Unlike much of his earlier work, this CD comes off my record shelf time after time, saying something new to me each of those times.
It is still whispered that Trower is a Hendrix imitator/copyist - but didn't Stevie Ray Vaughan tread deeply into that territory, without the baying? But in reality Trower evolved away from being the Hendrix clone a very long time ago, and instead has continued to add substantially to this form of rock and blues.
There are a number of reasons that I believe "20th Century Blues" is special and a classic. It has a balanced and varied collection of modern blues tunes, free of duds; blues tunes which are beautiful arranged for this three-piece band. In particular, the drumming is outstanding. Drummer Mayuyu shows great imagination and augments the album with something special, (rather than sit back and do the usual 4 to the bar). The rhythms and percussive sounds employed are new to any form of blues I've heard before. I have to go as far back as Ginger Baker with Cream, to be reminded of a drummer who added something unique to an album's overall sound. Livingstone Brown on bass and vocals, is typical of the smokey blues voices Trower has picked for many of his albums - his voice suiting the lyrics and moods created to a tee. Then there is Trower - he is at his very best, a bag full of chops honed to perfection to compliment the blues.
"20th Century Blues" is a great 90's rock record, and specifically my favourite electric blues album from the last 15 years.