Release Date: Sep 14, 2010
Record label: Rounder
Genre(s): Country, Folk, Pop/Rock, Contemporary Folk, Modern Acoustic Blues
It seems surprising that Robert Plant is never considered part of rock's sexagenarian awkward squad, that select cabal of artists who've turned bewildering audiences and critics into an art form, who see pleasing the crowd as dereliction of duty. Judging by his solo career, that's where he belongs – in the old contrarians' clubhouse, basking in the sunny glow of Lou Reed's winning personality, wiping a tear of mirth from his eye as Neil Young recalls how his fans hated 2009's Fork in the Road so much they actually pleaded with his record label not to release it, nodding while Van Morrison revisits the time he decried music magazines for their "obsession with the past" during an interview to promote an album of 50s and 60s country-and-western covers. Plant could certainly hold his own with them, at least on musical terms.
Band of Joy was the name of Robert Plant’s Black Country psychedelic folk group of the late ‘60s and his revival of its name and spirit in 2010 is of no small significance. Certainly, it’s an explicit suggestion that Plant is getting back to his roots, which is true to an extent: the original Band of Joy was unrecorded outside of a handful of demos, so there is no indication of whether this 2010 incarnation sounds anything at all like the ‘60s band but the communal vibe that pulsates throughout this album hearkens back to the age of hippies as much as it is an outgrowth of Raising Sand, Plant’s striking duet album with Alison Krauss. Such blurred borders are commonplace on Band of Joy, where American and English folk meld, where the secular and sacred walk hand in hand, where the past is not past and the present is not rootless.
Robert Plant sounds vocally reenergized on this covers-heavy follow-up to his Grammy-winning Alison Krauss collaboration, Raising Sand. The CD sometimes resembles a Sand sequel (although Krauss doesn’t appear), particularly when Plant’s voice melds with Patty Griffin’s on the band Low’s ”Silver Rider.” Elsewhere, he summons up the spirit of Led Zeppelin III for ”Cindy I’ll Marry You Someday” and slinkily reshuffles Richard Thompson’s ”House of Cards.” A– Download These:Spare, haunting Silver Rider at amazon.comJoyful Angel Dance at amazon.com See all of this week’s reviews .
Joy? Well, it depends whom you ask. As long as Robert Plant is alive and murmuring, there will be those who take their Led Zeppelin worship so seriously that they’ll be satisfied with nothing less than a full-blown Zeppelin reunion tour. For those still kneeling in the houses of the holy, anything short of a Robert Plant/Jimmy Page/John Paul Jones resumption—like, say, Robert Plant solo albums—represents a second-best-case scenario.
The question on everyone's mind is whether Robert Plant can repeat the triumph of his Grammy Award-winning Alison Krauss collaboration, Raising Sand, with his newest foray into Americana. Well, the good news is that if you loved the last instalment, you'll like this one. The bad news is that you probably won't love it. [rssbreak] Nashville icon Buddy Miller had done an amazing job producing.
An album of bounding energy and unexpected eclecticism. Colin Irwin 2010 Having won enough awards to keep his mantelpiece groaning for years for his 2007 collaboration with Alison Krauss, Robert Plant resists the temptation to repeat the Americana formula and give us Raising More Sand. Instead he invokes the name of Band of Joy, the psychedelic blues group he originally fronted before the birth of Led Zeppelin over four decades’ earlier, for an album of bounding energy and unexpected eclecticism.
Without co-star Alison Krauss or marquee Texan producer T Bone Burnett, Robert Plant's latest solo outing suffers the expected sequel slump. Band of Joy lacks the subtle grace and evocative restraint of 2007's Raising Sand, even as local ringer Patty Griffin's lilting harmony tops Richard Thompson's "House of Cards" and the stellar Townes Van Zandt encore "Harm's Swift Way. " There are two notable exceptions, Low's solemn "Silver Rider" and gothic "Monkey," that transport the Zep frontman to his time of dying, a slow motion apocalypse that even at a whisper evinces the Judgment Day catharsis of Alan Sparhawk's Retribution Gospel Choir.