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Rock 'N' Roll Warriors

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Album Review

Though Savoy Brown is primarily known as a blues band, Rock 'n' Roll Warriors says in the title what this is all about, as Kim Simmonds' aggregation obtained in vocalist Ralph Mormon a major component from the Joe Perry Project's first solo album, Let the Music Do the Talking, released the year before this. With producer Richie Wise, himself the lead singer of the heavy metal band Dust and co-producer of the first two albums from Kiss, there is a decidedly different edge to this release on Capitol/Town House. The bandmembers look like they are the prototype for the 1984 film Streets of Fire on the cover, and though the three live tracks tacked onto the end of the LP on TKO Magnum's CD release has this group truer to its blues roots, the original ten studio tunes include some variety that Savoy Brown's followers may not have been accustomed to. Those bonus tracks, "Street Corner Talkin'," "I'm Tired," and "Hellbound Train," were recorded live at Denver's Rainbow Music Hall on June 27, 1981. They make a great reference point to hear how this version of the band tackled familiar territory, but original material like "Shot Down By Love" could easily have found itself on Joe Perry's disc and shows the bite producer Wise infused into this version of the group. This is the last Savoy Brown album to chart in the U.S., which is validation of its quality but still a shame, since the music here is vital enough to have jump-started SB's storied career. Mormon sounds comfortable and in control; that he had the opportunity to front bands featuring two guitar greats is something you can feel he embraced wholeheartedly. Michael Heatley's year 2000 liner notes to the CD reissue give some history and the Chinn/Chapman tune that hit for the U.K. band Smokie, "Lay Back in the Arms of Someone," is a real treat — pure pop that is wildly different from the band's minor '70s radio hit, "Tell Mama," or anything else here. The songs are mostly composed by Kim Simmonds, were recorded in North Hollywood, and shift from rock to blues to rock. Though viewed as an anomaly in the band's catalog, Rock 'n' Roll Warriors has gained credibility and much-deserved respect over the years.

Biography

Formed: 1966 in London, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Part of the late-'60s blues-rock movement, Britain's Savoy Brown never achieved as much success in their homeland as they did in America, where they promoted their albums with nonstop touring. The band was formed and led by guitarist Kim Simmonds, whose dominating personality has led to myriad personnel changes; the original lineup included singer Bryce Portius, keyboardist Bob Hall, guitarist Martin Stone, bassist Ray Chappell, and drummer Leo Manning. This lineup appeared on the band's 1967 debut,...
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Rock 'N' Roll Warriors, Savoy Brown
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