Too late too late a fool could read the signs
Please Read The Letter by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss is a country/folk march about a Dear John/Jane letter, though perhaps that's a misnomer because it sounds like no one will be surprised by the goodbye. The writer of the note really, really wants to explain themselves to their former partner but only succeeds in being maddeningly unclear. The more they talk, the less they say. And like all over-emphatic, one-sided fare-thee-well epics, they're really trying to convince themselves that ending things is the right thing to do. This, you and me, wasn't in vain. Was it?
The song itself doesn't change much, there's nothing that startles or sounds out of place. It soldiers on much like the uncertain narrator. Plant keeps himself in check on the vocal, which is oddly unsettling because you know the kind "PUSH!" squealing caterwauling he is capable of. As much as I appreciate the restraint, part of me wishes that he'd really let loose at the end. It's the desperate "Please" in the title that's repeated throughout the song, I want it to explode. The word is not so much a plea to be let off the hook, but a final attempt to hold on to that lover's connection. I can imagine the entreaty reverberating on repeat inside the narrator's head. Please, please, please.
Please Read The Letter/Robert Plant and Alison Krauss (mp3)
(courtesy of the wonderful An Aquarium Drunkard)
Purchase Raising Sand by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss.
I really do love this song. J tells me he's heard it before, possibly on an album Plant did with Page. I'll look into it.