It’s been nearly 60 years and over 40 albums since Savoy Brown”was first formed by the late Kim Simmonds in 1965. Blues All Around is the posthumous release of the album that Simmonds was working on prior to his death. All the songs on the album were written by Kim and the band was comprised of him on guitar, harmonica, organ and vocals along with his longtime band mates, Garnet Grimm on drums and bass guitarist Pat DeSalvo. Simmonds completed the album before his passing while he was undergoing chemotherapy. The album is being released by Quarto Valley Records on February 17, 2023. It’s a straight out of the heart blues rocking extravaganza with Simmonds using a layered technique to record it. Ron Keck, his recording engineer, suggested the method to help Kim in finishing the album while undergoing the negative side effects of chemo.
The album is comprised of 12 cuts that were produced by Kim Simmonds and executive producer Bruce Quarto. Savoy Brown albums were normally recorded as a group effort in the studio but as already mentioned this time the album was layered. The way it was recorded began with Simmonds first recording his tracks for guitar and vocals followed by DeSalvo and Garnet adding bass and drums. The album was mixed and mastered in Syracuse, New York at Subcat Studios by Ron Keck.
The album leads off with a short 42 second slow loping electric blues titled “Falling Through” repeating the title line. “Black Heart” follows with Grimms’ pounding drums opening followed by DeSalvo on bass. It’s a hard blues rocking number with Simmonds’ gravely sounding voice singing –
“Why do you fool with me?
I still need your lovin’
I’m never gonna be free.”
“Going Down South” has a slide guitar going down deep into the South on the Mississippi and wailing to the high heavens with growling vocals. “Gypsy Healer” begins with a light harmonica sound and a steady beat leading into great guitar work accompanied by a thumping bass and rhythmic drum tempo. He implores the gypsy healer to give him some good news –
“I got to know that I’ll be seeing better times.”
“Blues All Around” is another solid blue number with guitar dominance from the opening note. DeSalvo’s bass is up front and thumps out the groove that Simmonds plays to on “Texas Love” with some harmonica embellishments. The primal sound of “Winning Hand” is a slow driving blues once again galvanized by the rhythm section with strategically placed guitar peals blending with Kim’s harmonica chromatically. “Hurting Spell” is a driving slide guitar excursion with a foot tapping beat that has Simmonds howling about the pain. “Can’t Go Back To My Hometown” begins with a soaring guitar and continues to build on the guitar sound while Kim sings –
“I’m walking alone with my heart hanging down.”
Simmonds comes out with his guitar blazing the second “California Days Gone By” begins while Grimms’ explosive drum detonations parallel Kim’s transcendent slide guitar emanations. “My Baby” is a loose freewheeling song expressing itself between power chords and stratospheric guitar peals stating the fact that.
“My babe, she’s my girl
She shakes me up inside.”
“Falling Through the Cracks” concludes both the album and is the other half of the opening song “Falling Through” played in a style reminiscent of John Lee Hooker.
The first time that I saw Savoy Brown was in 1969 when they were headliners promoting their third album Blue Matter. Albert King and BB King opened for the band as promoters of a new generation of blues. Savoy Brown under the leadership of Kim Simmonds has helped to keep the blues alive for nearly six decades and has now joined his predecessors in “Beulah Land.” Blues All Around was Kim Simmonds’ final contribution to the blues and Savoy Brown’s 42nd album which completes its legacy.
The Review 9/10
– Going Down South
– Blues All Around
– California Days Gone By
– My Baby
– Can’t Go Back To My Hometown
The Big Hit
– Can’t Go Back Home
Buy the album: Amazon