Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Robin Trower: Roots and Branches

Roots and Branches
Robin Trower
It's been 40 years - give or take a month or two - since Robin Trower left Procul Harum. Since then, he has been far from idle and has nearly 30 solo albums to prove it. He has also worked with other artists, most notably with Brian Ferry (as both player and producer).

Roots and Branches features a number of new songs which happily rub shoulders with covers of blues and R'N B classics. Initially, the album was conceived as an all-covers affair, as Robin confirms: ''I started off thinking I would do a complete album of covers. I wanted to get as far away from the originals as possible. I came up with half a dozen arrangements, which I felt were different enough.''

Then the project escalated. ''I ended up writing some new songs as well. I have tried to make the new songs be influenced by what I have done with the classics, so the album blends together.''

Track List

Hound Dog
The Thrill Is Gone
When I Heard Your Name
Little Red Rooster
I Believe To My Soul
Shape Of Things To Come
That's Alright Mama
Save Your Love
Born Under A Bad Sign
Sheltered Moon
See My Life

The covers (Roots) are generally softer and more bluesy than the original versions, with Robin's guitar well to the fore. That is not to say visions of the originals are not present; indeed, it is easy to picture Elvis, Ray Charles and a pair of Kings (B.B. and Albert) et al dropping in from their respective places in this world or the next, nodding in approval and tapping their toes on their way back.

The new songs (Branches) fit in seamlessly with the covers. When I Heard Your Name is probably the pick of the Branches, managing to effortlessly combine feelings of freshness and familiarity.

Stand out tracks: Hound Dog, Little Red Rooster, That's Alright Mama, When I Heard Your Name.

There's nothing too demanding here; it's good, solid blues to be enjoyed anytime, anywhere. I'm sure the songs would sound even better live, but we'll have to wait a little longer than expected as the intended UK tour has been postponed (possibly until Autumn 2013).

Roots and Branches will be released on Manhaton Records on 4 February 2013. Pre-orders are now being taken; for further details, please visit the Robin Trower website.

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