Robin Trower's Own Way

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I hadn’t known about Robin Trower’s Go My Way when it was released in 2000; I wasn’t really listening to the musicians of my youth and I didn’t know enough to seek out their new material.  Besides, when was the last time Procol Harum had put out anything new? Well it turns out, as of 2000 that is, their last album had been The Long Goodbye in 1995 and they have released a studio album and some live albums since—mostly without Trower of course, who left the group back in 1971.  He did perform on 1991’s The Prodigal Stranger and one song, “Repent Walpurgis,” on The Long Goodbye .  Otherwise he has not been part of Procol Harum for most of his life. And he wasn’t even the guitarist on their cloud-scraping monument, “Whiter Shade of Pale.

So what’s his solo work like?

At least his knowledgeable fans won’t be screaming play “Whiter Shade of Pale” over and over between songs at his concerts.  Though it does bring up the question, what are the fans requesting? Guitar tunes would be the short answer—and are there ever a lot of worthy candidates.  Often likened to Hendrix, Trower creates an almost inimitable tone on his Stratocaster.  It isn’t Hendrix though—and that is not meant as a criticism; his guitar work is recognizably Trower’s.

Trower has several classic albums from the 1970s, foremost among which have to be Twice Removed from Yesterday,  and Robin Trower Live!—both ubiquitous in collections of those who liked guitar tracks. Trower’s Go My Way belongs in that collection as well. The tones of “Into Dust,” In My Dream,” and “On Your Own,” while mellow, are ones we associate with some of Trower’s classics—and with some of Hendrix’s best work as well.  These are beside rockier, funkier tunes such as “This Old World,” Take This River,” and “Too Much Joy.”

I may not have found Trower’s Go My Way in 2000, though I have certainly enjoyed it recently. I now have one of those rare joys of exploring unheard music by an amazing guitarist, the Trower albums from about 1985 right up to 2013’s Roots and Branches, the latter being an excellent album.  If Go My Way is any indication, I am in for a treat.


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