...After disbanding in 1969, during which time Winwood joined Blind Faith, Traffic reunited in 1970 to release the critically acclaimed album John Barleycorn Must Die. The band's line-up varied from this point until they disbanded again in 1975, although a partial reunion, with Winwood and Capaldi, took place in 1994...Read more
Traffic was a rock band from Birmingham, England, in the late 1960s and led by Steve Winwood, with Jim Capaldi, Chris Wood and Dave Mason, after Winwood left the Spencer Davis Group.
The four musicians often played at a club called The Elbow Room in Aston which is where the name 'Traffic' was conceived after observing passing cars. With Mason and Capaldi eager to form a new group, Winwood agreed to join the partnership along with Chris Wood and so the four members retreated to a secluded cottage in Aston Tirrold, Berkshire to rehearse and record their early work.
Their debut single was 1967's "Paper Sun", a UK hit. "Hole in My Shoe", the second single, was an even bigger hit, and set the stage for a rivalry between Winwood and Mason, the group's principal songwriters. Their debut album was Mr. Fantasy which, like the singles, was a hit in the UK but not in the US or elsewhere. Their second album, Traffic, was released in 1968. The band began touring the US, but Mason was fired and Winwood announced the band's break-up. Winwood formed Blind Faith but after that band split in 1969 he began working on a solo recording which eventually turned into another Traffic album, John Barleycorn Must Die, their most successful album yet.
After some personnel changes (including the return of Mason), Traffic released The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys, an American hit that didn't chart in the UK. Once again, personnel problems wracked the band as Capaldi began a solo career. Still, Shoot Out at the Fantasy Factory was another hit, as was When the Eagle Flies (1974 in music). Capaldi's solo career began to heat up, and Winwood finally launched one of his own, recording the smash hit album Arc of a Diver. Winwood's solo career peaked with the album Back in the High Life. Traffic did not record again until 1994, when they released Far From Home. After re-uniting, Capaldi and Winwood toured widely but were unable to regain their former stature.
Traffic was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 15, 2004.
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Traffic (1968) UICY-93642
Considering that Traffic couldn't seem to stay intact for more than a few months at a time, the band's work seems even more remarkable. Recorded in the summer of 1968 and released later that fall, Traffic, the band's sophomore release, stands as the outfit's high-water mark and one of the great rock albums of its time. Clearly, Dave Mason and Steve Winwood had completely different visions for the band, both musically and socially. In fact, Mason had already left the band at the year's beginning, only to return a few short months later. Mason liked to work alone and favored rooted folk-tinged material; Winwood saw the band as a communal affair and leaned toward progressive jazz-influenced music. Of course, the synthesis of these two approaches is what makes Traffic such a terrific album. There's not a weak moment across these 10 songs (augmented on this reissue with three mono single mixes). By fusing bits of country and folk, wisps of psychedelia, and elements of jazz and soul, the album managed to both presage and summarize the ambitious developments of rock music during its most creative era.
1. You Can All Join In
2. Pearly Queen
3. Don't Be Sad
4. Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring
5. Feelin' Alright
6. Vagabond Virgin
7. (Roamin' Thro' The Gloamin' With) 40,000 Headmen
8. Cryin' To Be Heard
9. No Time To Live
10. Means To An End
11. You Can All Join In [mono mix]
12. Feelin' Alright [mono single mix]
13. Withering Tree [stereo mix]