Artist: Kim Simmonds & Savoy Brown
Album: The Devil To Pay
Label: Ruf Records
Release Date: 09/18/2015
Hard to believe this is the 45th release from Simmonds and Savoy Brown, marking a career in blues music that has successfully spanned half-a-century, seen Simmonds open at Cream’s first London gig way back in 1965 and jam with Hendrix when still based in London. Armed with a love of Chicago blues and fear of the rise of Punk, he upped sticks, moving Stateside in the 1970s, where he quickly gained a following and a flavor of success by sticking to his bluesy, Chicago-biased sound.
The Devil To Pay is a fitting tribute to Simmonds and Savoy Brown’s staying power. Slammed full of Simmonds’ haunting, howling solo fretwork, there are clear shades of B.B. King, Muddy Waters and other old U.S. blues masters shimmering in the mix. But to his credit, Simmonds manages to maintain the pace and power with an up-to-date, sideways tilt at the roots and swell of the original Chicago blues sound. Kicking off with a rip-roaring bit of virtuoso fretwork on “Ain’t Got Nobody,” he moves steadily through a fiery self-penned, thirteen-tracker that never wanes, driving the blues highway with effortless ease and taste.
With fifty years behind him, Simmonds knows when to reach down low, pull back on the gas and slow down the vibe. Simmonds is a guy with more chops than a herd of hogs and The Devil To Pay sets the bar high, positively bristling with punch that showcases his enduring power perfectly.
– Iain Patience