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7.9.09

Savoy Brown




Savoy Brown - Live At The Record Plant 1975 - 1998 - Archive

CONCERT SUMMARY

Throughout their lengthy career, Savoy Brown has gone through numerous personnel changes, but through it all one thing has remained consistent - lead guitarist and founder Kim Simmonds. The band emerged out of the same mid-1960s English blues scene that gave rise to guitar legends like Beck, Green, Clapton and Page, but Simmonds and Savoy Brown never achieved the stardom of their contemporaries, maintaining an underground status and establishing their reputation with energized live performances that continue to the present day. Like a phoenix, Simmonds always rose from the ashes of critical bandmember departures and forged ahead, creating engaging blues oriented rock music with a long list of talented musicians. Following their initial success in the mid-1960s, as a traditional blues band featuring the dynamic Chris Youlden on vocals, Youlden departed and the band began heading in a more hard rock/boogie band direction, releasing several memorable albums. By late 1970, Youlden departed for a solo career. Not long afterwards, Simmonds' bandmembers departed to form Foghat, allowing him to recruit members of the recently demised Chicken Shack to form an entirely new Savoy Brown. In 1971, just when much of their fan base had written them off, the band returned with a remarkably strong album, Street Corner Talking. This album caught nearly everyone by surprise and brought Savoy Brown their first international hit and much greater exposure than ever before. Tracks from this album like "Tell Mama," "Street Comer Talking," "All I Can Do Is Cry" and the band's take on the Motown classic, "I Can't Get Next To You," all received extensive FM radio exposure. The album went platinum and the band found themselves playing before wildly enthusiastic audiences in America and Europe. The following year they released two more highly acclaimed albums, Hellbound Train and Lion's Share, proving that despite personnel changes, they were still a force to be reckoned with. Personnel continued to change through the early 1970s, but Simmonds always managed to find musicians who complemented his musical direction, particularly in live performances, which was always the best way to experience Savoy Brown. By 1975, the time of this "Live At The Record Plant" recording, the band featured the talents of singer/guitarist/keyboardist Paul Raymond. Simmonds and Raymond displayed a near telepathic empathy for each other's nuances and with the first rate rhythm section of Tom Farnell and Andy Rae, they deliver some of the most direct and memorable music of the group's career. Kicking it off with the band's biggest hit "Tell Mama," featuring sizzling slide guitar work from Simmonds, they immediately engage the small in-studio audience. The next two numbers, "Born Into Pain" and "Hero To Zero" were new songs at the time. Both feature exemplary keyboard work from Raymond and blazing guitar work from Simmonds. These two performances are so strong that these takes were featured on their next album, Wire Fire. The title track of the 1972 album, Hellbound Train, continues the momentum with more outstanding guitar work from Simmonds, before they relax into "All I Can Do (Is Cry)," another highlight of the Street Corner Talking album. This has a nice relaxed free-floating groove to it and the sparser nature of the arrangement makes the biting tone of Simmonds' guitar shine over the captivating vamp of the band. This number also contains Raymond's most engaging vocal of the evening. This segues directly into one of the improvised boogies that the group was so well known for. This boogie also features a brief drum solo by Farnell and has Raymond engaging the in-studio audience to sing along on his "I Feel So Good" vocal improvisations. They bring the set to a close with "You Don't Have To Go," a standout track from 1972's Lion's Share album. Beginning as a slow blues number but then jumping into a hot up-tempo shuffle, this sounds not unlike the best of Savoy Brown's 1960s era blues material, bringing the set full circle as an overview of the band's abilities. At this point in time, Simmonds was consciously emphasizing his lead guitar within the context of the band and this is a fine example of his diversity, style and technique. Newcomers, as well as longtime fans, will find this a fine example of live Savoy Brown.

The legendary British band, Savoy brown with their great guitarist, and vocalist, Kim Simmonds, have been playing their great bland of blues for over forty years now, but still remain strangely unfamiliar to many people. They are probably more popular in America than in their native Britain. The band with many different line ups were playing in the early days of artists like Peter Green, Tony McPhee, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, and God knows how many more. They have seen all the different musical phases come and go, through five decades, but have always retained their integrity, and genuine devotion to great blues rock. This live album from N.Y.C's famed Record Plant in 1975, gives you some idea of how good this band was in the mid seventies. You won't hear any commercial pseudo - blues rock here. The music is pure, unadulterated, first class British blues rock, brilliantly played by the band's strongest ever line - up. "Live At The Record Plant 1975" is VHR by A.O.O.F.C. Please note that there a few sound "glitches" on the album. It would be great to hear a "cleaned up" version of this historic recording. However, we are lucky to have this one. The comprehensive "The Savoy Brown Collection (Featuring Kim Simmonds)" album can be found @ SAVBRO/COLL and the band's "A Step Further" album is @ SAVBRO/ASF It is worthwhile listening to SB's great ""Hellbound Train" album.

TRACKS / COMPOSERS

1. Tell Mama - Paul Raymond/Kim Simmonds
2. Born into Pain - Kim Simmonds
3. Hero to Zero - Paul Raymond/Kim Simmonds
4. Hellbound Train - Kim Simmonds
5. All I Can Do - Paul Raymond/Kim Simmonds
6. Savoy Brown Boogie - Kim Simmonds/Chris Youlden
7. You Don't Have to Go - Jimmy Reed

BAND

Kim Simmonds - Guitar, Vocals
Andy Rae - Bass
Paul Raymond - Keyboards, Vocals
Tom Farnell - Drums

BIO (Wikipedia)

Savoy Brown is a British blues band formed in the 1960s. Originally known as the Savoy Brown Blues Band, their 1969 single "Train to Nowhere" (with singer Chris Youlden), was viewed by many as the last gasp of the blues scene in Great Britain. Although Savoy Brown never reached much acclaim in their home nation, they developed a loyal core following in the United States, due to songs such as "I'm Tired" (from their album, A Step Further), a driving, melodic song. They were one of the bands that UK Decca (US London/Parrot) stuck with through the lean times until they started selling records (it took 4 or 5 albums until they started to sell in the US). In the late 1960s and 1970s, the band managed to penetrate the Billboard Hot 100. Superstardom perpetually evaded them, perhaps in part because of their frequent lineup changes, but despite that, "Hellbound Train" was a big album for them in the US.
While the band is still active today, only Kim Simmonds has stayed since the beginning. Guitarist "Lonesome" Dave Peverett, bassist Tone Stevens, and drummer Roger Earle went on to form Foghat. Original member and harmonica player, John O'Leary, is still active on the British blues circuit with The John O'Leary Band. Savoy Brown's first album, Shake Down, featured lead vocalist Bryce Portius. Portius was one of the first black blues musicians to be a part of a British rock band. Another singer, Dave Walker, would later join Fleetwood Mac and Black Sabbath. Savoy Brown also provided an outlet for the keyboardist and guitarist, Paul Raymond, who later went on to join UFO. Other notable members include Jeff Howell, who went on to play with Foghat and the Outlaws before returning to central New York, where he is considered the best carpet installer in Ithaca.

MORE ABOUT SAVOY BROWN

Part of the late-'60s blues-rock movement, Britain's Savoy Brown never achieved as much success in their homeland as they did in America, where they promoted their albums with nonstop touring. The band was formed and led by guitarist Kim Simmonds, whose dominating personality has led to myriad personnel changes; the original lineup included singer Bryce Portius, keyboardist Bob Hall, guitarist Martin Stone, bassist Ray Chappell, and drummer Leo Manning. This lineup appeared on the band's 1967 debut, Shake Down, a collection of blues covers. Seeking a different approach, Simmonds dissolved the group and brought in guitarist Dave Peverett, bassist Rivers Jobe, drummer Roger Earl, and singer Chris Youlden, who gave them a distinctive frontman with his vocal abilities, bowler hat, and monocle. With perhaps its strongest lineup, Savoy Brown quickly made a name for itself, now recording originals like "Train to Nowhere" as well. However, Youlden left the band in 1970 following Raw Sienna, and shortly thereafter, Peverett, Earl, and new bassist Tony Stevens departed to form Foghat, continuing the pattern of consistent membership turnover. Simmonds collected yet another lineup and began a hectic tour of America, showcasing the group's now-refined bluesy boogie rock style, which dominated the rest of their albums. The group briefly broke up in 1973, but re-formed the following year. Throughout the '80s and '90s Simmonds remained undeterred by a revolving-door membership and continued to tour and record. Their first album for the Blind Pig label, Strange Dreams, was released in 2003. Steel followed in 2007 from Panache Records. © Steve Huey, allmusic.com

ABOUT KIM SIMMONDS

For over 30 years Kim Simmonds has been synonymous with 'legendary British blues guitar', being mentioned in the same breath as Eric Clapton, Peter Green and Mick Taylor in the hierarchy of England's best guitar slingers from the 60s golden era of British blues. Kim started his career in London, England in 1966 by forming the group Savoy Brown and has since enjoyed international fame. He's been featured on the front cover of Guitar Magazine, made over 3 dozen records and performed around the world. He has an international fan club based in Wales and a web site at www.savoybrown.com. Kim's records with Savoy Brown (many produced by himself) have sold millions, with albums such as Looking In and Hellbound Train reaching the Billboard Top 40 charts. Many of his songs have been covered by such diverse artists as Rare Earth, Hugo Montenegro and Great White. In 1995, a two CD boxed set, The Savoy Brown Collection released by Polygram Records, chronicled his and the band's astonishing career. As a solo artist and in the acoustic field Kim has released three CDs - Savoy Brown's 1986 Slow Train, his own 1997 Solitaire, and the 2001 release Blues Like Midnight. Born in Wales in 1947 and playing the pubs of London with Savoy Brown at the very tender age of 18, Kim Simmonds recorded albums that helped start the 60s blues boom. While others have strayed from their roots, Simmonds has stayed the course .... a true journeyman and road warrior, who's comfortably settled into an elder statesman role at the same time as burning up the fretboard on the concert stage while remaining at the top of his game. (c) The British Blues All Stars 2004, www.thebritishbluesallstars.co.uk/kim_simmonds.htm

5 comments:

A.O.O.F.C said...

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Anonymous said...

HEllo,great blog and great post.THANKS.

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,Anonymous. Thanks for comment. There are a few sound "glitches" on album. I would love to hear a remastered version of this album, but these albums are scarce, and it's better than nothing. Keep in touch

gkapageridis said...

They were one of the all time best blues rock bands. Even though not at the highest peak of their time at that time they were nevertheless magic.

A.O.O.F.C said...

Thanks a million, gkapageridis. Savoy Brown are a terrific blues rock band. They have a great back catalogue of releases, and it's great to hear from someone like you who appreciates their music. Cheers, and ttu soon