Band Of Joy
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Of course Plant produced wondrous things in 'that other band'. I'm sure I could select any number of permutations of single Zeppelin, or even post-Zeppelin, tracks and put them together in a compilation that I rate higher than I do this. But, no previous, non-compilation, offering satisfies me in quite the way Band of Joy does. Perhaps that simply reflects the 30 plus years I've put on post the untimely demise of what to me was the unparalleled rock band. As one other reviewer has said: there was Zeppelin and then there was everyone else.
So what makes Band of Joy so pleasurable for me? It's a long list. For starters and in no particular order:
Track selection: I like the way Plant has delved into the archives and brought to us a selection of tunes that range from foot-stomping to dark and brooding. I can't fault it. He's introduced me to stuff I would not otherwise have heard and that means that I will probably go back to the source for some of it to hear how they have been reinterpreted. So, he's honouring us as listeners and those who have laid the way before him.
Plant's voice: Of course his has always been one of the great distinctive rock voices. At 62 though we can't expect the wail of the Immigrant Song. On this album his voice ranges from playful to introspective and at all times he sounds completely in control of it. He does give us the occasional peek back to signature notes from his career but this is a wonderfully assured mature voice. He seems an artist who has absolutely nothing left to prove and is revelling in the artistic freedom that gives him.Read more ›
Plant's versions of Low's "Silver Rider" and "Monkey" finds something that the original material doesn't have, Patti Griffin. Her vocals on these songs seem almost unhinged and otherworldly, the polar opposite to Krauss' ethereal vocals on "Raising Sand." Griffin gives both of these songs a raw grit that the originals didn't dig into. She slides in and out on some of these songs like a gentle breeze, barely noticeable. And on others, she's jostling Plant, giving him an expected run for his money ... I mean, it is Patty Griffin after all.
There are a few faster numbers here such as "Angel Dance," and they are well worth listening to. But the disc belongs to the more slower, contemplative songs. "The Only Sound That Matters" seems to sums up the album as a whole, there is an obsession with sound, from the harmony to melody, everything seems as if it were designed to be where it is, not an easy feat for an album full of covers. On "The Only Sound that Matters," Plant's voice is so alive and present that he transfers the lyrics into something spiritual, almost mystical.
Buddy Miller as co-producer should be given just as much credit as T-Bone Burnet (one listen to "Cindy I'll Marry You One Day," should make that evident). "Band of Joy" is not as pristine as "Raising Sand." It's grittier, messier, more joyous - and well worth the purchase.
First, you can recreate the sounds, attitudes and poses that made your black light poster a must have forty years gone. This turn back the clock approach is generally considered the most effective and lucrative but, admit it, lives a little too close to the intersection of boring and catatonic.
Second, you can take your crows feet for a spin in the Great American Songbook and hope that the aging crones in the front row never notice that the equipment you were packing in the time of Nixon is now more memory than Mastodon.
Or, finally, you can challenge yourself to discover new sounds and push new boundaries - letting the music transport your audience and heavy metal roots far beyond the sturm and drung of the critics and naysayers - showing some genuine mettle instead.
Robert Plant doesn't need me to tell him how glad I am that he selected door number three. His new record, Band of Joy, is a charming and austere roots music walkabout that continues his fascination with acoustic blues that has never waned since his arrival on the Hindenburg in 1969. His voice is well, his voice, unmistakable as it is powerful. The songs - pulled from a portfolio of lesser known rock and blues chestnuts allow Plant to wander a little over the top at times but in most cases joyously explore their power in between the lines with the subtlety of an artist rather than the clanking swagger of an icon that has overstayed his welcome.
Band of Joy is a sterling, first-rate effort that should not be missed.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was a bit unusual for the lead singer of Led Zeppelin, but, I don't play this nearly as often as Led Zeppelin or II - III - IV - or Physical Graffiti.Published 3 months ago by Patricia Kinner
DVD has some great Led Zep songs - awesome performance & collaborationPublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
Plant's best work so far since his first solo album, an easy listening sound that wants you to play over and over aagainPublished 4 months ago by Peter Soweski
Many new LPs are poorly mastered, and don't sound nearly as good as the CD release of the same recording. Read morePublished 7 months ago by T R N
I like this and am a Robert Plant fan. Softer than Led Zeppelin, as most of his solo recordings are.Published 9 months ago by MarthaP
Again Robert Plant amazes me with is incredible voice. Love this cd.Published 9 months ago by dawn czaplicki