Bridge of Sighs [2007 Bonus Tracks]by Robin Trower
Guitarist Robin Trower's watershed sophomore solo disc remains his most stunning, representative, and consistent collection of tunes. Mixing obvious Hendrix influences with blues and psychedelia, then adding the immensely soulful vocals of James Dewar, Trower pushed the often limited boundaries of the power trio concept into refreshing new waters. The concept gels best in the first track, "Day of the Eagle," where the opening riff rockingly morphs into the dreamy washes of gooey guitar chords that characterize the album's distinctive title track that follows. At his best, Trower's gauzy sheets of oozing, wistful sound and subtle use of wah-wah combine with Dewar's whisky-soaked soul-drenched vocals to take a song like the wistful ballad "In This Place" into orbit. "Too Rolling Stoned," another highlight and one of the most covered tracks from this album, adds throbbing, subtle funk to the mix, changing tempos midway to a slow, forceful amble on top of which Trower lays his quicksilver guitar. One of the few Robin Trower albums without a weak cut, Bridge of Sighs holds up to repeated listenings as a timeless work, as well as the crown jewel in Trower's extensive yet inconsistent catalog. [Chrysalis/Capitol's 2007 reissue included eight bonus BBC sessions.]
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I first heard Robin Trower's "Bridge of Sighs" in the mid 70's on the radio, and after listening to the title track, not only was I hooked, but I had to have it, now. The guitar is deep, soulful, and powerful. The vocals by James Dewar match the guitar perfectly with it's soulfulness, quiet power and deepness. When it was on vinyl (some of you may remember those days), it was among my favorites. Now, after time and CD's, he is still one of my favorites, he's just become "old school" I guess and his work is becoming harder to find. Just give it a listen and see if you don't love him too.
...and have some fun. This version contains some live tracks of the same material. The original album may be the finest example of British Blues guitar work ever done. There is not a weak element anywhere on this disc. The vocal, bass and drum work is all solid, but this is about Robin Trower on the guitar. Everybody talks about "Zep II", but I like this better. It's just too bad that Robin Trower never found this kind of magic on any of his other solo releases.
I know Bridge of Sighs is considered Trower's best, and I know Day of the Eagle by heart because my boyfriend's bar band covered it, but I absolutely love the pounding R & B sound of Little Bit of Sympathy.