Robin Trower: Godfather of Goth?

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Okay--so there's the Hendrix-y thing, but that's partially due to the lack of Roland chorus units (aka the Sound of Goth) at the time.

And yes--skill in single string solos--not very goth. But hey--the 60s were awful close.

Still, when it came to slow, minor-key, epically miserable self-indulgent gloom in the early 70s, where else could you go?

Then there's song titles:
"I Can't Stand It"
"Long Misty Days" (R. Smith must hate that being taken.)
"Bridge of Sighs" ( ditto)

Lyric sample:
"every day gets longer
every day it grows and grows
and I can't wait much longer"

The "it" in question is amorphous and never quantified: ergo, it is goth.

It gets to the point that the words seem like a Voltaire satire:

"The sun don't shine
The moon don't move the tides,
to wash me clean...
Why so unforgiving and why so cold
Been a long time crossing Bridge of Sighs
Cold wind blows
The Gods look down in anger,
on this poor child"

Finally, I looked at livejournal and the majority of people who fancied Trower were either goths or Russian. 'Nuff proof for me.

Ian in Brooklyn, Tuesday, 24 January 2006 07:15 (fourteen years ago) link

I'm neither Goth nor Russian. And I've reviewed Trower in a number of paying places over the last couple years. Even recorded a version of "Bridge of Sighs" in a biker rock band. No Goths were ever in the audience.

Still, when it came to slow, minor-key, epically miserable self-indulgent gloom in the early 70s, where else could you go?

It's not as minor key as you think it is. "Bridge of Sighs" is white boy blooz with a uni-vibe, billowing distortion, and a great bending technique. Are the heavy electric blooz Goth? Trower's '74 live set, at his peak, was definitely not Goth in the flavor mentioned. "Too Rolling Stoned," "Day of the Eagle," "Lady Love," "Alethea," and "Little Bit of Sympathy."

epically miserable self-indulgent gloom in the early 70s, where else could you go?

Black Sabbath -- plus a lot of early 70's hard rock bands that were never very successful.

I'd like more Goth if it sounded like Robin Trower.


George the Animal Steele, Tuesday, 24 January 2006 07:25 (fourteen years ago) link

I always thought goth was a fashion thing.

Brian Jones (Brian Jones), Tuesday, 24 January 2006 10:26 (fourteen years ago) link

Finally, I looked at livejournal and the majority of people who fancied Trower were either goths or Russian.

... add 'blind' to that list if they actually fancy Robin Trower

Vicious Cop Kills Gentle Fool (Dada), Tuesday, 24 January 2006 10:30 (fourteen years ago) link

My point is that the Trower essense has to do with this huge, amorphous miserablism.

The Sab has the Xtian/Satan imagery, but they were too proactive and perky.
Sabbath were cocaine.

Trower was heroin, And heroin is Goth.

Ian in Brooklyn, Tuesday, 24 January 2006 23:01 (fourteen years ago) link

>>... add 'blind' to that list if they actually fancy Robin Trower

No shit. But Trower was savvy not to mar those early records with his iffy visage.

Ian in Brooklyn, Tuesday, 24 January 2006 23:03 (fourteen years ago) link

I mean, here's one: Try and imagine Andrew Eldritch singing "I Can't Wait Much Longer".

Wasn't hard, was it?

Ian in Brooklyn, Tuesday, 24 January 2006 23:05 (fourteen years ago) link

Only if Doktor Avalanche holds down the beats.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 24 January 2006 23:11 (fourteen years ago) link

You might as well classify the blooz as miserabism because that's the jump you're making. A lot of Trower's catalog is funky hard rock and AOR which isn't Goth but if you're the latter, it's fine to like it.

Sabbath = too pro-active and perky. Heh, good joke, you make it sound like a power pop band.

Try and imagine Andrew Eldritch playing guitar on "Day of the Eagle." Now that's hard. It's also hard to imagine singing anything as well as Jimmy Dewar.

George the Animal Steele, Tuesday, 24 January 2006 23:12 (fourteen years ago) link

I have only owned "Robin Trower Live!"
fantastic blues based rock with great solo guitar playing


I seriously don't know what "goth" is when describing music? Are any of these bands goth?

-early Cat Power
-Palace (will oldham)
-the CURE's "pornagraphy"

Brian Jones (Brian Jones), Wednesday, 25 January 2006 01:33 (fourteen years ago) link

Regarding the last -- oh, where to begin.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 25 January 2006 01:43 (fourteen years ago) link

Well, clearly Trower was split betwixt two extremes.

There was the rockin, bluesy, post-Spooky Tooth, Hendrixoid Trower, who did things like "Day of the Eagle."

Clearly, I'm not addressing that Trower. I'm talking about the guy who, on "Hannah", with its buidling multi-track wash of high agita wretched guitars set the foundation for something like Pornography (don't hit me, Ned).

Listen to it. The only thing truly missing is gender confusion--which is why he'd be a godfather of goth, and not the direct link.

Really, if you found a pic of some guy with sunken cheecks, sallow mien and long black hair, played this stuff to a Hot Topic regular and said whaddaya think, you'd get a CD sale pronto.

Ian in Brooklyn, Wednesday, 25 January 2006 08:07 (fourteen years ago) link

Sabbath were cocaine.

This is insanity, unless you're talking very-end-of-the-first-era Sab (Never Say Die, whose title track btw is fucking awesome). Black Sabbath is quaaludes-n-beer. Yes, in fact, they did have a song called "Snowblind." This does not make their jams any more coke-approprioate. Ludes. Ludes and beer. Please, man.

Thomas Tallis (Tommy), Wednesday, 25 January 2006 13:41 (fourteen years ago) link

Ludes? In Birmingham in 1969?!?!?

Vicious Cop Kills Gentle Fool (Dada), Wednesday, 25 January 2006 13:53 (fourteen years ago) link

Mandrax!

Vicious Cop Kills Gentle Fool (Dada), Wednesday, 25 January 2006 13:53 (fourteen years ago) link

Huh? Stuff was on the streets and unregulated prior to 1971, when England regulated it precisely because kids like Geezer were washing it down with cider

Thomas Tallis (Tommy), Wednesday, 25 January 2006 13:58 (fourteen years ago) link

... I doubt it was called Quaalude in the UK

Vicious Cop Kills Gentle Fool (Dada), Wednesday, 25 January 2006 14:01 (fourteen years ago) link

... it was, in fact, called Mandrax!!

Vicious Cop Kills Gentle Fool (Dada), Wednesday, 25 January 2006 14:02 (fourteen years ago) link

I know!

Thomas Tallis (Tommy), Wednesday, 25 January 2006 14:02 (fourteen years ago) link

And I'm sayin' that's the Sound of Sabbath!

Thomas Tallis (Tommy), Wednesday, 25 January 2006 14:03 (fourteen years ago) link

Sorry, I should have known:

Ludes = US
Mandies = UK

Vicious Cop Kills Gentle Fool (Dada), Wednesday, 25 January 2006 14:05 (fourteen years ago) link

... and you're totally right, Mandies + Beer = Sabbath

Vicious Cop Kills Gentle Fool (Dada), Wednesday, 25 January 2006 14:05 (fourteen years ago) link

and also a smashing good time

Thomas Tallis (Tommy), Wednesday, 25 January 2006 16:59 (fourteen years ago) link

He created some spooky sounds for Bryan Ferry when he produced him the early '90s.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn (Alfred Soto), Wednesday, 25 January 2006 21:20 (fourteen years ago) link

"Pornagraphy" = Robert Smith's collaboration with Master P?

Rickey Wright (Rrrickey), Thursday, 26 January 2006 01:39 (fourteen years ago) link

I always thought it was great how Robin Trower really took a cue from Hendrix, but replaced the Hendrix's bluesiness with something undefinable.

Not too goth though.


squrl plise, Thursday, 26 January 2006 04:23 (fourteen years ago) link

two years pass...

It's also hard to imagine singing anything as well as Jimmy Dewar.

May he rest in peace.

If Timi Yuro would be still alive, most other singers could shut up, Sunday, 4 January 2009 09:26 (eleven years ago) link

three years pass...

Been listening to a couple of late-'70s Trower albums lately--In City Dreams and Caravan to Midnight. They're quite good. Dreams still has traces of Bridge of Sighs in it but some of the songs have more of a Santana vibe, and some point towards a cool Hendrix/disco vibe.

Caravan is even better; I've been playing "I'm Out to Get to You" in outloud and people have been going nuts for it. It's not entirely clunker-free and there's no trace of the "goth" sensibility anymore, but its got lots of slow burner jams.

Plus, Jimmy Dewar is the shit.

Blah Sabbath (Drugs A. Money), Sunday, 8 January 2012 02:10 (eight years ago) link

one month passes...

WHY SO UNFORGIVING
AND WHY SO COLD
LONG TIME CROSSING
THE BRIDGE OF SIGHS

unlistenable in philly (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Sunday, 26 February 2012 21:13 (eight years ago) link

four years pass...

I got curious about what he might have done beyond Bridge of Sighs and it turns out he has a new album and it's really good - he really does love an ominous vibe!

tremendous crime wave and killing wave (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Tuesday, 29 March 2016 01:52 (four years ago) link

two years pass...

All of Trower's recent albums (he's released 7 in the last decade, including one that comes out tomorrow) have been shockingly strong. He's aged into this autumnal blues vibe that I'm not hearing from anyone else except maybe Buddy Guy (check "Done Got Old" from Sweet Tea, way back in 2001, or "A Few Good Years" from last year's The Blues is Alive and Well, or "Crying Out of One Eye" from 2015's Born to Play Guitar).

grawlix (unperson), Friday, 22 March 2019 00:03 (one year ago) link

yeah he's on a roll. then again I love all his 70s albums and a fair number of his 80s ones

I love the old stuff too, but I really feel like Trower is really interesting for having aged gracefully in a way I don't see anybody else doing (though I admit I'm not following Bob Dylan or Van Morrison or whichever old country guys are still alive, maybe they're in some kind of similar mode).

grawlix (unperson), Friday, 22 March 2019 02:17 (one year ago) link

one year passes...

Check this one out, an unexpected new collaboration with Maxi Priest. Unexpected and pretty good. It's got that mix of strings and blues restaint like some of those classic early 70s tracks by BB King or Bobby Womack.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBpd_3kIW-Q&feature=youtu.be

earlnash, Sunday, 11 October 2020 11:35 (two weeks ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YD15RrE9v54

earlnash, Sunday, 11 October 2020 11:36 (two weeks ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5y8XVuRG0Gc

earlnash, Sunday, 11 October 2020 11:37 (two weeks ago) link

In my mind, I'm kinda loving the idea of a 75 year old Robin Trower calling up his pals to 'check out my new band dudes'. That "Are We Just People" track is good too. Production is really lush.

earlnash, Sunday, 11 October 2020 11:48 (two weeks ago) link

Cool.

She Thinks I Will Dare (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 13 October 2020 12:45 (two weeks ago) link


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