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Dreamland

Dreamland
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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

February 7, 1962 - Deborah Bonham, sister to John, was born in Redditch, Worcestershire, England
February 23, 1966 - Warren Grant, son of Peter, was born.
February xx, 1969 - Led Zeppelin enters the Billboard Top 40
February 16, 1969 - Led Zeppelin wrap up their first American tour in Baltimore, MD.
February 07, 1970 - Edinburgh gig cancelled after Plant receives facial injuries in a car accident
February 28, 1970 - The band performs as "The Nobs" in Copenhagen after threat of legal action from Countess Von Zeppelin
February xx, 1971 - John Paul Jones involved in legal issues regarding a musician who shares the same name
February xx, 1971 - Overdubs for the fourth album are recorded at Island Studios
February 14, 1972 - The band is refused admission into Singapore due to their long hair
February 16, 1972 - The Australian tour begins in Perth
February 21, 1972 - Led Zeppelin: Rock and Roll b/w Four Sticks (Atlantic 45-2865) 45 single is released in the US.
February xx, 1973 - The band makes final preparations for the European tour
February 16, 1973 - The release date for Houses Of The Holy is pushed back due to some sleeve problems
February xx, 1974 - Sessions for Physical Graffiti continue
February 14, 1974 - Page, Plant and Bonham attend a Roy Harper concert
February 04, 1975 - Zeppelin perform a last minute show at Nassau Coliseum to accomodate fans after being banned in Boston
February 24, 1975 - Physical Graffiti finally issued worldwide to phenomenal sales
February xx, 1976 - Media reports that Zeppelin are due to release an album entitled Obelisk
February xx, 1977 - Robert contracts a bout of tonsillitis postponing the American tour
February xx, 1978 - Robert Plant helps produce a record for punk band Dansette Damage
February 16, 1978 - The cases against Bonham, Cole & Grant stemming from the Oakland incident are heard and all receive suspended prison sentences and fines
February xx, 1979 - Although absent from the US stage or market, Led Zeppelin rank best in many music magazine categories
February xx, 1979 - Mixing sessions for In Through The Out Door take place at Polar Studios. Rumors fly of a European tour
February 03, 1980 - Robert joins Dave Edmund’s Rockpile at the Birmingham Top Rank
February 13, 2005 - Led Zeppelin receives a Grammy for Lifetime Achievment.
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