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Traffic - On The Road CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

4.10 | 77 ratings

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Special Collaborator
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
4 stars I can't deny Traffic is one of my favourite '70s bands, although their music has very little to share with the decade's trademark symphonic prog trend - blending as they did diverse influences such as psychedelia, folk, jazz, soul and rock'n'roll. This live album, recorded in 1973 with an extended lineup besides the core trio of Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi and Chris Wood, showcases the band's best output of the early Seventies, with songs taken from their seminal trio of albums, "John Barleycorn Must Die", "The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys" and "Shootout at the Fantasy Factory".

The album contains only six tracks, the longest - an extended medley of two of Traffic's undisputed masterpieces, the magnificent instrumental "Glad" and the passionate "Freedom Rider" - clocking in at over 20 minutes. As a matter of fact, all of the tracks here are chock-full of jamming and improvisation, though not for their own sake. The unmistakable exotic flavour brought by Reebop Kwaku Baa's percussion work blends most effectively with the double drums provided by Jim Capaldi and Roger Hawkins. The late, great Capaldi also provides lead vocals (introducing band members in the middle section) in the dynamic, upbeat "Light Up or Leave Me Alone". Traffic though, could boast of one of the best-ever vocalists in the history of rock, the sexy, white-soul pipes of the incomparable Steve Winwood, whose performance on the sublime "The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys" is by turns wistful and seductive. Winwood also plays a mean lead guitar on this album, particularly on the soulful "(Sometimes I Feel So) Uninspired", leaving Hammond duties to the excellent Barry Beckett. The stunning sax and flute tour-de-forces of the sadly missed Chris Wood on "Glad" and self-penned "Tragic Magic" should also be mentioned among the undisputed highlights of the album.

This is a great live album, full of soul, passion and dazzling musical prowess, showing an extremely influential band (though far too often forgotten) at their peak. Highly recommended to all serious fans of real quality music.

Raff | 4/5 |


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