Album #108 – Traffic

Album #108

This album was a turning point for rock music. Traffic was formed in 1967 after Steve Winwood left the Spencer Davis Group to form a new jazz-influenced rock band. What resulted was a different sound in rock. Saxophone and flutes, courtesy of Chris Wood, would be added to the rock sound. Traffic’s sound was not so much guitar-driven but relied more on sax, flute, piano and organ. This was something that had never been done in rock before. Their first album, Heaven Is In Your Mind or Dear Mr. Fantasy was a mixture of this new sound and guitar-driven rock. For their second album, the new sound dominated the album. This sound is largely because Dave Mason, the band’s guitarist, left Traffic before this album was released. But, not before he left behind some great and well-written songs including: Feelin’ Alright? (famously covered by Joe Cocker), Don’t Be Sad and You Can All Join In. Winwood’s songs are more experimental and are not as well known but my favourite song written by him off this album is 40,000 Horsemen. It showcases what was to come. Traffic would break up after this album was released. Winwood would go on to form Blind Faith with Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker of Cream and Ric Grech of Family. Grech, Wood, Capaldi and Winwood would reform Traffic in 1970 and their next album is on the list. Blind Faith’s only album is also on the list. Traffic really changed rock music and made it okay for jazz and world elements to creep in. I am proud to own this album and it really starts off Traffic’s great and influential career in rock. Other highlights include: Vagabond Virgin, Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring, Cryin’ To Be Heard and No Time To Live. Overall, I give this album 5 out of 5.

Next: Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter by The Incredible String Band

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