At the age of fifteen or so, my cousin Paul and I took a trip to Miami to visit my “cool” uncle Raul. Other than learning that my uncle had recently secretly (at least in terms of my cousin and I being the only family members privy to the information at that time) been married to a Russian woman named Yelena that he insisted on calling “Svet,” and the incident where the Mexican day laborer in plaster splattered overalls attempted to give me his cheap, black & white pornographic magazine in a beach-front hotel’s public restroom, the most memorable aspect of this trip was receiving daily from my uncle an assigned cultural education. It was through these “assignments” that I first saw Apocalypse Now—Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 existential nightmare masterpiece and riff on Joseph Conrad’s novella Heart of Darkness. I also recall watching the 1988 film Little Nikita starring Sidney Poitier and River Phoenix, concerning Soviet sleeper-agents in San Diego. On another occasion my uncle demonstrated the finer points of shoplifting books. I walked from the store that day with a weathered copy of Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, but to the best of my recollection I in fact paid for it.
Along with these lessons, each morning my uncle would give me three cassettes to listen to on my bulky, black Walkman while my cousin and I lounged on the beach waiting for him to get out of work. My cousin had very recently recuperated from major surgery on his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and had spent the past few months in bed whacked out on painkillers and watching reruns of The Cosby Show (at the time you needed only to change the channel once and you could watch numerous episodes in a row) and so he really wasn’t up for much more than lounging on the sand. The beach was located behind the hotel where my uncle was employed at the desk, so we were never really all that far from his supervision.
Of all those albums on cassette my uncle assigned me, three have always remained in my memory: The Who’s first live album, Live at Leeds, recorded February 14th, 1970; The Clash’s outstanding 1979 double-album, London Calling; and the album from which today’s song comes from, Raw Sienna by British blues-rock group Savoy Brown. Raw Sienna, released in 1969, was Savoy Brown’s fifth album and was in fact their third album of that year. It would also be their final album featuring lead vocalist Chris Youlden. Shortly thereafter, guitarist “Lonesome” Dave Peverett, bassist Tony Stevens, and drummer Roger Earl also left the group and went on to form Foghat, which cemented their fame through their 1975 hit single “Slow Ride” (Shahso, 2012).
Featuring some fantastic guitar work within the blues-rock-boogie architecture of the song by founding member Kim Simmonds, and fun brass accents arranged by Terry Noonan, here’s “Needle and Spoon” reminding you that “If you’re married you can divorce your wife/But when married to ‘H’ then you’re married for life.”
——————————————————————————————————(CLICK TO LISTEN)
Like it? Buy it.
Shasho, R. (2012, January 22). EXCLUSIVE: British Blues Kim Simmonds of Savoy Brown –CD Review: ‘Voodoo Moon.’ Examiners. Retrieved February 8, 2012 from http://www.examiner.com/classic-rock-music-in-st-petersburg/exclusive-british-blues-kim-simmonds-of-savoy-brown-cd-review-voodoo-moon-review
Youlden, C. (1969). Needle and Spoon. [recorded by Savoy Brown] On Raw Sienna. [CD] Parrot Records. (1969) Bgo. (2005)