Robert Plant's Digging Deep: Subterranea is a celebrity-free solo celebration

Digging Deep: Subterranea is a journey through Robert Plant's solo recordings, from Pictures at Eleven in onwards

Robert Plant: Digging Deep: Subterranea
(Image: © Rhino)

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Robert Plant’s success at creating and sustaining a solo career with none of the hysteria that enveloped his time with Led Zeppelin is quite remarkable. His intermittent (14 albums in 40 years) forays into his idiosyncratic folk-ish roots with groups of anonymous musicians has produced one of the more intriguing music catalogues. 

You might sometimes wish for a more accomplished musician who is able to draw more out of the singer and/or the song – a Robert Fripp, say – but that isn’t Plant’s way. There have been dalliances of course, but these have been rigorously excluded from this two-CD set. In the case of Jimmy Page collaborations this is understandable, although an exception could have been made for Tall Cool One

The ban appears to extend to anything ‘tainted’ by celebrity, so there is no Sea Of Love by The Honeydrippers. More controversially, there’s nothing from Raising Sand, his album with Alison Krauss, which must rank among the most significant Robert Plant albums. 

Instead the five tracks from 1993’s Fate Of Nations are the best indication of Plant’s own preferences. It’s his most personal album (I Believe is about his son) and his most political (Great Spirit, included here as an acoustic version). There are also four tracks from 1983’s transformational The Principle Of Moments

Completists will need this collection for the three unreleased tracks, including a duet with Patty Griffin (who is obviously not a celebrity) and maybe the rare Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down (from the Boss soundtrack album).

Hugh Fielder

Hugh Fielder has been writing about music for 47 years. Actually 58 if you include the essay he wrote about the Rolling Stones in exchange for taking time off school to see them at the Ipswich Gaumont in 1964. He was news editor of Sounds magazine from 1975 to 1992 and editor of Tower Records Top magazine from 1992 to 2001. Since then he has been freelance. He has interviewed the great, the good and the not so good and written books about some of them. His favourite possession is a piece of columnar basalt he brought back from Iceland.