Saturday, 30 June 2018

Savoy Brown - Raw Sienna (Great Bluesrock Album UK 1970)



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Bitrate: 320
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Source: Japan SHM-CD Remaster 2018

Raw Sienna is the fifth album by the band Savoy Brown.

It was recorded and released by Decca in the UK 1970 in both mono and stereo (LK/SKL 5043). For release in USA and Canada, tapes were leased to Parrot Records (London Records)—PAS 71036.


This high-water mark by the band finds them softening their rougher edges and stretching out into jazz territory, yet still retaining a blues foundation. There's not a bad cut here, with enough variety (bottleneck slide, acoustic guitar, horns, and strings) to warrant frequent late-night listenings. 



"A Hard Way to Go," "Needle and Spoon," and "Stay While the Night Is Young" are especially strong, as are two instrumental numbers. Unfortunately, leader Kim Simmonds lost his greatest asset when vocalist Chris Youlden quit for an ill-fated solo career after this recording. Youlden had one of the most distinctive voices in British blues, and Savoy would never fully recover from his exit.



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, 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, followed by Steel in 2007. 

Subsequent LPs include the compilation Too Much of a Good Thing, Voodoo Moon, Goin' to the Delta, 2015's The Devil to Pay, and 2017's Witchy Feelin'.

Chris Youlden – vocals and piano (tracks 4, 6, 9)
 Kim Simmonds – lead guitar and piano (tracks 2, 3)
 "Lonesome" Dave Peverett – rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar, bottleneck guitar (track 5)
 Tone Stevens – bass
 Roger Earl – drums, percussion

01. "A Hard Way to Go" (Chris Youlden) – 2:17
02. "That Same Feelin'" (Kim Simmonds) – 3:36
03. "Master Hare" (Simmonds) – 4:45
04. "Needle and Spoon" (Youlden) – 3:18
05. "A Little More Wine" (Youlden) – 4:51
06. "I'm Crying" (Youlden) – 4:17
07. "Stay While the Night Is Young" (Youlden) – 3:07
08. "Is That So" (Simmonds) – 7:40
09. "When I Was a Young Boy" (Youlden) – 3:02

1: Raw Sienna
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2: Raw Sienna
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3: Raw Sienna


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