The Michigan Daily-Tuesda
Page 6-Tuesday, November 1, 1477-The Michigan Daily
Robin Trower's creative t
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By KEITH TOSOLT
Robin Trower has this problem
when it comes time to record a new
album: he can only come up with
about three songs that are good. His
latest effor, In City Dreams, is unfor-
tunately no exception.
Trower hit his peak about three
years ago with his second album
Bridge of Sighs, which thrust him
into both commercial and popular
success. His subsequent recordings
For Earth Below and Long Misty
Days failed to match that brilliance.
For the most part they contained
only a few tunes worth listening to
Though In City, Dreams has that
same fault, it does break from the
usual ho-hum wah-wah sound to
which Trower feels committed. The
This space contributed by
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By TIM YAGLE
Only a few groups have added new
dimensions to rock music since its
birth in Liverpool, England in 1962.
One of these innovative groups is
Chicago, who back in their early
days, 1968, were known for their
four-piece rhythm section with a
brass trio initially playing Kenton-
esque harmonies and mid-tempo
blues interrupted by jazz sequences
and long solos.
In 1970, on Chicago II, this gave way
to a more smooth and refined
jazz-rock with insensitive lyrics for
which the band became infamous.
Today, Chicago still has its smooth
jazz-rock melodies and distinctive
harmonies, which separates them
from some of the faceless rock mold.
Like their ten previous successful
efforts, Chicago XI (Columbia 34860)
contains songs for everyone's taste;
from easy listening to medium
heavy-metal, and, in some albums, a
masterful blend of the two.
general tone'of the album is a lot
more mellow and funky in compari-
son to past recordings. This sound
change should be credited to the fact
that the album was produced by Don
Davies, who has placed his seal of
funk on numerous recordings for,
Stax; 'and the addition of Rustee
Allen on bass.
Sweet Wine of Love is the cut
where this new mellowness in Trow-
er's sound is most evident. He plays a
very melodic jazzy chord pattern
throughout the song, adding slight
variations to prevent total repetition
and overdubbing a phase shifted
I can't recall Trower ever playing
an out and out love song like Sweet
Wine. Well, he did do Rock Me Baby,
but the love spoken of in that song is
purely physical. Sweet Wine of Love,
which is about a wedding night,
expresses a sentimentality which
Trower and Dewar have never
incorporated into their heavy metal
format because it would have
seemed out of place. But it fits in
well with the mellower style.
Another strong track receiving a
lot of airplay is Somebody Calling. It
is the funkiest tune on the album,
featuring a traditionally good Trow-
er-style riff and a strongly punctuat-
ed bass line by Allen. All of this is
overdubbed with some excellent syn-
thesized guitar phrases. Allen, who
learned the business by playing the
bottom for Sly Stewart, definitely
plays a funkier bass than Dewar ever
could. But then, I have always
considered Dewar as being a better
singer than bassist.
As for the rest of In City Dreams, it
is just the basic Trower fill-in. He
reworks a blues standard this time
Soli4d hit for Cii
The LP opens with a jazzy disco
tune called Mississippi Delta City
Blues followed by the only single
released from the album so far,
Baby, What a Big Surprise. It's a
smooth, mellow song that could be
placed in the Easy Listening cate-
gory. To give you an example of the
kinds of audiences Baby appeals to,
Detroit's most popular radio stations
in their respective categories: WJR
(MOR) and WRIF (AOR-album-
oriented rock) are giving the song ex-
Policeman is a touching song about
a typical day in the life of an officer.
The music is bouncy and peppy in
some parts showing how a cop is on
the go most of the time, then shifts to
a low-keyed, mellow arrangement to
show his lighter moments. Then he
wins a battle/It restores his faith/It's
only human kindness he's after.
Take Me Back to Chicago takes the
singer softly down memory lane to
his early days in the Windy City.
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