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Traffic - John Barleycorn Must Die CD (album) cover

JOHN BARLEYCORN MUST DIE

Traffic

 

Eclectic Prog

3.88 | 215 ratings

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Equality 7-2521
4 stars Despite the album being named after a folk staple, John Barleycorn Must Die contains as many or more jazz elements as it does folk. The album's blending of jazz, folk, and blues behind the varied instrumental skills of Wood and Winwood make for a great listen even if not an overtly progressive album.

The first two tracks exhibit my favorite element of Traffic. Both, the first a jazzy exposť and the second more folk rooted, capture the impulsive energy and have the spontaneous feel of jams but with the structure of composed pieces and are definite highlights. The title tracks stunned me on my first and all subsequent listens. Traffic deliver the definitive version of this song with a highly emotional rendition with a beautiful vocal harmony and layers of acoustic guitars along with some amazing flute work. These three mentioned tracks impress me to all ends with their emotion, energy, and originality (don't use that word much when including talk of a cover). The rest of the tracks are all good and show the previously mentioned blues influence, but they are not up the incredibly high standard set by these three.

Despite what many say I believe Chris Wood is the most valuable player on this album. His prominent sax and flute work really create all the drama and beauty that the record has. Capaldi and Winwood also play fanatically, but they lack the great touch and finesse that Wood does with his instruments.

The Prog-Folk genre may be a bit misleading. There's really more jazz and almost as much blues here as there is folk. I encourage those offset by this genre usually to take a chance and try this album out. In fact I encourage the same for anybody here.

Equality 7-2521 | 4/5 |

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