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Robin Trower -The Playful Heart

V12 Records

Fans of Robin Trower have been waiting for a long time for the British guitarist to craft a piece of work that holds a candle to his landmark album Bridge of Sighs which has been hailed as a masterpiece work of moody blues and rock.

Trower's career of studio albums have always been hit and miss affairs. And on his latest one "The Playful Heart," the target gets missed big time.

Musically the CD has its moments. Overall none of the tracks are fast tempo-ed rockers and because Robin sings on half of the them in an emotionless way, the project even suffers more.

The greatest strength is in song lyrics with Trower avoiding old cliches that have permeated the blues-rock canon too long. It might have been better to let long time vocalist Davey Pattison dominate the tracks as his singing is a better marriage for Trower's silvery Hendrix lines.

Trower's ghostly Strat sounds give weight to "Find Me" and pushing "Dressed In Gold" further into Hendrix territory. For Trower, not even this alone is enough to launch a work weighted down by bland songwriting and sticking too close to a comfort zone. The Playful Heart finds the guitarist not entering a new phase of his career but sounding like a musician who is depleted of ideas. The live performances have been his best wild cards and power to him if he comes up in spades.

Reviewed by Gary “Wingman” Weeks.

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