Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Johnny Drives a Thunderbird




In June of 1977, 29 year old Steve Winwood released his first solo album. The idea came after his appearance on Stomu Yamash'ta 's Go project.  "I knew then that I wanted to go back into the studio myself," Winwood told Rolling Stone. "Go was so much of a collaboration. I was playing a sideman role with Yamash'ta and Mike Shrieve. When that was finished I wanted to do an album where I didn't have to argue with anyone over what songs to do and how to have it done." 

Winwood hadn't appeared on any other recordings for thee years which he spent living out in the country running a small livery stable and taking long walks with his dogs. The solo album, recorded with the help of Chris Blackwell and Jim Capaldi,  has the same feel as good Traffic, with "Time Is Running Out" sporting a triple tracked bass by Willie Weeks.

The album--a wonderful surprise to my ears-- received lukewarm reviews back in its day so Winwood again disappeared for about three years. In 1980 he'd return with Arc of the Diver.




Robert Christgau was one of the unimpressed critics. He gave the album a grade of C -, writing:

Combined with Stomu Yamashta's ersatz electronic classicism on Go, Winwood's chronic meandering seemed vaguely interesting. On its own again, it just seems vague.


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