V1-90946 Roll With It
Produced by Steve Winwood and Tom Lord Alge
Released on June 1988
UK CHART POSITION #4 . . . US CHART POSITION #1 . . .
DOUBLE PLATINUM RECORD
Find it at GEMM
V1-90946 cover  

W hile his last studio album was aligned with Peter Gabriel’s So, Roll With It is clearly back in the Phil Collins camp of SMOR (Soccer Mom-Oriented Rock) music. In fact, the album feels like a step backward, suggesting a cross between Talking Back’s synthetic filler and High Life’s celebratory sound. However, Roll With It passes the first smell taste by engaging a full-time backing band, lending Winwood’s soulful songs the requisite fullness they need to succeed. The album rarely reaches the revelatory heights of High Life, though Steve does impart minor epiphanies on tracks like “Roll With It,” “Holding On” and “Don’t You Know What The Night Can Do?” (And, yes, the latter was used in a beer commercial, because apparently the theme of night is synonymous with beer drinking -- see Genesis’ “Tonight, Tonight, Tonight” for more on this.) Will Jennings’ words this time center on endurance: rolling with what life hands you, holding on until you find the right love, dancing in the midst of life’s challenges, providing a shining example for the ones we love. It all feels a little like a self-help seminar, but if it resonates with Winwood’s core audience who am I to complain? Musically the album suggests High Life with some noticeable deflation; “Shining Song” and “Put On Your Dancing Shoes” contain the same air as “Higher Love” but in a different balloon. The economy-size horn section adds a twist of Phil Collins and, in the case of “Roll With It,” seems to lift a horn line right from George Harrison. Of course, no one wants Steve Winwood to release albums that nobody hears, and plenty of people paid to hear Roll With It, so kudos to him. Yes, it shows a slippage back into the comfortable arms of predictable (and predictably soulful) product, but Winwood deserves to cash in on his talents as much as anyone.

V1-90946 back cover V1-90946 lyric sleeve
V1-90946 back cover V1-90946 lyric sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. ROLL WITH IT    5:17
  2. HOLDING ON    6:14
  3. THE MORNING SIDE    5:12
  4. PUT ON YOUR DANCING SHOES    5:10
  5. DON'T YOU KNOW WHAT THE NIGHT CAN DO?    6:53
  6. HEARTS ON FIRE    (Steve Winwood/Jim Capaldi)    5:14
  7. ONE MORE MORNING    4:58
  8. SHINING SONG    5:29

    All songs written by Steve Winwood and Will Jennings unless noted

CREDITS

STEVE WINWOOD -- vocals, Fairlight programming, drums, bass guitar, guitar, piano, Hammond organ, Moog bass, keyboards, Mini Moog solo, horn arrangement
BASHIRI JOHNSON -- percussion
MIKE LAWLER -- keyboards
MEMPHIS HORNS: horn arrangements
  WAYNE JACKSON -- trumpet, trombone
  ANDREW LOVE -- tenor sax
TESSA NILES -- backing vocals
JOHN ROBINSON -- drums
MARK WILLIAMSON -- backing vocals
Jimmy Bralower -- drum machine, percussion
Robby Kilgore -- keyboards
Tom Lord Alge -- tambourine (1), engineer, mixing
Paul Pesco -- guitar
John Clarke -- executive producer
Lee Charteris -- production coordination
Jeff Ayeroff -- art direction
Mick Haggerty -- art direction, design
Herb Ritts -- photography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK June 1988 Virgin LP/CD/CS V/CDV/TCV 2532  
US June 1988 Virgin LP/CD/CS V1-90946 lyric sleeve
GER 1988 Virgin LP 209 165 lyric sleeve

 

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