Album Reviews
Band: Savoy Brown

Title: City Night

Label: Quarto Valley Records

 

How many band's can boast that they've just released their 40th album? Yes you read that right ... 40th album!! Well, Savoy Brown certainly can, as 'City Night' is that milestone for this band, especially for the leader of this pack, Kim Simmonds, who is still captain of this ship after all these years, (54!) along with Pat DeSalvo on bass and Garnet Grimm on drums, who themselves have been sailing with him for the last 10+ years now.  

If you're a fan of Blues Rock, this album will certainly float your boat, from the chugging bass/slide combo that literally hammers along without letting up on the opener 'Walking On Hot Stones' Simmonds' vocals almost spoken in a swaggering tone that matches up perfectly, through to the final groove-tastic power-house'd 'Ain't Gonna Worry', where Simmonds shows off his skill on the guitar for the last time here. I n between, well, relish the Jeff Healey-alike blues-fused belter 'Don't Hang Me Out To Dry'.  The vocals on par with Healey's throughout, the Ska-tinted 'Payback Time', which proves that this band can slightly bend the rules and get away with it, especially when you throw a fantastic solo mid way in to show us where the real roots of this band lie, and also the absolute grinding, dirty-sounding 'Red Light Mama', one for the George Thorogood fans out there.

DeSalvo's hypnotic bass-line takes centre stage during 'Conjure Rhythm', it's low, pounding rhythm never faltering for a moment as the song prowls along like a wildcat in killer-mode, then suddenly the mood lifts with 'Neighborhood Blues', well, a tad with the tempo, but when Simmonds sings the line 'I'm tired of living in this neighborhood', then all the Howlin' Wolf guitar licks in the World that dominate the song can't help you escape the fact that this is a sorrowful song after all. 

If that's not bad enough, the early Fleetwood Mac aura that hangs around the slow-burning 'Selfish World' will get you looking for some rope to make a noose with, such is the painfully sad tone here, so with a whoop-de-do and a sigh of relief, along comes 'Wearing Thin', exploding out of the speakers in a torrent of riffage and strutting bass, though Simmonds sounds as even if he won the Lottery, he'd still wouldn't raise himself above these 'can't be arsed' vocals! Just as well his guitar sounds more lively.

The title track shuffles along like a little Nanna in the sales section in Bon Marche, Grimm's drumming almost regimental as it keeps to the same beat, leading the way, those semi-spoken/sang vocals something we're now used to from the main man now, then from out of nowhere, he sounds alive and almost happy as 'Hang In Touch' crashes in on a Bo Diddley riff of huge power that this listener had to visit the toilet for a surprise wee, such was the shock given by the loud intro! (I've just turned 57 so it's normal now!!).  The fuzzboxed guitar works a treat here, giving the track an edgy groove, and it shows there is life in the old dog still !! There's an odd vibe to 'Superstitious Woman', whether it be the off-kilter jangly guitar parts or simply the dark feeling the song has, something that Lucero seem to be rather good at at the moment, so maybes this song is more 'up with the young un's' than I give it credit for ... hmmmm.  Still slightly odd though! 

At just over 55 minutes, this album will take a lot of concentration to take it all in, but if you're in the mood for some serious Jack 'n Coke get-togethers with your mates, then 'City Night' is the perfect soundtrack to accompany it. Chin-chin chaps!!

Review by: Robb Baldwin

 

Tracklisting:

1.  Walking On Hot Stones
2.  Don't Hang Me out To dry
3.  Payback Time
4.  Red Light Mama
5.  Conjure Rhythm
6.  Neighbourhood Blues
7.  Selfish world
8.  Wearing Thin
9.  City Night
10.  Hang in Touch 
11. Superstitious Woman 
12. Ain't Gonna Worry

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