Rhinofy-The Finer Things

While there is time
Let’s go out and feel everything
If you hold me
I will let you into my dream

Steve Winwood was a star in the Spencer Davis Group when he was still underage and referred to as “Stevie,” frontman for the first supergroup Blind Faith, a cutting edge band leader in Traffic and then a solo star in 1981 with “While You See A Chance.” It wasn’t completely uninterrupted, there were some slow days in the seventies, but nothing like the dry spell after “Arc Of A Diver” (yes, there was a mild hit on “Talking Back Through The Night,” but the album was nowhere near as big as “Arc Of A Diver”), and then came 1986’s “Back In The High Life.”

Credit Russ Titelman, working without his old partner Lenny Waronker, he modernized Winwood’s sound, almost to the point of pop, and what emerged was a giant hit, “Higher Love.”

You remember, Chaka Khan’s exquisite background vocals and that horrible, endlessly played video wherein Winwood tried to dance. Come on, isn’t that one of the great things about MTV not playing videos anymore, we don’t have to see musicians dance (or act!) who shouldn’t? Whose talent is playing instruments and singing and…

And this being the eighties, this being long before Napster, if you heard a great track you went out and bought the album. And even though it was available on CD, “Back In The High Life” was only 45 minutes long, and each cut told a story, and the one that opened side two resonated with me, especially after my wife moved out and I had a new girlfriend.

The finer things keep shining through
The way my soul gets lost in you
The finer things I feel in me
The golden dance life could be

It didn’t last, it never does. That’s what everybody says that turns out to be true, the first relationship after a long one is the rebound. You’re so thrilled to feel that pulse again that you believe it’s forever. But it’s not. And I’d warn you not to get involved with someone who’s experienced a big breakup but you won’t listen, no one ever does, but believe me, you’re gonna get used and abused, dropped like a hot potato when your new love realizes that as great as you are you’re just not them. As bad as the end of a marriage might be, the fact you made it that far counts for something, you built something, it may have crumbled but you’re not ready to construct that edifice again, and knowing how hard it is to do you don’t want to do it with someone who isn’t right.

But for a while.

So I’m driving up PCH with my hand between her legs…

Well, it started when she called me. For every pushy guy many are waiting for a signal, and if you wink or show initiative we pick right up on it and dive in.

So we went to lunch and we started a relationship and suddenly “Back In The High Life” took on a whole new meaning. That’s right, great albums work in both good and bad moods, they’re constants, that you can rely upon, that will deliver at various times in life.

And back when cassettes still ruled, before there were even CD players in cars, you got behind the wheel of your automobile and played your favorites for your new love, which is what I did.

“The Finer Things” is not a single. It’s got this synth beginning that sounds like a beautiful morning, a sun rising over a yellow brick road that you just can’t wait to jump upon and trundle off into the future on.

And Steve starts to sing and there are so many changes, it’s a Disneyland ride, without the abrupt turns and changes of a roller coaster.

Oh, I’ve been sad
And have walked bitter streets alone

Loneliness. The scourge of life. Your records will get you through until you find someone new.

I will have my ever after

And you can’t lose your optimism, that’s death.

Please take my hand, here where I stand
Won’t you come out and dance with me

We’re all children, looking for a playmate.

Like I said above, that relationship ended. The gory details are relevant, but you’re not gonna hear them here. All I know is when I hear this song it reminds me of her.

But not only her.

When I’m feeling upbeat, when I’m starting a new adventure, when I feel confident, creeping into my brain I hear that synth intro and the words to “The Finer Things.”

I’d love to let you into my dream.

While there’s still time.

Let’s go!

P.S. Will Jennings wrote the words to “The Finer Things” and John Robinson played drums and a bunch of people you don’t know fleshed out the tracks and it oftentimes takes a village to make a masterpiece, when we all come together it can be a beautiful thing.

Rhinofy-The Finer Things

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