Robin Trower new album review - Time And Emotion
My first exposure to Robin Trower was back in 1980 when he performed at the Apollo here in Manchester and I was blown away by both his playing and virtuosity, something that was reinforced a couple of weeks later when he was featured on a BBC TV show called Rock Goes To College, live at the University of London. With his guitar singing so beautifully, I was hooked on his music forever, even going as far as attending a gig at the Marquee Club in London in 1985 for the live recording of the album Beyond The Mist.
Moving to California in 1993 I was pleasantly surprised to find him touring regularly although he had swapped larger venues for much smaller clubs and pubs. To watch him play songs like Bridge Of Sighs live, which ably demonstrate his guitar phrasing and continuity, is an ethereal experience. As you can probably tell, I am a big fan!
And so we come to 2017 and Trower’s new album Time And Emotion, his third album in three years and it is probably his most consistent for some time, it is seriously good. As you would expect his signature full on blues tone is all over it, a combination of overdrive and wah at just the right levels to deliver ‘Trower Power’.
In The Land Of Plenty is a great start to the album with Trower now handling the vocals with a purposeful rasp in comparison to the soulfulness of his previous singers. What Was I Worth To You slows things down with one of those beautiful snail paced guitar solos that drips with the emotion that Trower is famous for, why play a couple of dozen notes when one is all that is required. Returned In Kind is over seven minutes long and harks back to his 70’s sound, it is like a modern day Bridge Of Sighs with a guitar solo to match and worthy of being described as a classic, as Trower wrings every ounce of blues from his custom Fender Stratocaster.
Starting more uptempo, If You Believe In Me soon returns to the slowness required for another long immersive solo. It isn’t all slow blues though, You’re The One see’s Trower going through a wonderful psychedelic blues trip but it is on Try Love with it’s ZZ Top-style shuffle and groove where I realise that Trowers singing is actually similar to Billy Gibbons, no bad thing at all and it is probably my favourite track on the album.
Overall this is another quality release from Robin Trower (including the cover painted by the man himself), and produced by studio supremo and master bass player Livingstone Brown. Every track is worthy of inclusion, you will not be disappointed.
You can catch Robin Trower at his only UK gig this year in London at the Islington Assembly Hall on 29th November to see this great British blues stalwart in action.
Words: Anthony Firmin | Photos: Laurence Harvey, Rob Blackham