Dallas Morning News: Nov 8, 1997, concert

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Whatever the instrument, Winwood still has soul.

It's always jarring to see Steve Winwood, the groundbreaking Pied Piper of the '60s and early '70s, clad in a tuxedo at the Grammys.

Granted, it has been years since Mr. Winwood, touring in support of his latest album, Steve Junction Seven, turned in his flute for a synthesizer. But still it doesn't seem right to see John Barleycorn himself hobnobbing in a monkey suit.

This is Steve Winwood, after all, the musical prodigy who made his name switching instruments in such legendary bands as the Spencer Davis Group, Blind Faith and, of course, Traffic. Disc jockeys everywhere loved him for the long bathroom breaks provided by "The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys."

He disappeared for a few years before returning in 1977 with Steve Winwood, but it was 1980's Arc of a Diver that landed him squarely in the middle of mainstream pop.

The reclusive star has continued with a string of hits, including "Higher Love," "Roll With It" (a decent nod to his more bluesy days) and "Don't You Know What the Night Can Do?"

So, OK, maybe it's not "Empty Pages." It's also not "Butterfly Kisses," and there's still plenty of soul in those synthesizers.

--- Al Brumley

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Page created April 15, 1998.
Last updated April 15, 1998.
© 1997 by the author; reproduce only for non-commercial purposes and with full attribution.