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Arc Of A Diver

4.3 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 18, 1990
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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Genre: Popular Music
Media Format: Compact Disk
Rating:
Release Date: 18-SEP-1990

Amazon.com

He wasn't Little Stevie, the 16-year-old phenom who set mid- '60s London blazing with his Ray Charles-like vocals, anymore. He was a half-forgotten ex-member of some of rock's most progressive (Traffic) and vilified (Blind Faith) bands, and he was considering leaving show business while recording this--his second album--alone and without a backup band. Arc of a Diver reflects a resigned-to-fate mood. It boasts a synth-heavy, dub-like ambience, with dirge-y tracks like "Spanish Dancer" and the wistful single "While You See a Chance" all but zoning out of your speakers. The fates were kind, though. Recording the single, Winwood inadvertently erased the drum intro. This spacey alteration, together with his catchiest tune since "Paper Sun," catapulted the song onto the charts. In a few years he would be among the top-selling vocalists in the world. His mood was lighter. He could afford to hire engineers that didn't make mistakes. --Don Harrison
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 18, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Island
  • ASIN: B000001FSY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,425 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Brian D. Rubendall HALL OF FAME on September 5, 2000
Format: Audio CD
The 1986 album "Back in the High Life" may have sold more copies, but "Arc of a Diver" is Steve Winwood's best solo album. It contains the smash hit "While You See a Chance," and plenty of other smooth jazzy pop songs in the same mode. There is not a bad song in the mix, though the standouts are "Slowdown Sundown," "Spanish Dancer," and "Dust." Though fans of Winwood's days with Traffic may lament the lack of adventurism on this album, those who love great songcraft will feel right at home.
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Format: Audio CD
During my MTV days, Steve Winwood's big 80's splash with songs from Back In The High Life didn't go unnoticed by me. After discovering that album and Chronicles, I had the good fortune of someone loaning me her tape of Arc Of A Diver, which I copied. My interest in his second solo album was due to the upbeat "While You See A Chance." Winwood's sweeping organ-like synths open his first Top Ten solo hit-it reached #7 in 1981-along with the accompanying lively piano that gives it a radio-friendly beat, with some downright introspective lyrics on if one is truly free from the past and ready to take another road one blue morning with a gray wind blowing. I find myself enjoying this song more than "Higher Love."

The title track reached #48 on the singles chart, a slower midpaced affair. "Spanish Dancer" along the same languid lines, may be an example of what many called "lazy music" to describe Winwood's early solo stuff. This song was included on the Chronicles compilation made to cash in on the success of Back in The High Life.

I wonder why "Second-Hand Woman" wasn't a chart-topper, as it's a more lively affair with Winwood's trademark keyboards set to a disco beat. Some racy imagery is present with the title woman being "a slot machine to take my dime" but it is quite the danceable track. The same holds true for the near eight minute on-the-run opus "Night Train" with its funky beats mixed with guitars, particularly a solo around the six minute mark, and the usual keyboards. A single mix of this could've done well, but alas.

Two non-singles in particular strike me and both are slow songs. They are "Slowdown Sundown." A wistful ballad, calling wine that "glassful of memories" and something to soothe the balm of yesterday's pain.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I had not listened to this album in quite some time. Today I thought I would revisit it, I'm so glad that I did. Much like a long lost friend... the songs come back to me. I just like Steve Winwood's work. His early work, sure who does not? But here I'm referring to his solo output. It has a different yet very distinct sound. The tracks here and on some other solo output, have a tinge of Jazz to them. I'm not one much for Jazz in general, but very much like, or perhaps have learned to like his sound here on 'Arc Of A Diver.' I suppose I could or should refer to this as material that is for Adults, not for Children. I just don't think kids would or could 'get this.' It is sonically for mature listeners of all ages. This disc sounds quite nice for as old as it has become. Steve Winwood seems to have put much care into his recordings, and as such, they have weathered well. I've to get out the other disc's in my collection and give them a spin... I have no idea why they came out of rotation, must have been an oversight on my part.

Truly an enjoyable listen, recommended for those new and like I, that have let Steve slip from their playlists. Smooth, mellow and enchanting, Steve's voice is bright and clear. The production is just top notch, the instruments... well they sound like they are in the room to me. All in all a wonderful recording form one of Rocks legends. If you like this one,'Talking Back to the Night' would be in order next. I see the track listing has disappeared from the Amazon page here, so I've included one for those of you who enjoy such. Enjoy!

01. While You See a Chance
02. Arc of a Diver
03. Second-Hand Woman
04. Slowdown Sundown
05. Spanish Dancer
06. Night Train
07. Dust
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By A Customer on December 25, 1998
Format: Audio CD
While many people think of Steve Winwoood's second "career", they think of "Higher Love" as the song that launched it. However, in reality, after several years of obsurity, in fact it was the single "While You See A Chance" that originally broke him in the 80's. A bit melancholy, yes, a bit to fast to slow dance to but to slow to crank up, yes. But a wonderful, eerily catchy composition, nenetheless.
Even better then that song is the masterpiece title track, "Arc of a Diver", which is arguably one of his best songs ever. The beginning of "Night Train" is used as the theme music for Radio Lightning 100 in Nashville, TN, where Steve Currently resides. With "Arc" and "Night Train" flowing so seamlessly, the latter even rocking out, it is hard to believe that Steve played all the instruments himself in a studio. The lyrics are a bit obtuse, yet they fit the mood of the music perfectly. "Spanish Dancer", although less lyrically interesting, catches fire in a similar vein.
That said, it seems like the rest of the album is comprised of afterthoughts. "Slowdown Sundown" is a good afterthought mind you, and "Dues" does manage to make a poignant statement. "Secont Hand Woman", however, is inexcusable. It is not only boring and stilted musically, but it is blatantly sexist. Steve was going through a bit a a tough time in his personal life at the moment, so for that he can be forgiven partially, but the wrenching bias can be too great for even this male Republican to bear at some times.
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