Chris Youlden (Band)

Band members                             Related acts

- Chris Youlden -- vocals, keyboards


  supporting musicians (1973)

- Roy Barrington -- bass 
- Ray Fenwick -- guitar
- Danny Kirwan -- guitar
- Foggy Lyttle -- guitar 
- Mike McNaught -- keyboards 
- Bruce Rowland -- drums, percussion
- Chris Spedding -- guitar
- Andy Sylvester -- bass 
- Pete Wingfield -- keyboard 

  supporting musicians (1973)

- John Beecham -- trombone 
- Dave Caswell -- trumpet
- Mike Cotton -- trumpet 
- Roscoe Gee -- bass 
- Dereck Griffiths -- guitar 
- Jack Mills -- guitar 
- Nick Newell - sax 
- Bruce Rowland -- drums, percussion 
- Pete Wingfield -- keyboard


  supporting musicians (1974)

- John Beecham -- trombone

- Dave Caswell -- trumpet

- Mike Cotton -- trumpet

- Rosco Gee -- bass

- Derek Griffiths -- guitar

- Suzanne Lynch -- backing vocals

- Jack Mills -- guitar

- Nick Newell -- sax

- Anna Peacock -- backing vocals

- Bruce Rowlands -- drums, percussion

- Terry Stannard -- drums

- Pete Wingfield -- keyboards

- Jay Yates -- backing vocals





- Down Home Blues Band (Chris Youlden)

- Maxwell Street (Chris Youlden)

- Savoy Brown (Chris Youlden)

- Shakey Vick's Big City Blues Band (Chris Youlden)





Genre: blues-rock

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  Nowhere Road

Company: London

Catalog: PS 633

Country/State: Dagenham, UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: promo sticker on cover; original lyric inner sleeve; cut out hole top right corner

Available: 2102

Catalog ID: 1

Price: $35.00



Best known for having replaced Bryce Portius as one of Savoy Brown's original lead singers, during his tour of duty with the band Chris Youlden rivaled Kim Simmonds in serving as the band's focal point. In addition to being blessed with a voice that was perfectly suited for the band's bluesy rock moves, his reputation wasn't hurt by his onstage attire - often a bowler and monocle, or a tux.  It also didn't hurt that Youlden was a capable writer, responsible for penning roughly half of Savoy's classic early-'70s material.

Unhappy with Savoy Brown's constant touring and drift towards what he considered to be mindless boogie, in May 1970, Youlden tendered his resignation. He effectively vanished for the next three years, unexpectedly reappeared in 1973 signed by London Records as a solo act (coincidently Savoy Brown's label).  Produced by Barry Murray, 1973's "Nowhere Road" was notable for the fact it bore little resemblance to his Savoy Brown catalog. With Youlden penning all eleven tracks, material such as 'Chink of Sanity' and 'Mama Don't Talk So Loud' retained a bluesy base, but injected a distinctively sinewy funky edge into selections such as the title track (boasting a great guitar solo), 'One October Day' (with some tasty horns) and the blazing 'Cryin' In the Road'. Chris Spedding and Fleetwood Mac guitarist Danny Kirwan provided sterling support throughout.  A commercial disappointment, the set barely charted, peaking at #210. (Sporting one of the year's ugliest covers certainly didn't help sales.)  The lack of sales was unfortunate since Youlden's instantly recognizable voice remained in prime form. Without wanting it to sound like hype, had Savoy Brown recorded an album this good, they would've been stars ...  A fantastic debut album that I play over and over !!!

"Nowhere Road" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Nowhere Road   (Chris Youlden) - 4:50

Say what you will about Youlden, but there was no denying the man had one helliuva voice !   And if you thought all he was capable of doing were plodding blues numbers, then check out the surprisingly funky (yes, funky) title track.  Love the bubbly Mike McNaught keyboards and the guitar fills were just icing on the cake.   The tune was tapped as a single throughout Europe and as a promo single in the States:

- 1973's 'Nowhere Road' b/w 'Standing On The Corner'  (catalog number 45-1048 DJ)   rating: **** stars
2.) One October Day   (Chris Youlden) - 2:24

Even with the horns, 'One October Day' was one of the most mainstream and commercial things Youlden's ever recorded.  The title track refrain was irresistible.   rating: **** stars
3.) Chink of Sanity   (Chris Youlden) - 3:58

In the wake of one of his most commercial offerings, 'Chink of Sanity' was one of the prettiest tunes he'd ever penned, though it would have been even better without the horn arrangement.   great tune to hear that special snarl embedded in Youlden's voice.    rating: **** stars
4.) Cryin' In the Road   (Chris Youlden) - 3:36

Even more radio friendly was the blazing rocker 'Cryin' in the Wind'.  I'm sure the song's commercial edge offended his longtime blues fans, but it's probably my favorite Youlden solo side, I've always wondered who turned in the wonderful guitar solo - Ray Fenwick, Danny Kirwan, Foggy Lyttle, or Chris Spedding ?   rating: **** stars
5.) Mama Don't You Talk So Loud   (Chris Youlden) - 3:15

Nice boogie rocker that's always reminded me of something The Guess Who might have recorded.   In fact, Youlden's voice even sounded a bit like Burton Cummings on this one.  rating: *** stars

(side 2)

6.) Standing On the Corner   (Chris Youlden) - 3:28

'Side two's 'Standing On the Corner' found the horns returning.  I actually liked the song's structure and melody, but the extended sax solo  and bleating female backup vocalists did the song a disservice.  rating: *** stars 
7.) In the Wood   (Chris Youlden) - 4:13

The slinky ballad was one of the album's sleeper tunes.  Again, not sure who played it, but the song's wah-wah guitar and melodic solos were first-rate.   rating: **** stars
8.) Wake Up Neighbor   (Chris Youlden) - 2:26

Another slice of unexpectedly funky rock.   Not as good as the title track, but enough to get you up and moving.   rating: *** stars
9.) Street Sounds   (Chris Youlden) - 4:31

Heavily orchestrated ballad that had kind of a strange vocal on it - Youlden almost sounding like he'd swallowed the mike.  rating: *** stars
10.) Time Will Tell   (Chris Youlden) - 2:43

If you were to pick a song to appear on a Savoy Brown album, the jump blues 'Time Will tell' might be the best choice.   Powered by Youlden's unique voice and some breezy lead guitars, this was one of the album's highlights.   rating; **** stars
11.) Pick Up My Dogs and Gone   (Chris Youlden) - 2:45

Ever think you'd hear Youlden do a pop song?  Me neither, but kicked along by some of the most melodic flute you'll ever hear, 'Pick Up My Dogs and Gone' was top-40 ready.   How was it that Parrot/Deram didn't release it as a single?  rating; **** stars




Genre: blues-rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  City Child

Company: London

Catalog: PS 642

Country/State: Dagenham, UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 2103

Catalog ID: 1

Price: $40.00


Having listened to 1974's "City Child" dozens of  times over the years, I'm still on the fence in terms of my final opinion.  Youlden had a great blues voice and was capable of writing classic material.  Unlike the debut album, on his second solo release the results were kind of hit-or-miss.  Part of the problem may have been associated with the fact this time around Youlden handled production duties depriving himself of an independent second set of ears. Self-produced, the ten original tunes were more varied than his debut, but that wasn't necessarily a good thing.  While the bluesy 'Little Cog In a Big Wheel', 'Love and Pain' and 'It Ain't for Real' recalled his Savoy Brown-styled roots, 'Conjure Wife' was an out-out-out rocker, while 'Born and Raised In the City' and 'Keep Your Lamp Lit' were actually funky (in a mid-'70s Boz Scaggs kind of way). Best of the lot was the haunting rocker 'Spare Change'.  Not as instantly likeable as the debut, but the set's grown on me over the years.  

"City Child" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Conjure Wife   (Chris Youlden) - 3:40

Breezy blues number that served to showcase what a great voice Youlden had and quickly grew to be one of my favorite performances.   rating: **** stars
2.) Born and Raised In the City   (Chris Youlden) - 4:00

White-boys blues-funk ...   didn't do much for me the first time around, but the punchy horns and Youlden's rough hewn vocals grew on me; especially on the chorus when he blended in with the female backing singers.   My earlier comparison to Boz Scaggs wasn't all that far off.   rating: *** stars
3.) The Morning Light   (Chris Youlden) - 3:25

'The Morning Light' was one of those tunes where Youlden shifted into his smooth, pseudo lounge lizard voice (which I've always loved).  The highlight on this jazzy number came in the form of Roscoe Gee's fantastic bass work.   rating: **** stars
4.) Keep Your Lamp Lit   (Chris Youlden) - 3:24

Opening up with a tasty little guitar riff, 'Keep Your Lamp Lit' had an irresistible breezy flow.  The horns were a bit distracting this time out, but Youlden's vocals made up for it.   rating: *** stars
5.) Little Cog In a Big Wheel   (Chris Youlden) - 3:54

'Little Cog In a Big Wheel' was the tune that came the closest to his Savoy Brown catalog.  Bluesywith some great blues-lyrics (ah life is tough when you are academically challenged), but in a fashion that should have appealed to folks that don't like the blues.   rating: **** stars

(side 2)

1.) Peace of Mind   (Chris Youlden) - 3:23

Nice Gospel-blues tune that would not have sounded out of place on a Bonnie and Delaney album.   Another one that grew on you given a chance.   rating: **** stars
2.) Walking the Streets Again   (Chris Youlden) - 2:27

Up-tempo New Orleans flavored blues number with some nice Pete Wingfield barrelhouse piano kicking it along.  Unfortunately this one just never kicked into gear for me.   rating: ** stars
3.) Spare Change   (Chris Youlden) - 3:44

My pick for one of the standout performances, 'Spare Change' sported the album's best melody and Youlden's best vocal.   Parrot should have tapped this one as a single.   rating: **** stars
4.) Love and Pain   (Chris Youlden) - 5:49

'Love and Pain' found Youlden stripping away most of the pop and rock accompaniment, returning to a straightforward slice of Savoy-styled blues.   Usually I'm not a big fan of the genre, but his performance was dazzling; for some reason reminding me of the late Otis Redding.   rating: **** stars
5.) It Ain't for Real   (Chris Youlden) - 3:09

Built on a horribly catchy hook, the bouncy, breezy, radio-friendly 'It Ain't for Real' was the album's charmer.   Always loved Derek Griffiths' melodic Santana-styled lead guitar work on this one.   rating: **** stars