Robert Plant – The Roots Of A Plant (Shout To The Top STTP 192)

The Roots Of A Plant (Shout To The Top STTP 192)

The Jacob Javits Center, Robin Hood Foundation Benefit, New York, NY – May 31st, 2001

(62:49):  Morning Dew, Season Of The Witch, Hey Joe, In The Light, Babe I’m Gonna Leave You, Misty Mountain Hop, House Is Not A Motel, Whole Lotta Love

Robert Plant’s initial travels after he exhausted the Priory Of Brion in 2000 were to move onto his new project the Strange Sensation.  Unlike POB, which only played around Europe, the new ensemble ventured to the US for a week of shows in the spring of 2001.  Seven shows were played in theater sized venues in eastern US cities (and one show at Massey Hall in Toronto) were some of the few concerts played until the release of Dreamland in the summer 2002.

One appearance not scheduled was an hour long set for the Robin Hood Foundation, a charity dedicated to helping to fight poverty in New York City.  It seems the charity actually booked Page & Plant not knowing they were no longer playing together.

An excellent soundboard recording surfaced about a month after the event and was quickly released by Shout To The Top.  A second version came out the following year in the three disc set The Voice, Guitar & Bass Of Led Zeppelin (Flagge) along with Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones solo material.  It is very well balanced, detailed and enjoyable. 

“cosmic jukebox” and how it’s important for him to hit upon classics of American music before starting with “Morning Dew.”  The song was written by (Canadian) Bonnie Dobson and made popular by (British) Tim Rose.  Plant would record for Dreamland the following year in this neo-hippy groovy arrangement. 

“Let’s just forget about those dinners, funky white boy” he says as the band starts playing “Season Of The Witch.”  Written by Donovan Leitch, Plant included a reference to this tune during 1993 in the “That’s Why I’m In The Mood” medley and in 1999 when he toured with the Priory Of Brion.   Plant includes several lines from “Black Dog.”

“I’ve been given a sign of where my life went wrong…this is an English folk song that got mutated on the boat back in the sixteen-hundreds” Plant says before “Hey Joe.”  The actual origins of the song are questionable, but Plant’s arrangement isn’t.  It’s hypnotic and depressing, an existential  nightmare set to music.  It remains one of his best arrangements.  Plant includes a few cries of “yallah” before it segues into “In The Light” by Led Zeppelin. 

“Babe I’m Gonna Leave You,” the Zeppelin arrangement of the Ann Bredon tune, and “Misty Mountain Hop” follow, closing the event.  The first encore is a cover of “A House Is Not A Motel” by Love and Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love.”

The Roots Of A Plant was released several months after the event and is one of the final titles manufactured by Shout To The Top.  It is packaged in a single jewel case with very clean graphic on the artwork, giving basic information and several photographs of Plant in action.  It also a rare title they didn’t butcher with overzealous mastering.  With the few number of Strange Sensation titles in circulation this one is worth having.   

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