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Music Review: Robin Trower & Jack Bruce – Seven Moons Live

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Ruf Records scores another coup. Two rock titans on the same stage at the same time. This CD is a live recording of a performance in Nijmegen, Holland, which is considered the oldest city in the Netherlands.

I guess I’m surprised that the city is still standing after this performance, which had to measure at least 9.1 on the Richter Scale. This CD is the first concert recording from Trower and Bruce, although the pair has a number of previous CDs issued as a duo.

Robin Trower was the former guitarist with Procol Harum, then a successful solo act. Jack Bruce, the wild man of the London rock scene, was the former bassist/vocalist with Cream, then a solo act. Together, the two of them form a superb conjoined power rock duo, displaying impeccable tone, control and execution.

Both Bruce and Trower are in their 60s now, but neither has lost a step that I notice. While Bruces’s tenor isn’t as robust and strong as it once was, he’s holding up damned well in spite of his age and a near-death experience.

Trower on his own was seldom much of a lyricist, but he more than makes up for it with his six-string virtuosity, and he and Bruce complement one another superbly. Bruce’s lyrics (I’m guessing here, but I think it’s a gimme) and strong bass line, backed by an overall subdued Trower on lead guitar are a well-camouflaged double-whammy, expertly delivered, and deadly in effect.

Bruce’s sometimes introspective and enigmatic lyrics, paired with Trower’s serene and dampened lead, and then combined with solid drums from long-time co-conspirator Gary Husband make an incredibly tight and overall unbeatable trio.

Seven Moons Live has 13 selections, totaling out at a whopping 77 minutes, and is a mixture of new Bruce-Trower tunes along with some from Bruce’s Cream days, including “Sunshine of Your Love,” White Room” and “Politician” (which I’ve always thought of as being drastically underrated). While “Sunshine” lacks some of the machine-gun fretwork that Cream’s earlier version gave us, this version is every bit as fulfilling and satisfying.

Bruce has always been adventurous and multifaceted in his career, and this CD is a natural progression and continuation of that spirit, with tight solos and impeccable harmony. Bruce remarked after “Sunshine,” “Now we’re beginning to get somewhere,” and the audience responded both before and after his comment, recognizing and appreciating the chemistry and synergy of the three musicians.

Bruce and Trower have teamed up several times since the 1980s, at least, and this is certainly one of their better efforts. Not that I have any complaints with their previous collaborations.

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About Lou Novacheck