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VOLUME 25, sent March 8, 1996

Topics in this issue:
  1. Re: What happened to Dave Mason?
  2. Re: Chronicles the newsletter
  3. Who are we?
  4. Traffic BBC Concert, April 1970
  5. Comments on some back issues of Smiling Phases
  6. Royal Albert Hall EC concert
  7. New album and tour?
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From:             Seltaeb 
Subject:          Re: What happened to Dave Mason?
Date sent:       Thu, 29 Feb 1996 14:56:39 -0500 (EST)

Well, apparently Dave Mason is doing a little touring this spring.  Last week I
was at the Old Vienna Kaffeehaus (a small coffeehouse in Westboro, Mass.),
and their schedule listed Dave Mason performing on April 17th.  I've never
cared much for Dave Mason, except for a few of his songs on _Traffic_, but you
never know, it might be interesting...

--
Melissa LeSage, mlesage@abacus.bates.edu


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From:             Madbotyou@aol.com
Date sent:       Fri, 1 Mar 1996 00:31:05 -0500
Subject:          Re: Chronicles the newsletter

To all Winwood fans,

For the third issue of Chronicles, I would like to make it a commemorative for
Blind Faith. If anyone has any special thoughts on the band (i.e. saw em in
concert, etc.) I would love to use it for the issue. If you are interested please
email me. The deadline is April 1 for articles.

Ken aka Sting


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From:             "BobbieG." 
Date sent:       Sat, 2 Mar 1996 11:03:25 +0000
Subject:          Who are we?

As a fan of 'The X-Files', I'm an X-Philer.  As a fan of 'Twin Peaks', I'm a
Peak-Freak.

As a fan of Steve Winwood, what am I?  My dear husband suggested Wood-
head, but doesn't that seem a trifle derogatory?  :-)

I got so many good suggestion when we changed the name of the Digest last
fall, that I'm really counting on you to come up with something witty but to-the-
point and  unmistakable.

(ALSO, I'm still waiting to hear from you about where you're located.  Well??)
---
Bobbie


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From:             ASchulberg@aol.com
Date sent:       Sat, 2 Mar 1996 07:00:33 -0500
Subject:          Traffic BBC Concert, April 1970

In a trade, I recently acquired a tape of Traffic at the Paris Theatre in April,
1970, a BBC Radio concert. The band appears as a trio of Winwood, Capaldi
and Wood just at the time they  had reformed to record "John Barleycorn". The
set list is: Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring?; Every Mother's Son;
Medicated Goo; John Barleycorn; Pearly Queen; Empty Pages; Glad/Freedom
Rider.

The band is unaugmented with other musicians and there is much doubling of
instrumentation. For example, Chris Wood will play sax and electric piano on a
track or use the sax line as bass in another song. Therefore, the sound is a little
"thin", though, of course, very good considering. Whether due to the influence
of drugs or otherwise, a couple of the songs don't end very well. "John
Barleycorn" has Capaldi singing the correct,  next-to-last verse while Winwood
is singing the last verse and so things kind of fall apart at the end.

In addition, British DJ John Peel speaks in between each song and introduces
the instrumentation for the next number. This is helpful in knowing who plays
what and I assume this is the format for these kinds of concerts. Nonetheless, it
is a little disruptive of the flow of a concert and takes some getting used to.

As a radio concert recording, the quality is very good. The set runs
approximately 50 minutes.

Arnie Schulberg


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Date sent:       Tue, 05 Mar 96 14:26:30 EST
From:             Adrian 
Subject:          Comments on some back issues of Smiling Phases

Having finally had the time to read all the back issues that came out before I
signed up for Smiling Phases, I wish to belatedly reply to a few of the items
contained in those issues.

First of all, going all the way back to issue 1, I wish to comment on Shootout at
Fantasy Factory.  Unlike  Scott, I think it's a superb album.  Although Steve can
rock with the best of  them, I've always been attracted to his quieter numbers
(such as Every Little Bit Hurts and I'm Getting Better from his SDG days).
Evening Blue fits into this mould and is easily one of my favourite traffic
numbers.  Without going into a detailed analysis, I thoroughly enjoy every track
on the album and rate it as my favourite Traffic album along with Low Spark.

With respect to an inquiry about Yvonne Elliman's version of Can't Find My
Way Home, I can confirm that it exists because I have it on an otherwise
forgettable album by her.  If you want more particulars about the album, I can
dig it out of my attic.  I'm fairly sure that it was also released as a 45.

With respect to Winwood's session work, he shows up on an Eddie Harris
album entitled "Eddie Harris in London" or something like that.  I can also dig
that one up from my attic and provide you with more particulars if you wish.

On the list of Winwood session work, there is one album I've never heard of,
namely, "Thinking Back" by Gordon Jackson.  Does anyone know who he is?
The recently deceased British actor who played Hudson in the Upstairs
Downstairs series was named Gordon Jackson, but I doubt that this is the same
artist.

Alan Wootner wrote in issue #9 that he was compiling a list of artists who had
performed Traffic tunes.  Alan, you can add Eric Burdon & the Animals to the
list.  They do a decent version of Coloured Rain but I can't remember which of
their albums it appears on.

Lastly, to the probable chagrin of most list members, I wish to indicate that I
agree with the comment of Keith Richards (provided by Joop Kielema in the
last digest) that Steve's best period was with the Spencer Davis Group.  If I had
to make a list of my favourite 10 Winwood recordings, I think that they would
all be from his days with Spencer Davis.  No fancy studio antics, just
straightforward gutsy soul.  His cover versions of Drown in My Own Tears,
Georgia on My Mind and When A Man Loves a Woman (move over Percy
Sledge) are wonderful.  Likewise, I would love to hear some straight forward
guitar and piano reminiscent of Stevie's Blues or Goodbye Stevie in his current
solo work.  The SDG recordings show Winwood's raw talent as a singer,
guitarist and keyboardist and have a spontaneity which he has never recreated
especially not in his more recent recordings which always have a lush and
layered synthetic sound to them.  While I still prefer his recent recordings to
many recordings offered by other big name artists, I find myself wishing that he
would put together a foursome [bass, guitar, keyboards (no synthesizers) and
drums] and record a live in the studio album.

Adrian Vockeroth
Gatineau (Québec)


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From:             HarveyP708@aol.com
Date sent:       Tue, 5 Mar 1996 16:20:38 -0500
Subject:          Royal Albert Hall EC concert

Don't know if you want to post this here, but you asked me to let you know how
RAH was with Eric Clapton and you can see from the following review that it
was incredible. It would have been slightly  more wonderful if SW had also
shown up, but I guess he had other things to do.

The Royal Albert Hall is very interesting. It is a round building which seats
about 5500 so it is always an intimate concert. In addition, though, people
sitting in arena seats (which I was on four out of five nights) are given the
opportunity to rush the stage just before the last song of the main set. Leaning
against the stage while the band plays there is a total experience all by itself.
Add to that that I collected two of Eric's guitar picks, a copy of the band's setlist
for March 1, and that I bumped into Eric on the streets of London just made it
that much more of a magical experience.

REVIEW

What follows is a joint review of the March 1, 1996 show at RAH by me, [and
some friends  -BG] . Can you imagine - we all agreed! Wish you all could have
been there.

The lights went down at 820 pm and Eric Clapton took the stage at the Royal
Albert Hall, wearing loose fitting jeans, a faded black tee-shirt, and sterling
silver and garnet love beads. When the stage lights came up, he made his usual
bow to the crowd and the excitement began.

The set list included classics, blues standards and more recent material,
including unreleased songs. What can we say about the playing? - it soared, it
thrilled, it touched the soul. His vocals were much stronger, and his range was
broader and more sure than in the past. In his playing he improvised, stretched
more during his solos, and  almost never fell back on the stock Clapton
phrasing.

Going down the set list, song by song:

Badge - Nothing out of the ordinary compared to other nights.

Hoochie Coochie Man - Much stronger, with deeper and gruffer vocals. He has
finally found his blues voice. This was sung by someone who was no longer
afraid of the song.

Bell Bottom Blues - It is hard to be objective about this one. Very similar to 24
Nights.

I Shot the Sheriff - He completely reinvented this song and changed it  from a
reggae to a soft blues rendition. Soloing was very extended and extremely
moving and he was completely lost in the song. The consensus of these
reviewers is that we have now moved the rating of this song from about 3 (out
of a possible 10) to 9.5.

It Hurts Me Too - Nothing to say except that god was on stage. The rendition in
1995 didn't even come close to tonight's performance.

Wonderful Tonight - Put on 24 Nights and subtract Katie's high obligatto
ending.

Five Long Years - He played this like an angry man, with stronger playing, a
deeper vocal, and the usual arm movement was frightening in its intensity.

Circus Has Left Town - He coasted on this song tonight in contrast to shows
earlier in the week when his emotions were very close to the surface.

Tears in Heaven - He reworked the arrangement bringing in a horn with harp
backup - a welcome change.

My Father's Eyes - There was a lot of intensity in this song, primarily in the
vocals while the guitar playing coasted a little. This is unlike two years ago
when he would coast on the vocals and let the guitar do most of the work.

Alberta - He is now doing a much more extended version which has become a
singalong, clapalong song for the whole hall. The additional verse is a very
welcome addition.

Layla - Played acoustic with a much longer introduction, this version
incorporated extensive solos reminiscent of the fretwork in the electric Layla.
Even with two flubs it was one of the high points of the show.

From here on the show just got better and hotter. White hot.

Tearing Us Apart - It rocks. He had a great time with it and it blew away the
version he did with Tina Turner. Katie Kassoon's vocals were awesome. The
interaction between Eric and Katie showed the long years they have performed
together which have gone from being good to better.

Old Love - What can we say? There are no words to describe tonight's soloing.
We have never seen him try and succeed like he did tonight on this song. Was
George or Patti in the house?

Tore Down - Blues standard which rocked out. If you saw this done in '95 you
know how good it was.

Have You Ever Loved a Woman? - Goose bumps on goose bumps on goose
bumps. Goose bumps to the  millionth power. Solos like we have never heard
them. He sounded like he wasn't even at the Royal Albert Hall - he went away
for a long long time and even his band members were watching the board for
his ETA.

White Room and Sunshine of Your Love - Both classics were cooking and well
received by the crowd but he cut them short due to the lateness of the hour. The
crowd rushed the stage a bit early. He traded vocals on both of these songs with
Andy Fairweather-Low in the style of Cream.

Everyday I Have the Blues - Is there anywhere better to hear that song than
leaning on the Royal Albert Hall stage and having Eric smile directly at you?
This version must make BB King very proud.

Before You Accuse Me - Far better than the Journeyman version. It rocked.

For you guitar aficionados, he used a blond '57 Gibson Birdland with Alnico
pickups on It Hurts Me Too; a classical gut string guitar (no make or model
visible) on Circus and Tears in Heaven; the new Martin EC Signature guitar on
My Father's Eyes, Alberta and Layla (it has awesome sound); a cherry red
Gibson ES335T on Tore Down and Have You Ever Loved a Woman?; and a
cream colored EC Signature Fender Stratocaster without the signature on the
headstock on all other numbers. He played slide on the blond on It Hurts Me
Too. He used a Cry-Baby Wah-Wah which was linked to a sky blue pedal (first
couple letters were CO or CHRO - this may be custom), and an effects box with
four switches.

Between us we also saw shows on February 24, 26, 27 and 28 with two more to
go. The set list essentially remained the same with minor variations listed
below, but the Friday show was in a class all by itself. That is not to say that
any of the shows were weak - they just kept getting better and better. There was
a sense of freedom about tonight's performance that has been missing for years.
He appears to be happy and tonight he was actually wordy, taking time to
interact with his audience despite his admitted nervousness because special old
and very close friends were in the audience. He even said "I can speak. I haven't
spoken for at least three days."

Eric consistently dressed in jeans, tee-shirt and Timberlands every night except
on Wednesday night when he wore a slate blue/grey Armani silk suit with a
coordinating blue tunic, slightly longer than his suit jacket. That night he wore
brown plush Bally suede shows but the love beads were still there. There were
rumors of royals in the audience.

On Wednesday he also wore his glasses at the beginning of the set but removed
them after Circus and left them on the stage after that. His hair was shorter and
full on top and sides and he looks great.

Kudos throughout to the whole band. It was a real pleasure to see the return of
Katie and Tessa. Steve Gadd is a wild man on drums. Chris Stainton and Jerry
Portnoy's solos were outstanding. Dave Bronze's bass playing was stellar and
Andy Fairweather-Low's guitar work perfectly complimented Eric's playing.
The horns as always were a wonderful addition to the overall sound.

(P.S. After writing this we saw the show for March 2. If you thought March 1's
show was good, double it.)

7*7*7*7*7*7*7*7*7*7*7*7*7

I've been getting this question from new Subscribers fairly often, so I thought
I'd reprint my answer to make sure we're all up to date.

"I understand "Our Hero" has recorded a new solo album which is due to be
released some time this year, does any one know an approximate date?  Also,
will Steve be going on a concert tour following the release of the album?"


One of my Subscribers (who wants to remain anonymous) talked to one of SW's
former record producers  (who also wants to remain anonymous; I know who
both these people are, BTW, and trust them implicitly).  The producer had
dinner with SW several times last summer and fall and confirms that he was in
Nashville recording a new album.  It will be solo, not Traffic.  But we have not
been able to get any kind of release date from anyone; I have contacts at Virgin,
and even they are being completely silent.   AAARRRGGGHHHH!!!

SW seems to be on a pretty regular schedule, which makes a lot f sense now
that he's an older, settled married man.  His albums come out every other pring,
and he tours behind them, starting in the NW US (I think he opened in Seattle
last time) and working his way east.  'Far From Home' came out in '94, so he's
just about due now.  I seem to remember a May release for that one, and I know
we saw him in Phoenix in June because all the way to the concert, we were
listening to OJ's famous slow-speed chase on the radio.

There was also a note on the Joe Walsh Home Page that he was crrently
working on a new project with SW (ala 'Split Decision'), but we haven't been
ale to find out if this was one song or a whole album, or if it would be Joe's,
Steve's, or a joint release.

Obviously this is all still in the rumor stage, as no one will respond to us.

--
Bobbie

[And I will only add to that, that when I hear anything concrete, I will
immediately send out a special edition of the Digest to let you all know; and
that I also want everyone to keep their ears and eyes open, and let me know
what you know!  Surely with 200 of us from around the world, someone will
hear something soon!  -BG]

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END OF SMILING PHASES, VOL 25