So, it’s Saturday and you’re probably expecting a movie review, right? Psych! Or is it Syke!? I don’t know, I’ve never had to spell my 80s cliche before… Anywhat! Since we didn’t review a film for this past week’s The Less Desirables, I’m going to catch up with the Eugeology list. The last entry was okay, not my favorite but I didn’t hate it. Eugene will catch up soon, I think and Jon, again, has assured me he’s not tapped out. Let’s do this one:
#29 – Bridge of Sighs by Robin Trower.
My first take was oh jeez, blues crap! but it turned out that it wasn’t all that bad. I mean, there’s definitely some blues stuff happening but isn’t most rock and roll? There are times where it’s a bit much on the album. For the most part, I’m cool with it. It’s not a bunch of Stevie Ray Vaughn ugliness and that’s a plus. And no, Eugene, that’s not an invitation to “convert” me to SRV.
I love the use of spatial effects (that’s spatial, not special) like in the title track. I listened to this album via headphones because I was at home and Alexa couldn’t find it. So, I Napstered it. The point of that is that I can hear the depth changes in the “room” as the guitar parts are being played. The panning is pretty cool, too. So, if you listen to this album, allow yourself the luxury of headphones at least once. The wind effect was a nice touch, too. The unintelligible conversation as the song closes out is also a clever addition. I never understand what they’re saying but it adds to the mystery. It reminds me of Pink Floyd on the Dark Side of the Moon album. I also like how the wind carries (and wisps away) on the following track, “In This Place.”
I really can’t say enough about the ambiance of the entire album. Matthew Fisher, the producer, took very good care of Mr. Trower on this album. All the instruments are prevalent and have great timbre and tone. Fisher was the organist for Procol Harem (“A Whiter Shade of Pale”), which Trower was a part of prior to his solo efforts.
Bassist and vocalist James Dewar, who hasn’t the greatest of all voices, does have at least one thing in his favor when it comes to his vocals, emotion. You can almost feel what he’s singing. But, I have heard this voice before and I can’t figure out where. I’ve checked out his history and nothing that he’s sung on before was something that I recognized (it was mostly Trower stuff).
Trower’s guitar prowess is pretty darned good. Yes, he’s a bit overly-bluesy at times, but it’s flavorful and inventive, not just bluesy for the sake of being so. His tone is pretty cool, using Leslie (rotating speaker), chorus and wah-wah effects to intensify the “feel and grab” of the guitar parts. His riffs and licks speak to you.
Reg Isidore’s drumming is a great compliment to the other two instruments. Nothing too flashy but definitely solid. It did seem that he skipped a beat or two, or just played something that made me think he did in “Too Rolling Stoned” which wasn’t my favorite song from the album. Probably my least fave. But, as a trio, the band had a lot of presence and finesse.
I’ve heard “Lady Love” somewhere before but I don’t know where. There’s nothing much on it. I do like it, though. I love the power of the final track, “Little Bit of Sympathy.” The stops are tight and the runs by Dewar and Isidore are happenin’. All that while Trower runs amuck without ruining the song. Tasteful. My favorites on the album are “In This Place,” “Little Bit of Sympathy,” “Day of the Eagle,” “About to Begin” and the title track.
I was dreading this album, but instead, I found that I really enjoyed it. I have to say it didn’t get a full compliment of listens – I usually try for six minimum – but, I could write this review off of three, I think that’s pretty impressive. Eug, thanks for introducing me, sorry it took so long. I can’t wait for this review. Jon, see ya in the funny papers, man.
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“If you stand in the light, you get the feel of the ride and the music that plays in your ears. In your head you can hear, a voice so sweet and clear and the music that plays in your head. As it flows up from the ground, taking all who hear that sound, close your eyes, it’s about to begin.” – “About to Begin” (Trower)