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Savoy Brown: Blues All Around


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Savoy Brown: Blues All Around
In keeping with this Savoy Brown album title, Blues All Around, Juan Junco's front cover photo looks like one of those rare painting that captures the essence of its subject. It is a ghostly apparition of an image, with the late guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Kim Simmonds shown wringing notes from a Gibson Flying-V, immersed in the emotion(s) of the moment. As such, it's an ideal summation of the creative process behind this forty-second album by the seminal blues-rock band that originated in England in 1965.

As recounted so matter-of-factly by the founder and titular leader in a short essay inside the CD package, his health issues necessitated recording in a somewhat circuitous fashion. He formulated basic tracks of guitar, vocals, organ and harmonica, after which his rhythm section of some ten years—bassist Pat DeSalvo and percussionist Garnett Grimm—added and meshed their parts. Remarkably, on cuts such as "Black Heart," there's no sense the three men were not playing together in close physical proximity to each other.

According to Simmonds, the challenges of the situation were further mitigated by John Shelmet during pre-production for the LP. In fact, it was the latter's suggestion to feature slide guitar more prominently than usual. As a result, that which so tantalizingly adorns "Going Down South" represents a bitter but ultimately serendipitous irony: the treatment for the cancer that was eventually caused Simmonds' demise necessitated an approach that only ratified the authenticity of these twelve original songs as bonafide contemporary blues. The Savoy Brown frontman did proffer some single-string playing, as on "Gypsy Healer," and that too adds to the depth of the performances. It also renders true to life such stock imagery as in those lyrics, as well as the modified blues changes of the title song: this is material and musicianship totally bereft of any frills or pretension.

Although "Can't Go Back to My Hometown" lifts generously from "Black Magic Woman," by Simmond's early English contemporary, Peter Green, the debt to the co-founder of Fleetwood Mac is so obvious it might well be intended as homage. Such a subtle tribute would be in keeping with the humble emotional investment of all involved in this project—including engineer Ron Keck, who recorded mixed and mastered. The sum effect of the collaboration imbues continuity to Blues All Around as the logical follow-up to the previous Savoy Brown record Ain't Done Yet (Quarto Valley, 2020) (in retrospect, a somewhat ominous designation).

Contrary to his gruff singing on "California Days Gone By," plus the resigned tone he espouses in "Winning Hand," the otherwise wholehearted engagement of Kim Simmonds during these forty-six some minutes is the work of a man who lived fully and completely for music throughout his life. Rather than merely "Falling Through The Cracks," he has certainly earned the right to rest in peace after the abiding loyalty to his muse depicted on Blues All Around

Track Listing

Falling Through; Black Heart; Going Down South; Gypsy Healer; Blues All Around; Texas Love; Winning Hand; Hurting Spell; Can’t Go Back To My Hometown; California Days Gone By; My Baby; Falling Through the Cracks.


Savoy Brown
band / ensemble / orchestra
Additional Instrumentation

Kim Simmonds: vocals, keyboards, harmonica; Garnet Grimm: percussion.

Album information

Title: Blues All Around | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: Quarto Valley Records

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