Except for founding leader/guitarist Kim Simmonds, this long-lived band's 2003 lineup bears no resemblance to the original British group formed in 1966. Still, Savoy Brown deserves credit simply for recording a respectable, even high-quality blues album over 35 years into its existence. Hot off a terrific solo acoustic release, 2001's Blues Like Midnight, a reinvigorated Simmonds signed with high-profile indie Blind Pig and churned out a classy set of smooth yet compelling electric blues. Not as soul-based as in the past, strains of funk ("(Hard Time) Believing in You"), R&B ("Can't Take It With You"), and rock ("When It Rains") help push the group beyond its lackluster and obscure efforts from the past decade. Savoy Brown was least successful when its muscular, amped-up boogie was forced and stilted; yet here the sound is warm and organic.
This high-water mark by the band finds them softening their rougher edges and stretching out into jazz territory, yet still retaining a blues foundation. There's not a bad cut here, with enough variety (bottleneck slide, acoustic guitar, horns, and strings) to warrant frequent late-night listenings. "A Hard Way to Go," "Needle and Spoon," and "Stay While the Night Is Young" are especially strong, as are two instrumental numbers. Unfortunately, leader Kim Simmonds lost his greatest asset when vocalist Chris Youlden quit for an ill-fated solo career after this recording. Youlden had one of the most distinctive voices in British blues, and Savoy would never fully recover from his exit.
Shake Down is the debut studio album by the British blues rock band Savoy Brown. It was released in 1967 (on Decca SKL 4883) under the name of Savoy Brown Blues Band and is mainly an album of covers, featuring three songs penned by blues singer Willie Dixon. In addition to Dixon, the band covers John Lee Hooker and B.B. King. Savoy Brown (Originally, Savoy Brown Blues Band) are an English blues rock band formed by guitarist Kim Simmonds and harmonica player John O'Leary, in Battersea, south west London in 1965. Part of the late 1960s blues rock movement, Savoy Brown primarily achieved success in the United States, where they promoted their albums with non-stop touring. After leaving Savoy Brown, musicians became members of groups such as Yes, Fleetwood Mac, UFO and Foghat.
With Kim Simmonds and Chris Youlden combining their talents in Savoy Brown's strongest configuration, 1969's A Step Further kept the band in the blues-rock spotlight after the release of their successful Blue Matter album. While A Step Further may not be as strong as the band's former release, all five tracks do a good job at maintaining their spirited blues shuffle. Plenty of horn work snuggles up to Simmonds' guitar playing and Youlden's singing is especially hearty on "Made up My Mind" and "I'm Tired." The first four tracks are bona fide Brown movers, but they can't compete with the 20-plus minutes of "Savoy Brown Boogie," one of the group's best examples of their guitar playing prowess and a wonderful finale to the album.
Comprising the same lineup as Street Corner Talking, Savoy Brown released Hellbound Train a year later. For this effort, Kim Simmonds' guitar theatrics are toned down a bit and the rest of the band seems to be a little less vivid and passionate with their music. The songs are still draped with Savoy Brown's sleek, bluesy feel, but the deep-rooted blues essence that so easily emerged from their last album doesn't rise as high throughout Hellbound Train's tracks. The title cut is most definitely the strongest, with Dave Walker, Simmonds, and Paul Raymond sounding tighter than on any other song, and from a wider perspective, Andy Silvester's bass playing is easily Hellbound's most complimenting asset.
2017 release from the veteran blues outfit. Blues is not for the faint-hearted. Since the genre first drew breath, it's greatest practitioners have embraced the darkness, spinning tales of hardship and death, hellhounds and devilry. If the sleeve of Witchy Feelin' suggests that Kim Simmonds, too, has a tendency towards the macabre, then Savoy Brown's iconic leader is happy to confirm it. "Blues has always dealt with themes of the Devil, witchcraft and so forth, and I've always written along those lines. At least three of the songs on Witchy Feelin' have that hoodoo vibe…" Witchy Feelin' proves the Devil still has all the best tunes.
Savoy Brown's blues-rock sound takes on a much more defined feel on 1970's Looking In and is one of this band's best efforts. Kim Simmonds is utterly bewildering on guitar, while Lonesome Dave Peverett does a fine job taking over lead singing duties from Chris Youlden who left halfway through the year. But it's the captivating arrangements and alluring ease of the music that makes this a superb listen. The pleading strain transformed through Simmonds' guitar on "Money Can't Save Your Soul" is mud-thick with raw blues, and the comfort of "Sunday Night" is extremely smooth and laid back. "Take It Easy" sounds like it could have been a B.B. King tune as it's doused with relaxed guitar fingering. The entire album is saturated with a simple, British blues sound but the pace and the marbled strands of bubbly instrumental perkiness fill it with life. Even the Yardbirds-flavored "Leaving Again" is appealing with its naïve hooks, capped off with a heart-stopping guitar solo. This album along with Street Corner Talking best exemplify Savoy Brown's tranquilizing style.
Hellbound Train is the eighth album by the band Savoy Brown. It was released by Parrot in 1972. "Shot in the Head," the slide guitar showcase that opens this solid set, became a staple of this veteran English band's live act. In his only full-time stint as singer for demanding bandleader Kim Simmonds, Dave Walker proves a serviceable. Besides their own tunes, the lads cover Howlin' Wolf and Little Walter.