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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Monday, May 02, 2005
    Mighty Rearranger
    You won't need me to tell you much about Mighty Rearranger because it's all been said. But it's been worth the long wait and sets the tone for the summer's road music (heralded by today's journeys through Bank Holiday flash floods).

    I can't say why but Robert Plant's music often places me mentally in deepest - and sometimes dark - Snowdonia. Often takes me back to those midnight drives at speed up mountain roads I enjoyed in the year I lived there, headlights catching sheeps' green eyes and turning trees golden, with the gigantic hills, unmoving, on all sides. Something to do with scale, and a sense of myth and mystery of course, which Led Zep conjoured so well and Mighty Rearranger equals. A lot to do with us having Zeppelin playing as we navigated these twisting roads. And also to do with a sense of place. For Plant and his collaborators have put together some of the biggest music of the past 35 years in small farmouses in deepest Wales - Bron-y-Aur, Snowdonia in 1970, Dol Goch, Cwm Einion today.

    But what caps this collection is the artwork. I love it. It's by Grahame Baker Smith and it seems to have the look and feel of an illustrated children's book, one of those magical ones you can look at for hours and keep finding new little joyful details. Sure enough, it turns out he illustrated The Velveteen Rabbit (among other things). And now his work ensures that the cd and Plant's current website is a visual - as well as aural - delight.