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Gloucestershire 1978 [no label, 2CD]
Live at the Rough Hill Festival, Gloucestershire, UK; August 19, 1978. Good soundboard (or very good audience).
Thanks to the original uploader; cicada; and to dandrew for keeping the show alive at Dime.
This appearance at an outdoor festival is said to have been Winwood’s first-ever solo show after leaving Traffic, coming just over a year after the release of his self-titled first solo album (which I feel was a great, though underappreciated work).
It’s a loose-sounding show - a little sloppy at times, but actually refreshing compared to the ultra-slickness of his ’80s-era shows. Winwood sticks to the organ, on which he also provides the bass part, and synthesizer. Winwood’s wife at the time, the late Nicole Tacot, adds a homespun touch by singing And Then He Kissed Me, and contributes backing vocals.
*Winwood plays five of the six songs from his first solo album, and he rarely revisited any of these songs again. Some of the arrangements differ markedly from the studio versions. For instance, Hold On is done here Latin-style, while Vacant Chair has a different structure.
*Two Way Stretch is a soulful Winwood-composed number that later showed up only as a 45 rpm B-side in 1981.
*Winwood, who’s famous for messing up his lyrics, gets them totally wrong on I’m a Man. You be the judge: Is he making them up on the spot, or is he doing Chicago’s version?
This is supposedly a soundboard, but could be an audience recording, judging from the ambient sound. Still, there’s little audience blabber to spoil it. The recording had numerous cuts, which I’ve tried to smooth out as much as possible. The worst is in Low Spark, which ends suddenly just as Winwood’s hitting the climax of a great Nini-Moog solo, but there were also gaps in Nobody Knows You (end of the guitar solo) and And Then He Kissed Me (in the last few bars).
All in all, an interesting look at an underdocumented era of Winwood history. Thanks to Kenneth at the winwoodfans yahoo group for sharing the recording with me.
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At the time this recording first surfaced, I knew quite a lot of people who worked for Island Records and the prevailing attitude at St Peter’s Square seemed to be that this was just Steve doing something in and for the local community rather than any serious attempt to achieve world domination in the pop charts. These days he apparently even plays the organ in the village church when he’s at home.
The band is after all a pick-up band and whilst Porter and Stannard possibly featured on the under-rated ‘Steve Winwood’ album, I don’t think they played with him after this. The homespun feel is only increased by the presence of the late Mrs W who, let’s face it, is no Maggie Bell.
At the time, SW was still Island’s golden boy and still close to Chris Blackwell. Island were happy to indulge his transformation from working-class Brummie to country squire in the hope that better days lay ahead. The waxed jackets, flat caps and dubious links to the likes of Jeremy Clarkson and the Countryside Alliance were still some way away but Rough Hill possibly represents SW’s farewell to his ‘Hippie Phase’. Next time we saw him he’d had the New Romantic Haircut that we saw in the video for ‘While You See A Chance’ and it was all business.
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CD-R (unknown lineage) > xAct > Audacity > FLAC
Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (320 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.
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Kindly email us if you encounter persistent problems downloading the files. Also email us if you have any rarities you’d like to share with our readers.
Track 101. I’m A Man 5:11
Track 102. Midland Maniac 8:35
Track 103. Hold On 5:13
Track 104. Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys 12:42
Track 105. Walking in the Wind 7:20
Track 106. Let Me Make Something in Your Life 5:11
Track 201. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out 4:01
Track 202. And Then He Kissed Me 2:24
Track 203. Two-Way Stretch 5:47
Track 204. Vacant Chair 7:38
Track 205. Time is Running Out 8:45
Track 206. Gimme Some Lovin’ 10:33
Track 207. Hound Dog 5:08
Steve Winwood - organ, synthesizer, vocals
John Porter - guitar
Terry Stannard - drums
Demelza - percussion
Nicole Tacot (Nicole Winwood) - vocals
Click here to order Steve Winwood releases.
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