Robert Plant: House of Cards
Richard Thompson and Robert Plant were born about a year apart (Plant being slightly the older – ’48 & ‘49). At first blush, one wouldn't likely group them together. In popular memory, Robert Plant, through his association with Led Zeppelin, calls up images of the rough and tumble rock scene. Thompson may date to the same era, but the popular image of Thompson/Fairport Convention is of a softer aspect of the rock scene of the late 60s/early 70s.
Granted, Richard Thompson certainly earned acclaim for his electric guitar work early on, but – as boyhowdy has noted – his religious conversion and his “sheik’s” influence did tone down his proclivity toward heavier rock. All the same, both are products of the same British rock scene.
For my part, I see trends in Plant’s authoring of Stairway to Heaven that pre-sage an affinity to the softer music of Thompson’s House of Cards. Band of Joy, Plant’s off and on ensemble, provides a great hard-hitting balance to this song –it causes one to think about the lyrics, yet cuts through the folk to the rock. The song has been interpreted in folk style by many, but the lyrics deserve the roughness of Plant’s (and Band of Joy’s) interpretation.
Shake your windows/ rattle your doors . . .
Cracked and shaking/ days are numbered . . .
Curiously, there are numerous others who have penned songs of the same name, generally with the same conceit – after all, what is a house of cards made of?