Originating from Detroit in the late 60’s, the Savage Grace sound was split between period pop rock and proto prog rock.
Written by: Eric
ARTIST: Savage Grace
ALBUM: Savage Grace
SERIAL: Reprise 6399
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Ron Koss – lead vocals, rhythm guitar, lead guitar * Al Jacquez – lead vocals, bass * John Seanor – piano, harpsichord * Larry Zack – drums, percussion
TRACK LISTING: 01 Come On Down * 02 Lady Rain * 03 Dear Lenore * 04 All Along The Watchtower * 05 Hymn To Freedom * 06 1984 * 07 Night Of The Hunter * 08 Turn Your Head * 09 Ivy
Out of the rusted steel, working class neighborhoods of the motor city, Detroit’s Savage Grace came of age in the late 60’s rock scene. This was the city that gave the world Ted Nugent, Bob Seger, MC5, The Frost, Frijid Pink, Rare Earth and a hairy host of musicians and songwriters that made a permanent mark on music history.
Unlike the hazy psychedelic blues orgies of the San Francisco scene two thousand miles away, Detroit’s up and comers worked and rocked harder than their stoned out west coast peers and Savage Grace was no exception.
Hell, they had to since Detroit had already begun its slow decline as an American city with numerous problems for musicians wanting to ‘break out’ including too few recording studios to get the job done properly. Because of this, Savage Grace recorded their debut in Los Angeles and the results are truly one of the best albums the era and area produced.
The Savage Grace sound is split between period pop rock and proto progressive which includes heavy use of harpsichord. Yes, harpsichord. Not an instrument normally associated with hard rock, but then again this isn’t a normal rock record. Indeed the opening track ‘Come On Down’ is fairly typical flower in your hand – peace and love stuff normally associated with the period and sounds rather naive these days.
The gorgeous ‘Lady Rain’ brings the record up a notch borrowing heavily from Procol Harum and it works brilliantly. ‘All Along The Watchtower’, Bob Dylan‘s classic gets a decent work over by the band and is one of the better versions you are likely to hear.
Side two is where Savage Grace comes into their own with the stellar instrumental ‘Hymn To Freedom’ and the closing ‘Turn Your Head’. The latter an epic bringing to mind both The Moody Blues and the pre- Queen group Smile.
In particular the late Ron Koss’ guitar playing which could easily pass for a young Brian May. It’s a beautiful track that should be heard by everyone and makes purchasing a copy of this record, or downloading the song by itself, all the more essential.
An arena tour with Jimi Hendrix would follow this album and a second record ‘2’ was released a year later. By this time Savage Grace had fragmented to the point of no return and disappeared into legend. A CD featuring both albums was available for a short time, but is getting increasingly expensive. Worth the money for the first album, not so much for the second but you could invest in far worse I suppose.