Sunday, October 24, 2010

Steve Winwood: Dirty City

Look, you can't be surprised about this. It's another song from Monday's concert at the Roundhouse - this one kindly filmed by philhonley.

Dirty City comes from Nine Lives, Steve Winwood's latest LP. The Hammond organ sounds exciting whoever is playing it, but this song doesn't really take off until the last three minutes, when Winwood lets fly with the guitar solo. Eric Clapton plays it on the LP, but this version does not suffer by comparison.

We have already seen Winwood as a guitar hero on Dear Mr Fantasy from Clapton's Crossroads guitar festival. What I did not realise until recently was that when Winwood backed American blues legends on UK tours as a young teenager, it was not on keyboards but the guitar.

In fact, Winwood could not afford his first Hammond organ until after the Spencer David Group had their first number one (Keep On Running). I have heard hms explain in interviews that this was a very practical decision: most venues around the country had awful pianos and if there was a good one then the "pop group" was not allowed to use it. So it was much better if you could, as it were, bring your own organ.

For a glimpse of the young Steve Winwood playing blues guitar, try Dust My Blues.

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