Volume 162, sent Aug 20, 1999:
1. VH-1 ad
3. SDG tour
4. Rock Pack/Borders/B&N
5. Re: Valerie Solo
6. Re: Underrated songs
7. RE: John L's first post
8. Session Work - Ruby Turner!
9. SP ages
10. "Walking" & long forty-fives
11. Chris Wood
12. Spanish Dancer, Underrated Songs
From: "Timothy Arthur"
Subject: VH-1 ad
Date sent: Fri, 13 Aug 1999 20:19:12 -0700
Saw the ad today that my kids had told me about....it was on VH-1. It was Millennium 60's
Rock Party, by Rino Records. Lani
Date sent: Sat, 14 Aug 1999 13:14:48 -0400
You say tomato, I say....
I know that there are a lot of SP and Chronicles subscribers that are lucky enough to have
known SW from the days when he was known as "Stevie". And you just cannot fault these folks
if they sometimes still call him "Stevie", any more than you can help from occasionally
saying Johnny Cougar instead of John Mellencamp. Old habits die hard! And I've surmised
that we fans use "Stevie" amongst ourselves, almost as an affectionate term for our lad, or
sort of like a verbal club handshake - "Hey, I'm a fan too!"
Still, knowing all that, I find it surprising whenever people consistently use "Stevie",
especially when they say it to his face! It seems sort of out-of-date. I mean, he's no
longer the Hippy Prince of yesteryear, and that name just feels like something he doesn't
wear anymore. And I wonder how he feels about it.
When SW did the David Letterman show years ago, Paul Shaeffer (sp?) was going on about
Stevie this and Stevie that, and I remember wondering, "Did I just see Steve wince?" (I
thought of it in these terms: Imagine the feeling you'd have if you brought a date to a
family gathering, and your date overheard you being called by a childhood nickname. Yuck,
right? But imagine having it happen on national television. Repeatedly!) That stuck in my
head, so I really noticed when they worked on that VH-1 special together years later, and
Paul was by then calling him "Steve".
Of course, I could be totally wrong. Maybe Steve couldn't care less, and being called
Stevie is just fine with him. After all - his own brother still goes by a nickname from a
children's television program mule!
Ah, but what's in a name? Whether Steve or Stevie...a musician by either name would play
as sweetly. ;-)
(Thanking God that we finally got some rain in New Jersey, and thanking you all for
tolerating my senseless musings once again...)
Date sent: Sat, 14 Aug 1999 20:29:55 -0700
Subject: SDG tour
The Spencer Davis Group has updated the Concert Tour Schedule. Visit our Web site and plan
to attend a concert when we are near your town.
We will be playing all our hit songs like:
"I'm a Man"
"Keep on Running"
"Sombody Help Me"
"Gimme Some Lovin' "
and many, many more!
Take a look on-line!
Keep on Rockin',
The Spencer Davis Group
From: "lani arthur"
Subject: Rock Pack/Borders/B&N
Date sent: Sun, 15 Aug 1999 19:58:47 PDT
The book "The Rock Pack" that Craig mentioned in SP Vol.159 can be found at Borders
book/music stores. Borders here is selling it for $36.
Just checked out Barnes & Noble on-line....found that The Rock Pack sells for $19.99.
From: "Hisao Chida"
Subject: Re: Valerie Solo
Date sent: Mon, 16 Aug 1999 13:39:54 +0900
Oliver Bruder wrote:
> What does Steve use for the Solo Sound? Is it a Mini- or a Multimoog?
I am not 100 % confident, but I think it's a Minimoog because it
was one of his main instruments for the solos in 80s.
Date sent: Mon, 16 Aug 1999 12:25:34 EDT
Subject: Re: Underrated songs
having read trafficoligists list of underrated Stevie songs I would have to say mine is his
vocals on "Presence Of The Lord" which is inspiring, and with Claptons emotional guitars a
true masterpiece. Steve also plays keyboards on George Harrisons song "Love Come To
Everyone" and its very much like his later work in the 80s. Peace!
Subject: RE: John L's first post
Date sent: Mon, 16 Aug 1999 09:44:01 -0400
I loved your recollections ( I remember E.J. Korvettes, too! Man oh man, cut us open and
count the rings!) and the "prerequisite" top five list. You made me go listen to the live
version of "Sometimes I feel...." all over again, and I really agree, it's an improvement
over the studio version, and one hell of a guitar solo. Thanks for reminding me. Ahem...
and about that brevity issue, or lack thereof... I think I still reign as Princess of the
Longwinded here, despite your brave effort to usurp my throne. ;-)
Keep writing, John!
From: Stephen Smith
Subject: Session Work - Ruby Turner!
Date sent: Mon, 16 Aug 1999 15:40:52 -0400
Way WAY back in SP 58, Peter Nutall wrote:
"...has anyone heard the duet Steve did with Ruby Turner? (When Something Is Wrong With My
Baby) I thought it was brilliant, classic R&B/soul, I have it live on video, great stuff."
I've recently found that the studio recording of this duet was released on Ruby Turner's
album Restless Moods, from 1994! How did we miss this? Well, it's an obscure German
release, and I haven't seen the song available elsewhere. The album is still available but
may be a bit of a challenge to find.
Steve actually opens the song, and sings quite soulfully throughout. He blends well with
Ruby's powerful voice. They both must have been pleased with the final song, since Ruby
later sang on Junction 7. The whole Restless Moods album is quite good on first listen.
Some of the instrumentation sounds a bit too electronic for my taste, like the thumpy bass,
but the featured instrument is Ruby's voice and it comes through loud and clear.
I've added this album to Known Sessions in the Collaborations & Session Work area of
Bobbie's Smiling Phases site.
For anyone who hasn't checked recently, UK vendor Blackmail seems to be
out of business. They were at: http://www.blackmail.co.uk
Last issue, I mentioned the CD compilation Electric Sugarcube Flashbacks, which includes
Family's "Scene Through The Eye Of A Lens". For a complete track listing, see the label's
page at: http://www.vinyl.de/info.htm
Looking forward to hearing about the shows!
From: "Lindsay Beckman"
Subject: SP ages
Date sent: Tue, 17 Aug 1999 01:08:58 -0500
Hey, fellow Winwood fans! Well, I don't have any questions or opinions at the moment on
our man, but I would like to put in my two cents for just a moment on the post from *Lani*
in the last SP newsletter on the Austin Powers thing. I am not too sure of the ages of
everyone who subscribes to this newsletter, but I would just like all of you guys to know
that Steve Winwood doesn't only reach out to the 40+ crowd. Here I am, 17 years old,
beginning my senior year in highschool, and completely enthralled with every incarnation
Steve has been through. I listen to classic rock and the like, and he, with a group or
solo, is by far one of my favorites. so, just letting you know that there is at least one
youth out there who is spreading word of the genius of Steve Winwood. :)
Date sent: Wed, 18 Aug 1999 08:07:31 -0400
From: Trafficologist (Ted G.) email@example.com
Subject: "Walking" & long forty-fives
In the last SP, TGH2Moose@aol.com wrote in response to my WWTW
"...if memory serves, the b-side of Walking in the Wind is just the second half of the
song, after the last verse, and side 1 is the corresponding first half. Being 7 minutes or
however long it was, it couldn't very well be put on one side of a single in its entirety."
Actually, they did put the whole song (6:48) on one side of a U.S. promo 45. The other
side (short version) is faded out early (4:32) and is probably the same as the A-side of
the regular 45.
This is getting off the SW subject, but I've been surprised at what could be crammed onto a
side of one of those little 7" records. The Beatles' "Hey Jude" (7:11) in 1968 was, of
course, pioneering in this regard, and I've only seen a few cases that top it. All of them
were B-sides and, incidentally, involved tracks originally [if not still] unavailable in
any other form.
The B-side of Paul McCartney's "Coming Up" (1980) had 2 tracks, "Coming Up (live)" & "Lunch
Box / Odd Sox", totaling 7:45.
The B-side of Genesis' "I Know What I Like" (1973) was "Twilight Alehouse" at 7:47. For
some reason I thought, until I actually got my hands on a copy, that this side of the
single would be 33 RPM. Unfortunately the volume level is really low on this track
(allowing for more grooves per inch than a higher volume), making me wish it WAS 33 RPM.
Phil Collins had a single "If Leaving Me Is Easy" (1981) whose B-side consisted of 3 tracks
collectively called "Drawing Board". These tracks were rough home demo versions of songs
from his FACE VALUE album and totalled over 14 minutes at 33 RPM -- equivalent (in grooves
per inch) to about 10 minutes at 45 RPM.
And this has been your useless-knowledge fix for the day.
Date sent: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 01:14:38 EDT
Subject: Chris Wood
First, let me say thanks to all who e-mailed me after my first post to the group. I've
been on a few mailing lists before, but never one populated by such genuinely nice folks.
In the words of John Lennon, "I'd love to reply personally to everyone, but I just haven't
Which brings me to what may be a delicate subject around these parts: Chris Wood's sax
playing. From what I know of Chris' life story and from what my own ears tell me, it's
clear that Chris' main instrument was the flute. Any Traffic recording with Chris on flute
is a joy to behold. Haunting, lyrical, and airy, his work on such tunes as "Forty Thousand
Headmen," "No Face, No Name, No Number," and, especially, "Freedom Rider" is beyond
perfection. As long as Chris stuck to the flute, I have no problem with him.
But his sax playing.....hmmm. Whatever wonderful musical ideas he may have had in his head
got lost on their way to the reed, I'm afraid. Apologies to the (former?) group member who
finds Chris' solo on "Feelin' Alright" to be one of his best. To my ears, it's a
whimpering little thing, short on ideas and execution, full of squeaks and dead space. His
solo on "Glad" alternates between a few bars of good stuff and a few bars of aimless
noodling (he's also drowned in the mix to the point where you can't hear much of what he's
doing). Until I heard Randall Bramblett on tapes of the Traffic '94 tour, I hadn't heard
"Glad" at its full potential. Chris' tone on the sax was also weak and buzzy-sounding, a
sound most saxophonists work to avoid, and the sound of a reed player who hadn't yet
perfected his embouchure.
None of this is to take away from what Chris added to the band. A musician's ideas and a
musician's chops are two different things. What he contributed was immeasurable and it
wouldn't have been the same band with, say, Randall Bramblett or David Sanborn on sax --
both technically superior musicians to Chris, but who nevertheless strike me as guys who
just go by the books. Their creativity is limited to their solos, rather than any "sound"
they may contribute to a band.
It's kind of like Miles Davis when he was first starting out in the early 40's (I'm a big
jazz fan too). His trumpet playing was embarrassing! But friends like Charlie Parker knew
he had a head full of musical ideas, so Miles followed their advice and took some time off
to get some training. He never did become a flashy virtuoso, but he did acquire a warm tone
all his own and did some brilliant things within his limited range. That's kind of what I
wish Chris would have done: work on his tone on the sax and capitalize on the things he did
well. Sadly, I get the impression that by the time Chris was far enough along in his
musical development to take his playing to the next level, he was too strung out on the
booze and drugs to do much about it or to even care. Despite my comments, Chris is
something of a hero of mine -- if only for his unfulfilled promise.
Besides, Traffic was never about technical perfection, which is one of the things I love
about them. With their "everybody plays everything" philosophy, they needed loads of
overdubs on their recordings. Yet, they never spent weeks in the studio, laboring over a
solo line to get it just right. They recorded together, rather than tracking each
instrument separately, and went with the take that had the best feel, the best groove. As
a result, their recordings are loaded with goofs and bum notes, but I'll take that any day
over the slick, sterile perfection of today's music. And I'll gladly take Chris as part of
that package as well.
Date sent: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 10:01:50 -0500
From: Steven Robert Seim
Subject: Spanish Dancer, Underrated Songs
In regard to Ted G.'s post from the last SP, these are the reasons why at least I don't
like "Spanish Dancer": 1. Its "mushy" electronic sound (which it shares in common with most
of "Arc of a Diver" and "Talking Back to the Night") 2. Dumb lyrics (characteristic of most
of Will Jennings early work for SW) 3. Finally, what sets it apart from the rest: In my
opinion, the key element of any well-written rock'n'roll song (regardless of the tempo) is
internal momentum--i.e. the song should sound as though it's playing on its own, and the
artist (or at least the listener) is simply "along for the ride." "Spanish Dancer," on the
other hand, sounds as though it's being dragged along. This is what sets it (and "It Was
Happiness") apart--along with "Second Hand Woman" and "Big Girls Walk Away"--as the worst
songs ever done by our favorite artist.
On a more positive note, here are my votes for most underrated SW music:
1. Any song Steve sung for the Spencer Davis Group besides "Gimme Some Lovin'" and
"Somebody Help Me." ("Gimme Some Lovin'" already receives well-deserved praise; "Somebody
Help Me," on the other hand, doesn't deserve to always be ranked as one of the SDG's 4 best
songs.) The SDG simply does not get the respect it deserves. Their music stands up much
better over time than what the Beatles or the Rolling Stones were doing during that same
early 60's period.
2. "Crossroads" with Eric Clapton & the Powerhouse. I like it even better than Clapton's
later version with Cream.
3. "Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring." After "40,000 Headmen," this is the highlight of
Traffic's second album for me. Funky, musically intense, and fun at the same time. How
they could leave this off of the "Smiling Phases" and "Finer Things" sets I'll never know.
4. Aiye Keta (Third World). This album proves that SW can expand his musical horizons and
still create great music.
5. Most of the "Refugees of the Heart" album (except for "Every Day" and "Running On").
This album continues the masterful sound of BITHL and RWI, and contains some of Will
Jennings best lyrics. Why it never caught on commercially I don't know. Perhaps, despite
several great songs, it lacked a great "single."
Date sent: Fri, 20 Aug 1999 10:16:42 -0700
To those of you who have emailed concerns about frequent-poster Berkin - yes, he had left
the US and returned to his home country of Turkey, and yes, he's okay! We've heard from
him since the earthquake.
I'm sure all SPers join with me in extending our thoughts and prayers to Berkin and his
countrymen in this time of great troubles,
End of Smiling Phases