Monday, May 7, 2018

Blue Matter



Would you believe that I hadn't heard a single note of Savoy Brown's music until about ten years ago? I'd see their record covers on the inner sleeves of my Rolling Stones records. I'd hear friends rave about Kim Simmonds guitar playing. But there was nothing pulling me in their direction, especially not the fact that some of them went on to form Foghat. I had bigger fish to fry.

Then, a large record collection came my way and I suddenly owned a dozen Savoy Brown records. The rest, as they say, is history.

There is nothing like this band, at least not the five classic records that employ Chris Youlden on vocals. I might be telling you something you already know, but just in case you managed to avoid the band as I did all those years ago, give "Blue Matter" a spin, which is up top in its entirety.

Yes, it's a British blues record produced Mike Vernon. But there is something otherworldly going on most of time, from Youlden's unique vocal cool, to the seemingly endless space in the pockets of the grooves, to Kim Simmonds absolutely demonic guitar playing. The opening cut, "Train To Nowhere" veers towards 1968 psychedelia as much as it is a blues tune, "She's Got A Ring In His Nose," swings like a cross between Jethro Tull and Mose Allison, and the live side contains some of the most blistering blues ever committed to tape, with "May Be Wrong" showcasing everything Simmonds has in his bag of tricks.

"Blue Matter" is 50 years old and it is worth celebrating, whether you've been a Savoy Brown all these years, or like me, only got on board recently. And if you've never heard a note, well you are in for a real treat.

12 comments:

jmsafree said...

Thanks Sal,

Been a long time for me. Listening to it now. Always had a soft spot for some of the British blues bands. joe

Jobe said...

Sal you hit it on the head, all the stuff with Mr. Youlden is superb. After he left I consider their stuff hit and miss but "Jack The Toad" is a favorite of mine.

neal t said...

Have you heard "I'm Tired" one of my fave Brit blues tunes

Anonymous said...

No lie: When I made my very first cassette compiling my all-time favorite tunes, back in the 80s, the first song on Side 1 was Train To Nowhere (First song on Side 2 was ZZ Top's El Diablo). I've loved that song and record since an older brother turned me on to Blue Matter in, I reckon, the 1970s. Took me forever to find an import copy of it, since I guess it was out of print domestically. Still have that vinyl, but was glad when the CD was eventually released.
And, by the way, I finally caught up to listening to the Ponderosa Stomp comp posted here a few days back and, dang, it's good! Glad yer back!
C in California

Anonymous said...

except for one DJ who was fond of playing "All I Can Do," I also knew of no one who was listening to Savoy Brown. Then there was the cover art - 15-yr old me bought a ton of albums for just looking interesting, but Savoy Brown's album covers were plain ugly. Now that I finally hear them, my main impression is that Fleetwood Mac did it all better, which is kind of unfair since the Mac at their best was better than everybody in my book.

Sal Nunziato said...

"my main impression is that Fleetwood Mac did it all better"

As you may or may not know, I adore Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac. But I will argue this, while "English Rose" and "Then Play On" are both better records than any of the Savoys records, I will contend that FMac's solid first and the arguably tossable "Mr. Wonderful" are basic, wheras the Savoy records, at least to my ears offer something far from basic when it comes to British blues.

Anonymous said...

that's fair.

buzzbabyjesus said...

I liked the "Tell Mama" when it came out so I bought the album which I didn't.
"Blue Matter" is something else entirely. Chris Youlden's vocals are much better than Dave Walker's. Then there the Climax Blues Band.

Mr. Baez said...

Sal, after "Blue Matter," delight yourself with Savoy Brown's "Raw Sienna!" I love that record!!

Sal Nunziato said...

Mr. Baez, I love all 5 with Chris Youlden.

dogbreath said...

Early 70s. Stayed with friends of my mother's. I was allowed to delve into their son's LP collection. Got some Foghat albums on the turntable. Loved them. Backtracked later to Savoy Brown whose purer blues was in contrast to Foghat's heads down boogie. Haven't heard "Blue Matter" for yonks, so ta for the nudge. Cheers!

M_Sharp said...

I remember hearing "Tell Mama" a lot, and a few others, but I never really got into them. I'll be checking out this one.