Released to roughly coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Spencer Davis Group's birth, this is a rather eccentric collection of odds and ends from 1965-74. Although half of the 20 tracks do indeed date from the time in which the lineup featured Stevie Winwood, there's a big catch: all of those songs (none of them previously unreleased) are live or radio session performances, not studio performances. The remainder of the CD is assembled from various studio recordings from post-Winwood lineups, and while the 1967-68 tracks from this portion aren't bad at all, there's a big downturn into ho-hum '70s rock for the final four numbers, all taken from 1973's Gluggo, and 1974's Living on a Back Street. So, it's not even quite the best of everything the band did besides their studio recordings with the Winwood lineup. Mind you, the live and radio recordings with Winwood are good, including versions of the hits "Keep on Running," "Gimme Some Lovin'," and "I'm a Man." But all of the Winwood tracks have been issued on RPM's Mojo Rhythms & Midnight Blues Radio Sessions 1965-1968 or Mojo Rhythms & Midnight Blues Live Shows 1965-1968, and for that matter, all of the post-Winwood 1967-68 tracks have shown up on RPM CD reissues, too. This material is worth hearing by serious Spencer Davis Group fans, but if you're serious enough to pursue such specialist collector esoterica in the first place, it makes a lot more sense to get the entire, extensive CD retrospectives of this stuff, rather than settle for a jumpy sampler instead.
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AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger