Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Jimmy Page and Robert Plant [extended]

  • Pictures at 11 [Swan Song, 1982] B
  • Outrider [Geffen, 1988] B+
  • Now and Zen [Es Paranza, 1988] B
  • Manic Nirvana [Swan Song, 1990] Dud
  • Coverdale/Page [Geffen, 1993] Dud
  • No Quarter [Atlantic, 1994] Neither
  • Walking into Clarksdale [Atlantic, 1998] Dud
  • Dreamland [Universal, 2002] *
  • Mighty Rearranger [Sanctuary, 2005] Dud
  • Raising Sand [Rounder, 2007] ***

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Consumer Guide Reviews:

Robert Plant: Pictures at 11 [Swan Song, 1982]
Plant's recreations of Led Zep's sonic feel with more mundane musicians is quite impressive, always the operative superlative with him. It's also more insinuatingly hooky than Led Zep ever was. But the insinuation makes one wonder what's being insinuated, which brings one to the question of meaning, which brings one full circle back to almost nowhere. B

Jimmy Page: Outrider [Geffen, 1988]
With the heretofore useless John Miles doing Plant (you barely notice when the man himself sneaks in for a song) and the heretofore unproven Jason Bonham doing Daddy (assuming Page isn't sampling Boom-Boom like everybody else, flesh and blood being no substitute for the real simulacrum in today's studio), side one is easily the best Zep rip ever recorded. Zep blooze, not Zep mythopoeia, with titles like "Wasting My Time" and "Wanna Make Love"; Page's riffs are classic, which isn't to say anybody has or hasn't played them before, and the momentum is fierce and enormous. On side two the mostly ridiculous Chris Farlowe takes over, his unlistenable "Hummingbird" inspiring fond thoughts of Leon Russell. Jimmy and Jason should form a band, invite Plant as a courtesy, and hope he turns them down. If Miles won't do what he's told, Lenny Wolf will be happy to step in. B+

Robert Plant: Now and Zen [Es Paranza, 1988]
Plant's two earlier solo albums were striking and forgettable--bankable self-indulgences that turned a profit on brand loyalty alone. Because they had the virtue of existing, they inspired loose talk about who "really" led his former band, probably from people who secretly believed pomp made the band artistic. This time he looks to solidify his future by imitating his past--even sampling it, an idea he says he got from Rick Rubin (what a card), or hiring his former band's guitarist for a solo. At its best, it's far from forgettable. Overall effect is a cross between his former band and the Cars. B

Robert Plant: Manic Nirvana [Swan Song, 1990] Dud

Coverdale/Page: Coverdale/Page [Geffen, 1993] Dud

Jimmy Page & Robert Plant Unledded: No Quarter [Atlantic, 1994] Neither

Walking into Clarksdale [Atlantic, 1998] Dud

Robert Plant: Dreamland [Universal, 2002]
gonna give you every inch of my erectile dysfunction ("One More Cup of Coffee," "Darkness, Darkness") *

Robert Plant and the Strange Sensation: Mighty Rearranger [Sanctuary, 2005] Dud

Robert Plant & Alison Krauss: Raising Sand [Rounder, 2007]
Folk-leaning guy and pop-leaning gal sip iced tea on the veranda of their platinum-plated studio ("Killing the Blues," "Please Read the Letter"). ***