The Spencer Davis Group - Taking Out Time: Recordings 1967-1969 album review

Stevie’s gone, somebody else helps them now

The Spencer Davis Group Taking Time Out: Complete Recordings 1967-1969 album cover

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Losing as distinctive a voice as Steve Winwood was always going to be a headache, and after his original singer left and walked into Traffic it’s clear that Spencer Davis struggled to fill the void. This three-disc set covers the subsequent revolving-door line-ups, which initially stayed true to the band’s R&B roots before dipping a toe into other musical waters.

The bluesy grooves of the With Their New Face On album finds replacements Phil Sawyer and Eddie Hardin wary of replicating soulful Stevie too closely and consequently sounding tame. By 1969’s Funky and its title-defying awkward compound of country and psychedelia, Davis was the only founder member left, aided by a rhythm section who would soon leave to join Elton John.

Singles, B-sides, radio sessions and soundtrack contributions round out the package, the most celebrated being the joyful theme song to kids’ TV magazine show Magpie, released under the name The Murgatroyd Band.

Terry Staunton was a senior editor at NME for ten years before joined the founding editorial team of Uncut. Now freelance, specialising in music, film and television, his work has appeared in Classic Rock, The Times, Vox, Jack, Record Collector, Creem, The Village Voice, Hot Press, Sour Mash, Get Rhythm, Uncut DVD, When Saturday Comes, DVD World, Radio Times and on the website Music365.