December 5th marked a sad 75th birthday for Kim Simmonds: the Stage 4 cancer became fiercer and it was clear that the intrepid leader of SAVOY BROWN would soon leave the world. The inevitable happened on December 13th when the veteran passed away, taking a huge part of British blues with him. The journey of a man who used to fuel “Train To Nowhere” and “Hellbound Train” reached its end, and one of the finest guitarists in the world is finally at peace now.
The stalwart of his chose genre, Simmonds launched SAVOY BROWN in 1965, and within a year the band proved to be a crowd-pleasing fixture on the club scene before widening both their audience and stylistic range. Kim’s music began to sound heavier and more progressive, such improvisational numbers as “Savoy Brown Boogie” – immortalized on 1972’s “A Step Further” album – often running for nigh on half an hour and such cuts as “I’m Tired” making dents in the charts. No less important, though, was the fact that the guitarist turned his band into a sort of blues institution, as its ranks included an array of prominent players – singers Chris Youlden, Dave Walker, Jackie Lynton, Miller Anderson and Jimmy Kunes; bassists Bob Brunning, Tony Stevens, Andy Pyle, Andy Silvester and Jim Leverton; guitarists Dave Peverett and Paul Raymond; drummers Hughie Flint, Bill Bruford, Roger Earl and Keith Boyce – so there’s a myriad connection to other ensembles. Not for nothing Kim Simmonds was revered as one of the British blues architects.
His passing leaves a glaring gap on the scene, and he will be sorely missed by many.