Robert Plant Warps ‘Black Dog’ into Bluesy-Jazz Song

By Amanda Wicks

If Robert Plant is going to sing any of Led Zeppelin’s big hits then be forewarned that he’s going to put a very different spin on things.

Related: Robert Plant Joins Tour Lampedusa to Raise Awareness of Refugee Crisis

While on tour with his band the Sensational Space Shifters, Plant and company stopped by the Moody Theatre to perform on Austin City Limits. It marked the first time in 14 years since Plant had been part of the show.

Besides playing songs of their latest record Lullaby and… the Ceaseless Roar, the Sensational Space Shifters covered several Led Zeppelin tracks, including “Black Dog,” “The Lemon Song,” “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” and “Whole Lotta Love.” Their take on “Black Dog” is a special stand out, sounding so entirely unlike the original version that it takes a moment for the ear to catch up.

For one, John Bonham’s original drum beat has been shifted, quickened and even slightly warped to create a raw feel. The original guitar riff remains the same, but it’s only after Plant’s vocals come in that they shine through and lend any kind of recognizable foundation to the beastly song. The Sensational Space Shifters are not just comfortable but adept at riffing, and they do just that, blending together a bluesy-jazz tempo that transforms into a tribal take on the Led Zeppelin IV track shortly before the four minute mark.

Purists may take issue with the changes, especially coming from Plant himself, but fans will appreciate this altogether different cover.


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