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🌵 Desert Sessions 🌵 2.0: Cheap Used Records -Rosanne Cash – King’s Record Shop

Rosanne Cash
King’s Record Shop

This was my introduction to Roseanne Cash. It is a masterpiece. Although Cash is classified as country, she transcends the genre. The album has a timeless quality. She is a sophisticated pop country singer that has more in common with Linda Ronstadt than her country contemporaries. If she was coming on the scene now she would be categorized as Americana. She is both a cover artist and singer songwriter.

This is the sixth and last Cash album that would be produced by Rodney Crowell. She was also married to Crowell. Cash and Crowell were a successful music partnership with lots of hits with an unconventional approach in the country genre. This album is a great example of their amazing musical cocktail. It is pop county, without any of the cliches. This album made me a Rosanne Cash fan. Her subsequent albums were less popular, but more sophisticated. Her prior albums were even more pop, but brilliant.

This is a $2 record. It is pristine except for a skip in the first track of side one – it only needs a slight nudge to play through the skip.


🌵 Desert Sessions 🌵 2.0: Cheap Used Records – Lowell George – Thanks I’ll Eat It Here

Lowell George
Thanks I’ll Eat It Here

Thanks I’ll Eat It Here is in the Catchgroove hall of fame. This still had the $1 price tag on it (pealed that off 😂 for the photo below). The cover is a little beat up and has a cutout gouge. The vinyl is decent with some light scratches resulting in a few pops and clicks – but in great shape for a dollar record. This is an easy album to find cheap. Highly recommended.

In my original post I wrote: “At the time this album was recorded, George felt Little Feat was venturing too far toward jazz rock fusion, a style he hated, so he retreated back to the Dixie Chicken vibe on this solo debut. The album is a mix of covers and George originals. The album has an easy, almost tossed-offed feel, but if you listen to it carefully it is deeply soulful, cleverly arranged and expertly played by the top session cats of the day (late 70s). Sadly, this would be George’s last album as he died shortly after its release.”

🌵 Desert Sessions 🌵 2.0: Cheap Used Records – Box Of Frogs

Box Of Frogs

Box of Frogs were an English rock band formed in 1983 by former members of the Yardbirds. The core group consisted of Chris Dreja, Paul Samwell-Smith, and Jim McCarty. Vocals on this eponymous album were done by John Fiddler (formerly of Medicine Head and British Lions). Jeff Beck is featured on four of the nine tracks. Rory Gallagher is on two tracks.

It is a hard album to describe, but my hot take would be pop Yardbirds. It has a 80s rock aesthetic. The songs are good, the musicianship is excellent and John Fiddler is a solid vocalist who fits well in the concept.

This is one of my favorite albums of the 80s. It sounds like familiar classic rock and has great songs with catchy riffs and killer guitar solos. I can’t understand why this was not a more of a hit. The follow up failed to catch my interest. This was a wonderful moment in time.

Catchgroove’s Best of 2022

I consumed a little less new music in 2022 than prior years. Not because it was not a good year in music, but because:

  • I got hooked on the albums I already own (see my 🌵 sessions on cheap used vinyl)
  • Some of my favorite albums were long – four LPs albums became a norm
  • I took a deep dive into the Drive By Truckers (that took about two months 😊)

In summary, there was not a lot of time to consume new music. That being said, I still discovered lots of great music in 2022 that I want to share with you. As I read other year end lists I realized I have missed lots of great music from 2022.


Goose has been around for awhile and they have a nice following. They have lots of recordings out (mostly live), but this is their first proper studio album. They absolutely nailed it! The songs are perfectly sequenced and the opening two tracks, “Borne” and “Hungersite” are seamlessly connected. This is an album and not a collection of songs. The album is beautifully recorded and mixed. Although they are a jam band, they have a pop sensibility that separates them from that scene. They play songs and not just riffs and jams. See full post here. I saw these guys last summer and they were fantastic live.

# 2
Cruel Country

Wilco decided to fully embrace their alt-county/Americana roots on this album. They dropped the album when it was finished on streaming services vs. waiting for physical release (vinyl adds 6 – 12 months to the release process). Cruel Country is country music (in the non-Nashville alt-county/Americana sense that Tweedy helped invent), but it is also a double meaning: it is music about our country. Wilco are country like the Grateful Dead are country: they are informed and influenced by it; they borrow from the country palette. They then deconstruct it and reassemble something new. See full blog post here.

Red Hot Chili Peppers
Unlimited Love
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Return of the Dream Canteen

The Red Hot Chili Peppers managed to release two double albums this year that rival the best albums from their catalog. Both albums are great and on any given day I prefer one versus the other. The reality is they are just one massive album. The question is, with this much material, should Unlimited Love and Return of the Dream Canteen have been edited down to a 45 minute masterpiece? My answer is no. At this point in the RHCP’s career a taut masterpiece is not needed, but an excessive quadruple LP is. Links to my original reviews can be found here: Unlimited Love & Return of the Dream Canteen

Looking forward to seeing the band live in Phoenix May of 2023.

Tedeschi Trucks Band
I Am The Moon

My favorite album of 2021 was the Tedeschi Trucks Band’s (TTB) take on Layla. TTB has now doubled down by creating over two hours of original songs inspired by the Layla’s source material: the “eastern Romeo and Juliet” Layla and Majnun by the 12th-century Persian poet Nizami Ganjav. I Am The Moon is a 4 LP set (24 songs). It was released digitally in four chapters over the summer and is now available in physical formats (CD, vinyl and a sold out vinyl deluxe box set). Each chapter has an accompanying film/video. See link for full post.

Drive By Truckers
Welcome 2 Club XIII

I bought this album because I was going to see the band live. I was not a fan and was only marginally familiar with their music, but felt like I should be a fan based on who I thought they were. I love this album and in anticipation of the show I studied their catalog. I am now a fan. If you are not familiar with the DBTs this is a great starting point.

Father John Misty
Chloë and the Next 20th Century

I am a long time fan of Father John Misty – I have all his albums and have seen him live (including this year in support of this album) several times. In my review earlier this year I said: “One of my favorite music critics, Steven Hyden, has an interesting rubric – the five-albums test. The idea is to declare a band or artist great, or no no based on the fact that they have released five good to great albums in a row. This is not the only tool to measure greatness, but one tool. In his recent podcast, Indiecast Hyden declared that with Chloë and the Next 20th Century Father John Misty (FJM) had passed the five-albums test. I couldn’t agree more.”

Taylor Swift

I loved TSwift’s dalliance with Americana during Covid, but I fully appreciate her return to pure pop with Midnights. Is anyone actually seeing TSwift live given the Ticketmaster debacle?

Misadventures Of Doomscroller

I was a big fan of Dawes’ 2009 debut North Hills. I loved its Jackson Browne singer songwriter vibe. I tried to stick with them, but successive albums just didn’t click. But I thought I would give this a try as I realized it was produced by Jonathan Wilson. I had no idea Wilson was affiliated with Dawes. This is the fourth album he has produced for Dawes (including that debut album I liked so much). This new album has hooked me. I love its Grateful Dead jam band vibe. I guess Dawes recent moonlighting gig playing with the Dead’s Phil Lesh rubbed some jam on to them.

The Smile
A Light For Attracting Attention

I think of myself as a Radiohead fan and I am generally aware of their side projects, but I totally missed this one. I recently became aware of it when one of the vinyl heads I follow posted a picture of the LP. I went to my streaming service and gave it a listen – it is stunning. It is beautiful and it rocks.

The Smile is Radiohead members Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood with the drummer Tom Skinner (member of the jazz band Sons of Kemet). Yorke provided vocals, and he and Greenwood played guitar, bass and keyboards. The album was produced by Radiohead’s longtime producer Nigel Godrich.

It sounds like Radiohead, but different. At times more lush and at times more heavy. I am still absorbing it, but it is pretty fantastic so far. Most importantly there are lots of guitars and real drums!

In December the band issued a live set on streaming services that is a rawer (in a good way) version of several of these songs.

Black County, New Road
Ants From Up There

I had never heard of this band until the guys on Indiecast (one of my favorite podcasts) alerted me to it. I said in my blog post earlier this year: “I know it’s weird, no it’s weird as fuck. All I can say is listen at least five times. It is an acquired taste.”

Reissue of the Year
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Mega Deluxe Reissue

Wilco has been systematically reissuing their back catalog in deluxe/expanded editions for a few years now, but YHF is their most ambitious reissue to date. This is fitting as YHF was the album that moved them from middling indie-rock band to the American Radiohead – they have never had a radio hit or gotten to arena level commercial success – but with this album they earned serious cachet amongst musicheads (ironically they eventually devolved into dad rock). Wilco has taken an ingenious approach to the typical reissue of alternative takes and outtakes: they have sequenced three alternative YHF universes with three alternative versions of YHF. This is a wonderful reissue that gives you deep insights into Wilco’s artistic methods. Must listening for obsessive fans.

Honorable Mentions – no particular order

Maggie Rogers

This is a worthy follow up to the breakthrough debut. Many young artists have a sophomore slump. Not Maggie. The debut was a strong collection of singles where Surrender an album – that is, it is a cohesive whole. As much as I liked Heard It In A Past Life, I prefer Surrender. But I have always been an album guy. Surrender sounds more mature and self assured. This is pop music, but with a wonderful quirkiness. It has a bit of a 80s New Wave vibe. Looking forward to seeing Maggie live at a festival in Phoenix in March 2023.

Big Thief
Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You

It is a wonderfully weird album. It is both tossed off and ambitious. I don’t know what to make of it, but I like it. I hear so many things: Radiohead, The Band, Bon Iver, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, John Prine, Stevie Nicks, Emmylou Harris – I will stop there – this is a deep album. Adrianne Lenker’s voice is wonderfully haunting.

Maren Morris
Humble Quest

I became a Maren Morris fan on her last album Girl. I wrote earlier this year: “Maren Morris’s music is rooted in country, but she is comfortable performing R&B, rock, Americana and pop. Country has been flirting with pop as long as I can remember. Sometimes that flirtation works, but often it comes off forced. Not for Morris, she is a master at country pop. Her latest, Humble Quest (her third major label album release) makes it a country pop hat trick – she has it figured out.”

Angel Olsen
Big Time

This is the third album on this list produced by Jonathan Wilson. Wilson is the reason I came to this album. It is a slow burn of an album and occasionally Big Time swells. The production is stunning, but great production is not enough – Angel Olsen delivers: she is a fine songwriter and great vocal performer.

Harry Styles
Harry’s House

This is his third solo album, and although there is nothing new here, there is the pure confidence of an artist who doesn’t feel the need to impress anyone but himself. I listened to a recent podcast from the New York Times that suggested that Styles’ music does not live up to his greatness as a pop star and celebrity. I get that. His music is derivative and unoriginal, but it is fun and engaging. That is good enough for me! Full post here.

Nikki Lane
Denim & Diamonds

This is the long overdue follow up 2017’s Highway Queen. Denim & Diamonds has the Americana singer songwriter working with Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme and his band. That unlikely pairing works. A little less twang and a little more grit – it is a nice progression.

Billy Strings
Me / And / Dad

This is a late add to the list. My son picked this up for the 🌵 Sessions when visiting for the holidays. Billy Strings has succeeded at being a rockstar and as a bluegrass musician. He comes about the genre from his dad’s influence and this is a dedication to his dad. Strings puts a modern twist on bluegrass, but this album is his most traditional. It is a collection of bluegrass classics with Billy and his dad alternating the leads. A delightful album and a great introduction to Billy Strings if you are unfamiliar with him. Looking forward to seeing him live in the spring of 2023 (Phoenix).

Ryan Adams

2022 is a comeback year for Ryan Adams: he released four LPs and he had a successful solo tour of theater-sized venues. I saw him live in Minneapolis and it was a fantastic show – including several Minneapolis covers: Bob Mould’s “Black Sheets Of Rain” (which is fairy common in his set), Prince’s “When Doves Cry,” Soul Asylum’s “Runaway Train,” and The Replacements “Achin’ To Be.” The four albums are rocking. Chris is dedicated to his deceased brother, Romeo & Juliet is naturally a love album, FM is classic rock and Devolver is power pop. All are excellent.

And if that was not enough, Ryan released two covers albums for the holidays: Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska and Bob Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks. Wow!


Gear is a big part of my music experience. In my Minneapolis home I almost exclusively listen to music via headphones. For the last several years I have used a Schiit Vali 2 and have really enjoyed it. I brought it down to our Phoenix home and left it there and upgraded Minneapolis with a Schiit Valhalla. Schiit describes the Valhalla as “triode OTL amp”. Per my research, an output transformerless (OTL) is a type of vacuum tube audio power amplifier, which omits an output transformer for the purpose of greater linearity and fidelity. Conventional vacuum tube amplifier designs rely upon an output transformer to couple the amplifier’s output stage to the loudspeaker. I have no idea what the hell that means. Here is what I know: this is a rockin’ headphone amp – it sounds great. Schiit makes great budget audiophile equipment.

Margo Price
-Maybe We’ll Make It: A Memoir

I don’t read a lot of books, but when I do it is typically a music biography/autobiography. I listened to the audiobook version of this memoir and Margo’s reading of her memoir was a grand performance. See full review here.

And that’s a wrap. Already looking forward to 2023 when I will be retired and have more time to listen to music.

🌵 Sessions – Book Review – Margo Price – Maybe We’ll Make It: A Memoir

I am a Margo Price fan. A serious fan.

Me and Margo
April 14, 2018
First Avenue (Minneapolis)

I decided not to read her book, but instead listen to the audiobook. I have never consumed a book in audio form before. My wife and I were going to make our annual drive to Phoenix (about 26 hours on the road). We decided to invite Margo along to pass the time.

From what I hear, some audio books are read by the author and others are read by a voice actor. Margo is the former – sort of. Margo not so much reads her memoir, but performs it. And she performs it brilliantly.

Margo Price is a country/Americana singer songwriter. She is a hard to categorize, so I hate to pigeonhole her as country. When I am trying to turn someone on to Margo my shorthand description is that she is a country Stevie Nicks. A female Tom Petty might be more appropriate. But she can twang when she wants. I love her voice, her musical arrangements and her songwriting. As I said at the beginning of this post I am a fan.

In the memoir, Margo is extremely candid. She is so transparent at times it is unnerving to the reader/listener. As a fan it is a wonderful peak behind the curtain. How did a fuck up become an amazing artist? Simple: talent, drive, learning from your mistakes, tenacity, a little help from some friends, some luck and the humility to know that the fuck up is you – don’t deny it – embrace it and then transcend it.

Margo is not an overnight sensation. And she is not even a big deal in the music business. But she is a success – she is nearly 40 and she has a tribe. She is making a living making her music.

I enjoyed the book. For me, the purpose of a musician’s memoir is for me to get to know a favorite artist better. I know Margo Price better and I have greater respect and appreciation for her artistry than before I read the book.

Spoiler alert: alcohol abuse is bad for your career and family. However, it is possible to stop drinking with determination and a little help from psychedelics.

🌵 Sessions 2.0: Record Store Day (Black Friday 2022) – Gary Saracho – En Medio

Gary Saracho – En Medio
(1973 – RSD BF 2022 Release)

This is exactly what Record Store Day should do: introduce your ears to a lost classic. When issued in 1973 the jazz magazine Down Beat gave Gary Saracho’s En Medio their crown of excellence: a five star review. For a variety of reasons the album fell into obscurity.

This album defies categorization. It is clearly jazz with Latin flavoring, but it is also kind of funky. The closest connection would be Chic Corea’s Return To Forever. But it is not derivative, it is its own unique thing.

I had not heard of any of the musicians on this album. Per some googling, I learned most we’re affiliated with the Union of God’s Musicians and Artist Ascension (UGMAA), a network of largely African American jazz musicians organized by Horace Tapscott that acted as a community resource, linking musicians together and helping them find work.

I didn’t know anything about this album beyond what I read in the Record Store Day list. I took the $30 gamble and it paid off. This is a totally hip lost jazz/funk/Latin classic.


Gary Saracho – Composer, Keyboards, Piano, Primary Artist

Carmelo Garcia – Congas

Bahir Hassan – Drums

Lawrence Higgins – Sax (Soprano), Sax (Tenor)

Owen Marshall – Percussion, Synthesizer

Roberto Miguel Miranda – Bass (Electric)

Bruce Morgenthaler – Keyboards

Marvin Pallat – Violin

This album is not on streaming services, but it is on YouTube:

🌵 Desert Sessions 🌵 2.0: Cheap Used Records – Steely Dan Aja

Aja (1977)

Steely Dan’s Aja is one of my top 25 albums of all time. It was my first audiophile obsession – this album sounds so good! It is sonic perfection. This is my go to reference album given its outstanding production:

  • Test driving new equipment? Play Aja.
  • Got a new piece of equipment? Break it in with Aja.
  • Showing off your stereo? Exhibit One: Aja.
  • An album that has a great sound and production – is it as good as Aja?

This album has never gotten old for me. It is slick, but in a good way. It is sophisticated pop – almost jazz. The musicianship is spectacular. Per Wikipedia, Steely Dan for this album was

“…nearly 40 musicians, band leaders Donald Fagen and Walter Becker pushed Steely Dan further into experimenting with different combinations of session players while pursuing longer, more sophisticated compositions for the album.”

If you see this LP used, in good shape and at a decent price (under $5) buy it. It is doubtful it will be reissued. Per Wikipedia

When DTS attempted to make a 5.1 version, it was discovered that the multitrack masters for both “Black Cow” and the title track were missing. For this same reason, a multichannel SACD version was cancelled by Universal Music. Donald Fagen has offered a reward for the missing masters or any information that leads to their recovery.
Duplicate for the 🌵 Sessions

🌵 Desert Sessions: Black Country, New Road – Ants From Up There

This is from last February: Here is another album I can attribute to an episode of Indie Cast. Typically, cohost Ian Cohen’s taste is too emo and punk for me. But he was so enthusiastic about Black County, New Road’s new album Ants From Up There that I had to give it a listen.

This is now: Coming back at this after leaving it in Arizona for the summer. I forgot how amazing this is. I am an absolute sucker for horns in rock bands.

I listened to this a lot last winter. I was impressed (still impressed) – it is adventurous rock. There is a lot to dig into here. I am not sure what to compare it with, but the first thing that comes to mind is a more experimental Arcade Fire. Touch of Father John Misty too.

I know it’s weird, no it’s weird as fuck. All I can say is listen at least five times. It is an acquired taste. It’s on my year end list for sure.

I swear this isn’t staged!

PS – the deluxe edition comes with a live album that proves this band can deliver it live too!

🌵 Sessions 2.0: Record Store Day (Black Friday) – Jerry Garcia Band (featuring Bruce Hornsby) – Pure Jerry: Coliseum, Hampton, VA, November 9, 1991

Pure Jerry:
Coliseum, Hampton, VA, November 9, 1991
Round Records

I am a minor Grateful Dead fan, but a huge fan of Jerry Garcia’s solo work and collaborations outside of the Dead. Garcia has studio albums, but the real treasure are his live albums. Garcia’s live stuff is mostly brilliant covers. The arrangements are often jazzy and always jammy. Garcia has a limited repertoire, so many of the same songs are repeated at different shows/recordings so you get a sense of Jerry’s improvisational mind – which is as inventive as a jazz musician.

Most of these live albums are available on CD and on the streaming services – not so much on vinyl. It is fun to have a vinyl edition of this great show. The 2 CD version (released in 2006) turns into a 5 LP version on vinyl (released exclusively for Record Store Day).

Garcia has a diverse cast of characters playing the shows/albums. For this album it is the 1991 version of The Jerry Garcia Band: Jerry Garcia – guitar, vocals, Melvin Seals – organ, keyboards, John Kahn – bass, David Kemper – drums, Jaclyn LaBranch – vocals, Gloria Jones – vocals. And for this show a special guest: Virginia’s own – Bruce Hornsby on electric piano.

On All About Jazz website, Doug Collette wrote, “The effect Hornsby has on the musicians in the Jerry Garcia Band is much the same [as with the Grateful Dead], his effervescent playing imbuing the musicianship with a sparkling, fresh sense of rediscovery.” Given the location of the concert (Virginia), it was particularly appropriate to have a native son as a guest.

Although the audio quality is not as pristine as the Arista 1991 release Jerry Garcia Band (a live album taken from 1990 spring and summer shows at The Warfield in San Francisco), it is still quite good. What it lacks in audio quality is more than made up in a sublime performance. A statement on the back cover of the box says:

“This package contains CDs compiled from two-track, soundboard tapes that are not to be mistaken for or confused with fully produced studio masters. For as much as any other purpose, these recordings are offered to honor the electrifying spiritual, social and historical aspects of the Jerry Garcia Band’s concert of November 9, 1991. Enjoy this marvelous music with our assurance that every step has been taken to present it in a way that faithfully celebrates its original performance.”

Jerry Garcia Band is one of my all time favorite albums and it is great to have another show on vinyl from the same era. Last year Jerry Garcia Band was my number one for Record Store Day 2021 Drop Two, however due production issues it missed Record Store Day. I picked it up later in the year when it became available.

This is the Jerry Garcia Band at the top of their game and the magic that Bruce Hornsby brings to the table is worth the price of admission.

This was my number one choice for Record Store Day 2022 Black Friday. I got up at 5:15 A.M. and was at Stinkweeds Records by 6:00 A.M. – I was number 3 in line! I learned from scouting earlier in the week they had 4 copies in inventory and so I knew I was golden. As usual I had great conversations in the queue with other musicheads and vinyl obsessives.

First set:

“How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)” (Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, Eddie Holland) – 7:37

“He Ain’t Give You None” (Van Morrison) – 9:56

“You Never Can Tell” AKA “C’est La Vie”(Chuck Berry) – 9:16

“Run for the Roses” (Jerry Garcia, Robert Hunter) – 5:45

“The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” (Robbie Robertson) – 10:48

“I Second That Emotion” (Smokey Robinson) — 9:46

“My Sisters and Brothers” (Charles Johnson) – 4:39

“Ain’t No Bread in the Breadbox” (Norton Buffalo) – 9:15

Second Set

“Bright Side of the Road” ( Van Morrison) – 8:01

“Shining Star” (Leo Graham, Paul Richmond) – 13:36

“Waiting for a Miracle” (Bruce Cockburn) – 7:01

“Think” (Jimmy McCracklin, Deadric Malone) – 9:41

“I Shall Be Released” (Bob Dylan) – 10:24

“Don’t Let Go” (Jesse Stone) – 15:59

“Midnight Moonlight” (Peter Rowan) – 6:59


“What a Wonderful World” (Bob Thiele, George David Weiss) – 8:04

🌵 Desert Sessions 🌵 2.0: Cheap Used Records (AKA The Duplicates) – Steve Winwood

Phoenix Duplicates

As I mentioned in my last post, early this year my wife and I were snowbirds from Minnesota wintering in Phoenix January through May 2022. We started with an empty house – in fact our first night in Phoenix we slept on the floor. Over the five months we accumulated the basics (including a stereo).

For our second winter I grabbed my duplicate LPs from the Minneapolis mothership and took them south to help seed the Desert Sessions.

Minneapolis Mothership

I have more duplicates than a person should have. I had this idea that I would sell used records as a retirement hobby and over the last few years whenever I was at a record store or show I would pick up titles that appealed to me if they were cheap (like a dollar or two) and in decent shape. I ended up concluding that selling my collection was about as appealing as selling my body parts. Now I am glad I have all these duplicates as a nice little start to a record collection in Phoenix.

For this year’s season (Desert Sessions 2.0) I am going to review some of those duplicates.

First on deck is Steve Winwood. Between 1977 (Steve Winwood) and 1988 (Roll With It) Winwood released five LPs and they are all top notch. I have four of those five titles in the duplicates in Phoenix. I will do a brief review of each off them.

Winwood was a big enough star that there were a lot of used albums in circulation, but he doesn’t have the legacy cool factor – so his albums are easy to find cheap. The four covered here were each acquired for a buck or two.

Steve Winwood (1977)

I did not experience this album in real time. I came to it after the success of Back In The High Life (the tag on the cover this album suggests I picked it up in 1988). The album did not resonate with me back when I acquired it, but now it sounds fantastic. It sounds like a pop version of Traffic (Winwood’s previous band that had broken up three years earlier). Although it does not have any hits, it clearly foreshadows the mega success he would have a few years down the line.

The album is funky, has a singer songwriter vibe and at times is jazzy (improvisational in the way current day jam bands are). Winwood’s command of keyboards reminds me of Stevie Wonder – not that he sounds like Wonder – but that he coaxes a signature sound out of them that sounds natural, even on synths. It never sounds dated or gimmicky. There are synth sounds on this LP that Winwood was developing that he would later master to great pop effect.

Duplicate for the 🌵 Sessions
Arc Of A Diver (1980)

Arc Of A Diver is where Winwood strikes gold. He is able to perfect the experiments of the last album intro pop perfection. He has his first solo hit, “While You See a Chance” (number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100). The album got to number 3 on the Billboard 200 album chart. Arc Of A Diver established him as a commercially viable act. I bought this album after it became a hit, so I can’t claim to be an early adopter.

Duplicate for the 🌵 Sessions
Talking Back To The Night (1982)

After the commercial and critical success of Arc Of A Diver, Talking Back To The Night was a commercial flop. I am not sure why it flopped. To me it is nearly as good as Arc Of A Diver and has a legitimate single in “Valerie” which eventually became a top 10 hit on a greatest hits package after the success of Back In The High Life. Sometimes pop success is merely timing.

It should be noted that Arc Of A Diver and Talking Back To The Night are basically Winwood as a one man band. He plays all the instruments and manages the production. Most of the songs on both albums are co-written with Winwood by Will Jennings. This album is a bit harder to find and often over priced.

Duplicate for the 🌵 Sessions
Back In The High Life (1986)

It all came together in 1986 with Back In The High Life – Winwood had a mega hit album: triple platinum, three Grammys, five hit singles ( “Higher Love” a number one, “Freedom Overspill,” “Back in the High Life Again,” “The Finer Things,” and “Split Decision”). I bought this in real time (via the CD medium – the vinyl version is a recent purchase) and played it to death. It has never gotten old for me. It sounds as fresh to me now as it did nearly four decades ago. This is a solid album: five of eight tracks were hits and the other three are good too. If I had a top 100 album list it would be on it.

Everything that Winwood had been perfecting on the last three albums reached absolute pop perfection on Back In The High Life.

Duplicate for the 🌵 Sessions

I suspect I will be listening to these albums a lot this winter. Listening intensely to Winwood I have been thinking a lot about his voice. It has limited range, but it is expressive and soulful. It reminds me of a muted trumpet.