15. May 2005 · Comments Off on Live Blogging, First Listen, Mighty Rearranger · Categories: That's Entertainment!

I was shocked to see Robert Plant & The Strange Sensation have a new album out this week. Since I haven’t completely blown my music budget for the month I had to see where he was at.

Another Tribe: Nice drum attack at the beginning. Kasmir 2005? …Plant’s not letting loose here…softly phrasing…lilting…those Moroccon drums from Kasmir and the curtains of strings flowing over you. Very nice. An anti-war theme here.

Shine it All Around: Nicely layered vocals here. Kind of a Ragdoll beat happenin’. Again with the MidEastern curtains of strings…BIG hard drums in the back of this once, crunching and cracking like Bonham. Bassline struts through this one too…you can imagine Plant shaking his ass up to the audience here.

Freedom Fries: Yeah…it’s a shot at us…but it’s a nod at our music too, this is pure American Rock. Rockabilly, some more crunch here. The drums are synchopating some kind of weird off-beat here. Building to harder rock…Black Doggish.

Tin Pan Alley: Synth? Whoa…trippy. Kinda talky…trippy…not trip hop but…something building here…Plant’s doing that moan thing that only he can get away with and keep a straight face. WHAM! Audio Orgasm! Way to mix it up.

All the King’s Horses: English Pastoral Country…think Over the Hills and Far Away…but I’m liking this much more than I ever liked the Zepplin acoustic. The words are easy to listen to. Guitars are simple but BIG here, not overpowering Plant…supporting and even lifting his vocals.

The Enchanter: John Lee Hooker? meets…Peter Gabriel…meets The Honeydrippers…meets The Doors…and this is working for me. The end is pure…Zep…sorry…When the Levee Breaks? Is that the riff there? Woops not the end, more synth…where’s that going? A heartbeat? Whoa again…the last minute is some stuff the house mixers are going to have a freaking field day with.

Takamba: African rythms and strings into Zep crunch and grunge. Plant’s vocals just damn fine here.

Dancing in Heavan: Layered vocals and acoustic rythm guitar again going into trippy moaning, another layer of vocals in second verse…sweet electric lead guitar on the break there…there’s still a Morrocan thing happening here.

Somebody Knocking: African again but a different flavor..less curry. More grits…bluesy…funky acoustic lead riffing there…under that weird sitar thing…no, not the sitar…that weird instrument where it makes noise depending on how you mess with the field around it…can’t remember the name of it.

Let the Four Winds Blow: What should rockin’ blues sound like in 2005? Here ya go. Let’s take a walk…

Mighty Rearranger: Last song was a lead into this one…they really shouldn’t be played on their own. For those of you non Zep fans, this is one of Plant’s nicknames. And he’s wearing it proudly on this one. Jethro Tull meets Paul Butterfield meets ZZ Top? That was FINE.

Brother Ray: Barrelhouse blues, a short sweet nod to Ray Charles…well done.

Shine it all Around (The Girls Mix) (iTunes only? don’t see it listed on the playlist for the disk): House mix of the above and the producer’s spent too many nights in raves…and I mean that in the best possible way. I wanted to start trancing out and I haven’t been on a rave floor in 20+ years. (For you youngsters and anyone else who has a problem with that last sentence, rave and house music started in Chicago in the early 80s, I was there. There’s nothing to argue about. Let it go.)

The question is do you like Robert Plant when he’s not worried about being Robert Plant? Because this is Robert Plant. It’s big, it’s ballsy, it struts, it moans, it crawls, it growls and it soars. From what I can see this is his second endeavor with The Strange Sensation and good on him for adding them to the credits. They simply freaking rawk.

Looks like “Shine it All Around” is the first single and it’s already up to 23 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock List. I may have led with the title track but if that, Freedom Fries, Tin Pan Alley or The Enchanter is the followup with one of the others closing out the summer then I think rock radio is in for a wake up call.

One of the masters is back and he’s throwin’ down, daring, no…pleading for anyone to match him.

By the way…if you HATE Zepplin or Robert Plant and want to spew…don’t do it here…I’ll delete you…you’ve been warned.

UPDATE 050517: iTunes has added six live tracks under their “Sessions” header. Black Dog, Mighty Rearranger, Shine it all Around, The Enchanter, Tin Pan Valley, and When the Levee Breaks. Suwheeeeeet. I am SO dead if Beautiful Wife ever sees our iTunes bill for the past couple months.

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