Photo of Steve Winwood in 1967 aged 19 – just after leaving the Spencer Davis Group to form Traffic. Young, modest, immensely talented and adorably goodlooking. What was not to like?
I saw Traffic when they headlined the Teespop Festival in 1968 and they were immense. Nothing on any of their studio albums ever came close to the freewheeling majesty of that band at the height of their powers. Wonderful groove-driven jams and memorable chorus – all achieved without a bass player.
Steve played bass pedals on his Hammond most of the time, and when he switched to guitar, Chris Wood would actually somehow play the basslines on his tenor sax. I’m not making this up – he had some kind of electronic pickup routed though a bass amp via – presumably – some kind of early state of the art electronic gizmo that dropped it down an octave and rolled off all the top end. Amazing.