CD Review: Alan Price - Savaloy Dip

Alan Price's lost classic finally sees the light of day.
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The tale of Alan Price's 1974 LP, Savaloy Dip, is a curious one indeed. A founding member and keyboardist for The Animals, Price was in the midst of a promising solo career when Dip was recorded. What happened next is a matter of opinion and speculation. A March 1974 issue of Circular magazine called Savaloy Dip "every bit as good as O Lucky Man!" yet only one track from the album appeared on his next album, which was not Savaloy Dip but, rather, Between Today And Yesterday. Making matters more confusing, Savaloy Dip was briefly released officially -- on 8-track -- only to be recalled, creating a collector's item in the process. Now, 42 years later, the album is finally seeing its first widespread, non 8-track release, and it was worth the wait.

Savaloy Dip is an eclectic mix of pop, blues and rock and has a singer/songwriter sensibility not unlike Randy Newman or John Sebastian. The album opens with the irresistible groove of "Smells Like Lemon, Tastes Like Wine." Guitarist Peter Kirtley delivers some tasteful licks over a piano and horn-infused backdrop on this strong opener. "Willie The Queen" follows and is the kind of laid back pop that recalls The Lovin' Spoonful's "Daydream," albeit with a humorous lyrical take. Price gives a soulful vocal and a killer organ solo here.

Handclaps and horns punctuate the up-tempo rocker 'You Won't Get Me," which features some killer rock and roll piano from Price and some unexpected chord changes, adding to the song's excitement. Midway through, it shifts tempo, moving to a slow blues jam. The musicianship here and throughout is top notch, with the band following all of Price's musical twists. The album's title track is a piano-driven rocker with a strong vocal from Price while "Country Life" finds Price in more experimental, psychedelic mode. He sounds equally confident on both tracks, showing his musical diversity.

The album closes with "Between Today And Yesterday," a song that became the title track of the album released instead of Savaloy Dip. The song is a poignant ballad and gives an excellent close to the proceedings.

Why it took so long for this album to be released properly is anyone's guess, but those wrongs have finally been righted. Savaloy Dip is a strong collection of diverse songs and top-notch musicianship and well worth a listen.