I received my cd today and must say I am mightily impressed!! I always thought it unfair that trower is tagged as a british jimi hendrix. My view is that he has his own unique style. anyway, all tracks on this cd are superb. buy it!! 10/10. You wont be dissapointed. Why are there no modern musicians of this caliber anymore???
I have been a fan of the blues for more years than I care to remember and a fan of Robin Trower since the original release of the "Bridge of Sighs" album way back, which to me was the classic Trower album.
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..
Robin Trower seems to be going from strength to strength, providing yet another example of a 70s musician who is as good today as ever he was. Still touring, still writing and dare I say it, some his strongest material has been on Another Days Blues (Digipak),What Lies Beneath,Seven Moons, and The Playful Heart. Roots and Branches is a change of pace from those, as it's an album mostly of classic blues covers. I must confess I was a little dubious when I read that. Normally I don't associate Robin Trower with traditional blues cuts like Little Red Rooster. I needn't have worried. Unlike the Eric Clapton approach, where every nuance of some blues hero's style is lovingly replicated, Mr Trower has chosen to rework all of the covers in his own psychedelic style, using rich chorused rhythms contrasting with slow burning, lyrical solos. He even throws in a couple of originals to round out the package.
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 album consists mainly of covers, but they are shoogled about and given a new lease of life by Mr Trower. We get familiar tracks such as That's all right Mama and Little Red Rooster slowed down to become dirty blues whilst Hound Dog is given a funky makeover and the only obvious "Hendrixy" guitar is on the album closer See my life. It shouldn't work, but does, because Trower is a consummate musician and the vocals shared between himself and bassist Richard Watts are top notch. I have however felt the need to drop a star mainly because tracks such as The Thrill has Gone and Born under a Bad Sign don't really add much to the originals and the latter-day Claptonesque When I Heard Your Name is a tad bland. They're not bad by any stretch but just don't excite like the other tracks. Still a very worthwhile album though - Get it!
Robin has been around a long time, first saw him - I think on the Old Grey Whistle Test - BBC, about 1976/7. And been listening to him ever since. Amazing sounds and wish I could get to a live concert... Not easy unless he comes to Qatar! Maybe one day.. Great stuff anyway. If you like blues and rock I think you'll enjoy this.
It's a great CD in the Trower tradition, the new stuff is great and he takes a new slant on the classic rock n roll / R&B tracks. Great sound, thanks Livie. I recommend it to any electric blues fans as a must have. Well done Robin.
As stated by others Robin Trower deserves much recognition for his expertise on the Guitar.He has a stle that some feel was a bit Hendrixy but does have his own quality burnung through.here takes blues classics he grew up with and adds his style.If you appreciate a good honest guitar player of Blues and more intricate guitar cds this will be up your street
Nice of Robin Trower to show us his roots and he plays them his style. I particularly like his version of B.B.King's "The thrill is gone" - superb. The thrill ain't gone! He also has a couple of his own songs on there too which blend in really well with the covers.
Robin Trower's Roots and Branches just works! So glad I stumbled across this. Great version of Hound Dog ( a song I've never really liked until now) and Little Red Rooster is magnificent. You should buy it too.