Savoy Brown – In Session – 1968-1971 – BBC Radio – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
Not bad enough we lost Dino Danelli of The Rascals yesterday, we also lost Kim Simmonds, founder/guiding light/torch bearer of Savoy Brown who left us on December 13th. From its inception in 1965 all the way up to this year, Kim Simmonds WAS Savoy Brown – the only remaining original member and carrier of the legacy of one of the great British Blues bands of the 1960s and 70s.
When still a young teenager, Simmonds learned to play from listening to his brother’s blues records. Considered one of the architects of British blues, he started the Savoy Brown Blues Band in October 1965, who began playing gigs at the Nags Head in 1966 in London. Early gigs included performing with Cream at Klooks Kleek and accompanying John Lee Hooker.
Live performances led to Savoy Brown signing with Decca. But it was 1969 before its classic line-up gelled around Simmonds, rhythm guitarist Lonesome Dave Peverett, and the monocle and bowler hat-wearing vocalist Chris Youlden. That year’s Blue Matter and A Step Further albums conjured up at least three classics: “Train To Nowhere”, “Louisiana Blues” (a Muddy Waters number), and “I’m Tired”.
Since its first US visit, Savoy Brown has criss-crossed the country, and “I’m Tired” became the group’s first hit single across the ocean. The band would find a greater following in America than in its native England throughout its career, thanks largely to the growth in popularity of FM Underground Radio and the burgeoning College Radio formats.
1970’s Raw Sienna followed, featuring “A Hard Way To Go” and “Stay While The Night Is Still Young”. When Youlden then departed for a solo career, Lonesome Dave took over the lead vocals. Looking In, also in 1970, featured not only “Poor Girl” and “Money Can’t Save Your Soul” but one of the era’s memorable LP covers, a troglodyte-like savage staring into an eye socket of a monstrous skull. Later, Peverett, bassist Tony Stevens and drummer Roger Earl left to form the successful but decidedly rock band Foghat. Simmonds soldiered on, recruiting from blues band Chicken Shack keyboardist Paul Raymond, bassist Andy Silvester and drummer Dave Bidwell, and from the Birmingham club circuit the vocalist Dave Walker.
The new line-up was a hit. On stage in America, the group was supported by Rod Stewart and the Faces. On the album Street Corner Talking (1971) and Hellbound Train (1972) launched favourites “Tell Mama”, “Street Corner Talking”, a cover of the Temptations’ Motown standard “I Can’t Get Next To You” and the nine-minute epic “Hellbound Train”.
So as way of tribute, here are several sessions, recorded by Savoy Brown at the BBC:
“Top Gear” – BBC Studio 1, 201 Piccadilly, London, England
Recorded May 20, 1968, broadcast June 30, 1968
Kim Simmonds: guitar, Chris Youlden: vocals , “Lonesome” Dave Peverett: guitar,
Bob Hall: piano, Rivers Jobe: bass, Roger Earle: drums
2.Walkin’ By Myself
3.Gnome Sweet Gnome
“Black” – BBC Radio Show, BBCStudio 2, Aoelian Hall, London
Recorded June 10, 1970, broadcast July 31, 1970
Kim Simmonds, ‘Lonesome Dave’ Peverett, Roger Earle, Tone Stevens, Bob Hall
6.Money Can’t Save Your Soul
“Harding”, BBC Radio Show, BBC Studio 5, Maida Vale, London
Recorded January 25, 1971, broadcast February 2, 1971
Kim Simmonds, Paul Raymond keyboards, Ron Berg drums, Andy Pyle bass, Pete Scott vocals
7.Blues On The Ceiling
8.Street Corner Talkin’
Quality is uneven, but the energy and spirit is all there.
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