Sunday, June 23, 2002

'Red Dress': Robert Plant song review of the day (No. 10 of 10)

This news originally appeared in an edition of the newsletter "On This Day In Led Zeppelin History."

The last song to be reviewed is "Red Dress," the second of the two completely new songs on the album. This groovy shuffle begins with a lead played on fretless bass and steel guitar. The riff sounds like something out of the North Mississippi All Stars' songbook. (By the way, if you don't have that group's debut album from last year, Shake Hands with Shorty, you need it.) The percussion used here gives it sort of an Australian sound. It features Plant's first recorded harmonica probably since 1993. His last attempt I can think of was on "Promised Land" from his previous solo album, Fate of Nations. The harmonica in that song was just like in Zeppelin's "When the Levee Breaks." On Plant's new "Red Dress," the harmonica is not derivative of anything. If anything is derivative, it's the sound of that steel guitar; it sounds like it belongs on John Paul Jones' solo albums! The lyrics on the song aren't very intricate; Plant's pretty much singing about a "pretty little girl with a red dress on." When he hypothesizes about the meaning of love in this song, he manages not to get too deep in thought. It even sounds like he's guessing at what Skip Spence would say love is, too! No mention of badge holders anywhere, and that's a good thing in my mind.

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