Robert Plant – Digging Deep (EsParanza)

A Plant based musical diet is essential for any self-respecting rocker.

The voice of Led Zeppelin will always be lauded for his early work with one of the world’s most iconic bands.

But there’s significant value in revisiting the solo years.

And this carefully curated collection of eight vinyl singles spans 30 years of boundary-stretching brilliance.

Digging Deep’s release coincides with the culmination of season two of Plant’s hugely popular podcast of the same name.

As complementary works, the digital and the physical combine to paint the perfect picture of an artist whose solo work is both stirring and cerebral.

Big Log – with its Dire Straits refrain – features in Series 2 Episode 6 of Digging Deep with Robert Plant and here it’s juxtaposed with B-side In The Mood.

Both songs lean on the sense of understated cool that captured Plant in the early 80s. 

And if the former peaked at 11 then the latter, which limped into the UK’s top 100, has always been the more fascinating musically.

How Tall Cool One and Ship Of Fools (from 1988’s Now And Zen) failed to dent the upper echelons of the singles charts is one of popular music’s great mysteries.

Included together on the fourth of the singles here, this strident pairing provide an obvious highlight.

Then there’s Tin Pan Valley from 2005’s much-debated Mighty Rearranger.

Nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance following its original release, its electro country melody and Plant’s initially soft and haunting vocal make for a heady creative mix.

On reflection, it’s the perfect track with which to sign off on a glorious package.

Plant might have become an internet hit with his super-popular podcast.

But enjoying the 71-year-old spread across eight seven-inch vinyls is a rare pleasure in the age of the desperately unfeeling digital download.