Hard-rock star gets the blues
Robin Trower has it all backwards, careerwise. Guys like Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck started off playing the blues, moved into hard rock, and ended up doing nice, neat art rock.
Trower began his career on the art rock gig (Procol Harum), then went hard rock (his solo stuff in the 70s) and is only now truly mining the blues.
Oh, but what results. Trower is 52; he knows he knows his guitar. How to wring every drop of sweat out of it. Where to go when he needs a bit more tremolo. How to bend a note just far enough to break your heart.
Those other cats, they were just kids when they were dabbling in the blues. What did a 22-year-old Eric Clapton know of the blues? Oh, sure, they had some nice licks on guitar and all but Trower brings a world of experience and wisdom to his vision of Chicago electric blues. Hell, the man's been playing 30 years as a professional.
You can hear the influences from Trower's youth through his playing: Buddy Guy is all over "Someday Blues." So's B.B. King. Howlin' Wolf, too. And there's not a little Otis Rush, for that matter. Toss in Albert King as well.
But most of all you hear Trower himself. There's that same fire that burned through his classic '70s power trio material albums like "For Earth Below," "Caravan to Midnight," "Long Misty Days" and "Bridge of Sighs." His improvisational solos are still some of the tightest and smartest around; Trower is as economical in his use of notes as Bill Basie was on piano (that's Count Basie for those unfamiliar with jazz and he's another worth checking out if you haven't yet).
Trower also sings on this album; hasn't done that since 1973's "Broken Barricades" while still with Procol Harum. And it's good; rough, but a nice match for his playing.
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