Friends, the Missus gifted me the latest recording from Krauss & Plant for Christmas & I'm so glad & grateful she did.
2007's Raising Sand by the duo was obviously a transformative American musical experience in that it took the world by storm & netted multiple GRAMMYs for the two as well as others (remember: Jimmy Page got one as well for co-writing "Please Read the Letter").
What made their album from 14 yrs ago so amazing was...basically everything. Krauss & Plant's otherworldly vocal harmonies, T-Bone Burnett's production prowess, the backing band's genius (Buddy Miller in particular), etc.
I'll be honest. I actually had a bit of trepidation leading up to my first listening of Raise the Roof. Surely it couldn't match their previous effort.
Well, I'm here to tell you this, folks.
The opening track is an interesting one. At first, I wasn't so sure, but as I hit about 30 seconds in, I was totally hooked.
Track # 2, a take on the Everly Brothers' "The Price Of Love," is such a keeper. Perhaps the best track
on the album. Song choice? Perfect. Musicality? Perfect. Vocals? Perfect.
Ditto for "Go Your Way."
By the time you get to Allen Toussaint's "Trouble With My Lover" & you hear those soul-stirring vocals from Krauss, it's almost as if you just can't stand it no more; but then, after almost two minutes when Plant finally comes in? Well, it's really a musical Manic Nirvana, so to speak.
Next on the playlist is an old, perhaps overlooked one by Bobby Moore from back in the mid 60s & is - once again - maybe the best one on the entire recording.
"Can't Let Go" could've easily been on the 2007 record. It is exceptional.
Like the previous work, the musicianship on Raise the Roof is remarkable. The aforementioned Buddy Miller makes a few appearances, but it's 2007's lesser-utilized talent , avant-garde, free-jazz guitarist Marc Ribot, that really shines this go 'round.
And finally, the rhythm section of Jay Bellerose on drums & Dennis Crouch on bass is the really the key - the glue, as it were - to this offering.
The rest of the album keeps up the pace & the penultimate Merle Haggard tune is simply awe-inspiring.
Easily one of the best recordings I've encountered in the last several years.
Highly, highly Rec'd, my friends.
ROBERT PLANT | ALISON KRAUSS
Raise the Roof
Produced by T Bone Burnett
Distributed by Concord