By Ray Shasho
-Interviewed on September 9th 2014
Guitar gallantry … innovative songwriting … soulful vocal styling’s … hard rock & blues tenacity … legendary artistry … these are just a few words that can describe the amazing musical genius of …
This year marks the 40th anniversary of one of the greatest rock albums in music history. (lead vocals and bass) and on drums. It was this simplistic framework that musically overpowered many of their peers and lofted the band into superstardom. was recorded on the Chrysalis/Capitol label and reached #7 in the U.S. while staying on the charts for 31 weeks. That same year the album was certified gold. (1974) was only the second studio album released by the Robin Trower power-trio of (guitar and vocals),
composed a mesmerizing and overwhelming sound mix of Psychedelic Rock, R&B & Funk melodies combined with lucid mind-numbing lyrical content. Most of the tracks were written by . The success of the album motivated many listeners to go back and retrieve Trower’s debut album (1973) which also became a certified gold album. Both albums were produced by (Procol Harum) and also engineered by (The Beatles audio engineer).
From the very beginning, developed a very unique style of his own. Trower’s ingredients include a heavy dose of hypnotic rock with Progressive, Blues, Acid Rock and R&B overtones. The metaphysical lyrical content was delivered by the commanding voice of . The mesmerizing musical qualities of Trower and Dewar instantly transported the listener’s mind musically into other worlds and dimensions. Vocalist/bassist/songwriter (1942-2002) was a rare musical gem and extremely crucial to the success of as well as all his recordings with the band and their live performances.
The title of the album was believed to be inspired by a bridge located in Venice, Italy. The view from the was the last view of Venice that convicts saw before their imprisonment. In my recent interview with Robin, I learned that the name of the album and monumental track came from an entirely different source.
: is back on the road again with a rather lengthy tour which kicks off on in The Trower power-trio lands in on at . For a full listing of Robin Trower concert dates click or go to for further information. To purchase tickets for the in St. Pete, Florida click or visit for more information.
The Robin Trower travelling power-trio is … (vocals, guitar), (bass and vocals), and (drums). Trower’s most recent album entitled (2013) will be supported on the tour.
Robin Trower also has a coming out sometime at the beginning of 2015. The album will follow in the footsteps of but all the tracks will be originals and written by Robin.
I had the great pleasure of chatting with recently about… The new album …The tour… ‘Bridge of Sighs’ turning 40 … James Brown … And much more!
Here’s my interview with legendary guitarist, songwriter, vocalist, with … The Paramounts/ Procol Harum/ Robin Trower / and collaborations with Jack Bruce …
“Hello Ray, we’re looking forward to coming back to St. Pete.”
“Richard Watts on bass and vocals who has also performed on ‘Roots and Branches’ and Chris Taggart the same drummer on the album.”
“I haven’t spoken with him for awhile but I think he’s doing okay. Because I’ve been doing more singing myself, I think I’m going more down that road. I’ve discovered that I enjoy singing what I’ve written and feel the vocals are more connected to the original idea when I do it. Of course when you’re writing you are singing it to yourself, so it’s a natural thing when you actually go in to record it and you’re singing it yourself, it sounds right to you. Obviously Davie is a great-great singer, but I think the material is a bit more personal and especially this new album where the lyrics are more personal to me.”
“I think just in the new year. All the songs will be originals and I must say it turned out really well; I’m also very pleased with the guitar on it. The album is rolling on from ‘Roots and Branches’ only having written the material myself instead of doing a few covers. I think what I’ve learned to do with the guitar when I did ‘Roots and Branches’ has fed into this new album and that’s the way I’d put it.”
“I think of myself as fundamentally rock and roll and obviously very rhythm and blues influence. Doing the stuff I do with electric guitar, I don’t think I could make that shift. I’m thinking music from the 60’s and 70’s with dance beats going on … either that or heavy soul ballads, and you need to be that kind of singer to start.”
“I feel very comfortable doing blues … blues influence and rock and roll, that’s really where I’m coming from. My favorite artist as you know is James Brown, Howlin’ Wolf, Son House, and the people like that had a great influence on my writing, so I’m very comfortable singing those kinds of tunes.”
“It’s very tough to lose the missus. I’ve been very fortunate to have something to work on. I had the material already and was able to get in the studio and get working, and now I’ve got the tour coming up so that will help to clear my head a little bit.”
I know …I don’t want to even think about it. (All laughing)
“I actually had the piece of music and the verse for several months and one day I opened the sports pages of the newspaper and there was a horse running that day called ‘Bridge of Sighs.’ I just thought, oh, what a great title, I wonder if I could make it work with the song that I’m working on … and it worked! When I saw the name of the horse called ‘Bridge of Sighs’ I immediately thought about the story of the bridge in Venice, so it is connected to that. The horse wouldn’t have been called that if it wasn’t for the bridge in Venice.”
“When I was writing material for the new album coming out, I was reading an article about an author, and they mentioned a friend of his who is a lady author named Jean Rhys, and they mentioned the title of her famous book ‘Good Morning, Midnight’ and I thought, oh, I’ve got to have that, and I’ve written a song coming from that title. You stumble across these things and they spark something off in your mind.”
“Thank you very much … well a lot of that is due to the fantastic singing of James Dewar. I always thought his vocals are what made it commercial, so it would be played on the radio. He had a beautiful voice and was very soulful.”
“No doubt about it! It has a real power to it and once you start it, it takes on a life of its own.”
““The Fool and Me” was definitely inspired by James Brown. “Too Rolling Stoned” I think is also James Brown influenced, in fact there are some changes on that when it goes to the turnaround, I actually lifted those changes from a James Brown song called “Down And Out In New York City.” If there was anyone you could call genius it was James Brown, he just had the most incredible voice and it would tear the heart right out of you… just wonderful! He and Dinah Washington are my favorite singers. I was fortunate to see James Brown perform at his peak; he came over to London in 1965.”
“You are born with a gift and I do believe that. Here’s my take on it, I think anybody and everybody can learn to play music up to their efficiency, but to be a creative person, that’s the gift you have to have to take it somewhere.”
“Hopefully you can stop by and we’ll have a chat, thanks Ray
… cheers for now!
Robin Trower’s latest CD and watch for his brand new release in the beginning of 2015.
‘Roots and Branches ‘Track listings: 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) 8) 9) 10) 11)
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