Music Reviews

Savoy Brown

The Best of Savoy Brown: The Millennium Collection

Polydor / Universal

While a case can’t really be made for ’70s British blues-rock fans holding their collective breaths for the only single disc collection of Savoy Brown’s “hits,” this overdue compilation is a nifty compact overview of the Kim Simmonds-led outfit’s most enduring tracks. These eleven cuts, taken from albums released in only three years from 1969-1972, feature the ever-changing band’s most riveting vocalists; the whisky voiced Chris Youldon (who also wrote some of their best tracks, four of which are here), Lonesome Dave Peverett (later of the far more ostentatious Foghat) and the husky Dave Walker. Not straight Chicago blues purists like early Fleetwood Mac, Brown was most successful when they added R&B and taut rock elements to their sound on a thrilling cover of Motown’s “Can’t Get Next to You.” Originals like the riff groove of “Street Corner Taking,” the powerful slide guitar propelled “Tell Mama” (not the Etta James classic) and the chugging nine-minute “Hellbound Train” – arguably the group’s most explosive and riveting moment – show them to be better than average songwriters whose 15 minutes of fame makes marvelous and remarkably restrained blues rock listening 30 years after the fact. Since their albums were spotty and the existing double disc anthology is too comprehensive for most, this is a perfect memento from the underrated Savoy Brown’s golden years.

Savoy Brown:

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