ROOTS AND BRANCHES
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Robin Trower, one of the most justly-acclaimed of British Rock music s elder statesmen, will release his latest album entitled Roots & Branches on February 4th 2013 On the new album Roots & Branches, Robin has produced unique cover versions of some classic Blues and R N B tracks such as Hound Dog, The Thrill Has Gone & Little Red Rooster. Of the new album Robin says I started off thinking I would do a complete album of covers, I wanted to get as far away from the originals as possible. I came up with half a dozen arrangements, which felt different enough, so I ended up writing some new songs as well. I have tried to make the new songs be influenced by what I have done with the classics, so the album blends together The unassuming Robin Trower has, over the forty-odd years since his departure from Procol Harum, assembled an incredible body of work, from his commercial high water mark with the epochal Bridge of Sighs album in 1974, through to the brand new Roots & Branches. His music has never attempted to make concessions to commercial demands, and his improvisational skills have consistently re-set the bar in terms of blues-soaked inspiration and intensity. Never abashed about crediting the late Jimi Hendrix as one of his main influences, Trower remains one of the most talented musicians that the UK has ever produced.
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But the real revelation on this album is the vocals. In the past Robin Trower has had front men like Davey Pattison and fellow instrumentalists like James Dewar tackle the vocal duties for him, and indeed on this record bass player Richard Watts does vocals on 4 tracks. His vocals on the What Lies Beneath album were low key and suited the mood of the pieces. But on Roots he lays into Hound Dog with confidence and delivers The Thrill is Gone with a subtle vibrato and gruff bluesy tone that makes them album highlights. Don't misunderstand me, there are no blues frontman histrionics, so those looking for multi-octave slides or scat singing can look else where. He brings the same measured purpose to his vocal work as he does to his playing. Everything is measured and tasteful, but still passionate. Richard Watts' slightly smoother delivery makes for a pleasant contrast on songs like I Believe to My Soul and Sheltered Moon, an original song cut from the same cloth as What Lies Beneath.
Of course the guitar work on this album is stellar, in particular the bass groove driven See My Life, which closes the album with a satisfying wah wah solo, as Mr Trower sings "I just want to play my Guitar..."
I looked in vain for a vinyl version of this. Given that these albums are supposedly recorded with analog tape, I would have thought it would be prime territory for a vinyl release. If anyone at V12 records is reading, hint hint. However, the digipack CD is excellent, the artwork simple but looking surprisingly 3D with top of the paper tree seeming to curl at the edges and lift away from the background.
So this is an essential purchase, more straight ahead than previous albums perhaps, though you can still detect a lot of Livingstone Brown's production style in this. If like me you've been enjoying Robin Trower's recent return to form, rest assured it isn't over yet.
This new offering "Roots and Branches" is in my opinion right up there with it. It is a long time since I have enjoyed an album so much that it is nearly worn out!!!!! To me there is not a weak song on the album.
The playing and production of this album is just superb and so laid back. This is one album that will stand the test of time..
Buy it, you won't regret it....