Robert Plant Mighty Rearranger Review

Album. Released 2005.  

BBC Review

The West Bromwich boy's still in touch with his own roots.

Chris Jones 2004

One thing you can never accuse Robert Plant of is having no taste. From his days with the mighty Zep he was always the one espousing the purity of the Delta blues, the overlooked psychedelic explorations of Moby Grape or, along with Jimmy Page the exotic sway of Middle Eastern mysticism. This all made sense in the context of a canon of work that borrowed heavily from all these sources and, truth be told, made their work all the more interesting for it. His reunion with Page saw him return to his beloved North Africa and now, with Mighty Rearranger, he's proving he can do it alone.

While 57 year-old Plant's voice has lost much of his 'baybeee, baybeee' squawk the album packs a hefty punch due to his erm...mighty band - Strange Sensation. Roni Size drummer Clive Deamer does a fair John Bohnham impression while Justin Adams guitar waxes both weird and bluesy at the right moments. ''Dancing In Heaven'' can't help but remind you of Page's more pastoral moments. It's a broader canvas however than Zep's bag o' rock and folk. We get snatches of dub, Byrdsian psych, rockabilly and, naturally, Tuareg blues in ''Somebody Knocking''.

Of course it would be disingenuous to ignore the political overtones of such Arabic influences in these times. Opening track ''Another Tribe'' speaks of men 'torn between the lover and the gun' and, while Percy's lyrics have always tended towards the vague, there's a definite sense of contemporary issues being addressed. But the real joy lies in the way that Plant allows his band to shine in their eclecticism while never losing touch of his natural blues rock forte. His appearance at every world festival going may cast him in the role of 'cultural tourist' right now, but Mighty Rearranger shows that the West Bromwich boy's still in touch with his own roots.

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