Picks and Pans Review: About Time

updated 07/28/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/28/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Steve Winwood (Wincraft)

Who knew back in 1966 that the lusty, insistent voice on the Spencer Davis Group's "Gimme Some Lovin' " belonged to an 18-year-old blue-eyed-soul prodigy from Birmingham, England? Now 55, Winwood has a wrinkle-free voice exhibiting none of the damage that has ravaged the instruments of some of his harder-living contemporaries. Backed by worldmusic vets, Winwood orchestrates 10 new Brazilian-flavored tunes as well as a stirring cover of Timmy Thomas's 1972 anthem "Why Can't We Live Together?" on which he sounds like he learned to sing in a Pentecostal church in Birmingham, Ala. Backed by his trademark Hammond B-3 organ, he sounds remarkably like the young man who sang Traffic's "Low Spark of High Heeled Boys" 30 years ago.

BOTTOM LINE: Traffic stopper

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