Steve Winwood – Arc Of A Diver (1980)

LPFrontCover1Stephen Lawrence Winwood (born 12 May 1948) is an English singer, songwriter and musician whose genres include progressive rock, blue-eyed soul, rhythm and blues, blues rock, pop rock, and jazz. Though primarily a vocalist and keyboard player, Winwood also plays a wide variety of other instruments; on several of his solo albums he has played all instrumentation, including drums, mandolin, guitars, bass and saxophone.

Winwood was a key member of The Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, Blind Faith and Go. He also had a successful solo career with hits including “While You See a Chance”, “Valerie”, “Back in the High Life Again” and two US Billboard Hot 100 number ones, “Higher Love” and “Roll with It” charting 20 years after the start of his recording career. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Traffic in 2004.

In 2005 Winwood was honoured as a BMI Icon at the annual BMI London Awards for his “enduring influence on generations of music makers”. In 2008, Rolling Stone ranked Winwood No. 33 in its 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. Winwood has won two Grammy Awards. He was nominated twice for a Brit Award for Best British Male Artist: 1988 and 1989. In 2011 he received the Ivor Novello Award from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors for Outstanding Song Collection.

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Arc of a Diver is the second solo studio album by singer/multi-instrumentalist Steve Winwood, released in 1980. Winwood played all of the instruments on the album.

Featuring his first solo hit, “While You See a Chance” (which peaked at number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States), this was Winwood’s breakthrough album as a solo artist. It peaked at number 3 on the Billboard 200 album chart, establishing him as a commercially viable act.

The cover artwork for the album is by Tony Wright. He took inspiration from Jazz by Henri Matisse, notably VIII: Icarus.

The album was recorded at Winwood’s Netherturkdonic Studios, built at his farm in Gloucestershire; he played all the instruments, wrote all the music, and produced and engineered it himself.

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Reviewing for The Village Voice in June 1981, Robert Christgau credited Winwood for overdubbing all his self-performed instruments, but still found his brand of “British-international groove” more atmospheric than song-oriented and ultimately “lulling”. Robert Palmer was more enthusiastic in The New York Times, saying that Winwood has transformed himself into a “rock traditionalist” with the album. While highlighting “Dust” and the album’s title track as “first-rate lyrics”, Palmer said that “Winwood’s impressive playing and arranging and utterly distinctive vocals make several of his collaborations with Will Jennings, especially the brooding ‘Night Train,’ almost as memorable.” In a retrospective review for AllMusic, William Ruhlmann wrote of the album, “Utterly unencumbered by the baggage of his long years in the music business, Winwood reinvents himself as a completely contemporary artist on this outstanding album, leading off with his best solo song, “While You See a Chance.””

The album was also included in the books 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. and it was voted number 455 in Colin Larkin’s All Time Top 1000 Albums 3rd Edition (2000). (wikipedia)

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Personnel:
Steve Winwood (vocals, keyboards, synthesizers, guitar, mandolin, bass, drums, percussion, drum machines)

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Tracklist:
01. While You See A Chance (Winwood/Jennings) 5:12
2. “Arc of a Diver” Winwood, Vivian Stanshall 5:28
3. “Second-Hand Woman” Winwood, George Fleming 3:41
4. “Slowdown Sundown (Winwood/Jennings) 5:27
Side twoNo. Title Writer(s) Length
5. “Spanish Dancer (Winwood/Jennings) 5:58
6. “Night Train (Winwood/Jennings) 7:51
7. “Dust” Winwood, Fleming 6:20

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