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Traffic - Heaven Is In Your Mind CD (album) cover

HEAVEN IS IN YOUR MIND

Traffic

Eclectic Prog


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4 stars This is the U.S. release of Traffic's first album, MR. FANTASY. The Track listing is the same, with a different order and several track changes. Heaven... adds Traffic's first two singles ("Paper Sun" and "Hole in my Shoe") as well as the hit "Smiling Phases" but drops "Utterly Simple" and "Hope I Never Find Me There". Also added is sort of a musical reprise of Paper Sun titled "We're a Fade, You Missed This" which closes the album. The remastered CD features 4 bonus tracks. The first two are the tracks dropped from the original LP ("Utterly Simple" and "Hope I...") as well as two songs from the HERE WE GO ROUND THE MULBERRY BUSH soundtrack. These are the title track and "Am I What I Was or Am I What I Am". Overall, this is basically all of Traffic's songs before their second and self-titled album. The album is presented in Stereo and I prefer this track order over Mr. Fantasy's. The best songs are "Paper Sun", "Dealer", "Smiling Phases", "Coloured Rain", "Hole In My Shoe", "Heaven is in Your Mind" and of course "Dear Mr. Fantasy". The only song I don't like on here is "Giving to You" because it's mostly random talking over an otherwise perfect flute part. Chris Wood really shows off his talents for wind instruments as does Jim Capaldi with his vocals on "Dealer". Dave Mason's stuff is pretty different from the rest of the album (much like the Moody Blues' Ray Thomas) but he really shows off his vocals and songwriting capabilites on "Hole in my Shoe", "Utterly Simple" and "House for Everyone". Most of all, Steve Winwood writes beautiful music that keeps the album afloat. His vocals are still rather R&B-ish having just left the Spencer Davis Group (especially on the beginning of "Berkshire Poppies") but they also are very psychadelic ("Paper Sun"). The only real slow ballad on this album is the haunting "No Face, No Name, No Number" which shows excellent unique Winwood vocals that would resurface on tracks like "No Time To Live" from TRAFFIC and "John Barleycorn" from JOHN BARLEYCORN MUST DIE. Bottom Line: I reccomend this to any Traffic fan or anyone aspiring to learn about the Dave Mason era of Traffic.
Report this review (#39392)
Posted Wednesday, July 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Dave who?

By the time "Mr. Fantasy" was released in the UK in late 1967, Dave Mason had already left the band (for the first time). In was some time later that a US release for the album was to come about. The band therefore decided to reflect their current situation as a trio, erasing Mason from the album credits.

For its US release, the album was initially re-titled "Heaven is in your mind", and two of Mason's three songs were removed. This conveniently made way for the inclusion of three songs which had already been hit singles for Traffic in the UK. One of these, "Hole in my shoe", was in fact a Mason composition. The whimsical nature of the song lead to the rest of the band recording it under protest, but Mason enjoyed a told you so moment when it became a huge hit.

The differences between the UK and US versions were not however purely the result of political intrigue. There was a tendency in the UK for singles not to appear on album around this time, while US record buyers were less prone to acquiring singles and therefore expected to hear such songs on a band's albums.

The rearrangement and substitution of the songs for this version is significant in terms of the balance and atmosphere of the album. Whereas the UK release had a generally serious, proto-prog feel (although for obvious reasons that term would not have been used at the time), the US album has a much lighter, psychedelic pop atmosphere. This is not simply down to the inclusion of "Hole in my shoe". The other singles, "Paper sun" and "Smiling phases", also had a pop feel to them. When this is combined with the occasional lighter moments on the original album such as "Berkshire poppies", this becomes a much more accessible album overall.

For me, while this is a highly enjoyable listen, the pioneering spirit which prevails on the UK "Mr. Fantasy" is slightly diluted here. That said, tracks such as "Heaven is in your mind" and "Giving it to you" are still very much an integral part of this release.

At the end of the day, you pays your money and you takes your choice. Both versions are currently available together on a single CD on the Island remasters version of "Mr Fantasy".

Report this review (#166588)
Posted Monday, April 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Heaven is in Your Mind is the US version of the debut full-length studio album by UK progressive rock act Traffic´s. The UK version is titled Mr. Fantasy. The tracklists on the two versions differ a lot from each other. Heaven is in Your Mind include three tracks that don´t appear on Mr. Fantasy and the the rest of the tracks have a different order from the UK version too. Personally I prefer the tracklist on the UK version but Heaven is in Your Mind is enjoyable too. The mono version which is the one I have heard doesn´t have a sound that I enjoy much though and that´s my main reason for taking one star off my rating. 3 stars are deserved but I recommend getting the UK stereo version which is an excellent release.
Report this review (#263050)
Posted Wednesday, January 27, 2010 | Review Permalink

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