A Six-Pack of Robin Trower

Wikipedia: “Robin Trower was born in Catford, London, England, but grew up in Southend-on-Sea, Essex. In 1962, he formed a group that became The Paramounts, later including Westcliff High School pupil Gary Brooker.

The Paramounts disbanded in 1966 to pursue individual projects. During this time, Trower created a local three-piece band called the Jam (not to be confused with the later group with Paul Weller).  Trower then joined Brooker’s new band Procol Harum following the success of their debut single “A Whiter Shade of Pale” in 1967, remaining with them until 1971 and appearing on the group’s first five albums.”

I’m sometimes amazed that Trower made it that long. In the Seventies, he became well-known as an ace Hendrix-inspired blues guitarist with a band that carried his name. His ability to play in that style was severely cramped in Procol Harum and it wasn’t until some of their early Seventies albums that he could really stretch out.

But stretch out he did and the musical world is a better place for it. I started thinking about him as I’ve been learning (or re-learning) to play some of his tunes. He is so good that no less a personage than Robert Fripp praised him and took lessons from him.

Most of us became aware of Robin when he released his great1974 album Bridge of Sighs. (Produced by Procol Harum bandmate Matthew Fisher.)

From that album, the tremendously kick-ass “Day of the Eagle”:

Spotify

Robin tours fairly frequently and I saw him (first and only time) a couple of years ago and wrote about it here. I got in a discussion/argument with a guitarist who told me he had “studied” Trower and that he was not heavily influenced by Hendrix. Wrong.

Here’s “Bridge of Sighs.”

Spotify 

When last I wrote about Trower, fellow blogger Cincinnati Babyhead reminded me that Trower had teamed up with Jack Bruce and his drummer to form B.L.T aka “Cream2.” (My words, not his.) Everything sounds better with Jack Bruce singing it (not to mention playing bass). Here’s “Into Money”:

Spotify

Trower has described James Brown as his “big hero”, particularly Brown’s early work “where blues is crossing over into rock and roll.” Interesting ‘coz I really don’t hear it.

Here’s what I’ve been learning to play lately, “Too Rolling Stoned.” I love how it churns the fuck along and then winds up in a slow blues. I could listen to this shit all day long”

Spotify

Let me throw two more tunes at ya. This one is called “Caledonia” and not it is not the B.B King “What makes your big head so hard” tune.

Spotify

While Trower still tours and releases, clearly his heyday was a number of years ago. He actually has released (or will be releasing) an album this year called United State of Mind a singer named Maxi Priest. I listened to a little bit of it and while it was kinda funky, it’s not what I come to Trower for. But I’ll try to give it another spin with an open mind.

In the meantime, enjoy “Messin’ the Blues.”

Spotify

As a bonus, I will throw in Procol Harum’s great “Whiskey Train.” I cannot find this up on Spotify so hopefully can hear this ok. This was our first hint of what Trower might be up to in later years:

 

24 thoughts on “A Six-Pack of Robin Trower

  1. Yeah, I’m a big fan, too. The BLT album, a great album & a great sandwich. How can one go wrong?

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    1. If you love blues-rock, you can’t not be a fan. I get submissions to my blog and after today’s boatload of misdirected songs for 13-year-old girls, needed to listen to this to get tjem out of my head.

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      1. You poor soul… a little Albert King & Stevie Ray Vaughn will flush that crap outta your system, too.

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  2. Ok, I knew you pulled the trigger on Robin (CB has mind powers). Before I checked in I visited another person badfinger20 (Max) and he had a take on ‘Whiskey Train’. I told him to get over to ME for some good stuff on RT. .All this Trower output just keeps sounding better. I told Max about BLT also. WE are spreading the good word. Here’s the deal, I’m now off on a BLT jag (and Trower). Just listened to ‘No Island Lost’. Killer Doc. Good piece on an a musician that keeps the flame burning for good no bullshit music. Yeah!

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    1. Wow what are the odds he and I would hit on ‘Whiskey Train’ at the same time? I actually had it a while back when I did a Procol Harum take. I wanted to add it in to the Spotify list but for some damn reason that PC album “Home” has never been on Spotify. The only ‘Whiskey Train’ up there is by Mountain and I wanted the original.

      Like I said in the piece. I’ve been playing some of his stuff on the gee-tar. Plus that piece of shit that was submitted to me today that I told you about required an antidote.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No kidding on the “antidote’. That’s exactly what this Trower stuff is. Quality stuff man. I’ll be on this stuff for a while until i get a reminder of some other stream I should jump into. Thanks for the nudge.

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        1. BTW. I don’t know if you noticed in the article that Fripp was a student of Trower’s. Can’t think of two less likely guitarists to get together.

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        2. I thought they would be contemporizes. They are two different styles but also two guys that I think have the same type of approach in loving the guitar. It would be cool to get them together and listen to them swap stories and licks. Fripp can get real greasy for a bookish type.

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        3. So many musicians came of England around the same tiem. Some of them went different paths and you just don’t think of them in the same breath. John McLaughlin knew all those guys but we know he didn’t wind up in anything close to a blues band. McLaughlin, Beck, Page, Keith Richards, Fripp, Trower, Andy Summers from Police – all about the same age, more or less. Different paths.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. These tunes are all awesome. I really know Robin Trower by name only. The only song I had heard before is the excellent “Whiskey Train”. I can definitely see you’re having fun listening to Trower. He sounds pretty kick-ass!

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    1. I gotta admit that surprises me that you don’t know him better given your enjoyment of blues and blues-rock. He tours pretty regularly and still plays great. If you’re ever looking for a good show and if he comes to your area you could do a lot worse. I’m more into his solo stuff; CB in into his albums with Jack Bruce.

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      1. You’re spot on, Jim. While it’s hard to know everybody, sometimes, my apparent gaps surprise me as well. That’s part of the reason why I enjoy music blogging and reading posts from fellow bloggers, even though it comes with occasional embarrassment! 🙂

        Only based on your small selection of clips, I would seriously consider seeing Trower, especially at a smaller venue like the Iridium. That’s gotta be pretty cool!

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        1. It would be good to see him at a spot like that. But I see him at the Wilbur theater in Boston which is one of those old movie theaters like the Filllmore or Tower in Philly. It seats upwards of 1200. I did have a good (though on-the side) near front-row seat. Haven’t seen him again as there have been so many other bands to see.

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        2. There’s theater in close to my house in New Brunswick with an 1,800-seat capacity. I’ve seen various shows there, including Joe Jackson and Blue Öyster Cult. Ticket prices tend to be fairly reasonable. I’d also consider seeing Trower there. It’s great he’s still active!

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        3. Thanks! He’s currently booked for Montclair, NJ for early October. The venue looks lovely and is about an hour from my house, so well doable.

          Hopefully, by early October the crazy situation in the country will have sufficiently improved, so going to a live show wouldn’t be a potentially life-threatening proposition. I guess there’s some reason to be cautiously optimistic. There should be better visibility by next spring – knock on wood!

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        4. Frankly, I’m personally missing going to a restaurant or sitting at a bar and having a beer with a chum more than anything. I’d been going to so many fucking concerts- many of them by myself – it had started to lose its luster. I will undoubtedly go again but I’ve slowed down a bit.

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