1. May 14, 1981

    "The Steve Winwood...

    'As a child prodigy (he was in his mid-teens) with the Spencer Davis Group, Winwood handled not only vocals and lead guitar, but also the organ which distinguished the band's sound. He left the group in 1967, after a string of hits, to form traffic, and he and his new mates found themselves under pressure to come across with the goods.'

  2. Next to a splintered fence in the Gloucester Farm country, two men stand working. One, a local named Gordon Jackson, is commonly seen tending sheep nearby. The other, despite his short-cropped hair and casual tweeds, looks less like a gentleman farmer than an artist of some kind.

    Something about his birdlike features and angular build would ring a bell in the mind of any Traffic fan. Yet this farmer has taken a wide detour from the intensity of those winter evenings in the early 70s when Traffic, the band he fronted, held sway over American Stadiums with its hypnotic rock & roll. Why is Steve Winwood, the maker of such hits as "Freedom Rider", "Dear Mr Fantasy", and "Gimme Some Lovin'", mending a fence? Hasn't it been three and a half years since the last Winwood album? Doesn't he have songs to get on with?


  3. When Steve Winwood was 16 years old he was a rock star in England, as vocalist, pianist and guitarist with the Spencer Davis Group. When he was 20 he made an impressive American debut with Traffic, one of the finest and most influential progressive rock bands of the 1960's. Traffic rapidly won a large and loyal American following but by 1975, when Mr. Winwood was only 26, he had lived through 12 years on the road and felt he badly needed a rest. So Traffic disbanded, he bought a small farm north of London, and little was heard from him until last week, when his new solo album, ''Arc of a Diver,'' was released by Island Records.

  4. And so it came to pass that in the beginning Steve Winwood (born May 12, 1948) was grateful as a thirteen-year-old just to get a gig. By that tender age he'd already absorbed rock 'n' roll and gotten hooked on Charlie Mingus and Ray Charles. He could play piano, organ, guitar, bass .. you name it, and sing with the best of them too. In short, young Stevie was a prodigy, and to him the chance to play music in pubs and clubs in his home town of Birmingham, even though it meant "stretching" the English licensing laws forbidding anyone under 14 from entering those establishments, was a welcome one.

    Music was in the family. His father was a semi-pro sax player who, ironically, used to play pubs and weddings with an accordion player by the name of Capaldi. Their sons would come to know each other a bit later, but for the time Steve worked regularly in a trio which featured his brother, Muff, on bass and Peter York on drums.