Robin Trower

Twice Removed from Yesterday

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Robin Trower's debut solo album was the first evidence that the Fender Stratocaster sound of Jimi Hendrix could be effectively replicated and even refabricated. And like Hendrix, Trower had paid his dues as a more-or-less backup musician, his former band Procol Harum having emphasized stately organ and piano rather than guitar. After leaving his old group, Trower experimented with different musicians and ideas for several years, which paid off when he finally released Twice Removed From Yesterday, a record that displayed the characteristics that would make him a guitar hero and stadium attraction of the mid-'70s. He de-emphasized the Hendrix fuzz, feedback, and distortion, and let the reverb from his Strat become his dominant tonal device. He wasn't as flamboyant as Hendrix, as earthy as Eric Clapton, or as unpredictable as Jeff Beck, but he played cleanly, emphasizing singular, effective notes, and he brought a melodicism and creativity to the electric blues. His style is best suited for the slow, somber blues of songs like "Daydream" and "I Can't Wait Much Longer," where his solos are both carefully structured and melodic. The most intriguing tune on the album is the title track, a nugget of '70s-style psychedelic rock that showed Trower to be a pretty good songwriter. The best aspects of Twice Removed would come to full flowering on his next album, Bridge of Sighs, but this debut showed Trower to be an effective interpreter of the Hendrix sound, and not just what numerous others who came in his wake would prove to be: mere imitators.

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