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

HEAVEN IS IN YOUR MIND

Traffic

 

Eclectic Prog

3.37 | 53 ratings

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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".

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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