Plant, Robert - Robert Plant's Blue Note
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Robert Plant's journey through the territories that have most acutely informed and inspired his music is perhaps one of the most multi-faceted of any artist from his generation. His fantastic voyage has essayed the plantations of Mississippi, the deserts and townships of Africa and the settlements of the Appalachians. Featuring rare footage, performance archive, recorded interviews, contributions from his closest collaborators, expert critique from the finest music writers, plus location film, news reports seldom seen photographs and a host of other features.
Top customer reviews
In the first few minutes, I was rolling my eyes as a rip-off (cover?) of Since I've Been Loving You played in the background while being treated to what seemed like way more clips of bluesmen like Howlin' Wolf and the Rolling Stones than anything from Robert Plant. However, this DVD is not like one of those Biography channel type things which are about 42 minutes of mostly garbage content spread out over an hour timeslot... Robert Plant's Blue Note has a running time of 2 hours, 37 minutes, plus a little 5.5 minute bonus clip discussing Lead Belly and Plant (in terms of Zeppelin and Plant/Krauss). Despite the questionable decision to use the SIBLY cover (it led me to believe that I wouldn't be hearing any actual Zeppelin/Plant music) many times
throughout the video, more appropriate audio and video footage is employed much of the time.
This is not a Led Zeppelin documentary and should not be construed as one - so if you go into it expecting a complete breakdown of Plant's time in Zeppelin, you're going to be disappointed. There is quite a bit of time spent on Plant's influences as a teenager and how they impacted him in Zep, but most of the focus is on the early years, including claims that Plant's position in Zep was not secure even after the first album. There are clips from Howlin' Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson, the Rolling Stones, the Yardbirds (with and without Page), and Zep clips (all available on the official 2003 DVD, like Danish TV), as well as audio from Band of Joy (from Sixty-Six to Timbuktu). The focus on Zeppelin is brief - limited mostly to the band's formation, moving very quickly to spotlighting Kashmir and then skipping over any detail about why the band ended. The lack of emphasis on Plant's time in Zeppelin could certainly be criticized, although the program might have been five hours long if they covered Zep in depth. Skimming over the Zeppelin period did not bother me, since we have all seen quite a few Zeppelin documentaries that skip over the aftermath of the band and the solo years only to tack on a bit about Page/Plant at the end (sometimes with a mention of Jonesy's exclusion).
With those caveats out of the way, I will say that this DVD covers Plant's post-Zep period better than his official Nine Lives documentary or anything else I've seen. Particularly fascinating to me was the in-depth interview with Robbie Blunt, since I can't recall seeing another interview with him anywhere. Blunt was obviously very proud of his work with Robert in those crucial years in the wake of Zeppelin's demise, but he was also enormously frustrated by the way the partnership ended - mystified by Plant's efforts on Shaken 'n' Stirred to distance himself from everything familiar (or commercially successful). Blunt shares a great anecdote about being coerced into working with a Roland guitar synthesizer. Plant had chided Blunt by telling him something to the effect of "well, Jimmy's getting on fine with his", but apparently Benji Lefevre talked to Page's guitar tech, who confided that Jimmy had chucked his out the window by that time... He also talks about Slow Dancer as the most Zeppelin-esque of all the Plant/Blunt compositions - something with which I think most of us would agree. Blunt gives an enlightening and enjoyable interview.
Next up was Phil Johnstone, whose interview takes a similar path from initial euphoria at being on the same page with Robert to eventual frustration at not being able to find common ground and produce a final product that pleased Plant; though he thought he knew what Robert wanted, by the end he also knew that he was not the guy for the job. Johnstone essentially describes Plant's eagerness to combine the American West Coast elements of Moby Grape & others with North African music, all combined together with rock and folk instrumentation/song structure...and Johnstone admits that he is basically a pop guy and wasn't cut out to provide Robert with what he really desired - which leads nicely into the Unledded collaboration with Jimmy Page.
This period is covered well, with a Hossam Ramzy interview providing most of the content. Ramzy raves about being able to watch Page and Plant burn through Since I've Been Loving You on a nightly basis and talks about the difficulty his players had with things like Friends and Four Sticks. Also of note is a fairly extensive piece on the influence of Egyptian vocalist extraordinaire Oumme Kalsoum (many spelling variations exist)on Plant over the years in various incarnations, most of which was new information for me. I would have been impressed if the documentary had also included audio from the 1972 Page/Plant trip to India when they attempted to play Four Sticks and Friends (available on numerous bootlegs), but while those sessions were mentioned briefly, they were not heard.
Unfortunately, Walking Into Clarksdale is glossed over as a disappointing follow-up to the Unledded TV special and subsequent tour, and the documentary moves pretty rapidly through the Priory of Brion years and into Strange Sensation, the music of which in the narrative retrospect of the DVD seems like a logical culmination of Plant's quest for the perfect amalgamation of styles... but just when it seems all is right in his world, we lurch off in another direction toward the mountain music influence on Raising Sand and the collaboration with Alison Krauss and the next step of Band of Joy. It's been a few days now, but I don't remember the Zeppelin reunion at the Ertegun tribute show being mentioned on the DVD, so add that to the short list of grievances.
Robert Plant's Blue Note includes interviews (that were apparentlydone specifically for this DVD) with:
Nigel Williamson (author of The Rough Guide to Led Zeppelin)
Barney Hoskyns (the caption claims he wrote a book called "Trampled Under Foot" [sic] about the excesses of Zep, but all I can find is a book on the fourth album for a Rock of Ages series)
Chris Dreja (Yardbirds)
Robbie Blunt (RP guitarist and songwriting partner circa 1981-1985)
Phil Johnstone (RP guitarist/keyboardist and songwriting partner circa 1987-1993)
Hossam Ramzy (leader of the Egyptian orchestra on the Unledded/No Quarter project)
John Lomax III (grandson of John Lomax, son of Alan Lomax - interviewed about Leadbelly and Raising Sand)
All of the other interview footage and onstage clips of Plant, Zeppelin, Page/Plant, Strange Sensation, Alison Krauss, T-Bone Burnett, et cetera that augment the documentary... all of that is brought in from readily available sources like the Canadian radio interview Plant did last year, the 2003 Zeppelin DVD, the Page/Plant Unledded DVD, Strange Sensation Soundstage, Festival in the Desert, CMT Crossroads, By Myself BBC broadcast, Nine Lives DVD and not done specifically for this Blue Note DVD. I didn't see anything "new" in that regard.
Some will find fault with the amount of time spent on discussing Plant's influences (and the inclusion of audio and video of those influences), but with a documentary of this length, I didn't have a real problem with it. Even with the inclusion of material that most fans already have is not a significant issue, since it provides context for the subjects being discussed. The most informative and interesting parts are the interviews with Blunt, Johnstone, and Ramzy. The documentary could have benefited from new interviews with other key contributors (like Justin Adams, Doug Boyle, Francis Dunnery, Porl Thompson, Skin Tyson, and Buddy Miller, for instance), especially at the expense of some of the time allotted to Williamson and Hoskyns, but I wouldn't be surprised if some of them were contacted and declined. All in all, this is a solid effort well worth watching for any fan of Robert Plant's work, especially for those fans who appreciate at least some of his post-Zeppelin output.
I found it interesting to learn what inspired Plant and his amazing voice. But, would have loved to see more performances. I guess I need to get the performance dvd's also.
Overall I found it good as I am a die-hard Plant and Zeppelin fan.
talked about Mr. Plant's contributions to that genre. He is amazing in whatever he
undertakes!!! This man is outstanding in everything he does in the music world.
Most recent customer reviews
Perhaps build a career spanning documentary around it!Read more