The Blues Keep Me Holding On

Mystic Records
Pontiac Grill, Philadelphia, PA

“Just a few months ago Dave was given a clean bill of health. I was at the Foghat come back show and he looked and played great. It’s been a great, great shock to me.” Kim Simmons

Lonesome Dave Peverett, one of the fundamental members of Savoy Brown and Foghat lost his battle with cancer February 7th, 2000. In a fitting tribute, Savoy Brown guitarist Kim Simmons leaned over the mic at the Pontiac Grill and said, “Tonight I feel the spirit of Dave. This show goes out to him.” The band plugged in, and then proceed to tear the walls down. One after another, Simmons fired off a dizzy array of straight-from-the-bottle blues. Dave would have been grinning from ear to ear!

Savoy Brown, at least in name, is just over thirty years old. Their debut album Shake Down hit the streets in 1967 as part of the blues boom taking place in England. They, along with Chicken Shack and Fleetwood Mac drifted closer to boogie as the ‘70’s rolled around. The band’s association with Mike Vernon, a producer and club owner, kept them hot a sweaty and ripe for America.

In the passing years it has been Simmons who has kept the train rolling both with constant touring and quality recordings. This night finds Savoy Brown supporting their Mystic Records release The Blues Keep Me Holding On. Scaled down to a compact but lethal trio, the band wear their roots proudly. Current vocalist Nathaniel Peterson caresses the blues with an intoxicating soulful voice, rich in texture and emotion. He not only breathes fresh life into time worn classics such as Little Red Rooster but also illuminates a whole new generation of twelve-bar howlers.

Savoy Brown is motivated by making good music, you can see it in their eyes when they play off each other, you can hear it in each note Simmons’ bends around the room or the boom-kick of the solid rhythm section. “I realize I have to make good records to continue to play out,” says Simmons after the show. “I want to make serious records. There was a time in my life when I took it a little less serious, but the records I want to make now, I want to be as good as they possibly can. I want to make records that are meaningful.”

The Blues Keep Me Holding On is more than just a meaningful outing. The title may even be a reflection of Savoy Brown determination to remain viable in the ever-changing rock market. “Santana’s having a great run right now,” says Simmons. “I admire him and think it’s wonderful for him to see that kind of success. But for me – I’m not sure I would be willing to make those kind of records.” Loyal to his own stock-in-trade Simmons creates his brand of magic in She’s Leaving, Mississippi Steamboat, Ain’t No Need To Worry and Headline News which retain his gutsy passion for the edge only his form of blues can provide. Played live, songs like Going Down To Mobile retain their essence and are enriched by the power of the performance. It is a lucky crowd, a packed house at the Pontiac, which is entertained by not only a living legend but also a very vibrant and viable one.