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VOLUME J7-3, sent July 24, 1997
(Third and last set of reactions to the album _Junction 7_)

Contributors in this issue:
1. Hisao Chida 
2. Sharon (Operanut@aol.com)
3. "Elena Iglio" 
4. "Neil Swann" 
5. jfwales 
6. Murray Dreyer 
7. BobbieG 

1*1*1*1*1*1*1*1*1
From: Hisao Chida 

Virgin Killed SW

To me personally, J7 is the least interesting SW album. NMW proved no good
partner for SW to work with. I guess it was Virgin's idea or decision to hire
NMW simply because the previous album, produced by SW on his own, did not
enjoy  such commercial success as they expected.

One of the biggest setbacks is engineering. Last three solo albums engineered
by Tom Lord Alge had more human atmosphere and very good acoustics. I
think SW is one of the greatest organists in this business. Hammond and
Minimoog have been so integral to SW's music as Fender Stratocaster to
Clapton. Without NMW he must have played more keyboards.

If SW's intention is to separate his solo works from Traffic, I do look forward to
another Traffic reunion.

Almost all the songs on J7 sound very radio friendly and many of  them are not
the kinds of music that were not heard on the SW' albums in the past.
Nonetheless there is nothing new musically about them. I have loved SW's
chord progressions. So far even the simplest song had more interesting chord
progressions. Sadly enough I can't find any single song on J7 that I would like
to learn to play. Why did this happen? The only reason I can think of is NMW.

The rhythm compositions are not like SW but of typically dance music, which
NMW has produced so far. His synth bass lines sound violent to me. SW's bass
lines has been much more quiet but groovier at the same. I expected NMW's
drumming would be more rock & roll. However all he did was nothing but
drum machine programming plus minimum live drumming as he has done to
Whitney Houston's albums. If JC or Russ Kunkel had played acoustic drum
kits, the album would have sounded much better, IMHO.


2*2*2*2*2*2*2*2*2
From: Operanut@aol.com

Thanks for considering my comments. The more I listen to J7 the better it gets;
a lot of records are like that -- it takes a while to get into them. I am also
listening to Flaming Pie a lot, the latest from Saul of Liverpool, as I call him,
and  it goes back to the basics and has a lot more in it than first seems.  The
engineering and double tracking on it is real clean too.

I tend to agree with some of the other folks that this Narada guy is trying to
homogenize Steve a bit much.  I hope Steve just doesn't lose all that energy and
soul we love him for.   Ray, my stud muffin, who is the world's biggest Beatle
fan, didn't click on who Steve was until I referred to Ray's garage band days
playing all the mindless party/surf standards as a rhythm guitarist -- I said
"Remember 'Gimme Some Lovin'? Spencer Davis Group?  That's Steve's first
band, he was famous when he was a teenager." and Ray said, "Gawd...
disgusting brat."  Ray is one of those first -year boomers, born in '46. Ray said
the advantage of having six members was that they could play 6 different songs
in 6 different keys -- and nobody knew the difference!!!

And all this time I thought The Who was supposed to be the world's worst rock
and roll band!! One of my favorites!!

That sounds like the story I read about "Louie, Louie" after the guy who wrote
it died not too long ago. Supposedly some garage band was playing Louie Louie
at a frat party, everybody drunk and dancing, and somebody tossed a sofa
through the plate glass window -- INTO the frat house -- and nobody noticed!!!
"Louie, Louie" is a song that can survive nuclear war.

But I digress....I think the really savagely bad reviews are unfair, from the
younger generation that doesn't understand the roots of the British Invasion,
etc.   Max Reger, who was a French composer/organ god of the late 19th
century once got a bad review.  He wrote to the reviewer "I am in the smallest
room in the house.  Your review is now before me.  Soon it will be behind me."
I have seen this comment of Reger's in music books and heard it from the
mouth of Samuel Ramey, in person, the world's greatest (some say) and
certainly the world's hunkiest operatic bass!!!  And then there is the lovely
quote, "Critics are like eunuchs in a harem -- they know how to do it, they've
seen it done, but they can't do it themselves!"

And I think it's interesting that Steve puts in "Above all The Lord and Giver of
Life" in his liner notes, since I turned into a groovin, gospel-singing Baptist
myself, much to my amazement, as you know all about.

I think the comment I read in SP somewhere where some idiot criticized Paul
McCartney and Steve both for staring off into space with their eyebrows raised
beats hell out of me.  They're probably both concentrating real hard, as real
musicians tend to do, instead of jumping around like Mick, and used to doing
huge, stadium type shows....oh well, some people are so anal retentive they
cannot be pleased.

That's the end of today's ramble.

 See ya,  Sharon


3*3*3*3*3*3*3*3*3
From: "Elena Iglio" 

I'm telling you Bobbie, here J7 is getting good press and I think the concerts
will be quite successful. I am very surprised  and rather sad we're a minority
liking it on SP... I got so many disgusted comments by my own SP mates and
from what I read on the reactions it's clearly not being well accepted, especially
by the people who didn't see Steve live. This shows clearly that Our Man is Still
very much a "Stage Animal" and I'm very glad because that's where real artists
win their converts... You can blame the producer all you want, when it's him on
stage and the songs he wrote you have to surrender to the fact this is good!!

I think Steve will always be an understimated artist, and I'm noticing it's rather
painful when your fans are the first to turn their thumbs down. The times they
are a-changing, sang Dylan, but a few people realize people change as
well.......:-((

Ellie


4*4*4*4*4*4*4*4*4
From: "Neil Swann" 

Please forgive me for the agro that may come across in this letter, but Imust
speak my mind.  First I'd like to congratulate you on the service you provide to
Steve's fans. I appreciate it immensely and look forward to receiving it but I'm
beginning to grow tired of the criticism towards Junction 7.

I haven't heard it yet but I know that when I do I will enjoy it! How do I know
this?

Steve is a Master. Whatever he touches turns to gold. His music "never" makes
me feel bad. He inspires me to "hug" my wife, my children, my family and my
friends. I look forward to and long for his music daily. I "relate" to what he is
doing. (Revisit "Vacant Chair & Midland Maniac" for examples)

I feel sorry for anyone who can't find one song, one lyric, that they cannot
relate to! How narrow minded. (They would most probably have "SLAYED
ALIVE" in their record collection.)  I do hope that you will show Steve a bit
more "support" than you have in the last few weeks.

Neil

ps
I missed the live concert on the net! (Did Steve refuse permission to archive it?)

[Still hasn't shown up on the site yet, so that's my guess.  --BG]


5*5*5*5*5*5*5*5*5
From: jfwales 

The album is beginning to grow on me, finally!  I've decided that I really do
like "Family Affair" & "Fill Me Up" after all.  I guess that "Spy" will always be
the favorite, but only because I heard IT first.  "Real Love" & "Someone Like
You" are good to go to sleep by. (I mean that positively!)  I still can't get use to
"Gotta Get Back to My Baby."  I know that in the interview on KLOS SW said
that he liked Brazillian music; sorry...I DON'T! And, "Just Wanna Have Some
Fun" is okay, I've decided.

Jeanie


6*6*6*6*6*6*6*6*6
From: Murray Dreyer 

Have had J7 for a few weeks now and I am very happy with the album. I don't
know what people expected, the second coming or something. There might not
be a "Low Spark" or a "Midland Maniac" but neither have a lot of his other
albums.

It's American Winwood for the American market. Whilst I prefer the English
Winwood I'm not going to argue and I appreciate having another good SW
album to listen to.

I agree with most that "Gotta get Back" is outstanding, whilst "Spy", "Real
Love" and "Lord" are other highlights for me.  I'm going to listen to all of
them, enjoy and appreciate the fact that he's still giving me pleasure after so
many years and hopefully will continue to do so for many more.

We are truly lucky us Winwood fans, we could of followed someone else long
forgotten.

Cheers, Murray D


7*7*7*7*7*7*7*7*7
From: BobbieG 

Let me say at the outset, that the first time I heard this album, I hated it.  I
mean, what was this?  Mambo?  Breathy chick singers?  And I know this isn't
going to be popular, but I never did like "Family Affair" -- too repetitive.  And
the shiny blue paper for the liner notes is the pits, almost as bad as the folds in
"Far From Home".

Well, it's taken me a while (and some of you may know that a few of us
received 'advance' copies back in February, so we've had longer to listen to it
than most of you) but now I have to say that I like it a lot.  It's not my favorite
of the solo albums (and this won't be popular either, but my personal fave is
"Refugees"), but I listen to it because it's so upbeat and enjoyable.  That
KenGay character in the J7-2 had a point, didn't he?  "Spy" puts a smile on my
face at the first bar.

As far as the production goes, yeah, it's overproduced, obviously, but that
doesn't mean it's badly produced.  Here's a food analogy - sometimes I really
just want a plain grilled chicken breast, and someone gives me Chicken
Cacciatore instead.  I wouldn't say the Cacciatore was badly made, I would just
say I was in the mood for something simpler.  I would *love* to see an "SW
Unplugged" album (and those of you who have seen the version of "Can't Find
My Way Home" from the Royal Albert Hall concert know exactly what I mean)
but this album is well-made, regardless of taste.

Part of my turnaround may have been the opportunity of seeing him play some
of these songs live and of hearing him play others on bootlegs.  Who that saw
him grin and (attempt to) dance during "Gotta Get Back to My Baby" could
NOT love it for ever afterwards?  So, those of you who hate the album, but
haven't seen him live yet, you're in for a treat, keep an open mind.  I wish he
had done "Fill Me Up", still my favorite cut, and I wish "Can't Find My Way
Home" had made it onto any bootlegs so far at all.

And yet .... Much as I like this album, I sure am looking forward to another
Traffic album in a couple years!  On the other hand, I don't want nobody tellin',
tellin' me and you, who we have to be or what we have to do.  Or what we have
to like.  ;-)

Bobbie
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END OF SMILING PHASES, SPECIAL VOLUME J7-3