Caravan to Midnight (Chrysalis)
Once again produced by R&B specialist Don Davis, ‘Caravan to Midnight’
is very much a continuation of Robin Trower’s preceding ‘In City Dreams’, like which it takes care of business in the best possible way.
Emerging from a period of uncertainty, Trower’s music has
matured to the extent that he now approaches recording with altogether more thought and economy.
’Caravan to Midnight’ might lack the raw rock-blues intensity of his first two albums but Trower has
learnt much about streamlining his music without it becoming ‘product’.
In doing so he has evolved a unique form of sophisticated R&B, this despite even the inability of anyone in his band to write
potent lyrics or durable songs.
While Trower remains undeniably in control, he now seems willing to give his fellow musicians more of the action. Indeed,
drummer Bill Lordan with his sure-footed and deceptively simple approach is almost as outstanding as Trower himself here.
Also rather than use keyboards, Trower employs layers of guitar to swell the sound
and now achieves this with less reliance on sheer effect than previously.
The opening ‘My Love (Burning Love’, an up-tempo rock song that could have graced a Free album, and Trower’s clever assimilation
of disco devices on ‘I’m out to get you’ are particularly good.
Steve Clarke, 19 August 1978
RTL Webmaster’s Note: Other reviewers were decidedly sceptical with a range of comment on the
album which varied from ‘samey and undistinguished’ to ‘laid back, sloth-like and very tedious’.
Even John Peel was critical noting ‘on air’ that there was nothing wrong with the album but
nothing right about it either.
Well, you can’t please all of the people, all of the time and as one great Scotsman once said ‘be sure to please yourself, that way at least someone will be happy!’
I remember scurrying off to Oxford’s Street HMV store to get hold of a copy and dashing home to put the platter on my decks.
From the first play, ‘I’m out to get you’ was, by far, the
‘stand-out’ track, following on from the groove created on ‘Somebody calling’.
Here in the UK, any Robin Trower Band release was treated with equal enthusiasm and delight by his fans. So it was
in 1978, here in Britain, we even thought Robin might have his first ever hit single. The red vinyl 7-inch EP release featuring ‘It’s for you’ even got airtime during the day on national Radio One.