7 Songs, 39 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Steve Winwood had made his name as a young musical wunderkind, fronting the Spencer Davis Group, Traffic and Blind Faith (with Eric Clapton) and recording with Jimi Hendrix on his Electric Ladyland album. His fusion of jazz, blues, pop and psychedelia combined with a soulful voice that drew comparisons to Ray Charles gave him a prestige beyond his twenty-something years. By the time of his second solo album, 1981’s Arc of a Diver, Winwood was nearly an old-hand. Over 30 and like many of his generation facing an unsure musical future, Winwood turned out this eminently catchy collection of tunes that modernized his sound without sacrificing his heartfelt soul. “Slowdown Sundown” recalls the dramatic ends of Traffic. The album’s hit single “While You See A Chance” is positively infectious, while the title track, “Second-Hand Woman,“ and “Night Train“ sport bright, energetic grooves that only slightly overdrive into the ‘80s. (The synthesizers are tastefully applied.) Winwood would continue to reinvent his sound and reputation for the rest of the decade.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Steve Winwood had made his name as a young musical wunderkind, fronting the Spencer Davis Group, Traffic and Blind Faith (with Eric Clapton) and recording with Jimi Hendrix on his Electric Ladyland album. His fusion of jazz, blues, pop and psychedelia combined with a soulful voice that drew comparisons to Ray Charles gave him a prestige beyond his twenty-something years. By the time of his second solo album, 1981’s Arc of a Diver, Winwood was nearly an old-hand. Over 30 and like many of his generation facing an unsure musical future, Winwood turned out this eminently catchy collection of tunes that modernized his sound without sacrificing his heartfelt soul. “Slowdown Sundown” recalls the dramatic ends of Traffic. The album’s hit single “While You See A Chance” is positively infectious, while the title track, “Second-Hand Woman,“ and “Night Train“ sport bright, energetic grooves that only slightly overdrive into the ‘80s. (The synthesizers are tastefully applied.) Winwood would continue to reinvent his sound and reputation for the rest of the decade.

TITLE TIME
5:13
5:28
3:41
5:23
6:00
7:47
6:21

About Steve Winwood

Few classic rock artists evolved as subtly—and successfully—as Steve Winwood. A Dixieland fan from Birmingham, England, Winwood joined the R&B trio The Spencer Davis Group when he was only 14 (and even cowrote the timeless rave-up “Gimme Some Lovin’” about a year later), helped found both the pioneering fusion band Traffic and the blues supergroup Blind Faith (with Cream members Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker), and later struck major chart success with a sophisticated take on blue-eyed soul. At the heart of Winwood’s genius is his uncanny ability to synthesize disparate styles into a seamless whole. Listen to Traffic’s 1971 album The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys, whose blend of jazz, soul, psychedelia, and English folk set the course for the modern-day jam band, or Winwood’s commercial peak, 1986’s Back in the High Life (featuring the radio-staple title track and the Chaka Khan collaboration “Higher Love”), whose touches of funk and adult pop influenced artists from Sting to Dave Matthews Band and John Mayer. Reflecting on his childhood stint in music school, Winwood said, “I was asked, ‘What kind of music do you like to listen to?’ and I said, ‘Well, I do like Paul Hindemith and Igor Stravinsky, but I also like Fats Domino and Ray Charles,’ and they literally said, ‘Either forget about that or leave.’” He left.

  • ORIGIN
    Birmingham, England
  • GENRE
    Rock
  • BORN
    May 12, 1948

Songs

Albums

Videos

Listeners Also Played