Monday, October 4, 2010

Savoy Brown - The Savoy Brown Collection (1993)

With one of the smoothest and most compelling guitarists of the blues-rock style, Savoy Brown and the finger wizardry of Kim Simmonds unleashed some of the smoothest and most mesmerizing rock & roll of the 1970s. Their ingenious blend of contented blues and hard-edged rock resulted in some wholesome yet somewhat bypassed guitar music.

Savoy Brown, originally known as the Savoy Brown Blues Band, are a British blues band formed in 1966, in Battersea, South West London. Part of the late 1960s blues rock movement, Savoy Brown never achieved as much success in their homeland as they did in the United States, where they promoted their albums with non-stop touring. The band was formed and led by guitarist Kim Simmonds, whose dominating personality led to a myriad of personnel changes. Others have attributed the constant lineup adjustments to the "creative accountancy" employed by the band's manager, Harry Simmonds, brother of Kim.

The original line-up included singer Bryce Portius, keyboardist Bob Hall, fellow guitarist Martin Stone, bassist Ray Chappell, harmonica player John O'Leary and drummer Leo Manning. Portius was one of the first black blues musicians to be a part of a British rock band. This line-up appeared on the band's 1967 debut album, Shake Down, a collection of blues covers. Two albums followed in 1968, Getting to the Point, and Blue Matter.

In 1969 a single "Train to Nowhere" was released with a vastly different lineup, including singer Chris Youlden, who, with Simmons, took over primary songwriting duties for the band, on A Step Further that year.

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Savoy Brown - The Savoy Brown Collection (1993)
The Savoy Brown Collection is a two-disc compilation that takes their best tunes from 14 different albums and presents the listener with a sufficient amount of material that never becomes tiresome. Some of the meatier material comes from 1971's Street Corner Talking, like the ultra-smooth "I Can't Get Next to You" and Willie Dixon's "Wang Dang Doodle." Equally impressive is the haunting "Poor Girl" or the desperate guitar cry of "Leavin' Again," both from the sensational Looking In album. The real treasures are the lone tunes taken from some of their lesser-known albums. "I'm Tired," from A Step Further, emanates pathos through instrumentation, while "Stranger Blues" is a startling example of prime guitar manipulation. Early material from albums like Shake Down and Blue Matter have former lead singer Chris Youlden at the helm, who departed before the Looking In album, replaced by Lonesome Dave Peverett who later formed Foghat. Overshadowed by bands like the Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin, Savoy Brown didn't get the acclaim they actually deserved. Rightfully so, the words "Featuring Kim Simmonds" are underneath the title of this two CD set, since his craftsmanship is truly the heart of this talented band. Everything that is even the least bit important from this group is strewn across this compilation.


CD1
01. I Ain't Superstitious
02. Shake 'Em Down
03. Stay With Me Baby
04. Mr. Downchild
05. Train to Nowhere
06. She's Got a Ring in His Nose and a Ring on Her Hand
07. Louisiana Blues
08. Made up My Mind
09. I'm Tired
10. Hard Way to Go, A
11. Needle and Spoon
12. Stay While the Night Is Young
13. Poor Girl
14. Money Can't Save Your Soul
15. Sunday Night
16. Leavin' Again

CD2 (Listen online or download for study)
01. Tell Mama
02. I Can't Get Next to You
03. Street Corner Talking
04. All I Can Do
05. Wang Dang Doodle
06. Hellbound Train
07. Shot In the Head
08. Second Try
09. Coming Down your Way
10. Everybody Loves a Drinking Man
11. Stranger Blues
12. Walkin and Talkin
13. Double Lover