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Steve Winwood – Back In The High Life

This is a recent vinyl score, and man am I ever glad I bought this.

I had this on tape when I was a kid, and played it a lot. There’s something exceedingly… musical about what Winwood does here. I can’t describe it any better than that, but it’s masterful. Like he captured lightning in a bottle and it had a sound. Yes, it was the 80s and the sound can sometimes veer that way (I blame the synths, like in Freedom Overspill), but so what? And for all of that this record also sounds timeless. Classic. It just sounds GOOD. And I love (what I think of as) the Phil Collins horn sections, those sharp blasts of colour. I always cheer for the horn section. There’s even backing music and vocals from Joe Walsh, James Taylor and Chaka Khan.

This is pop rock music at its best, its smartest. These are really smart songs. Of course, all the big hits are here, like Higher Love, Back In The High Life Again and The Finer Things. But the whole record plays like a Hits disc. And this vinyl copy sounds fantastic. The sound is very roomy and warm. Way better than my old cassette. Of course, I didn’t have my giant PSB speakers back then, either…

I was amazed, listening to this. It’s crazy how much of this album came back to me instantly. It’s like it was encoded into my DNA and all I needed was to hear it again and the program just restarts right where I left off. Playing this, for lack of a better word, I just feel LIFTED.


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