Album #476 – Arc of a Diver

Album #476

Arc of a Diver was Steve Winwood’s second solo album. But, it created the template for a successful solo career, reaching it’s peak in the mid 80s. It was recorded at his home in the English countryside, a unique way of making an album in 1980. Winwood shows how versatile he is as a musician on this album. He plays ALL the instruments. This was uncommon back in this period. Most solo artists hired session musicians to play on their albums. Steve Winwood’s approach is very similar to that of Stevie Wonder, another versatile musician. You can actually hear the influence Wonder’s work, especially the Classic Period, had on Winwood. This is most evident on the tracks Second Hand Woman, Spanish Dancer and Night Train. But, equally present on this album are folk, progressive rock and blue-eyed soul. These influences would become part of Winwood’s solo output throughout the rest of the 1980’s. Arc of a Diver was a huge success, particularly in Canada where it hit number one on the album chart for three weeks. The album also contains Winwood’s first solo hit, While You See A Chance, a song that mixes influences of the past and present in Winwood’s career. But, he doesn’t only play keyboards. Winwood is a good and underrated guitarist and his bass and drum parts help keep the songs moving. Then, there is his unique voice. Whenever you hear it, you know it is Winwood right away. There are very few artists that have that vocal characteristic. I really enjoyed this album and I will be adding it to my collection. Other highlights include: Arc of a Diver, Slowdown Sundown (my favorite song on the album) and Dust. Overall, I give Arc of a Diver, 5 out of 5.

Next: The Pretenders self-titled debut album

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