Classic Rock Review

The home of old record and bootleg reviews…

Robin Trower Bridge Of Sighs (1974)


A recipe for rock immortality, Too Rolling Stoned is not even the lead track off of Robin Trower’s 1974 epic Bridge of Sighs from Chrysalis. In fact, it lies right in the middle, a musical lion lying in wait while the album’s “rock and roll meets the mystic” atmosphere percolates around it. Over 30 years later, Bridge of Sighs remains legendary, powerful, and the masterwork of Trower’s psychedelic blues career.

It’s an essential piece of rock and roll history for music fans, especially those of the 1970s FM radio era. You couldn’t turn on the radio without hearing Robin Trower [b. 1945-] for the better part of the decade for good reason.

Bridge of Sighs was his second album after leaving Procul Harum and it’s the album where his sensibilities and influences came together. It’s perhaps one of the best template albums for how the power trio (guitar/bass/drums) can interact and build atmosphere together. It’s guitar based, with a heavy filter of British blues and psychedelic ruminations on the nature of life, love, and man.

It even contains “more cowbell” (see Lady Love). The lyrics can be a tad hippy dippy and date the album some, but it is the power and passion behind the performance that brings the album to classic status (five stars) and its deserved place in the rock pantheon of the last 50 years.

Though Trower’s guitar atmospherics are the linchpin that holds the music together and drives the album towards 37 minutes and 19 seconds of rock immortality, behind that is a very human influence; that of James Dewar (1942-2002) on bass and vocals, with Reg Isidore on drums. These two guys form a tight, strong, yet supple background and foundation for Trower. They rock, they swing, and they levitate the music in places. As a power trio, they epitomize the definition. Without Dewar’s vocal abilities, it is a safe assumption that the album would not have been as successful in my view.

Dewar has a soulful voice with a touch of world weariness to it; it is the kind of voice that takes the lyrical bromides beyond the cliche territory and into areas of universal truth where they resonate with the audience. Both he and Isidore do much more than just support Trower within the confines of the power trio language. They make the tracks sparkle with nuanced exchanges and hum with powerful support.

They make it possible for Trower’s guitar to float above and, yet, also inhabit the songs from within. His guitar is everywhere, all at once, and yet it lends an ethereal eloquence to Dewar’s vocal phrasing.

Bridge of Sighs remains very much in the moment over 30 years later. These tracks have a timelessness about them that keeps them universally relevant today. It is a must have for any serious rock fan’s collection.

March 15, 2013 - Posted by | Robin Trower Bridge Of Sighs |

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