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Customer Review

26 of 28 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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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 7 Jul 2013 17:43:23 BDT
Cream1968 says:
"Last Exit" was Traffic's third album not "Barleycorn". In between was "Best Of Traffic".
Agree, accuracy notwithstanding, this is an overlooked album.
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