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Traffic - Shoot Out At The Fantasy Factory CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.82 | 154 ratings

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5 stars This is a prime and extraordinary rare example of one falling for the second (or this case Third) best rated album from a celebrated prog stalwart but with Traffic's Shootout at the Fantasy Factory, my personal fave is not the delightful The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys (you gotta love that title!) nor the legendary John Barleycorn Must Die ! Am I doing this just for the sake of looking like a smart assed reviewer, looking for a new angle? Nope, sorry not today! The proverbial shootout starts with the glorious title track, a sizzling groove laid down right off the start, plowing sensually forward, loads of early Santana percussion cascades urging the body to dance and weave, twirl and breathe in the mellifluous cocktail of sound, the rhythm guitar churning blazing riffs, the bass firmly anchored, the drums propulsive and the suave Steve Winwood vocals smiling at you, and the lead guitar scratching at your high heels, lewdly meowing as if in heat. The wah-wah pedal rules here, an early guitar technique pioneer that is much sadly neglected today. A police siren wails in the back draft, ideal driven ?driving music as you tear down the highway to Prog heaven. Chris Wood tootles some fine laces and the spirit gets intoxicated with all the aural pleasure, a fantastic classic prog track! "Roll Right Stones" is another segue stunner, pastoral in its infancy, quietly evolving into a youthful romp that transcends the country/funky/bluesy influences by infusing a multitude of alterations in a progression of compositional intelligence that is truly remarkable (a hint of space just to add more ingredients to the pot), but when the huge chorus kicks in courtesy of some magic backing vocals, the wellness is elevated to glorious heights. A quirky return to a previous mood is met with stunning acquiescence, perfect timing and construction, an attribute that makes Traffic's legacy so desirable by thousand fans of early 70s rock 'n roll . It's obvious that the Muscle Shoals Studios (which I have visited in Alabama a few years ago) have left its mark on the sessions, the local crew of Hood, Hawkins, Beckett and Johnson providing a strong sense of local groove. Drummer Roger Hawkins in Particular is no slouch. Another tremendous salvo. The brief and fragile "Evening Blue" remains for others a passable interlude before plunging into the next two crackers but I have loved its plaintive cry for so long, a Winwood vocal that will consolidate his reputation, an added plus are the lyrics that are quite poignant! A sweet sax solo warms the tone up even more. "Tragic Magic" is an instrumental that defies description, a blending of the Allman Brothers and Roxy Music (two definite cousins of Traffic in a plethora of ways) , the Wood woodwinds (excuse the lisp!) pretty much and prettily lead the cavalcade , egging on the vaporous keys, the deft percussion and the squeaking guitar building into a massive groove , gilded by brass blast that are simply judicious. This is sexy prog in its "auroticism", lounge music for the sophisticated audiophile, easily the proggiest track here. Certainly one of the all-time great instrumentals (like "Glad" on John Barleycorn) and a monument of rock. This superb album ends with one of the great melancholic songs in history, the stellar "Sometimes I feel So Uninspired", a showcase of Stevie's outstanding voice , handling a lyrical journal of sweet desolation, and delivering a emotionally charged lead guitar solo that will tingle your spine, simply amazing I tell ya! The only reason this album is in a bronze medal category stems from the haunting presence and fame of the other two Traffic jewels and some cannot help comparing because on its own, this is Traffic's masterpiece. I strongly urge curious fans of early 70s music to whip out their pistols and head on down to the Fantasy Factory, There will be a hoedown, some fried chicken and grits and a case of Bourbon .

5 Alabama pylons

tszirmay | 5/5 |


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