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Good introduction to one of Britain's legendary rock singers
on 21 September 2000
This compilation from Steve Winwood's first four solo albums on Island Records was issued in 1987 to capitalise on his success the previous year with 'Back in the high life'. It includes the memorable 'Vacant chair', from his first solo album (in 1977) and three tracks from each of the subsequent albums before he changed record labels after hitting the big time with 'High life'. Winwood's urgent, soulful vocals are instantly recognisable, and the songs chosen here are all excellent examples of his style. His distinctive organ and synthesizer soloing is also well in evidence. Interestingly, the three selections from the 'Talking back to the night' album have been specially remixed by Tom Lord-Alge, who mixed the immensely successful 'High life' album, and as a result they have a more powerful, commercial sound than the original versions.
The album runs to 55 minutes and only 10 (albeit long) tracks, and it's a pity that more songs were not included. It can't be described as a 'Greatest hits' because there are only really three hit singles on it ('While you see a chance', 'Higher love' and 'Valerie') so this would have been an ideal opportunity to include perhaps an extra track from each of the four albums. However, it gives a good overview of the first 10 years of solo recording by one of Britain's most respected R&B vocalists.