ILPS 9576 Arc of a Diver
Produced by Steve Winwood
Released on December 31, 1980
UK CHART POSITION #13 . . . US CHART POSITION #3 . . . PLATINUM RECORD (6/21/81)
Find it at GEMM
ILPS 9576 cover
[high resolution photo]
 

S o far as I can tell Steve Winwood has released two good albums and this is one of them. Even so, it’s the first two tracks that keep this album afloat; otherwise to the bottom it sinks to join its waterlogged brethren in Davey Jones’ record locker. Two out of seven songs may not seem like a compelling reason to buy this album, but consider the songs: “While You See A Chance” is an anglo-gospel (ok, I made that up) amalgam that sounds like a pop song but has far too much soul for pop music, “Arc of a Diver” is simply Steve’s catchiest song since “Empty Pages.” Unfortunately what follows is the parade of limp synthesizer confections, DIY songs that were DOA. Steve Winwood was one of the first artists to heavily employ electronic keyboards as the foundation for his arrangements, so what seemed refreshing at the time now strikes these ears as stale and limited. The result is sluggish music without the infusion of melody that the opening tracks have; even if you like “Slowdown Sundown,” for example, it’s unlikely you had any luck humming it later on. Of the also-rans, “Spanish Dancer” is mildly interesting, reminding me of Donald Fagen’s synthetic/jazz music (“Ruby Baby” and “My Rival” in particular); a remixed version of the single appeared as a single and soon disappeared. “Night Train” flirts with disco (which effectively carbon dates it) and “Dust” is just a bad idea. Honestly, Steve Winwood albums usually bring out the worst in me. When he’s good, he’s very very good, but when he’s bad he half-asses his way through amorphous compositions that already feel like remixes two minutes too long. I know that the lure of “Arc of a Diver” and “While You See A Chance” is strong, but don’t hold your breath expecting to salvage anything else from Diver.

ILPS 9576 back cover
ILPS 9576 back cover

TRACK LISTING

  1. WHILE YOU SEE A CHANCE    (Steve Winwood/Will Jennings)    5:12
  2. ARC OF A DIVER    (Steve Winwood/Viv Stanshall)    5:28
  3. SECOND-HAND WOMAN    (Steve Winwood/George Fleming)    3:41
  4. SLOWDOWN SUNDOWN    (Steve Winwood/Will Jennings)    5:27
  5. SPANISH DANCER    (Steve Winwood/Will Jennings)    5:58
  6. NIGHT TRAIN    (Steve Winwood/Will Jennings)    7:51
  7. DUST    (Steve Winwood/George Fleming)    6:20

CREDITS

STEVE WINWOOD --
Tony Wright -- cover

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK December 31, 1980 Island LP/CS ILPS/ICT 9576 lyric sleeve, purple skyscraper label
US December 31, 1980 Island LP/CS ILPS/M5 9576 lyric sleeve, purple skyscraper label
AUS'L/NZ 1980 Island LP L 37468 picture sleeve
BRA/GER/NET/SPA 1980 Island LP 203 207 320 picture sleeve
CAN December 1980 Island LP XILPS 9576 lyric sleeve
FRA 1980 Island LP 6313 124 picture sleeve
YUG   Jugoton LP LSI 73124  
ZIM   Island LP ILPS29576  
US   Island LP ILPS 9576 blue w. yellow sunset label reissue,
no picture sleeve
WW October 20, 1987 Island/Polygram CD/CS 842 365  
US 1993 Mobile Fidelity CD UDCD-579 original master recording

 

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