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    Robert Plant

    Raising Sand ( with Alison Krauss )

    Raising Sand ( with Alison Krauss ) 8 ( 2007 )
    Rich Woman / Killing the Blues / Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us / Polly Come Home / Gone Gone Gone / Through the Morning, Through the Night / Please Read the Letter / Trampled Rose / Fortune Teller / Stick with Me Baby / Nothin' / Let Your Loss Be Your Lesson / Your Long Journey

    Planty teams up with bluegrass legend Alison Krauss and it all comes out swimingly well. What could have been a self-indulgent mess is, thanks to superbly minimalist production by T Bone Burnett, rather more pure blues and folk for a modern age than anything i've heard for a good while. We shouldn't be so surprised either these two musicians have managed to work together so well. Robert Plant respects the roots of the music he partly plundered to create the debut Zeppelin LP. Blues, Folk and Country can all loosely be termed 'Americana', traditional American roots music. Ok, so Planty never got round to country music but is it such a leap from country to blues and folk? Well, more so now than it was in the fifties, but sound apart, 'Raising Sand' isn't a forwards looking LP. It does take some contemporary material by the likes of Tom Waits alongside Gene Clark, Townes Van Zandt etc and present them in a 'timeless' fashion, but that's the whole point, isn't it? Burnett hasn't tried to recapture the sound of the thirties or fifties, what would be the point? So whilst the album sounds unaffected by modern production gimmicks, the actual tonality of the album and the purity of sound could only ever have been acheived in the 21st century. That's a good thing, not a bad thing - it represents a modern take without changing form or structure radically, for no good reason. By taking things simply, putting together an excellent band and not plumping for the obvious song selections, Burnett, Plant and Krauss have made an excellent LP that'll sound as good in ten years time as it does now and as good as the 50s/60s recordings of The Louvrin Brothers do now. Each sound 'of its time', yet also timeless.

    The songs? The album starts strongly with 'Fortune Teller' and 'Gone Gone Gone'. It's immediately apparent how good the recording is, the instruments through 'Gone Gone Gone' sound like they are right in front of you. The first real gem arrives with 'Killing The Blues', a softly taken song with beautiful slide, a slow guitar solo that meanders in front of you lazily, every note precise yet played with immense feeling. Robert Plant's usual roar is now a whisper, aligning perfectly with the soft, sweeter tones of Alison Krauss. It's a perfect tune to play on a Sunday morning or early afternoon and it relaxes you, takes away modern life's stresses whilst retaining substance as well as beauty. A second gem arrives with a tune penned by Plant/Page, remember them? Yes, the Lez Zeppelin team pen a beauty with 'Please Read The Letter', another weary lament impeccably played. Marc Ribolt, Tom Waits guitarist now also much in demand as a session player, never puts a foot wrong across the entire thirteen tracks, often hinting at his more usual avant-garde style without ever upsetting the overall game-plan. Gene Clark's 'Through The Morning, Through The Night' becomes a stately gem whilst the closing 'Your Long Journey' returns us to the mountains it seems, although, Plant singing 'God's given us happiness' is initially unsettling! Now, moving forwards, I'l like to see both Marc Ribolt and T Bone Burnett work on the next Bob Dylan LP. Is this the kind of sound he's looking for? Well, an LP both with superb sound and some substance, although slightly one-dimensional at the end of the day, is enough for me. The tempo's needed varying a little more, you see. Still, this is an album more than the sum of its parts and far better than likely anybody expected it to be.

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    Readers Comments

    John Co Kildare, Ireland
    Classy L'il album, this one. A contender for 2007 album of the year in fact. Any criticisms of Plant's versatillity should end for good after ths, Krauss's wide range of talents take another step forward. 9/10.

    Will Petersfield
    This was without doubt one of the albums of 2007. Robert's last 4 efforts have been rather good - the Mighty Rearranger might rate 6, Dreamland 9 and Walking Into Clarksdale (with Page) 7.5.

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    this page last updated 26/05/08

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