- Audio CD (April 29, 2008)
- Original Release Date: April 29, 2008
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Import
- Label: Columbia
- Run Time: 57 minutes
- ASIN: B0014KD46W
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #91,054 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
Audio CD | Import
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Steve Winwood's Nine Lives is his first 2008 full-length studio album since 2003. The album's first single is "Dirty City", featuring guitarist Eric Clapton, which held the #1 added single spot for three weeks in a row and peaked at the overall #2 spot on AAA Radio. Winwood is an English singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who, in addition to his solo career, was a member of the bands the Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, Go and Blind Faith.
Top Customer Reviews
"Nine Lives" sounds a lot like second-generation Traffic, with less noodling and more focus. The songs build on blues riffs, jazz, and folk-rock, all coupled with African and Latin influences. There is precision and elegance to virtually every track on this album, without a single extraneous note. It all makes perfect sense, from the nailed down rhythmic grooves to the song lengths, which linger only long enough to make you want more. "Nine Lives" hearkens back to an era when good music defined our culture, but it doesn't sound the least bit dated or forced. In the best sense, this album could have been released in 1972. With nine tracks passing by in approximately fifty minutes, it's even the right length for a classic vinyl album.
From a topical perspective, Winwood is still relying on the imagery that has served him well in the past. There are lots of metaphors here - flying, drowning (or more specifically, not drowning), raging seas and struggling to find higher ground. He's not a lyrical genius, but the songs are so strong that his words take on a sense of import, and most importantly, he sounds like he really is trying to convey something honestly. Apparently, he still feels as though he's struggling to hang on to something (Relevance? Sanity in a world without pity?), yet the music is never less than relaxed and confident. Is "Nine Lives" as good as his previous solo albums? Definitely. It is certainly his best record since "Arc of a Diver," maybe even since "Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys." There is no filler here, just 100% vintage Steve Winwood, and that is better than good enough for me. A Tom Ryan
Nine Lives is simply a fantastic album. The instrumentation is sparse, made up of mostly Winwood on Hammond and guitar, a drummer, and a percussionist. Occasionally, he's joined by a sax or flute player, and on one track Eric Clapton jumps in for a smokin' guitar solo. The vocals consist of Steve, solo, without a doubled lead vocal track or any background vocals. It's a fairly minimalist arrangement, but the sparseness just makes it that much more effective.
The groove is mostly laid back, and the songs are extended into mostly five to seven minute explorations of a musical idea. The album isn't flashy, and Winwood doesn't seem to be trying to impress anyone with his skills. He's just out to have a good time, and make some music that he enjoys. It translates to a remarkable album.
Nine Lives is an unexpected joy. I can't seem to listen to it enough, and I know I can't recommend it highly enough. It takes a lot for an album to really blow me away. Nine Lives blows me away...
After all these years it is difficult for an artist such as he to stir up the emotions of youth but the experience of the years of playing with some of the best in the world shows through.
For me this is a direct descendent from the Traffic years with the jazzy and funky orientated pieces and the homage to Chris Woods with the hauntingly beautiful flute contibutions. I may be reading too much into this by suggesting that this is Winwood's Eulogy to his former bandmates, most of whom are no longer with us.
I particularly enjoyed Hungry Man which could well have been a jam with the Grateful Dead from their second album Anthem of the Sun.
This album grows and grows with repeated playing and at higher volumes and is particularly appropriate in these long hot days of summer here in North carolina. If you liked High heeled Boys or On the Road, then you will like this.
The single of "Dirty City" a gritty Blind Faith style number with his old friend Eric Clapton led this CD out into radioland. It's my favorite cut of the collection and the reason I bought the CD.
"Fly" is lovely. The flute at the end of the song is compelling and really conjures up the image of flight.
I'd like to see "At Times we Forget" get some airplay. It's got strong lyrics and is a good listen.
Check out the samples on this page and see what you think. While this CD is mostly jazz and blues influenced, fans of Winwood's pop may find a few cuts they really enjoy--and the price for this collection is excellent.