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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

April 24, 1969 - 2nd US Tour begins (1st as headliners) at the Fillmore West
April xx, 1970 - Robert comments about the violence in the audience near the end of the fifth tour
April 04, 1970 - Jimmy Page performs White Summer/Black Mountain Side on the Julie Felix BBC show
April 16, 1970 - Whole Lotta Love was certified Gold in the US after selling over a million copies. The single had peaked at No. 4 on the US singles chart. In the UK, Atlantic Records had expected to issue the edited version themselves, and pressed initial copies for release on December 5, 1969. However, band manager Peter Grant was adamant that the band maintain a "no-singles" approach to marketing their recorded music in the UK and he halted the release.
April xx, 1971 - Untitled is rumored to be released this month
April xx, 1972 - Recording sessions for Houses Of The Holy at Stargroves and Olympic studios
April xx, 1973 - Led Zeppelin rehearse their new stage show in preparation for their huge 1973 US Tour
April xx, 1974 - Swan Song concentrates its efforts on signing new acts
April xx, 1975 - Jimmy does some mixing at Electric Lady studios for TSRTS soundtrack
April 19, 1975 - 51,000 tickets sell in two hours for three nights at Earls Court, two added dates see another 34,000 tickets sold
April xx, 1976 - The band decide they will release their film to theaters
April 30, 1977 - Led Zeppelin breaks the record for the largest attendance for a single-act show in the Pontiac Silverdome with 76,229 in attendance
April xx, 1978 - The band hold a meeting, this time with Robert, to discuss Zeppelin’s future
April 03, 1979 - Page, Bonham and Plant jam with Bad Company again in Birmingham
April 27, 1980 - The band rehearses at Rainbow Theater for an upcoming European tour
April 26, 1988 - James Patrick Page III’s birthday. He is named after his father is the only son of Jimmy and Patricia Ecker. Jimmy spoke of his son saying: "He is wonderful. He has made a big difference to my life."
April 21, 1998 - Page and Plant released Walking Into Clarksdale.
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