Traffic (Untitled) (1968)

Kronomyth 2.0: TRIFFIC. Dave Mason briefly left the band after Mr. Fantasy, rejoined them several months later and the reconstituted quartet released their second and final album together. This time around, the songwriting is nearly split evenly between Mason and the Winwood/Capaldi/Wood contingent. The effect of two very different songwriters (Mason and Winwood) is more apparent on this record. “Feelin’ Alright” and “Cryin’ To Be Heard” are excellent songs, but they’re not necessarily excellent Traffic songs. It was in the sere, earthy arrangements of “No Time To Live” and “Forty Thousand Headmen” where Traffic’s future lie. There are also throwbacks to the first album’s playful feel on “You Can All Join In” and “Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring,” one of my favorite Traffic songs, period. The rest of the album is very well done, although Jimmy Miller seems to intentionally bury a lot of good music; you can hear some of it on “Virgin Vagabond” and the brilliant closer, “Means To An End.” Throw in the powerful “Pearly Queen” and Mason’s Dylandulgence, “Don’t Be Sad,” and you’ve got a formidable bookend to the band’s breathtaking debut. Unfortunately, Mason left again after this album, and Traffic went on hiatus for several years, with Winwood re-appearing in the short-lived supergroup, Blind Faith. Their eponymous second album isn’t as startling as their debut, nor is it as silly. In fact, this is a very serious album much of the time, particularly when you pay attention to Jim Capaldi’s lyrics. But a heavier traffic isn’t a bad thing at all, as listeners would discover when John Barleycorn rolled into town.

Original LP Version
A1. You Can All Join In (Dave Mason) (3:34)
A2. Pearly Queen (Steve Winwood/Jim Capaldi) (4:20)
A3. Don’t Be Sad (Dave Mason) (3:24)
A4. Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring (Steve Winwood/Jim Capaldi/Chris Wood) (3:11)
A5. Feelin’ Alright (Dave Mason) (4:16)
B1. Vagabond Virgin (Dave Mason/Jim Capaldi) (5:21)
B2. Forty Thousand Headmen (Steve Winwood/Jim Capaldi) (3:15)
B3. Cryin’ To Be Heard (Dave Mason) (5:14)
B4. No Time To Live (Steve Winwood/Jim Capaldi) (5:10)
B5. Means To An End (Steve Winwood/Jim Capaldi) (2:39)

CD reissue bonus tracks
11. You Can All Join In (mono single mix) (Dave Mason) (3:43)
12. Feelin’ Alright? (mono single mix) (Dave Mason) (4:01)
13. Withering Tree (Steve Winwood/Jim Capaldi) (2:53)

CD reissue bonus tracks (Island Remaster Series)
11. Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush
12. Am I What I Was Or Am I What I Am
13. Withering Tree
14. Medicated Goo
15. Shanghai Noodle Factory

Releases
1968.10 / Island / UK / LP / ILP-981 / mono version
1968.10 / Island / UK / LP / ILPS-981 / stereo version
1968 / United Artists / US / LP / UAS 6676 / red-black label, gatefold cover, inner booklet
1968 / Island / Germany / LP / 88064-ET
1968 / Island / Sweden / LP / ILPS-0981
1969.04 / Fontana / South Africa / LP / STL 231
Xxx / United Artists / US / LP / UAS 6676 / pink-orange label, gatefold cover, inner booklet
1970s / United Artists / US / LP / UAS 6676 / off-white label, gatefold cover, inner booolet
1970s / United Artists / US / LP / UAS 6676 / cloud label, gatefold cover, inner booklet
1972 / Island / Japan / LP / ICL 27 / gatefold cover
1973 / Island / Italy / LP / ORL 8496 / blue label, slightly different cover
Xxx / Island / Japan / LP / 20S-93 / blue label
1975 / Island / UK / LP / ILPS 9081 / gatefold cover
1975 / Japan / Island / LP / ILS-80278 / gatefold cover
1983 / Island / US / LP / 90059-1 / purple label, gatefold cover
xxx / Pyramid / Saudi Arabia / CS / P-2639
xxx / Island / US / CS / 90059-4
xxx / Island / US / LP / 90059-1 / black label, gatefold cover
xxx / Island / US / CD / 90059-2
xxx / Island / CD / 842 590-2
1999 / Island / European Union / CDx / 546 498-2 / digital remaster w. 5 bonus tracks
2012.05.15 / Friday Music / LP

Repackages
xxx / Fontana / France / LP / 885 543 MY / re-titled Feelin’ Alright

The Players
Jim Capaldi (drums, percussion, lead vocal, vocals), Dave Mason (lead vocal, acoustic guitar, guitar, harmonica, bass guitar, organ), Steve Winwood (lead vocal, organ, lead guitar, bass guitar, rhythm guitar, piano, harpsichord), Chris Wood (tenor sax, soprano sax, flute, Coke tin, sleigh bells, bass guitar, percussion, vocals). Produced by Jimmy Miller; engineered by Glyn Johns, Eddie Kramer, Brian Humphries, Terry Brown.

The Pictures
Photography by Richard Polak, Gered Mankowitz.

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