Arc Of A Diver (Deluxe Edition)

Steve Winwood

Island Records, 2012

REVIEW BY: David Bowling


Steve Winwood is now just about 50 years into his career. He began as the boy wonder of The Spencer Davis Group during the mid-1960s with such songs as “Gimme  Some Lovin’” and “I’m A Man.” It was then on to the British psychedelic rock/blues band Traffic, and eventually The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. There was also a short stop in the super group Blind Faith.

While he would reunite with Traffic, he began his solo career during 1977 with a self-titled album. His second 1980 release, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Arc Of A Diver, signaled the beginning of huge commercial and critical success. That album has now been reissued as a two CD Deluxe Edition complete with bonus tracks.

Arc Of A Diver was very representative of his solo material. While his soulful vocals remained intact, the music was smoother and more mainstream in nature. The production and sound were impeccable, which was a significant upgrade from his group work.

The album was a complete Steve Winwood affair. He played all the instruments, including the guitars, bass, drums, and synthesizers. He did not stop there, as he also produced and engineered the album. To complete his total control of the album, he wrote or co-wrote all of the tracks.

There is a lot to like here. “While You See A Chance” is just about a perfect rock/pop song as it meanders along. “Spanish Dancer” is proof that the early 1980s could produce good synthesizer driven music. “Slowdown-Sundown” falls into a mellow groove that lulls you and stays in your mind. I have always been drawn to “Night Train” with its somewhat funky sound and a brilliant guitar solo by Winwood. The title track sort of somes up the album and its smooth pop approach.

The second disc contains the shorter edited hit single version of “Arc Of A Diver.” An instrumental version of “Night Train,” which originally appeared on a U.K. 12-inch single release and has never been released in CD form is a fine addition. There is also a six-minute radio edit version of ‘Spanish Dancer.” The final track is a BBC Radio documentary, Arc Of A Diver, The Steve Winwood Story.

Over three decades after its original release, the music holds up surprisingly well. It may not be as creative as some of his work with Traffic, but it is an album and music well worth revisiting.

Rating: B+

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