Savoy Brown – Ain’t Done Yet
Quarto Valley Records
Fifty-five years and forty albums later, Kim Simmonds and Savoy Brown are still rocking with a vengeance, which is abundantly apparent on the opening track of their latest effort. “All Gone Wrong” features the leader’s sturdy vocals over a ferocious rhythm foundation established by long-time members of the trio, Pat DeSalvo on bass and Garnet Grimm on drums. Simmonds adds layers of guitar parts to flesh out the arrangement on a song that captures the prevailing mood of the times we live in.
The next track on the all-original program, “Devil’s Highway,” slows the pace but not the level of intensity as the six minute track gives Simmonds plenty of room to showcase the lyrical side of his guitar artistry. The title cut is the leader’s guitar-driven celebration of his on-going musical career. “Jaguar Car” is a hardcore boogie number with Simmonds on slide guitar, filling out the sound with some well-placed harmonica accents.
Switching to a steel dobro guitar, Simmonds establishes more of a back-porch feel on “Rocking In Louisiana,” then the band uses a grinding soundscape to pay homage to a “Soho Girl, “ a woman who “…likes Muddy Waters, makes a mean Mexican meal…..drives a ’67 Mustang, sleeps with a gun.” Simmonds pulls out the slide guitar again to give “’River On The Rise” more of an acoustic feel, complete with a calmer rhythmic flow. The guitarist gets a unique tone on “’Borrowed Time,” utilizing a vintage Multivox Full Rotor device that simulates the sound of a Leslie speaker, typically used with Hammond B-3 organs. The darker toned guitar licks aptly convey the weariness in Simmonds’ musings about edging ever closer to a personal judgment day.
Simmonds explores the lyrical side of his playing on “Feel Like A Gypsy,” with the various guitar parts merging to form a soothing, intricate interplay that makes this song one of the disc’s highlights. The closing track, the instrumental “Crying Guitar,” offers more of the same. Simmonds takes his time, building his solo through a fiery interlude, then finishing with a more introspective approach that sends out flurries of taut, mournful notes that also offer a ray of hope.
This album ranks as one of the best of Savoy Brown’s more recent output, and serves as a vivid reminder that Kim Simmonds belongs in the top tier of blues-rock guitar players. Still relevant fifty-five years further down the road, this release is sure to please long-time Savoy Brown fans and anyone who favors a robust set of original music powered by a steady stream of six string magic!