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Wolfgang’s Vault Concert of the Week-Winwood, Wonder, Winterland and Birthdays

Posted by jhochstat on May 15, 2008

Well this week’s Wolfgang’s Vault Concert of the Week is actually a two-fer as this week we celebrated the birthdays of two music legends:

Steve Winwood – Born May 12th 1948


Stevie Wonder – Born Stevland Hardaway Judkins May 13, 1950

The contributions that these two men have made to modern music are so great and vast. There is not enough time and space to fully elaborate the impact that these two geniuses and legends have made with all of the songs they have written, people they have worked with, songs of theirs that have been covered by other artists.

They both got their start in music very early, “Little” Stevie Wonder released his first album The Jazz Soul of Little Stevie in 1962 at age 12. Lil Stevie Winwood at age 15 was playing the Hammond B3 in the Spencer Davis Group.

The thread that ties both of these great performers together is that they both played Winterland in early 1973 a little more than a month apart from each other. Traffic played Winterland on January 26, 1973 and Stevie Wonder played Winterland on March 3, 1973.

Today we bring you both of these concerts in their entirety from Wolfgang’s Vault.

First up is Traffic. This is what Wolfgang’s Vault has to say about this show:

This recording was made while the band was taping shows for their soon-to-be-released On The Road double CD. For the tours and records made around this time (‘72-’74), Traffic was augmented by three members of the legendary Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, a group that had provided backing on some of the greatest rock and R&B hits of the 1960s and ‘70s, including many classic Aretha Franklin and Dusty Springfield records.

By adding David Hood on bass, Roger Hawkins on drums and Barry Beckett on keyboards, the group’s core members -Winwood, percussionist/vocalist Jim Capaldi and sax player/flutist Chris Wood – found an enormous amount of freedom to play their respective instruments. Many Traffic classics are here, including “Empty Pages,” “Evening Blue,” “Forty Thousand Headman,” “Glad” and “Freedom Rider,” but there is still enough room for several, then-new tracks to be featured, including “Shoot Out At The Fantasy Factory,” “Rock and Roll Stew,” “Roll Right Stones,” “(Sometimes I Feel So) Uninspired” and “Light Up Or Leave Me Alone.”

For fans of Traffic, Winwood, or classic rock in general, it doesn’t get much better than this.

you can listen to the concert here

36 days later Stevie Wonder showed up at Winterland on March 3, 1973 and this is what Wolfgang’s Vault had to say about this show:

Stevie Wonder had spent a good portion of 1972 opening for the Rolling Stones on their Exile On Main Street Tour; and the experience gave Wonder the impetus to bring his music to a huge, diverse fan base. He was now equally comfortable performing in front of smaller, intimate groups of soul music fans and large, predominantly white rock audiences. And both loved Wonder back with equal enthusiasm.

This recording came on the heels of Talking Book, Wonder’s breakthrough 1972 album. While on this tour, he was writing the material that would eventually appear on 1973’s Innervisions. This recording does suffer from an overpowering backup band that seems to get in the way of Wonder’s talented playing and vocals during some of the songs.

In general, this is a very powerful live recording, and it remains a testament to the enormous talent of Stevie Wonder. When grouped together, it is amazing how many monumental songs he has written and recorded: “What’s Going On,” “For Once In My Life,” “If You Really Love Me,” “Superwoman,” “Sign Sealed Delivered,” the always infectious “Superstition” and “My Cherie Amour,” here fused with an instrumental version of the Marvin Gaye classic,

Rare highlights include Wonder’s astonishing version of “Me & Mrs. Jones,” which is clearly as good as the Billy Paul original. Also, check out Stevie’s version of Dylan’s “Blowin’ In The Wind,” clearly the funkiest flavor of protest folk song you’re ever likely to hear.

you can listen to the concert here

It doesn’t get much better than this…

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