Artist: Steve Winwood
Album: Greatest Hits Live
Label: Wincraft Records
Release Date: 09.01.2017
Steve Winwood was only 14 years old when he joined the Spencer Davis Group in 1963. He’s always managed to maintain a youthful persona relative to his peers, sidestepping the drugs and rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle that took down many of the musicians with whom he has played over a long and varied career.
Not only has Winwood aged well, so has his music. His new two-CD release, Greatest Hits Live, spans more than 50 years, with contemporary takes on songs such “Gimmie Some Lovin,’” “Dear Mr. Fantasy” and “Can’t Find My Way Home” that have become part of the Classic Rock canon. Winwood has toured steadily over the past decade and has been meticulous about recording his shows. The 23 tracks on Greatest Hits Live are culled from hundreds of performances, representing many of his current band’s finest moments.
Kicking things off with “I’m A Man” from his Spencer Davis days, Winwood touches all the bases. It’s difficult for even the most serious fan to find much that’s missing. Traffic is well represented, from “40,000 Headmen” and “Pearly Queen” to “Glad,” “Empty Pages” and “Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys.” “Had to Cry Today” from the brief but glorious experiment that was Blind Faith is among the hardest rocking tracks while hits such as “Higher Love,” “While You See a Chance” and “Roll With it” are representative of Winwood’s solo career.
Anyone who has seen Steve Winwood in concert over the past decade knows that he remains one of the most consistent live acts around. Supported by top-tier musicians including Jose Neto on guitar, multi-instrumentalist Paul Booth on sax, flute and keyboards and twin percussionists Richard Bailey and Edson Da Silva, Winwood’s instantly recognizable vocals are as soulful as ever. Greatest Hits Live isn’t quite the same as seeing and hearing him perform these classic tracks, but it’s a highly satisfying listen.