Procol Harum

the Pale 

PH on stage | PH on record | PH in print | BtP features | What's new | Interact with BtP | For sale | Site search | Home

Robin Trower : Bridge of Sighs

The preface from the songbook

Bridge of Sighs is Robin Trower’s second album with his own group. It solidifies his position in the forefront of rock guitarists which was first established with Procol Harum and extended by Twice Removed From Yesterday, Trower’s initial album with a band of his own. Writing of Trower’s musical prowess Rolling Stone states, “(he) transcends the realm of traditional rock music forms, staking out a musical turf that most musicians can’t even comprehend, much less attempt to explore.”

Trower, with his chilling ability to transform guitar lines into otherwordly statements, is the logical successor to a tradition founded by the genius of Jimi Hendrix. In fact, it was Hendrix who first moved Trower to find his musical voice. “I first heard Jimi play in Berlin, six months before his death. I was deeply impressed with him as a musician, and I knew from that day on what I wanted to say as a guitarist.”

Part of that coming together is a style which rock critic Gordon Fletcher characterizes this way: “Trower wrenches from his axe thick, luscious tones drenched with tremolo and sustain. But these effects aren’t sheer electronic gimmickry; rather they enable Trower to realize a guitarist’s dream, obtaining the maximum mileage with each note.”

Complementing Trower in his pursuit of the ultimate sound are Jim Dewar on bass and Reg Isadore on drums. Dewar, a Scot who left Stone the Crows, displays a vocal virtuosity that perfectly interprets Trower’s emotional lyricism. Drummer Isadore comes from the West Indies and provides a solid brand of percussion with what has been called “miserly efficiency.”

Although critics have climbed all over adjectives searching for synonyms for perfection, Trower insists the band is still growing, aiming at even finer levels of mastery. He says, “I had this idea of guitar, bass and drums which would give everyone a lot of room to stretch themselves and produce a sound which wasn’t pre-fabricated. I’ve been much influenced by Rhythm & Blues. Classic R&B possesses universal contact. What we’re dealing with is a direct contact with the audience, soul to soul, with as little in between as possible.”

The critics have more than reinforced Trower’s ambitions for the band. Zoo World writes, “We have here a band of power, scope and a delicate sense of balance.” Variety writes of a live performance, “Trower destroyed the place in a superb début that will not be soon forgotten.” The New York Times writes, “The Robin Trower group accomplishes a fusion often attempted but usually mishandled – grafting the instrumental techniques of the 70s on to the musical and emotional thrust of mainstream Rhythm & Blues. While others have directed their attention toward producing more or less faithful replications of R&B standards or at best have superimposed their own lyrics on the original chord progressions, the Trower band has evolved its own musical vocabulary to deliver home the bittersweet soulful punch associated with Rhythm & Blues.”

Thanks, Jill, for the typing

More Procol history in print at BtP

Robin Trower's page at BtP

PH on stage | PH on record | PH in print | BtP features | What's new | Interact with BtP | For sale | Site search | Home