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CD Review The Savoy Truffle Roadhouse Boogie


The Savoy Truffle CD – ‘Roadhouse Boogie”

-Dave Howell 




These good old boys know how to rock. But after all, the Japanese really know how to do it Southern style. You might be thinking, Japan? But this CD does the South proud. Vocalist Monji Kadowaki sounds just like a Southern red-white-and-blue neck, except that he might be a little easier to understand than some of them. He sings fast on “Lowdown Blues,” but you can pick out the lyrics instead of having them buried in the mix as too many bands do. Toshihiro Sumitomo, credited with lead, slide, and acoustic guitar, seems to know most of the guitar licks that have come from south of the Mason Dixon line. It is unfortunate that he is the only guitarist and that he overtracks his guitar on the CD. Some Allman Brothers-type lead guitar tradeoffs would be interesting. Still, bassist Yoshihiro Ogasahara does a good job of filling in the sound. And on songs like “Don’t Beat Around The Bush,” Sumitomo invokes the ghost of Duane Allman as well as anyone could on either side of the Atlantic. The most distinctive feature of Savoy Truffle is their rhythm section. They have both a drummer, Taizo Takafuji, and a percussionist, Taro Takagi. Takagi is mostly heard on hand drums like congas. The combination brings back memories of when dual drummers/percussionists were a staple of the genre. Slower love songs bring down many rock CDs, Southern or otherwise, but “Until You Can Feel It” has a nice feel. Kadowski’s vocals are distinctive, in that his voice is a bit higher pitched than most Southern singers. Sumitomo wrote the music and Kadowaki wrote the lyrics for all but one of the songs. It is a bonus that Kadowaki is Japanese, in that he avoids the many clichés that infect the Southern rock genre. His verses contain a strong influence of poetry. On “Too Real to Feel” he sings, “One side is hate and one is hope. I can hardly sing my song. Black crows fly around me.” Much better than “My baybee left me, etc.” There is a lot of energy here, as cuts like “Bring You Down” prove. It is almost as if these guys had to rediscover Southern rock to revive it. Recommended for listeners from any Country. English language web site at 

-Dave Howell