Robin Trower

Bridge Of Sighs (Chrysalis 74) Rating: A-
After serving time as an essential member of Procol Harum, Robin Trower embarked on a far different mission with his solo career, which most people (myself included) feel reached its peak on his successful second album, Bridge Of Sighs (produced by Trower's former Procol bandmate Matthew Fisher). Trower's three piece band was comprised of Reg Isidore (drums), James Dewar (bass and vocals), and (of course) Robin Trower, whose Jimi Hendrix inspired guitar playing dominates the proceedings. Fortunately, he employs his tricks of the trade (string bends, distortion, echo, wah wah, etc.) with utmost taste, and his bandmates are more than merely competent support players, too, as Isidore creatively pounds away on faster paced hard rockers such as "Day Of The Eagle," "The Fool And Me," and "Little Bit Of Sympathy" (the latter a groovy number given a bit of a Latin flavor by Isidore), while Dewar's soulful, powerful voice bears an uncanny resemblance to Paul Rodgers. It's not quite as commanding as Rodgers' (an all-time great, after all), but it's certainly close enough, especially on spacey blues ballads such as the title track, "In This Place," and "About To Begin." Perhaps the first two songs there share a little too much in common, right down to their windy effects, but there's no doubt that both songs brilliantly conjure up an enticingly moody atmosphere. The album's centerpiece song is probably the elongated (7:32) guitar extravaganza "Too Rolling Stoned," but really, they don't deviate too much from their boogie and blues-based formula throughout, and I suppose an apt description would be that they sound like a more bluesy and less hooky/commercial Bad Company with more of a guitar emphasis. Perhaps Trower (like Bad Company) can be a bit generic with the songwriting, but there's not a single weak song here amid several excellent highlights ("Day Of The Eagle," "Bride Of Sighs," "In This Place," "Too Rolling Stoned," and "Little Bit Of Sympathy" come immediately to mind). Long story short is that this is still a consistently enjoyable hard rock album, one whose bluesy sincerity and Hendrixian charms shine through 40 years after its original release.

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