Procol Harum

the Pale

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'Something's About To Change'

Robin Trower's 2015 CD reviewed by Andy Snipper

This review appears online at the excellent

When you are approaching your 70th birthday and have been active in music since 1962, when you were the guitarist on one of the most influential songs of all time (Whiter Shade of Pale) [the writer admits this is an error, here] and when your collaborators include the likes of Gary Brooker, Jack Bruce, Bryan Ferry and Clive Bunker how do you keep moving forward and, more importantly, how the hell do you stay relevant in the diverse world of 2015?

One of the things you do is to keep on doing what has been your trademark since 1966 and play soulful post-war Blues with deep tones and modern themes. You don’t try and ‘jazz up’ your sound by adding material that doesn’t fit your skills and you don’t try and be ‘modern and hip’. In short you make one of the best albums of your career playing music that is instantly recognisable as Robin Trower and that means something to you.

Some of the material on this album is as good as anything he has ever done. His guitar on Dreams That Shone Like Diamonds cuts you to the heart, you cannot fail to be moved by his soul and the slow and heartfelt solo. On a Blues like Good Morning Midnight his voice – not normally heard – takes you on a journey through the night and into a great sense of loss. Personal favourites abound but Riff No. 7 (Still Alive) is funky and hot while Strange Love has great echoes of New Orleans while never touching on the music of that great city.

There is so much about this album that is good or better. His guitar is everything you would expect of Robin Trower but he plays bass on the album as well and shows remarkable skills while Chris Taggart adds some subtle percussion and drums, never taking away from the main man. Luke Smith adds some beautiful Hammond work, underpinning Trower’s guitar and subtly adding textures.

Of his playing Trower says "There is some sort of feeling of emotional release, when you play a note that rings out right. I can’t remember ever being so happy with a finished album before” and as a long time fan I would definitely agree that his playing and the whole package is as good as anything since Bridge of Sighs.

He is touring from March with the brilliant Joanne Shaw Taylor as support – you’d be a fool to miss them.

Five stars

Robin Trower's page at BtP

Buy the CD from Amazon USA or Amazon UK

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