Kim Simmonds

Blues Like Midnight

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Savoy Brown's founding leader unplugs once again for his second solo outing. Considering that his band has released some lackluster, highly derivative, and plain plodding boogie material, especially in the '80s and '90s, this subtle set is remarkably affecting in its low-key, moody intensity. Simmonds doesn't have a great voice, but it works well in this stripped-down setting dominated by originals that sound like classic covers. A nearly eight-minute version of Jimmie Rodgers' title track is the album's centerpiece, yet the entire disc is an emotionally stirring showcase for a style of music seldom associated with the traditionally spotlight-stealing leads of Simmonds' electric blues band. Piedmont, folk, and Delta approaches are all evident, with an Indian feel heightened by simmering congas on the appropriately titled instrumental "Rag Ah." Drums and bass make an appearance on two tunes, one a cover of J.J. Cale's "Hold on Baby" that takes the already greasy song into the Mississippi swamps. The closing "Blues for Lonesome" instrumental (the entire CD is dedicated to his old bandmate and later Foghat founder Lonesome Dave Peverett) shows Simmonds' exceptional slide prowess and is a touching coda to an extraordinarily moving and introspective acoustic blues album. It proves that Kim Simmonds is talented enough to be in the top ranks of '60s British blues guitar legends, a category where he's often considered an also-ran.

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