On Second Thought: Spencer Davis – So Far (2006)

This album has to be Spencer Davis’ most varied yet: He’s basically talking about his career and/or his life in general, before and after fame hit.

Things start off with a kind of typical, mid-tempoed title track, which is a bit too paint-by-numbers for my liking. It’s a telling of how his life has gone up to now, and where he’s been and where he’s going. That seems to sum up the whole record, and life on the road to a certain extent.

Spencer co-wrote all 12 tracks here. Better is the bluesy “Comin’ Home,” another tale of the Spencer Davis Group’s life on the road that focuses on the philosophy of enjoying the heck out of life. There’s no denying the venom expressed in “The Viper,” likely directed towards the SDG’s ex-manager Chris Blackwell. However, seeing the light at the end of this song’s long tunnel seems to be the objective, with a cathartic result.

[SOMETHING ELSE! REWIND: Rock legend Spencer Davis stopped by for an SER Sitdown focusing an intriguing period for his group, as they began the post-Steve Winwood era.]

The boogie-woogie, Little Feat-flavored ditty “I Can’t Stand Still” is a welcome change of musical direction and pace for Spencer. How about more like this tune? it’s a nice compliment to his lead vocal. The acoustic-based songs on this album (“Uncle Herman’s Mandolin,” “Mulberry Avenue” and “Golden Eagle”) are a direction I’d like to see Spencer record a whole album of, versus the band format. It’s a natural fit for the man, since he first started his career performing folk music solo on acoustic guitar.

The highlight of the whole album is the grand and delightful “The Golden Eagle.” A country blues number about the famous men who influenced him, it succeeds because Spencer actually plays 12-string guitar, harmonica and, of course, handles the solo lead vocal. Add to that, some nice n’ tasty slide guitar by Edward Tree. Easily the best performance here, it really has a relaxed, strumming-on-the-old-front-porch feel to it.

Hey Spencer, how about recording an acoustic country-blues album?

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Steve Elliott

Steve Elliott has written for Shindig, Twist and Shake, Garage & Beat and Ugly Things. A big fan of all things rock and roll - especially the British Invasion, garage rock, psychedelic, new wave, folk rock, surf and power pop - he was a consultant on Sundazed Music's reissue of 'The Best of Butch Engle & The Styx: No Matter What You Say' in 2000, and has also provided liner notes for Italy's Misty Lane Records. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.