A fine Blues album by a fine musician
Released through Manhaton Records on 6 May 2016 and quietly grooved along to by Paul Quinton
Somewhere there should be a scroll with the names of British musicians who have been hugely popular and influential overseas but who remain comparatively underappreciated on their home shores, and the name of Robin Trower should be highly prominent thereon. For all the respect in which he’s held among Blues fans, sometimes it comes as a surprise to know how highly regarded and respected he is abroad, particularly in the United States. After all, when acts as diverse as Tesla, Armored Saint and Opeth cover your songs, you’re doing something right.
Where You Are Going To is his 19th solo record, excluding his collaborations with Jack Bruce and Bryan Ferry, and anyone expecting him to continue to channel Hendrix as he did early in his solo career is going to be disappointed, because this is a blues album, pure and simple. It’s a very concise and economical record, ten songs, no track lasts more than six minutes or ever outstays its welcome, at times you’re even left hanging, wanting the man to continue to play some more, to keep the mood going. Interestingly, this is almost a genuine solo record, with Trower singing and playing everything apart from the drums, which are taken care of by Chris Taggart. He’s worked with some fine singers in the past, particularly the late, great James Dewar, but he does an accomplished job on his own account, singing with emotion and adapting to the different styles on the record.
The songs go through a range of moods, and mostly maintain an almost melancholy, reflective mood. Opener ‘When Will The Next Blow Fall’ sets the tone, letting his acknowledged influence of John Lee Hooker come to the fore. Trower describes the title track as looking back over his career, and it’s the longest song on the album, straightforward blues, creating a reflective mood and with a superb solo, where at one point his guitar parts almost duel with themselves. ‘Back Where You Belong’ in contrast picks the pace up, with an injection of funk and a distinct nod to Johnny Guitar Watson. Continuing the thoughtful theme, are ‘We Will be Together Someday’ and ‘I’m Holding On To You’ are tracks written in memory of his late wife, and while the former is the slowest song on the album, with a guitar that matches the mood, the latter has a lighter 12-bar feel, almost soulful in tone, and anyone in any doubt as to his guitar abilities should listen to the sublime solo on ‘Ain’t No Use To Worry’.
Robin Trower has had a long and distinguished career playing guitar and really doesn’t have anything to prove. The fact that he carries on making good albums like this, capable of immersing you in its mood and his playing is something to be enjoyed and celebrated. A good blues album by a fine musician.
7 out of 10
- When Will The Next Blow Fall
- Where You Are Going To
- Back Where You Belong
- The Fruits Of Your Desire
- We Will be Together Someday
- Ain’t No Use To Worry
- In Too Deep
- I’m Holding On To You
- Delusion Sweet Delusion