Make Chiangmai Mail | your Homepage | Bookmark

Chiangmai 's First English Language Newspaper

Pattaya Blatt | Pattaya Mail | Pattaya Mail TV

 
 
Mott the Dog
 

Saturday, October 13, 2018 - October 19, 2018

Savoy Brown: ‘Looking In’

Kim Simmonds performs with Savoy Brown in 1975. (Photo/Wikipedia)

This is probably Savoy Brown’s best and most successful album. It was recorded on a personnel precipice as within weeks of its release three quarters of the band deserted the ship, leaving leader Kim Simmonds on his own and looking for new band mates to form Savoy Brown version 5 (he’s probably up to version number 999 by now). The others, leaving because of alleged inequities in the division of income, went on to form boogie legends Foghat with the addition of mercurial slide guitarist Rod Price. Whilst recording some ten albums for Bearsville records they became the leaders of the British boogie and stadium rock wave.

“Looking In” was the predecessor for all this. Topped and tailed by two short Kim Simmonds guitar pieces, the album contains seven tracks of solid gold blues and boogie.

Just before going into the studio the erratic vocalist Chris Youlden had decided to leave the band in search of solo fame, taking his trademark eye piece, topper, and cane with him and leaving the others high and dry, with studio time booked and no yodeler.

But cometh the hour cometh the man and up to the microphone stepped second guitarist Lonesome Dave Peverett - and a sterling job of handling the vocals he did too, whilst also adding valuable guitar work to the longer numbers, particularly final workout “Leavin’ Again”, when the twin guitars battle it out like an electric dueling banjos for a glorious eight and a half minutes. Lonesome Dave also co-wrote this with Tone Stevens.

First song proper on the album, “Poor Girl”, was another written by Tone Stevens. It’s a real belting blues number which is still in the Savoy Brown stage repertoire today, although Stevens left the band more than four and a half decades ago.

But star of the show with Savoy Brown (always was and always will be) is Kim Simmonds (funny name that for a boy), whose guitar playing throughout this album is nothing short of awe inspiring. Simmonds could easily match the likes of his peers such as Clapton, Beck, and Page, but was more often than not the unsung guitar hero, probably because unlike all the others he stayed true to his initial roots of the blues. He has been playing the same style since 1966 and there doesn’t seem much likelihood of him changing now. Not for him the commercial appeal of pop or heavy metal, although I’m sure even now he could turn a coin or two by squashing his feelings and prostituting his guitar work.

Simmonds’ finest moment on “Looking In” comes on “Take It Easy”, a slow burning song Kim wrote with Dave Peverett that, from very small beginnings, builds to a shattering guitar climax.

This album collects the essence of the live beast that is Savoy Brown on stage and that was where they were at their best. So, if two and two make four, then this is Savoy Brown at their finest.

Mott the Dog Rating: 5 Stars.

Savoy Brown:

Kim Simmonds – guitar & piano

Lonesome Dave – vocals & guitar

Roger Earl – drums

Tone Stevens - bass

Track List:

Gypsy

Poor Girl

Money Can’t Save Your Soul

Sunday Night

Looking In

Take It Easy

Sitting An’ Thinking

Leavin’ Again

Romanoff


Update Saturday, October 6, 2018 - October 12, 2018

Hawkwind: ‘Alien 4’

Dave Brock of Hawkwind.

As ever, original space rockers Hawkwind go where nobody has gone before, not because of any particular enterprise, but perhaps because they don’t care if everybody else just thinks they are off their collective rockers.

This is a science fiction concept album in support of the oppressed people of the planet earth. (Does this sound a little pretentious to you? Well it is, but I’m sure that the boys have got their collective hearts in the right place).

The music starts off with the arrival of the flying saucer to abduct our hero away, to find out why the human race is so hell-bent on self destruction. This of course makes for total confusion amongst the aliens, leading us into a wondrous journey through the music of Hawkwind.

The earthling attempts to return to earth without blowing everybody’s minds, and what a journey it is. After the rejection of all things alien we are whisked into “Blue Skin” territory where the multiple layers of vocals, synths, keyboards, and wave sequencers, sooth our worried brows before being propelled forward for more adventures, including the hilarity of a song called “Beam Me Up” (surely self-explanatory), and a meeting with the urban space dustbin man Sputnik Stan (well presumably it’s a job that somebody will have to do in the future, good tips in space at Christmas I hope).

We’re finally bought back to a festival where the first band on the stage are Hawkwind, so the album finishes with the first 3 songs of Hawkwind’s live set from 1996, leaving you with the final song “Are You Losing Your Mind”, which couldn’t be more apt, and has brought you full circle.

Confused yet? You should be and if you’re not you’ve obviously lost the plot and picked it up at the wrong spot.

This was a magnificent return to form by Hawkwind and is the first studio album to feature Ron Tree on vocals and in true Hawkwind fashion he virtually takes over, dominating most of the songs. He was fired by Captain Dave Brock the following year, but such is the life of a Hawklord. Bring back Nik Turner I say.

If you want to go into cosmic interstellar overdrive and you’re never sure whether to wag your tail or nod your head, then this is the album for you.

Mott the Dog rating: 4 Stars

Hawkwind:

Dave Brock - guitar, vocals, keyboards, synths, FX

Alan Davey - bass guitar, vocals, synths, wave sequencing, FX

Richard Chadwick - drums, percussion

Ron Tree - vocals

Track List:

Abducted

Alein (I am)

Reject Your Human Touch

Blue Skin

Beam Me Up

Vega

Xenomorph

Journey

Sputnik Stan

Kapal

Festivals

Death Trap

Wastelands

Are You Losing Your Mind?


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Savoy Brown: ‘Looking In’

Hawkwind: ‘Alien 4’