Sixty Six to Timbuktu

Sixty Six to Timbuktu

by Robert Plant
     
 

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Since the split of Led Zeppelin, Robert Plant has deftly sidestepped pigeonholing as a mere purveyor of classic rock, preferring instead to indulge his mercurial interests in everything from old-school psychedelia to swing to Eastern ragas. This two-disc retrospective of Plant's solo career touches on all those aspects, painting a picture

Overview

Since the split of Led Zeppelin, Robert Plant has deftly sidestepped pigeonholing as a mere purveyor of classic rock, preferring instead to indulge his mercurial interests in everything from old-school psychedelia to swing to Eastern ragas. This two-disc retrospective of Plant's solo career touches on all those aspects, painting a picture of the artist as an exceedingly adventuresome -- if no longer so young -- man. In recent years, he's been prone to more mystical musings, and as evidenced by his versions of Tim Buckley's eerie "Song to the Siren" and Jesse Colin Young's oft-covered "Darkness Darkness." Both evince a different side of Plant's trademark higher register, a facet that's icy and desolate, rather than horn-doggedly wailing. Plant doesn't ignore his libidinous nature altogether, of course, delivering songs like "Tall Cool One," "Big Log," and the previously unreleased "Upside Down" (which dates from the same mid-'80s period). The singer showcases his facility with rock chestnuts on soundtrack offerings such as "Louie, Louie" (recorded for Wayne's World 2) and "Let's Have a Party" (culled from The Last Temptation of Elvis). The set's real revelations, however, come in its surfeit of archival material, including versions of "Hey Joe" and "For What It's Worth" (both of which feature a pre-Zep John Bonham on drums) and Plant's first single, 1966's "You Better Run." And just to prove he hasn't lost the spark that's burned within over the decades, Plant includes a freshly recorded live rendition of "Win My Train Fare Home," recorded during his stopover in Timbuktu. Whether the air is as smoke-filled as in a Route 66 juke joint or as rarefied as in the Himalayas, Plant provides the right soundtrack to cut through.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Sixty Six to Timbuktu has to be the icing on the cake for Robert Plant. After Led Zeppelin issued its second live album as well as a spectacular DVD in 2003, his career retrospective outside of the band is the new archetype for how they should be compiled. Containing two discs and 35 cuts, the set is divided with distinction. Disc one contains 16 tracks that cover Plant's post-Zep recording career via cuts from his eight solo albums. Along with the obvious weight of his former band's presence on cuts like "Tall Cool One," "Promised Land," and "Tie Dye on the Highway," there is also the flowering of the influence that Moroccan music in particular and Eastern music in general would have on him in readings of Tim Hardin's "If I Were a Carpenter," Jesse Colin Young's "Darkness, Darkness," and his own "29 Palms." There is also a healthy interest in technology being opened up on cuts from Pictures at Eleven and Now & Zen. The sequencing is creative, and the way one track seemingly foreshadows another is rather uncanny. But it is on disc two where the real treasures lie, and they are treasures. Of the 19 selections included, five are pre-Led Zeppelin. And these are no mere dead-dog files. Plant was revealing himself to be a jack-of-all-subgenres master: he drops a burning rendition of the Young Rascals' "You'd Better Run" circa 1966, and a wailing version of Billy Roberts' "Hey Joe" (recorded in 1967 and rivaling the emotional wallop of Jimi Hendrix's version recorded that same year). There's also the proto-blues moan and groan of "Operator" with British blues god Alexis Korner from 1968, which foreshadows the following year when he would join Zep. But Plant was not all raw raunch & roll. On Stephen Stills' "For What It's Worth," he lays out a paisley hippie sincerity that is downright stirring. And on "Our Song," he takes the example of crooners like Dion and sings a love song, so pure and true it might have come from screen rushes of American Graffiti. These tracks are worth their weight in gold for the integrity in their performances and their rough edges. But these are just the beginning. What comes after the breakup of Led Zeppelin is a smorgasbord of exploratory music from a very restless and confident Plant. Here are outtakes, one-offs, loose ends, and covers that add up to 70 minutes of awesome music. There's the intense Zep sound-like skronk of "Road to the Sun," with Phil Collins on drums and Robbie Blunt doing his best Jimmy Page, and the shuffling rockabilly of Charlie Rich's "Philadelphia Baby," with Dave Edmunds, recorded at Sun Studios in Memphis for the Porky's Revenge soundtrack. On the roots tip there's also Plant's contribution of "Let's Have a Party" to The Last Temptation of Elvis compilation, as well as cuts he contributed to the Rainer, Skip Spence, and Arthur Alexander tribute albums. There are B-sides such as "Naked if I Want To" from the U.S. release of "Calling to You," and "Hey Jayne," a limited bonus flip on the U.K. issue of the "I Believe" single from Fate of Nations, as well as a collaboration with the Afro-Celt Sound System on "Life Begin Again." This indulgence of modern technology began earlier than the 1990s, however, as the inclusion of Robin George's proto-electro "Red for Danger" attests -- the track is previously unreleased. And this is only a smattering. There are cuts from his stint with the Jools Holland big band, the Wayne's World soundtrack, and many, many others. Once again, Plant's manner of sequencing is full of a crazy wisdom that is as witty as it is aesthetically sound. Finally, something has to be said about Plant's wonderfully informative, cocky, and delightfully humorous liner notes. Should he ever decide to give up music, he might become the next Lester Bangs. It all adds up to one hell of a package that provides the best surprise of the season and is a real candidate for reissue of the year.
Blender - Greg Kot
All told, it's a whole lotta fun.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/04/2003
Label:
Atlantic
UPC:
0075678362620
catalogNumber:
83626
Rank:
34259

Tracks

Disc 1

  1. Tie Dye on the Highway
  2. Upside Down
  3. Promised Land
  4. Tall Cool One
  5. Dirt in a Hole
  6. Calling to You
  7. 29 Palms
  8. If I Were a Carpenter
  9. Sea of Love
  10. Darkness, Darkness
  11. Big Log
  12. Ship of Fools
  13. I Believe
  14. Little by Little
  15. Heaven Knows
  16. Song to the Siren

Disc 2

  1. You'd Better Run
  2. Our Song
  3. Hey Joe
  4. For What It's Worth
  5. Operator
  6. Road to the Sun
  7. Philadelphia Baby
  8. Red Is for Danger
  9. Let's Have a Party
  10. Hey Jayne
  11. Louie, Louie
  12. Naked If I Want To
  13. 21 Years
  14. If It's Really Got to Be This Way
  15. Rude World
  16. Little Hands
  17. Life Begin Again
  18. Let the Boogie Woogie Roll
  19. Win My Train Fare Home

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Robert Plant   Primary Artist,Guitar,Harmonica,Sitar,Vocals,Background Vocals,Soloist
Alexis Korner   Guitar,Background Vocals
Phil Collins   Drums,Background Vocals
Dave Edmunds   Guitar
Jools Holland   Piano
Kirsty MacColl   Background Vocals
Jimmy Page   Guitar,Soloist
Nigel Kennedy   Violin
Roy Hall   Background Vocals
Marie Pierre   Background Vocals
Nile Rodgers   Guitar
Jezz Woodroffe   Keyboards
Keith Miller   Keyboards
Martin Allcock   Mandolin
Robbie Blunt   Guitar
John Bonham   Drums
Doug Boyle   Guitar
Ginny Clee   Background Vocals
B.J. Cole   Pedal Steel Guitar
Clive Deamer   Percussion,Drums
Francis Dunnery   Guitar
Nigel Eaton   Hurdy-Gurdy
Kevin Gammond   Guitar
Mick Green   Guitar
Owen Hale   Drums
Toni Halliday   Background Vocals
Richie Hayward   Drums
Hossam Ramzy   Tabla
Chris Hughes   Drums
Phil Johnstone   Organ,Piano,Keyboards
Gilson Lavis   Drums
Michael K. Lee   Drums
Nick Lunt   Baritone Saxophone
Kevin Scott Macmichael   Guitar,Vocal Harmony
Paul Martinez   Bass,Background Vocals
James McNally   Accordion,Harmonium,Keyboards,Human Whistle,Bodhran,Low Whistle
Lynton Naiff   Strings
Brent Rowan   Guitar
Muzz Skillings   Bass
Porl Thompson   Guitar
Jon Tiven   Guitar
Pete Willsher   Pedal Steel Guitar
Simon Emmerson   Guitar,12-string Guitar
Mark Hall   Background Vocals
Nawazish Ali Khan   Violin
Innes Sibun   Guitar
Mark Flannagan   Guitar
John Baggot   Keyboards
Johnny Kalsi   Drums
Peter Lockett   Drums
Moussa Sissikho   talking drum
Rosie Wetters   Cello,Soloist
David Swift   Bass
Phil Andrews   Keyboards
Pete Thompson   Drums
Charlie Jones   Bass,Keyboards
Justin Adams   Guitar
N'Faly Kouyate   Kora
Richard Mark Angelo   Drums
Demba "Shadowman" Barry   Vocals
Ted Benham   Vibes
Mary Clee Cadman   Background Vocals
Cris Levzinger   Acoustic Guitar
Paul Lockie   Bass
Extraordinaires   Background Vocals
Rob Farrar   Composite
Nicolas Meslien   Bass
Steve Miller   Piano
Julie Murphy   Vocals
Skin Tyson   Guitar
Chris Brown   Organ
Chris Blackwell   Drums

Technical Credits

Alexis Korner   Composer,Producer
Charlie Rich   Composer
Tim Hardin   Composer
Arthur Alexander   Composer
Tim Buckley   Composer
Robert Plant   Composer,Producer,Liner Notes,Creation
Skip Spence   Composer
Steve Stills   Composer
Jesse Colin Young   Composer
Richard Berry   Composer
Donnie Fritts   Composer,Producer
Robin George   Composer,Producer,Instrumentation
Jezz Woodroffe   Composer
Rainer Ptacek   Composer
Robbie Blunt   Composer
Doug Boyle   Composer
Clive Deamer   Composer
Ahmet Ertegun   Composer
Fabulous Brill Brothers   Producer
Chris Hughes   Producer
Phil Johnstone   Composer,Producer
Laurie Latham   Producer
James McNally   Composer,Producer
Jerry Miller   Composer
Steve Miller   Composer
Lynton Naiff   String Arrangements
Gary Nicholson   Composer,Producer
Nugetre   Producer
Tim Palmer   Producer
Martin Russell   Composer,Programming,Producer
Porl Thompson   Composer
Jon Tiven   Producer
Jerry Wexler   Composer
Simon Emmerson   Composer,Producer
Danny Kessler   Producer
Larry Beckett   Composer
Benji Lefevre   Producer
Sally Tiven   Producer
Pat Moran Quartet   Producer
Andie Airfix   Artwork
George Khoury   Composer
Roger Bolton   Producer
Jessie Mae Robinson   Composer
Phil Andrews   Producer
Phillip Baptiste   Composer
Charlie Jones   Composer,Programming,Producer
Phil Brown   Producer
Greg England   Producer
Triban Union   Producer
William Roberts   Composer
Chris Blackwell   Composer

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