Savoy Brown


Band members                              Related acts

  line up 1 (1967-68)

- Ray Chappell -- bass

- Bob Hall -- keyboards

- Les Manning -- drums, percussion

- Bryce Porrius -- vocals

- Kim Simmonds -- lead guitar rhythm guitar, harmonica

- Martin Stone -- guitar

 

  line up 2 (1968)

NEW - Roger Earl -- drums, percussion (replaced Les Manning)

NEW - Lonesome Dave Peverett (RIP) -- vocals (replaced 

  Bryce Pormus)

NEW - Rivers Jobe -- bass (replaced Ray Chapell)

- Kim Simmonds -- lead guitar rhythm guitar, harmonica

 

  line up 3 (1968-70)

- Roger Earl -- drums, percussion (replaced Les Manning)

- Lonesome Dave Peverett (RIP) -- vocals, rhythm guitar 

- Tone Stevens -- bass (replaced Rivers Jobe)

- Kim Simmonds -- lead guitar rhythm guitar, harmonica, keyboards

NEW - Chris Youlden -- vocals, keyboards, guitar

 

 

  line up 4 (1970-71)

NEW- Dave Bidwell (RIP 1977) -- drums, percussion

NEW - Andy Pyle -- bass

NEW - Paul Raymond -- keyboards, rhythm guitar

- Kim Simmonds -- lead guitar rhythm guitar, harmonica, keyboards

NEW - Dave Walker (RIP) -- lead vocals

 

 

  line up  xx (1972-73)

- Dave Bidwell (RIP 1977) -- drums, percussion

- Ron Berg -- drums, percussion

- Jackie Lynton -- vocals (replaced Dave Walker)

- Andy Pyle -- bass

- Paul Raymond -- keyboards

- Kim Simmonds -- vocals, lead guitar, rhythm guitar, harmonica

 

  line up  xx (1973)

NEW - Ron Berg -- drums, percussion (Dave Bidwell)

- Jackie Lynton -- vocals (replaced Dave Walker)

- Andy Pyle -- bass

- Paul Raymond -- keyboards

- Kim Simmonds -- vocals, lead guitar, rhythm guitar, harmonica

 

  supporting musicians

- Dave Bidwell (RIP) -- drums

- Barry Murray -- percussion

- Frank Ricotti -- percussion

- Stand Saltzman -- sax

 

  line up  13 (1974-75)

- Miller Anderson -- vocals, guitar

- Ron Berg -- drums, percussion

- Andy Pyle -- bass

- Paul Raymond -- keyboards

- Kim Simmonds -- vocals, lead guitar, rhythm guitar, harmonica

 

  line up 14 (1975)

NEW - Dave Bidwell (RIP) -- drums (replaced Ron Berg)

- Kim Simmonds -- vocals, guitar, keyboards

NEW - Andy Rae -- bass (replaced Andy Pyle)

- Paul Raymond -- guitar, keyboards

 

  line up 15 (1975)

NEW - Tom Farnell -- drums (replaced Dave Bidwell)

- Kim Simmonds -- vocals, guitar, keyboards

- Andy Rae -- bass (replaced Andy Pyle)

- Paul Raymond -- guitar, keyboards

 

 

 


  

- The Action

- Alexis (Dave Walker)
- Miller Anderson (solo efforts)

- Anon

- Ashman Reynolds (Keith Boyce)

- Beckett (Dave Walker)

- Beggars Opera

- Black Sabbath (Dave Walker)

- Bloodwyn Pig (Ron Berg and Andy Pyle)

- The Blues Band

- Broken Glass

- The Brunning Hall Sunflower Blues Band

- Bux

- Caravan

- Chaner
- Chicken Shack (Dave Bidwell and Stan Webb)

- Chilli Willi & the Red Hot Peppers

- The Circles

- Mick Clarke Band (Ron Berg)

- Clouds
- Dog Soldier (Miller Anderson)

- De Luxe Blues Band

- Donovan's Brain (Dave Walker)
- The Dukes (Miller Anderson)

- Ellis

- Fat Mattress

- Five's Company
- Fleetwood Mac (Dave Walker)
- Foghat (Roger Earl, Lonesome David Peverett, and Tony Stevens)

- Free A Last

- The Heavy Metal Kids

- Hamlock

- The Honey Dippers

- Hungry Fighter (Dave Walker)
- The Keef Hartley Band
- Idle Race (Dave Walker)

- Juicy Lucy (Ron Berg and Andy Pyle)

- The Kids
- The Kinks (Andy Pyle)

- The Lancaster Bombers (Ron Berg and Andy Pyle)

- The Loving Kinds

- Jackie Lynton's Pin-Board Wizards

- John Mayall

- Maxwell Street (Chris Youlden)

- McGuinnes Flint
- Mighty Baby (Michael Stone)

- Mistress (Dave Walker)

- Network

- John O'Leary Band

- The Outcasts
- Warren Phillips and the Rockets

- Pink Fairies

- Plastic Penny (Paul Raymond)

- Purple Heart (Jackie Lyton)

- Raven (Dave Walker)

- The Red Caps

- Remus Down Boulevard (Ron Berg)

- The Michael Schenker Group

- Southern Comfort

- Spring Fever (Jackie Lyton)

- Steamhammer

- Stone's Masonry

- Sunflower Blues Band (Bob Hall and Leo Mannings)

- UFO

- United (Ron Berg and Andy Pyle)

- Dave Walker and the Ambulators

- Dave Walker Band

- Waysted

- Wha Koo

- Wishbone Ash
- Chris Youlden (solo efforts)

 

 



 

Genre: blues-rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Blue Matter

Company: Parrott

Catalog: PAS 71027

Year: 1968

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: gatefold sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 2299

Price: $20.00

 

The band's third album, "Blue Matter" continued their partnership with producer Mike Vernon.  It also introduced what's largely seen as the band's classic line-up - Kim Simonds joined by drummer  Roger Earl, rhythm guitarist/singer Lonesome Dave Peverett, bassist Tone Stevens, and singer Chris Youlden. 

 

The original plan was to record a new studio collection, but with an American tour looming, Vernon and the band simply ran out of time.   In order to complete the collection it was decided to pad the set with live material.   Side one featured five new studio efforts.   Here's what producer Mike Vernon's liner notes said about the recordings: 

 

"We really spent some time recording on these.  You know, we had thirty six hours booked to record three titles, which seems a long time, but it always disappears quickly, especially when you have as many breaks for food and drinks as we did.  The boys had gigs the night before the sessions and they were pretty tired when they arrived, but you wouldn't think so from listening to the five recorded works that adorn this side of the wax.  But we didn't cut all five titles in this one period.   That 'Train To Nowhere' was one hell of a production piece and must have taken two days at least to complete.  That's what happens when you really put your back into it."

 

Featuring a largely original collection of material, tracks like 'Train To Nowhere', 'Tolling Bells' and 'She's Got a Ring In Her Nose and A Ring On Her Hand' all showcased the band's blues-roots.  As you'd expect, the spotlights were clearly on Simmond's blazing runs and Youlden's powerful, growling voice.  And while the side had a couple of highlights in terms of 'Train To Nowhere and their blazing cover of John Lee Hooker's 'Don't Turn Me From Your Door', in between there were a couple of professional, but plodding numbers.

 

"Blue Matter" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Train To Nowhere   (Chris Youlden - Kim Simmonds) - 4:12    rating: **** stars

Blues-rock for people who don't like blues-rock ...   Youlden seldom sounded as good; Simmonds seldom played anything as melodic, and the subtle horns were icing on the cake.   In an abbreviated form the song was tapped as a single in the UK, France, the Netherlands, and the US:

- 1968's 'Train To Nowhere' b/w 'Tolling Bells' (Deram catalog number F 12843)

- 1969's 'Train To Nowhere' b/w 'Made Up My Mind' (Parrot catalog number 45-40039)

2.) Tolling Bells   (Chris Youlden - Kim Simmonds) - 6:33     rating: *** stars

I'll readily admit I'm not the biggest English blues fan, but there was something intriguing in this dark, ominous number.   It certainly showcased Youlden's stunning voice.

3.) She's Got a Ring In Her Nose and A Ring On Her Hand   (Chris Youlden) - 3:07   rating: ** stars

Youlden's shuffle blues number was fairly routine, though it gave Simmonds an opportunity to showcase his slinky guitar leads.   I'd suggest the song  title was actually better than the song itself.  

4.) Vicksburg Blues   (Bob Hall - Chris Youlden) - 4:07   rating: ** stars

Wow, hardcore country-blues featuring Bib Hall's keyboards and Youlden's growling voice.  Not really my cup of tea (always wanted to us that phrase in a review).  The most surprising thing about this one was the fact Deram tapped it as a British single.  There wasn't a chance in hell it would ever have seen a US release.

- 1968's 'Vicksburg Blues' b/w 'Walking By Myself' (Deram catalog number F 12797)

5.) Don't Turn Me From Your Door   (John Lee Hooker) - 5:04   rating: **** stars

How could you not be drawn in by Simmonds' thick, chunky lead guitar?  Hooker recorded the tune several times during his career and while blues purists were probably appalled by this updated, rock-ish cover, I quite enjoyed it.  Simmonds and Youlden seldom sounded as good.

 

 

The three extended performances on side two captured the band  in December 1968 concert at the City of Leicester College of Education.  Vernon's liner notes: 

 

"Recording groups in concert is always great fun and this session was no exception.  Our engineering staff hauled the portable gear to Leicester, set it up in an afternoon, and patiently awaited the arrival of Savoy Brown.  Finally they arrived, but regretfully without their lead singer [Chris Youlden].  He had a bad attack of the flu and so the other "chanteur" Lonesome Dave had to do the honors.  Did them well, too.  There are some really good things here - some great guitar work, good rhythm sounds, and deft finger work on the 'eighty-eights' from Bob.  An appreciative audience.  Hard and conscientious work from Roy and the technical miracle workers.  Swift manipulation of curtains and lights by the students.  I still can't work out why I went."

 

Given the were flying by their collective teeth on these three numbers, the results were pretty stellar.   Lonesome Dave Peverett made the most of his opportunity in the spotlight, turning in a nice performance on the self-penned 'May Be Wrong'.  Even better was his performance on an extended cover of Muddy Waters' 'Going To Louisiana' which basically served as a shake-down for the forthcoming Foghat.  The sound quality was a little spotty, but good enough.

 

(side 2)

1.) May Be Wrong  (Lonesome Dave Peverett) - 7:50   rating: **** stars

'May Be Wrong' was a traditional blues number written by Lonesome Dave, so there was clearly a certain karma with him replacing Youlden for this show.  Lots of space for Simmonds, but the real star on this one was "guest" keyboardist Bob Hall.

2.) Louisiana Blues   (McKinley Morganfield) - 9:06   rating: **** stars

This one may have started out as a Savoy Brown tune, but the combination of Lonesome Dave on vocals and drummer Roger Earl kicking in around the minute mark, morphed into a proto-Foghat effort.  LOL  One of the few extended blues jams that doesn't bore me to tears.

3.) It Hurts Me Too  (James Nolan) - 6:53   rating: *** stars

Professional, but slightly plodding electric blues, though Lonesome Dave's voice remained a treat.

 

 

 

 


Genre: blues-rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  A Step Further

Company: Parrott

Catalog: PAS 71029

Year: 1969

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: gatefold sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5463

Price: $20.00

With Mike Vernon again producing, 1969's "A Step Further" was a mildly interesting addition to the band's catalog.  Musically the set wasn't exactly a major change in direction, though tracks such as the instrumental "Waiting In the Bamboo Grove" and "I'm Tired" reflected the addition of some tasty soul-styled horns to the mix.  While the first side showcased Chris Youlden as writer and singer (incidentally his swan song with the band), the side long flip side served to spotlight Simmonds and his musical influences.  Recorded at a 1968 date at London's Cooks Ferry Inn, the side-long "Savoy Brown Boogie" clocked in at 22 minutes and served as a mixed overview of the band's strengths (and weaknesses). Mind you, there wasn't anything wrong with the performances (well, Youlden's seemingly endless yapping during the closer 'Hernandez's Hideaway' quickly got old, but with the exception of a brief instrumental stab at 'Purple Haze' there wasn't anything really attention grabbing.    Not as good as the first couple of LPs, but still far better than most of the competition.   For anyone interested, the UK release featured different cover art:

 

DERAM 844 015-2

 

"A Step Further" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Made Up My Mind   (Chris Youlden) - 2:56   rating: *** stars

Penned by Youlden, the rollicking, keyboard-propelled 'Made Up My Mind' was a perfect vehicle for his raspy, bluesy voice.    Supposedly Lonesome Dave Peverett provided the brief and somewhat uninspired guitar solo. 

2.) Waiting In the Bamboo Grove (instrumental)  (Kim Simmonds) - 3:37  rating: **** stars

The punchy horns are always a surprise to my ears, but I have to admit to liking the song's somewhat atypical sound and Simmond's squealing leads are amazing. 

3.) Life's One Act Play   (Chris Youlden) - 6:29   rating: **** stars

Showcasing some nice Tone Stevens bass work, 'Life's One Act Play' was a slow, bluesy number.  Youlden seldom sounded as good as on this one.  

4.) I'm Tired/Where Am I   (Chris Youlden) - 3:21/ (Brown - Willie) - 1:50   rating: **** stars

Built on an infectious Simmonds guitar riff and some punchy horns, 'I'm Tired' was easily the album's most commercial effort; probably explaining why Parrott tapped it as a single.    

 

(side 2)

1.) Savoy Brown Boogie - 22:02   rating: *** stars

Side two featured an extended five part suite of classic blues and rock numbers.  Recorded live at London's Cooks Ferry Inn. to be honest, most of it was pretty pedestrian,  So here's what the liner notes say about the side-long live 'Savoy Brown Boogie' - "Those of you who bought this album and are residents of the city of Detroit - this side of the record is for you, with love from Savoy Brown.  We all wish we could have recorded the band 'live' over there, but it was not to be: maybe one day.  Cooks Ferry Inn is one of the best known little blues haunts in London and this crowd really dig the boogie minded S.B.  One thing I will never forget about this particular recording date.  When we arrived some three hours before we were to start, not only was all the recording gear long since set up, but every member of the band was present.  Would you believe, they were witting around wondering where the hell I'd got to!  That's never happened to me before and I have a feeling that it won't again.   Anyway, we all hope you dig this small piece of groove, for on 'live' gig this is where Savoy Brown are at - heavy, but heavy."

     1.) I Feel So Good   (Willis)

     ii.) Whole Lot of Shakin' Goin' On   (Williams) 

     iii.) Little Queenie   (Chuck Berry)

     iv.) Purple Haze (instrumental)   (Jimi Hendrix)  rating: **** stars

Probably the most interesting part of side two, their instrumental stab at 'Purple Haze' was ragged and sloppy and a lot more fun than the other numbers.   

     v.) Hernandez's Hideaway    (Alder - Ross)    rating: *** stars

'Hernandez's Hideaway' started out slowly, but gather some energy as it went along (well until it hit Youlden's  plodding extended mid-song vamp)  - more rock oriented than most of the album and the small crowd seemed to get into it.  

\

As mentioned, the album spun off a single:

 

 

- 1969's 'I'm Tired' b/w 'Stay with Me Baby' (Parrot catalog number 45 40042)

 

 


Genre: blues-rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Raw Sienna

Company: Parrott

Catalog: PAS 71036

Year: 1969

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: gatefold sleeve

Available: 2

Catalog ID: 190

Price: $15.00

 

So if I were making a listening  recommendation to a Savoy Brown neophyte, 1970's "Raw Sienna" strikes me as a good place to start.  Five albums into their recording catalog and the band's classic line-up (drummer Roger Earl, rhythm guitarist  Lonesome Dave Peverett, bassist Tone Stevens, lead guitarist  Kim Simmonds, and singer Chris Youlden), were finally clicking on all of their blues-rock cylinders.  Co-produced by Simmonds and Youlden, blues-rock was still their prime raison d'etres (always wanted to use that term in a write-up), but this time around the band actually changed things up a bit with modest dollops of jazz (the Simmonds-penned instrumental 'Is That So') and even orchestracted pop-rock ('Stay While the Night Is Young').  The band's blues purist fan base was probably appalled by some of the results, but at least to my ears, the broader, more diverse sound suited them well and it didn't hurt sales with the LP eventually hitting # 121 on the US album charts.  Plus, the band never sounded better than when Youlden was lead singer - the man may have had his personal demons, but you had to admit he had an amazing voice.   (As fans will know; this was Youlden's last release with the band.)  All I can say is I wish I'd seen this line-up in concert.

 


"Raw Sienna" track listing:

(side 1)
1.) A Hard Way To Go   (Chris Youlden) - 2:17  rating: **** stars

One of the most commercial things they ever recorded, Youlden's 'A Hard Way To Go' had a wonderful melody, some of Simmonds' prettiest soloing, and plenty of cowbell.   Seriously, this one could have been a radio hit with a little work.    

2.) That Same Feelin'  (Kim Simmonds) - 3:36  rating: **** stars

Complete with some Blood, Sweat & Tears-styled horn charts and a funky percussion break (seriously) 'That Same Feelin'' was even more commercial than the opener.  Hard to believe this was the same Savoy Brown, but then Simmonds cut lose with a blazing blues-rock solo and you instantly knew where you were. 

3.) Master Hare (instrumental)  (Kim Simmonds) - 4:45  rating: **** stars

I've always had a soft spot for the instrumental 'Master Hare'.  Yeah, the opening keyboard chords have always reminded me of The Beatles' 'Hey Bulldog', but overlooking that, Simmonds blazing fretwork was the primary draw.  Add to that, out of the blue the song dove headlong into a strange, classical strings segment before re-emerging as a blues-rock.  And then there's the weird fade out  ...

4.) Needle and Spoon   (Chris Youlden) - 3:18    rating: ** stars

Hardly the most subtle nod to heroin you've ever heard.  I guess my big complaint about this one is Youlden's almost jocular attitude to the subject ...  Yeah if you pay attention to the lyrics, it isn't an endorsement of heroin; actually quite the opposite, but you have to wonder how many folks picked up on Youlden's subtle cynicism ...  

5.) A Little More Wine   (Chris Youlden) - 4:51  rating: **** stars

Opening up with  Simmonds and Peverett on dueling slide and lead guitars, 'A Little More Wine' was a striking blues-rocker - slinky and yes, funky at the same time.  One of the album highlights. 

 

(side 2)
1.) I'm Crying   (Chris Youlden) - 4:17 rating: **** stars

Youlden's pleading vocals make 'I'm Crying' worth hearing, but the song really kicked into gear when Simmonds solo showed up at the tail end of the song.  

2.) Stay While the Night Is Young  (Chris Youlden) - 3:07  rating: **** stars

Maybe because the band sounded like they were relaxing, the breezy 'Stay While the Night Is Young' was another highpoint.  Youlden turned in a wonderful lead vocal, Steven's bass seldom sounded as melodic, and Simmonds' brief solo was near perfect.   

3.) Is That So   (Kim Simmonds) - 7:40  rating: **** stars

The album's second instrumental, 'Is That So' found Simmonds and company dipping their collective toes into Wes Montgomery-styled jazz.  The focus was clearly on Simmonds and this was one of those rare tracks where the seven minutes goes by in what seems to be a heartbeat.  Totally unexpected and surprisingly enjoyable.   

4.) When I was a Young Boy  (Chris Youlden) - 3:02   ratring: *** stars

Perhaps because it was so heavily orchestrated, 'When I was a Young Boy' was an acquired taste for me.  I've always loved Simmonds acoustic guitar work on the song and Youlden sounds like an old blues guy, but those heavy strings ...  

 

Like I said earlier, one of their best releases and a great place for someone to check the band out.  

 

 

 

 

 


Genre: blues-rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Looking In

Company: Parrott

Catalog: PAS 71042

Year: 1970

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Country/State: UK

Comments:  gatefold sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5462

Price: $15.00

 

1970's "Looking In" found Savoy Brown undergoing a significant personnel change. Original bassist Ray Chappel and drummer Les Manning were gone, replaced by Roger Earle and bassist Tony Stevens.   The line-up was further expanded with the introduction of singer/guitarist Lonesome David Peverett,  With Simmonds and Peverett teaming up to write roughly half the album (Simmonds credited with the rest), the band's basic sound remained firmly rooted in blues-rock. That said, exemplified by tracks such as the pretty instrumental Gypsy', 'Leavin' Again', and the title track, Peverett's instantly recognizable voice added a distinctive commercial edge to their sound.  Nah, it didn't push the band into top-40 territory, but it did serve to open up their sound, making it far more accessible to casual fans.   Simmond's melodic bluesy guitar provided the other highlights.  If you'd never heard the man, then make sure to check out his sinewy leads on 'Money Can't Save Your Soul' and his blazing performance on the jazzy' instrumental 'Sunday Night'. 

"Looking In" track listing:

(side 1)
1.) Gypsy   (Kim Simmonds) - 0:57
  rating: *** stars

For anyone familiar with Savoy's patented blues-rock sound, the brief instrumental 'Gypsy' was going to come as a major surprise.  It was short (under a minute), but stood as one of the prettiest things Simmonds had ever written.
2.) Money Can't Save Your Soul   (Kim Simmonds - Lonesome Dave Peverett) - 4:04
  rating: *** stars

Sporting an interesting split channel, heavily echoic sound, sonically 'Money Can't Save Your Soul'  was one of the album's cooler tunes.  It was also a good example of how good a singer Peverett was.   
3.) Sunday Night (instrumental)   (Kim Simmonds) - 5:34
  rating: *** stars

Simmonds at his most tuneful.   Nice quasi-jazzy, Les Paul vibe on the first half of the tune and then Earle's thundering bass kicked in and the tune ran of in a totally unexpected funky direction.  Shame the song faded out just as Simmonds and company were starting to pick up speed and energy.  The title stemmed from the fact they band recorded it on a ...  Sunday night.   To this day the song remains in Simmonds' concert repertoire; witness this April, 2014 performance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33MW9I814oM  .   
4.) Looking In   (Kim Simmonds - Lonesome Dave Peverett) - 5:17 
rating: **** stars

The album's most conventional and most enjoyable rocker.   Damn, Peverett had such a unique voice. 

 

(side 2)
1.) Take It Easy   (Kim Simmonds - Lonesome Dave Peverett) - 3:40
  rating: *** stars

Breezy, easy -going bluesy number that kind of sneaks up on you in terms of enjoyment factor.   
2.) Sitting an' Thinking (instrumental)   (Kim Simmonds) - 2:40 
rating: **** stars

The instrumental 'Sittin an' Thinking' was probably the album's most tuneful performance.  Shame it was given a vocal to go along with the killer melody.   
3.) Leavin' Again   (Kim Simmonds - Lonesome Dave Peverett) - 8:29 
rating: **** stars

With Perverett opening and closing the tune with a vocal that sounded like his life depended on it, 'Leavin' Again' was the album's most impressive rocker.  Yeah, stretching out over eight minutes it eventually degenerated into an extended jam session, showcasing Siimmonds, but what a jam session.    
4.) Romanoff  (Kim Simmonds) - 1:01 
  rating: *** stars

In spite of the title, the instrumental 'Romanoff' sounded very much like a continuation of the opener 'Gypsy'. 

 

 

t

full gatefold sleeve (US pressing)

 

Hitting # 39 on the US album charts, the set provided the band with their first top-40 US release. The album was originally released with a gatefold sleeve. (Give it an added half star for Jim Baike and David Anstey's great cover art.) Maybe due to the fact Lonesome Dave's on it, this is one of our favorite Savoy Brown sets ...

 



Genre: blues-rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Lion's Share

Company: Parrott

Catalog: XPAS 71057

Year: 1972

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Country/State: UK

Comments: flap sleeve

Available: 2

Catalog ID: 3081

Price: $10.00

 

 

If for no other reason, 1972's "Lion's Share" was worth hearing for  lead singer Dave Walker's final album with Savoy Brown before heading off to record 1972's "Penguin" with Fleetwood Mac.   If you were buying a Savoy Brown album, you pretty much knew what to expect from this collection.  With the possible exception of the surprisingly commercial opener - the Harry Vanda and George Young penned 'Shot In the Head', the rest of this set should not have surprised, or disappointed rank and file Savoy Brown fans.  Blues, blues, and blues ...  Biggest surprise to my ears - how good their blues covers were.  Covers of Howling Wolf's 'Howling for My Baby' and Little Walter's 'Hate To See You Go' were simply blazing.  

"Lion's Share" track listing:

(side 1)
1.) Shot In the Head   (Harry Vanda - George Young) - 4:44   rating: **** stars

The fact it was penned by Harry Vanda and George Young probably went a long way to explaining why 'Shot In the Head' was one of the band's most commercial performances.  Kim Simmond's slinky slide guitar certainly didn't hurt.   The song remains a staple in Simmonds' live set.  YouTube has a blazing Savoy Brown  performance from a September, 2013 performance in Michigan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjEScJPGJEQ     The track was also tapped as a Germany single:

- 1972's 'Shot In the Head' b/w 'Denim Demon' (Decca DL 25 545)

2.) Second Try   (Kim Simmons) - 4:14   rating: **** stars

'Second Try' found the band in a more conventional blues-rock environment, but it was a great space for Walker's bluesy voice.  A rollicking blues song for people who didn't necessarily like the blues. 

3.) The Saddest Feeling   (Paul Raymonde) - 4:24   rating: *** stars

Walker sounded fantastic on this one, but it came on a rather standard and plodding blues number.

4.) I Can't Find You   (Paul Raymonde) - 2:31   rating: ** stars

Another track written by keyboardist Paul Raymonde,  'I Cant Find You' was another hardcore blues shuffle.  Kouds of Raymonde for some wonderful keyboard work.  The video and sound quality are horrible, but YouTube has a 1987 performance of the track - Walker back in the fold for this tour: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYILSYe4hi4  

5.) Howling for My Baby    (Chester Arthur Burnette) - 3:34   rating: **** stars

Side one's biggest surprise, powered by Walker's growl of a voice and Simmond's slashing lead guitar, the band simply tore this blues classic apart.   

 

(side 2)
1.) So Tired   (Kim Simmonds) - 4:14
   rating: *** stars

The blues-rocker 'So Tired' found Walker bellowing about the travails of life on the road.  Decent and I certainly liked it more than some of the more conventional blues numbers, but how tough could life as a rock star be?    The song was tapped as a single in the UK and Italy:

- 1972's 'So Tired' b/w 'The Saddest Feeling' (Decca catalog number F-13372)

2.) Denim Demon   (Dave Walker) - 4:24   rating: ** stars

'Denim Demon' was the lone Dave Walker composition on the LP and showed why Simmonds handled most of the song-writing chores.  A conventional, Chuck Berry-styled rocker, the song was apparently quite autobiographical since Walker subsequently packed his bags for Southern California.

3.) Love Me Please   (Kim Simmonds) - 5:44  rating: **** stars

I think Kim Simmonds handled the lead vocals, and while he wasn't nearly as impressive as Walker, the dark, slinky 'Love Me Please' was my pick for the album's standout performance.

4.) Hate To See You Go   (Little Walter Jacobs) - 4:23  rating: **** stars

Another blues classic cover where they up and surprise me with a performance that was way above what you would have expected.  The rhythm pattern was almost hypnotic.

 

 

 

 



Genre: blues-rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Jack the Toad

Company: Parrott

Catalog: PAS 71059

Year: 1973

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Country/State: UK

Comments: gatefold sleeve

Available: 2

Catalog ID: 14331

Price: $10.00

 

Perhaps this is blasphemy, but I'd suggest that if you're buying a mid-1970s era Savoy Brown album, you pretty much know what to expect.  That means if you bought an album like 1973's "Jack the Toad" you were expecting to hear a fairly conventional set of English blues-rock.  But guess what ?   I bet a bunch of folks were surprised by this one.  On the personnel front the album featured s new lead singer - Jackie Lynton replacing Dave Walker (who had signed on for a brief romp with Fleetwood Mac).  While lots of folks weren't particular impressed by Lynton, I have to admit I rather liked his Joe Cocker-styled delivery.  Lynton also picked up a sizable chunk of the writing duties - he was credited with penning, or co-writing five of the nine tracks.  That gave this set a slightly different feel from the last couple of outings.  Sure, there was still plenty of blues-rock including ''Hold Your Fire' and 'Just 'Cos You Got the Blues Don't mean You Gotta Sing', but Lynton added a lighter and more diversified feel to tracks like 'Coming Down Your Way' and 'Some People''.   Not sure I'd call it Savoy Brown's party album, but it came pretty close.   I'm guessing Lynton won't mind the publicity, so I lifted this description of how he hooked up with Savoy Brown from his website (see the link below):  

 

"Their [Savoy Brown's] manager - he remembered me from the old days - saw me singing with my band [The Jackie Lynton Band] at the Greyhound, in Fulham. They’d just lost their lead singer and he wanted me. I’d come straight off a building site, had just put a really good little band together, and didn’t really want to know. But he kept phoning, offering me the gig. I put the phone down on him at first. I’d never even heard of Savoy effin’ Brown…I just thought it was rubbish, a million times over. Then he started talking about an American tour…I was working on a building site for forty quid a week, and he went and offered me three grand for two months work. Then I had to tell my band…it broke their hearts, ‘cause we were a really tight little outfit….hadn’t been together long, just a couple of months. But you can’t turn that kinda dough down…”

The album also featured a new drummer.  Well, part of the album featured a new drummer.  In the middle of the recording sessions Dave Bidwell fell victim to a nasty drug problem.  Former Blodwyn Pig drummer Rom Berg was brought in to complete the sessions.

 

"Jack the Toad" track listing:

(side 1)
1.) Coming Down Your Way   (Jackie Lynton) - 4:31

Yeah, it was a blues-rocker, but the Lynton-penned 'Coming Down Your Way' had a bouncy melody that served to showcase the best aspects of Lynton's voice (great track to hear the Joe Cocker comparison), while giving Simmonds an opportunity to showcase his sterling slide guitar.  Parrot tapped the track as an American single, though Three Dog Night achieved more recognition with their cover of the song..   rating: *** stars

2.) Ride On Babe  (Kim Simmonds) - 4:21

He doesn't display it very often (which is unfortunate), but I've always liked Simmonds voice.  On ''Ride On Babe' his performance reminded me a bit of Paul Rodgers.  He's seldom sounded as good'.  Not only did you get to hear one of the band's more straight-forward rockers, but Simmonds also displayed his talent on harmonica.  rating: **** stars

3.) Hold Your Fire   (Paul Raymond) - 4:16

A dark and slightly ominous blues number, the first couple of times I heard 'Hold Your Fire' I thought it was a disappointment.  The track  just never seemed to shift into gear and Lynton sounded uncomfortable.   Over time my impressions have changed and while it isn't one of the album standouts, it isn't half bad.  rating: *** stars

4.) If I Want To   (Jackie Lynton) - 3:56

'If I Want To' saw Lynton pushing the band into a pseudo-funky mode ...  seriously, this one had a great Andy Pyle bass line and Lynton's strangled vocal sounded like a cross between Roger Chapman and Kevin Coyne.  rating: *** stars 

5.) Endless Sleep   (Jody Reynolds - Dolores Nance) - 5:30

American rockabilly artist Jody Reynolds enjoyed a 1958 top-5 hit with the "death' track 'Endless Sleep'.  In the UK Marty Wilde enjoyed the hit with his cover of the track. Here the band gave the song a nifty rock arrangement with Lynton turning in a classic rock scream !!!.   And you didn't think Savoy Brown could do straight forward rock and roll ...   rating: *** stars

 

(side 2)
1.) Casting My Spell   (Edwin Johnson) - 4:09

Maybe because it was so atypical and goofy, every time I head 'Casting My Spell' I smile.  Great, bouncy number with a cool Simmonds riff kicking the track along.   rating: *** stars

2.) Just 'Cos You Got the Blues Don't mean You Gotta Sing   (Jackie Lynton) - 5:49

The first disappointment, 'Just 'Cos You Got the Blues Don't mean You Gotta Sing' was a bland slice of blues-rock.  While Simmonds turned in a nice enough solo, it wasn't enough to salvage the rest of the song's plodding nature.  rating: ** stars

3.) Some People   (Jackie Lynton - Kim Simmonds - Paul Raymond - Andy Pyle - Ron Berg) - 6:03

Another Lynton number, 'Some People' caught the band playing around with a relative commercial rock sound.  Not sure longstanding blues-rock fans will like it, but I certainly enjoyed the change of pace.    rating: *** stars

4.) Jack the Toad   (Jackie Lynton) - 6:40

 I have absolutely no idea what it was about, but the title track 'Jack the Toad' was probably the album's standout performance.  Again, the funky rhythm track and weird cowboy theme were unlike anything Simmonds and company had ever recorded before (or since).   rating: **** stars


A mentioned, the album was tapped for an American single:

 

- 1973's 'Coming Down Your Way' b/w 'I Cant Find You' (Parrot catalog number 45-40075 )

 

Surprisingly varied and quite unlike their blues, or boogie catalogs.

The band subsequently undertook an American touring opening for Z.Z. Top and an English tour opening up for Status Quo.   (Always loved the cool David Anstey cover art.)

 

 

As mentioned, Lynton has a nice website at:

 

http://www.onlineonair.com/jl/index.html



 

 


Genre: blues-rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Wire Fire

Company: London

Catalog: PS 659

Year: 1975

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG+

Country/State: UK

Comments: minor hissing between songs; no skips

Available: 2

Catalog ID: 2173

Price: $9.00

 

 

With a new backing band Kim Simmonds and company released "Wire Fire" in 1975.  By my count the album featured Savoy's 14th and 15th line-ups since 1965.  For anyone interested, the recording sessions started out with former Chicken Shack drummer Dave Bidwell, bassist Andy Rae, and keyboardist Paul Raymond (coincidently the only holdover from the previous band).  During the session Bidwell was replaced by Tom Farnell (though both were given performance credits in the liner notes)  Produced by Simmons and Raymond, let's be honest and admit this set wasn't likely to change anyone's opinion with respect to Savoy Brown.   Musically it offered up a collection of blues-rockers with a little more emphasis on rock than conventional blues moves.  Longtime blues fans probably weren't all that enthralled by the results, but exemplified by tracks like 'Put Your Hands Together', the chuggin' 'Here Comes the Music' and the almost soulful 'Ooh What a Feeling'  I liked the band's more conventional sound.  Interestingly the album's biggest surprise came in the area of vocals.  Never particularly comfortable singing, in this line-up Simmonds handled lead vocals and he sounded pretty impressive.  Yeah, on tracks like ('Can't Get On' and 'Ooh What a Feeling' he sounded a bit like Lonesome Dave Peverett, but there were worse things than that comparison.   All told, a nice late inning addition to the band's extensive recording catalog.

 

Unfortunately at this point in the band's career London Records seems to have largely given up on the group, providing little marketing support.  They didn't even bother with a single.

 

"Wire Fire" track listing:

(side 1)
1.) Put Your Hands Together   (Kim Simmonds - Barry Murray - Paul Raymond) - 4:57

Ever think you'd hear Savoy Brown doing a pop, or soul tune?  Probably not, but the bouncy, up-beat, call-and-response 'Put Your Hands Together' sure came close ...   Who knew they had this in their creative veins?  rating: **** stars

2.) Stranger Blues   (Kim Simmonds - Paul Raymond) - 3:30

Paul Raymond's opening keyboards were mesmerizing with Simmonds cutting guitar reminding me of Albert King's work.   It was definitely a blues song, but with the nice backing vocals the song had a commercial edge.   rating: **** stars

3.) Here Comes the Music   (Kim Simmonds - Paul Raymond) - 5:45

A track without any blues influences, 'Here Comes the Music' was an unexpectedly conventional rocker with a bit of Stones' guitar thrown in.  There was also a nice slide solo.   Maybe it was just my abused old ears, but Simmonds sure sounded like the late Lonesome Dave Peverett on this one.  rating: *** stars

4.) Ooh What a Feeling   (Kim Simmonds - Paul Raymond) - 7:00

My pick for the standout performance, 'Ooh What a Feeling' had a slinky rhythm and melody, along with  some of Simmonds' most melodic playing.   The horns almost pushed it into funky territory.   rating: **** stars

 

(side 2)
1.) Hero To Zero   (Kim Simmonds - Paul Raymond) - 5:14

Another tune that showed Simmonds and company could do more than conventional blues-rock.  Cute lyric, nice melody; great harmony vocals (how often do you hear that comment on a Savoy Brown song?), excellent fret work, and even the horn arrangement was decent.   rating: **** stars

2.) Deep Water   (Kim Simmonds - Paul Raymond) - 4:30

The first couple of times I missed this one's charms.  And then out of the blue I realized this was a killer rocker with some excellent Paul Raymond organ moves.   rating: **** stars

3.) Can't Get On   (Kim Simmonds - Paul Raymond) - 4:41

I'm a sucker for a good bass line so Andy Rae caught me from the opening note.   Add in Simmonds magical slide guitar moves and this was chugging blues-rock for folks who didn't like blues-rock.  Another track where Simmonds sounded like Peverett.     rating: **** stars

4.) Born Into Pain   (Kim Simmonds) - 6:30

The only Simmonds solo composition, 'Born Into Pain' was also the album's bluesiest performance. Raymond's electric piano and Simmonds' wailing guitar gave this one an added umph.   rating: **** stars

 

 

 


Genre: blues-rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  The Best of Savoy Brown

Company: London

Catalog: LC 50000

Year: 1977

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Country/State: UK

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5462

Price: $10.00

 

 

Was this abbreviated 1977 compilation the best way to check out Savoy Brown?  Clearly not, but if you were going to start somewhere it probably wasn't a bad introduction to the band.  Part of a London reissue series that saw similar packages for a slew of Parrot/London acts, the retrospective showcased eight previously released tracks pulled from five earlier studio sets.  Covering the band's 1969 - 1972 catalog, "The Best of Savoy Brown" served as a decent overview of the band's various primetime blues-base line ups with plenty of Kim Simmonds lead guitar scattered throughout (check out the live 'Lousiana Blues'). While brief, James Spina's liner notes provided an entertaining track-by-track overview.

 

Decca Records subsequently released the album in the UK with a different title ("Blues Roots") and alternative cover art:

 

"Blues Roots" Decca catalog number 7

 

"The Best of Savoy Brown" track listing:

(side 1)
1.) Train To Nowhere   (Chris Youlden - Kim Simmons) - 4:12

2.) Louisiana Blues   (Morganfield) - 9:06

3.) I'm Tired   (Chris Youlden) - 3:21

4.) Needle and Spoon   (Chris Youlden) - 3:18

 

(side 2)
1.) A Hard Way To Go   (Chris Youlden) - 2:17

2.) Tell Mama   (Kim Simmonds - Raymond) - 2:59

3.) Hellbound Train   (Kim Simmonds - Silvester) - 9:07

4.) Wang Dan Doodle   (Willie Dixon) - 7:15

 

 


Genre: blues-rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Make Me Sweat

Company: GNP Crescendo

Catalog: GNPS-2193

Year: 1987

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): NM / NM

Comments: was sealed; opened and played once; still in shrink wrap; small cut out hole in top right corner

Available: SOLD 

Catalog ID: SOLD 4118

Price: SOLD $10.00

Cost: $1.00

Regardless of whether you're a dedicated blues-rock fan, you have to admire singer/guitarist Kim Simmonds.  As the lifeblood of Savoy Brown, by the time 1987's "Make Me Sweat" was recorded, he'd been ignoring popular musical trends in favor of boogie and the blues for over 20 years.  

 

Recorded in New York's with Neil Norman producing, the album was somewhat noteworthy in that it marked a reunion between Simmonds and former Savoy Brown lead vocalist Dave Walker (who was replaced by Chris Youlden in 1972).  Largely written by Simmons, with Walker co-writing a couple of tracks, musically the set's mix of boogie and blues wasn't a major change in direction.  After all these years Simmonds piercing lead guitar remained instantly recognizable, kicking tracks such as the Chris Youlden-penned "Hard Way To Go" and "Don't Tell Me It's Over" into high gear.  For his part Walker seemed to be in good shape.  His rugged vocal registry sounded a little lower than in his 1970s prime, but he still had more than enough power to turn in killer performances on "Limousine Boogie (Hey, Hey Mama)", "Just for Kicks" and "Don't Tell Me It's Over".  Standout performances - a killer cover of Don Nix's "Goin' Down" and the blazing "Runnin' with a Bad Crowd".  With the exception of the throwaway closer "On the Prowl", the set's never less than entertaining, though it shouldn't come as a surprise that in an era of metal hair bands, this LP couldn't even garner reviews in the American popular press.  Shame. 

 

"Make Me Sweat" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Limousine Boogie (Hey, Hey Mama)   (Kim Simmonds) - 3:06

2.) Just for Kicks   (Ballard) - 3:34

3.) Good Time Lover   (Kim Simmonds - Dave Walker) - 2:20

4.) Goin' Down   (Don Nix) - 3:18

5.) Hard Way To Go   (Chris Youlden) - 2:13

6.) Don't Tell Me It's Over   (Kim Simmonds) - 3:35

 

(side 2)

2.) Runnin' with a Bad Crowd   (Kim Simmonds) - 3:31

3.) Tell Mama   (Raymond - Kim Simmonds) - 4:30

4.) Shot In the Head   (Vanda - Young) - 3:19

5.) Breakin' Up   (Kim Simmonds) - 4:07

6.) On the Prowl   (Jim Dagnesi - Al Macomber - Kim Simmonds - Dave Walker) - 4:22

 

 

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