Saturday, October 20, 2007

A Matter of Taste?

“You’ve got chocolate in my peanut butter!” “You’ve got peanut butter on my chocolate!” Robert Plant and Alison Krauss have recorded an album together called Raising Sand and it’s produced by T-Bone Burnett. Burnett has become a producing guru like Brian Eno, or Daniel Lanois. Krauss and Plant first worked together at a 2004 Lead Belly tribute. On Raising Sand they sing tunes by writers such as Tom Waits, Townes Van Zandt, the Everly Brothers and Sam Phillips (wife of T-Bone Burnett.) Somehow the whole thing sounds as if it should have been filed under the “Never Sounded Like a Good Idea in the First Place” category of artistic collaborations. It seems to have been getting good reviews with much praise heaped upon Mr. Burnett. I’ve listened to a few brief clips and I’m not immediately impressed. I prefer Plant’s voice of yore with its high pitched wail. I realize he cannot duplicate those sounds anymore, but somehow this project seems off the mark. Kind of like that album by Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach. Of course, the critics loved that one too. But what the hell do they know? You know that old saying: “Those who can’t do teach. Those who can’t teach become critics.” Recent CD releases on my want list are: Nellie McKay - Obligatory Villagers, Stacey Kent - Breakfast on the Morning Tram, Lyle Lovett and His Large Band - It’s Not Big It’s Large, Dwight Yoakam - Dwight Sings Buck, Steve Earle - Washington Square Serenade, and Jim Lauderdale’s The Bluegrass Diaries.

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