‘In City Dreams’ marked the end of Robin Trower’s dark progged-out blues albums into lighter fare but like the awesome psychedelic sleeve art, this is a dynamite album and the guitarist is in fine form.
Written by: Eric
ARTIST: Robin Trower
ALBUM: In City Dreams
SERIAL: CHR 1148
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: England
LINEUP: Robin Trower – guitar * James Dewar – vocals * Bill Lordan – drums * Rustee Allen – bass
TRACK LISTING: 01 Somebody Calling * 02 Sweet Wine Of Love * 03 Bluebird * 04 Falling Star * 05 Farther On Up The Road * 06 Smile * 07 Little Girl * 08 Love’s Gonna Bring You Round * 09 In City Dreams
WEBLINKS: Site Link
One of the most the successful rock guitarists of the 1970’s, Robin Trower had a respectable following especially in America where he could easily fill damp Hockey arenas and sunbaked Baseball stadiums as top dog. But he never attained the commercial success of Peter Frampton or Eric Clapton.
FM radio was totally behind Trower but he didn’t drop to knees for a hummable pop hit and while the man was never blessed with Frampton’s poster boy good looks or Clapton’s notoriety and unfortunate ego, he did put out some of the best progressive blues albums ever committed to tape.
But as we know 1977 was a transitional year for rock music and Robin Trower was not immune to the winds of change. Radio station playlists were starting to tighten up and thanks but no thanks to punk, prog rock of every sort was being shown the proverbial door. ‘In City Dreams’ marked the end of his dark progged-out blues albums into lighter fare but like the awesome psychedelic sleeve art, this is a dynamite album and the guitarist is in fine form.
‘Somebody Calling’ is a little different from what we’ve heard before in a Robin Trower set, adding elements of funk and R&B while ‘Sweet Wine Of Love’ had hit single written all over it but never caught on. The late James Dewar was without a doubt one of the better blues vocalists of the era with an incredible range as shown on the beautiful medieval balladry of ‘Bluebird’ and sounding not too dissimilar to Paul Rodgers on ‘Falling Star’ and the soulful ‘Farther Up The Road’.
Trower’s guitar style always had a mystical edge and this is still present on cuts like ‘Smile’ and the moody ‘Little Girl’ although the title track, influenced by Ravel’s ‘Bolero’ features some of Robin’s murkiest soloing and caps off this shamefully overlooked record quite tastefully.
His 1978 follow-up ‘Caravan to Midnight’ continued the funky laid back sound but Trower’s fortunes were starting to wane, proved by how many cut-out copies I’d run across a year or two later.
Robin Trower on Video
Entire Album (Select Tracks)