Savoy Brown - 'Witchy Feelin'' Album Review
1. Why Did You Hoodoo Me
2. Livin' On The Bayou
3. I Can't Stop The Blues
4. Witchy Feelin'
5. Guitar Slinger
6. Vintage Man
7. Standing In A Doorway
8. Memphis Blues
9. Can't Find Paradise
10. Thunder, Lightning & Rain
11. Close To Midnight
As part of the first British Blues boom and forming in 1965 - one constant remains with Savoy Brown – founder, front man, singer and guitarist Kim Simmonds . . . and now, 52 years down the line . . . or on the road . . . him and the 2017 incarnation have produced a cracking album in “Witchy Feelin'” that encompasses over its 11 songs the classic Blues subjects of wine, women, the Devil and whisky, but given a thoroughly modern take.
Simmonds left the UK as it was in the grip of Punk Rock in 1979 and headed to New York where he settled. The band line-up frequently changed but the popularity never waned. They are now a very tight trio, who apart from Simmonds, consist of Pat DeSalvo (bass) and Garnett Grimm (drums) – a truly excellent unfussy rhythm section.
The songs are all Simmonds originals, and apart from his stellar guitar work his baritone voice is impressive and indeed, as he says himself, he relates to singers such as Mark Knopfler, J. J. Cale, Tony Jo White and Tom Rush.
Highlights include the opening “Why Did You Hoodoo Me”, with Simmonds laying down a ZZ Top style groove, and the following swampy Blues, “Livin' On The Bayou” - his vocal and the feel of the song reminiscent of the afore-mentioned Louisiana-master Tony Joe White; the title track, “Witchy Feelin'” is a slow Blues with fine guitar work and the sympathetic rhythm section of DeSalvo and Grimm gently pushing things along.
The rocking “Guitar Slinger” could almost be autobiographical, and it's followed by the excellent slide-driven “Vintage Man” . . . a tale of yesterdays - from old-fashioned record player to guitar and clothes! Simmonds keeps the slide on for the stripped-down and sparse “Standing In A Doorway”, and also for the strutting “Memphis Blues”.
The band stretch out on the penultimate track, the near eight-minute “Thunder, Lightning & Rain”, with Simmonds producing more guitar fireworks from the off on this rolling Blues . . . with this fine release ending in a more laid-back mode with the pretty “Close To Midnight”.
A nice touch on the sleeve is that the album is dedicated to Harry Simmonds, the older brother of Kim, who at one time managed the band, and passed away this year . . . he would be proud of this latest release from his brother.
Website - www.savoybrown.com
Review - Grahame Rhodes