Saturday, November 15, 2014

All About That (Jack) Bruce: What It Is

In 1981, I received a copy of the Robin Trower album “B.L.T.” – so named for the collaboration of Jack Bruce, Bill Lordan, and of course Trower. This power trio enlisted the Hendixian leads of guitarist Robin Trower that audiences worldwide learned to love with his post Procol Harum solo albums. In this incarnation of his musical genius, Trower was joined by Jack Bruce on bass, keyboards, and vocals and former Sly and the Family Stone drummer, Bill Lordan.

Although Bruce’s and Lordan’s names appeared on the album cover, it was not considered a B.L.T. album – it was another Robin Trower solo, as he had the contract with Chrysalis Records. Therefore, Trower’s name appeared with the largest type and his name only appeared on the spine, the label, and on the label of the single releases. On the single’s picture sleeve, all participates were credited.

Be that as it may, Jack Bruce played an important role on this record, as it is his vocals that are heard on every cut. I don’t hear it now when I listen to B.L.T., but in 1981 I drew comparisons with Bruce’s work in Cream. Now that I listen to it in 2014, it sounds more like a Robin Trower album only with Jack Bruce singing instead of James Dewar who sang and played bass on Trower’s previous, but equally good projects.

Like the Graham Bond Organization, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Eric Clapton and the Powerhouse, Cream, and West, Bruce & Laing; B.L.T. was yet another super group to which Bruce was drawn. Like Cream and West, Bruce & Laing; B.L.T. was another power trio.  As always, Jack Bruce rose to the occasion.

Our chosen cut, “What It Is,” was released as a single in the US and elsewhere. In the UK, a special limited edition version of the single was released in clear vinyl. The song, like many of the cuts, was co-written by Trower and Procol Harum’s lyricist, Keith Reid.

If you look closely at the single’s picture sleeve and the album cover, it appears that the bacon in the BLT (bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich) is raw. I like my bacon like my music – cooking and crunchy – much like you find on this album.

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