Seasonally Affective Greetings

on Dec 15 in Reviews by

Musically, I must tilt my felt-tipped mallet to Robert Plant and Allison Kraus in the most unlikely pairing that, with the exception of two or three dirge-like songs, is brilliantly executed. Raising Sand is the lp and there are some stunning things to listen for, including a general compatibility that reminds me of Richard and Mimi Farina (Pack up Your Sorrows) from the sixties, Emmy Lou Harris & Gram Parsons (from the Seventies) and something altogether unique. Killing the Blues, by Rolly Salley is a killer song, much-covered, but never this well, with Plant and Kraus trading off melody and harmony almost by the line. Gone, Gone, Gone is a great shuffle and the Page/Plant collaboration Please Read the Letter is almost too gorgeous to listen to straight through without distraction. Kraus is wonderful, but when Plant cuts loose two or three times on this record in the manner of the Lord of Led, it’s oddly and almost obscenely exciting, even (perhaps especially) for guys. Do not equivocate. Do not wait. Do not walk. Run and get this album.

I’m reading Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, which has been on my list for ages and is a brilliant and hilarious novel (It won the Pulitzer too). About one of his twenty year old protagonists, Joe Kavalier, who saves Salvador Dali from asphyxiation at a Greenwich Village party, he says, “It seemed to (Joe) that his fortunes, his life, the entire apparatus of his sense of self were concentrated only on the question of what Rosa Saks would think of him now.”

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