Robin Trower: New Release The Playful Heart

It’s impossible to play a run with as much feeling as a single note. I’ve never been so much into runs as making single notes cry.
~ Robin Trower

It’s been a while since we touched base, and it seems that for the first time in the three year history of The Blues Blogger I’m having trouble with what to say… Much has happened in the past year; some things have been sad and others so very sweet… So I apologize if I sound a little awkward.

You see, last spring I accepted a new offline day gig. This was a challenging and rewarding opportunity to help support my family. It’s very technical and requires significant left brain thinking; or as I refer to as the logical scrooge side. As a result, there’s been an unfamiliar stillness in the air. People walk by me curiously; rolling their eyes as I go about exercising my silent left brain affairs.

In the meantime, E-mails from concerned readers of my blog and continuous requests to publish material online made me ponder how to get back on track. Like I said in my first post of the year, Blues 2010: Still Got the Groove, TBB is a one man show.

Then I overheard some music that my wife TBBW was listening to upstairs… I’ve heard that mesmerizing sound so many times before; especially in my youth. But this time around it really got me thinking. Then I recalled a phone conversation I had several weeks back where Robin Trower’s name came up.

Suddenly my hiatus was over. And for the moment, my study room this past weekend was once again filled with that awesome rush of sounds and the feelings the music brings.

For the past three years The Blues Blogger has not only been known as a destination for blues/jazz and classic rock music fans, but also as a unique blog where the guitar is a central focus. Listening to the latest release of Robin Trower’s new album The Playful Heart gave me the chance to not only feature an important guitar icon, but also provided me with the unexpected right turn I needed.


His name may not come up in conversation as often as his colleagues Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page or Jeff Beck, but make no mistake about it; Trower has done his share in bringing a distinctive tone and inventive vision to audiences worldwide.

After leaving Procol Harum in 1972, he began a solo career and formed The Robin Trower Band. His 1973 debut album Twice Removed From Yesterday got attention for its brilliant mix of psychedelic-rock and blues. But it was his landmark second release Bridge Of Sighs that would be his signature LP. The album would rise to #7 on Billboard magazine’s top 200 charts, and also established the guitarist as an admired rock headliner.

Robin Talks About The Playful Heart

Several records in the seventies and an ensuing live LP, all earned him gold album awards. However, towards the end of the seventies Trower began to waft from his signature sound in an attempt to capture a funkier harder rock flavor.

In the early-1980s, Trower teamed up with one of my favorite bass players and former Cream bassist Jack Bruce for a pair of albums. Now out of my teenage daze, it was 1981’s B.L.T (Bruce Lordan & Trower) with its superb blend of rock, blues, and soul that had a multitude of spins on my turntable way back then.

With 1997’ s release of Someday Blues, Trower once again changed his propensity in favor of a raw blues-rock sound, which continued on 2004’s Living Out Of Time and 2005’s Another Days Blues. Trower would re-unite with Jack Bruce in 2008 for the album Seven Moons and resulting Seven Moons Live DVD in 2009.

Later in 2009, he released another solo effort What Lies Beneath, and for the first time stepped in front of the microphone to sing his own material.

Robin On Recording The Playful Heart

Like so many of his peers, Trower continues to perform and record to considerable praise. With his new release The Playful Heart we see a more reflective sounding Robin Trower. I really didn’t know what to expect when I started listening to this album, but was quite drawn by the catchy riffs and emotional playing alongside that characteristic Trower tone. It was certainly the right prescription to snap me out of my commonsensical left sided thought waves.

There are several highlights here from the rockin’ “The Turning,” to the catchy “Dressed in Gold,” and melodic “Camille.” The album covers the gamut from rock/blues, jazzy textures with funky grooves all wrapped in a wistful vibe. It was recorded with his touring band: vocalist Davey Pattison, drummer Pete Thompson and bassist Glenn Letsch. The album was produced by Livingston Brown who has worked in the past as a touring and session musician with artists such as Tina Turner, Bryan Ferry and Sting.

On The Playful Heart Trower comes out with an album that is sure to please not only his long times fans, but hopefully a new generation of guitar aficionados who may not be as familiar.

So now I want to turn this post over to you. Are you a Robin Trower fan? Any highlights from his illustrious career that stand out for you? Have you ever seen, or will you be seeing Robin and his band as they pass through your town in the New Year? I’d love to hear your thoughts. So please leave your comments in the section below.

Thank you for your support! I wish you all a very safe and festive holiday season.

The Blues Blogger

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16 Responses to “Robin Trower: New Release The Playful Heart”

  1. Scano December 12, 2010 at 10:56 pm #

    My kids are forced to listen to Dad’s music, especially when trapped in the car. One day my youngest son, now 15 but 6 then, commented from the back seat that “no-one makes the guitar cry like Trower.” I’ve never forgotten that assessment from the purest of critics. We have now heard more wonderful crying from this latest Trower gem. Trower fan? Absolutely!! Saw him the only time he’s played Oz and it’s still in my top five gigs next to Killing Joke, Tangerine Dream, The Saints & Radio Birdman. The beauty in Trower’s music is that every note matters regardless of the mood or type of song he’s playing. His gift to us is that he cares so. As noted by other’s more adept to comment e.g. Robert Fripp & Bryan Ferry just for starters. Robin please come back downunder as your diehard fans need our kids to see and experience the best, …. on the planet, … by far!! Please please, DVD’s aren’t the same. Please!

  2. marcel lemieux alias starflight December 12, 2010 at 11:30 pm #

    Hello to you..
    Nice to see you are still there,i just love this post..informative and interesting as to the career of Robin Trower..i had lost he trail way back and yet he and his old band played an important part in my youth..i definitely will have to get his new album…what i like about this dude is he has manage to keep that underground feel which is super,plus the studio work/sound is thank to you ..Marcel

  3. Bill December 12, 2010 at 11:34 pm #

    Robin Trower still leaves me “Too rolling stoned”. A true master of his profession. I only hope I see him live sometime.

  4. Acoustic Guitar Lessons December 13, 2010 at 3:41 pm #

    Thanks for the introduction to Robin Trower, and happy Holidays to everyone in the Blues Blogger Community. Hope to “see” you all in the new year.

  5. Dave from Montreal December 13, 2010 at 9:13 pm #

    Thanks for the great post on RT!

    “Well that stone just keeps on rollin” – can’t wait to get my copy of Playfull Heart. We will be sitting in the front row for the Vegas show in Feb.

  6. Latoya Bridges December 22, 2010 at 4:22 am #

    Thanks for the great post on RT! “Well that stone just keeps on rollin” – can’t wait to get my copy of Playful Heart. We will be sitting in the front row for the Vegas show in Feb.

  7. Jan Santos December 23, 2010 at 7:37 pm #

    Thanks for the introduction to Robin Trower, and happy Holidays to everyone in the Blues Blogger Community. Hope to “see” you all in the new year.

  8. Ian Dickinson January 13, 2011 at 1:12 am #

    Great post. I’m a Robin Trower first-timer and definitely an instant fan!

  9. Paul McGuire January 21, 2011 at 1:47 pm #

    The first concert I ever went to was Madison Square Garden in NYC in 1975 with Robin Trower as headliner and Wishbone Ash as warm-up, the good old days of taking the train into the city to see a show. Trower was great and did all his hits from that time. Anyway, after not listening to him for a long time I really enjoyed What Lies Beneath and have ordered his new one. He’s scheduled to play BB Kings in NYC in June 2011 and looking forward to going.

  10. John Lutes January 24, 2011 at 5:55 pm #

    I’ll be seeing Robin Trower for the first time at the House of Blues in a couple weeks. It’s hard to express how fired up I am for the show. I’m just as excited to see Davey Pattison sing.

    We need him to put out a high quality live DVD, so we can begin to understand how he makes all these great songs. He’s a deluxe guitar player, truly influential.

    I’m thrilled with The Playful Heart, and I don’t need to compare it to other albums to recommend it. It’s mellow, yet overdriven and loaded with style.

    Hats off to Robin and the band. Love it !

  11. Mojo Doctor February 7, 2011 at 10:14 pm #

    Robin is going to appear again in a few weeks at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz, California where I saw him last year. Won’t miss it!
    The band that opened last year was Corby Yates Band, a must for you folks fortunate enough to hear him. Kind of ‘punk blues’ and an amazing guitarist too boot.

    Thanks Blues Blogger for all your fine efforts!

  12. The Fool and Me February 24, 2011 at 12:31 pm #

    Trower was the second concert I ever saw way back in ’76 as he toured for Long Misty Days. Fantastic! I saw him in a smaller venue many years later (20th century Blues, I think) and really enjoyed him again. His first three albums were seminal in my musical collection and I’m looking forward to seeing him in Buffalo in June.
    Thanks for getting Robin’s name out there again!

  13. Tony Knight March 28, 2011 at 5:39 pm #

    Trower fan? Oh yeah. I’ve seen RT at least 20 times over the years. Great player and great feel. The Playful Heart is wonderful. The man is going strong.

  14. Bernadette Stevens April 5, 2011 at 1:43 pm #

    Been a fan since the late 60’s when Procol Harem first came to the US. I saw the group many times in Florida, Philadelphia, etc. and have seen Robin on his own about 6 times and have a ticket for his Harrah’s gig in Atlantic City in June. Saw him at House of Blues but the sound system distorted his sound too much. I’m hoping this next concert will have a better sound system to showcase his incredible sound. He’s so underrated and I was happy to see this in-depth blog about a great, innovative guitarist.

  15. Fan May 30, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

    Anyone remember seeing Trower with Status Quo as the back-up band in the early 70’s in California? Might have been in San Diego…one heck of a concert…I remember Trower had speakers hanging down from the ceiling all over the auditorium.

  16. Michael Garrabrant January 19, 2012 at 12:47 am #

    Saw Trower play a club in Cocoa Beach Fl. named Brassy.s. Place is long since gone. But, Trower rocked the roof off the place! Really miss thw voice of James Dewar. Trower is “THE HAMMER” of blues rock.

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