The Spencer Davis Group are remembered for their late-'60s singles that featured the deep soul vocals of Steve Winwood, then only a teenager. Singles like "Somebody Help Me," "Keep on Running" (both of which were written by reggae musician Jackie Edwards), "Gimme Some Lovin'," and "I'm a Man" (these two were original band compositions) were solid R&B rockers, making the Spencer Davis Group one of the most explosive bands in the so-called British Invasion era. Signed at the time to Chris Blackwell's Island Records, the group curiously never toured America when these songs were hitting the charts, and what could well have been one of the biggest British Invasion groups that worked off the American blues, R&B, and soul template essentially and effectively shot itself in the foot. When Winwood left to form Traffic in 1967, the group (having lost one of the most distinctive voices in rock history) simply wilted away. This collection has all their hits from the period, including the above mentioned songs in both the U.K. and U.S. mixes, as well as post-Winwood fare like 1968’s “Time Seller.” It shows a dynamic band at the peak of its fame and creative powers. Yeah, they were the Spencer Davis Group, but Winwood (he was still called Stevie then) was the one who really ran the show with his gritty, soulful singing and organ playing, and without him, well, there really wasn’t much of a point. They staggered on for another year and finally called it quits as a recording entity in 1968. The essential components of their legacy are collected here.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett