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Twice Removed from Yesterday
Robin Trower

Chrysalis 1039
Released: May 1973
Chart Peak: #106
Weeks Charted: 24

With this brilliant debut album ex-Procol Harum guitarist Robin Trower transcends the realm of traditional rock music forms, staking out a musical turf than most musicians can't even comprehend, much less attempt to explore. Twice Removed from Yesterday exists on a level so far beyond the rest of most of today's rock that this writer finds it nearly impossible to speak of group and album in traditional critics' jargon.

Jimi Hendrix is the most discernible influence on Trower's style and performance. And if ever there was a guitarist who matches the mental scope of Hendrix' playing -- the other-worldly atmospheric wall -- it is Trower. And yet Twice Removed from Yesterday is much more different than a simple rerun with different personnel. For as he proved with Procol songs like "Whiskey Train," "Long Gone Geek" and "Song for a Dreamer," Trower is as incredible a guitarist in his own way as Jeff Beck, Albert King and Rusty Bogart are in theirs.

The album revolves around the sounds Trower wrenches from his axe, thick, luscious tones drenched with tremolo and sustain. But these effects aren't sheer electronic gimmickry; rather they enable Trower to realize a guitarist's dream, obtaining the maximum mileage from each note. The most telling compliment would have to be that his rhythm lines are every bit as impressive as his lead work. In fact on "Hannah" the entire solo is nothing more than a collage of rhythm variations, arranged in such a way as to fully convey the multiplicity of emotions described in the lyrics. Stunningly successful.

Robin Trower is also the name of the three-piece group (named, no doubt, in a fit of humility) which includes bassist Jim Dewar and drummer Reg Isadore. Dewer's a Scot, and every bit the profile of a tough, aggressive bass player. He also does the singing in a voice that's frighteningly reminiscent of Free's Paul Rodgers.

West Indian Isadore (brother of Manassas' Conrad) rounds out this truly international trio, supplying a solid brand of percussion with almost miserly efficiency. Producer Matthew Fisher's organ occasionally lurks in the background, never drawing excessive attention to itself but always there when needed to flesh out the group's sound.

But Trower is truly in a class by himself, so much so that it's now my most fervent wish to grow up to become half as good a guitarist as he. I'd be the Avis of the industry.

- Gordon Fletcher, Rolling Stone, 6/21/73.

Bonus Reviews!

Strong debut rocker from former Procol Harum guitarist. Best cuts: "Twice Removed from Yesterday," "I Can't Wait Much Longer."

- Billboard, 1973.

The classic solo debut by this former Procol Harum guitarist has Moody Hendrix-inspired guitar, plus James Dewar's magnificent whiskey-throated vocals.

- Michael P. Dawson, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.

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