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Traffic - Far From Home CD (album) cover

FAR FROM HOME

Traffic

 

Eclectic Prog

3.07 | 53 ratings

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ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
2 stars I have mixed feelings about this album, the only studio release from 'Traffic' in the thirty-five years since they disbanded in 1975. A well-produced reunion album is a plus, but I say 'Traffic' in quotes because the lineup includes only Steve Winwood and Jim Capaldi from the original group (Dave Mason wasn't asked to participate and Chris Wood had succumbed to personal demons in 1983).

Stylistically the disc reminds me an awful lot of Moody Blues' 'Long Distance Voyager', Jethro Tull's 'The Broadsword and the Beast', Santana's 'Shango', and even Yes 'Big Generator'. Not that the bands sound much alike, but because in the case of each of those records the label took the approach of corralling together remnants of a once great band and wrapped snippets of their sound inside rather simple rhythms, shallow and repetitive lyrics, and slick studio production. The result is a collection of songs that may fool the casual listener, but will leave serious progressive music fans feeling slightly disappointed and maybe even a bit violated.

This really sounds more like a Steve Winwood solo album than a Traffic one, and particularly noticeable is Chris Wood's absence and his comfortable saxophone and keyboard contributions to the music. The group attempts to make up for this with little tidbits like Davy Spillane's Uilleann pipes to open "Holy Ground" and Winwood's extensive keyboard contributions including a few spots where he layers his own vocals with synth and piano (also on "Holy Ground" as well as the organ-heavy "Mozambique"); but in the end I'm not convinced.

As a whole the album is done in by an over-abundance of repetitive and insipid lyrics along with an almost complete lack of spontaneity or character beyond possibly the energy of the instrumental "Mozambique" and the opening punch of the 'geez-I-hope-this-becomes-a- single' "Riding High". I wish I could say more good things about these songs because I am a die-hard Traffic fan and would have loved for their brief reunion to have rekindled the magic of the early seventies, or even to have sparked some new kind of magic. That was not to be, and the group (er, 'duo') faded into obscurity again shortly after this release. Sadly Capaldi would be taken by cancer in 2005 so this is as close as the band would ever come to reigniting old flames or creating new ones.

I can't recommend this record very highly. The music is technically well-done and Winwood's guitar/keyboard playing and singing are as good as anything he's done solo; but there's not much beyond a few carefully placed riffs and keyboard progressions to remind you much of what the group was capable of. Most disappointing is the lack of anything approaching meaty lyrics. If you're a nostalgia nut or someone who was introduced to the old progressive music greats through their 80s & 90s 'comeback' albums then you might find this record somewhat appealing; otherwise I'd recommend taking a pass and flipping a few discs back in the stack to find some of their earlier works. Two stars (out of five).

peace

ClemofNazareth | 2/5 |

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