Review: Savoy Brown – Songs From The Road

Posted on: Thursday, Apr 25, 2013

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Savoy Brown – Songs From The Road

(Ruf Records: Ruf 1187 CD/DVD)

Back in the old days when a band released their ‘once in a career live album,’ fans had to imagine that they were there, or to try and recall the last time they had seen the band in concert; but, now with state of the art video technology and willing promoters creating CD/DVD packages such as this combination, everyone’s a winner; for, not only are you able to see and hear the experience but, re-live either, time and again.

The venue is The Musiktheater Piano, Dortmund in Germany; the date is 5th May, 2012. The theatre’s interior is a comforting and compelling intimate mixture of a local church hall and a BBC sound stage, with the drums placed upon the small stage and the rest of the band strolling in front. The proceedings kick-off with “Twenty-four/Seven,” a lively saxophone and guitar led, fast moving shuffling workout. The 14 numbers found here are spread over a hugely enjoyable hundred minutes, with a ten minute interview with Kim Simmonds added as a bonus feature.

There is a fine balance of new material from the last album “Voodoo Moon” and older numbers such as; the urging, funky riffing “Looking In,” with its bluesy caressing picking interlude at its centre then leading into the rolling and Sax  blasting “Street Corner Talking,” with Kim providing rocket fuelled guitar passages. “She’s Got The Heat,” continues with rip-roaring, searing and burning slide that nails you to the floor accompanied by a vicious stabbing backbeat, just for good measure. Without a doubt the jazz riff that Kim threads into “Time Does Tell,” is an absolute delight as are the slowing false endings and Joe Whiting’s snarling, growling vocals and sublime saxophone work. “Voodoo Moon,” is delivered with a heavy menacing clarity; from the pulsating drum work from Garnet Grimm to the raucously rousing guitar work from Kim.

The camerawork is clean, crisp and full of well placed and paced close-ups, we are, thankfully, spared juddering interjections and rotating images. The low grumbling bass form Pat De Salvo on “Hellbound Train,” is spot-on allowing Kim’s rumbling, stroking, building guitar to rise majestically and play-off against a haunting saxophone leading to a wonderful runaway riffing ending.

As there are only 12 numbers on the CD “Tell Mama,” and “Wang Dang Doodle,” are the encore numbers; both of them are ‘audience participation included’ the rocking full tilt sax and slide-driven “Tell Mama,”  is a real toe tapper while “Wang Dang Doodle,” is the singalong finisher. The DVD has “Little Red Rooster” and Louisiana Blues” as extra encores; both continue with audience participation in a slow blues grand finale.

The concert exhibits the band in very fine form indeed and Kim amply displays the skill and artistry that he has garnered over his forty-five year career.

Recommended!

BRIAN HARMAN
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