Robert Plant & Alison Krauss Raising Sand

Robert Plant & Alison Krauss Raising Sand
It’s easy nowadays for musicians like Jack White to deride Robert Plant as Led Zeppelin’s weakest link but the fact remains that Plant’s personal mass of musical contradictions embodied the band’s essence of "light and shade.” Therefore, collaborating with bluegrass queen Krauss should hardly seem out of the ordinary for a guy who was able to pull off songs like "Bron-Y-Aur Stomp” and "Down By The Seaside.” Actually, the overall sound of Raising Sand is not far removed from Plant’s underappreciated ’02 covers album Dreamland. Producer T-Bone Burnett maintains a similar spooky tension throughout, allowing the two voices plenty of space to blend beautifully. Nowhere is this better captured than on Gene Clark’s "Polly Come Home,” easily the album’s best track. It’s the standard that the rest of the songs have to live up to, and when they get close, as with the other Clark cover "Through The Morning, Through The Night,” and Roly Salley’s "Killing The Blues,” the magic that was surely evident in the studio is palpable. Where Raising Sand stumbles is, oddly, during its few attempts to rock. "Gone Gone Gone” and "Fortune Teller” cry out for well-placed Jimmy Page solos, although a new arrangement of "Please Read The Letter,” first heard on Page & Plant’s Walking Into Clarksdale, features a fiddle part by Krauss that cuts deeper than a guitar ever could. Forget the Zep reunion, Raising Sand is far more meaningful. (Rounder)