March 26, 2014 at 10:30 PM by Dr. Drang
I had a Twitter conversation with Casey Liss that stretched out from last night into this morning.
If you don’t understand my Emoji rebus, you may want to look here.
Anyway, I could make some snarky comments about Casey’s confusion, but that wouldn’t be fair. First, the peak of Steve Winwood’s career predates Casey’s birth. Second, when it comes to Winwood, Clapton, Baker, and a few others, the years that included “Low Spark” were a mishmash of supergroups and heroin. It’s easy to forget who was playing with who on what record.
So, thanks to Casey, I’ve been thinking about Steve Winwood, which always makes me think of the Blues Brothers and how they ruined “Gimme Some Lovin’.” Here’s a cute proto-video (unfortunately truncated) of the Spencer Davis Group.
Winwood’s voice is amazing in how it floats around the beat. He was all of eighteen (maybe still seventeen) when this was recorded. And there’s the classic sound of the Hammond B3.
Here, in contrast, is the awful, metronomic Blues Brothers remake, which sounds like a dirge, played slow and methodically to handle the limitations of John Belushi’s voice.
Don’t get me wrong. If royalties from this make Steve Cropper’s twilight years more comfortable, that’s fine with me. And of course, Winwood gets writing royalties, too. But why would anyone listen to this mechanical abomination when the original is available?
Part of the answer, I suppose, is that they don’t know any better. The Blues Brothers version took over radio play in the 80s and 90s, squeezing out the Spencer Davis original. There’s a generation of middle-aged adults who have only heard the abomination. Don’t follow in their footsteps.