I have always been a sucker for a cool cover and Robert Plants ’85 release “Shaken n Stirred” is one of those.
After skipping ’83s “Principle of Moments” outright that year come ’85 I actually bought “Shaken n Stirred” on cassette tape as I figured it would be a great wake up tape for the trusty Walkman when I was peddling to work at 6am everyday on my bike!
Once CDs became the rage I never sought this one out. It wasn’t of course until recently that as you know I ramped up my Rob collection of his solo stuff and decided to do a long overdue deep dive into the mans solo career.
Listening to Shaken n Stirred thirty six years later two things stand out to me.
1- Plant was trying to stay current with that overproduced rock sound of the day that was dominating the rock charts. He was not concerned whatsoever about maintaining any Zep influence on these albums by this point.
2- As a listener I can hear the direction on this albums sound with all the synth like action, crystal clear guitar and drums that he was headed into when he released ’88s brilliant (and I think Plant’s best) “Now And Zen” record.
I had caught the video of “Little By Little” on MuchMusic and being that I dug Roberts vocals (let’s face it, the man could sing the pages out of a history book and make it sound cool) I thought at the time I should take the plunge on tape which was cheaper than the vinyl. Cost cutting measures I was on back then.
I didn’t mind this album at the time and I like it more now as I can hear where Robert was headed as the ’80s rolled on.
Sure this album is laced with synth driven tunes. The guitars of Robbie Blunt shine throughout as his picking reminds me of Andy Summers of The Police at times.
Plant and band were always experimenting and this album continues that path. “Kallalou Kallalou” is one of those tracks as the synth and drums carry the track same as “Pink And Black”.
It’s so easy to judge in 2021 and for that matter even back in ’85 but Robert was on a mission and really at the end of the day he really didn’t give a shit what ya thought.
I’m sure the line of thinking was ‘You’re either with me or not” to keep changing with the times.
Now if you think the whole rock thing was ditched it was not. “Trouble Your Money” and “Pink and Black” are the rock tracks here but don’t think for a minute Zep like rock songs. Different vibe totally.
Some changes not many were made by solo album three. Phil Collins was busy at this time, so all the drums were done by Richie Hayward and Tim Palmer was brought into the production end of things as well.
Also of note this album has nine tracks not eight like the previous two and this would also be the final appearance of this band as Robert by the time 1988 rolled around had a whole new band in place.