Steve Winwood: “Freedom Overspill” (1986)

The second single from High Life and, yeah, it basically sounds like “Superstition,” but let’s just agree it’s wonderfull.

Kronomyth 4.2: Liberty, equality and just this.

This was the second of High Life’s bounty to spill over into listener’s laps, again adopting the wise approach of pulling the B side from previous works. (I say “wise” because there was no telling how many of High Life’s tracks had the potential to become singles on their own.) As with the songs of Peter Gabriel’s So, “Freedom Overspill” mixes soul, funk and pop into a tasty treat, this time suggesting a slowed-down version of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition.” The flip side, “Help Me Angel,” is the same as the version that appeared on Talking Back To The Night. In the UK, “Spanish Dancer” (from Arc) got the nod on the back side.

Several versions of the A side (liberty mix, dub mix) exist. The Liberty Mix is actually a lot of fun; I’ve linked to it below* in lieu of the official video for “Freedom Overspill,” which apparently we’re not at liberty to share (not that I’m complaining, since copyrighted material has no business being on YouTube or any other commercial site that’s not paying the artists or at least the record companies that bamboozled the artists out of the rights to their own works). I believe the 4:09 version is edited; I’ll confirm that later**.

* So, after my little rant, I unlinked it.
**And without my even noticing it, later became now. Yes, it is an edited version. And now, onward to future laters!

Read more Steve Winwood reviews

7-inch single (European version)

A1. Freedom Overspill (Steve Winwood/George Fleming/James Hooker)
B1. Spanish Dancer (Steve Winwood/Will Jennings)

12-inch single (Eurasian version)
1. Freedom Overspill (Liberty Mix) (Steve Winwood/George Fleming/James Hooker) 8:30
2. Freedom Overspill (Steve Winwood/George Fleming/James Hooker) 4:09
3. Spanish Dancer (Steve Winwood/Will Jennings) 5:56

7-inch single (North American version)
A1. Freedom Overspill (Steve Winwood/George Fleming/James Hooker) 4:09
B1. Help Me Angel (Steve Winwood/Will Jennings) 5:06

12-inch single (US version)
1. Freedom Overspill (Liberty Mix)
2. Freedom Overspill (Dub)
3. Higher Love (Extended Remix)
4. Help Me Angel

Promotional 12-inch single (US version)
A1. Freedom Overspill
B1. Freedom Overspill (Edit)

The Players

Song credits from the original album: Steve Winwood (vocals, Hammond organ, synthesizer bass, sequencer & drum machine programming), Jimmy Bralower (drum machine programming), Randy Brecker (trumpet), Lewis Del Gatto (baritone & tenor sax), Steve Ferrone (drums), David Frank (horn arrangement), Tom Malone (trombone), Eddie Martinez (rhythm guitar), Bob Mintzer (tenor sax), Carol Steele (percussion), Joe Walsh (slide guitar) and George Young (alto sax). “Freedom Overspill” was cowritten with James Hooker of the Amazing Rhythm Aces. On the Liberty Mix, Michael Barbiero and Steve Thompson are credited with additional production and remix, while Ed Terry is credited with additional keyboards.

The Plastic

Released on 7-inch and 12-inch in Septemer 1986 in the UK (Island, IS/12 IS-294), the US (Island, 7-28595/20537), Canada (Island, 92 85957) and Germany (Island, 108/608 454), and in 1986 in Japan (Island, R15D-2055); reached #69 on the UK charts and #20 on the US charts (charted on September 27, 1986 for 15 weeks). Regional 7-inch releases featured a picture sleeve. Also released as a promotional 12-inch in 1986 in the US (Island, 2562).

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