While I was at the launch of The Gates of Troy on Thursday I bought another book. (Waterstone's are no fools.) It was Keep on Running: The Story of Island Records.
In his contribution Joe Boyd recalls:
Further evidence of the band's greatness and of the way Winwood's influence on British rock history is underappreciated.
I was taken to a Birmingham pub where Steve Winwood and the Spencer Davis Group (managed by Chris Blackwell) were playing. I was astounded: the were playing "beat group" (no one used the word "rock" in those days) versions of folk songs, Leadbelly blues and Jamaican blue beat.
I knew plenty of American musicians with equally eclectic tastes, but they played acoustic instruments. The Spencer Davis Group were the original "folk-rock"!
I got talking about music with the assistant who sold me the book. He said that his father-in-law (or may have been a close friend of the family) had been in a band at school with Steve Winwood. He confirmed the story that Winwood could pick up your instrument and immediately play it better than you even though he had never played it before.