Posts Tagged ‘Traffic’

Magic Moment: Heavy Traffic

9 March 2011

Traffic and Steve Winwood play ’40,000 Headmen’ during a 1968 appearance on Dudley Moore and Peter Cook’s TV show Goodbye Again

Stuck In My Head: Feelin’ Alright

9 March 2011

I always thought that the plate spinners who showed up during the entertainment section of late night talk shows were a great metaphor for personal happiness. Total happiness is when all those plates are spinning. Got a good job that you like? That’s one plate spinning. In a great relationship? There’s another. If something really factors into your overall happiness, it’s a plate to spin. Most people can keep a couple of plates spinning, but there are usually a few others that are wobbling and threatening to crash to the ground. Life is tough that way. The car needs a new clutch – wobble. An uncle dies – wobble. That tax bill is higher than expected – wobble. Any number of things can start those plates a’wobblin’.

Over the last 6 months, I finally seem to have all my plates spinning. I love my job, I’m happily married, and life is good. I work in one of the best cities in the world, with interesting people who appreciate what I do. I keep finding incredible LPs that I’d never considered owning. Last week I picked up Rare Earth’s 1969 album Get Ready, with no expectations whatsoever. The P told me a while back that this Detroit band had backed Rodriguez on his cult classic album Cold Fact, so I’d been on the lookout for their records. I found Get Ready in the bargain bin, and it was worth every nickel I paid. Their version of Dave Mason’s ‘Feelin’ Alright’ (popularized by Traffic) is worth the price of admission alone.

‘Feelin’ Alright’ features a wokka wokka rhythm and dirty Detroit guitar sound in the mold of Dennis Coffey. Mid-song, guitarist Rod Richards coolly says “Yeah, excuse me while I play my axe…”, before launching into the kind of solo that will have Hendrix fans drooling. Holy guitar strings! John Small of WKNR-FM Detroit dropped some classic liner notes on this one, including: “What explains Rare Earth’s charisma? Appearance – for one. Each cat stands handsomely tall as if from a fashion rack at Carnaby.” ‘Feelin’ Alright’ stands tall too – it’s the sound of all my plates spinning at top speed…

Listen: Feelin’ Alright

Weekend Playlist

8 March 2010

“I’m sitting on the front steps drinking Orange Crush/Wondering if it’s possible if I could still blush” ~ John Prine


Cream | I Feel Free


Clifton Chenier | The King Of Zydeco


Various Artists | The Harder They Come


Stevie Wonder | Innervisions


Dr. John | Dr. John’s Gumbo


Neil Young | After The Gold Rush


Traffic | Welcome To The Canteen


Mississippi John Hurt | The Best Of
[Album cover not pictured]


Jimmy Heath | Fast Company
[Album cover not pictured]


Miles Davis | Filles de Kilamanjaro


Various Artists | The Smithsonian Collection Of Classic Jazz


The Edgar Winter Group | They Only Come Out At Night


Royksopp | Melody A.M.


Bob Dylan | No Direction Home Soundtrack


John Prine | The Missing Years


The Rolling Stones | Stripped


Parliament | Motor Booty Affair


Kasabian | Kasabian


Beck | One Foot In The Grave


The Golden Gods | …The Thorny Crown Of Rock & Roll

Weekend Playlist

4 January 2010

“I couldn’t talk to people face to face, so I got on stage and started screaming and squealing and twitching.” ~ David Byrne


The Black Crowes | Before The Frost…


Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers | The Live Anthology


Kings Of Convenience | Quiet Is The New Loud


Beck | Modern Guilt


Peace Orchestra | Peace Orchestra


Erlend Øye | Unrest


Little Feat | The Last Record Album


Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force | Planet Rock: The Album


Moby Grape | Moby Grape


Blakroc | Blakroc


Blitzen Trapper | Furr


Bobby Womack | The Poet


Traffic | John Barleycorn Must Die


David Byrne | Rei Momo


Bonzo Dog Band | Tadpoles


The Headhunters | Survival Of The Fittest


Soundgarden | Down On The Upside


Neil Young | Time Fades Away


MGMT | Oracular Spectacular

Weekend Playlist

20 July 2009

I’m more in love with Rock-n-Roll today than other things. It grows, you know?” – Bon Scott

*****

AC/DC | Live From The Atlantic Studios
AC/DC | Live From The Atlantic Studios

Bob Marley & The Wailers | Buffalo Soldier [12" single]
Bob Marley & The Wailers | Buffalo Soldier [12" single]

Jorge Ben | Ben
Jorge Ben | Ben

The Jimi Hendrix Experience | Live At Winterland
The Jimi Hendrix Experience | Live At Winterland

Paul McCartney | McCartney
Paul McCartney | McCartney

Freddie Hubbard | Breaking Point
Freddie Hubbard | Breaking Point

The Kinks | The Great Lost Kinks Album
The Kinks | The Great Lost Kinks Album

The Police | Outlandos d'Amour
The Police | Outlandos d’Amour

Iron & Wine | The Shepherd's Dog
Iron And Wine | The Shepherd’s Dog

The Rolling Stones | Emotional Rescue
The Rolling Stones | Emotional Rescue

Led Zeppelin | Led Zeppelin II
Led Zeppelin | Led Zeppelin II

Paul Simon | Negotiations And Love Songs 1971-1986
Paul Simon | Negotiations And Love Songs 1971-1986

The Meters | Fire On The Bayou
The Meters | Fire On The Bayou

My Morning Jacket | It Still Moves
My Morning Jacket | It Still Moves

Gary Higgins | Red Hash
Gary Higgins | Red Hash

Traffic | Welcome To The Canteen
Traffic | Welcome To The Canteen

Eric B. & Rakim | Don't Sweat The Technique
Eric B. & Rakim | Don’t Sweat The Technique

Bruce Springsteen | We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions
Bruce Springsteen | We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions

Os Mutantes | A Divina Comedia Ou
Os Mutantes | A Divina Comedia Ou

John Prine | The Missing Years
John Prine | The Missing Years

Thin Lizzy | Johnny The Fox
Thin Lizzy | Johnny The Fox

James Luther Dickinson | Free Beer Tomorrow
James Luther Dickinson | Free Beer Tomorrow

Radio Birdman | The Essential Radio Birdman
Radio Birdman | The Essential Radio Birdman

Temple Of The Dog | Temple Of The Dog
Temple Of The Dog | Temple Of The Dog

Liz Phair | Exile In Guyville
Liz Phair | Exile In Guyville

The Juan MacLean | Less Than Human
The Juan MacLean | Less Than Human

G. Love & Special Sauce | The Best Of...
G. Love And Special Sauce | The Best Of…

Various Artists | The Sun Records Collection [Disc 3]
Various Artists | The Sun Records Collection

Steel Pulse | True Democracy
Steel Pulse | True Democracy

Otis Rush | Right Place, Wrong Time
Otis Rush | Right Place, Wrong Time

Easy Star All-Stars | Dub Side Of The Moon

Easy Star All-Stars | Dub Side Of The Moon

Weekend Playlist

4 May 2009

Like sands through the hourglass, these were the records of our weekend…

Moby Grape | The Place And The Time
Moby Grape | The Place And The Time

Radiohead | In Rainbows
Radiohead | In Rainbows

Paul McCartney | McCartney
Paul McCartney | McCartney

J.J. Cale | Rewind: Unreleased Recordings
J.J. Cale | Rewind: Unreleased Recordings

Traffic | Dear Mr. Fantasy
Traffic | Dear Mr. Fantasy

David Grisman Quartet | Dawgwood
David Grisman Quartet | Dawgwood

Beck | Modern Guilt
Beck | Modern Guilt

Lee Morgan | Tom Cat
Lee Morgan | Tom Cat

Fleet Foxes | Fleet Foxes
Fleet Foxes | Fleet Foxes

Sly & The Family Stone | Small Talk
Sly & The Family Stone | Small Talk

The Beatles | Rarities
The Beatles | Rarities

Van Morrison | Veedon Fleece
Van Morrison | Veedon Fleece

War | The World Is A Ghetto
War | The World Is A Ghetto

Mac Wiseman | 'Tis Sweet To Be Remembered
Mac Wiseman | ‘Tis Sweet To Be Remembered

Bob Dylan | Highway 61 Revisited
Bob Dylan | Highway 61 Revisited

Kinks | Face To Face
Kinks | Face To Face

Pete Townshend | White City
Pete Townshend | White City

Mighty Imperials | Thunder Chicken
The Mighty Imperials | Thunder Chicken

Dr. John | In The Right Place
Dr. John | In The Right Place

Pete Seeger
Pete Seeger | The World Of Pete Seeger
[Album cover not pictured]

Freddie King | The Best Of Freddie King
Freddie King | The Best Of Freddie King

Neil Young | Massey Hall 1971
Neil Young | Massey Hall 1971

Lyrics Born | Everywhere At Once
Lyrics Born | Everywhere At Once

Jerry Lee Lewis | Live At The Star Club Hamburg
Jerry Lee Lewis | Live At The Star Club Hamburg

The Stooges
The Stooges | Declaration Of War: The Best Of The Funhouse Sessions [Album cover not pictured]

Radio Birdman | Radios Appear
Radio Birdman | Radios Appear

Ween | Chocolate And Cheese
Ween | Chocolate And Cheese

Whiskeytown | Strangers Almanac
Whiskeytown | Strangers Almanac

Stevie Wonder | Innervisions
Stevie Wonder | Innervisions

Masterpiece: Traffic

7 January 2009

[Today: Getting it together in the country...]

After their debut album, Mr. Fantasy, Traffic planned a more mainstream album, possibly with fewer drug references and psychedelic influences,” is Wikipedia’s priceless description of the preliminary thinking behind Traffic’s self-titled 1968 album. The group was also dealing with the departure of guitarist Dave Mason, who had written many of the songs on their debut. But after early sessions for this album sputtered, Mason was brought back in to write more songs and help complete the record.

As usual, the group packed off to a cottage deep in the English countryside to write the songs that would become Traffic. Surrounded by fields of green as far as the eye could see, they found a place out of time to make their music, and accidentally invented the template of the rock band “getting it together in the country.” In a 1969 article, Rolling Stone‘s David Dalton described their scene like this: “The afternoon is suspended in time and place. There are no bearings; no roads, no houses, no cars, no telephones poles, no indications of place or direction…”

The songs here reflect the timeless, directionless surroundings in which they were created. Steve Winwood’s keyboards barely anchor a sound that’s part folk and part jazz, while Chris Wood contributes sax and flute as needed throughout. Mason’s tunes, such as ‘You Can All Join In’ and ‘Feelin’ Alright’, are positive personifications of the hippie ethos, while Jim Capaldi and Winwood’s ‘Pearly Queen’ and ‘Forty Thousand Headmen’ have a mystical, ethereal quality. Taken all together, the songs add up to little more than incense, smoke and candles, but the scenes were striking enough to take the album Top 10 UK and Top 20 US.

It’s ironic that such tranquil music came from a band in the throes of ongoing personal upheaval. Mason was kicked out of the group during the tour in support of this album, and just before Winwood split up the band to join Blind Faith and go solo. Winwood would eventually re-form with Wood and Capaldi for the album John Barleycorn Must Die, another timeless slice of the English countryside, and an excellent bookend to the music here.

Listen: You Can All Join In

Listen: Feelin’ Alright

Weekend Playlist

15 September 2008

Here are some of the sounds that The P and I enjoyed during a lovely Northern California weekend:


The Mighty Imperials | Thunder Chicken


Various Artists | Verve Remixed 2


The Rolling Stones | Some Girls


Slade | Slayed?


Dave Alvin | King Of California


Traffic | Welcome To The Canteen


Finley Quaye | Maverick A Strike


Wynton Marsalis | Marsalis Standard Time


Jimmy Forrest | Most Much


Duke Ellington | Blues In Orbit


MC5 | Babes In Arms


Paul McCartney & Wings | Band On The Run


Stereo MCs | Supernatural


Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers | Like Someone In Love


The Byrds | Untitled

Weekend Playlist

8 September 2008

Here are a dozen albums that hit my turntable over the weekend.

It was extremely HOT in the Bay Area both Friday and Saturday, so that affected the choices to some degree.

I’m often asked about what I’ve been listening to lately. Here’s a partial answer…


The Stooges | Fun House



Neil Young | Decade and On The Beach


My Morning Jacket | It Still Moves


Fleet Foxes | Fleet Foxes


Sweet | Desolation Boulevard


The Soft Boys | Underwater Moonlight


Willie Colon | Cosa Nuestra


Traffic | The Low Spark Of High-Heeled Boys


Earl Hooker | Sweet Black Angel


The Black Crowes | Warpaint


Fairport Convention | Unhalfbricking


Tosca | Suzuki

*****

QUESTION: What was on your playlist this weekend?

A Dozen Great Album Titles

29 June 2008

Some album titles just roll off the tongue and sound like rock and roll. Here are a dozen that catch my ear…


Eddie Hazel | Game Dames & Guitar Thangs – The album title that inspired this post is part funky goodness and part gumshoe badass. Bonus points for not rhyming…


The Beatles | Revolver – A triple entendre (gun/record/revolutionary) that works on every level.

Hendrix - album
Jimi Hendrix | Electric Ladyland – Perhaps still the best two-word description of Jimi’s music.


Bob Dylan | Blood On The Tracks – The perfect title for an album of such emotional carnage.

Stooges - album
Iggy & The Stooges | Raw Power – If only we could tap into Iggy Pop circa 1974 – the world’s energy crisis would be solved.


Stevie Wonder | Songs In The Key Of Life – Most music couldn’t possibly live up to a title like this, but these songs have exactly that kind of depth and feeling.

Funkadelic - album
Funkadelic | America Eats Its Young - True, that.


The Rolling Stones | Sticky Fingers – Filthy good.

Traffic - album
Traffic | The Low Spark Of High-Heeled Boys – I’m not sure what the hell it means, but it sounds great…


Pink Floyd | Piper At The Gates Of Dawn – Not my favorite Floyd album, but the title’s got all the mystery, madness, and mythology of their best music.


Frank Zappa | Sheik Yerbouti – Zappa was a master of album titles, and this was one of his most clever creations.


The Cramps | Bad Music For Bad People – Yep, it sure is…

*****

And a dozen more good ones…

Led Zeppelin | Houses Of The Holy
The Who | Quadrophenia
Neil Young | On The Beach
Bob Marley & The Wailers | Rastaman Vibration
Van Morrison | Astral Weeks
Nas | Illmatic
Joy Division | Unknown Pleasures
Tom Waits | Swordfishtrombones
Queens Of The Stone Age | Songs For The Deaf
Talking Heads | More Songs About Buildings And Food
Neutral Milk Hotel | In The Aeroplane Over The Sea
Spinal Tap | Smell The Glove


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