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Walking into Clarksdale
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For all of the acclaim it received, there's no denying that No Quarter was a tentative reunion for Page & Plant, containing only a handful of new songs that were scattered among many reworked old favorites. Since its supporting tour went well, the duo decided to make their reunion permanent, setting to work on an album of entirely new material. Taking the world music dabblings of No Quarter as a cue, Page & Plant tempered their eclecticism with a healthy dose of their monolithic guitar army, hiring Steve Albini, the indie rock producer notorious for his harsh, brutal recordings, to helm the boards. In other words, it sounds perfect on paper -- groundbreaking veteran artists still taking chances and working with younger collaborators who would challenge them. If only Walking into Clarksdale actually played that way. It's certainly possible to hear where the duo was intending to go, since the circular melodies, Mideastern drones, sawing strings, drum loops, and sledgehammer riffs all add up to an effective update and progression of the classic Zeppelin sound. The problem is, the new sound doesn't go anywhere. There's potential in this metallic worldbeat rock, but only a few cuts, such as the stately Most High and the shimmering Shining in the Light, realize it. Much of the album disappears under its own mass, since their are no well-written songs, catchy riffs, or memorable melodies to support the sound. And that's what makes Walking into Clarksdale so frustrating -- you can hear the potential, and even enjoy the album on the musical surface, but there's nothing to make you return to the album once it's finished. And that ultimately means that the album simply reiterates the promise of the reunited Page & Plant instead of fulfilling it. -Allmusic
Statistics

Released:
Apr. 21, 1998

Chart Position:
#8 (US) #3 (UK)

Certified:
Gold: May 4, 1998

Tracks

1. Shining in the Light
2. When the World Was Young
3. Upon a Golden Horse
4. Blue Train
5. Please Read the Letter
6. Most High
7. Heart in Your Hand
8. Walking into Clarksdale
9. Burning Up
10. When I Was a Child
11. House of Love
12. Sons of Freedom
Quick Fact

Blue Train is the third tribute song to Plant's son, Karac, with the first two being All My Love from In Through The Out Door and I Believe from Fate of Nations.
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This Month in
Led Zeppelin History

June xx, 1969 - More recording for Led Zeppelin II at Morgan Studios
June 29, 1969 - Led Zeppelin play the prestigious Royal Albert Hall
June 28, 1970 - Zeppelin reach mass acceptance in Britain by playing Bath
June xx, 1971 - A news report claims Led Zep to play at an aid relief concert for Pakistan
June xx, 1972 - More recording sessions for Houses Of The Holy
June 21, 1972 - Eighth American tour begins in Denver, CO, almost four years since Zeppelin’s American debut
June 03, 1973 - Zeppelin play the Fabulous Forum in LA, a favorite venue to the band
June xx, 1973 - The band takes a mid-tour holiday in Hawaii
June xx, 1974 - Promoter Fred Bannister announces that Led Zeppelin will play Knebworth, the band declines
June xx, 1975 - John Bonham loses his license for six months over a drunk driving charge
June xx, 1976 - Filmmaker Kenneth Anger tells media that Jimmy Page is partly responsible for the failure of his film over the delayed soundtrack he provided
June 07, 1977 - The first of six nights at Madison Square Gardens
June xx, 1978 - Robert feels new life within Led Zeppelin again
June 26, 1979 - The entire Led Zeppelin line up appear at a Dave Edmunds show and party afterwards
June 17, 1980 - Led Zeppelin open their European (and last) tour at Westfallenhalle in Dortmund
June 27, 1980 - Zeppelin abandon their Nuremburg show after three numbers when Bonham collapses from exhaustion
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