Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Savannah - Savannah (1977)

Hollister (California) was the home of this obscure polyethnic hard rock act, comprised of Robert Fowler (Lead Vocals/Guitar), Gordon Kusayanagi (Guitar/Vocals), Sammy Garcia (Bass/Vocals) & George Collins (Drums/Percussion).  Sadly, their story is almost completely wrapped in mystery.  What we do know is that the band first released a single, "Livin' High" b/w "Night Life" on their own label, Savannah Records, in 1976.  The following year they released the "Crank It Up" full-length on their newly dubbed Chrome Thigh Records.  What happened after that is anybody's guess, though Kusayanagi was tragically killed in a high profile rampage that took place on the Vegas strip in late 2005, when Stephen Ressa plowed through crowds of people in his Buick sedan.

As for the record, well, this one pulls ridiculous prices in collectors circles.  Fortunately, the music is much better than what is typical with these homegrown private pressings.  All in all, the album is mostly very typical hard rock of the era.  Perhaps calling it hard rock is a stretch but there's a definite edge that makes it difficult to call anything else.  Fowler's vocals are all competent and the performances are solid.  The production is clear and better than what is common with self-released budget recordings.

As  expected, the punchier material really stands out.  Tracks like "Turn It Around", "No Life Of My Own", "Looking For A Woman" and the great interpretation of Crabby Appleton's sole hit, "Go Back" all rock.  The only song that really detracts from the proceedings is the west-coast influenced "Song And Dance" which seems at odds with the overall musical vibe in the grooves.

I would definitely consider this to be one of the better private pressings of the era and it's truly a shame no niche label has taken steps to reissue this on CD.  So, to remedy that issue for now, I present "Crank It Up" for your discerning ears.  I recommend you crank this one up and enjoy!