Savoy Brown has had a far more interesting history than most credit. Not only was it one of the first Brit rock bands to incorporate a black blues musician, Bryce Portius, but also very briefly inducted drummer extraordinaire Bill Bruford, a residency lasting only two weeks, dismissal probably attributable to band-founder Kim Simmonds' manager brother Harry, who is oft credited with the unbelievable roster of in-and-out members (+/- 64, as far as I can tell) after the ensemble's founding in 1965. Foghat arose from the Savoy boys, and Chris Youlden, who lasted from '67 - 70, was one of the great white blues singers, sitting in on the band's four most memorable and esteemed releases (Getting to the Point, Blue Matter, A Step Further, Raw Sienna), vocalist on the classic Train to Nowhere.
Almost the entire Chickenshack band was later inducted, save for Stan Webb, who a bit later signed in for the Boogie Brothers release. Through it all, though, Kim Simmonds has been the mainstay. Through thick and thin, the band was really his. It still is. There have been spotty times and flush, but in the last so many years, under the Ruf imprimus, the guitar slinger's knuckled down to produce some mighty fine work, becoming one the decade's music statesmen demonstrating that, of all the rockers, the bluesers age with the most grit and determination, often becoming ever rougher and even more refined simultaneously. Goin' to the Delta is quite proof of that.
Stripping down to a no-nonsense trio—Simmonds on guitar and vocals—(and dubbed-in rhythnm guitar), Pat DeSalvo on bass, Garnet Grimm on drums—the entire release is nothing but blues and bluesrock delivered with conviction, long experience, fire, and no end of great solos and lines from Simmonds' magic fingers. Critical response has claimed he's been as on point lately as ever, and I'd not be one to argue the fact. It's as plain as day that whatever muscle he may have lost a while back has been re-acquired and magnified. The chug and insistence of Nuthin' Like the Blues grabs you like a slow-rollin' train and won't let go. The balladic When You've Got a Good Thing lays back into a mellower groove, Just a Dream even more heavenly and lamentive, while Cobra jumps out of the speaker as a ZZ Top styled instrumental boogie burner, a healthy exhilarating work-out that brings the old days roaring back to the front of the stage. From start to finish, Goin' to the Delta is a solid CD.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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