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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Robin Trower – The Playful Heart album review

Robin Trower – The Playful Heart album review
Released on: V12 Records. Release date: Available now.

Robin Trower, guitarist extraordinaire has been around for quite some time, most notably before his solo career with Procol Harum, but he’s really got most of his street credibility since going solo.

His heavy blues style may perhaps not be everyones cup of tea, often compared to the likes of (Jimi) Hendrix and Cream, but he’s been doing it long enough, that maybe those artists could be compared to him! It’s basically six of one and half a dozen of the other so to speak.

There’s no doubting the respect that other musicians have for him and the fact that Trower has ‘lived to tell the tale’ as such, speaks volumes.
I know for a fact that here in the States, it’s like he’s become more popular as a live player than ever as he’s got older!

‘The Playful Heart,’ the latest release is his twenty-fifth release with the Robin Trower Band and I believe – Depends on whose stats you read! – his eighteenth studio album.

I know he was excited to get his current live band into the studio to do this, that line up being, R.T. (Guitars and Vocals on tracks 2, 4,6,8,9 and 11), Glenn Letsch (Bass) – Livingstone Brown also plays on here on three tracks. – Pete Thompson (Drums) and Davey Pattison (Vocals).

I’m really not the greatest blues fan to be completely honest, with the exception of the likes of Jeff Healey (RIP), Joe Bonamassa, Stevie Ray Vaughn, etc and so this took a few plays for me to appreciate … Sorry, that’s just me!

The title track opens the album nicely and it’s a steady grower, the more I’ve played this, the more I really have grown to like this.

‘Don’t Look Back’ is a moody soul for sure, but then that’s what ‘the blues’ is all about right and as previously mentioned, the comparisons to Cream and Hendrix are of course very clear. Some nice harmonising on the vocals here.
Trower’s playing clearly still stands tall too!

With ‘The Turning,’ it’s a more upbeat number initially, before getting more soulful and I really liked this one from the start, good vocal work again and a very catchy riff / hookline from the main man.

I have to say, ‘Dressed in Gold’ next, kind of reminds me of ‘All Along The Watchtower,’ sorry it just does.
‘Find Me’ though next, sounds very reminiscent of early Trower, so this should please traditionalists out there for sure, quite a deep blues groove for sure.

Things pick up some for ‘Song For Those Who Fell’ and some serious guitar wailing from Trower here and then some true Trower next on ‘Maybe I Can Be A Friend,’ as he plays really deep, slow blues … Grooving baby!

‘Prince of Shattered Dreams’ has a certain mystical and haunting feel to it that creeps up on you and I really got to enjoy this.

I’m kind of reminded of Van Morrison on ‘Camille’ next, deeply soulful, almost folksy blues.

‘Not Inside – Outside’ picks things up nicely next, clever harmony vocal and a real rocking classic Trower sounding solo.

The moody, laid back ‘… And We Shall Call It Love,’ closes the album to complete the session.

So that’s it, eleven new tracks from Mr. Trower, perhaps on another day I might’ve marked this a little higher, but sometimes the album just gets a little too deep for me.
I’m sure Trower fans though will enjoy it way more.

Trower starts his US tour next month and from what I’ve been hearing, the guy live is something else!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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