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4.1 out of 5 stars
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4.1 out of 5 stars
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It seems an unlikely pairing, the Black Country Plant and the Queen of Bluegrass, but hey, Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris, Loretta Lynn and Jack White, so what's new? Throughout his almost 40 year career, Plant has been a restless spirit and this album is a celebration of his diversity.

It is difficult to categorise this album which is an eclectic mix of delta blues, acoustic blues, alternative country and even folk rock, but somehow producer T Bone Burnett makes it work. He has taken the pair through a selection of thirteen well chosen songs and there isn't an ounce of filler on the album. Burnett has given it a warm, appealing sound and the voices of Plant and Krauss blend effortlessly together on such tracks as Killing The Blues and Stick With Me Baby. The latter sounds almost like the Everly Brothers with a chiming guitar propelling the melody.

There are two Gene Clark songs, Polly Come Home and Through The Morning, Through The Night and are given fine, haunting, interpretations that Clark himself would have been proud of. Plant gets to rock a little on his driving take of the Everly's Gone, Gone, Gone, which sounds nothing like the original!

The Plant/Page collaboration Please Read The Letter translates readily into a country styling whilst Nothin', sounds like late Zeppelin with Krauss's fiddle soaring above the electric distortion. But, for me, the finest moment on the album is Sister Rosetta with Krauss's gypsy fiddle and haunting vocal making this song a restrained, but compelling masterpiece.

If you are a fan of Krauss's fiddle, you might be disappointed to find that she only gets to play it on two tracks, but there is much to compensate with her mature and intelligent interpretations. Plant fans too, will not be disappointed in this latest chapter of his voyage of discovery.
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on 27 October 2007
First of all, this is a truly great collection of songs. The arrangements are all superb, delivering an irresistible blend of country and rock. I love the musicianship on this album and the combination of these stellar voices works really well. Alison Krauss is a remarkable talent and Robert Plant shows that he still has the quality and dexterity to deliver magical vocal performances. We know we are in for something special from the very first track ('Rich Woman') which is a swampy stomp with a lovely reverb guitar reminiscent of Roy Orbison or Chris Isaak. The next track ('Killing the Blues') is a great country song and the vocal harmony is just to die for - superb! And it just keeps getting better. There is a lot to enjoy here and even if you're not really a fan of either artist, or are unsure about the collaboration, this album is definitely worth taking a chance on - it is unlikely to disappoint. This is quality country rock along the lines of some of the modern country music around today from the likes of Howe Gelb, Calexico or Iron & Wine.
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on 22 October 2007
This is my favourite record of the year so far. A great selection of songs, most of which I had never heard before. The two voices work really well together and are enhanced by the excellent production. It may not appeal to hardcore Led Zep fans but is a must for anyone interested in Americana or atmospheric country music.
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on 18 January 2008
I listened to this CD without any ideas of the musical styles that would be used. It was only through having heard solo songs composed by Robert Plant some years earlier (think "Big Log") that I wanted to listen to 'Raising Sand' to see what all the hype was about. When I heard the first few bars of each song I thought 'how the hell is this going to develop?' and then it would evolve and go somewhere I was not expecting it to go and it was quite pleasant and thought provoking. Some of the song arrangements will grow on me; a few of them I thought were good. I definately will be listening to this again. It is an album to chill out to whilst lying on the couch after a heavy day at work. The two vocal styles intertwine and complement one another and they take you off to explore new lands you've never heard about.
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on 25 November 2007
I can't stop listening to this! It is far better than I ever expected it to be. I've always liked these artistes seperately, and together they produce something magical. Of course, critiques are always subjective, so all I can say, in my honest opinion, is that this album is going to be worn out with playing!
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There seems little point in repeating the praise heaped on these landmark recordings already in so many excellent reviews. When I first heard "Raising Sand" in 2007 it was obviously destined not for musical obscurity but for some kind of greatness, and since then I've listened to these songs hundreds of times in the morning, the evening, on lazy summer afternoons and driving through the mountains of Andalusia in an open-topped sports car. It's one of those rare occasions when dedicated professionalism, inspired musicians with a love for the material and first-rate production know-how come together to create something remarkable and hard to categorise.

Robert Plant has always had a deep interest in, and understanding of, the many strands of traditional American folk music. Anyone familiar with his back catalogue over the past 40 years will see evidence of this interest and of his ability to interpret traditional styles like slow blues, R&B and folk-country in new ways. Just listen to "Babe I'm gonna leave you" from Led Zeppelin's first album in 1969 - it goes back that far.

Alison Krauss has spent a career playing bluegrass - she's a great fiddle player too - and in Plant has found what seems to be her perfect musical match. This superficially improbable collaboration has given birth to something truly wonderful. Plant's voice turns out to be perfect for bluegrass and brings a depth of feeling - yet with a light touch - to complement Krauss's serene and beautiful singing in harmonies of such richness and serenity they raise the bar in the same way Simon & Garfunkel did way back in the 1970s (though the analogy is confined to the quality of the harmonies and goes no further). The care and respect they have for the material is obvious in the quality of the resultant product. The album cover carries a MOJO quote: "The musical relationship between Krauss and Plant is so gentle, attentive and respectfully intimate it feels more like a courtship dance" - perfect summary.

It's a great, great album, and something of a benchmark. If you've never heard it, you should. You'll likely listen to it for years and years, and love it more every time - like the rest of us.
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on 20 June 2016
To tell you the truth I was a bit of afraid of buying this album because I simply could not imagine Robert Plant working with another singer. His solo career has always been about his own musical ideas and his own vision. However, you will listen to one of the best musical collaborations between two excellent singers and that is what makes me feel sorry for not getting the album much earlier. Alison Krauss seems to have different musical background but here she also seems to be at home when she has to contribute to Robert Plant's world of European Rock and Roll of the 60s. It is a must for a Robert Plant fan. Enjoy!
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on 28 October 2007
Thank you Amazon for delivering on the actual day of release and not making me wait a second longer!!

OK, firstly, don't expect to hear any Led Zeppelin influence on this album. Although Robert Plant does deign to give us a few
"Aaah Aaah Aaaaaaah's" - it's mainly a collection of country rock mixed with blues, rock and roll, acoustic rock, folk rock. . . you get the idea.

The first thing that comes across is how well the two voices go together. They harmonise so naturally, it's very hard to believe this is
their first collaboration together. It's like they've been singing together all their lives.

Plant's grainy tone and Krauss's 'pure' vocals merge together easily, and neither one of them overpowers the other.

I had no preconceptions about this album at all (having been disappointed by Page & Plant's "Walking Into Clarksdale") - so it was a really unexpected pleasure to hear just how good this is. There are some amazing songs here:

KILLING THE BLUES - SISTER ROSETTA GOES BEFORE US - PLEASE READ THE LETTER - THROUGH THE MORNING, THROUGH THE NIGHT
NOTHIN' - TRAMPLED ROSE - STICK WITH ME BABY.

Some are musically very moving, particularly Alison Krauss's rendition of 'SISTER ROSETTA'. From 2.00 until the end, the tango-style violin
and banjo is eerily haunting, and when Robert Plant joins in, the hairs literally stood up on my arms!

"PLEASE READ THE LETTER" is actually a cover from 'Walking Into Clarksdale', so Plant is covering himself :)) But this version is much better.
Krauss's vocals add a honeyed layer, making it sound more balanced, much sweeter than the original.

This is one of those albums that doesn't need to grow on you - it feels like an old friend as soon as you hear it.

You know the type of CD you have to play over and over again??? Well, this is one of them!

Buy it - your ears will be eternally grateful :)
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on 31 October 2007
Ok, you have got this far, now don't blow it.
Buy this album!

Occasionally an album comes along that you just know is destined to be a timeless classic. "Raising Sand" is clearly in this category.
I honestly think that this album will be up there alongside "Astral Weeks", "Who's Next", "Red Dirt Girl", "Music For Airports, et al.
Yes it really is that good.

This is one of those collaborations that on paper looked extremely problematic.
Robert Plant has probably the hardest dirtiest voice in rock music.
Alison Krauss is up there with Emmylou Harris in having the voice of an angel.
Having established that it shouldn't work, let's look at why it does.
The easy answer is to credit T.Bone Burnett, who as producer managed to get Plant and Krauss to each find something in the others voice/experience which they could identify with and draw on.
Personally I think it is just one of those rare occasions that defy all expectations and produce pure gold.
So maybe we should just accept it and be thankful that music can still throw up gems like this.

Standout tracks, in an album full of them, are "Please Read the Letter", "Gone Gone Gone" and the truly beautiful "Killing the Blues".

Other people will probably write longer and more detailed reviews, but I am content to leave this where I started it.
In humble appreciation of a masterpiece.
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on 14 December 2007
Robert Plant has only just come back on my radar - though I confess to enjoying the Zepp days. Alison Krauss has been turning out exquisite music for a long time, and it is her albums with which I have been most familiar. However, I went to see Strange sensation when RP's "Mighty Rearranger" album came out, and was knocked out.

This album is awesome because the music, production and arrangements are so very original. It is humbling because it is a formidable tour de force of two amazing voices. Plant's intonation remains amazingly true, and Krauss's has never been in doubt. This, combined with the almost palpable communication which runs between the two in these songs, and two of the most distinctive voices in music, makes for a truly delectable album. The songs are strong, but I am left feeling that these two could make great music whatever their material, and always, somehow, any production involving Robert Plant seems to hold just a hint of the Maghreb.

I find this is a clean, honest production with wonderful musicianship, great players, and no self indulgence. Simply phenomenal. No weak tracks. Huge atmosphere. Truly original arrangements and production. I can't stop listening to this album, it is simply rivetting.
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