Monday, October 10, 2011

Robert Plant 11: Band Of Joy

Never one to go for a surefire cash cow, Robert didn’t push a second collaboration with Alison Krauss, but kept his interest in Americana fresh with an album named after one of his pre-Zeppelin bands. Band Of Joy even keeps his old Es Paranza imprint afloat; has anyone else had that label? Such luminaries as Patty Griffin and Buddy Miller round out the band for a sound closer to Dreamland than Raising Sand.
For the most part, he’s content to reinterpret other people’s material here, starting with Los Lobos’ “Angel Dance” and an older Richard Thompson song. There are two, count ‘em, two songs by Minnesota slowcore pioneers Low. “You Can’t Buy My Love” has a nice Merseybeat guitar part, which makes sense since the song dates from about 1964. “Falling In Love Again” manages to straddle country, gospel and doo-wop. If somebody’s watching out for Townes Van Zandt’s estate, they’ll likely be pleased by the rendition of “Harm’s Swift Way” here. The balance of the tracks are new arrangements of traditional songs, and with such titles as “Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down” and “Cindy I’ll Marry You Someday”.
Once again Robert made a decent album, and even got critical kudos for it. Band Of Joy isn’t remotely annoying, but it doesn’t exactly leap out of the speakers. It can be enjoyed, and filed.

Robert Plant Band Of Joy (2010)—3

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