SAVOY BROWN/SHAKE DOWN, GETTING TO THE P Box set
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First two late '60's albums from the Savoy Brown Blues Band, led by guitarist Kim Simmonds, they were - along with Fleetwood Mac, John Mayall and Chicken Shack - the leaders of the British blues boom in the sixties. Savoy Brown went on to long-term success in America, despite some members of the band (guitarist/vocalist "Lonesome" Dave Peverett, bassist Tony Stevens and drummer Roger Earl) leaving to form Foghat. Savoy Brown are still gigging and recording today. Digitally remastered, slip-cased and with extensive new notes.
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Founded in 1966 by guitarist Kim Simmonds, this hard rock/boogie act was originally named Savoy Brown Blues Band to reflect its Chicago Blues-style repertoire. 'Savoy' nodded at US label, Savoy Records and sounded classy; 'Brown' was good ol', down-home plain and seemed a useful counterpoint.
Early singles for Mike Vernon's Purdah label in 1966 were followed up the following year with Shake Down after signing to Decca Records. Produced by Vernon, this set was in the can in a mere thirty hours over three consecutive days. A collection of soulful, raw blues standards by BB King, John Lee Hooker and Willie Dixon amongst others, it proved a persuasive calling card for the 'live' experience. 1967 saw Savoy Brown tour as backing band for Hooker's UK tour and also open for Cream's first London performance.
Extensive touring was followed by personnel changes after a drugs 'bust' which saw in new bassist Bob Brunning from Fleetwood Mac and singer Chris Youlden. Youlden was a true find, his rich, often mournful vocal harnessed to Simmond's fluid guitar lines levered in home grown material from both men that trademarked the Savoy Brown sound, the line-up soon enriched by the arrival of bassist "Lonesome" Dave Peverett and drummer Roger Earle.
Getting to the Point followed in March 1968, the mix now reversed with just two covers and seven originals by Youlden and Simmonds. Initially something of a downer after "Shake Down", the album picks up half way and begins to rattle along, showcasing an individual style and a growing dynamic within the band.
Winning contemporary media plaudits for the album, this chemistry was to grow to even better purpose with subsequent releases in the last gasps of the decade.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The first album Shake Down was especially immediate-in your face-sounding. The songs consisted mainly of covers written by well-known blues artists like Willie Dixon John Lee Hooker and the like. The instrumental The Doormouse Rides The Rails gives guitarist Martin Stone a chance to shine. The lead singer Brice Portius is adequate-neither great nor bad. The rhythm section is what you would expect from this time. A combination of slow blues and a few shuffles make up this recording. Only on the last song does the group show a tendency to stretch out in a "boogie" like style that they would go on to make popular in America,which is to bad. For those of you interested in British groups in this style I would recommend you pick up this disc. It was never originally released in America and had to be bought as an import.
The second album Getting To The Point,was a continuation of the first as far as the British blues sound. With a new singer on board,Chris Youlden,Savoy Brown's sound became a bit more distinctive. Martin Stone had left to join Mighty Baby and the rhythm section had changed too. Most of the songs are now being written by the team of Youlden/Simmonds (the band's new lead guitarist). As before it is a combination of fast and slow blues,with an instrumental to show what Kim Simmonds could do.
This album and the next few would follow the same path. Only later would Savoy Brown descend into "boogie" excess that became popular and thus spell the end of their truly blues playing days. All in all I would say buy these two albums if you're a fan of British blues or sixties music from England in general.
However, the 'Getting to the Point' CD in this combo is missing:
Walking By Myself
Taste And Try, Before You Buy
Not tragic losses, but good to know BEFORE you purchase.
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