If you remember the very first time you heard Robin Trower [formerly of Procol Harum], and if that first time was around the time of his debut album, this collection will bring it all back to you. Concentrating exclusively on the two years when (any subsequent enjoyment notwithstanding), his blend of Hendrix guitar, open-hearted blues and the hottest power trio of the age was truly groundbreaking, the set compiles all five of the sessions Trower recorded for BBC radio between 1973-1975, beginning with a truly magnificent John Peel session (not Bob Harris, as the sleeve claims) in March 1973 "Twice Removed From Yesterday" might even be superior to its superlative LP counterpart, while "Daydream" and "Sinners Song" are at least their equals. (Absent here is "Man Of The World," recorded at the same session.)
"Daydream" resurfaced at the bands next session, for Harris in October, alongside three numbers from the imminent Bridge Of Sighs. "Day Of The Eagle" is the pick of the pack, Trowers guitar seething behind James Dewars so soulful vocals; in fact, one could almost recreate the entire Bridge Of Sighs album from the performances here (only "About To Begin" is missing), and wind up with an collection that seriously wipes the floor with the official set.
Despite the "master
tapes" claim, the sound quality isnt perfect - second or third
generation at best, with just a hint of fuzz and fluff around the low
and high ends. A sublime "I Cant Wait Much Longer" (from
the February 1974 Harris session), in particular, suffers from a flatness
that you know wasnt there on the original broadcast. But its
more than remedied by the gorgeous "Bridge Of Sighs" that was
recorded for Peel the following month, and the entire package spins your
ears back to a time when the Robin Trower trio wasnt simply the
logical successors to the Jimi Hendrix Experience, as lazy journalists
liked to say, it was just about the best band around.
- Dave Thompson
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