Satisfied Mind (Godfather Records GR 596/597)
The Roundhouse, London, UK – October 29th, 2010
Disc 1 (56:21): Introduction, Down To The Sea, Little Angel Dance, House Of Cards, Please Read The Letter, Misty Mountain Hop, Tangerine, Somewhere Trouble Don’t Go, A Satisfied Mind, Move On Up In Glory, Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down, Central Two-O-Nine, Monkey
Disc 2 (46:07): Houses Of The Holy, You Can’t Buy My Love, Tall Cool One, Gallows Pole, Harm’s Swift Way, Rock And Roll, Twelve Gates To the City/Wade In The Water/In My Time Of Dying, A Very Cellular Song (I Bid You Goodnight). Bonus track, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, NBC Studios, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY – September 13th, 2010: Little Angel Dance
Such is the confusing modes of expression in Robert Plant’s art that his next progression, after his Grammy award winning work with Allison Krauss, is to resurrect the Band Of Joy. Given it was a regional band who went through many different incarnations, use of this particular name is puzzling. Plant has stated in interviews before that the band’s goal was to interpret and play, not so much American blues or R&B, but American west coast psychedelia such as Moby Grape.
Band Of Joy, released on September 13th, 2010, contains only one original tune, “Central Two-O-Nine.” The others dig deep into Americana and provide some interesting choices for exploration.
Satisfied Mind on Godfather documents Plant’s Electric Proms performance at the Roundhouse in London on October 29th. Joining him was the Band Of Joy (of course) and the London Oriana Choir. The label utilize a perfect recording from the air with no static or interference. It’s a phenomenal sounding recording of the entire show.
After the introduction, he opens with “Down To The Sea” from Fate Of Nations, slowed down and given a much more majestic feel than its studio counterpart, followed by the first song from the album, a cover of the Los Lobos tune “Angel Dance.”
“It’s great to be back in the fantastic old building” Plant says before they start “House Of Cards,” another cover tune from Band Of Joy. With Bekka Bramlett sharing vocals, it would fit in on Plant’s previous project. The only Page & Plant tune “Please Read The Letter” follows, which also was included in the setlist on the Krauss tour in a similar arrangement.
Two Led Zeppelin covers follow. “Misty Mountain Hop” is played in a slower, more rock oriented arrangement and is followed by a relatively faithful version of “Tangerine.”
Plant likes to give the spotlight to the other musicians, and with the Band Of Joy the first belongs to Buddy Miller. He sings “Somewhere Trouble Don’t Go,” a song written by his wife Julie and him. Its lyrical narrative beginning with “Devil had a daughter / Took me to deep water / Tried to kill me with a kiss / She said ‘hey now honey’ / What about the money / I said ‘I ain’t got time for this’ provides an interesting contrast to “Satisfied Mind” and “Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down.” Even Bramlett’s solo contribution, a cover of Patt Griffin’s “Move On Up In Glory,” provides a deeply religious – pentecostal theme.
“Houses Of The Holy” from Physical Graffiti is given an interesting arrangement emphasizing loud drums and country and western pedal steel guitar (and another appearance by Satan’s daughter in the show).
Before “Harm’s Swift Way,” Plant tells the crowd: “On all these adventures, there are so many new things to find and so many old songs that become absolutely new… and people, artists, musicians and writers that you miss sometimes and Townes Van Zandt is one of the most spectacular… the pinnacles and the peaks that he reached in songwriting were something beyond comprehension. This is one of the last songs, if not the last song he ever wrote.” Plant mentioned in 2008 that he was introduced to Van Zandt by T-Bone Burnett, and it’s obvious his fascination hasn’t waned yet.
“Rock And Roll” is given a fun rockabilly arrangement and for the finale, the band is joined by The Oriana Choir and, for “I Bid You Goodnight,” Plant say: “I have finally got my way after so many thousands of years of saying ‘why don’t you finish the show with the song that says everything’… I tried to sell the idea to a few people down the line but we got it now.”
Godfather are nice enough to include “Little Angel Dance” as performed on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon the day Band Of Joy was released. Like the rest, it’s in excellent sound quality.
Satisfied Mind is packaged in a trifold gatefold sleeve utilizing an effective design inspired by the official release. Since this will most likely be the only silver pressed release of the Band Of Joy, Godfather did well in choosing the Electric Proms broadcast for release. The sound and the incredible performance make this worth having.