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Though it ultimately must be considered an interim vehicle for singer/songwriter/keyboardist/guitarist Steve Winwood, Traffic was a successful group that followed its own individual course through the rock music scene of the late '60s and early '70s. Beginning in the psychedelic year of 1967 and influenced by the Beatles, the band early on turned out eclectic pop singles in its native Great Britain, though by the end of its first year of existence it had developed a pop/rock hybrid tied to its unusual instrumentation: At a time when electric guitars ruled rock, Traffic emphasized Winwood's organ and the reed instruments played by Chris Wood, especially flute. After Dave Mason, who had provided the band with an alternate folk-pop sound, departed for good, Traffic leaned toward extended songs that gave its players room to improvise in a jazz-like manner, even as the rhythms maintained a rock structure. The result was international read more...
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TRAFFIC Discography

TRAFFIC albums / top albums

TRAFFIC Mr. Fantasy album cover 4.23 | 12 ratings
Mr. Fantasy
Jazz Related Rock 1967
TRAFFIC Traffic album cover 3.41 | 12 ratings
Jazz Related Rock 1968
TRAFFIC Heaven is in Your Mind album cover 3.00 | 3 ratings
Heaven is in Your Mind
Jazz Related Rock 1968
TRAFFIC Last Exit album cover 1.98 | 8 ratings
Last Exit
Jazz Related Rock 1969
TRAFFIC John Barleycorn Must Die album cover 4.23 | 12 ratings
John Barleycorn Must Die
Jazz Related Rock 1970
TRAFFIC The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys album cover 4.50 | 14 ratings
The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys
Jazz Related Rock 1971
TRAFFIC Shoot Out at the Fantasy Factory album cover 4.04 | 9 ratings
Shoot Out at the Fantasy Factory
Jazz Related Rock 1973
TRAFFIC When the Eagle Flies album cover 3.00 | 7 ratings
When the Eagle Flies
Jazz Related Rock 1974
TRAFFIC Far From Home album cover 2.34 | 4 ratings
Far From Home
Jazz Related Rock 1994

TRAFFIC EPs & splits

TRAFFIC Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush
Jazz Related Rock 1967

TRAFFIC live albums

TRAFFIC Welcome to the Canteen album cover 2.93 | 7 ratings
Welcome to the Canteen
Jazz Related Rock 1971
TRAFFIC On the Road album cover 4.37 | 8 ratings
On the Road
Jazz Related Rock 1973
TRAFFIC The Last Great Traffic Jam album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
The Last Great Traffic Jam
Jazz Related Rock 1994

TRAFFIC demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

TRAFFIC re-issues & compilations

TRAFFIC Best of Traffic album cover 3.09 | 2 ratings
Best of Traffic
Jazz Related Rock 1969
TRAFFIC Heavy Traffic album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Heavy Traffic
Jazz Related Rock 1975
TRAFFIC More Heavy Traffic album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
More Heavy Traffic
Jazz Related Rock 1975
TRAFFIC Smiling Phases album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Smiling Phases
Jazz Related Rock 1991
TRAFFIC Heaven Is in Your Mind: An Introduction to Traffic album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Heaven Is in Your Mind: An Introduction to Traffic
Jazz Related Rock 1998
TRAFFIC Feelin' Alright: The Very Best of Traffic album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Feelin' Alright: The Very Best of Traffic
Jazz Related Rock 2000
TRAFFIC The Collection album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
The Collection
Jazz Related Rock 2001
TRAFFIC 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best of Traffic album cover 3.75 | 2 ratings
20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best of Traffic
Jazz Related Rock 2003
TRAFFIC Gold album cover 4.50 | 3 ratings
Jazz Related Rock 2005

TRAFFIC singles (0)

TRAFFIC movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
5.00 | 1 ratings
Live at Santa Monica
Jazz Related Rock 1991


TRAFFIC Far From Home

Album · 1994 · Jazz Related Rock
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Traffic is by far one of my favorite bands of all time. The innovative music they cranked out in such an early stage of progressive rock was nigh unparalleled by many other bands. Traffic split up rather early in the seventies (in '74), but at the same time had released a studio album practically every year up to that point since their debut in 1967. The split couldn't be more appropriate. Traffic was releasing great material seemingly effortlessly, until that year with When The Eagle Flies, debatably their weakest album of the period. They went quiet for three decades until in 1994, they released a sudden comeback album out of the blue. This was none other than Far From Home, a haphazard assemblage of 90's pop rock and very vague progressive undertones. Was it as great as any of the classics? No, not really. Now you could say that with such an old band as Traffic, thinking that an album released thirty years after their golden era would be as great as when the band was young is wishful thinking. I don't believe that Far From Home should match any of their old albums in the slightest. To me, a comeback album is one that is more of a callback to old material, replicating it slightly but with other sounds and gadgets to make up for weak points. This is especially the case when an album is such a flash-fire like Far From Home was (the band released and nothing subsequently). But this didn't happen. FFH was a complete overhaul of Traffic's sound, demolishing the eclectic folk influence, the progressive construction, and any semblance of what made Traffic Traffic. If every element of the band was removed, then what exactly was left? Nothing particularly remarkable.

Far From Home, in layman's terms, is a glorified Steve Winwood solo album, the only difference being that drummer Jim Capaldi from the original lineup joined him on it. The album is over-saturated, much like Winwood's albums, with harmonized synth keyboards, slow echoing drumming, and soul backing vocals. Funnily enough this album features some of Traffic's longest tracks, which have little-to-no experimentation in them. Winwood's vocals in their early stages were quiet, yet when required were able to belt out power notes. However after spending the 80's successful with just using the latter, Winwood's over-enthusiastic yell became the centerpiece of the vocal arrangements. Capaldi, who I know is a great drummer, is restricted within this genre with slow, linear drum patterns that rarely shift from their solid mold. Mick Dolan and Davy Spillane appear as newcomers to the band, on rhythm guitar and Uilleann pipes (a type of Irish bagpipe) respectively. Even with their presence though, it's undoubtedly primarily Capaldi and Winwood doing the work.

The album has some pretty good moments, the title track is stand-able and features one of those super-filtered guitar solos from Winwood at the end of the song. The tracks that I always come back to are that of 'Nowhere Is Their Freedom', a punchy film-score esque epic, and the wonderful closing instrumental 'Mozambique'. The other tracks are forgettable, but I wouldn't necessarily go so far as to say they wouldn't appeal to anybody because this music definitely still has an audience.

Far From Home is not a fantastic record. It has more ups than downs, and unfortunately isn't that great of a resurrection of such a classic band. Yet if you are open minded I'm sure this album would have it's fans. My two- cents don't mean anything in the wider picture. Happy listening. To think of it, maybe Traffic needed a little more Mason after all. If anyone can do campy right, it's him.


Album · 1968 · Jazz Related Rock
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While 1967's Mr. Fantasy was inspired by the psychedelic bands of the time, Traffic evolved rapidly and suddenly with the release of their second album the coming year. Folk rock entered the stage in a much more prominent role, mostly carried by Mason's song writing. What came from the self titled was doubtlessly more structured than the prior, and acclaimed similar positive critical reception.

Traffic takes a different approach on the composition, with a theme of split sides; one being the bouncy, folk Mason end where all songs are catchy and sing-song. The opposite end is led by the haunting Winwood, whose writing I've always preferred due to it's stylistic nature of more prominent coinciding elements. The music especially from Winwood ages much better than the 60's-born folk that Mason wrote. I won't deny that Mason struck gold a few times, although songs like the slightly annoying 'You Can All Join In', mostly meant as a sort of sing-a-long (living truly up to it's name) tone, can get degrading the more times you cycle through the album. As for instrumentation, consistency is something the album does best. Sometimes vocals from Mason, Winwood and Capaldi can get a little strained to match the pitch of the song, but the actually instruments maintain the beat steadily and don't find much issue in jumping back and forth across the different styles presented each track.

This self titled from the late 60s is of course emblazoned with the stamp of the decade, but is less of a product of the times as Mr. Fantasy unduly was. Unique variation is something that is found in large amount with all of the tracks. Anyone, prog fan or not, could find this enjoyable in some way. Fun for the whole family!

TRAFFIC On the Road

Live album · 1973 · Jazz Related Rock
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On The Road is the second and last live album from Traffic not too long before they broke up. '73 was undeniably a big year for rock, with Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, Selling England by the Pound by Genesis, and to a lesser extent Shoot Out At the Fantasy Factory was released in that year. Like any progressive rock band Traffic has to live up to other amazing live performances by other bands of it's caliber. Welcome to the Canteen wasn't terrible two years prior but it's undoubtedly pushed aside by the fantastic jam that this is.

With a very small track-list of only four songs, The performance does lack slightly on the variety they could have had if they had played from their earlier albums. But the epics are the ones to come first which is always pleasant. 'Low Spark' is obviously the main event here; the icing on the cake if you will. With a run time that goes about five minutes or so over the studio version, Traffic really does play their hearts out over this one. Their playing on it is unbroken and contrasts very well with the original, albeit with some more jazz and psychedelic tidbits in the longer time-span. The band does rock pretty hard as well with 'Shoot Out' where the tempo's quickened to a beating pace. Again, flawless performance with Winwood's fantastic playing. '(Sometimes I Feel So) Uninspired' was spiced up a little to the point where it seemed more like 'Sometimes I feel so inspired'. Even 'Light Up or Leave Me Alone', perhaps my least favorite track on Low Spark was made great with a longer run time for more experimentation and rocking capabilities. Truly marvelous.

A great staple on the progressive live performance scene if I've ever seen one.

TRAFFIC The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys

Album · 1971 · Jazz Related Rock
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Traffic's 1971 release of the oddly named The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys gives off an air of great stylistic qualities, and has deservingly been noted as the band's greatest achievement. Unlike Gentle Giant, another well known band of the eclectic progressive genre, Traffic's music tends to slow-dance over the line of folk rock, jazz, and of course eclectic rock. ,Low Spark b has many odd structures, which become very prominent as the album progresses. I found myself loving the album despite its thorough lack of tracks. Medieval sounding bard music slips in (much like Gentle Giant did) quite often. In the opening track 'Hidden Treasure', with soothing sounds that bring you sights of far off places and a subtle air of adventure. Although I found the track to be the only one I can't particularly listen to over again, mostly due to being so bland in light of the rest of its brethren. However, the track's slow tell-tale lyrics and minor progression is simply a lead into the eleven minute eponymous piece that is described as the center of the entire album. 'The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys' is a track that seems much shorter than it actually is, mostly due to it's enjoyable yet sometimes repetitive nature. But smooth jazz it is so I won't delve too deep into it.

One small, mostly unnoticeable problem I had with Low Spark was the seemingly indecisive way Traffic chose the structure of the tracks. With every song there is a different listen, aside from a small similarity between the title track's climax and the straight up rocker of 'Rock & Roll Stew', but even then the latter being much more aggressive takes away any prior similarities that you'd hear while scrolling through the tracks. In my opinion, a variegated line up of tracks qualifies as an album that never gives you a dull moment.

On the point of the rockier tracks, the most distinguished being 'Rock & Roll Stew' and 'Light Up Or Leave Me Alone'. Having never been a fan of soft rock pretending to be greater than it is, the former of the two I've found to enjoy much more often. 'Light Up', especially during the later parts however does bring to the table alot of Who-like rocking, but because of this seems like a song stuck in the 60's. Enjoyable, yes of course, but not something I come back to very often. 'Rock & Roll Stew', living up to it's name, brings a great deal of mixed rock soup including some excellent funk. Combine that with the great vocals from Winwood and you have quite the delicious stew!

The slower tracks that the album retains are 'Many a Mile to Freedom' and 'Rainmaker'. The former sort of takes elements from the rest of the album, combining 'Hidden Treasure'-like softness and the subtle yet quietened rocking of 'Rock & Roll Stew'. This makes up for quite an adventure, especially one that I can sit through for seven and a half minutes and not complain about. 'Rainmaker' is perhaps my favorite song off of the album, being the one that first appealed to me while scrolling through the tracks. It bears a haunting melody and lyrics of a farmer reminiscing of his crops' unfortunate fate from drought. The theme of the song most likely derives to the tale of John Barleycorn told in the prior album, but I feel like this song takes the cake for most complex and best-sounding.

In an overall sense, The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys is an album that goes very under appreciated in the world of the general music population, and unjustly so. If you haven't thoroughly heard or never heard this album at all, then I think you should find the vinyl and give it a spin. It is quite enjoyable. 4/5 rounded to 5.

TRAFFIC Far From Home

Album · 1994 · Jazz Related Rock
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While "Far From Home" is a pleasant surprise for the band fans, seeing Winwood and Capaldi team-up unexpectedly to record this album in mid-1990s, it falls short in providing any substantial musical adventure.

Its impeccable production and musicianship keeps being restrained within a confines of soft, crossover pop jazz-soul style similar to Winwood solo albums from the 1980s. In the best moments, like the title song or "Some Kind Of Woman" it even reaches the brilliance of this sort of sophisticated sound that only STEELY DAN or Donald Fagen could offer. The closing, Santanesque "Mozambique" sounds like an hommage to "Jingo". In addition, there are lots of excellent guitar and organ work throughout the album.

Unfortunately, many songs border on banality and a pathetic "adult contemporary" production that is a waste of listening time. I know, in the post-U2 musical world of early 1990s the domination of Irish folk music (even to the level of mass popularity during Eurosong competition) was unavoidable and many artists with dignity took a part in creating such a trend. But what TRAFFIC did with it on "Holy Ground" is a clear misstep, starting from a totally unoriginal and commercially dominant sound of Uilean pipes, down to a rather sissy melody and lyrics. "Bljak!" - to use a word from my native language in order to describe unbearably lousy music.

Still, the album is a pleasant one unless you expect much progress. If I were not a TRAFFIC fan I would have given 2 stars only...

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