They rarely receive their deserved plaudits, but Savoy Brown have been staples of British blues-rock for more than five and a half decades.
Since they began, more than 60 musicians have played in the band. Kim Simmonds has fronted the group as a trio since 2012 with bassist Pat DeSalvo and drummer Garnet Grimm. They formed in London in 1965, and became a fixture on the burgeoning blues-rock scene in the UK in the second half of the decade.
Savoy Brown never achieved the record success in their own country that was enjoyed by such proponents of the genre as Fleetwood Mac or John Mayall; indeed their UK chart life consisted of precisely one week at No. 50 for 1970’s Decca album Looking In.
Their popularity was more palpable in the US, where Savoy Brown had no fewer than 11 albums that made the top 200 between 1969 and 1981. They included top 40 entries for Looking In and 1972’s Hellbound Train. With some 60 members passing through the ranks in total, the latter-day line-up has continued to thrive.
“I still write new songs and rehearse every day,” said Simmonds in 2017. “If you don’t keep finding the muse, you lose it.” That year brought the new album Witchy Feelin’, on the independent blues-rock label Ruf Records. It was followed by 2019’s City Night.
Still shaking down
Also in 2017, Savoy Brown released Still Live After 50 Years, Vol. 2, which follows 2015’s first volume. It marked the 50th anniversary of their debut album on Decca, Shake Down. With the trusty Mike Vernon at the desk, it showcased their blues pedigree with covers of B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, and Willie Dixon. In 2020, the band released the aptly-titled Ain’t Done Yet, and in April 2022 Simmonds tweeted that yet another new set would be completed by the end of May.
Simmonds told the Houston Press: “Chicago electric blues, that style…it had weight and honesty and girth to it. Just because you love one kind of blues doesn’t mean you have to love all of it. But there’s an honesty there that is of most importance to me, that is most satisfying.”
Listen to uDiscover Music’s Blues Legends playlist.