Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Spencer Davis RIP

 

Sorry to hear of the death of Spencer Davis at the age of 81. He was the frontman of the Spencer Davis Group, one of the most influential British R and B groups of the sixties, and played guitar and harmonica. He took the lead on vocals on occasions but left the majority of the singing to Stevie Winwood, who possessed a far more soulful voice and was only 15 when he joined the band. Other original members were Stevie's brother Muff and drummer Peter York. Spencer came from south Wales but after a spell in London, during which he played in a band with Bill Wyman, he moved to Birmingham where he studied German at the university. While there he dated Christine Perfect and in 1963 he met the Winwoods, who were playing in a jazz band, and formed the group. Many of their early recordings, produced by Island's Chris Blackwell and released on Fontana, were blues and soul covers - not bad ones on the whole - but success came with two songs written by Jackie Edwards in the form of 'Keep On Running' and 'Somebody Help Me'. Other early hits included 'Gimme Some Lovin'' and 'I'm A Man'. Stevie Winwood left in 1967 to join Traffic and was replaced on vocals by Eddie Hardin but the band continued to have success with songs for the film 'Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush' and singles such as 'Time Seller' and 'Mr Second Class'. Various versions of the band continued later from time to time and Davis produced some jazz albums in the late seventies and eighties.

Another recent death is that Brian 'Licorish' Locking, who was bass player with Marty Wilde's Wildcats, which became the Krewkats. He became a member of the Shadows in 1962 and appeared in Cliff Richard's film 'Summer Holiday'. The photo shows him (right) playing as part of the Checkmates at a Tales From The Woods show in 2008.

Two other UK musicians have also passed on. Gordon Haskell was a member of the Fleur De Lys before joining his friend Robert Fripp at King Crimson. A vocalist and guitarist he also recorded several collectable solo albums, including 'Sailin' My Boat', 'It Is and It Isn't' and the unissued 'Serve at Room Temperature'. 

Another who has died is Dave Munden, who was the original drummer with Brian Poole and the Tremeloes. He was the lead singer on a version  of Jeff Christie's 'Yellow River' but this was shelved and the backing was used for Christie's vocal on the hit version.

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