Sunday, August 09, 2009

Keep on Running: The Story of Island Records

It is some time since I inflicted by obsession with the Spencer Davis Group on you, so here goes.

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:

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"!

Further evidence of the band's greatness and of the way Winwood's influence on British rock history is underappreciated.

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.

That is why they called him the "mod Mozart" in the sixties.

1 comment:

Mark Pack said...

Consider me a happy and willing victim of your obsession.