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In City Dreams
Robin Trower

Chysalis CHR-1148
Released: September 1977
Chart Peak: #25
Weeks Charted: 19
Certified Gold: 11/18/77

Robin Trower has taken a lot of heat since leaving Procol Harum for a solo career that many felt was a blatant Hendrix rip-off. No one questioned Trower's masterful technique as a guitarist; instead, his critics were disappointed that he had abandoned the distinctly personal ensemble style he'd developed with Procol Harum.

In City Dreams, however, finds Trower essentially back in his strong suit -- R&B. The tone of his playing hasn't changed, but the form is drastically altered from his previous solo efforts. He has absorbed and perfected the challenge Hendrix offered him and come up with a disciplined R&B package recorded in Miami's Criteria studios and directed by veteran soul producer Dan Davis.

Robin Trower - In City Dreams
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A key personnel shift underscores Trower's revived commitment to R&B. The addition of bassist Rustee Allen frees James Dewar to work exclusively as the band's vocalist. And, with drummer Bill Lordan, Allen completes a rhythm section that once propelled Sly and the Family Stone. Trower's greatest moments on this record are as part of the rhythm section, where he returns to playing the characteristic fills and brilliant spacing devices largely responsible for his status with Procol Harum. And, of course, there's his lead work, as tensile and meaty as ever, particularly on an astounding rendition of Bobby "Blue" Bland's classic "Farther Up the Road." Trower has vindicated his solo move, and it's good to hear him back in top form.

- John Swenson, Rolling Stone, 9/22/77.

Bonus Reviews!

Trower has abandoned his three-piece band format with the addition of bassist Rustee Allen, who adds a bit of funk to the rhythm section with his ever-present licks. Yet Trower's forceful guitar riffs remain the focal point as evidenced in his super-charged solos. Also separating this album from previous efforts is a greater concentration on lyrics and melody. The material overall reflects Trower's deep R&B roots but with more free-flowing spontaneity to the sound. There is less of a contrived, mechanized studio sound as the quartet lightens up and lets the music gracefully reach new peaks. James Dewar, who co-wrote each tune with Trower, supplies the husky vocals while drummer Bill Lordan maintains a thumping drum beat. Best cuts: "Sweet Wine Of Love," "Bluebird," "In City Dreams," "Somebody's Calling."

- Billboard, 1977.

Slightly funkier than the previous albums, it's still highlighted by a delicate ballad, "Bluebird," and the majestic title track.

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

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