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Traffic - Welcome to the Canteen CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.40 | 59 ratings

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4 stars Yes, this album wasn`t released with the name "Traffic" on the cover. But it`s a Traffic`s album, released with the names of the musicians in the cover and in the label of the old L.P. The reason of this was that the band still needed one more album to fill their contract with U.S. label United Artists Records. As Island Records, their British label, was going to appear in the U.S. then as a record label (distributed by Capitol Records by a few years in the 70s), with the release of their next studio album titled "The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys" in November 1971, this "Welcome to the Canteen" album, released in September 1971, was released by United Artists in the U.S. (to fill their contract with the label) and at the same time it was released by Island Records in England. The band had some conflicts with United Artist about the release of this live album, and Steve Winwood also had problems the same year with that label due to the release of a double L.P. album called "Winwood", which was a compilation of songs recorded by Winwood with Traffic and other bands in the previous years. This "Winwood" album was put out of print due to Winwood`s protest. "Welcome to the Canteen" was recorded live in July 1971, in England. Dave Mason joined the band for 6 concerts during that time, as a guest. The new line-up, apart from Steve Winwood (keyboards, vocals, guitar), Jim Capaldi (percusion, tambourine, vocals), Chris Wood (saxes, flute, keyboards) and Ric Grech (bass, who was playing with the band since August 1970), now also included Reebop Kwaku Baah (congas, timbales, bongos) and Jim Gordon (drums), plus guest Dave Mason (guitars, vocals).It has a better recording than the live recordings which were included in the "Last Exit" album in 1969, but the live recordings of this 1971 album also show a band which maybe didn`t rehearse too much. The extra musicians allowed the band to sound better. They also did some very good improvisations and solos. The album starts with "Medicated Goo", sung by Winwood, which includes a guitar solo by Mason. The next song, "Sad and Deep as You", is a song sung by Mason with acoustic guitar, with Wood`s flute and Reebop`s congas (this song was from one of Mason`s solo albums). "40000 Headmen" is the next song, sung by Winwood. "I Shouldn`t Take More Than You Gave" is another song composed and sung by Dave Mason, again another song which he originally recorded for one of his solo albums. Mason plays a very good guitar solo in this song, very well accompanied by the rest of the band. The next song, in the Side Two of the L.P., is "Dear Mr. Fantasy", which has very good guitar solos by Mason and Winwood, and keyboards by Chris Wood. Maybe it is the best song in this album. The last song of this album is "Gimme Some Lovin`" , a new version of this old hit of Winwood`s previous band, the Spencer Davis Group. It also has some good improvisations. From this album until before the recording of their "When the Eagle Flies" album, Jim Capaldi left his drum kit to be at the front of the stage playing percussion and singing in concerts. Jim Gordon, a top U.S. session drummer and former member of the band "Derek and the Dominos", played very good drums with the band during 1971. Despite sounding with some lack of rehearsals, the band sounds good, and it is a good album, with very good improvisations and interactions between the instruments. In late 1971, JIm Gordon and Ric Grech left Traffic. In December 1971, Jim Capaldi recorded his first solo album, titled "Oh How We Danced", with Mason, Winwood, and Wood as guests, and with the famous Muscle Shoals Studio session musicians. That album also includes a song, "Open Your Heart", recorded with this 1971 line-up of Traffic , with the exception of Dave Mason, who plays in other songs of that album. I finish this review with sad news: I read in the newspaper today that Jim Capaldi died this week in London due to Cancer in the stomach. He was 60 years old.This "Welcome to the Canteen" album is also related with other sad events: both Reepob Kwaku Baah and Chris Wood died due to health problems in 1983. Also in 1983, Jim Gordon, who had psychiatric problems since a long time ago, killed his mother, and he is in jail with Paranoid Schizophrenia since 1984 instead of being sent to a psychiatric hospital, due to the Californian Laws of that time. Ric Grech died in 1990, also from health problems.
Guillermo | 4/5 |


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