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39 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Steve Winwood - "This skinny little English kid who sings like Ray Charles", 8 Jun 2010
This review is from: Revolutions: The Very Best Of Steve Winwood [Standard Edition] (Audio CD)
Yes I know true fans are going to complain that this is a cursory sweep across a huge career; a musical attempt to squeeze a quart into a pint point; a "Very best of" that throws out the proverbial "baby out with the bathwater"; which misses X and what about Y and then of course there is the absence of Z my obscure personal favourite.....

Ok let's move on because doubts and complaints disappear from view as soon as you listen to THAT VOICE. It starts on "Keep on Running", the sound of the 15-year-old boy wonder of British 60s Rhythm and blues fronting the mighty Spencer Davis Group, the man who later played organ on Joe Cocker's album "With a Little Help from My Friends", recorded with Hendrix the earth shaking "Voodoo Chile", was a session musician on Lou Reed's best album "Berlin" and someone who just happened to play with those consummate cosmic "jammers" The Grateful Dead and Delta bluesman Howlin Wolf amongst a galaxy of others.

Steve Winwood has earned respect and for those who want to delve even deeper there is the simultaneous release of the gargantuan 4 disc "Deluxe Edition" of "Revolutions" where you can begin to explore the wonders of Spencer Davis (led by one of our great Welsh legends from Bonymaen), Traffic, Blind Faith and his later more pop orientated solo career. This short but punchy "best of" is one of those that are nice to just put on the CD player or in the car to listen to these wonderful tracks steeped in history without swapping between all the albums. It covers a career which spans five decades from a man who invented white "blue eyed soul" and much more besides. Listen to the visceral power of "I'm a man" with Spencer Davis firing on all cylinders and the swirling Hammond keyboards and Winwood's voice packing a punch as big as Mike Tyson. Play once again the brilliant "Gimme some lovin" where the Spencer Davis Group out "Motowned" many of the great songs coming out of the Motor City and note how you will need to have your feet surgically nailed to the floor not to move to the great Mod classic "Keep on Running".

As Winwood develops in this brief resume of his musical journey we see the influence he casts. Traffic's "John Barleycorn must die" and "Dear Mr Fantasy" is the template for the revival of Paul Weller's career in his "Wild Wood" phase, "Paper Sun" is one of the greatest pieces of English psychedelia/acid rock this side of Jerry Garcia's guitar, Blind Faith's "Can't find my way home" sees the invention of a key supergroup while "Valerie" is the staple song of every bad club singer in south Wales and still superb.

Of course this album is an overture to the main opera and at best is a useful introduction. It is a point of entry into a great career that might just lead you to purchase an early but rare Spencer Davis album, a new copy of the "The Low spark of high heeled boys" (a nod at this point to the great Jim Capaldi and Chris Wood) or probably Winwood's best solo effort "the Arc of a diver". Granted like Clapton the career of Steve Winwood never quite scaled the peaks that he climbed in the 1960s and with the end of Traffic and the onset of punk rock he had a very difficult decade through the 1970s. To his credit however he came back and as the BBC rightly state latterly reached a "pop maturity with a grace that eluded many of his contemporaries". In these times of economic chill and cuts, of oil spills and other tragedies why not start a new journey with this great singer? Enjoy it and "roll with it".
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 16 Jun 2010 19:14:44 BDT
Last edited by the author on 16 Jun 2010 19:15:27 BDT
I like what you have to say. I saw SW in the SDG in the sixties and he really was a phenomenon. Real talent and ,when performing, charismatic - rather at odds with his shy retiring persona.
Girls at school used to ring up his home number as he lived in Atlantic Rd in Great Barr, not far from our town. I have followed his career throughout, so will be getting this set even though I have all the tracks.I think I must be a fan!

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Jun 2010 09:02:43 BDT
Red on Black says:
B.J. du Cille

Many thanks for your comment. I hope you managed to catch the excellent documentary on Winwood on BBC 4 recently which went in detail throughout his career but was especially good on the early days and when Traffic decamped to their rural retreat. I have just purchased the deluxe edition of this as a birthday present for a close friend. Strangely I think it may have inadvertently found its way onto my I Player before I gift wrapped it!

Cheers R o B

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Jun 2010 10:43:57 BDT
I did indeed see the documentary you mention, I also couldn't help but buy the deluxe set though I have all his stuff already. My friends were all in bands around that time - may have heard of Robert Plant and the Band of Joy, or The Good Egg, Bronco, Possessed and many more. RP was my best man in 1969!!!! SW judged a dancing competition at a local works club do which I am proud to say I won along with my then girlfriend. He was out of his skull though!! I can see him now swaying on stage unaware of where he was. Who knew what he would become? Did you see Dear Mr Fantasy -a tribute to Jim Capaldi on Sky Arts a couple of days ago? It is repeated so check it out -Winwood is best thing on it. Everyone else murders Capaldi's/Traffics songs!!!! Cheers my friend

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Jun 2010 19:32:03 BDT
Red on Black says:
Sir Percy Plant as your best man, well done indeed, I bet the wedding pictures are out on a regular basis! Sadly I didn't see the Jim Capaldi programme on Sky although I remember with real fondness his excellent studio concert on the Old Grey Whistle Test many years ago and bless Bob Harris for giving him a dedicated time slot.

Take care R o B
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Red on Black
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