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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A creditable if unambitious solo debut, 10 Mar 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Steve Winwood (Audio CD)
Released in 1977, three years after the final demise of his band Traffic, Steve Winwood's first solo album was regarded by some critics as a disappointment, being accused of not being distinctly different from the sound of Traffic. What had originally begun as a Winwood solo record in 1970 evolved into the third Traffic album 'John Barleycorn must die', but with Steve becoming even more the dominant musical force in the band 'Barleycorn' perhaps indicated his own preferred musical direction. The 'Steve Winwood' album has elements in common with the later Traffic albums in that it comprises relatively long tracks (the longest reaching 8:30), with plenty instrumental passages, and at times complex rhythms. Furthermore, Winwood plays all guitars and keyboards, with drums and bass provided by session players, whilst former Traffic collaborators Jim Capaldi and Rebop contribute song lyrics and percussion, although the flute and sax work of Chris Wood is absent.
Though very different from the slick American production of his very successful 'Back in the high life' album nine years later, 'Steve Winwood' represents a credible solo progression beyond Traffic, and on the song 'Midland Maniac' Steve plays all the instruments, indicating the approach he would use for his next two albums. Although this first solo album did not achieve the critical acclaim or sales of its successor 'Arc of a diver', in terms of performance quality I feel that it is better; it gels better musically through involving several musicians working together on the basic rhythm tracks instead of one working alone and overdubbing.
It's hard to pick one stand-out track but in my view 'Vacant chair' perhaps sums up the qualities of this album best. In short, if you appreciate Steve Winwood's music, you are likely to enjoy this underrated album.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overlooked Masterful Debut, 27 Jun 2012
By 
Pryn Valletort (Plymouth, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Steve Winwood (Audio CD)
I cannot believe that this album has not received the recognition it truly deserves. Sure, it does not have too many radio-friendly songs, and maybe the sound is close to his earlier work with Traffic. What else would you expect from a first album. It is still the SW album I turn to again and again after all these years. Perhaps it was because in 1977 it was my first real experience with his work, and certainly, I played it death when I first bought it. I still have the vinyl version tucked away somewhere (if only I had the equipment to play it again). Arc of a diver is a better product, where the stronger songs are certainly stronger than anything else on this debut. However, overall I believe this album to be the more satisfying. I am delighted that after many years trying to hunt down the CD version, that I have managed to download the tracks. Shame though that they are at a relatively low bit rate. Why is this glorious album not available to purchase as a CD. It is a crying shame. 36.78 plus postage for a used one is probably one extravagance too many. Guess I just have to Hold On, because Time is Running out!Steve Winwood Steve Winwood - EX 1977 UK vinyl LP ILPS9494
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent music!, 4 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Steve Winwood (Audio CD)
I had this on a record, on a cassette, so now I have it on cd. One of Steve Winwoods best!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Underrated album one of my favourites, 24 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Steve Winwood (MP3 Download)
Bought this -Steve Winwood's first solo album - on vinyl when first released. Have now bought it on mp3 and rediscovered how good it is. It was not highly rated when released and is often overlooked when reviewing Winwood's career highlights. He is one of my favourite artists and I think this is some of his best work.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant First Solo Album, 24 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Steve Winwood (MP3 Download)
Steve WInwood's first solo outing is more laid back than some of his later offerings but has remained one of my favourites since first purchasing on vinyl in the late 70's. More than a hint of Traffic in some of the tracks, particularly the opener "Hold On", but also there are indications of his direction of travel.There are no bad tracks on here but my favourite is probably "Let me make something in you life" - a classic Winwood ballad. In summaey a fairly essential album for any Steve Winwood fan.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable, 10 Sep 2014
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Mr. R. C. STEPHENSON (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Steve Winwood (MP3 Download)
Overlooked masterpiece with some of Steve's best songs. Great to have it back in my collection.
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