Review: Robin Trower – Roots And Branches

Posted on: Saturday, Feb 2, 2013

Robin front cover.jpg

Robin Trower – Roots And Branches

(Manhaton Records: Hatman 2030)

Ex-Procol Harum member and world renowned guitar virtuoso Robin Trower has chosen to go back to his ‘roots’ for this his new album, combining re-worked classics with a few new original numbers ‘branches’, moulded in the same vein to complete the set. To enable Robin to place his mark on these old classics he has stripped the numbers down to their bare bones, a comparatively slow and almost meandering pace is applied throughout to allow Robin to effectively utilise his unique muscularly prowling and predatory interweaving guitar work.

His stirring and stunning string bending abilities are amply displayed here, generating low-level tingling howls and smouldering wailing; this is particularly evident on Howlin’ Wolfs’ “Little Red Rooster”. The addition of Paul Jones atmospheric harp work to Robins’ smoky sweat stained tasteful playing on “Hound Dog” and “That’s Alright Mama”, brings back happy memories of Big Mama Thorntons’ and Arthur Crudups original versions. “Save Your Love”, one of the ‘branches’, is a majestic and very mellowing slowburner that cannot be hurried and is all the better for it.

Robins’ mellow and husky vocals are particularly suited to the mood of the numbers here, especially so on the dreamlike and languid “Sheltered Moon”. One of the most enjoyably consistent factors found on all the numbers is how Robin deftly entwines his lyrical and highly relaxing solos so that they wash over you without them ever becoming too obvious. I feel it should be noted that all the original numbers fit so very seamlessly in alongside the reworked classics.

Good Stuff!

BRIAN HARMAN

www.trowerpower.com

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