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Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, Miles Davis Quintet – Vinyl LPs out now!

October 7, 2022

Available from

The Spencer Davis Group

At The BBC


Side One

  1. Midnight Train (Roy, Hicks)
  2. It’s Gonna Work Out Fine (Seneca, Lee, McCoy)
  3. Dimples (Hooker, Bracken)
  4. It Hurts Me So (Winwood S)
  5. Midnight Train (Roy, Hicks)
  6. My Babe (Medley, Hatfield)
  7. Watch Your Step (Parker)
  8. It Hurts Me So (Winwood S)
  9. I Can’t Stand It (McAllister)

Side Two

  1. My Babe (Medley, Hatfield)
  2. Strong Love (Malone, Silvers, Brown)
  3. Dust My Blues (James)
  4. Strong Love (Malone, Silvers, Brown)
  5. This Hammer (Winwood M, Winwood S, York, Davis)
  6. You Put The Hurt On Me (Nelson)
  7. Keep On Running (Edwards)
  8. Goodbye Stevie (Winwood M, Winwood S, York, Davis)

Recording Details

All tracks recorded for BBC Radio

Side One

Tracks 1-3 broadcast in January 1965

Tracks 4-6 broadcast in February 1965

Tracks 7-9 broadcast in March 1965

Side Two,

Tracks 1-3 broadcast in June 1965

Tracks 4-5 broadcast in August 1965

Tracks 6-8 broadcast in January 1966


Steve Winwood – Keyboards, guitar, vocals

Spencer Davis – Guitar, harmonica, vocals

Muff Winwood – Bass, vocals

Pete York – Drums

Sleeve Notes

The four members of the Spencer Davis Group had all been active on the Birmingham jazz scene before forming the Rhythm & Blues Quartet in April 1963. They turned professional at the Golden Eagle pub in August 1964, the same month that Fontana released their debut single.

Although the group was named after founder Spencer Davis the key talent in the group was teenager Stevie Winwood. He was already a powerful vocalist, proficient on guitar and keyboards and a rapidly developing songwriter. Despite this the band’s first four singles fell short of the top 40 and it was not until their cover of Jackie Edwards’ Keep On Running that the band had a hit. Released in November 1965 it went to number one in the UK singles chart. After this Somebody Help Me, Gimme Some Loving and I’m A Man were all hits. Stevie quit the band in early 1967 feeling hemmed in by the pressures of chart success. Muff Winwood also left the band at this time to become a successful record producer. A second version of the Spencer Davis Band was active until 1974 but never reached the commercial or artistic heights of its predecessor.

Rolling piano and an uptempo shuffle beat runs through Midnight Train. It’s Gonna Work Out Fine was an Ike & Tina Turner original: Winwood’s soulful vocal belies his sixteen years. The band’s first single Dimples was written by John Lee Hooker but is distinguished from generic 1964 blues-boom fare by a sprightly arrangement and Spencer’s supportive harmonica. The fabulous It Hurts Me So is an early Stevie Winwood composition, with fine Tamla Motown-style harmonies. My Babe features unison vocals from Spencer and Muff, counterpointed by Stevie on the bridge: the song was written by Righteous Brothers Bobby Hatfield and Bill Medley. Bobby Parker’s Watch Your Step was a blues-boom staple with a distinctive stop-start riff borrowed by the Yardbirds, the Beatles and many others. I Can’t Stand It was the second Fontana single. First recorded by The Soul Sisters, Stevie sings it well but the hook was not strong enough to deliver a hit.

Northern Soul favourite Strong Love was another unsuccessful Fontana single, originally recorded by The Malibus and features scat singing atop a swinging beat. Elmore James’ Dust My Blues gave Steviea chance to shine on lead guitar whilst Spencer took lead vocals, as he did on This Hammer, a folk-blues which showed the versatility of the band. You Put The Hurt On Me was the lead track of an EP released by Fontana in November 1965. Initially the song was recorded by Prince La La as She Put The Hurt On Me, subsequently Otis Redding would be given the songwriting credit.

Then at last a hit single! Jackie Edwards had recorded the original version of Keep On Running on his 1965 LP Come On Home, released on Island Records. The head of Island was Chris Blackwell, also the Spencer Davis Group’s producer. Their version toughened up the rhythmic drive of Edwards’ original.  The guitar intro went through the same fuzz pedal as Keith Richards had used for Satisfaction.  “Heh heh heh” backing vocals were added to support Winwood’s gutsy lead vocal.  The result was a huge international hit which brought Stevie into the spotlight. How do you follow that? By writing your own exit note in Goodbye Stevie, one of the final tracks Winwood recorded with the group and an appropriate place to end our selection of fine Spencer Davis Group recordings.

Writing in Bam Balam magazine in 1980 Brian Hogg crowned The Spencer Davis Group “Birmingham’s finest (except The Move). They were marvellous, playing a rolling bassy R&B. But the real power and excitement left with Stevie Winwood”. After leaving the Spencer Davis Group, Stevie Winwood would form and re-form Traffic as well as being part of short-lived ‘supergroup’ Blind Faith before going solo. All stages of his career have been artistically and commercially successful: amongst musicians he remains a well-respected and popular figure. But for sheer musical excitement, that fuzz-drenched intro to Keep On Running takes some beating…

Sleevenotes: Wynder K. Frog

Port Chester 1970


Side One

  1. Every Mother’s Son (Capaldi, Winwood)
  2. Medicated Goo (Winwood, Miller)
  3. John Barleycorn Must Die (trad. arr. Winwood)
  4. Pearly Queen (Capaldi, Winwood)
  5. Empty Pages (Capaldi, Winwood)

Side Two

  1. Forty Thousand Headmen (Capaldi, Winwood)
  2. Freedom Rider (Capaldi, Winwood)
  3. Feelin’ Good (Newley, Bricusse)


Steve Winwood – vocals, guitar, keyboards, bass

Jim Capaldi – drums, percussion, vocals

Chris Wood – saxophone, flute, piano

Recording details

All tracks recorded live at the Capitol Theatre, Port Chester, New York on June 26th 1970 (second show) and broadcast on WNEW-FM


Whilst various versions of Traffic existed between 1967 and 1994 the band never reached the level of commercial success they deserved. Throughout their career they had the sympathetic management and financial support of Chris Blackwell at Island Records and they achieved chart listings for both singles and albums. However their musical restlessness resulted in a continuously changing line-up and a reluctance to confine themselves to a single style of music, both of which made them a hard band to market.

Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi and Chris Wood formed Traffic together with guitarist Dave Mason. In late1968 the band split for the first tjme, Winwood going on to form Blind Faith with Eric Clapton. Following the demise of this ill-fated ‘supergroup’  Winwood started recording a solo LP to be called Mad Shadows, a title later purloined by producer Guy Stevens and gifted to fellow-Islanders Mott The Hoople. After recording two tracks on his own, Winwood invited Capaldi and Wood to join him, effectively reconstituting Traffic without Mason. The resulting LP John Barleycorn Must Die came out under the Traffic name in July 1970.

From spring 1970 onwards Winwood, Capaldi and Wood were playing songs from the forthcoming LP live. The absence of a dedicated bass player required much juggling of musical instruments between (and sometimes during) songs. Their American tour started in mid-June, so the band were well-rehearsed by the time they arrived in Port Chester to play two nights at the Capitol Theatre on June 26th and June 27th.  On June 26th they played two shows, supported by Silver Metre and Swallow. The late show was broadcast in high quality by New York radio station WNEW-FM: whilst introducing the band DJ Scott Muni told the crowd “second shows are always the greatest”.  The Capitol Theatre was built in 1926 for vaudeville and cinema but by 1970 the 2000 capacity venue was a popular live music venue hosting the Pink Floyd, the Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin, who wrote Mercedes Benz in a nearby bar.

The audience gives Traffic a warm welcome, applauding the opening bars of the older songs and listening carefully to the new songs such as set-opener Every Mother’s Son. One of the solo tracks recorded by Winwood, the song is a showcase for Winwood’s vocal prowess and an extended organ solo. Medicated Goo was a stand alone single A-side released in December 1968 and jointly written by Winwood and producer Jimmy Miller. The lyrics do not bear close analysis but the riff is catchy and Winwood gets in a short and snappy guitar solo. The title track from John Barleycorn sees Winwood switching to acoustic guitar, supported by the subtle use of Wood’s flute and some evocative vocal harmonies. From Traffic’s second album comes Pearly Queen, withmore inventive electric guitar from Winwood that gets a great response. Keyboards dominate Empty Pages, another new song beautifully sung by Winwood. Capaldi claimed the song Forty Thousand Headmen came from a “hash-induced dream’, although the lyrics make it sound more like a nightmare and the organ/flute introduction reinforces this mood. The set-closer is another new song, an organ-driven version of Freedom Rider where Chris Wood takes a lengthy solo on flute. The enthusiastic applause brings the band back for a lengthy encore of Feelin’ Good. Although originally written for the musical The Roar Of The Greasepaint – The Smell Of The Crowd, this version is clearly based on Nina Simone’s 1965 rendition, as featured on her LP I Put A Spell On You. Capaldi keeps the beat whilst Wood and Winwood solo on flute and organ. Traffic never recorded a studio version of this song and only rarely played it in concert. It makes a great end to a fine concert, and a valuable record of this short-lived Traffic line up.

Sleevenotes: Mr. Fantasy

Miles Davis

Live At Ronnie Scott’s, London 1969


Side One

  1. Bitches Brew (Davis)
  2. It’s About That Time (Davis)
  3. No Blues (Davis)

Side Two

  1. This (Corea)
  2. I Fall In Love Too Easily (Cahn, Styne)
  3. Sanctuary (Shorter, Davis)
  4. The Theme (Davis)
  5. ‘Round Midnight (Hanigen, Williams, Monk)

Recording Details

Tracks 1-5 recorded live at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, London on November 2nd 1969 and broadcast on BBC2 TV Jazz Night on December 26th

Track 6 recorded live at Teatro Sistina on October 27th 1969, Rome and broadcast on RAI Italian television


Miles Davis – trumpet
Wayne Shorter  – soprano and tenor saxophones
Chick Corea  – Fender Rhodes
Dave Holland – upright bass
Jack DeJohnette  – drums

Sleeve notes

The Lost Quintet

Why ‘Lost’? This extraordinary collection of musicians sadly never released any studio recordings. So Miles Davis fans are grateful for live recordings taken from  their European tour of Autumn 1969, some of which were released officially on Live In Europe 1969: The Bootleg Series Vol. 2. Miles himself was a fan of this line-up “Man, I wish this band had been recorded because  it was a really bad motherfucker…Columbia missed out on the whole fucking thing.” Audience reaction was similar. Downbeat magazine reported of the Quintet’s gig at New Jersey in November 1969 “during the second minute of the tumultuous ovation the young lady seated behind me was still gasping ‘Oh God, oh God, oh God.’ Her reaction was understandable. She had just witnessed contemporary jazz at its peak of perfection.”

Miles had spent much of 1969 in the studio, recording landmark LPs In A Silent Way (June 1969) and Bitches Brew (March 1970). The electric instrumentation he used reflected his increased interest in the rock and roll of Jimi Hendrix and the funk of Sly & The Family Stone. By 1970 he would be sharing the stage at the Fillmore East with Neil Young, Steve Miller and the Grateful Dead. November 1969 found the Quintet playing Ronnie Scott’s, a modestly sized club in London’s Soho at the behest of the BBC who were filming the gig for Jazz Night. The night before the Quintet had played two concerts at the Hammersmith Odeon, a better guide to their live popularity.

Only a small clip from the Ronnie Scott gig exists online but it demonstrates the extraordinary concentration that Miles brought to his playing as well as the casual instrumental dexterity of the other musicians. Thankfully we have a high quality audio recording of the entire broadcast. Here is JazzTimes’ Tom Moon’s description of the live Quintet. “Granted, they’re still playing tunes like ‘I Fall in Love Too Easily’, which were standards in Davis’ repertoire in the late ’50s. The tune might be old, but the treatment isn’t. Davis was determined to be a part of the new music that was erupting, and he recognized that he’d have to jettison most traces of swing to do it. The European tour of 1969 catches this moment of transition. It’s wild, fitful, ripping good stuff. And in a way, it’s prophetic: Inside these discussions, a profoundly new (nonjazz) musical landscape is coming into view. The territory hasn’t been mapped yet; there are no rules and very few structures or signposts. That can sometimes be terrifying, but it sounds like these five intense musicians like it that way.

To complete the LP a lengthy version of ‘Round Midnight is included from an earlier date in Rome. The thoughtful and melodic introduction shows that the Bitches Brew material was just one aspect of this fascinating group. “That quintet developed some really beautiful improvised stuff” recalled Chick Corea. “ We would do two or three pieces that were strung together, one right after another for the whole concert and we would make this wonderful, wonderful composition. The live stuff really should have been gotten on tape because that was when the band was burning”. Over fifty years later we are delighted to oblige.

Sleevenotes: Bertha de Kool


From → Music, Vinyl

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