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Thoughts on Robin Trower

Discussion in 'Music to Your Ears' started by TheGoodTexan, Nov 8, 2017.

  1. TheGoodTexan

    TheGoodTexan Doctor of Teleocity

    Apr 28, 2003
    Nashville, TN
    Upfront
    I am a Robin Trower fan. Not fanatic. I do not own all of his work, but I do have 5 or albums of various incarnations of his bands. I have never not liked Trower. He did not have to grow on me. I heard stuff on classic rock radio in the late 1980s, then bought Bridge of Sighs about 1990, and learned most of it that year.

    But here's my question
    Trower gets dismissed by many for being overly/overtly Hendrixesque. I get that. But it's just different enough, and somewhat more dreamy, so it fits a different niche for me personally. Here's the question: Is it possible that Robin Trower just evolved mostly independent of Hendrix, though at the same time? Sure, he's influenced by Jimi, but he was doing his own thing prior to that.

    He's certainly not the songwriter that Hendrix was. And he's not the showman that Hendrix was. And I don't thing that he's got the variety of chops that Hendrix had... a lot of his work resembles itself. But the soul is there.
     
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  2. 24 track

    24 track Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Nov 6, 2014
    kamloops bc
    I never saw any connection between Robin and Jimi, but his first album has been a staple in my collection since it was released and I also have it on cd, I give the man his Due, I like what he does and I could listen to him any time, I love Jimi's Playing and Chord voicings and fills but in all honesty , I never was fond of his straight lead playing, I heard worse but from the age of 25, to 27 he left his mark indelibly, Robin always sounded cleaner in his playing and with more precision , Kind of like if you listen to Voodo Chile both Hendrix and SRV back to back which one strikes you as cleaner playing.
     
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  3. elihu

    elihu Poster Extraordinaire

    Dec 24, 2009
    Texas
    I think the question is moot. His style is so intertwined with Hendrix that they will always have some level of association in people's minds. Like a white diamond and a blue-white diamond they can both be great.

    You forgot to say that Jimi was a better singer. But when James Dewar was alive that point was moot also.

    The soul that I heard in Robin's playing was what attracted me first. At his best his leads sound very vocal-like...think the out solo on Day of the Eagle.
     
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  4. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Telefied Ad Free Member

    Age:
    60
    Nov 15, 2009
    Austin, Tx
    Robin Trower, Randy Hansen, Prince, Frank Marino, Ernie Isley, and the beloved SRV all owe a lot of their success to the life, and passing of Jimi Hendrix.
    Some were slavish mimics, some were brilliantly influenced.
    Most rock guitarists owe Jimi a debt.
    Even me.
    Trower’s earlier work with Procol Harum was not very Hendrix-ey.
    I love Whiskey Train.
    Not so much his Univibe, Strat, Marshall drenched later stuff.
    In the day, he was very much considered to be a Jimi imitator, by everyone in my little orbit.
    Jimmie Vaughan was known to taunt his little brother with comparisons to RT.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2017

  5. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Tele-Holic

    Age:
    65
    896
    Feb 3, 2017
    Foat Wuth, Texas
    "Is it possible that Robin Trower just evolved mostly independent of Hendrix, though at the same time?"....Not likely....While I'm not well versed in RT's work with Procol Harum, I don't recall anything in their stuff that sounded Hendrix-ish. I think RT jumped on the Hendrix wagon early on, so he was not among a huge group of Hendrix copyists that came along later. Plus, RT has been doing it long enough that he has a certain amount of credibility. Personally, I'm mostly indifferent to him, don't go out of my way to listen to him, but don't shudder if he comes on.
     
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  6. ladave

    ladave Tele-Meister

    Age:
    53
    108
    Sep 25, 2017
    Los Angeles
    I have been listening to Bridge of Sighs a lot lately and I cannot listen to his playing without thinking of Jimi. And I have no problem with that. More the better.
     

  7. raysachs

    raysachs Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    Age:
    58
    626
    May 21, 2017
    Near Philly
    I was massively into both Trower and Hendrix in my youth, which coincided with Trower's peak as a solo artist. Saw him several times - never saw Jimi except on film. There are big similarities in their sound, but I don't see much similarity in their music. I remember reading a review of one of Trower's albums (after Bridge of Sighs, but I don't recall which) in which the reviewer tried to differentiate what Trower did from Hendrix, noting that Trower got a bad rap as a Hendrix rip-off.

    I won't get this quite right, but he said something like, 'Trower uses a highly disciplined approach to soloing to build intricate and beautiful ice structures that you can practically see as he builds them, while Hendrix was the incandescent flame and demolition expert who's solos burned the world to the ground and melted any ice it encountered'. I'm not quite sure if that's right or exactly what it meant, but it stuck with me and made a certain level of sense. Maybe it could be reduced down to Robin played his version of the blues really really cool and structured and Hendrix played his really really hot and took it a lot further OUT at times. They both used similar tools but their approach was very different.

    BTW, I don't see Trower, SRV, Prince or Ernie Isley in anything like the same way I see Randy Hansen or Frank Marino, who were more or less mimics of Hendrix, Hansen more than Marino. They were really good at it - I saw Hansen in a small club once and he was amazingly dead-on, but kind of like the best Elvis impersonator you ever saw. Prince, Trower, SRV, and Isley owed a TON to Hendrix, as did everyone who ever picked up an electric guitar after him. But they were definitely trying to take it in their own directions, not just serving as a monument to Jimi.

    -Ray
     

  8. jimbo735

    jimbo735 Tele-Holic

    607
    Sep 19, 2011
    michigan
    We all play the same notes.
     

  9. ladave

    ladave Tele-Meister

    Age:
    53
    108
    Sep 25, 2017
    Los Angeles
    A this point I think Randy may be better at playing Hendrix than Jimi was. He's been doing longer than Jimi was alive.
     
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  10. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Friend of Leo's

    Feb 12, 2010
    Jacksonville
    I really lost interest in him after Bridge of Sighs.
    I have attempted on a few occasions to give him another listen but it never generates enough interest.
     
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  11. Anode100

    Anode100 Friend of Leo's

    May 9, 2014
    Behind my beard.
    The comparisons are easy with the Uni-vibe effect.

    *Any* and all rock / blues-rock guitarists owe Jimi thanks for 'blowing the bloody doors off', to quote Sir Michael in 'The Italian Job'.

    Jimi took the game, and raised it up a notch (or three!).

    I don't think Robin is in any way a Jimi clone - he has his own stamp on things.
     
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  12. TwangToInfinity

    TwangToInfinity Tele-Holic

    Age:
    51
    599
    May 2, 2013
    Twangville
    i like him !

    it is like he uses similar tools as Jimi but he builds his own stuff
     
    Jim W likes this.

  13. Iago

    Iago Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 18, 2006
    Brazil
    Even Trower will acknowledge the influence. It all happened after they (Procol Harum) recorded a tribute song to Jimi - Song for a Dreamer. Somehow, that taste for trippy, Hendrix-y style of playing the blues, plus the tone (Robin was more like a Gibson player before that) and usage of effects got blended into his own playing and it kinda stuck there - part of the guy's soul. Raysachs perfectly traced their differences, though - both compositional and playing wise.

    Robin is a class act,very gentle dude and a killer player. I'd love to see him live one day if I ever get the chance.
     
    TheGoodTexan likes this.

  14. Ash Telecaster

    Ash Telecaster Friend of Leo's

    Love his music and while there is some connection musically to Hendrix, mostly in the Uni-vibe tone and bluesy riffing but I dont think its really that significant. I think RT's music stands very nicely all on its own. Another poster used the term dreamy. I like that word picture and think it works very nicely.
     

  15. drlucky

    drlucky Tele-Meister

    356
    Jun 19, 2012
    Fresno, Ca
    I think the "connection" between Trower and Hendrix is that they were both blues-based; used similar gear (Strat, Marshall Stacks, Fuzz Face, Uni-Vibe, wah, etc), and came out of the same era. I never really thought they sounded alike otherwise. Trower says he was definitely influenced by Hendrix: in his words, "you couldn't not be", by I feel it was more in the use of effects, gear, and sounds. Just my opinion, YMMV...
     

  16. MDent77

    MDent77 Tele-Holic

    727
    Jun 13, 2016
    New England
    Robin Trower was certainly inspired by Hendrix’s mix of psychedelic effects, blues rock chops, rock volume and playing with a lot of attitude.

    I have been a fan of his since the 70's. Robin's had command of the Uni-Vibe, his use of dynamics and his killer vibrato technique lent itself to a unique psychedelic blues rock style. Very tasty.

    Some favorites I still have in regular listening rotation:

    Bridge of Sighs

    I Can't Wait Much Longer

    DayDream

    Rock Me Baby
     

  17. FenderLover

    FenderLover Friend of Leo's

    Jun 11, 2009
    Minnesota
    I've certainly never dismissed Trower for any reason. Similarities may be there but I don't see why that would make him dismissive at all. I've seen him a couple of times with Dewar and he is killer live. His leads can be so slippery, fast, and cleanly executed. I hear a lot of guys nail Hendrix, but haven't heard anyone nail Trower.
     
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  18. 41144

    41144 Tele-Meister

    Age:
    64
    216
    Sep 5, 2017
    West Midlands, GB
    Tbh, I was amazed when Fender approved the idea of a Robin Trower signature CS Strat.
    Good/ great player .... cf the likes of us lesser mortals ... Of course Yes, .... cf the likes of SRV, Clapton, Hendrix, Page ( I could go on) .... nah!
    Btw. ... No one can hold a candle to SRVs interpretation of Little Wing
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2017

  19. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    60
    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    I'm not a Trower fan or not-fan. I get the Hendrix comparison, but it's surface-deep. I really mean no disrespect, but I've always felt Trower's work wouldn't stand too well without the heavy reliance on pedals.
     

  20. Praxis

    Praxis Tele-Meister

    265
    Dec 11, 2007
    Out There
    I've been a fan since Bridge of Sighs, though these days I am honestly more of a James Dewar fan than a Trower fan; I go back and listen to the old RT stuff just to hear Dewar's work. James was such a great singer, and played such tasty, simple bass lines. It's a real shame we lost him.

    In answer to the OP, I think there's no way Trower would be who he is without Hendrix -- but he took his material in a slightly different direction. I think of Trower as kind of a "dream-state" Hendrix, a little more "trance-ey," with a bit more space to zone out in. I don't put Trower in the same camp as people like Marino, Randy Hansen or the like. He's kind of his own cat.
     

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