Francis then became a busy studio drummer, performing anonymously on many pop and rock & roll records. In 1979, when he was in danger of being forgotten, Francis formed the Savoy Sultans, a group based on the small unit that used to play opposite Millinder at the Savoy.
The Sultans recorded a steady stream of exciting hot swing records for Black & Blue and Stash during 1979-1983. During the '90s, Panama Francis continued freelancing, including recording and touring with the Statesmen of Jazz (1994-1995). In November 2001, David Albert "Panama" Francis died at the age of 82. ~ Scott Yanow, All Music Guide