Friday, June 3, 2011

Street Corner Talking - Savoy Brown

I'll start off by saying that Kim is an incredible guitar player. If you've never seen him, catch him when he comes to town. He plays small clubs (Savoy Brown) and you'll see up close and personal!

Savoy Brown, originally known as the Savoy Brown Blues Band, are a British blues band formed in 1965, in Battersea, South West London. Part of the late 1960s blues rock movement, Savoy Brown never achieved as much success in their homeland as they did in the United States, where they promoted their albums with non-stop touring.The band was formed and led by guitarist Kim Simmonds, whose dominating personality led to a myriad of personnel changes. Others have attributed the constant lineup adjustments to the "creative accountancy" employed by the band's manager, Harry Simmonds, brother of Kim.

The original line-up included singer Bryce Portius, keyboardist Bob Hall, bassist Ray Chappell, drummer Leo Manning and harmonica player John O'Leary (O'Leary appeared on record with the band on its initial recordings for Mike Vernon's Purdah label). Portius was one of the first black blues musicians to be a part of a British rock band.[citation needed] This line-up appeared on the band's 1967 debut album, Shake Down, a collection of blues covers.[1] Two albums followed in 1968, Getting to the Point, and Blue Matter.

In 1969 a single, "Train to Nowhere", was released with a vastly different line-up, including singer Chris Youlden, who, with Simmons, took over primary songwriting duties for the band, on A Step Further that year. It was viewed by some as the last gasp of the blues scene in the United Kingdom.[citation needed] They developed a loyal core following in the United States, due to songs such as "I'm Tired", a driving, melodic song from the album. 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 four or five albums until they started to sell in the U.S.) 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 line-up changes, but despite that, Hellbound Train (1972) was a Top 40 album for them in the U.S. In January 1974, the British music magazine, NME reported that Stan Webb was joining Savoy Brown, following the break-up of Chicken Shack.

While the band is still active today, touring the world and recording regularly, only Simmonds has stayed since the beginning. Guitarist "Lonesome" Dave Peverett, bassist Tony Stevens, and drummer Roger Earl went on to form Foghat.[1] Original member and harmonica player John O'Leary is still active on the British blues circuit with his band Sugarkane. Another singer, Dave Walker, would later join Fleetwood Mac and Black Sabbath. Their bassists included Andy Pyle, who played with Mick Abrahams from Jethro Tull in Blodwyn Pig then later with The Kinks and Gary Moore. Andy Silvester had played with Wha-Koo and Chicken Shack. Savoy Brown also provided an outlet for keyboardist and guitarist Paul Raymond, who later went on to join UFO.

Savoy Brown contributed the song "A Man Alone" for the soundtrack to the movie Kickboxer 2.

In 2008, "Train to Nowhere" was used in, and figured as a clue, in the TV series CSI: NY, in Season 4, Episode 10 - “The Thing About Heroes”.

Their first album for Blind Pig Records, Strange Dreams, was released in 2003. The band released their most recent record Steel in 2007.
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