Shake Down/Getting to the Point

Savoy Brown

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Shake Down/Getting to the Point Review

by Thom Jurek

BGO brings together the first two Savoy Brown albums in this double-disc set to great effect. Much of Shake Down, recorded in 1968, has been forgotten -- which is easy to do given that virtually the entire band turned over after its release, including singer Bryce Portius who was replaced on Getting to the Point by the great Chris Youlden. On the former album, Portius relies on the early Yardbirds philosophy to try and phrase like the great bluesmen -- from Howlin' Wolf to John Lee Hooker. It doesn't actually work. On the latter set, Youlden, with bassist Tony Stevens, drummer Roger Earle, second guitarist Kim Simmonds and bandleader Lonesome Dave Peverett, dug deep into songwriting and interpreting the blues their own way. Youlden's totally unusual voice made that possible whether he was singing a standard such as Muddy Waters' "Honey Bee," or Willie Dixon's "You Need Love" or the smoky , steamy original tunes like "Flood in Houston," and "Mr. Downchild." Hopefully this means that BGO -- one of the coolest labels in the reissue biz -- will be bring out remastered versions of all the Savoy Brown classics.

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