Alan Price

Savaloy Dip

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No one seems certain why Savaloy Dip became an enigmatic entry in Alan Price's solo catalog. It was the former Animals' keyboardist's first album after his song score for Lindsay Anderson's film O Lucky Man! earned him some of the best reviews of his career, as well as raising his profile in the United States, where his solo work had not achieved the same public acceptance as in the U.K. Reprise Records was poised to release Savaloy Dip in the United States in the spring of 1974, but the album was in the early stages of the manufacturing process when the label pulled the plug on the release, though no one seems to understand why. At the time, Reprise farmed out production of 8-track tapes to the Ampex Corporation, and Ampex accidentally shipped out a handful of Savaloy Dip 8-tracks to distributors, so bootlegs of the album have surfaced over the years, but most of Price's fans have never heard it. [In 2016, Omnivore Recordings finally gave Savaloy Dip its first legit release on CD, and while the album doesn't quite qualify as a lost masterpiece, the notion that this music was considered unworthy of release is utterly baffling. For Savaloy Dip, Price beefed up his usual studio band with a horn section and additional percussionists, but this music has a loose and jaunty feel with an R&B backbone that recalls his O Lucky Man! tunes but with a more playful edge. Price's jazzy organ lines and piano solos give the arrangements his sonic trademark. Price's songs on Savaloy Dip suggest a more rollicking version of Arthur-era Kinks, full of local color and tales of characters like cross-dressing Willie ("Willie the Queen"), easily distracted boxer Jimmy ("Poor Jimmy"), a nameless and luckless ne'er do well ("Over and Over Again"), and even homesick Alan Price (the title track), while "Country Life" and "Savaloy Dip" revel in the pleasures of the life of a small-town everyman. Perhaps Reprise was a bit taken aback by the very British tone of this music in 1974, but decades down the line, Savaloy Dip sounds like one of Price's best albums of the '70s, eclectic and full of heart while his fusion of rock, R&B, and jazz is Tyneside Soul at its best.

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