1. Funny in My Mind (I Believe I'm Fixin' to Die)
2. Morning Dew
3. One More Cup of Coffee
4. Last Time I Saw Her
5. Song to the Siren
6. Win My Train Fare Home (If I Ever Get Lucky)
7. Darkness Darkness
8. Red Dress
9. Hey Joe
10. Skip's Song
11. Dirt in a Hole (Bonus track)
7th solo album from ex-LED ZEPPELIN frontman is a superb collection of covers.
At their best, cover albums have a strange way of galvanizing an artist by
returning to the songs that inspired them; the artists can find the reason why
they made music in the first place, perhaps finding a new reason to make music.
Robert Plant's "Dreamland" - his first solo album in nearly ten years and one of
the best records he's ever done, either as a solo artist or as a member of LED
ZEPPELIN - fulfills that simple definition of a covers album and goes beyond it,
finding Plant sounding reinvigorated and as restless as a new artist. Part of
the reason why this album works so well is that he has a new band -- not a group
of supporting musicians, but a real band whose members can challenge him because
they tap into the same eerie, post-folk mysticism that fueled "Led Zeppelin
III", among other haunting moments in the Zep catalog. Another reason why this
album works so well is that it finds the band working from a similar aesthetic
point as classic Zeppelin, who, at their peak, often reinterpreted and
extrapolated their inspirations, piecing them together to create something
startlingly original. That's the spirit here, most explicitly on the blues
medley "Win My Train Fare Home (If I Ever Get Lucky)," but also throughout the
record, as he offers radical reinventions of such cult favorites as Bob Dylan's
"One More Cup of Coffee," Tim Buckley's "Song to the Siren," and THE YOUNGBLOODS'
"Darkness, Darkness," along with such staples as "I Believe I'm Fixin' to Die"
and "Hey Joe." What's amazing about this album is that it is as adventurous and
forward-thinking - perhaps even more so - as anything he's ever done. He's
abandoned the synthesizers that distinguished each of his solo albums and
replaced them with a restless, searching band that pushes every one of these
songs past conventional expectations (and, in the case of the two strong
originals, they make the new tunes sound as one with the covers). "Dreamland"
rarely sounds like LED ZEPPELIN, but its spirit is pure Zeppelin; this, in a
sense, is what he was trying to do with the Page and Plant albums - find a way
back into the mystic by blending folk, worldbeat, blues, rock, and
experimentalism into music that is at once grounded in the past and ceaselessly
moving forward. He might have co-authored only two pieces here, but "Dreamland"
is a fully realized product of his own vision - as unpredictable and
idiosyncratic, as fulfilling and full of mystery as anything he's ever released.