"Raw Sienna is an important album in that it represents the end of the road for the Chris Youlden blues era and foreshadows the more straight-forward rock era to begin with Looking In. The heroin-for-lunch-bunch loved this album despite the message of moderation set forth in Needle and Spoon. Guess the second part of that song was the part they tuned out. I was fourteen when I first heard the album and side 1 was a little rough for me despite my being partial to a good horn section. It is side 2 that really stands out. Every song is memorable. Listen to the emotion screaming out in the clotted voice of Chris Youlden on I'm Crying, to the mellow seduction of Stay While the Night is Young, and to the instrumental prowess on display on Is That So? When I Was a Young Boy forcefully expresses the regrets and shoulda, coulda, wouldas of many a man. Drummers will appreciate the understated percussion on this side and instrumental aficionados will be spellbound by Is That So? If you own only one Savoy Brown album, that album should be Raw Sienna."
The Penultimate Blues Boogie Record
M. S. Ulbricht | The Great Northwest, USA | 02/11/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you like your Blues with a touch of Boogie, and full of intelligent and creative arrangements, then this is the record for you. There is not a bad cut on this album. Unfortunately, this was the last record which the talented vocalist Chris Youlden would perform on with Savoy Brown. However, Youlden and Savoy Brown's outstanding guitarist Kim Simmonds made the most of it. The songs on Raw Sienna vary from a couple of snappy Jazz instrumentals, to some great Blues Boogie, and even include a couple of nice and easy bluesy ballads. The band plays at a consistently high caliber througout the set. Kim Simmonds guitar playing is both entertaining and imaginative, while Youlden shows why he was considered one of the premier vocalists of the British Blues scene. Many future guitarists learned as much from listening to the vastly underated Simmonds, as they did from other British Blues players such as Eric Clapton, Alvin Lee, etc. From the high energy "Needle and Spoon," to the soulful ballad "I'm Crying," through the raucous horn enhanced instrumental "Mister Hare," the listener will be rewarded with an immensely enjoyable musical experience. A must have for any serious record collector, Raw Sienna is one of those "minor masterpieces" which should have garnered more attention than it did at the time. Fortunately for the public it still sells well enough to be stocked in any decent music store. If you don't like this record then you don't like music; period. Do yourself a favor and "get down" with Brown."
Another Step Furthur!
chris meesey Food Czar | The Colony, TX United States | 09/20/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"With the release of their fifth album, Savoy Brown starts hitting their stride. Raw Sienna is the first of three masterpieces in a row for Kim Simmonds and company, as well as Chris Youlden's finest hour with the band. (So fine, in fact, that he would leave the band soon after for his own solo career.) He and Kim would continue their experiments, begun on the previous album A Step Furthur, with horns and orchestration, and thus continue to expand the vocabulary of blues/rock. Some tracks, such as "Needle and Spoon," swing as well as any produced by jazzman Dave Brubeck, with intense lyrics that undercut the nonstop groove with pain. (Does anyone out there really think this is a prodrug song? Listen again: "You married to H, you know you married for life!") "Hard Way to Go" and "A Little More Wine" would deservedly become concert staples, while "Stay While the Night is Young" finds Youlden at his most romantic and tender. Kim was also beginning to compose some of the most eloquent instrumentals in rock: "That Same Feelin'" continues the 1960's-adventure-movie-soundtrack feel of "Waiting in the Bamboo Grove" from A Step Furthur, while "Is That So" foreshadows the deep introspection of Savoy's next masterpiece, Looking In. Most bands would be lucky to have one album half as good as Raw Sienna; the fact that Savoy Brown climbed so many peaks in their illustrious career shows the desire and the determination of leader Kim Simmonds to constantly reinvent and challange both himself and his fellow musicians."
"This album represents the British blues sound in archetypical fashion. Kim Simmonds shows here why he is one of the all time great fretmasters, particularly on cuts like the instrumental 'Master Hare'. As a player, it took me a year to figure out that one tune and wore out my album copy. The disturbingly brilliant 'Needle and Spoon' is seminal in content and sound for this band. And it more than hints at the unfortunate demise of Youlden. Bandleader Simmonds and his Savoy Brown have been doing its thing for some 35 years. The live show Savoy Brown puts on is tremendous. Savoy Brown should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Maybe when Kim gives it all up. I hope not. 'Raw Sienna' is Savoy Brown's most satisfying album."
Simply a great album. A must in any rock fans CD collection
'Moose' VannHalen | 02/28/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"At a time when rock artists were expanding their vision of rock to include the best elements of Jazz, blues, soul, latino and boogie; Savoy Brown released their own version of rock "fusion" called Raw Sienna. A truly unique blend of the sounds that set the stage for the future of rock. Listening to the album's first track - "Hard Way to Go", you hear the latin influence familiar to Santana. The next song - "Same Old Feeling" - Kim Simmonds guitar along with Chris Youldons vocals will remind you of Hendrix. "Needle and Spoon" - one the the bands very best songs - pounds you through the heroin experience and the last track on the first side of the album "A Little More Wine", will make Gratefull Dead fans smile.
Raw Sienna begins to "mellow out" with "Stay While the Night is Young". Kim Simmond's work on "Is That So?" combines the best elements of blues/jazz guitar with the crispness he is now famous for. Raw Sienna's final song, "While I Was A Young Boy",is lead singer/song writer Youldon's last --- and what a way to say good bye.
I believe I wrote this in 1999 and I am proud to say nothing has changed. It is now 2010 and I still love this album and love Savoy Brown"