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Something So Strong: Jim Capaldi’s “Some Come Running” with Clapton, Harrison, Winwood Reissued

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There’s been some heavy Traffic at the record store lately.  This month has already seen a 2-CD edition of Steve Winwood’s Arc of a Diver, and it’s recently been joined by Esoteric Recordings’ latest offering from the catalogue of Winwood’s Traffic cohort, the late Jim Capaldi.  Following reissues of the songwriter and drummer’s Oh, How We Danced (1972), Whale Meat Again (1974), The Sweet Smell of Success (1980) and Let the Thunder Cry (1981), the Cherry Red Group imprint has turned its attention to 1988’s Some Come Running.

Though Traffic was an on-and-off concern until 1974, Capaldi’s solo career began in 1972 with Oh How We Danced.  As the decade progressed, he flirted with numerous styles, from soul with the Muscle Shoals rhythm section to hard rock, pop and, yes, disco.  He even had a dalliance with film scoring.  A 1975 cover version of “Love Hurts” went Top 5 in the U.K. but it wasn’t until 1982 that he finally gained entrée into the lucrative American radio market with “That’s Love” from the album Fierce Heart, featuring old friend Winwood on keyboards. Capaldi continued collaborating with many artists throughout his career.  Besides Winwood, they included Carlos Santana, Squeeze’s Paul Carrack (with whom he wrote the Eagles hit “Love Will Keep Us Alive”) and two fellows who helped raised the profile of Some Come Running: George Harrison and Eric Clapton, themselves lifelong friends and both one-time husbands of the former Pattie Boyd!

Besides the guest appearances, Some Come Running was notable as Capaldi’s return to drumming in a major way, as he had been content on many of his other solo projects to hand over the drumsticks.  It also marked his return to original home Island Records, which he had departed more than ten years prior.  Peter Vale (guitars/vocals/keyboards/bass) and Miles Waters (guitars/keyboards) produced the album with Capaldi, and the trio wrote five songs for the LP.  The remaining three songs were two Capaldi originals with other co-writers, and a cover recording of “Oh Lord, Why Lord,” introduced in 1968 by Spanish band the Pop Tops.

For Capaldi’s much-publicized Island comeback, Winwood played keyboards and sang on the title track, and supplied a guitar part to the opening song “Something So Strong.”  Eric Clapton added guitar to “You Are the One,” co-written by Capaldi and his keyboard player Chris Parren, and also appeared alongside Harrison on “Oh Lord, Why Lord.”  Harrison’s guitar is typically recognizable, as is Clapton’s during an incendiary solo.  Eighties production touches place the album in a very specific time period, but Capaldi’s songwriting was energized by his embrace of the new recording technology.

After the jump: more on Some Come Running, plus a track listing and order link! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

October 25, 2012 at 10:08

Release Round-Up: Week of October 16

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Steve Winwood, Arc of a Diver: Deluxe Edition (U.S./U.K.) (Island/UMC)

While you see a chance, take one on this new edition of Winwood’s 1980 album, expanded with a handful of bonus tracks and a lengthy audio documentary.

Louis Armstrong & The All-Stars, Satchmo at Symphony Hall 65th Anniversary: The Complete Performances(U.S.) (Hip-O Select/Verve)

A classic 1947 performance first released in 1951 is fully expanded to include both complete performances from that lauded night, with new packaging and lavish liner notes.

Rebbie Jackson, Centipede: Expanded Edition (U.S./U.K.) / Jermaine Jackson, Precious Moments: Expanded Edition (U.S./U.K.)/ Surface, 2nd Wave: Expanded Edition (U.S./U.K.) / Kashif, Send Me Your Love: Expanded Edition (U.S./U.K.) / Charles Earland, Earland’s Jam: Expanded Edition (U.S./U.K.) (Funkytowngrooves)

The newest FTG slate includes two from two of Michael Jackson’s siblings (the title track to Rebbie’s Centipede was written and produced by MJ) and an album by Kashif, best known as one of Whitney Houston’s best producers.

Dio, The Last in Line (24K Gold Disc) (U.S./U.K.) (Audio Fidelity)

Dio’s sophomore LP, in the high quality that a gold disc affords.

Donald Fagen, Cheap Xmas: Donald Fagen Complete (U.S.) (Reprise)

This digital-only compilation includes all three albums in Fagen’s Nightfly trilogy (as well as the bonus material included on a 2007 box set) as well as his new solo album, Sunken Condos, also out today.

The Moving Sidewalks, The Complete Collection (U.S./U.K.) (RockBeat)

Before the beards and the fluffy guitars, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons played guitar for this Texas psych-blues band. A new disc from RockBeat features their entire commercial output.

Review: Steve Winwood, “Arc of a Diver: Deluxe Edition”

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Steve Winwood turned 32 in 1980, a grand old man by rock and roll standards.  He was already a veteran, having played with the Spencer Davis Group, Blind Faith and perhaps most notably, Traffic, but a 1977 solo debut failed to yield significant commercial gains.  “I suppose I’ve always been a band leader, rather than a virtuoso like [Blind Faith bandmate] Eric Clapton,” Winwood once mused.  So it might have come as a shock to many when the inner virtuoso emerged on New Year’s Eve, 1980, with the second solo effort from the multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter: Arc of a Diver.  Almost 32 years later, Winwood has revisited this watershed album as a 2-CD deluxe edition from Universal Music, and it still holds up as a taut, vibrant song cycle rather than as a curio of the past.

Though Winwood had a considerable C.V. prior to the release of Arc, and would have subsequent hits like 1986’s Back in the High Life, it remains one of the most enduring albums in his catalogue. Winwood wrote every track on the album, either on his own or in collaboration with Will Jennings (“Looks Like We Made It,” “My Heart Will Go On”), Vivian Stanshall (The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band) or George Fleming. Winwood recorded Arc at his own home studios in Gloucestershire, England, joining an elite member of a group of one-man bands including Prince, Todd Rundgren and Jeff Lynne.  Winwood played acoustic and electric guitars, bass, keyboards, synthesizers, drums and percussion.  He produced and engineered the sessions himself, too, ending up with seven fairly sprawling tracks, all but one over five minutes in length.

The opening song, “While You See a Chance,” could have been Winwood’s credo.  A shimmering pop confection with a relentlessly upbeat and optimistic message expressed both musically and in Jennings’ lyrics, it’s also an affirmative statement from a survivor.  It implores all of us to seize that same strength of spirit, to refuse to give up even when the cards aren’t in your favor.  This central theme resonates throughout the album, and is complemented by “Arc of a Diver,” the title track co-written with Vivian Stanshall.  It’s ostensibly a love song, but its striking and unusual imagery also evokes a triumph over adversity.  Even elements of nature won’t stand in Winwood’s way:  “I play the piano, no more running honey/This time to the sky I’ll sing if clouds don’t hear me/To the sun I’ll cry and even if I’m blinded/I’ll try moon gazer because with you I’m stronger…”  Positivity also echoes on another beloved album cut, “Spanish Dancer.”  The central simile (“I can feel the beat/Like a Spanish dancer under my feet”) is repeated as Winwood blissfully recounts the effect music has on him.  Like “While You See a Chance,” “Spanish Dancer” has a universal sentiment.  It’s cannily set to a hypnotic melody embellished with light funk and Latin flourishes.

This being rock and roll, there’s an ode to a “Second Hand Woman,” set to another bright melody with a gleaming, then-contemporary arrangement.  The most overtly rocking track is the insistent “Night Train” with its locomotive metaphors, capturing the frenetic energy of a man who hasn’t slowed down, “looking for the break of day.”  On the other end of the spectrum is “Slowdown, Sundown,” a low-key ballad that could easily be translated to the country-and-western idiom (“Slowdown sundown, all I really need is time/For faded love songs and feelings in the wine/Let them take me down the line…”) and offers a reflective respite in the album sequence.  Yet both of those songs show a yearning for a personal peace.  The album closer “Dust” is another mature reflection on the passage of time in the framework of a love song: “With you, dawn never tasted so good/Swept up like debris on a Saturday night…Dust, the timeless memory of you, I love you.”

What sets this deluxe edition of Arc of a Diver apart from past issues?  Hit the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

October 8, 2012 at 15:54

Posted in Reissues, Reviews, Steve Winwood

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While You See a Chance: Universal Expands Steve Winwood’s “Arc of a Diver” as 2-CD Set

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When Steve Winwood sees a chance for a deluxe reissue, he takes it!

Arc of a Diver, first released on New Year’s Eve 1980, marked the solo commercial breakthrough for the former Spencer Davis Group, Traffic and Blind Faith member, peaking in the U.S. at an impressive No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and spawning the hit single “When You See a Chance,” which earned a No. 7 placement on the Hot 100.  Due on September 24 in the U.K. from Universal/Island, the 2-CD deluxe Arc of a Diver comes a couple of years too late to qualify as a 30th anniversary reissue.  But this classic album begs the question: better late than never?

Steve Winwood’s second solo album following 1977’s self-titled debut, Arc of a Diver was performed entirely by the multi-instrumentalist, on acoustic and electric guitars, bass, keyboards, synthesizers, drums and percussion.  Alongside later smashes like 1986’s Back in the High Life, it remains one of the most enduring albums in the great musician’s catalogue.  Winwood wrote every track on the album, either on his own or in collaboration with Will Jennings (“Looks Like We Made It,” “My Heart Will Go On”), Vivian Stanshall (The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band) or George Fleming.  The one-man band recorded Arc at his own home studios in Gloucestershire, England, and produced and engineered the sessions himself, too.

What bonus tracks have been added for the new edition?  Hit the jump!  We’ve also got a pre-order link and full track listing with discographical annotation! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 16, 2012 at 09:29

Release Round-Up: Week of June 21

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Peter Tosh, Legalize It: Legacy Edition / Equal Rights: Legacy Edition (Columbia/Legacy)

The first two albums by the onetime Wailer are greatly expanded with rare alternate mixes and other goodies. (Official site)

Ace, Five-a-Side: Expanded Edition / Time for Another/No Strings: Expanded Edition (Cherry Red)

How long can you wait for expanded editions of the whole Ace catalogue? Each set (Five-a-Side as one set and the other two albums in another package) is remastered and expanded with a host of BBC session tracks. (Cherry Red)

Suede, Head Music: Deluxe Edition (Edsel)

We’ve been totally remiss lately about the Suede remasters, which by all accounts are damn good. So let us remind you that an expanded edition of Head Music came out today, with similar expansions of SuedeDog Man Star and Coming Up already available. And A New Morning will be expanded next week! (Official site)

Carly Simon, No Secrets / Bad Company, Straight Shooter (Audio Fidelity)

The latest Audio Fidelity Gold CDs are Carly Simon’s breakthrough LP (the one with “You’re So Vain,” which I hope Matt Rowe correctly predicts will be expanded in the near future) and Bad Company’s great sophomore album (with “Feel Like Makin’ Love” and “Shooting Star”). (Audio Fidelity)

Various Artists, ICON (UMe)

They just. Won’t. Quit. (Original post with links to all the titles in this batch)

ICON and On and On

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UPDATE 6/20: With a day before these sets are to hit stores, here’s the post with the track list for the one compilation that hadn’t been confirmed at the time – an incredibly slight collection for Steve Winwood. Just Steve Winwood. Not Traffic or anything else. Make of that what you will.

Original post: The latest batch of ICON titles hasn’t even hit stores yet, but yet another assortment of them has been announced for release next month.

While, as always, there’s not much in the way of rarities on these sets, there are a few artists compiled whose respective works haven’t seen much activity on CD. The Thin Lizzy compilation is interesting in the light of another forthcoming batch of deluxe editions from Universal’s U.K. arm, and the Bill Cosby and Righteous Brothers compilations are particularly welcoming for new fans. On the other side of the spectrum, though, you have a compilation from horrorcore rap group Insane Clown Posse, which only features tracks from the band’s four albums with Island from 1997 to 2000 (some Juggalo haters would argue that’s not all that’s wrong with this set), as well as an as-yet-trackless entry for Steve Winwood, whose Revolutions compilation came out just under a year ago.

If you’re interested, they’re all out on June 21 and can be ordered at Amazon (note that the page of “coming soon” titles still has listings for the last batch we reported on, due out next Tuesday). Hit the jump for the track lists (except the Winwood set, of course – we’ll update this post once that list comes over the line). Read the rest of this entry »

Heavy Traffic: “The Jim Capaldi Story” Told On Upcoming Box Set

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It’s time to clear a space on your shelf next to Steve Winwood’s 1995 box set The Finer Things or its 2010 counterpart Revolutions. The life and career of Winwood’s longtime collaborator Jim Capaldi (1944-2005) is being celebrated by the fine folks at Universal U.K. with a lavish new box set, Dear Mr. Fantasy: The Jim Capaldi Story. Set for release on June 27, Dear Mr. Fantasy is named after one of Traffic’s most beloved songs.  It encompasses Capaldi’s work with that group as well as early singles by The Hellions, Revolution and Deep Feeling, and of course his deep solo catalogue. Famous friends of Capaldi’s are present including Winwood, Dave Mason, Paul Kossoff, Eric Clapton and George Harrison, featured on a 2004 recording making its debut here.

Capaldi’s first group, The Hellions, initially consisted of Capaldi, Dave Mason and Gordon Jackson; they are represented on Dear Mr. Fantasy with “Daydreaming of You,” a single penned by Jackie DeShannon and Sharon Sheeley. After attempting to relaunch themselves as Revolution, a disenchanted Mason departed the band; with Luther Grosvenor replacing Mason, they regrouped one final time as Deep Feeling. (One track by each incarnation of the band is included.) After disbanding Deep Feeling, Capaldi reached out to a friend he had met while on tour with The Hellions, Steve Winwood.  Free from his obligations as member of the Spencer Davis Group (“Gimme Some Lovin’,” “Keep On Running”), Winwood joined Capaldi, multi-instrumentalist Chris Wood and Mason (back on board) to form Traffic.  Capaldi wrote lyrics to Winwood’s melody for the psychedelic “Paper Sun,” Traffic’s first single in 1967. Despite a fluctuating lineup, with Mason coming and going with frequency, Traffic remained an ongoing concern through 1974, gaining fans for an intricate mix of rock and an improvisational jazz style. (The band would reform in 1993-1994 as well as in 2004 for its Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. One rehearsal track from Traffic’s short set makes its first appearance here.)

Capaldi launched his solo career in 1972 with Oh How We Danced, featuring contributions from Paul Kossoff of Free. A 1975 cover version of “Love Hurts” went Top 5 in the U.K. but it wasn’t until 1982 that he cracked the lucrative American radio market with “That’s Love” from the album Fierce Heart, featuring old friend Winwood on keyboards. Capaldi continued collaborating with many artists throughout his career, including Eric Clapton (for whom he played on Rainbow Concert, a track from which is included on the new box), Carlos Santana and Squeeze’s Paul Carrack, with whom he wrote the Eagles hit “Love Will Keep Us Alive.”  An unreleased demo of “Love” should be a highlight of the new collection.

Capaldi’s final studio album, 2001’s Living on the Outside, featured Winwood, Paul Weller and George Harrison as guests. Harrison can be heard on Dear Mr. Fantasy playing guitar on “Anna Julia” as well as on one unreleased song, “Love’s Got a Hold of Me.”

Jim Capaldi passed away from stomach cancer in 2005 at the age of 60.  He will be remembered with Dear Mr. Fantasy, due from Universal U.K. and Island Records on June 27.  Hit the jump for the full press release plus a complete track listing with discographical annotation! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 21, 2011 at 09:31

John Barleycorn Must Be Expanded

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Well, at least it will be expanded. Traffic’s John Barleycorn Must Die (1970) is coming out as a double-disc deluxe edition in February.

Originally intended as Steve Winwood’s first solo album after the dissolution of Blind Faith, John Barleycorn became a reunion project for Traffic and spawned several well-known songs including “Glad” and “Empty Pages.” It was also the highest-charting album of Traffic’s career in the U.S., hitting No. 5.

A previous reissue in the U.K. in 1999 added two studio tracks within the album order and added three live cuts from a show at the Fillmore East. Those live cuts were dropped for the U.S. reissue in 2001. This new set includes more from that run of concerts (which were recorded for a live album, ultimately scrapped for 1971’s Welcome to the Canteen), but does not include those studio bonus tracks. You apparently can’t win them all.

The set’s coming your way on February 7 (a U.K. release date); order it here and check the track list after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

December 23, 2010 at 12:02

The Finer-er Things

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As many of our readers know, Island released a new-ish Steve Winwood box set, Revolutions: The Very Best of Steve Winwood. I say “new-ish” because the offerings weren’t terribly different from the last expansive anthology of Winwood material, 1995’s The Finer Things. Predictably, the set didn’t do terribly well – a shame because Winwood is a solid, enjoyable performer to listen to, but simultaneously not a shame since it doesn’t offer enough new stuff for catalogue enthusiasts to savor.

But the single-disc version of the set is actually pretty darn good for the budding Winwood fan. There aren’t many single-disc anthologies of the man’s entire career; 1987’s Chronicles only focused on the past decade of solo Winwood, an entry in Universal’s 20th Century Masters series covered Winwood’s best work with The Spencer Davis Group, Blind Faith and Traffic but nothing else, and the U.K. import The Ultimate Collection, while comprehensive, was three discs. You might as well buy one of the box sets if that’s your alternative.

So what would one compare the Revolutions disc to? Your catalogue correspondent has but one answer, and it’s not a common one. When The Finer Things was released in 1994, Island and Chronicles (now Universal Music Enterprises) issued a promo disc taking the best of the box and distilling it to a single disc. It may be unfair to compare a public compilation to a non-commercial promo, but it’s not terribly hard to find on the secondary market. Thus, The Second Disc shall now attempt to answer which of these sets the budding Winwood fan should seek. All shall be revealed after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

July 1, 2010 at 15:31

News Round-Up: Steve Winwood, India.Arie and The Stooges

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  • There’s some new info to post about Revolutions: The Very Best of Steve Winwood, the upcoming four-disc Steve Winwood box that may or may not be as good as the last Winwood box. This comes from a comment by an admin on Winwood’s official Web site. Also, note that the Amazon selling price is a not-terrible $39.98:

All the material in this box set was transferred from the original analogue master tapes at 24-bit, 192k resolution in 2010 using the highest quality Prism A-D conversion.

The albums “About Time” and “Nine Lives” have been entirely re-mixed and re-mastered, and these new mixes will appear for the first time on this box set.

Steve has recorded a brand-new version of “Spanish Dancer” which will also be exclusively available on the Revolutions Box Set coming June 7th 2010.

  • Universal has another catalogue title on the slate for May 18: a two-disc special edition of India.Arie’s Voyage to India (2002). No firm word on the extras yet.
  • A poster on our favorite reissue-centric message board reports that Rhino Handmade’s new collector’s edition of The Stooges (1969) has a pretty glaring technical error: each disc is labelled incorrectly (Disc 1 is labelled as Disc 2 and vice versa). The label is ready to ship replacement discs and has also given buyers an upcoming promo code to another upcoming release. We won’t spoil it here, but you can pretty much figure out which out-of-print Rhino Handmade set won this year’s earlier poll (and will thus go back into print) if you click the link above.

Written by Mike Duquette

May 3, 2010 at 09:09