Robert Plant & the Strange Sensation: Mighty Rearranger
Robert Plant – vocals, harmonica
John Baggott – keyboards, electronica, Moog bass
Clive Deamer – drums, bendir
Justin Adams – electric guitar, bendir, tehardant, lap steel, bass
Skin Tyson – acoustic and electric guitars, lap steel, bass
Billy Fuller – electric and double bass
Robert Plant has had a solid post-Zeppelin career, and some of what he has done is noteworthy. However, his popular solo albums of the ’80s didn’t really hold up well to the test of time. “Dreamland” was a critical success, and contained some unusual material to cover. The problem was that quality alone couldn’t save it from the stigma of an aging veteran doing covers, because he had no original ideas left (see Rod Stewart). That is why “Mighty Rearranger” came as such a surprise. Plant seemed to be so inspired by the musicians he used for “Dreamland,” that he decided to collaborate with them as a band. Thus the Strange Sensation was formed.
I had heard a song from the album on the radio (yes radio), and decided to pick it up. I was not prepared for how impressed I would be. This is the album that a reunited Led Zeppelin should have made, but never would have been able to. Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones are just not up to the task. The Strange Sensation, on the other hand, had the energy and imagination to inspire a rock legend back to greatness.
There is definitely a strong Zeppelin influence, but it is up to date. This is modern music with the feel of an old friend. It becomes immediately apparent on “Another Tribe,” and carries through on most of the tracks. “All the King’s Horses” and “Somebody Knocking” sound like they could have been shelved Led Zeppelin tunes. The thing is, they are fresh and vital. They even get topical / political on “Freedom Fries” (remember, this was released in 2005). If you think that implies that the group took some risks, you are correct. “Mighty Rearranger” is an adventurous album, and worth every chance taken.
Robert Plant has since gotten many accolades for his collaboration with Allison Krauss, and deservedly so. However, I think this is the defining moment of his career since John Bonham’s untimely departure. It is an outstanding album, and something quite unexpected. It should appeal to fans of prog, classic, and modern rock alike (remember, I did say I wasn’t going to limit myself on this blog). Do yourself a favor and add this to your collection.