This estimable old band has gone through many changes over the decades, so much so that the moniker has long really just been a pseudonym for Kim Simmonds, sole standing founder. Like many, Kim's been re-thinking his strategies and in Voodoo Moon decided to get back to the pre- and post-Chris Youlden days, when the emphasis was more on songcraft than blues per se, though blues has ever been the ensemble's primary ingredient. The Youlden period of Savoy Brown formed one of rock's shining moments, sadly fated not to last, and Simmonds has been the ship's rudder since then. This has caused many personnel changes—didja forget that Foghat came out of the Looking In period?—and artistic ups and owns, with die-hards (like me) grabbing anything we could get our hands on regardless, but Voodoo Moon sees a lot in common with Street Corner Talking and other of the more classic 70s LPs.
The raw insistence of the opening cut, Shockwaves, sets the tone for the entire CD. There are no ballads, but the second slot, Natural Man, is a wry commentary/satire on half the blues cliché book. It also takes a few subtle shots at the competition, providing a bedrock for amusement within what's ostensibly a love song, albeit from the barroom and assembly line. Musically, Simmonds is approaching things a lot like Johnny Winter decided upon in his own wont, getting back to brass tacks. Kim's leads are clean and uncluttered, the melodies nightlit and atmospheric, session keyboardist Andy Rudy adding a lot in that regard, and the accent is on moody rockin'.
This really is a return to the old days when bluesrock was in its formative prime, and everyone was working hard trying to figure out just what was needed. That period was fertile as hell with lots of variations on the genre but a solid connection to the mechanics of blending styles with highly satisfactory results. In the slot Savoy Brown came to occupy, many came and went (Status Quo, etc.—hell, even Alvin Lee didn't make it past a certain point), but Simmonds managed to make a career of the mode due to wise choices and persistence. Times got better, times got leaner, but after 45 years, he's still here, and Voodoo Moon is a twilight re-emergence, keeping pace with the generation of musicians have a last hoo-rah and doing so rather nicely.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
Website design by David N. Pyles