With no led shadow over his head, Percy dreams of his hippie past - sedate and seductive.
Now it's less manic and more nirvana to Robert Plant's music, and what a long path it has been for the singer! After many years, Plant's brewing his own brand of blues, not Jimmy Page's one as before. The idiosyncrasy's almost vapoured, so here's a concept looming large, the first single being old mesmerising staple "Morning Dew" that Rob used to sing long before he joined one guitarist's quest. Nine years passed since Percy's last solo effort, the time lapse saw him going backward - at first, with Pagey, then trying to fit himself into a band situation with PRIORY OF BRION and STRANGE SENSATION. Tracing his roots certainly helped Plant to find a new attitude, although there was a precursor to this album on 1993's "Fate Of Nations", Tim Hardin's "If I Were A Carpenter". A significance of the only cover done under Robert's name shouldn't have been lost, and "Dreamland" is a proof.
This time a special one is Tim Buckley's "Song To The Siren" adorned with strings and B. J. Cole's steel guitar. Plant does sound like that eerie siren, calm and calling in voice ever strong.
Dreamy and narcotic, the music crawls in but the nerve is still bare for psychedelically wired "Hey Joe" to keep the singer on the verge of desperation and render Dylan's obscure gem "One Cup Of Coffee" a testament. Nothing's accidental this time, while "One cup of coffee 'fore I go to the valley below" line leads straight to "Battle Of Evermore", re-shuffled version of Bukka White's "Funny In My Mind" ascends to Zen. It's not an anger, just a groove of rolling thunder taking a rocky road with originals, "Last Time I Saw Her", "Dirt In A Hole" and slide-awashed "Red Dress", the hardest you can get to here.
Elsewhere, the path veers off the obvious. Whatever folksy, Percy's blues appears pure, his bitter-sweet "Win My Train Fare Home" not only incorporating bits from John Lee Hooker and Robert Johnson yet also "That's All Right (Mama)" he did during ZEP's medleys. Now, slowed down to the total estrangement it puts forth repetitive death motif with Arabian "yallah", "come on", and "save me" plea of "Skip's Song" ("threshing Oar"?). YOUNGBLOODS' "Darkness Darkness" puts a shroud on the dream. Painful but beautiful.