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Dreamland

Dreamland
[Click above for album images]

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Robert Plant entered the new millennium with an album that looked defiantly backward – not to Led Zeppelin, mind you, but to a round-up of his personal musical heroes. The grunge-era Manic Nirvana (1990) and Fate Of Nations (1993) had already junked the overegged synth-rock of Plant's 80s albums – while 1995's Unledded reunion with Jimmy Page breathed new life into the Zeppelin catalogue – but Dreamland definitively set Sir Percival on the Americana-rooted course he has steered ever since.

There was a distant clue in Fate Of Nations'' If I Were a Carpenter. Nine years on from that Tim Hardin cover, Plant opted to pay homage to such American cult figures as Tim Rose (Morning Dew), Tim Buckley (Song To The Siren), Moby Grape's Skip Spence (Skip's Song), and the Youngbloods' Jesse Colin Young (Darkness, Darkness). Additionally, he tipped a wink to Dylan (Desire's One More Cup of Coffee) and – on a spooky, jagged cover of Hey Joe – to both Hendrix and Love's Arthur Lee.

Plant also parted ways with primary collaborator Phil Johnstone, creating a more organic feel around guitarist Justin Adams and bassist Charlie Jones. From the raggedly exciting opener – a Hurdy-Gurdy-propelled update of Bukka White's I Believe I'm Fixin' to Die that sounds more like Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds than like Now And ZenDreamland is instantly rough and ready, stripped of studio sheen. The mournful take on Morning Dew is built on Adams' spare backwards guitar and John Baggott's murky electric piano; Song To The Siren is more minimal still, but no less affecting than the version by This Mortal Coil. Darkness, Darkness becomes a statement of haunting despair. Skip's Song packs the euphoric punch that made a giant Moby Grape fan of Plant back in 1967.

Most striking is the change in Plant's voice. Close-miked, it has become an instrument of breathy intimacy – middle-aged, yes, but in its serene way as powerful as his full-throttle shrieking in days of old.

Interspersed with Dreamland's covers are several originals written by Plant with Adams, Jones, Baggott, drummer Clive Deamer, and former Cure guitarist Porl Thompson. Win My Train Home (If I Ever Get Lucky) is an African blues that incorporates elements of songs by Robert Johnson, John Lee Hooker and Arthur ‘Big Boy’ Crudup and anticipates Adams' production stints with the Malian troupe Tinariwen. Last Time I Saw Her is an outbreak of freak-funk, complete with unhinged synth oscillations and manic wah-wah guitar. Red Dress is raw, slide-slashed blues, Dirt In A Hole a powerfully driving finale.

From: Barney Hoskyns for BBC Music
Statistics

Released:
Jul. 16, 2002 (US)
Jun. 24, 2002 (UK)
Apr. 3, 1007 (Remastered)

Chart Position:
#40 (US) #20 (UK)

Certified:


Tracks

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

Bonus UK/Japanese track
11. Dirt In A Hole

iTunes Bonus track
12. Last Time I Saw Her (Remix)

Special Limited Edition tracks
13. Song To The Siren (Radio Edit)
14. Song To The Siren (Alpha Mix)
15. Morning Dew (BBC Radio 2 Session)
16. Darkness Darkness (video)
Quick Fact

Dreamland was nominated for two Grammys in 2002 - Best Rock Album and Best Male Rock Performance.
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This Month in
Led Zeppelin History


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November 21, 1968 - Robert becomes a father to a baby girl named Carmen Jane.
November 09, 1968 - Robert marries Maureen in London. Their reception is a performance at the Roundhouse in London
November xx, 1969 - Tempers flare over Atlantic in the UK wanting to release singles
November xx, 1969 - Recording for Led Zeppelin III begins at Olympic Studios in London
November xx, 1970 - Plans are in motion for a Yardbirds reunion
November 08, 1971 - Finally after much anticipation, Untitled is released
November xx, 1972 - Houses Of The Holy is mixed and completed
November 10, 1972 - Led Zeppelin sell out 120,000 tickets in one day
November xx, 1973 - Initial recordings for Physical Graffiti commences at Headley Grange
November 04, 1973 - Led Zeppelin finalize the purchase of Headley Grange to be their new corporate headquarters
November xx, 1974 - The band makes plans and rehearses for the tenth North American tour
November xx, 1975 - Led Zeppelin records Presence in a mere 18 days
November xx, 1976 - Led Zeppelin book into Ezyhire Studios to rehearse new material for an upcoming tour
November 04, 1976 - The Song Remains The Same movie premieres in Europe
November xx, 1977 - Jimmy dispells rumors of Led Zeppelin’s break up
November 06, 1978 - Led Zeppelin purchase and ship new gear to Polar Studios to begin work on a new album
November 10, 1979 - Led Zeppelin and their entire entourage attend an ABBA concert
November 07, 1980 - The band meets with Peter Grant to announce the retirement of Led Zeppelin
November 29, 1999 - The RIAA announced that Led Zeppelin were only the third act in music history to achieve four or more Diamond albums, a Diamond album being awarded for accredited sales of more than 10 million units in the US.
November 01, 2007 - An announcement was made that Jimmy Page had fractured his finger on his left hand after a fall in his garden and the reunion show would be postponed to December 10, 2007.
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