Robert Plant is one of the great voices of rock and roll. Led Zeppelin's music still sounds vital today. However, since the 70's Plant's music has been spotty. In the 80's & 90's he turned out an occasional solo record or a collaboration with some of his chronies like Jimmy Page or Jeff Beck (Honeydrippers) with mixed results.
Recently Robert Plant has reinvented himself; starting with his 2007's Raising Sand, the duet album with Alison Kraus and produced by super producer T Bone Burnett. That collaboration was a beautiful mix of 2 unique voices, a clever choice of covers, and an earthy production and playing that led to one of 2007's best releases.
Plant's latest release Band of Joy follows in that vein. Production credit for the CD goes to Buddy Miller along with Plant and once again the result is an earthy sounding collection of songs; almost all covers from the likes of Los Lobos, Richard Thompson, Townes Van Zandt and others. The band featuring Buddy Miller on guitar/vocals, Patty Griffin on vocals/guitar, Darrell Scott on vocals/mandolin/guitar/accordion/pedal/lap steel/banjo, Byron House on bass and Marco Giovino on percussion bring a rich sound perfectly suited for Plant's brilliant vocals.
The CD opens with Los Lobos's Angel Dance (from their great album Kiko); this version is unique enough to sound fresh without taking anything from the original; You Can't Buy My Love sounds like the long lost Elvis record from Viva Las Vegas or Little Less Conversation era; Cindy, I'll Marry You Someday and Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down, old tradional songs, Plant and Miller make them relevant for today; Silver Rider and Monkey, by Alan Sparhawk and others from the band Low, sung with Patty Griffith are hauntingly beautiful.