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Good, But Not Great Robin Trower Release
on June 6, 2013
I have mixed feelings about this latest release from Robin Trower. As a very long time RT fan, I think he shines best during live shows but I will never overlook a new studio release. On the positive, I am so happy to see he is still doing what he loves. This album offers the trademark Robin Trower honey-toned "fat strat" mosaic sound we all love. All of his signature licks, chirps, tweets, crunches, scrapes, and diminished runs are there.
The issue I have is there is nothing really exciting here. RT chose to rearrange and cover mostly famous blues songs duplicated a thousand times by other rock guitar players young and old. RT offers some humility in the liner notes by admitting it difficult to surpass the originals so his rearrangements were merely an attempt to offer something new in appreciation of these great songs. Fair enough, but I don't think it works completely.
Worse still is RTs choice to take the vocal reigns on all songs. While not as disturbing as the first time I heard Satch put out an album with his vocals, RT should have rethought this strategy on a whole album given his very limited vocal range. He isn't bad within the small pocket he finds comfort. However, half of a great blues cover is the vocal. For the life of me I will never understand why so many people think they can sing blues. It is MUCH more difficult to pull off then most people think.
All that said, I do find this album entertaining. Now through multiple listens I find it to be a most enjoyable listen -especially while styling on the porch, sipping on a glass of well-crafted, very old Scotch. The low-key feel and lack of tempo differentiation on most tunes allows one to drift off in thought and just relax. Only a couple of originals here and I think those are the real highlights. Sheltered Moon is wonderful, old-school RT.
Bottom line: classic Robin Trower guitar style and a relaxing feel --3.5 stars