Coldplay's free live album
He had an incredibly soulful voice and was an exceptionally gifted musician to boot. Young "Stevie" Winwood as he was known back then was just 18 years old when the Spencer Davis Group burst onto the scene in early 1967. Within just a few months the group boasted a pair of Top Ten singles. Yes, the future appeared extremely bright for this four man band from Birmingham, England. But Stevie Winwood had other ideas. Before the end of the year he would leave the Spencer Davis Group to form his own band that he dubbed Traffic. Winwood's timing was impeccable because Top 40 radio was just beginning to wane and within just a few years album-oriented rock stations would come to dominate the FM band. Over the next decade Traffic would become a staple of these AOR radio stations. In 1969 Winwood also became a part of rock's very first supergroup Blind Faith. Then in 1980 Steve Winwood would embark on a highly successful solo career. The 2010 single disc release "Revolutions: The Very Best of Steve Winwood" offers up a dozen and a half prime cuts from all the phases of Winwood's remarkable career. I must say that I enjoyed each and every track in this collection.
"Revolutions" kicks off with those two monster 1967 hits with the Spencer Davis Group. Both "Gimme Some Lovin" and "I'm A Man" put the rock world on notice that lead singer and keyboardist Steve Winwood was going to be a major player in the years ahead. What then follows are five tracks featuring some of Traffic's finest work. I particularly enjoyed a tune called "No Face, No Name, No Number" from Traffic's 1968 debut LP "Mr. Fantasy". I might also recommend to you the incredible seven minute instrumental simply called "Glad" which according to the liner notes "veers experimentally and breathlessly between the lines of cool jazz and psychedila." Great stuff! This is followed by a tune from the one and only Blind Faith album featuring Winwood, Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Rick Grech.
The remainder of "Revolutions: The Very Best of Steve Winwood" features seven of Steve's solo hits from the 1980's. Six of the seven hit the Top Ten on Billboard's Top Pop SIngles chart. Every one of them is fabulous but my personal favorites are 1981's "While You See A Chance", "The Finer Things" and "Back In the High Life Again" which features a bagpipe which is extremely unusual to hear in rock and roll. "Dirty City" is a duet with Eric Clapton that appeared on Winwood's 2008 album "Nine Lives". Both men sound great! Island records also chose to include one brand new recording in "Revolutions". "Spanish Dancer 2010" finds Winwood in fine form and confirms to me that Steve Winwood is still quite capable of making great music at the age of 62.
I was a bit surprised that several reviewers on Amazon were quite critical of this disc. A few felt that the 18 tracks offered here did not do the man justice. I disagee. I think that for most music fans "Revolutions: The Very Best of Steve Winwood" offers the familiar music we would want to hear most. But Steve Winwood fanatics should know that Island records has simultaeously issued a four disc, 58 track box set by the same name. That would be far more Winwood than I would ever want or need. "Revolutions: The Very Best of Steve Winwood" is a great way to recall some of the fabulous music he made for us over the years. There is a neat 12 page booklet included and the remastering job is excellent. Very highly recommended!
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