Express & Star

Robert Plant, Digging Deep Boxset - album review

The Black Country's finest Robert Plant has released a 16-track boxset to celebrate the second season of his popular podcast.

The artwork for Robert Plant's new boxset Digging Deep

Digging Deep is the accompaniment to the podcast of the same name, and features a cross-section of his career including some rare B-sides that will make delightful first listening for many.

The West Bromwich-born Wolves vice president, who now lives in Shatterford, near Bewdley, has links to most of our region and is held in the highest regard. So it is fitting this celebration of some of the lesser-heralded tracks of his career should differ so greatly through its journey.

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It comes either digitally through the usual services or on an eight-strong vinyl boxset holding pairs of tracks. They are all remastered versions of previous recordings with restored artworks too. Each record holds two songs from all eight of Plant's solo albums - including the No.1s from Billboard's Rock Songs chart - Little By Little, Tall Cool One and Hurting Kind.

Many have featured on the podcast, and provide a sweeping journey through his solo career as his influences and loves have changed.

Big among these sounds is the huge 80s stadium rock vibe of Little By Little, taken from 1985's Shaken 'n' Stirred. Prime Phil Collins beats power the track from start to finish as the guitars and synths half have a barney, half have a party from start to finish.

There's also the edgier rock sounds of Tie Dye On The Highway from 1990's Manic Nirvana. It's big and glamorous, reverberating bass swaggering from start to finish like the coolest of cats making their late entry to the big party.

Robert Plant

2005's Mighty Rearranger provides the stomping Shine It All Around - and this is probably the strongest song of all. Very much from its time - as most tracks here are - it encapsulates the obsession with big guitar riffs that made the likes of Oasis, Beck, Foo Fighters and The White Stripes so popular around that period. From start to finish it is an exceptional romp through lighter rock.

And big love too for Big Log, taken from 1983's The Principle of Moments with its tender synth pop moments.

This is an enjoyable journey through Plant's solo work that will provide both a sweet reminder of his talents and an eye opener into just how much he has done as a solo artist.

Rating: 8/10

Robert Plant performs at Shrewsbury's Theatre Severn on March 16, but this show is already sold out