The Spencer Davis Group

Universal Masters Collection

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This 18-song collection from Universal in Europe is an interesting body of music, mixing the hard R&B sound of the Steve Winwood-era Spencer Davis Group with the later Eddie Hardin lineup. The Winwood-era tracks predominate, and they sound great, close, hard, and loud; the post-Winwood sides, "Time Seller," "I Don't Want You No More," and "Maggie," the first two produced by Ron Richards, are a varied lot, representing by turns trippy psychedelia, a solid British R&B-style sound, and a partly successful attempt at a television theme song. The first two aren't bad, but the very fact that they were trying such ideas as "Time Seller" -- an almost ELO-like exercise in psychedelic/proto-progressive rock -- shows how off-balance they were for repertory and direction after Winwood's exit. The annotation is minimal and not even all of the Winwood-era hits are here, so this isn't necessarily the place to start (and is definitely not where to stop) in collecting that material.

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