Steve Winwood's Sessions
Rumored Sessions

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Anglos: "Incense" / "You're Foolin' Me" (1965) - Resolved!

Selected discography:
7" / Brit / WI 1004 / UK
7" / Sue / WI 4033 / UK
7" / Fontana / TF 589 / UK
7" / Orbit / 201 / UK (B-side renamed "Stepping Stone")
7" / Island / WIP 6061 / UK (Reissue 1969)
"Incense" on Spencer Davis Group: The Singles - CD / BR Music / BX 550-2 / Holland (2003)
See the Anglos and Go discography.

Resolution: In a Q&A conducted by Scott Tribble, webmaster of the official Steve Winwood site, Steve responded to my question about this single. In his response, posted 1/3/99 on the official site, Steve said "I had no involvement whatsoever with that record". I thank Steve and Scott for definitively resolving this long-standing mystery! The following background information was compiled before Steve's response, and will remain here due to the historical interest in this record.

Background: Until the resolution noted above, vague rumors circulated that Steve was involved in this record. The single was producer Jimmy Miller's project, issued on several labels. Writing and other credits on each label:
  • Orbit - A: (?), B: Renino & Palatino; arranged and conducted by Larry Fallon, produced by Fallon and Miller.
  • Brit - A: Tallon-Miller, B: Tallon-Miller; arranged and produced by Tallon and Miller.
  • Fontana - A: Fallon-Miller, B: Fallon-Miller; "Brit Records", "Recording first published 1965".
  • Sue - A: (?), B: (?); (?).
  • Island - A: Jimmy Miller, B: Jimmy Miller.
The earliest reference Jan Inge Sommerseth found is Record Collector's article on the Spencer Davis Group in 1981. An article in Melody Maker or New Musical Express, specifically discussing the Brit or Fontana issue, said that the band was American. In a radio interview, Jimmy said Chris Blackwell was so impressed by the record (US Orbit issue) that he re-issued it on Brit, a label he used for US bands, and later (1966) brought Jimmy to the UK to produce records. The Brit single was released in May 1965, and the Orbit number is repeated in brackets on it. The Orbit single's B side, "Stepping Stone", is renamed but otherwise the same as "You're Foolin' Me".

In the liner notes to the Spencer Davis Group compilation Eight Gigs A Week (1996), John Reed said Steve "teamed up with visiting American producer" Miller for this single, and that it was issued almost simultaneously on Fontana and Brit. Reed also provided two conflicting accounts by Miller and Muff Winwood. He said Jimmy insisted the band was a local New York group. On the other hand, Reed quoted Muff saying that "the double tracking is Steve and Jimmy singing together", and that it was a "scam" to pretend the record was imported.

Several other factors add to the confusion. Jimmy became heavily involved with Steve's projects as producer and occasional writer, beginning with the Spencer Davis Group. Steve used pseudonyms for contractual reasons during the early years of session work, including "Steve Anglo" with John Mayall and "Steve D'Angelo" with Powerhouse.

In summary, any involvement by Steve is supported primarily by Muff's account and various coincidences. The bizarre series of singles issued, and their credits, appear to support the scam story. All accounts agree that Steve doesn't play any instruments on these tracks. Listening reveals a singer whose lead on "Incense" and backup on "You're Foolin' Me" sound very much like Steve, but I'm fairly certain it's someone else. I'm guessing that any involvement was in a non-recording role.

(Many thanks to Jan Inge Sommerseth for his extensive research, tireless record hunting, and assistance here, 6/98.)

Island Records' 40th Anniversary site (here, now gone, 9/1999) provides some background on the Sue and Brit labels. Island Records founder Chris Blackwell launched the Sue label in the UK with the release of Inez & Charlie Foxx's "Mockingbird" (12/1963). Chris heard the song earlier in the year during a visit to Jamaica, and went to New York to license it from Henry Jones, aka Juggy Murray. He also made a deal to release other songs from Murray's Sue and Symbol labels. The focus of the new Sue label was the US R&B and soul sounds then emerging on the London club scene. Chris recruited Guy Stevens, a young deejay at the Scene Club in London's West End, to run the label. Over the next four years, Blackwell's Sue label issued a wealth of soul, R&B and blues, licensed from Juggy Murray and other US labels. The Spencer Davis Group released covers of several Sue records, including the Soul Sisters' "I Can't Stand It". Guy Stevens left Sue in 1967, and Blackwell folded it into a new organization in 1968. Blackwell started the Brit label in 1965 as an outlet for UK productions, but folded it after only four singles during the year. The most notable of the Brit singles was the Anglos' "Incense".

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Rick Grech on Blind Faith: Blind Faith (8/1969)

Selected discography:
CD / RSO / 825 094-2 / Germany (Reissue 1986)
See the Grech and Baah discography page.

Background: A 1986 CD release of this album included two bonus tracks, the instrumental "Exchange And Mart" and "Spending All My Days", that were not previously released and were omitted from subsequent CD releases. The tracks were recorded at the Morgan Studios in October 1969, after the Blind Faith American tour, for a Rick Grech solo project. Eric Clapton, Denny Laine, George Harrison and Trevor Burton took part in the session, and the CD credits Clapton-Winwood-Grech-Baker for the song writing on both tracks. "Exchange And Mart" is not the track on the "Change Of Address" promo single. In his book Eric Clapton: The Complete Recording Sessions, 1963-1992 (1993), Marc Roberty indicates that Steve was involved in these sessions. Steve's contribution to these tracks, if any, is unknown.

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Jeff Lynne: Armchair Theatre (1990) - Resolved!

Selected discography:
CD / Reprise / 9 26184-2 / US

Resolution: Steve Winwood has personally communicated that he did not perform on this album (many thanks to Steve Winwood, 10/2002).

Background: An email from an unidentified sender, in September 2000, points toward a possible contribution by Steve during the sessions for this Jeff Lynne solo album. The email mentioned an article which said that, from the sender's memory, "one of the other contributors to that album says that he felt lucky to have a song on the CD due to the one with Steve having been dropped". Other contributors to those sessions included George Harrison and Tom Petty! The album does not credit Steve with playing, but the "Thanks to" section includes him along with other people who were involved with the project. This lends some credence to the email.

Three non-album tracks from the sessions were released on singles. Based on listening, there are no obvious contributions by Steve on the CD or on the non-album tracks. The keyboard lines on "Lift Me Up" do sound like they could be Steve, though.

Unofficial Jeff Lynne Reference Page
Face The Music - unofficial

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Shawn Phillips: Second Contribution (1971) - Resolved!

Selected discography:
LP / A&M / AMLS 2006 / UK
LP / A&M / 4282 / US
CD / A&M / CD 3128 / US

Resolution: In a recent communication, Shawn Phillips clarified that Steve does not appear on this album (many thanks to Shawn and his manager Arlo Hennings, 9/1999). See also the entries for Contribution (1970) and Faces (1972) under Known Sessions. The following background will remain for reference purposes only.

Background: We received an email from a Ray Campbell, in March 1998, indicating that Steve "did much of the keyboard work" on this album. This is credible, since Steve played on Shawn's Contribution and Faces, but no other references have surfaced. An attempted reply to the email bounced back due to an invalid account. The CD liner notes credit several musicians, including three other keyboard players, but not Steve. Many of the album's tracks have keyboards, and some of the organ parts sound much like Steve.

On the original LP of Second Contribution, Steve is listed as having played on Contribution, but no details are provided (thanks to Keith, 5/1997). This credit has frequently been misread to mean that Steve played on this album.

Shawn Phillips Official Site
The Shawn Phillips Canadian Home Page - unofficial
The Shawn Phillips Home Page - unofficial

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Millie Small: "Killer Joe" / "I'm Blue (Gong Gong Song)" (1967) - Resolved!

Selected discography:
7" / Qualiton / SP 392 / Hungary
The Story of Millie - CD / Jump-O-Rama / JUMP 1022 / Germany (10/21/1996)

Background: This is the same Millie who scored the first Jamaican international hit with "My Boy Lollipop" in 1964. She is also the "fill" singer on the Spencer Davis Group's "I'm Blue (Gong Gong Song)", which appears on this very obscure Hungarian single. The A-side features Millie's rendition of "Killer Joe". The single's billing reads exactly as follows on both sides:

    The Spencer Davis Group

This billing has led to confusion, since it implies that The Spencer Davis Group performed on "Killer Joe". Based on listening to the track and comparison to other Millie recordings, though, the performing unit is clearly not the Spencer Davis Group.

The compilation CD includes both single tracks.

45-RPM.org - Millie Small

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Rolling Stones: Beggars Banquet (12/6/1968) - Resolved!

Selected discography:
LP / Decca / SKL 4955 / UK
LP / London / PS 539 / US
CD / ABKCO / CD 539 / US

Resolution: Steve Winwood has personally communicated that he did not perform on this album (many thanks to Steve Winwood, 10/2002).

Background: Rumors hold that Steve played on this album, produced by Jimmy Miller, but references are vague at best. The album cover states "We are deeply indebted to Nicky Hopkins and to many friends". The Penguin Encyclopedia Of Popular Music (1989) said the friends are "believed to include Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood" (thanks to Berkin Altinok, 6/97). The music store databases also refer to the rumors. On the ARMS (1984) video, Steve refers to sessions with the Rolling Stones' Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts (thanks to Patrick Spencer, Smiling Phases volume 94, 8/97), but this relates to Howlin' Wolf's London Sessions album (thanks to Marty Frisch, 3/00). At this point, my guess is that Steve is not on the album, and that the rumors relate to "Memo From Turner", which was originally recorded near the end of these sessions.

The participation of others related to Steve is a little clearer. In Rolling Stone magazine, Mick Jagger said Dave Mason was the only other performer halfway through album (6/22/68), they had a Hammond organ at the sessions (7/20/68), and one track was backed by mellotron (8/11/68). James Hector's The Complete Guide To The Music Of The Rolling Stones (1995) said that Clapton and Mason occasionally dropped by during the recording sessions and that Rick Grech played fiddle on "Factory Girl". In his book The Rolling Stones, Roy Carr said that Dave Mason played on the album and that Eric Clapton may have been in the studio (thanks to Utz Grimminger via Berkin Altinok, 11/97). Nico Zentgraf's exhaustive Complete Works books on the Rolling Stones refer to extensive involvement by Dave Mason and Rick Grech for these sessions, but with no mention of Winwood or Clapton.

Mick Taylor official site

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Rolling Stones: "Memo From Turner" (1968) on Metamorphosis (6/6/1975) - Resolved!

Selected discography:
LP / Decca / SKL 5212 / UK
CD / ABKCO / 90062 / US (8/27/2002)

Resolution: Steve Winwood has personally communicated that he did not perform on this song (many thanks to Steve Winwood, 10/2002).

Background: Rumors hold that Steve Winwood and possibly other members of Traffic played on a demo recording of this song. The song was for the movie Performance (1970), in which Mick Jagger starred, and two versions of it were released. The main version was on the movie soundtrack, a Jagger single, and all other releases of the song except the version on the Metamorphosis collection of out-takes. In his book The Rolling Stones: A Visual Documentary By Miles (1994), Miles said that the 1975 release was "probably the original demo for the number", and "if so, it features Steve Winwood and Jim Capaldi". According to Roy Carr's book The Rolling Stones and other sources, the 1975 version is Jagger, Winwood, Mason, Capaldi, and an unknown bass player, produced by Jimmy Miller (thanks to Utz Grimminger and Berkin Altinok, 11/97). One Web site (in 1998) listed the lineup as Jagger on vocal, Capaldi on drums, Winwood on guitar, Mason on guitar, and possibly Rick Grech on bass. The key mystery seems to be not whether Winwood and Capaldi recorded the song with Jagger, but whether the 1975 version is that recording.

Mick Jagger said in an interview on the BBC's Old Gray Whistle Test that Steve played on some track (thanks to Patrick Spencer, Smiling Phases volume 94, 8/97). The track he referred to here was "Memo From Turner", but which version is unclear (thanks to Paul Minkkinen, 1/99).

Nico Zentgraf's exhaustive Complete Works books on the Rolling Stones reflect the Metamorphosis version as recorded 11/17/68 with Al Kooper on keyboards and no mention of other players. His extensive chronology of the Rolling Stones includes an entry for a recording of "Memo From Turner" in September 1968 with Mick Jagger (vocals), Steve Winwood (guitar, bass, piano, organ), and Jim Capaldi (drums), described as a demo version.

More vaguely, the Penguin Encyclopedia Of Popular Music (1989) says "the movie Performance where Jagger starred had the track "Memo From Turner" where he also vocaled with the members of Traffic including Winwood" (thanks to Berkin Altinok, 6/97). An article in Goldmine 3/27/98, although confusing and inconsistent with other sources, referred to a version recorded by "a group of session men, including Traffic's Stevie Winwood and Jim Capaldi, and slide guitarist Lowell George", and said that the 1975 track was the original demo.

The soundtrack version is with Jagger, Jimmy Miller, Ry Cooder, and studio musicians, produced by Jack Nitzsche (thanks to Utz Grimminger and Berkin Altinok,11/97).

Mick Taylor official site
Nico Zentgraf's Rolling Stones Database - 1968

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Single PS front

Single PS back, L-R: Hardwick (standing), Axel (sitting), Sage, Fairnie, Rowles, Battle
Writz: Writz (1979) - Resolved!
Famous Names: The Writz Album (1981)

Selected discography - Writz:
LP / Electric / TRIX 12 / UK (with lyric insert)
CS / Electric / ZCTRX 12 / UK
"Night Nurse" - 7" / Electric / WOT 35 / UK (picture sleeve, b/w "Drive Away")
"Night Nurse" - 12" / Electric / LWOT 35 / UK (picture sleeve, b/w "Drive Away", transparent green vinyl)
"Movies" - 7" / Barclay / BA 105 / France (picture sleeve, b/w "Luxury")

Selected discography - Famous Names:
LP / Arton / BAN 16865 / Israel (same as Writz LP, Techno Twins on cover)

  • Night Nurse
  • Luxury
  • Swinging With The Reptiles
  • Drive Away
  • Movies
  • Robberoni
  • Private Lives
  • TV Times
  • Super Heroes
  • Muscle Culture
Resolution: Steve Winwood has personally communicated that he did not perform on this album (many thanks to Steve Winwood, 10/2002).

Steve's role: In his book Rock Record, 3rd Edition (1987), Terry Hounsome credits Steve with playing guitar, keyboards and vocals. The album's lyric sleeve lists the musicians as Steve Rowles (vocals, guitar), Steve Fairnie (vocals), Bev Sage (vocals), Jules Hardwick (guitar, guitar synthesizer), Nick Battle (bass guitar), Arry Axell (drums), and David Rees (producer). Winwood is not mentioned.

Writz was part of the new wave scene emerging in the UK at that time. Their album was the last release of The Electric Record Company, a unit of Pye Records, which folded about 1980. Actor Julian Carr, who has performed with the band, provided the extensive background that follows. In November 1998, Julian asked Bev Sage about Winwood's role with the record, but she had no knowledge of any such involvement.

In the beginning there was a band called Fish Co., which emerged from the contemporary Christian music scene in the UK. The Christian ethos stayed with them throughout their subsequent projects, but in a greatly disguised manner. Rowles and Fairnie formed Fish Co. in 1975, and were joined by Hardwick, Sage, and company. Fairnie and Sage were married. They released two albums on Christian labels, then in 1979 changed their name and image and went punk. Axel was added on drums and Battle on bass. Battle had been in After The Fire, one of many connections between these two bands, and with U2 as well. The approach was more art-school than punk. They released one self-titled album as Writz. In 1980, Writz made a surprise appearance at the Greenbelt Festival billed as Trix 12. A US band had a similar name (Ritz), so Writz changed their name to Famous Names in 1980, with no changes in personnel. Their shows were more like a circus event, with dancers and strange friends contributing to the performances (Julian included). Hardwick used to play bass wearing a wedding dress. They recorded an album as Famous Names, but Pye folded and it remains unreleased. Julian noted that the album is excellent. The band subsequently split up, then Fairnie and Sage formed a synth group called the Casual Tease. In 1982, they became the Techno Twins and had two UK hits, then shortened it to just The Technos, which released three albums and moved on.

In 1993, Fairnie was taken out for a Chinese meal on his 40th birthday. But instead, he was taken to a venue and found 500 people inside gathered to celebrate his birthday. A nice surprise, but Bev had also been secretly rehearsing with Rowles, Battle and Axel. Fairnie was given a mic, shown the stage, the band kicked into "Night Nurse" and he found himself thrown into 1979. He was so bemused. Peter Williams (sporting a fine pair of large angel wings) compered a caberet that followed, which Julian also took part in.

Fairnie died in 1993, leaving Bev with two children, and a lot of distraught friends. His funeral was attended by over 1000 people, including Bono, who flew Bev and the kids out to Rome for a holiday, joining the band on that leg of the Zoo TV tour. The entire Zoo TV idea was the brainchild of Peter 'Willie' Williams, one of the Writz entourage and now U2's lighting designer ("I have a vision - television").

Bev was the "Queen of the Rapping Scene" in the Modern Romance song of that name in 1982. She's now a TV presenter in Bristol, UK, and an accomplished photographer.

Writz were a bloody talented bunch of people, known by everyone except, sadly, the general public.

(Thanks to Julian Carr for background, most of discography, and single PS photos, 11/98.)

Julian Carr - Writz discography

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The Collaborations & Sessions resource is managed by Stephen Smith in conjunction with the Steve Winwood Fans site. Sessions page originally created by BobbieG and Stephen Smith, June 1997.
Page created August 1998.
Last updated September 2003.