Recorded at Trident Studios, London.
CD Reissue notes:
Having recently secured their biggest hit album in America to date with HELLBOUND TRAIN (U.K.: Decca TXS 107, ReI.: 18th February 1972; U.S.: Parrot XPAS 71052), it having motored up to No. 21 on the Billboard Top 200 after entry there on March 18th and still extant as the summer approached, it was somewhat of a surprise to find bassist Andy Silvester exiting in June. Or was it? Not really in Savoy Brown's case, for personnel upheaval was the norm rather than the exception with them, particularly at times of triumph, and so tradition was simply being maintained.
The man with the amplified four-string quickly found himself further recording work, initially with two bodies whose pedigrees included Savoy notations: their former producer Mike Vernon called him to play on an LP he was making, MOMENTS OF MADNESS (Sire, 1973). and then the Brown's one-time vocalist Chris Youlden had him add a little lower register to his solo debut, NOWHERE ROAD, for Decca U.K./London U.S.A. offshoot label, Deram, that same year. Keeping it in the family one might say. Anyway, Silvester would later surface also on Danny Kirwan's SECOND CHAPTER (D.J.M., 1975), amongst others, while Savoy Brown themselves found a replacement very easily.
Although he'd never recorded with lead guitarist Kim Simmonds & Co. during his previous membership, Andy Pyle - once of Blodwyn Pig - had toured Stateside with the band before opting for a switch to Juicy Lucy. He'd entered studios with them for PIECES (Polydor, 1972). but their future generally appears to have not looked overly positive, so he renewed his Savoyian subscription thus bringing back together a line-up completed by Paul Raymond (Keyboards, Guitar, Vocals), Dave Bidwell (Drums) and lead singer Dave Walker.
During July, with Decca/Deram staff producer Neil Slaven again in situ, the quintet took themselves off to London's Trident Studios for the purpose of laying down the nine tracks which would comprise their next long-player, to be entitled LION'S SHARE. Selfscripted work-out's would be offered by Raymond (THE SADDEST FEELING, I CAN'T FIND YOU). Simmonds (SECOND TRY, SO TIRED, LOVE ME PLEASE) and, for the first (and last) time, Walker (DENIM DEMON). while outside sources provided the balance.
George Young and Harry Vanda - in the mid-Sixties rhythm guitarist and singer respectively with The Easybeats, of FRIDAY ON MY MIND fame, but latterly fronting The Band Of Hope and, currently way-back-when, The Marcus-Hook Roll Band - had SHOT IN THE HEAD purloined from their catalogue, as the Chester Burnett/Willie Dixon opus HOWLING FOR MY DARLING and Walter Jacobs' I HATE TO SEE YOU GO filled the remaining vacancies. Final mixing and editing was completed on 24th August, and, as was frequently the arrangement, plans for an American release before Christmas were kicked into gear, while the powers-that-be in Britain pencilled in an issue date for early 1973. The necessary motions for a tie-in U.S. tour were falling into place when, suddenly, Dave Walker decided upon a change of scenery and left for an alternative pastime. A replacement would soon be procured.
From the London pub-rock circuit came Jackie Lynton, an ex-builder from Battersea who'd been involved in music since the late 1950's. He needed little time to learn the S.B.'s repertoire, and they were soon off to America once more to promote the latest album. Audiences across the Atlantic quickly warmed to both Jackie's powerful voice and delicious sense of humour, and for future reference he also possessed another useful talent - one of prodigious songwriting.
That which constituted presently the priority though, LION'S SHARE, was delivered to Uncle Sam's disc outlets in the autumn of '72 as XPAS 71057, and on November 4th duly leaped into the published weekly ratings on its way to a slightly disappointing high of 151 during a 10 week stopover; no single was culled from within its ranks.
Decca at home followed suit on 19th January 1973 with an identical parcel available as SKL 5152, and with the promise of a British crusade from the boys extracted a 45 exactly a week later which paired SO TIRED and THE SADDEST FEELING as F 13372. The activity found Kim Simmonds enthusiastic: "Until recently we have found that we had a vast market for our music in the States, while over here virtually nothing. But that seems to be changing fast."
Indeed it was. The February tour - their first outside the United States for more than three years - played to packed houses. Kim again: "It was just amazing. In the space of a couple of years it seems that a whole new taste in rock has emerged over here. We had almost accepted that Savoy Brown would never achieve anything like the success we have had in America. But we were wrong."
Paradoxically, as a result of relatively low sales in their homeland to date, LION'S SHARE was not afforded the gatefold sleeve of its immediate predecessors, and had returned them to the standard Full-Price SKL prefix series rather than the luxury TXS alternative as of late. Even more annoyingly, just as it was announced that sales of Savoy Brown platters in America had topped the two million mark, and despite sell-out shows around the venues of Blighty, both LP and single avoided our then Top 50's.
Still, if at first you don't succeed, try, try again, goes the old adage and Savoy Brown were already thinking along the lines of another twelve-inch vinyl spectacular - their tenth such venture. Aimed fairly and squarely at the whole world, in the spring of 1973 they locked themselves away in a studio and remained there until ready to introduce a friend. They called him JACK THE TOAD...
© JOHN TRACY London, 1991
(P) 1972 (C) 1991 The Decca Record Co. Ltd., London, England
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