5 out of 5 Stars!
It’s a rare occurrence for an album to appear on the music scene that truly possesses a unique sound/style (despite some obvious influences). Certainly Robin Trower’s debut solo album from the previous year (Twice Removed From Yesterday) contained his own particular Hendrix-inspired sound/style, but it was 1974’s Bridge of Sighs album that—with its seemingly perfect collection of tracks, its songwriting adroitness, and its overall stellar musical performances and production qualities—not only solidified the group’s sound/style, but also popularized it to the Nth degree.
The album bursts forth with “Day of the Eagle,” a classic track in its own right, loaded with Trower’s “signature guitar sound,” a rollicking rhythm in its first section, then a bluesy laid-back second half, along with a note-perfect performance from James Dewar on vocals, just the sort of track that begs to be played at top volume…and often.
Next comes the hypnotic title track, which has the power to completely mesmerize the listener, making one feel as if they’re floating on a misty river where the water had been replaced by guitar-riff magic. Simply outstanding! The song’s final “chill wind” sound effects lead perfectly into the next track, the stripped-down and mellow “In This Place,” which features perhaps the album’s most beautiful and interesting vocal melody, as well as excellently placed drum fills by Reg Isidore and sparse bass notes by James Dewar, and stunning examples of Trower’s bluesy lead guitar insertions throughout.
The funky “The Fool and Me” and the slamming “Too Rolling Stoned” (both classic gems) are further examples of just what this talented trio of musicians could do with some catchy, upbeat material. Both tracks showcase Robin’s wicked guitar riffs, as the rhythm section energetically pumps away in the background, while Dewar delivers commendable vocal performances in his unique, highly recognizable manner.
As for the remaining tracks, “About To Begin” is another dreamy ballad, while “Lady Love” is a straight-forward and catchy rocker (with cowbell included) and the blues-heavy “Little Bit of Sympathy” offers more guitar brilliance, with Trower delivering that tremendously successful “signature” sound, never sounding so perfectly dissonant and (at times) so wonderfully evil.
Therefore, with not one filler track, this album is nothing short of a 5-Star masterpiece, an album that will forever be embedded in my memory as a true classic—a stunning nostalgic moment based on my initial hearing of the album—which also had major universal consequences (ie. it musically influenced scores of other bands in its wake). So Bridge of Sighs remains, to this day, a truly special and moving experience every single time I hear it, and each repeated listening is one I actually cherish, especially since it (somehow) magically whisks me back to the year 1974 and the feelings of youth. Absolutely brilliant!
Terrific album. I saw Trower for the first time just a few months ago when he swung through Boston. Didn’t do the whole album but played lots of great stuff. Hasn’t lost a bit of playing power. Why this guy is not on Rolling Stone’s Top 100 guitarists is a mystery.