feels like a song with its eyes fixed firmly on the future, rather than resting on past glories. Like the rest of Band of Joy, it feels more edifying than a Led Zep reunion, not just for the guy singing on it, but the listener. It’s marked by the fresh excitement of mapping out new territory rather than the more craven pleasure of wallowing in nostalgia: an object lesson in the value of not giving people what they want.

…….

MORE PLANET PLANT THAN PLANET ROCK – BUT STILL THE ONLY SOUND THAT MATTERS…

Listening to the forthcoming Robert Plant album Band Of Joy I was reminded of an interview quote he made a couple of years back ’’ The past can take care of itself – I go on undaunted’’

Indeed he does – and this latest twist in the story is proof again of his ability to immerse himself in a rich eclectic collection of material that makes for a very fulfilling listening experience.

Band Of Joy finds Robert Plant in the company of some seasoned Nashville based band mates – guitarist and co-producer Buddy Miller being most central to the sound of particular Band Of Joy. He has also enlisted the voice of Patty Griffin to add as he described a touch of ‘’Cocteau Twins/Shangri-Las’’ feel to the arrangements.

The album also features multi-instrumentalist Darrell Scott, who provides the mandolin, guitar, accordion, pedal, lap steel and banjo lines, Byron House on bass and percussion from Marco Giovino.
Resisting the easy route of a further Krauss collaboration, Robert taps further into the wealth of Americana, blues folk roots that has often influenced his best work. The material is predominantly made up of cover versions but these are constantly flavoured by Plant/Miller to add a contemporary edge.

Central to proceedings is of course the voice. And from the shuffling warmth of the Los Lobos cover Angel Dance through to the relentless groove of Even This Shall Pass Away the listener is never in doubt that Robert Plant still maintains  an unrivalled standard of vocal supremacy.

THE TBL GUIDE TO BAND OF JOY

Track by track guide to the Band Of Joy album with original sources, song reflections and previous Plant playlist recommendations with which to mix the new material with on your ipod.

Get ready to soak up the only sound that matters this autumn…

Angel Dance (3mins .50)

Original Source: Los Lobos 1990 album The Neighborhood.

Ushers in proceedings with its shuffling warmth. Love the ‘’yeah yeah yeah’’ Plant refrain and key change at the end and the stop gap ending ‘’Dance!’’.

Playlist with Shine It All Around from Mighty ReArranger and 29 Palms from Fate Of Nations.

House Of Cards (3.14)

Original source Richard & Linda Thompson 1978 album First Light.

An exquisite version of the Richard Thompson song. Robert sings with a purity and strength supplemented by Patty Griffin’s effectively layered harmonies. There’s some Achilles like ‘’Ahh ah ahh’’  refrains in there and the way he sings ‘’It goes tumbling, tumbling tumbling down’’ is plain awesome . This writer would love to hear a whole album of the singer’s take on that period of English folk rock ala Incredible String Band, Sandy, Fairport, Traffic etc.

Playlist with Come Into My Life from Fate Of Nations and Great Spirit from Fate Of Nations.

Central Two- O- Nine (2.49)

Original source – based on and old blues Hello Central (209) recorded by Lightening Hopkins in 1965. (Note Worse Than Detroit opens with the lines ‘’ ‘’Operator, give me Central, Central’’).

Re arranged by Plant/Miller.

This finds Plant in his best ‘‘blow- that- whistle’’ black country blues mode. Excellent banjo work here.

Playlist with Black Country Woman from Led Zeppelin Physical Graffiti, Nobody’s Fault But Mine from No Quarter Unledded.

 

Silver Rider (6.06)

Original source: Low’s 2005 Great Destroyer album.

First of two songs from Minnesota based trio Low’s 2005 album Great Destroyer. Close to mic and at times double tracked vocal in the Little Hands tradition backed up by close harmonies with Patty Griffin. Bleak haunted atmosphere. Reminded me of the sort of tortured arrangements that graced Scott Walker’s work. Nice reverb and crash cymbal effects too.

Playlist with Heart In Your Hand from Page & Plant Walking Into Clarksdale and The Window – Page & Plant extra track on the Most High CD single.

 

You Can’t Buy My Love (3.10)

Original source: 1964 Barbra Lynn recording.

First of two consecutive performances that would have lit up a Honeydrippers Vol 2 record had there been such a thing. Jump blues arrangement of R and B songstress Barbra Lynn’s 1965 single. Bo Diddley drum beat and authentic retro guitar solo from Miller. Wonderful stuff.

Playlist with I Got A Woman from the Honeydrippers Vol 1 and My Buckets Got a Hole In It – Page & Plant from the Sun Records tribute album.

I’m Falling In Love Again (3.37)

Original source: B-side of a single by Chicago soul quintet the Kelly Brothers in 1966.

Straight take on the Kelly Brothers do wop arrangement. The sort of song as he would put it, he has held his back pocket for years and probably one he’s sung in the shower. Delicate  pedal steel guitar from Darrell.

Playlist with Young Man Blues from The Honeydrippers Vol 1 and Valley Of Tears from the Fat’s Domino tribute album Goin’ Home.

 

The Only Sound That Matters (3.44)

Original source: Written by Greg Vanderpool for the Milton Mapes 2003 album Westernaire

Lovely lilting county ballad opens with some cool acoustic strumming over laid by pedal steel guitar – beautiful yearning vocals. This is a total joy.

Playlist with If It’s Really Got To Be That Way –Arthur Alexander tribute track on 66 To Timbuktu and Naked If I Want To – Moby Grape cover on 66 To Timbuktu.

Monkey (4.58)

Original source: Low’s 2005 Great Destroyer album.

The other Low cover -and an absolutely rivetting performace. Mournful close to mic vocal with Patty in harmony . Backed by brooding sustained guitar soundscapes from Buddy Miller that reminded me of Robert Fripp’s work on David Bowie’s Heroes. The arrangement is  slightly Cure like and similar to  Lullaby as performed on the early dates of the Page & Plant 1995 tour. Another reference might be the Presence album – in terms of feel it has that uncomfortable intensity.  Masterful.

Playlist with Down By The Seaside Robert Plant & Tori Amos from 66 To Timbuktu and No Quarter –Page &Plant No Quarter Unledded

 

Cindy I’ll Marry You Someday (3.37)

Original source: American folk tradition song known as Cindy and Get Along Home Cindy, and recorded by amongst others Bascom Lamar Lunsford.

Another close to mic vocal – bluesy lament backed by banjo and pedal steel guitar. Gains momentum with Buddy adding authentic guitar licks.

Playlist with Colour Of A Shade from Fate Of Nations and Win My Train fare Home (If I Ever Get Lucky) from Dreamland.

Harm’s Swift Way (4.19)

Original source: Townes Van Zandt demo written before he died.

Another slice of bright and light country rock with its infectious ’Oh Me… Oh My’’ chorus. Sweet and simple but highly effective.

Playlist with Dancing In Heaven from Mighty ReArranger and Stick With Me Baby – Plant/ Alison Krauss Raising Sand

 

Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down (4.13)

Original source: Another traditional song recorded through the years by the likes of Frank Proffitt, and Willie Nelson.

A spiritual croon in a sparse traditional setting – the sort of thing that Zep might well have considerably rocked up ala In My Time of Dying.  Instead the arrangement here has the banjo creating the plaintive mood.

Playlist with 21 Years with Ranier Ptacek from 66 To Timbuktu and Great Spirit acoustic take –extra track on Fate Of Nations Nine Lives box set version.

 

Even This Shall Pass Away (4.02)

Original source: Even This Shall Pass Away contains the lyrics of a poem penned in 1866 by Theodore Tilton and adapted in 1979 by Chuck Berry for his album Rock It.

Punctuated throughout by a percussive groove swing from Marco Giovino over which Plant layers a vocal of total conviction and Buddy’s wah wah effects pave the way home.

Playlist with Last Time I Saw Her from Dreamland and Page & Plant Whiskey From The Glass bonus cut on the Japanese package of Page & Plant’s Walking Into Clarksdale.

In summary:

As with most recent Plant works, this is an album that needs to be listened to intensely before the full depth of its delight is revealed.

His voice remains a most potent force and if anything is even more impressive than in recent years, with an upfront breathy clarity that once it gets under the skin, burrows deep.It may be less Planet Rock and more Planet Plant… but as Band Of Joy vividly demonstrates, it’s a pretty wonderful place to inhabit.

Dave Lewis

With thanks to Gary Foy and Steve Sauer

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26 Comments »

  • real gone said:

    A more than worthy successor to ‘Raising Sand’.

    Read my full review of ‘Band of Joy’ here: http://realgonerocks.blogspot.com/2010/09/robert-plant-band-of-joy.html

  • russell ritchin said:

    HI ALL

    i know this is going to sound very simplistic after some of the detailed comments (i pre-ordered band of joy) & am enjoying it
    but just my opinion would not try to convince anyone else but
    bottom line for me is i just like roberts voice & having seen him
    at the kentish town gig if i had the money would have loved to see
    him & band of joy again.

  • Bartek said:

    I personally liked this DL’s list of PLAY IT ALONG SOME OLDER STUFF. And I must say that really (REALLY:)) Even This Shall Pass Away reminded me of Network News. Same vibe, (almost) same melody…

    Though I still rate the live version of ‘Satan…’ higher than the studio one, I consider it the highlight of the album, along with the first 5 songs.

    Dreamland – Rearranger – Alison – BoJ. What strikes me is this: Robert recorded only few originally penned songs over the last four albums. (The whole ‘Rearranger’ album and 3 songs from ‘Dreamland’ album). We’ll see how mighty he can remain when the follow up album will be on its way. Robert has already stated (BLABBERMOUTH is the source)that the next challenge for the group of people he’s currently working with will be writing some new original stuff.

  • ledhed58 said:

    Well put, Kathy U. … Pretty much sums up how I feel… never liked the heavy metal tag on Zeppelin either, they were not that one-dimensional… Zeppelin III is my favorite album because of it’s diversity, it just kind of bothered me about Plant’s comments , sounded like he was putting down the Music that made him famous and I am myself quite enamored with his new cd and band..just want a little more “Rock and Roll” out of Percy…Peace from the U.S. …..

  • Kathy Urich said:

    To be clear I love Robert Plant, I love all of his work, with the exception of 1-CD, there are few artists in the business today with his ongoing success and talent. I admire that he’s true to his vision of music, which obvioulsy changes over time. I just didn’t share the Raising Sand vision, which is okay. In terms of genre’ His solo work, as well as, Zeppelin in my opinion defy categorizations. It drives me mad when people refer to Zeppelin as Heavy Metal, as I think its pretty clear the Godfathers of Heavy Metal are Black Sabbath (some would say Blue Cheer) I digress. I do wish Robert could embrace the beloved Golden God of the 70’s that he was, as well as, the Robert Plant of today; the underlying tone of his current comments seem to be, almost self-depreciating of who he was in the 70’s. I loved that “manly volume for …vapid, masculine cause and effect…and his superfluous gesture” and I love The Band of Joy, I can’t stop playing it. Love & Peace to all in TBL land.

  • ledhed58 said:

    He did not do it in Houston in July, Bartek…

  • Bartek said:

    ledhed58: ‘All The King’s Horses’ is straight from Mighty ReArranger. He did this song in the US as far as I know.

  • ledhed58 said:

    In responce to Kathy Urich I have to say it HAS been a long time since he rocked and rolled… I have loved almost all of his solo work but his last really good cd was “The Mighty Rearranger” and I was disapointed he did not do anything off that cd on his tour.. That being said, I do like the new album, it is just too bad it is missing that swagger of manly volume for vapid masculine effect that he built his career on and put all that money in his pocket..course he did not win any Grammys with Zeppelin, I believe at the time they considered that selling out but I guess times change… Peace…

  • Ingy said:

    I am a bit baffled by some of the negative comments here. It seems there are many here who have a Heavy Rock orientated view of Zeppelin. I think the Band Of Joy album has a strong link with so much of Zeppelin’s work. The key bit is that it is daring, fresh and rewarding to the protagonists. Zeppelin never churned out a fascimile of their previous album to make people happy – instead the thrill was/is that you went on a journey and different aspects of it are great at different times.

    The comments about Raising Sand are suprising too. I know everyone is entitiled to their opinion, but it was simply the most critically and comercially signifcant album by any Zep member in 30 years. Lets be honest here -Walking into Clarksdale is one of the least! Lets celebrate all things Zep and celebrate the continuing journey.

  • andrew said:

    really enjoying Band of Joy but i have to go out on a limb here and say that Monkey and Silver Rider are , no pun intended , the Low points of the album for me. They sound like they are on the wrong album.

  • Kathy Urich said:

    In my opinion this is one Robert’s best. I know this to some is blasphemy, but I wasn’t crazy about Raising Sand. I liked a couple of the tracks but honestly it just didn’t move me. I recently watched the you-tube video of Allison & Robert doing Black Dog and that’s one of the reasons I’ll never listen to that disc again. This, on the other hand is perfection. I really enjoyed all of the tracks but really fell for Angel Dance, Monkey, Harms Swift Way and Even This Shall Pass Away. On a side note, I understand that Robert feels he is on a mission to distance himself from his Zeppelin past but I found his recent quote interesting: ”It’s a place where I can actually sing, instead of just trying to compete. I like that zone of being able to hear myself sing. I don’t want clutter. I don’t want manly volume for some vapid, masculine cause and effect. I love rock music, but I don’t like superfluous gesture” Perhaps “It’s been along time since [he] rock n rolled.”

  • Simon Cadman said:

    Your final sentence, Steve, tells me all I need to know about your commitment to Mr Plant’s descent into country….

  • Steve 'Am I Loud Enough' Lomas said:

    Bet you never thought you’d see me here Mr Cadman!

    Firstly, I know that it’s been catagorised as a country album but I think Raising Sand is more of a folk/blues/country/rock’n’roll album myself (sort of), and a good one at that!
    It may suffer from the fact that some people see it as the reason Zeppelin didn’t tour after there reunion gig.

    As for ‘The Band Of Joy’. I applaud Mr Plant for his continuing journey through sound and his enthusiasm for an art form that that he obviously still loves. The day he stops putting out serious music will be a sad one. Don’t know if I’ll buy it though……?

  • Mark Williams said:

    New album is classy,fine but ‘rock’ fans will gravitate back towards ‘Mighty Rearranger’after listening to this one.

    Interesting that Band of Joy was recorded in David Rawlings & Gillian Welch’s Woodland Studios and guess who is out this week playing mandolin with David Rawlings Machine ?None other than John Paul Jones. Good on ya JPJ – proves that you can move between rawk (TCV) and Bluegrass at ease !

    Mark Williams.

  • Kathleen Ford said:

    I just got this cd today and can’t stop listening to it. It’s absolutely wonderful. I love Led Zeppelin as much as anyone but one of the greatest things about that band was they kept maturing with every recording and every album was different. This is why I think Robert’s work just keeps getting better and better because he’s not afraid to take chances as an artist and we’re all the better for it! This cd has really got it all and I love how he incorporated his old feather glyph on the album art, which is also extremely beautiful. Thanks to Robert and the Band of Joy for a great listening experience. What a gift!

  • Mark Harrison said:

    Dave
    Who would want background music on whils Countdown is on? Rachel is essential viewing me old mucker!!

  • Krtek said:

    SIMON, While I agree with you about Raising Sand, But dont be fooled into thinking this is more of the same! Its not, it has a much darker harder edge to it

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Simon
    Fully respect your opinions – however I would not describe Band Of Joy as an out an out country album – yes there are country elements in there, but there is also folk, blues and roots music. I am not big on country either (aside from Dolly’s Jolene – what a track!) but for me the pure vocal commitment Robert brings to the proceedings wins the day.
    As for my advice to listen intensely -the point here is that this is not an album to play in the background when Daybreak or Countdown is on TV – you often need to understand where the singer is at to seep inside his world – that takes repeated listenings. Those that choose do that I think will find much to admire on Band of Joy,as I have.
    Or as the singer once so eloquently put it ”If you listen very hard…the tune will come to you at last…”

    But ultimately, this move away from straight rock won’t be for everybody. Anyway that’s my thoughts for the day (DL)

  • Mark Harrison said:

    Although I am certainly not a fan of all his music, you really do have to admire Robert for his ever-changing musical attitudes. I can think of no other artist who can match his diversity.Never happy just to stand still, always moving on. Can anyone name a “typical” Robert album? I can’t!
    All the best Dave and Gary!
    Mark

  • Simon Cadman said:

    Dave, your quote ‘this is an album that needs to be listened to intensely before the full depth of its delight is revealed’sounds suspiciously like an admission that most of us won’t like it and will have to battle to get into it.

    I think many of us find ourselves with a dilemma – do we part with cash for a country album? No pun intended. My record collection extends in many directions, from punk to reggae and hardcore techno. There is folk too – Nick Drake, Tim Buckley and Roy Harper are personal heroes. But I do not like country. Never have, never will. I am not going to pretend I like it now.

    After making the mistake of buying Raising Sand and listening to it once through gritted teeth I will not be splashing out on Band of Joy.

    Yeeee-haaaw pardners!

  • Ingy said:

    Peerless.

    Got the album yesterday having heard bits of it online. As ever, there is no substitute for hearing it through a full hi-fi. I really think that Robert is hitting a monumental phase in his career and one which has many similarities to Johnny Cash’s later work. The key similarity is that he is surrounded by excellent musicians and is pouring his soul and talent into every moment. Highlights for me include:
    Falling in Love Again – this is simply a swoon set to music. It knocks the Honeydrippers into a cocked hat and i can’t imagine anyone interpreting the songs so movingly.
    Even This shall pass away – edgy, funky and contemporary – one for the end of year complilations.
    Monkey – love the sinister whispered vocals over the brooding grunge backdrop…”shut up and drive” -excellent
    Can’t by my love – this really grooves. Fabulous beat behind the verse vocals and i reckon this could be a huge single.

    I love every moment of this. I genuinely now belive that i prefer this journey to a Led Zep reunion. I wonder if Jimmy is intends to start his own journey?

  • ledhed58 said:

    You know, I have loved all of Plant’s solo work and I applaud him for branching out into different music, however I do take issue with his comments concerning the music he is best known for,ie:”hearing himself sing and manly volume for some vapid masculine cause and effect” I also find it telling in his remark about “Competing”…does that imply he felt he was competing with Pagey’s guitar all those years?? As I said, I love his work with Zeppelin and solo but I am struck by the feeling that he has gone the way of Clapton and mellowed TOO much in his advancing years..or is it just that he has lost some of his vocal range as witnessed by the fact that they had to drop it down a notch to accomadate his limited range at the O2 concert? He still has a distinctive voice and it still sounds good,saw him 2 months ago and he sounded fine, but hey, I am 52 years old and I still like”manly volume for vapid cause and effect”. Never to old to rock and roll…Peace from the U.S.

  • Michael Brazee said:

    I’ll get the CD tomorrow (in the states) and can’t wait. In the meantime I’m listening to Black Country Communion. Just received my pre-order a week early. Sounds real good so far.

  • Krtek said:

    Great review Dave, As the great man himself once sung “My peers may flirt with caberet – Some fake the rebel yell”
    And oh how easy it would of been for Robert, to of gone down that road, And Then…We would never of had this wonderful Band of Joy Cd, It just just gets better the more you play it. Been some great interviews over the past few weeks, and the one thing that strike’s me, is just, how humble Robert is to be playing with these musician, Long may he continue to take us on this journey with him, and to qoute Tin pan valley again. Me..I’m moving up to higher ground – I must escape their hell !!!!

  • John C said:

    I don’t think it takes any getting into at all – its a winner, hands down. Vocally his best work since Presence, the vision of this guy is incredible, interpreting these wonderful songs so respectfully. I watched a 36 year old Robbie Williams struggle to sing for 30mins last night – no offence Robbie, but this Granddad would leave you standing.
    Significant times for “Old Bobby” as the media begin to realise there is more to this rock God than meets the eye.

  • Michael Rae said:

    Band of Joy was released in Australia on Friday. I couldn’t agree more with Dave Lewis’ review, it’s a cracker of an album. However, I take issue with Dave on one point: in this part of the world, it’s a case of “Get ready to soak up the only sound that matters this Spring….! Resist the hegemony of the North! 😉

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