Robin Trower

At the BBC 1973-1975

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At the BBC 1973-1975 is a double-disc collection that assembles a whopping 30 tracks from Robin Trower's breakthrough years in 1973 and 1974 with his trio of bassist/vocalist James Dewar and drummer Reg Isidore. In 1975, Bill Lordan replaced Isidore. These years yielded the studio LPs Twice Removed from Yesterday, Bridge of Sighs, and For Earth Below; all of the songs on this compilation are versions of tracks from these recordings. Disc one contains his initial John Peel sessions, which contained four performances of tracks from his debut -- including the title track, "Man of the World," "Daydream," and "Sinner's Song." The next eight come from Bob Harris sessions that include mostly material from Bridge of Sighs, with exceptional readings of "Day of the Eagle," "Little Bit of Sympathy," and "Too Rolling Stoned." Interspersed between these are another version of "Daydream" and a smoking "I Can't Wait Much Longer." The final four tracks are from another Peel session from 1974, with more material from Bridge of Sighs, including the title cut and a raw, feverish take of "Little Bit of Sympathy," with the debut of "Althea," which would appear on For Earth Below. The second disc kicks off with another four-track Peel session with material from For Earth Below, including excellent high-energy versions of "Confessin' Midnight," "Gonna Be More Suspicious," the wildly funky "Fine Day," and the swaggering "It's Only Money." Tracks five through 14 offer a BBC Live in Concert performance from 1975 -- previously issued on LP. The live material -- with Lordan -- is taken from all three albums; it is looser, more spontaneous, and electrifying. Sound quality standards are not pristine, but these tapes have been cleaned more than sufficiently and provide very decent sound. The gig is of considerably higher quality due to the source tape. The set includes liner notes by Malcolm Dome of Classic Rock magazine, including an interview with the artist. For Trower's many enduring fans who know that he remains a relentlessly inventive musician rooted in electric blues and hard rock, At the BBC 1973-1975 is a treasure trove of goodies. For the uninitiated, this set provides an excellent introduction to the work of a bona fide guitar hero (whose 21st century material is worth investigating as well).

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