From Birmingham, the Spencer Davis group’s singer was Stevie Winwood who had an amazing quality to his voice. He was just fifteen when he appeared at the Old Twisted Wheel, playing guitar and backing stars such as Sonny Boy Williamson.
Their first release was the John Lee Hooker classic Dimples. Then they did I CAN’T STAND IT – 1964 a version of the Soul Sisters USA chart hit. They released a few singles before their next big hit including You Put The Hurt On Me – a copy of Prince La La‘s original. In fact Stevie Winwood sounded exactly like Prince La La. Their second UK hit was – “Keep On Running”, written by Jackie Edwards then GIMME SOME LOVING both original and becoming major RnB classics.
Spencer Davis appeared live at Manchester’s Twisted Wheel quite a few times in 1965. They were immensely popular as a live band doing f versions of Blues and RnB originals such as Take This Hammer by Leadbelly and one particular track – Midnight Train would shake the place! Their popularity was due to winning the crowd over with their superb live performances. The DJ Roger Eagle would always favour the original versions of their tracks and rarely played Spencer Davis versions in preference to the Soul sisters Brenda Holloway or Prince La La. But he did used to plug their ‘B’ sides, until they did started releasing their own originals: Keep On Running and Gimme Some Loving.
When the club closed down in Brazennose Street they played the last live session, when it re-opened the following Saturday night they were the first live act.
I have memories of talking with Muff and Stevie Winwood at the Old Wheel and jumping up and invading the stage and singing with them at a gig they did at Redruth in Cornwall. They quite rightly threw me off.
Spencer Davis – home.comcast.net
Spencer Davis -45-rpm.org.uk