Robin Trower

Robin Trower – Bridge Of Sighs (50th anniversary deluxe edition, Chrysalis)

Produced by his Procol Harum bandmate Matthew Fisher, 2024 marks the 50th anniversary of Bridge Of Sighs, which is an album that I feel gets cruelly overlooked whenever classic 1970s records are being discussed. So it is fantastic to see Robin Trower‘s epic second full length getting the deluxe treatment on its golden anniversary.

It comes as a four CD disc set in a hardback book sleeve, with various luminaries singing Trower’s praises, not least the inestimable Robert Fripp, who admits that “Half a century later, I’m still going to Robin’s gigs” and Heart‘s Ann Wilson, who rates the title track as “one of the best blues songs ever recorded.” She’s right too, and much of Bridge Of Sighs would pave the way, many years later, for 90s Rockers such as Chris Cornell and Soundgarden, who were clearly taking note.

‘Day Of The Eagle‘ bursts in at the album’s outset, Reg Isidore’s urgent pounding of the drums here akin to Hendrix‘s ‘Crosstown Traffic‘ on a foot to the floor blues thunderbolt, until its unexpectedly gentle fade out.

There are only eight tracks on Bridge Of Sighs, but each one is a gloriously performed, carefully constructed aural experience. They’re not “just songs” – you actually find yourself wrapped up in the soundscapes Trower creates with his formidable talent, shiftshaping his guitar into a vast array of emotions. ‘In This Place‘ in particular is a stone cold classic – a majestic lament to lost love that is both tremendously sad and comforting at the same time.

The out and out blues rock of ‘The Fool And Me‘, ‘Too Rolling Stoned‘ and ‘Lady Love‘ are very much in the spirit of Free or Cream and totally exhilarating, to the extent that, despite their age, they don’t sound dated at all. Perhaps, even, The Black Keys can be levelled as a modern day counterpart.

So, let’s not dwell on the original album any longer, for there are three further discs here. Set two includes the 2024 stereo mix of the record’s out takes and rarities, which are arguably even more spirited – not to mention noisier – than their original 1974 form. Various instrumental snapshots are laid out for us, and interestingly, the alternative take of ‘Little Bit Of Sympathy‘ leans toward the sound of Spencer Davis Group, while the early version of ‘Lady Love‘ has shades of Motown about it.

Disc three is entitled Live At The Record Plant, Sausalito, USA. Along with the various Bridge Of Sighs tracks performed for a rapturous audience, there’s the stirring concert opener ‘Twice Removed From Yesterday‘ and the pulsating ‘Alathea‘, at that point not yet committed to vinyl but which would come to fruition on 1975’s For Earth Below. This particular set ends on ‘Rock Me Baby‘, which adeptly conveys just what a virtuoso performer Trower truly is.

Disc four sees Blu-ray audio versions of the previous discs, which is nice to have, if not necessarily essential. What absolutely is essential though, is Bridge Of Sighs itself, and Chrysalis have given us a masterful treatment of it, as regards packaging and honing it to its full potential for newer audiences. It’s an absolute must have.

Bridge Of Sighs 50th anniversary deluxe edition will be released through Chrysalis on May 17th.

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God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.