VOLUME 100 (part 2), sent September 19, 1997, the date of the first US

In this issue we've asked people to send us a list of their 5 favorite Winwood
tunes, or the story of how they came to love Winwood's music, or both.  If you
would still like to send in your post, I will include them in the next SP, so don't
be shy!  We'll continue with the regular threads with 101, also.  --BG

Contributors in this issue:
  1. Dialectic1@aol.com
  2. Winwoodie@aol.com
  3. "Don Farmer" 
  4. koki9@bellatlantic.net
  6. MomeyKate@aol.com
  8. "Mary Katsikas" 
  9. PBurr10505@aol.com
 10. BobbieG 


From: Dialectic1@aol.com

Todd's Top 5 SW Tunes of All Time

5.  I'm a Man - simple and pure
4.  Dear Mr. Fantasy - My favorite Traffic tune...  their signature song, in my
3.  Don't You Know What The Night Can Do? - There's a truly tangible sense
of passion throughout this song...  Truly amazing vocals.
2.  While You See A Chance - My "first" SW song.  Still brings a smile to my
1.  Back In The High Life - The signature song of SW's solo career. Beautiful,
simple lyrics with vocals to match.  Does it get any better than this????

Todd Craig

From: Winwoodie@aol.com

I find it very hard to limit my list to only 5 favorite tunes but here's what I
ended up with:  "Mr. Fantasy" always sounds good & reminds me of old friends
that I went with to an early Traffic concert.  "While You See a Chance"  always
makes me feel good when I hear it.  It's also a good philosophy to live by.
"Gimme Some Lovin" has a great beat & you can dance to it, I give it a ten.  I
love it when SW really rocks.  It also reminds me of my younger days dancing
to it & a girl at my first job who liked it.  "40,000 Headmen" has great musical
depth & fantasy you can get lost in.  "Low Spark of High Healed Boys" builds
up to a fantastic piece of music.  It's good that it reminds me that I'm always
living beyond my means.

Craig Loudon

From: "Don Farmer" 

This is my first entry to Smiling Phases.  I've only been receiving  it for the last
couple months, but I have really enjoyed the connection. I am really glad to see
that there are lots of other people who feel the same way about Steve Winwood.
I thought I would send along my favorite SW songs for you to include in the
 100th issue.  Here goes:

1) Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys-  This is the song that got it all started for
me.  A true classic.  The number one song of all time as far as I am concerned.

2) Dear Mr. Fantasy- Great sound.  Takes me back.

3) Can't Find My Way Home-  The best One-Album band that ever existed.
The first true Super-Band.

4) Gimme' Some Lovin'/I'm a Man- Can't decide which I like better so I
included them both.  Still can't believe he was only 16.  What a voice.  What a

5) While You See a Chance-  Still sounds great after all those years.

  Thanks for letting me share my opinions.  I enjoy reading Smiling Phases and
seeing what everyone else has to say.  Thanks for the enjoyment.

Don Farmer.

From: koki9@bellatlantic.net

Well you asked for it! Not the 55 song list of favorites I teased you about, but a
sort of hybrid of your idea and Les'.  It is too difficult to pick just 5 favorites -
that is like asking someone to choose a favorite child - you love them all in
their own way!

Instead, with your indulgence, I would like tto tell about how I came to b a fan,
by way of five stories/observations about his songs. I hope this is not too long,
but since it is a special issue (#100!) I thought I'd just go for it....

"Empty Pages" - Walking down an upper east side street in Manhattan, 1986.
WNEW was playing "Perfect Album Sides", and I didn't recognize the music
(which turned out to be "John Barleycorn".) I couldn't even believe how good
the music was, and I was anxious to find out who was responsible. Then,
"Empty Pages" started to play - the opening organ chords and bass line! As it
went on, I literally stopped walking, and stood there in the street listening,
slackjaw. Wow! That amazing soaring organ, that beautiful piano break, and
THAT VOICE! It was an epiphany, and I was hooked.

"Back in the High Life" - The pretty melody, the optimistic "new beginning"
lyrics, the lovely way Steve and James Taylor's voices blend together. Ah, so
THAT'S where I've heard this guy's voice before! So, this Steve Winwood is the
same guy from Traffic?  And he's the "Gimme Some Lovin'" guy? And "While
You See a Chance"? And "Can't Find My Way Home"? AND "Low Spark"?
etc., etc. I'd been a fan of his music all my life and just didn't know it!
Unfortunately, by the time I realized this, the tour had come and gone. :(

"Had to Cry Today" -  Driving down the West Side Highway, on the way to
work. Had been delving into Steve's back catalog, and was blasting Blind Faith
with the windows wide open.  Marveling at the vocal gymnastics on this cut:
How the hell does he do that jump in the middle of singing "word" anyway?
"...but you want every wo-ORD to be free..."  I decided to sing along and see if
it was possible.  Loudly.

Suddenly, four guys in hard-hats in the car next to me yell "WAAAAAHHH" at
me in unison!  I was so startled, and a little scared, until they started laughing,
and I realized that they were just mocking my singing! I relaxed and laughed
back, and for several miles we kept yelling "WAAAAAAHHHHH" at each
other whenever we were keeping pace!  (Still can't sing that bit, by the way.)

"Roll With It" - Driving in New York again, and got a ticket for making a
prohibited left turn. Maddening! Then, I realized that the fine would cost more
than I'd earned at work that day.  Defeated, embarrassed, and angry. As I made
my way home, I started to cry. Reaching the George Washington Bridge, Steve
came on the radio, singing, "When life is too much, Roll with it, baby!...You
can make it!"  It just felt at that moment that my old friend had come to cheer
me up, and my attitude changed immediately. You're right Steve, to hell with
it!  Thanks, buddy!

"Medicated Goo" - "Ooh, ooh, ain't it good for you!"  Yeah, I know that this is
most likely a druggie-hippy song, and that attitude is out now, but it has the
most incredible hook! I hope to hear him play it in concert one of these days,
unlikely as that is, given his anti-drug stance in more recent years.  Still, it
never fails to cheer me up - which is, of course, why I stole my AOL name from
the lyrics.  ;)

Thanks, Steve, for all these years of music; inspiration, comfort, and fun!
Here's to many more.


From: "." 

Five of what could be fifty five.

1: Gimme some lovin, i first heared this at xmas 1966 at the Marquee club in
London, and i still get a buzz when i hear it now.
2: Can't find my way home. Hanging half way up a tree in Hyde park, watching
Blind faith, this one, i will never forget.
3: Vacant chair. I listen to this track a lot on cans, and i keep hearing little bits
that i didn't hear before. I love this one.
4: Dream Gerrard: You try getting your tongue around those lyrics. Steve does
it in style.
5: Winner Loser: The live version. Great voice.

55: Holy ground: Brings a tear, and to quote Jim Capaldi [far from home tour]

Regards Patrick.

From: MomeyKate@aol.com

Thank you, Bobbie, for the opportunity to post in your milestone issue of
Smiling Phases!  And congratulations on your 100th volume of Smiling Phases,
the Steve Winwood Digest.

My 5 favorite Steve Winwood songs ( although it is nearly impossible tonarrow
it down to just five):

Freedom Overspill: I picked this song because it is when I first became aware of
Steve Winwood.  (The cute guy on MTV with the great dance video)  Of
course, I wanted to hear and learn more about him!

Arc of a Diver:  This is beautiful music, with unique lyrics by Viv Stanshall, in
a lovely album that is one of my very favorites!

There's a River:  Steve's and Will Jennings' "hymn"- so uplifting and spiritual.
It took me a long time to love this song, and now it's one of my favorites.  It
does what music should do- it heals and makes the listener feel better with each

Empty Pages:  Great lyrics (and wonderful electric piano break by Steve).  This
is from Traffic's masterpiece album, "John Barleycorn Must Die". According to
Jim Capaldi, Steve wrote most of this himself, showing how good a songwriter
he can be when he sets his mind to it!

Can't Find My Way Home:  This is one of the most beautifully depressing songs
in rock- a song that can make you sad and happy at the same time. Steve's voice
and acoustic guitar are all that are needed to make a classic, but Eric's guitar
doesn't hurt, either.

And my alternate:
Talking Back to the Night:  This is a musically intriguing and lyrically intricate
song, with Steve at his most passionate.  Dark and forbidding, it speaks to the
dangers of drugs and what follows someone who lives this kind of dark life.


I first got hooked on Steve Winwood after hearing Keep On Running back in
1966, strangely enough it was the driving bass that caught my attention, but it
wasn't long before the vocals and fuzz guitar made an (lasting) impression on
me. This impression was cemented with the release of Somebody Help Me and
When I Come Home, but Steve's instrumental prowess really came to the fore
on Gimme Some Lovin' and especially I'm A Man (fantastic organ).

In picking my five favourite songs I've tried to cover different periods (phases)
in Steve's career. For me personally, although I like the stuff Steve did with
SDG, the love affair with Steve's music really began with Traffic. Traffic was a
new form of musical expression for Steve and very different from anything you
could hear at the time.

No Time To Live - Traffic...............haunting, dramatic, with Steve and Chris
setting the mood. A classic example of the unique sound that the original
Traffic had.

Glad/Freedom Rider - John Barleycorn Must Die.................inseparable, again
Steve and Chris share the limelight while Jim carries the whole thing along
with some tremendous drumming. This first reunion album really displays a lot
of energy.

(Sometimes I feel So) Uninspired - On The Road..................a really great song
which doesn't often get the praise it deserves. This is a showcase for Steve's
powerful but sometimes delicate vocals, and some of the guitar work makes the
hair on the back of my neck stand up.

Higher Love - Back In The High Life..............another Steve Winwood classic.
This is a good example of the subtle rhythmic and harmonic undercurrents
Steve achieves which add a lot of colour and depth to his music.

Far From Home - Far From Home...............this song shows all Steve's talents
as a vocalist, instrumentalist and composer, a truly fantastic number. This
second reunion album is almost a Winwood solo with Jim featured on


From: "Mary Katsikas" 

First order of business is to CONGRATULATE YOU FOR #100 OF SMILING
PHASES.  You have done a wonderful job and many thanks are in order to you
and all your hard work.

Next order of business. It was around 1989 on a contemporary adult radio
station when I first heard Steve Winwood's "Back in the High Life".  I liked it
immediately. I thought he was a new Australian singer.  After I found out who
and what I was listening to, I tried for over a year to find the album or cassette
of "High Life" without success.  Finally, a friend's son gave my a copy of his
recording when he found out that I was actively looking for it.  Apparently,
"High Life" had been pulled from the racks for some reason.  I even wrote
either his manager or Virgin Records but never got an answer.

The rest is history.  I have collected several old LPs and all his new  CDs. Some
of my most favorites are "Back in the High Life", "While You See A Chance",
"There's a River", "The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys", "And I Go"  and on
and on.  It really is ludicrous for me to make a list.  I just love his music
because it has meaning and I feel good after listening to it. Very early one
morning while I was vacationing in the beautiful northern mountains of NC, I
turned on the radio and at that very moment "Reach for the Light" was playing.
I realized it was SW.  I thought I might be dreaming, but heard it again several
days later in the afternoon.  The problem is that I can't find a recording of it.
Also, it was reported in our paper that "Roll With It" was played at the
beginning of the Bill Glass Crusade held in my city.


From: PBurr10505@aol.com

My 5 favorite songs by SW are as follows (no particular order)
1)  "Don't You Know What The Night Can Do?",
2)  "In The Light Of Day",
3)  "Freedom Overspill",
4)  "The Finer Things",
5)  "Back In The High Life Again".

"In The Light Of Day" is prob my fav because of the music (I really like the
vibes solo) and the words.  The words of this song are spiritual and I admire
SW for not being afraid or reluctant to record this sort of song.  The other
songs are either sad (Don't You Know) or more uplifting (Finer Things and
Back In The High Life).  Freedom Overspill is really neither in my opinion,
but I still really like the words, even if it is about his divorce.  It was hard to
leave "Holy Ground", "Roll With It", "Every Night, Every Day" and "Talking
Back To The Night" off but I guess I have to draw the line somewhere.

From: BobbieG 

Okay, I knew this would happen.  I had this great list in my head of my own
favorites, and then I had to go and read all these posts, and I kept thinking,
"Oh, yeah!  I like that one too! ....  Oh, gosh, how could I have forgotten that
one?!" and now my own original list is lost somewhere back in my
subconscious and refuses to come out.  Maybe if I just type really really fast,
that list will come out again.

Many a Mile to Freedom - those lyrics send shivers up my back.  "Together we
melt like the snow" - ah! (Thanks, Mary, for reminding me of the title.) Simple,
effective arrangement.

Withering Tree - I think I fixate on lyrics and vocals much more than
instrumental parts, like most of you.  I *adore* the screeching sound in this -
"INTO THE ARMS of eternity".

Crossing the Line  - As someone wise once said, in this song Steve sounds most
like Steve.  He and the music just soar. I like the studio version more than the
live; it seems to build more triumphantly.

Forty Thousand Headmen - I have a live version from 1994 that blows away the
original.  I think that Steve must have used a vocal coach in the early 90's, his
voice is so much more powerful and soulful these days.  Or maybe it's just the
effect of age and its wisdom. I actually took guitar lessons for a couple months
so that I could learn to play this song.  Unfortunately, I never practiced enough
and I've lost the ability. The backing away from verse-verse-chorus-verse-
chorus-bridge-chorus structure is refreshing.  A nice story-telling song.

Night Train - Lovely long intro, the first time I heard it I was thinking that it
might be an instrumental.  The rhythms are so evocative of a train.

Hey, I get to list more, I compile SP!

Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring and Berkshire Poppies - Sometimes I
think we get too serious, and I enjoy the silliness of these songs a lot.  And
besides, SP'ers, we are not like all the rest, y'know!

Low Spark - What can I say that hasn't been said already?

Roll With It ("Steve testifies" dub) - The gospel version.  If you haven't heard
it, run, don't walk, to your nearest used-record store and find it!  Now!

And my absolute favorite is --

In the Light of Day - (I was astonished at how many of you mentioned this
song, coming as it does, from one of the more obscure albums.  Once again I
find camaraderie in this lovely group of people.)  The vibes are beautiful, and
the lyrics even more so.  Fade in at the beginning with that interesting rhythmic
structure, and the somewhat odd timing of the vocals. (Could you sing along
and 'come in' correctly, before you'd listened to it a half-dozen times?)

Help us feel the light inside us, help us feel it everywhere,