Sunday, October 24, 2010

Album Review: Robert Plant – Band of Joy


You have to hand it to Robert Plant. Not for him the easy option of taking the huge cash on offer for a Led Zeppelin reunion. Instead the former rock god has had an interesting career, dabbling in bluegrass and folk.

This album mainly consists of covers, from Los Lobos to Low via Richard Thompson and Townes Van Zandt. Angel Dance, the opener is a kind of sprightly folk, while House of Cards is more a lumbering, slow-burning rock track. Plant covers not just one Low track but 2! Silver Rider is the more successful of the two, as Plant allows the band to stretch out with some superb guitar. Monkey on the other hand struggles to match the visceral intensity of the original. Nevertheless, they are great songs, and Plant does a decent job on them.

On the other end of the spectrum, You Can’t Buy My Love is a kind of early 60s stomp, and we get some bluegrass in Cindy, I'll Marry You Someday and Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down. Townes Van Zandt’s Harm Swift Way is transformed into country rock, working quite well.


Overall the album is a little hit and miss, but at least he’s pushing himself creatively.