Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Traffic - John Barleycorn Must Die (1970 uk, superb classic album, japan SHM and 2011 deluxe double disc edition)



After disbanding the original version of Traffic, a 22 year old Steve Winwood emerged from the tumultuous over-hype and eventual self-combustion of Blind Faith in 1970 still owing Island records two albums. Initially conceived as his first solo project, the singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist quickly called in Traffic cohorts drummer Jim Capaldi and reed man Chris Wood to help flesh out the sound. The result was the reformation of Traffic (minus Dave Mason) and a top five entry in the US charts, the act’s best selling and highest ranking stateside set at the time.

Forty-one years later, it holds up remarkably well. This deluxe edition spiffs up the sound with terrific remastering, keeping the original six track, 35 minute program on disc one and adding a second platter with three alternate takes (worthwhile for collectors but hardly essential) along with a November 1970, 40 minute Fillmore East live performance, professionally recorded and intended for release but scrapped.

Winwood is clearly the focus and driving force on the studio selections with his guitar, organ and piano lines interweaving on longer compositions that combine the upbeat and moody jazz flavors of “Glad” with the dreamy, pulsing soul-rock of “Every Mother’s Son” and the dusky traditional acoustic British folk of the title track. The latter story song with its narrative voice doesn’t mesh in the context of the other more introspective tunes but reveals a different, more roots oriented angle to the band’s music.

The concert adds bassist Rick Grech, recently from Blind Faith, to the trio as they spin through peppy, extended versions of older gems such as “Medicated Goo,” “Forty Thousand Headmen,” and a stretched out, funky “Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring.” The closing 21 minutes including nearly 15 dedicated to a medley of Barleycorn’s “Glad” and “Freedom Rider” provide room for Traffic to stretch out and loosen up. They jam and interconnect with the focused intensity of professionals brimming with talent, youthful enthusiasm and a joy of playing that even four decades later remains edgy, rousing and contagious.
by Hal Horowitz
Tracks
Original Album 1970
1. Glad (Steve Winwood) 6:59
2. Freedom Rider (Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi) 6:20
3. Empty Pages (Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi) - 4:47
4. Stranger To Himself (Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi) - 4:02
5. John Barleycorn (Must Die) (Traditional, Arr. Steve Winwood) - 6:20
6. Every Mother's Son (Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi) - 7:05

Japan SHM Bonus Tracks
4. I Just Want You To Know (Jim Capaldi, Steve Winwood) - 1:30
7. Sittin' Here Thinkin' Of My Love (Jim Capaldi, Steve Winwood) - 3:3
8. Backstage And Introduction (Jim Capaldi, Steve Winwood) - 1:50
9. Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring (Jim Capaldi, Steve Winwood, Chris Wood) - 6:56
10.Glad (Steve Winwood) - 11:29
Demos Tracks 4, 8.
Tracks 7, 9, 10 live recordings on Fillmore East 18th November 1970

Disc 2 Deluxe 2011 Edition 
1. Stranger To Himself (Alternative Mix) (Jim Capaldi, Steve Winwood) - 4:09
2. John Barleycorn (Must Die) (First Version) (Traditional, Arr. Steve Winwood) - 5:05
3. Every Mother's Son (Alternative Mix) (Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi) - 7:03
4. Intro - 1:44 (This Is The Same As Backstage And Introduction From The 1999 Reissue)
5. Medicated Goo (Steve Winwood, Jimmy Miller) - 4:17
6. Empty Pages (Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi) - 4:47
7. 40,000 Headmen (Jim Capaldi, Steve Winwood) - 4:30
8. Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring (Jim Capaldi, Steve Winwood, Chris Wood) - 5:16
9. Every Mother's Son (Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi) - 7:00
10.Glad (Steve Winwood) / Freedom Rider (Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi) - 14:30
Tracks 5-10 recorded live at The Fillmore East, 18th and 19th November 1970

The Traffic
*Steve Winwood – Hammond Organ, Piano, Bass, Percussion, Acoustic, Electric Guitars
*Chris Wood – Saxophone, Flute, Percussion
*Jim Capaldi – Vocals, Drums, Percussion, Tambourine
With
*Ric Grech – Guitar, Bass

1969  Traffic - Last Exit (SHM remaster)
1971  Traffic - Welcome To The Canteen (SHM remaster)
1973  Traffic - On The Road (SHM remaster)
Related Acts
1965  The Spencer Davis Group - Their First LP (Japan bonus tracks release) 
1966  The Spencer Davis Group - The Second Album (Japan bonus tracks edition) 
1966  The Spencer Davis Group - Autumn '66 (Japan bonus tracks edition) 
1966-68  Deep Feeling - Pretty Colours  
1970  Dave Mason - Alone Together (Japan remaster) 
1971  Dave Mason And Cass Elliot (2008 remaster)
1972  Dave Mason - Headkeeper (Japan SHM-CD 2010 remaster) 
1972  Jim Capaldi - Oh How We Danced (2012 extra track edition) 
1973  Dave Mason - It's Like You Never Left  
1976-77  Dave Mason - Certified Live / Let It Flow (2011 double disc edition)  

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Traffic - On The Road (1973 uk, fine blend of jazz, psych prog rock, japan SHM remaster)



By April of 1973 the band had been touring for several months in support of the sequel to 'Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys', the 'Shoot Out At the Fantasy Factory' disc. This is a six  live set filled with jazz-rock performances from their European tour.

There is energy in here. Winwood gets in some long, impassioned guitar solos on the staid pop song "Sometimes I Feel So Uninspired"; the plodding rocker "Shoot Out At The Fantasy Factory" has a sincerely bad attitude; and Capaldi's wild-eyed vocal on the sloppy "Light Up Or Leave Me Alone" is welcome. Sparse praise for a record of this length. Produced by Winwood and Chris Blackwell. The band is Winwood, Capaldi, and Wood; Hood and Hawkins: and Barry Beckett, who ably recreates the keyboard parts that Winwood double-tracked on the studio albums. 
Tracks
1. Glad / Freedom Rider (Steve Winwood)/(Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi) - 20:55
2. Tragic Magic (Chris Wood) - 8:39
3. (Sometimes I Feel So) Uninspired (Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi) - 10:31
4. Shoot Out At The Fantasy Factory (Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi) - 6:51
5. Light Up Or Leave Me Alone (Jim Capaldi) - 10:56
6. The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys (Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi) - 17:47

The Traffic
*Steve Winwood - Guitar, Lead Vocals, Piano
*Chris Wood - Flute, Saxophone
*Jim Capaldi - Percussion, Lead Vocals, Drums
With
*Rebop Kwaku Baah - Percussion
*Barry Beckett - Organ, Piano
*David Hood - Bass
*Roger Hawkins - Drums

1969  Traffic - Last Exit (SHM remaster)
1971  Traffic - Welcome To The Canteen (SHM remaster)
Related Acts
1965  The Spencer Davis Group - Their First LP (Japan bonus tracks release) 
1966  The Spencer Davis Group - The Second Album (Japan bonus tracks edition) 
1966  The Spencer Davis Group - Autumn '66 (Japan bonus tracks edition) 
1966-68  Deep Feeling - Pretty Colours  
1970  Dave Mason - Alone Together (Japan remaster) 
1971  Dave Mason And Cass Elliot (2008 remaster)
1972  Dave Mason - Headkeeper (Japan SHM-CD 2010 remaster) 
1972  Jim Capaldi - Oh How We Danced (2012 extra track edition) 
1973  Dave Mason - It's Like You Never Left  
1976-77  Dave Mason - Certified Live / Let It Flow (2011 double disc edition)  

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