ledded1 Posted May 8, 2008 Share Posted May 8, 2008 Plant/Krauss manchester Apollo 7/5/08 Robert Plant & Alison Krauss @ Apollo Paul Taylor 8/ 5/2008 YOU wonder just how different the history of rock may have been had Led Zeppelin’s Black Dog and Black Country Woman started life with the banjo riff they have lately acquired. Perhaps music shops would now be filled every Saturday with lank-haired banjo-pluckers head-banging their way through the theme to Deliverance. But the reinterpretation of these hard-rocking anthems, using the sonic armoury of bluegrass, folk and rockabilly, makes perfect sense. Like so much of Led Zep’s early music, these songs drew deeply from the well of American folk and blues. Pushing them now into this new yet old-fashioned setting is merely acquainting the songs with their spiritual source. The seemingly chalk and cheese partnership of Plant, the leonine elder statesman of British rock, aged 59, and Alison Krauss, the crystal-voiced 36-year old queen of bluegrass, turns out to work just as well on stage as it did on the lauded Raising Sand album. The producer of that album, T Bone Burnett, was on hand to see that the tastefully dishevelled soundscapes of the record also made it onto stage. That meant growly tremolo-tinged guitars, double bass, baritone guitars, mandolin, fiddles, banjo and thunderous drums. Sorrowful This brew was at its most intense for the sorrowful Townes Van Zandt song Nothin’, the brooding mood pierced by agonised guitars and violins. It wasn’t country music and it certainly wasn’t heavy metal. You’d need a new expression…. perhaps heavy wood? Other Led Zep greats to be dusted off included When The Levee Breaks, with twin violins replacing the guitar riff, and The Battle Of Evermore, propelled by mandolin. But Krauss and Plant already had the highlights of the set in Raising Sand: a version of Allen Toussaint’s Fortune Teller, but with added New Orleans-style hoodoo, the exquisite Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us with its banjo and limping rhythm, the ghostly Trampled Rose and the mournful Killing The Blues - perhaps the best example of those two voices working together. Another moment to treasure – Krauss singing Down To The River To Pray, from the O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack, while rock god Plant dutifully joined the boys in the band on harmony vocals. Doing this instead of a very lucrative Led Zep reunion tour, you get the impression that Plant is on a pilgrimage for the source of his musical loves. You don’t get the depth of song coming from Worcestershire that you get from Texas and Tennessee, he told us, introducing Nothin’. But then as Nashville resident Krauss launched into a bluegrass violin melody, she said: “We’ll play you one from home that probably came from here.” Much of the folk music of America has its own roots in Europe. Perhaps Plant’s musical voyage takes him, ultimately, right back to where he began. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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