CONGRATS TO ADAM S. !! He won the Robert Plant CD! Everyone else can scroll to the end of this review to hear sample tracks from Band of Joy.
There is, of course, that unmistakable voice. Call it The Mystical Pipes of Plant. Although slightly deepened with age, Robert Plant’s vocals still have that compelling magic we’ve enjoyed for over 40 years.
Named in honor of the band he formed back in ’67 with drummer John Bonham, Band of Joy harkens back to younger days when he played mostly cover tunes. As Plant said, it’s “time to reinvoke that attitude and sentiment.” The result on this album is a sound close to the basic essence of Led Zeppelin III: gentle acoustic mixed with startlingly powerful yet restrained electric.
Band of Joy reunites Plant and Buddy Miller (featured heavily on 2007’s Raising Sand) as co-producers. Among the 12 tracks are three Plant/Miller arrangements of traditionals “Cindy, I’ll Marry You Someday” and “Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down,” as well as a nearly psychedelic rendering of a mid-19th century poem “Even This Shall Pass Away” by Theodore Tilton. Only “Central Two-O-Nine” is a Plant/Miller original, a chanting acoustic blues number, but the fascinating aspect of this album is the infusion of Plant’s personality on a collection of very disparate songs.
The rhythm of the opening track “Angel Dance” is an insistent invocation to the great musical spirits. Plant’s and Miller’s genius lies in their interpretation of others’ songs, which is especially evident on the Townes Van Zant cover “Harm’s Swift Way”, which they turn into near-anthemic rock with ghostly snatches of Buddy Holly in the “oh me, oh my”s.
The most strangely atmospheric covers are of Low’s “Silver Rider” and “Monkey”, both of which are eerie and enthralling with the addition of Patty Griffin’s vocals.
Robert Plant has always been a musical seeker, and Band of Joy shows him at his most curious and gymnastic — looking back while forging straight ahead.
If you’ve read this far, then you’re a true Robert Plant fan. So, if you’d like a copy of this CD, just drop us a line at Contests[at]CountryMusicPride.com (our sister site). First person to reach out to us wins Band of Joy.