NO QUARTER - UNLEDDED (1994) (w / Jimmy Page) (1 song)
WALKING INTO CLARKSDALE (1998) (w / Jimmy Page) (2 songs)
ENCOMIUM: A TRIBUTE TO LED ZEPPELIN (1995) (1 song):
In addition to being a sequel to Sixty Six To Timbuktu, this particular mix compilation is also a companion piece to another collection of mine, SHINING IN THE LIGHT: The JIMMY PAGE Anthology (1982-1999). On that collection, I used no fewer than eight tracks from the Jimmy Page/Robert Plant period from 1994 to 1998 (The Truth Explodes (a.k.a. Yallah), City Don't Cry and Wonderful One from No Quarter - UnLedded, Shining In The Light, Blue Train, the original version of Please Read The Letter, Most High and House Of Love from Walking Into Clarksdale). Interestingly enough, there are no tracks from the '90s Page/Plant era on the Plant retrospective Sixty Six To Timbuktu, and neither No Quarter or Walking Into Clarksdale were included in the Nine Lives box set. Obviously, in both cases Robert chose to put the emphasis on his own work, without clouding it with Page or Zep associations. Yes, Jimmy does appear four times on Sixty Six To Timbuktu: Tall Cool One, Sea Of Love, Heaven Knows and Rainer Ptacek cover Rude World, but aside from that, there are no Page/Plant tracks from the No Quarter/Walking Into Clarksdale era on Sixty Six To Timbuktu or Nine Lives. However, for my Robert Plant collection, I thought it only fair to represent that period with two songs from Walking Into Clarksdale (When The World Was Young and When I Was A Child) and Wah Wah from No Quarter - none of which I included on my Page collection.
On my Jimmy Page anthology, I also made the decision to avoid using any Led Zeppelin songs, in order to put the greater emphasis on the man's post-Zep work. No Quarter and Live At The Greek with the Black Crowes presented me with ample opportunity, but I opted instead for non-Zep tracks from those. In Robert Plant's case, however, that wasn't a problem, because - No Quarter aside - he has by and large avoided revisiting the Led Zeppelin catalogue. I know for a fact that he certainly does perform Led Zep tracks live (usually with a fair amount of tweaking and re-arranging), and has ever since the late '80s, but I don't believe he has ever used live versions of Zep tracks for B-sides or anything. However, I opted to use Down By The Seaside, his collaboration with Tori Amos on the Encomium tribute disc, for the closing number of this collection - sort of the cherry on top! It's arranged quite sufficiently differently from the original Physical Graffiti, enough to qualify as a distinctive entity in its own right, plus it's a wonderful revisiting - and acknowlegment - of Robert's superstar past.
DREAMLAND (2002) (5/11 songs):
Robert Plant's first album recorded with his 2000's outfit The Strange Sensation - largely a collection of favorite cover tunes. He had already used Tim Buckley cover Song To The Siren, Win My Train Fare Home (If I Ever Get Lucky) (the live version recorded in Mali in 2003, which improves on the album's original), Youngbloods cover Darkness Darkness and Dirt In A Hole (from the U.K. version) on Sixty Six To Timbuktu, so I went with five others: Bukka White cover Funny In My Mind (I Believe I'm Fixin' To Die), Tim Rose cover Morning Dew, group originals Last Time I Saw Her and Red Dress and Moby Grape cover Skip's Song. (OMISSIONS: covers of Bob Dylan's One More Cup Of Coffee and Billy Roberts' Hey Joe. The latter had already been used on Sixty Six To Timbuktu anyway - or rather, the early Band Of Joy version from the pre-Zep late '60s, recorded with John Bonham on drums.)
MIGHTY REARRANGER (2005) (9/12 songs & 1 bonus):
Definitely my second favorite Plant solo album after Fate Of Nations. And as you can probably tell, I have a bit of a Strange Sensation fixation on this collection! Picking up quite literally where Sixty Six To Timbuktu left off, I kick off with the single Shine It All Around (my title track). I also just absolutely adore Dancing In Heaven, with its evocation of Led Zep's pastoral side and its gorgeous mix of acoustic and electric guitars. I also saw fit to include the title track Mighty ReArranger and the eerie, loping blues Somebody Knocking, with its beat like the clomping of horses' hooves and that wonderfully hallucinatory acoustic strum. Also included from the disc are the rampaging Gulf War tale Freedom Fries, Tin Pan Valley, the delicate acoustic All The King's Horses (nothing to do with the Jimmy Page/The Firm track by the same name, BTW!), the trancey The Enchanter and the odd-metered, driving Takamba! Also, there is a really fun Nuggets-style garage-pop number called All The Money In The World, a bonus track from the 2007 remastered edition, presumably not included on the original record because it didn't fit stylistically. (OMISSIONS: Another Tribe, Let The Four Winds Blow, Brother Ray, and bonus track Red, White And Blue)
RAISING SAND (w / Alison Krauss) (2007) (6/13 tracks):
The highly-acclaimed (and rightfully so) Grammy Award-winning collaboration with Alison Krauss is represented by only six tracks here. Why, you ask? Well, mainly because a certain portion of them have Krauss on lead vocals, with Plant's voice either harmonizing or simply not present. And this is a Robert Plant collection here, so my options were necessarily limited. I did use Rich Woman, Killing The Blues, Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On), Fortune Teller and Stick With Me Baby - as well as my favorite track here, a cover of Gene Clark's Polly Come Home. I simply love the track's sense of lonely, beautiful desolation, with that dragging drumbeat, and Robert and Alison's voices sound beautiful together on the chorus (as they do indeed throughout most of the record). But you may be asking yourself: Where the hell is Please Read The Letter?! A very good question. The answer is that I already included the original '98 Page/Plant version from Walking Into Clarksdale on my Jimmy Page anthology, and I didn't want to repeat myself here. Quite simply put, I just like the original Please Read The Letter better, as it rocks out and kicks a bit harder. Granted, I appreciate the sensitivity of the Plant/Krauss version, but ultimately it boils down to a personal preference for the original on my part. I also thought about including the cover of Townes Van Zandt's Nothin', but I didn't want to include any more than one Plant cover version by any one artist, and I ultimately decided to go with another Townes Van Zandt cover, Harm's Swift Way from the next record Band Of Joy. (OMISSIONS: Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us, Through The Morning, Through The Night, Please Read The Letter, Trampled Rose, Nothin', Let Your Loss Be Your Lesson and Your Long Journey)
BAND OF JOY (2010) (8/12 songs):
Robert Plant's further adventures in Nashville! Named after the group he had in the late '60s with John "Bonzo" Bonham, this is for the most part another collection of covers. I included the covers of Los Lobos' Angel Dance, Richard Thompson's House Of Cards, Low's Silver Rider, the original Central Two-O-Nine, another cover You Can't Buy My Love, Townes Van Zandt's Harm's Swift Way, the traditional Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down and a musical adoption of Even This Shall Pass Away, a poem written by the 19th-century abolitionist Theodore Tilton. The other Low cover, Monkey, I chose not to include because I already used Silver Rider and as I said before regarding the Townes Van Zandt songs, I had a "no two cover songs by the same artist" policy. (OMISSIONS: Falling In Love Again, The Only Sound That Matters, Monkey, Cindy, I'll Marry You Someday)