Traffic [Remastered Bonus Tracks]

Traffic [Remastered Bonus Tracks]

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After dispensing with his services in December 1967, the remaining members of Traffic reinstated Dave Mason in the group in the spring of 1968 as they struggled to write enough material for their impending second album. The result was a disc evenly divided between Mason's catchy folk-rock compositions and Steve Winwood's compelling rock jams. Mason's material was the

Overview

After dispensing with his services in December 1967, the remaining members of Traffic reinstated Dave Mason in the group in the spring of 1968 as they struggled to write enough material for their impending second album. The result was a disc evenly divided between Mason's catchy folk-rock compositions and Steve Winwood's compelling rock jams. Mason's material was the most appealing both initially and eventually: The lead-off track, a jaunty effort called "You Can All Join In" became a European hit; and though it didn't succeed as a single at first, "Feelin' Alright?" (the question mark tended to disappear in later pressings) turned out to be the only real standard to emerge from the album after it started earning cover versions from Joe Cocker and others in the 1970s. It's easy to miss the import of the lyrics, which are a complaint of betrayal leading to the dissatisfied chorus, "You feelin' alright? I'm not feelin' that good myself." Though it's possible to interpret as a romantic statement, "Feelin' Alright?" can also be viewed as Mason's indictment of Winwood, written while he was out of the band. That would explain the final verse, which seems to append a happy ending to an unhappy story. In any case, it remains a popular song many years later. Winwood's efforts, with their haunting keyboard-based melodies augmented by Chris Wood's reed work and Jim Capaldi's exotic rhythms, work better as musical efforts than lyrical ones. Primary lyricist Capaldi's words tend to be impressionistic reveries or vague psychological reflections, his lines sometimes seeming more driven by the need for a rhyme than a coherent meaning. The most satisfying of them is the shaggy dog story "Forty Thousand Headmen," which doesn't really make any sense as anything other than a dream, though it's entertaining. But the lyrics to Winwood/Capaldi compositions take a back seat to the playing and Winwood's soulful voice. As Mason's simpler, more direct performances alternate with the more complex Winwood tunes, the album is well-balanced. It's too bad that the musicians were not able to maintain that balance in person; for the second time in two albums, Mason found himself dismissed from the group just as an LP to which he'd made a major contribution hit the stores. Only a few months after that, the band itself split up, but not before scoring their second consecutive Top Ten ranking in the U.K., and the album also went on to reach the top 20 in the U.S., breaking the temporarily defunct group stateside. (Traffic was reissued on CD on December 15, 1987. A 2000 British reissue augmented the original track listing with bonus cuts drawn from the 1967 Here We Go 'Round the Mulberry Bush soundtrack and the 1969 odds-and-ends collection Last Exit.) ~ William Ruhlmann

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
After dispensing with his services in December 1967, the remaining members of Traffic reinstated Dave Mason in the group in the spring of 1968 as they struggled to write enough material for their impending second album. The result was a disc evenly divided between Mason's catchy folk-rock compositions and Steve Winwood's compelling rock jams. Mason's material was the most appealing both initially and eventually: the lead-off track, a jaunty effort called "You Can All Join In," became a European hit, and "Feelin' Alright?" turned out to be the only real standard to emerge from the album after it started earning cover versions from Joe Cocker and others in the 1970s. Winwood's efforts, with their haunting keyboard-based melodies augmented by Chris Wood's reed work and Jim Capaldi's exotic rhythms, work better as musical efforts than lyrical ones. Primary lyricist Capaldi's words tend to be impressionistic reveries or vague psychological reflections; the most satisfying is the shaggy-dog story "Forty Thousand Headmen," which doesn't really make any sense as anything other than a dream. But the lyrics to Winwood/Capaldi compositions take a back seat to the playing and Winwood's soulful voice. As Mason's simpler, more direct performances alternate with the more complex Winwood tunes, the album is well-balanced. It's too bad that the musicians were not able to maintain that balance in person; for the second time in two albums, Mason found himself dismissed from the group just as an LP to which he'd made a major contribution hit the stores. Only a few months after that, the band itself split up, but not before scoring their second consecutive Top Ten ranking in the U.K.; the album also reached the Top 20 in the U.S., breaking the temporarily defunct group stateside. [The 2001 reissue includes three bonus tracks: the "Mono Single Mixes" of "You Can All Join In" and "Feelin' Alright" and also the "Stereo Single Mix" of "Withering Tree."]

Product Details

Release Date:
02/27/2001
Label:
Island
UPC:
0731454285223
catalogNumber:
542852
Rank:
8893

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Traffic   Primary Artist
Jim Capaldi   Percussion,Drums,Vocals
Dave Mason   Organ,Acoustic Guitar,Harmonica,Drums,Bass Guitar,Vocals
Steve Winwood   Organ,Guitar,Piano,Bass Guitar,Rhythm Guitar,Harpsichord,Vocals
Chris Wood   Flute,Percussion,Drums,Soprano Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone

Technical Credits

Dave Mason   Composer
Jimmy Miller   Producer,Liner Notes
Terry Brown   Engineer
Glyn Johns   Engineer
Margaret Goldfarb   Reissue Production Coordination
Brian Humphries   Engineer
Eddie Kramer   Engineer
Brian Hogg   Essay
Smay Vision   Reissue Design
Jane Hitchin   Tape Research
David Lascelles   Tape Research
Zoe Roberts   Tape Research

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