Robert Plant isn’t looking at his recent solo compilation, Digging Deep, as being a straightforward greatest hits collection. Plant spoke to Spin about the double-disc package, and explained, “I look at these songs and see what the story was around them, because I was like a babe in arms in 1981 when I started crafting (my solo debut) Pictures At Eleven. I knew how to be a frontman in the ’70s. But the beginning of the ’80s was a totally different zone for all of us musicians from the previous time. There were new musicians, there were new thought processes. And there was a new way of dealing with relationships. We had to keep pushing to the left and to the right of a common language for a certain kind of eloquence or a certain skill. I was trying to mix it up.” Plant went on to say, “It’s certainly not a ‘best of’ — (it’s more) a collision of time and ideas. . . A reference to some emotion or some power or some energy. (These songs have) been lying side-by-side with their old comrades for 20 years, 30 years. How are they going to feel when they come face-to-face with something 20 years younger? Putting something from 1982 with a song from 2006, or putting a Band Of Joy track next to an enlarged emotional moment from Rockfield Studios, from that to Peter Gabriel’s place (Real World Studios). . . all very different crew members, different participants, different links in the magic, and so then it all takes on a whole different personality when it’s a new bedfellow lying on each side of it. So, the context is crazy. It’s a mind bomb, really. I’m really pleased with the fact that they do sometimes live really usually well together. And sometimes it’s like a real curve. As is the journey.”

Plant spoke about his post-Led Zeppelin musical path, which has now spanned four decades: “Carrying on from 1980 onwards, I think I’ve been pretty agile. I haven’t been around for any length of time in anything at all, really, because I think it’s always remarkable. . . the more open you become as a sort of. . . contributor. . . the windows swing open and fresh air comes in. The color of the whole thing will change constantly, and it has done for me.”

SIDE NOTES

The tracklisting to Robert Plant’s Digging Deep is:

Disc One

“Rainbow”
“Hurting Kind”
“Shine It All Around”
“Ship Of Fools”
“Nothing Takes The Place Of You” – Previously unreleased
“Darkness, Darkness”
“Heaven Knows”
“In The Mood”
“Charlie Patton Highway (Turn It Up – Part 1)” – Previously unreleased
“New World”
“Like I’ve Never Been Gone”
“I Believe”
“Dance With You Tonight”
“Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down”
“Great Spirit (Acoustic)”

Disc Two

“Angel Dance”
“Takamba”
“Anniversary”
“Wreckless Love”
“White Clean & Neat”
“Silver Rider”
“Fat Lip”
“29 Palms”
“Last Time I Saw Her”
“Embrace Another Fall”
“Too Much Alike” (featuring Patty Griffin) – Previously unreleased
“Big Log”
“Falling In Love Again”
“Memory Song (Hello Hello)”
“Promised Land”

CHECK IT OUT: Robert Plant’s 2014 video for “Rainbow”: