Forty years might separate Robin Trower’s biggest success and Joanne Shaw Taylor’s latest album, but both tap into that deep vein of soulful, heart-felt blues rock. Only this month Trower has become a fully certified elder statesman of rock, celebrating his 70th birthday and with now over 50 years in the business.
But first, Joanne Shaw Taylor. She really impressed tonight, excelling with the more upbeat raunchy numbers (‘Mud Honey’, ‘Tied & Bound’) whilst showing that – as on Frankie Miller’s ‘Jealousy’ – she can slow things down to wring every last nuance out of a good tune.
Backed by two fine musicians – Oliver Perry (drums) and Tom Godlington (bass) – she left the audience thinking that a 40 minute set was far too short especially as she could only touch upon her now impressive back catalogue.
It would be fair to say that Robin Trower is somewhat frozen in the seventies, and we’re not just talking age here. Most of tonight’s adoring audience were of a certain vintage too – certainly old enough to remember the first pressing of ‘Bridge Of Sighs’, Trower’s major calling card back in 1974.
It was no surprise that the set seemed to be built around that album and pivoted on its title track whilst other time-worn and much-loved classics included ‘Lady Love’, ‘Day Of The Eagle’ and ‘Too Rolling Stoned’. Surprisingly, perhaps, only one track was featured from the new album.
Richard Watts (bass) handled the lion’s share of the vocals and if he lacked Jim Dewar’s soulful resonance he did a fine job nevertheless and along with Christopher Taggart (drums) provided the tight backbeat for Trower’s guitar excursions.
To the uninitiated Trower’s style may seem to be variations on a theme but he is one of the few guitarists who can really take the listener on a journey. Entrancing as well as emotional. This was perhaps best realised on ‘The Turning’ with a quite superb coda. Whilst this was a nod to 2011′s ‘The Playful Heart’ (along with ‘Not Inside – Outside’) it’s a shame that – overall – the show was still very much seventies-bound although there were other, brief, references to later albums notably ’20th Century Blues’ and the more recent ‘Roots And Branches’.
In tonight’s excellent double-header age and youth combined to draw upon the deep well of soulful blues rock, delivered with real passion and real heart. And from Robin Trower in particular, music that moved and caressed the audience in equal measure.
Review and photos by David Randall
Robin Trower: 1. Somebody Calling 2. Rise Up Like The Sun 3. See My Life 4. Daydream 5. Lady Love 6. Snakes And Ladders 7. Day Of The Eagle 8. Bridge Of Sighs 9. Confessin’ Midnight 10. The Turning 11. Not Inside – Outside 12. Little Bit Of Sympathy Encore: 13. Too Rolling Stoned 14. For Earth Below
Joanne Shaw Taylor: 1. Mud Honey 2. Just Another Word 3. Watch ‘em Burn 4. Jealousy 5. Jump That Train 6. Tried, Tested & True 7. Tied & Bound
Album review (Robin Trower) and interview
The latest Facebook Live session from Canadian singer-songwriter Josh Taerk Sunday 21 March 16:00 EST, 21:00 GMT
David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 14 March 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.
UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 23 March 2021.
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