The Spencer Davis Group
Band members Related acts
line up 1 (1963-67)
- Spencer Davis -- vocals, rhythm guitar
- Muff Winwood -- bass, vocals
- Stevie Winwood -- vocals, guitar, keyboards
- Peter York -- drums, percussion
line up 2 (1967)
Spencer Davis (RIP 2015) -- vocals, rhythm guitar
- Phil Sawyer -- lead guitar
line up 3 (1967-68)
- Spencer Davis -- vocals, rhythm guitar
NEW - Eddie Hardin (RIP 2015) -- keyboards, vocals
NEW - Ray Sawyer -- vocals, guitar (replaced Phil Sawyer)
- Pete York -- drums, percussion
line up 4 (1968-69)
- Spencer Davis -- vocals, rhythm guitar
- Eddie Hardin (RIP 2015) -- keyboards, vocals
NEW - Dee Murray -- bass
NEW - Nigel Olsson -- drums, percussion (replaced Pete York)
line up 5 (1973)
- Spencer Davis -- vocals, ryhthm guitar
- Eddie Hardin -(RIP 2015) - keyboards, vocals
NEW - Ray Fenwick -- vocals, lead guitar (replaced Ray Sawyer)
NEW - Charlie McCracken -- vocals, bass, guitar
NEW - Pete York -- drums, percussion (replaced Nigel Olsson)
- A Wild Uncertainty (Eddie Hardin)
- After Tea (Ray Fenwick)
- Axis Point (Eddie Hardin and Charlie McCracken)
- Beautiful World (Phil Sawyer)
- Blind Faith (Stevie Winwood)
- Blue Jive Five (Pete York)
- Graham Bonnet (Ray Fenwick)
- The Cheynes (Eddie Hardin and Phil Sawyer)
- Spencer Davis (solo efforts)
- Spencer Davis and Peter Jameson
- Drum Legends (Pete York)
- Fancy (Ray Fenwick and Charlie McCracken)
- Fastwa (Charlie McCracken)
- Ray Fenwick (solo efforts)
- The Fleur de Lys (Phil Sawyer)
- Ina Gillan bBand (Ray Fenwick)
- Guitar Orchestra (Ray Fenwick)
- Eddie Hardin (solo efforts)
- Hardin & York (Eddie Hardin and Pete York)
- Hardin & York with Charlie McCracken
- Heavytones (Charlie McCracken)
- Mars-Fenwick Band (Ray Fenwick)
- Medicine Head (Charlie McCracken)
- Minute By Minute (Ray Fenwick)
- Murgatroyd Band (Ray Fenwick, Charlie McCracken and
- Musicians Union band (Ray Fenwick)
- Natural Magic (Eddie Hardin)
- Olympic Rock & Roll Circus (Pete York)
- The Powerhouse (Pete York)
- Rupert and the Red Devils (Ray Fenwick)
- Shotgun Express (Phil Sawyer)
- The South Coast Ska Stars (Ray Fenwick)
- String Time (Pete York)
- Stud (Charlie McCracken)
- Super Jam (Pete York)
- Syndicats (Ray Fenwick)
- Taste (Charlie McCracken)
- The Tee Set (Ray Fenwick)
- Traffic (Stevie Winwood)
- Tich Turner's Escalator (Ray Fenwick)
- Stevie Winwood (solo efforts)
- Winterkreig (Pete York)
- Wizard's Convention (Ray Fenwick, Eddie Hardin and Pete York)
- York, MacDowell & Schmid (Pete York)
- Pete York Jazz band (Pete York)
- Pete York's New York (Pete York)
- The Pete York Percussion Band (Pete York)
- Pete York and the Susie Who Swing Revue
Rating: *** (3 stars)
Company: United Artists
Grade (cover/record): VG/+/VG+
Catalog ID :4758
In spite of the bright, psych-ish cover art, 1969's "Heavies" was a quickie anthology, probably meant to capitalize on the fact Stevie Winwood was starting to attract major attention with his work in Blind Faith and Traffic (note Winwood was given special acknowledgement in the credits). Pulling together a haphazard mix of material from the first three studio albums, the set was actually surprisingly enjoyable. Largely outside covers, tracks such as 'Please Do Something', 'Mean Woman Blues' and 'Take This Hurt Off of Me' aptly showcased the group's R&B roots. For those allergic to conventional English R&B, this was R&B with a distinctively commercial sheen. And boy did Steve Winwood ever sound like some grizzly old blues guy .... Anyone who doubted these guys could cook only needed to check out the blazing 'Watch Your Step'. Perhaps the strangest track here was the instrumental 'Waltz for Lumumba'. Sounding like a prototype for Winwood's forthcoming Traffic catalog, it didn't seem to fit the same timeframe or musical style as the other nine tracks. Certainly not the retrospective set I would have cobbled together, but still worth picking up if you can find it on the cheap (like this copy). And the cover is a classic slice of '60s psychedelic stylings.
"Heavies" track listing:
1.) Please Do Something (Don Covay - Ronald Miller) - 2:23 rating: **** stars
Their bouncy cover of 'Please Do Something' was originally released on 1966's "The Second Album". As you'd expect, the spotlight is on then-young WInwood's amazing voice. Thanks to YouTube you can get a view of the group in their prime - a black and white performance for the Finnish YLE Teema channel: that looks and sounds like a live effort with Winwood on guitar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nhc3-U0kRQ
2.) Waltz for Lumumba (instrumental) (Stevie Winwood) - 4:13 rating: **** stars
As mentioned, this one originally appeared on the 1967 "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush" soundtrack under the title 'Waltz for Caroline', Powered by a hypnotic Muff Winwood bass line, a then 18 year old Winwood going apesh*t on Hammond B-3 and complete with lots of African-tinged percussion, the tune had a very mid-'70s Traffic sounding vibe. Very cool. I'll have to track down the move some day.
3.) I'm Blue (Gong Gong Gong) (Ike Turner) - 2:39 rating: ** stars
A track off their debut album ("Their First Album"), 'I'm Blue (Gong Gong Gong)' featured a vocal from a young Millie Small. Unfortunately her sharp and irritating performance had all the appeal of chalk on a blackboard. Hideous performance, though Davis turned in a nice guitar solo.
4.) Hey Darling (Stevie Winwood - Spencer Davis - Muff Winwood - Peter York) - 4:45 rating: **** stars
Another track off "The Second Album", the band-penned 'Hey Darling' was a traditional blues number that put contemporaries like Fleetwood Mac and Savoy Brown to shame. Winwood's performance was sterling, but the real surprise came in the form of Peter York's surprisingly sophisticated drumming.
5.) Mean Woman Blues (Claude DeMetrulis) - 3:08 rating: *** stars
'Mean Woman Blues' first appeared on their third studio album - 1966's "Autumn '66". Nice cover with Winwood on lead guitar (his famed white strat) and the rest of the band showcasing some sweet backing vocals. No idea when, or where it was filmed (perhaps Dutch television) , but YouTube has a nice live performance of the song at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0E6JhJRXVX0
1.) Watch Your Step (Bobby Parker) - 2:51 rating: *** stars
Another cut off their second album, 'Watch Your Step was a nice, but also-ran cover of the Bobby Parker cover.
2.) I'll Drown In My Tears (Henry Glover) - 4:21 rating: **** stars
Lula Reed recorded the original version back in 1951, but the Ray Charles cover (released as a single), remains the best known version. About all I can say about the Spencer Davis Group version is that Winwood's blues-soaked vocal is astounding, giving Charles a run for his money..
3.) Together Till the End of Time (Frank Wilson) - 2:49 rating: **** stars
Another tune pulled from the "August '66" album, in my humble opinion, Winwood's performance crushed Brenda Holloway's version. 'Together Till the End of Time' was also my choice for the prettiest song on the album ... Thanks to YouTube, here's another live clip from a 1966 performance on the Finnish YLE Teema channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyGaQj3GzD8
4.) Take This Hurt Off of Me (Don Covay - Ronald Miller) - 2:40 rating: *** stars
Nice cover of the Don Covay tune (he'd also released it as a single); maybe a little over the top, but sweet and catchy. Another "Autumn '66" performance, the track was tapped as a Norwegian single:
- 1966's 'Take This Hurt Off of Me' b/w 'Midnight Special' (Sonet catalog number T 9529)
5.) Back Into My Life Again (Jackie Edwards - James Miller - 2:24 rating: *** stars
So i I were going to pick a version of this one, if would probably be Mike Harrison and the V.I.P's ... Nothing wrong with this cover version, but I just prefer Harrison's urgent vocal.
Rating: ** (2 stars)
Catalog: VEL 1015
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Catalog ID :2436
By the late 1960s namesake Spencer Davis had
switched his attention to the business side of the music industry.
Living in Los Angeles, he'd been working as a talent scout, playing
occasional solo dates. Keyboardist Eddie Hardin convinced Davis
the time was right for a Spencer Davis Group reunion leading to a new line
including guitarist Ray Fenwick, former Taste singer/bassist Charlie
McCracken, and drummer Pete York (who'd worked with Hardin in Hardin &
Signed by Phonogram's Vertigo subsidiary, the band returned to England, recording 1973's "Gluggo" at sessions in London's Advision and Morgan Studios. (For anyone who was curious, the odd title derived from a roadie who referred to beer as Gluggo.) Self-produced, the album found Hardin and Fenwick responsible for most of the material. Namesake Davis contributing two songs, while drummer York added one. The result found the band updating their sound to reflect a haphazard mix that covered the spectrum from blues, to country-tinged moves, and more conventional boogie and rock moves. The results weren't bad, but with the exception of 'Catch You On The Rebop' (with a nice little nod to the band's earlier triumphs), and 'Tumble Down Tenement Row', hardly the most remarkable thing you've ever heard.
In spite of American and UK tours in support of the album, the set did little commercially.
"Gluggo" track listing:
1.) Catch You On The Rebop (Eddie Hardin - Ray Fenwick) - 3:16 rating: **** stars
Handling lead vocals on 'Catch You On the Rebop', keyboardist Eddie Hardin sounded remarkably like a young Stevie Winwood. The tune itself was surprisingly funky and commercial with a nice little nod to Spencer Davis' earlier hit 'Gimme Some Loving'. Easy to see why it was tapped as a single. The tune was tapped as a single in the UK and several other European countries:
1973's 'Catch You on the Rebop' b/w 'The Edge' (Vertigo catalog number
Hum, English Music Hall meets 10cc ... Quirky, but I've always liked the genre. Curiously the song was tapped as the American single:
1973's 'Don't You Let It Bring You Down' b/w 'Today Gluggo Tomorrow the
World' (Vertigo catalog number VE 110)
was a sweet, country-tinged ballad. Pretty, but other than Fenwick's
aching, backwards guitar solo, hardly memorable.
The title track was a strange, keyboard-powered, progressive-influenced instrumental that occasionally reminded me of 'Take Me Out To the Ballgame'. Musically it just seemed out of place on the album.
1.) Feeling Rude (Eddie Hardin - Ray Fenwick) - 3:18 rating: ** stars
Pleasant, but predictable and ultimately forgettable slice of bar band boogie.
2.) Legal Eagle Shuffle (Spencer Davis) - 2:16 rating: ** stars
I've never understood why so many English bands are fascinated with American country music. Judging by Davis' 'Legal Eagle Shuffle', he was clearly a fan of the genre, but it didn't make for an engaging performance.
3.) Trouble In Mind (traditional arranged by M. Jones) - 4:34 rating: ** stars
And if you thought the previous country number was forgettable, this bland blues classic wasn't going to improve things.
4.) Mr. Operator (Eddie Hardin - Ray Fenwick) - 3:37
Complete with blasting horns, and a catchy Fenwick guitar riff, 'Mr. Operator' was clearly the band's stab at churning out a commercial pop hit. On those terms I have to admit it was quite impressive. Shame it didn't see an American release as a single.
- 1973's 'Mr. Operator' b/w 'Touching Cloth' (Vertigo catalog number 6059 082)
5.) Tumble Down Tenement Row (Spencer Davis) - 3:11 rating: **** stars
Davis' second tune, 'Tumble Down Tenement Row' was also one of the album highlights. A straight-ahead, no frills rocker, the tune was built on a nifty little Fenwick lead guitar pattern that sounded like a George Harrison riff which had been twisted sideways. Nice.
Only 66, in 2015 Harris suffered a fatal heart attack while relaxing in a swiimng pool.
Rating: ** (2 stars)
Catalog: TS 4021
Grade (cover/record): VG/VG+
Comments: cut corner top left
Catalog ID: SOLD 4759
Price: SOLD $100.00
Following the release of 1968's "With Their New Faces On" the band underwent another personnel shuffle with keyboardist Tim Hardin and drummer Peter York tendering their resignations in order to form Hardin & York (see separate entry). Bassist Dee Murray and drummer Nigel Olsson were quickly recruited as replacements.
Spencer and the new line up returned to the studio to record a new set with former Van Morrison associate Lou Merrenstein producing. Interestingly, with Fenwick handled lead vocals, provided lead guitar and penning all ten selections, 1969's "Funky" could have easily been a Fenwick solo effort. Musically the LP marked another changed in direction. Long gone were the band's original R&B roots, or it's latter stage stabs at British psychedelia. In it's place Fenwick and company offered up a competent, if largely undistinguished set that bounced between country-rock ("I Met a Woman" and "I Guess I'm Wasting My Timer") and more conventional AOR ("Letters from Edit" and the bluesy "Poor Misguided Woman"). Fenwick had a decent voice and most of the ten tracks were at least mildly catchy, though with the possible exception of the poppy "Magical Day", nothing here is overwhelming. Citing the dreaded 'unspecified contractual reasons' excuse the LP was promptly shelved. In 1971 Date Records released the set in the States, but it was quickly withdrawn, making copies extremely rare.
"Funky" track listing:
1.) I Met a Woman (Ray Fenwick) - 2:54
2.) Letters from Edith (Ray Fenwick) - 3:31
3.) Raintree River (Ray Fenwick) - 3:52
4.) What a Way To Die (Ray Fenwick) - 3:00
5.) Funky (instrumental) (Ray Fenwick) - 6:50
1.) Magical Day (Ray Fenwick) - 3:25
2.) I Guess I'm Wasting My Time (Ray Fenwick) - 2:17
3.) Poor Misguided Woman (Ray Fenwick) - 5:35
4.) And the Gods Came Down (Ray Fenwick) - 6:57
5.) New Jersey Turnpike (Ray Fenwick) - 3:18
Shortly after the set was released Davis called it quits, embarking on a brief solo career.
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