Blind Pig (2003) 5082
10 tracks, 46 minutes
by Craig Ruskey
Review date: March 2003
"Keeping the Blues Alive Award"|
Achievement for Blues on the Internet
Presented by The Blues Foundation
Savoy Brown entered the blues picture close to forty years ago as a leading outfit on the UK scene and
while the band continues on, the only remaining figure from that time is Kim Simmonds. While his
guitar abilities are superb, his rather thin voice isn't going to make anyone forget the whiskey-soaked
vocals of former frontman, Chris Youlden, or those who followed him over Savoy Brown's numerous
personnel changes. The newest incarnation of the band sees David Malachowski playing second guitar
with a rhythm section of Gerry Sorrentino and Dennis Cotton, on bass and drums, and these three offer
solid support behind Simmonds, regardless of previous work that reads more like session musicians
with little blues experience. Simmonds guitar work has aged nicely and the influence of Otis Rush,
Jimmy Johnson, and others, is clearly audible in When It Rains, Can't Take It With You, Pain Of
Love, (Hard Time) Believing In You, and more. While many of the grooves are edgy with touches of
funk-fused blues, the pace slows for a sharp and focused Keep It Rollin' where Simmonds
delivers some of his better moments in a long spell. Blind Boy Fuller's Meat Shakin' Woman
and the original Memphis Last Night both feature some nice slide work, but the disc's sleeper is
the closer, Can't Let You Go, which recalls some of Savoy Brown's glory years with some fine
distorted guitar. Although the band acquits themselves well instrumentally, Kim Simmonds is lacking
the required dirt in his voice to turn this effort from middle-of-the-road into a grinding top-shelf set of
blues. It might be a better move for him to consider taking on another young and powerful vocalist in
the near future.
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