Smooth Street

Hmm.  Counted in amongst the 1537, although strictly speaking belonging to Mrs 1537* is Robert Plant Big Log.  Just played it a few times, pretty much for the first time ever.  Hmm.

Now my, fairly ignorant view, was that Robert Plant’s solo work was an attempt at ensuring he wasn’t being pigeon-holed as a rocker and was all a bit mature and keyboardy, until he relented and slipped us a bit of what we fancied when he made Now & Zen; I liked that one and The Mighty Rearranger was one of my favourite LPs in years, although I’m less thrilled by his country-orientated work.

Robert Plant Big Log 01

Flash back to ’83, the needle hits the groove on ‘Big Log’ and suddenly we’re all post-coital – possibly being driven through a city in a cab in the rain, or maybe just lounging around on silken sheets in our cool loft apartment, looking out at the harbour lights below**.  Unfortunately, the production screams 80’s, there’s just that a certain lack of timbre to the drums, by Phil Collins and the slightly Spanish-flavoured guitar from Robbie Blunt is a little too tasteful.  Plant, of course, sings it beautifully, if well within himself, he sells the mood, easily.

The lyrics deal with longing? an affair? the term ‘Big Log’ is not mentioned at all – I’d assumed, without hearing the song, that it was a pet term for Percy’s, umm, Percy.  Sadly, it seems I was wrong, we’re dining out on Smooth Street here, not Mucky Avenue.

Robert Plant Big Log 02

The B-sides, both rather stingily, album tracks from The Principle of Moments, are very unremarkable, ‘Messin’ With The Mekon’ and ‘Stranger Here … Than Over There’, pass me by completely; the latter features a certain amount of sodding about making keyboards sound like cars and stuff, a bit ‘Autobahn’ but not as good.  Sorry.

A quick trip to Smooth Street was fine, I wouldn’t want to live there though, no matter how big the logs – there’s less to write about.

Non-picture sleeves, why? (discuss)
Non-picture sleeves, why? (discuss)

399 Down.

*18 years married, two children and our records are still not merged – I’m just really not sure I’m ready for that level of intimacy yet.

** stark bollock naked, of course.


59 thoughts on “Smooth Street

  1. I was actually listening to Mighty Rearranger last night. First time in a while. Great album, too. It’s loads better than Band of Joy … but I have to admit I prefer Raising Sand (and would actually like another album with Alison Krauss).

    Anyhoo, I can’t actually say that I’ve really listened to, or enjoyed, much of his earlier solo stuff. Might need to investigate some more!

    1. Nah, I get off the country tram at the corner of Gillian Welch and Willard Grant Conspiracy. (Both of whom I think are amazing btw)

  2. First of all, I have to say you’ve had some damn fine Legos appear on these pages in the past….but a Scratchy Lego??? Seriously??? I think you’ve upped the ante now. Bravo.

    As far as Plant’s solo stuff, I dig. ‘Principal of Moments’ and ‘Pictures at Eleven’ were played quite a lot growing up. For me his solo stuff sounds like the next logical step after ‘In Through The Out Door’. With Page checked out by then, that album was basically Jones and Plant putting it together. Collins sounded like an 80s-inflected Bonham in my opinion. I think Robert Plant advanced well into the 80s.

    I could completely wrong.

    1. Thank you kind sir! Scratchy is brand new, the only reason he’s there was the whole tenuous log/axe thing.

      Afraid I’m not much of a fan of ‘In Through ..’ Either. I liked Big Log but I need a little more grit and grind I think. Phil Collins played on 79.7% of major label records made in the 80s – true fact!

  3. [Third time typing this in…Android tablet sh!tting the bed…]
    I was gonna say that I think I have a copy of Manic Nirvana on CD kicking around with a red cover (special edition?). I honestly didn’t listen to it much and bought it for Tall Cool One. I also had Now and Zen on cassette – not any more. That one too, I didn’t listen to much. I tried to branch out from my Led Zep grip as a teen (even tried out the Firm), but didn’t work. With adult ears, I might engage with it a bit more today, but who knows? It was more one song here or there – 29 Palms, Tall Cool One, Big Log…but no album.

    Percy still has it, though. Over x-mas I watched a concert he did to promote his folk country music (I think?). He was quite good. Not much to look at any more, but the voice is still there.

      1. My challenge is that we have our CDs in three different bins. I think mine are more accessible. I’ll look for it tonight.

      2. Bad news, I have looked through my collection and my fear came true: I think I sold it for $ when the hubs and I first moved in together. We had duplication in our collection and needed money to get married. Sold it to the Hock Shop in Barrie along with a stack other CDs, probably around the year 2000.

        When I got it at Dr. Disc in London, it wasn’t mint, and they had put a gummy sticker on it. What did you want to know? I might be working from memory, but, maybe I could help?

      3. Well thank you for checking! I just heard back from T Rev, he sold his too.

        So here’s the question : did you ever look at the cover under a black light?

      4. Damn!
        The hubs can confirm I actually owned it though (skyped about it just tonight), but again we also talked about how we never really merged our collection. Funny how that happened!

      5. Well cool. I can’t wait to get into the story, I just wish I could find a copy for the visuals! Otherwise we have to use our imaginations.

    1. Wasn’t “Tall Cool One” on ‘Now and Zen’, and not ‘Manic Nirvana’? Maybe I’m wrong. I rarely am, but who knows.

      I had ‘Manic Nirvana’ on cassette(wasn’t buying CDs yet). Loved that album, and “Tie Dye On The Highway” was sort of a hit back in 1990 if I remember correctly. This red cover…you must locate it.

      1. Yeah, you’re right I think. See how frequently I listened to it? lol
        I also liked Tie Dye on the Highway and likely why I bought Manic Nirvana in the first place.

      2. ‘Manic Nirvana’ made my sophomore year in high school that much better. Good memories of school year 1989-1990. It also makes the bad memory of those black, silver-tipped boots I bought and wore that year go down a little smoother.

        Thanks, Whiskey-A-Go-Go and Sunset Strip.

      3. Yep, I was in grade 10 in 89-90…Didn’t buy Manic Nirvana until I started working part time and made some money AND could travel on the greyhound to visit my sis 6 hours away… (~1992). I bought it because I had listened to everything Led Zep had done and wanted to start seeing if their solo careers were any good – Plant, the Firm…it never really took. Way too distracted with other music out there.

      4. I was pretty much the same. There was too much newer stuff to delve into. I didn’t want to waste too much time getting into someone’s second wind.

        Another alumni of the Class of ’92. Right on.

      5. Class of 1993, actually. Province of Ontario had Grade 13, or OAC – Ontario Academic Credit. So I was in hell for 5 years…It was abolished in mid 2000s. Now high school is only 4 years. It’s weird too, because I work in a community college and these little guys come in 17 years old and they are so naive and doe-eyed…I was 19 starting Uni.

      6. 5 years??? Sounds like a cruel joke.

        And yeah, I see 17 year olds now being 40 years old and I think there’s no way I looked that young and naive. Sure enough though, I did. Who knew?

  4. You’re clearly one of those smoooooth 80’s, jumper draped over shoulders types – FREAK!! FREAKY FREAK FREAK!

    Unless you’re an undercover Robert Plant, in which case I worship you.

    1. I’m as smoootthhh 80s as they come. Pastel suit, slip on shoes, NO SOCKS. I firmly believe that Don Johnson was the pinnacle of human achievement. Bet you wear… cardigans or something like that. WEIRDIGAN!!

  5. I give a big thumbs up for first two Percy solo albums. I think they’re both great (and well worth owning Mike) and Fate of Nations and Dreamland are also top-notch. Anyone that says only Mighty Rearranger and Now and Zen are worth hearing has got to be some sort of WEIRDO. WEIRDOS I TELL YE!

  6. Known my wife since we were 5. We’re 15 years together, 10 years married, two beautiful children and our record collections are not merged.

    She doesn’t care, one way or the other. I am… protective of my collection. She happily leaves me to it.

  7. I enjoy the small log posts.
    Yet again, totally with you on those two Percy albums: Now and Zen and Mighty Rearranger. (Would love the latter on vinyl).
    D’ya know, I’m posting on Led Zeppelin this week, attempting to cover up to III in less than 1500 words. It’s a set-up for the following post on the Englsih folk influences that appeared on III and became quite popular on iV.
    Wish me luck!

    1. Are you doing the new remasters? Or just the albums, in general?

      Either way, 500 words per album is a difficult task. I wish you much luck. I couldn’t do it.

      1. Yes, it is ambitions, but I’m being a bit sneaky. It’s more a Young Person’s Guide to the early Zeppelin – the band more than the music. It’s all a set-up to write about some of my favourite English folk-rock next week.

      2. Not this time. It’s the artists the Zepp boys actually cited as influences: Pentangle / Bert Jansch, Fairport, ISB. I’m interested in how those listening habits crept into III and IV.

      3. Cool. I have a lot of time for ISB – used to played a lot when I was growing up. My family and parent’s friends looked a lot like the scene from the back cover of ‘Hangman’s Beautiful daughter’.

    2. TMR is a great looking hunk of LP, although (from memory) I don’t think it has the lyrics, which is a bit irritating.

      750 per LP? tough. I think I like the debut best of all. Good luck indeed!

  8. Anyway, a while back you guys were giving me shit for not owning any Robert Plant studio albums. Your description of the two B-sides here don’t really encourage me much!

      1. And from there I seque into a forthcoming Record Store Tale about the CD cover…. watch for that soon. Perhaps you could help explain the mystery I will unfold.

  9. 5 years married almost 6, and our music collections are not merged.

    1. Once I caught Jen putting taking out one of my DVDs and putting it down SILVER SIDE DOWN on the entertainment center. She was slightly shocked by the degree to which I was upset. Her CDs are all in horrible shape. We just threw many in the garbage.

    2. Jen spilled Pepsi on my Dio.

    3. She liked a lot of crappy music before we met. P.O.D., Linkin Park…

    Even on the computer, it’s separate. There’s my music and hers.

      1. I don’t really have any of them that leap to mind. Mrs 1537 has always been very tolerant, although she has decreed that certain more risqué LPs have to be stored out of kids’ reach – this throws my rigorous alphabetising a little off kilter and so gives me sleepless nights.

    1. Oops, sorry I didn’t want to re-open old wounds. have you never considered writing a thrash metal concept album about the Dio incident? you could channel that pain into something creative.

    2. 13 years for us (14 in Oct) and when we first moved in we didn’t merge. The man had more CDs than I did! Where the collection came together was digitally and vinyl. Vinyl was easy – he likes what I like there. Digitally, he tagged my 80s stuff “sh!t poop” in iTunes. I tell you, he is harsh – he likes what he likes, and the rest is “sh!t poop”. Our tastes in music are very much the same. I like most of what he listens to. Where we veer off course is with the alt. rock, and obscure 80s stuff. I recently got him more into Duran Duran thanks in part to Rockband, but forget about the XX, New Order or Swervedriver. He is just not into that scene, but it’s okay.
      Now, all our CDs are in rubbermaid containers stored away – that’s how our music became merged. lol

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