Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Spencer Davis died yesterday aged 81

Sad news. Spencer Davis, who led one of the great British groups of the 1960s, died in California yesterday at the age of 81.

Based in Birmingham, he had already played with Bill Wyman, Christine Perfect (the future Christine McVie) and Ian Campbell when he heard the Winwood brothers playing in their jazz band.

"We should get together and form a blues band," he told them. "We could get a booking to play the university every Saturday."

And the rest is history.

The official reason for naming the band after Spencer Davis, when Steve Winwood was inevitably the most prominent member, was that he liked talking to the press and could do all the interviews while the Winwood brothers stayed in bed. 

But it was a great name for a British blues band. They could be black. They could be American.

When the Winwood brothers left in 1967 life became more of a struggle for Davis, but he remained in the business and regularly toured with new versions of his band.

The video here shows the Spencer Davis Group in its prime and has Davis singing the lead for once.

I heard Spencer Davis play and  shook hands with him when he played in Market Harborough in 2009.

The band was having problems with its equipment that evening, which ended with a roadie leaning over a speaker cabinet to hold a cable in place.

"This is just what it was like in the Sixties," said Davis. "We're giving you the genuine experience."

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