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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

July xx, 1969 - The band play many festivals now on their third American tour
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July xx, 1971 - Untitled gets re-mixed in London
July 05, 1971 - A riot erupts mid-concert, forcing Led Zeppelin to stop after about 40 minutes
July xx, 1972 - After repeated bad press, Led Zeppelin hire their first publicity firm
July 20, 1973 - A last minute decision is made to film the remaining part of the tour
July xx, 1973 - Led Zeppelin is filmed over the three nights for their film that will emerge as The Song Remains The Same
July xx, 1974 - After viewing their 1973 filmed performance, it is apparent critical errors were made
July xx, 1974 - Mixing for Physical Graffiti at Olympic Studios
July 05, 1975 - The band meet in Montreux to discuss adding South America and Japan to the end of their North American tour
July xx, 1976 - Bonham and Page fly to Montreux, Switzerland to check out some new sound and drum effects
July 17, 1977 - The last ever performance of Moby Dick played at the Seattle Kingdome
July 24, 1977 - The band plays its last US date at the Oakland Coliseum
July xx, 1978 - Led Zeppelin are invited to perform at Maggie Bell’s Festival Hall show
July xx, 1979 - Led Zeppelin film their rehearsal at Bray Studios
July 04, 1979 - Led Zeppelin confirm a second date at Knebworth in August 1979
July 05, 1980 - Simon Kirke joins in on drums for an encore in Munich
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