Review : STEVE WINWOOD - ABOUT TIME
UncutAbout Time is Winwood's eighth solo album and the first since 1997's Junction Seven. Recorded live in the studio with a small crew of sessioneers, About Time features Winwood on Hammond B-3 organ, playing the bass lines on the pedals. If this was meant to avoid the mechanising effect of a sequencer or click track, it must be said that the Latin percussion-driven rhythm section is fairly metronomic anyway. It also means there's no chance of Winwood playing guitar, which is a shame. Ten of the 11 tracks are self-composed, the exception being a cover of Timmy Taylor's "Why Can't We Live Together?" which fails to add much to the original. A relaxed, grooving album, About Time fails to make a major impression, mostly just passing the time in a congenial way. For loyal fans only....full text
Musicbox-onlineSteve Winwood began his career as a teenager, singing blue-eyed soul with the Spencer Davis Group. Though he took a detour through psychedelic pop, British folk, and freewheeling jazz while fronting Traffic — not to mention the edgy blues-rock he explored with Blind Faith — it was to the R&B scene that he returned when he launched his solo career in 1977. By this point, however, R&B had been transformed by its own popularity from something organic into something manufactured. Producers and record labels held a heavy hand in determining an album’s final sound, often forcing artists into a cookie-cutter mold. Since then, Winwood occasionally has shown signs of his old self — it popped up sporadically throughout the Traffic reunion that yielded Far from Home — but overall, each outing he released also sounded slicker than the last. Although Winwood managed to reinvigorate his songs in concert, where he was free to veer into jazzier terrain on a whim, the record business clearly was sucking the life from his work.
Indeed, the pressure to craft hit singles and commercially successful albums forced Winwood to part ways with Virgin Records in order to recapture the artistic control for which he yearned. He set up his own label (Wincraft Music) and proceeded to begin writing a new batch of songs, centered around the sound of his Hammond B-3 organ. The result is About Time, Winwood’s first release in six years, and, while it’s one of his better — if not best — solo outings, there are still moments that are downright disappointing....full text
EntertainmentThirty years since the demise of Traffic, grizzled old Steve Winwood shows no signs of wanting to hang up his guitar. Paul Weller and Ocean Colour Scene have already built whole careers around his Dadrock style, and now the man himself is back with his first new album since 1997. Backed by a band of jazz musicians, About Time finds Winwood eager to explore new territory, adding some Latin influences to his familiar prog-rock template. He's also in remarkably fine voice, applying himself with gusto to a set of songs that reflect on the past with a mixture of pride and sorrow. About Time won't be to everyone's taste; much of it is dour, rambling and lyrically trite. It also tails off badly towards the end, culminating in an 11 mnute dirge 'Silvia' that few will want to hear more than once. But at its best, this is the sound of a defiant old warrior, valiantly striving to prove that he's still got interesting things to say. The least he deserves is a hearing....full text
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