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Robert Plant - Now And Zen CD (album) cover


Robert Plant


Crossover Prog

3.06 | 62 ratings

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mystic fred
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Tall Cool One.

After the "shock of the new" in 1985, Plant's 1988 release on 29th Feb. "Now And Zen" seemed to indicate a return to "form" for many, Plant had reconciled his past and even felt confident enough to reform his group and call in his old mate Jimmy Page to play on the new album. New contributors included Phil Johnstone on keyboards, Doug Boyle guitar, Phil Scragg bass, Chris Blackwell on drum, David Barratt keyboards, Kirsty MacColl and Toni Halliday on backing vocals.

The album was sumptuously illustrated with Plant's deep interest in exotic Eastern symbolism to the fore, and even a special boxed 12 inch single release of "Heaven Knows", a song which retained Plant's most lyrical humour, even to challenge Ian Gillan, in the line "you were pumping iron while I was pumping irony". The box set included a set of similarly symbolic photos, and the production by Tim Palmer was as equally polished and melodic, producing one of Plant's best sounding albums to date, though he feels his songs were "lost in the technology of the time".

"Now and Zen" contained mostly traditional radio-friendly rock songs though some had a twist, especially on the sparkling "Dance on my Own", "White Clean and Neat", "Tall Cool One", with Plant having a lot of fun with Elvis style vocals and some sampled JP Zeppelin riffs mixed in, and the majestic "The Way I Feel". "Billy's Revenge" is pure Rockabilly, though the album contains mostly straightforward songs Plant's mystical lyrics are to the fore on the ballad "Ship of Fools", and mythical song subject "Helen of Troy".

mystic fred | 4/5 |


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