7 90863-1 Now And Zen
Produced by Tim Palmer, Robert Plant and Phil Johnstone
Released on February 29, 1988
UK CHART POSITION #10 . . . US CHART POSITION #6 . . .
3x PLATINUM RECORD
Find it at GEMM
7 90863-1 cover  

K ronomyth 4.0: ZEN I BEEN LOVING YOU. And there I sat, transfixed with horror, as the great ghost of Zeppelin was shuffled across the stage, the punchline to Robert Plant’s latest rap record. That was my initial reaction to “Tall Cool One,” although like so many other things I’ve softened on it some over the years. In fact, I would tell you that Now And Zen is one of Plant’s best. New band, new blood, and a batch of new songs written by Plant and Phil Johnstone that stand out over a career, including “Heaven Knows,” “Ship of Fools” and “Dance On My Own.” Even TCO is a lot of fun to hear nowadays, since it turned out to be a dalliance (like the Honeydrippers); Plant wasn’t about to divorce himself from his rock icon status for the role of an aging rap star. Over the years, the former Zep frontman has released a handful of very good albums, usually separated by merely average albums. For example: Pictures at Eleven (pretty good), The Principle of Moments (very good), The Hondeydrippers (Plant takes a mulligan), Shaken ‘N Stirred (pretty bad), Now And Zen (very good), Manic Nirvana (not so good), Fate of Nations (very good), etc. Commercially, Now And Zen is Plant’s most popular work and his only multiplatinum record. It featured then state-of-the-art production (as had Shaken ‘N Stirred before it), which initially turned me off but apparently endeared it to a lot of other listeners. In fact, I remember at the time thinking that Robert Plant had sold out. (Sold out to whom I’m not sure, since it’s not like he labored in obscurity with Led Zeppelin.) Today, of course, Plant is on less shaky ground, his iconic status assured, and I hear Now And Zen as an effective contemporary album from a peerless artist. The brief reunion with Jimmy Page, the seeming sacrilege of “Tall Cool One,” both are overshadowed by Now And Zen’s achievement as a new album of modern, relevant music for the masses once more. Of minor interest, consumers who bought the original CD received a “bonus” track: “Walking Towards Paradise,” which had earlier appeared as the B side to the “Heaven Knows” single. The Rhino 2007 reissue includes that track plus a trio of live songs.

7 90863-1 back cover 7 90863-1 lyric sleeve 7 90863-2 front cover
7 90863-1 back cover 7 90863-1 lyric sleeve 7 90863-2 front cover
[high resolution scan]

TRACK LISTING

  1. HEAVEN KNOWS    (Phil Johnstone/Dave Barrett)    4:02
  2. DANCE ON MY OWN    (Robert Plant/Phil Johnstone/Dave Crash)    4:31
  3. TALL COOL ONE    (Robert Plant/Phil Johnstone)    4:37
  4. THE WAY I FEEL    (Robert Plant/Phil Johnstone/Doug Boyle)    5:39
  5. HELEN OF TROY    (Robert Plant/Phil Johnstone)    5:03
  6. BILLY'S REVENGE    (Robert Plant/Phil Johnstone)    3:33
  7. SHIP OF FOOLS    (Robert Plant/Phil Johnstone)    4:59
  8. WHY    (Robert Plant/Dave Crash)    4:12
  9. WHITE, CLEAN AND NEAT    (Robert Plant/Phil Johnstone)    5:28
  10. (CD bonus track:) WALKING TOWARDS PARADISE    (Jerry Lynn Williams)

    2007 Remastered CD Bonus Tracks
  11. BILLY'S REVENGE (LIVE)
  12. SHIP OF FOOLS (LIVE)
  13. TALL COOL ONE (LIVE)

CREDITS

ROBERT PLANT -- vocals
CHRIS BLACKWELL -- drums and percussion
DOUG BOYLE -- guitars
PHIL JOHNSTONE -- keyboards, programming
PHIL SCRAGG -- bass
Dave Barrett -- programming, engineer
Robert Crash -- programming
Toni Halliday -- backing vocals
Kirsty MacColl -- backing vocals
Jimmy Page -- guitar solos (1,3)
Marie Pierre -- backing vocals
Rob Bozas -- engineer
Tim Burrell -- engineer
Jonathan Dee -- engineer
Michael Gregovich -- engineer
Martin Russell -- engineer
Richard Evans -- design and art direction
Davies and Starr -- icon photography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK/US/CAN/GER February 29, 1988 Es Paranza LP/CD/CS 7 90863-1/2/4 lyric sleeve, CD incl. bonus track
MEX 1988 Atlantic LP LWA-6717  
US April 3, 2007 Rhino CDX 74162 digital remaster w. bonus tracks

 

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