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Savage Rose - No 1 and Refugee

Posted By: wilbest
Savage Rose (1968)
Savage Rose - No 1 and Refugee

Their debut is their lightest and most charming effort. Waltzing melodies give way to thunder-of-doom bass runs, and the storybookish lyrics have a forlorn, yearning quality. With its oddly hollow sound, one is never really sure whether the tone is supposed to be playful or ominous. (All Music Guide)

Refugee (1971)
Savage Rose - No 1 and Refugee

Drenched in red, with a plain black and white cover photo of the band, the fifth album Refugee had the distinction of being produced by the late, great Jimmy Miller and his protégé, the late Joe Zagarino, engineer from Exile on Main Street. This was a most prolific time for the legendary producer, Refugee having been released around the time of Sticky Fingers by the Rolling Stones, two albums by the Knack's Doug Fieger after Miller discovered Fieger and his band, Sky, signing them to RCA (where this album found distribution), and perhaps the most important parallel for Savage Rose, a release date for Refugee close to that of Delaney & Bonnie on Tour With Eric Clapton, considered by many one of Jimmy Miller's most significant recordings. Vocalist Anisette has a voice that is right from that Bonnie Bramlett/Genya Ravan/Ruby Starr blues rasp mold, and that Jimmy Miller was making records with Ravan and Bramlett at this time might be a reason why Refugee is an artistic triumph, the virtually unknown-in-America singer having the opportunity to make a record with a man who truly understood how to put the blues onto vinyl. "Walking in the Line" has a hook dressed up with a mixture of gospel and rock; the double-keyboard sound of Savage Rose makes for a sound not unlike Genya Ravan fronting Traffic. Netherlands product the Shocking Blue had great diction on their hit, "Venus," as did the Swedish Abba on "Waterloo." Anisette shows great mastery of the English language here, tearing the words apart with her heart on "Ballad of Gale," the ending straight out of "Let It Bleed," with Miller or Zagarino or both using their Rolling Stones ideas to good effect. They especially work on the stronger material: the song about a small cafe called "Granny's Grave," the title track with its unique "oh welcomed be/The Refugee," and the aforementioned "Walking in the Line." For a band with so many albums, Refugee gives Anders Koppel, Thomas Koppel, and crew a nice place in the history books, a solid outing with driving sound, smart lyrics (check out the opening track, "Revival Day"), and the hands of one of the greats putting everything into place – doing so at the peak of his powers. A nice gem in the Jimmy Miller collection and evidence that Savage Rose was a band of substance.

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