VOLUME 44, sent November 12, 1996

Topics in this issue:
  1. long waits
  2. Extensive Winwood, Traffic chronology available
  3. Showtime Special video
  4. Spencer Davis with Spirit
  5. Many observations
  6. looking for live tapes
  7. Players who have passed on...
  8. 'Lust' vs 'Dust'
  9. Mr. Fantasy and Last Exit
 10. tee-shirts


Date: Tue, 22 Oct 1996 08:34:47 -0700 (MST)
From: Melle D Starsen 
Subject: long waits

Why did Steve Winwood wait so long between albums? Was he disgusted with
the music business?

Thanks. Nice to find others who appreciate the Winwood style.


Date: Tue, 29 Oct 1996 14:09:18 -0800
From: woontner@sirius.com
Subject: Extensive Winwood, Traffic chronology available

I browsed through a copy of the brand new "Encyclopedia of Rock Stars" at my
local record store and found extensive chronologies of Winwood, Traffic etc.
This is the most extensive chronology I've seen to date. It includes lots of
interesting details including the fact that Traffic appears in the Beatles'
television film, Magical Mystery Tour and that Winwood performed Arc of A
Diver at a memorial service for Viv Stanshall.


Date: Wed, 30 Oct 1996 18:34:30 -0800
From: "James M. Wagner" 
Subject: Showtime Special video

I am interested in obtaining a copy of the 1989 Showtime Special video if
anyone can provide info.  Thanks!

From: "Johan Bengtsson" 
Date: Sun, 3 Nov 1996 10:37:56 +0000
Subject: Spencer Davis with Spirit

The new Spirit album California Blues includes a guest appearance from
Spencer Davis.

This new Spirit album  also featuring Randy California, Ed Cassidy, John
Locke, Matt Andes, Rachel Andes, Robbie Krieger & others will be released
around November 22 and will be available through Spirits own web site:
http://kspace.com/spirit or from Spirit, P.O. Box 655 Ojai, CA 93024. It
includes a track co-written by Randy California and Jimi Hendrix.  As far as I
know, this album consists mostly of newly written songs, it's not a blues cover
album. I've heard two or three tracks from it, and they were excellent!!

There will be an online chat with Spirit at http://kspace.com/chat on
Thurs. Nov. 14, 1996, from 6.00-7.00 pm (California time).

Johan Bengtsson

From: LesterJake@aol.com
Date: Sun, 3 Nov 1996 17:59:10 -0500
Subject: Many observations

Although I have been a HUGE Steve Winwood fan  for many years, I was
unawar of the web page and newsletter until a few weeks ago, when I idly
entered a search request for information on SW and came across this trove.
Since then Bobbie has directed me to the back pages of Smiling Phases, and I
have perused them with great pleasure and admiration for your passion,
thoughtfulness and thoroughness.

As for me, I first saw Steve in Chicago (my home town) at one of Blind
Faith's final appearances, when the band had already decided to fold and the
music was very perfunctory.  I  came away unimpressed.  But a year later I
started to listen to Traffic seriously, and then discovered the SDG records.
Coincidentally the re-formed Traffic was coming to town to play at the famous
Aragon Ballroom, and I went with great expectations.  Although just a trio, the
band sounded great and Steve was unbelievable playing harmonies and melody
on organ keyboard, while simultaneously playing bass on the foot pedals and
singing lead vocals.

Shortly thereafter I set off for England on a pilgrimage to visit our hero,
and thanks to some incredible luck managed to locate his home in
Gloucestershire.  When I showed up (uninvited) at his door, he was very
gracious and invited me in for an hour of pleasant chatter over a pot of Earl
Grey tea.  I recall he was still upset about Hendrix' recent death, inquiring how
the matter had been played up in the US media (quite sensationally, of course).
I was surprised when he named Berkshire Poppies as his favorite Traffic song
(this after four great albums -- perhaps he was pulling my leg) and shrugged off
(seemed unaware even) of the brilliant sequencing on the second (and my
favorite) Traffic album.

Since then I have seen Traffic perhaps a dozen times and Steve solo 4 or 5.
Like many of you I have wished his career and work were characterized by
better management, greater consistency, higher visibility and most important,
more output.  And yet his music -- even if he never wrote or sang another note -
- remains a vital part of my emotional and aesthetic well-being.  He is a superb
writer, performer and vocalist with few peers in all of music, and while we may
bemoan his current neglect (even hostility) in the critical and popular
establishment, I believe history will judge him highly.

I say this as an amateur symphony musician who is very conversant with the
canon of the great composers.  IMHO Steve  is comparable not to Phil Collins
or other contemporary R&B stylists (with reference to the silly dispute of some
months back in these pages), but rather to Debussy, Sibelius, Ravel and the
English impressionists Elgar, Delius and Vaughan Williams (the latter of
whom SW himself has referenced in print).

In fact, vis--vis the discussion of who Winwood fans (I like Woodheads but
prefer Headmen) should listen to, I would recommend Sibelius, Mahler and
Shostakovich.  Their symphonies are moody, sweeping and magnificent in a
way that merits comparison with Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring,
40,000 Headmen, Glad/Freedom Rider, Vacant Chair and You'll Keep on

Along these lines, I'd like to make just a few more observations that I
haven't seen addressed here, for your reflection and feedback.  In no
particular order of importance:

* Have you noticed how Steve's stylistic phases often span two-album periods?
There's the first two Traffic albums, Low Spark/Shoot Out, Arc/Talking Back
and Back in the High Life/Roll With It.  Often (not always) the second of the
two seemed weaker.

* As a non-lyricist, Steve is highly dependent on good songwriters.  Consider
how different his Viv Stanshall songs are from the Capaldi collaborations,
which in turn are very different from the Will Jennings compositions.  I once
suggested (not at all facetiously) to the good folks at Ron Weisner that they
encourage him to tackle a "classical" subject, say a Mass or oratorio, as a more
suitable and inspiring text for his music.

* Likewise, his most critically acclaimed work has been in collaboration with
independent producers -- early Traffic's Jimmy Miller (who arguably "made"
the Stones) and High Life's Russ Titelman.  Producing or co-producing his own
work, Steve has often indulged his tendency to run on too long and to "noodle"
solos rather than move the music to distant planes (e.g. Mozambique).

* Of his contributed work: One of Steve's greatest songs, Ask Anybody, is
buried on the Christine McVie solo album; this is a MUST find.  Likewise the
studio and live Go albums.

* Steve's most consistent and brilliant studio work was produced in a white heat
of productivity between 1965 and 1970, with the three SDG albums, the first
three Traffic albums, Blind Faith and John Barleycorn.  But live Traffic
performances then and thereafter were often spotty, uninspired and even
boring.  I saw the Muscle Shoals Traffic perform in Chicago on successive
nights -- first night (at the admittedly dismal Arie Crown) awful, second night
(at the intimate and chaotic Kinetic Playground) absolutely brilliant.  On
Traffic's 1974 tour Winwood let Rosko Gee perform a lengthy bass solo at an
Auditorium concert, and I thought the fans were going to run the band off the
stage.  Today the opposite seems true: studio work is uneven, but the live
performances have been mostly superb.  One exception: Here Comes a Man
was chilling and superb on CD but awful performed on the Letterman show
(and indeed pulled from the 1994 tour, to my regret).  Can anyone explain this

* Finally, a proposal:  I treasure the serendipitous proximity of my first
and last Traffic concerts -- 1970 at the Aragon and 1994 at the Riviera, just
blocks apart on Chicago's north side.  From the 1970 concert I have the original
and possibly somewhat valuable elephant cartoon poster, a good example of
that era's poster art.  I'm sure many of you have equally interesting, rare and/or
valuable SW and Traffic memorabilia.  What if we take up a "collection" of
these materials, to be auctioned off on some Web site or through the Internet,
the proceeds to benefit SW's or his label's favorite charity?  I suggest this as a
way of getting his attention, as well as Virgin's and Weisner's, to our possible
value as trend setters to promote his work.  Any thoughts?


From: SteveM@pluto.njcc.com
Date: Wed, 6 Nov 1996 13:36:08 -0500 (EST)
Subject: looking for live tapes

I'm looking for live Traffic/Winwood tapes. Your list gets mine. Thanks!


From: MomeyKate@aol.com
Date: Fri, 8 Nov 1996 14:20:25 -0500
Subject: Players who have passed on...

Unfortunately, another musician that Steve Winwood has worked with has
passed on- Eddie Harris, age 62, of bone cancer and kidney failure (obituary in
St. Paul Pioneer Press, 11/8/96).  The obit noted his Exodus theme and his
work on the Bill Cosby show music.  SW played on his "Eddie Harris in
London" album.


From: justus@oz.sunflower.org
Date: Sun, 10 Nov 1996 22:42:54 -0600
Subject: 'Lust' vs 'Dust'

 I was reading the liner notes to Chronicles the other day and the song list for
Arc Of A Diver caught my eye.  The list was fine until the last song which they
had listed as "Lust."  My first thought was that part of the D had faded, but
looking again, I realized that that was how it was typed up.  I was wondering if
this was a mistake made only on the CD or is it also listed that way on the CT
and LP?


Date: Mon, 11 Nov 1996 16:03:00 +1000
Subject: Mr. Fantasy and Last Exit

I find it strange that, 1) Dave Mason was not listed on the American
release of  "Mr. Fantasy" and 2) two of his songs which were included on  the
British release were omitted (Utterly Simple and Hope I Never Find Me There)
and replaced by A or B sides of earlier singles. Were these numbers made
available on later Traffic releases? I have an original mono version, stereo
version and CD of M.F. and the song listing is the same on all of them.

A note on songwriters on Last Exit, the sleeve notes on my copy lists
Winwood-Capaldi-Wood for Shanghai Noodle Factory. Also, Jimmy Miller had
collaborated before with Steve, he was co-writer of I'm A Man from the
Spencer Davis Group.


From:             "BobbieG." 
Date sent:        Tue, 12 Nov 1996 08:37:09 -0700
Subject:          tee-shirts

As one of our Subscribers has graciously agreed to do the work, would
anyone be interested in a Smiling Phases tee-shirt?  We would have to
come up with our own logo, as it is doubtful that we could get permission to use
a more official one, and the Subscriber would have
them printed on quality shirts for a nominal price.  I don't know yet
how many he would have to have made to make this economically
feasible, but I would like to get a head-count, so please email me if
you think this is a good idea.

I just keep thinking how awesome it would be to see a total stranger
in an SP tee-shirt just like my own at the next SW concert, and know
I'd run into a Subscriber.  Good publicity for us, too!

And having our own logo for use on the mailing list web site would be
a nice addition as well.

I hope I haven't offended anyone with what is admittedly a somewhat
commercially-oriented post, as that was certainly not my intention.