Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Eugeology: Eugene's List of Hard Rock Albums and Possible Gems Part 29 - Robin Trower 'Bridge of Sighs'

‘Bridge of Sighs’ is a forgotten classic by Robin Trower. Sure, the album went gold and topped out at number 7 on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums chart. It was Trower’s breakthrough album.

There are many similarities to Jimi Hendrix when it comes to Trower’s style. And that is more than okay. In my opinion, Trower bridged the gap from Hendrix to Van Halen when it came to the gods of guitar. It wasn’t like Hendrix was releasing any new material.

“Day of the Eagle” opens up the album with its straight-ahead in your face blistering riffs. James Dewar’s slightly raspy vocals give the song a little depth of blues, and yet it manages to make you jam out like you were listening to a Motorhead tune. The song isn’t played on classic rock stations across the country shows exactly that give one an example of what’s wrong with classic radio.

The title track gives you a trippy little respite where each note is measured and maintained for maximum effectiveness. Just make sure to put in the earbuds or slip on the headphones for the song. And thankfully, you can hear “Bridge of Sighs” occasionally on classic rock stations across the country. And it segues nicely into the next song “In This Place”.

“In This Place” is another song that really features Dewar’s beautiful voice. There are plenty of things dancing around your head as well when it comes to “headphone music”. The leads that dance off each other in the instrumental break are simply beautiful as well.

Enough of the dreamy, melodic stuff… “The Fool and Me” picks up the pace once again. This song sounds as if King’s X has some influence from Robin Trower. If they haven’t, they should really cover the song at some point. The lack of overdubs during the instrumental break really shows that Trower doesn’t need a rhythm guitarist. He managed to keep the rhythm while hitting you with every blistering note from his Stratocaster.

Another damn shame… “Too Rolling Stoned” isn’t played on classic rock radio either. This tune is a rocker. I’ve played it on jukeboxes at various places and watched people bobbing their heads and going over the thing to find out who the artist is. The lazy little blues riffing on the back half of the song is perfect and keeps the rocker from becoming stale. You’ll find yourself bobbing your head as Trower lays down some serious melodic lead guitar.

“About to Begin” slows things down again on side two… Sorry, I reverted back to my old vinyl copy of the album. The interplay of all the guitars on this track really shows Trower’s desire to make a damn good song instead of a showcase for his lead ability. The man respects melody and it definitely shows in this song.

“Lady Love” is a song that fills the cowbell prescription. The song is a “lite” blister rocker. Even though it moves along at a good pace, the studio version lacks that punch in the face. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great tune in my opinion… But the live versions that I’ve heard really give the tune a little more “oomph”.

“Little Bit of Sympathy” closes out the album (unless you’re listening to the various re-releases over the years) with a bluesy face-melter. Again, there’s a lack of guitar overdubs that shows you how Trower’s melodic playing doesn’t need a rhythm guitarist.

Check out Tim's take on the album RIGHT HERE.

I managed to see Trower back in the late 90s at the old Ziggy’s (now a parking lot) near Deacon Blvd. in Winston-Salem. I went with my buddy Chip who was an even bigger fan than I was. We even stood out in the rain to meet him and get an autograph.

He put out a live album after that tour and Chip came to me with the insert. “Is that us at Ziggy’s?” he asked.

I wasn’t sure, but it sure as hell looked like the old Ziggy’s from stage right and that sure as hell looked like us in the front row having a grand ol’ time. And sadly, I haven’t been able to find that CD since I dragged my feet on ordering it back then.

Bottom line is this… If you’re a fan of classic rock or hard rock or even blues rock, ‘Bridge of Sighs’ should be somewhere in your collection whether it’s a hard copy or you’re streaming it.

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