Sunday Big Note – Listening Session #15

I still recall with great fondness the day I discovered Traffic’s 1967 debut album, Mr. Fantasy and their psychedelic tour de force, “Heaven Is In Your Mind”. Unlike many psychedelic groups of the era, Traffic had the special ability to combine elements from various musical genres – progressive rock, jazz fusion, psychedelic rock, and blues – into a unique sound which would reach it’s creative zenith on their 1970 release, John Barleycorn Must Die.

This Sunday Big Note presents Traffic on their second tour of the U.S., still promoting their John Barleycorn Must Die album, at Bill Graham’s Fillmore East in New York City, New York, on November 18th, 1970:

Introduction by Bill Graham

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Medicated Goo

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Pearly Queen

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Empty Pages

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Heaven Is In Your Mind

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Forty Thousand Headmen

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John Barleycorn Must Die

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Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring

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Every Mother’s Son

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Glad / Freedom Rider

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Means To The End

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Dear Mr. Fantasy

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1970 Traffic Line-up:

Stevie Winwood – organ, guitar, vocals
Chris Wood – saxophone, flute, piano, organ, vocals, percussion
Ric Grech – bass
Jim Capaldi – drums, percussion, vocals

Note: the above video of Traffic’s “Light Up Or Leave Me Alone” is from a performance at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, Santa Monica, California on February 21st, 1972, recorded in multitrack audio and captured on colour videotape with multiple cameras. The 64-minute performance, featuring Traffic classics in stereo sound, is considered to be the only extended live footage of the group. The 1972 Traffic line-up: Winwood, Capaldi, Wood, Kwaku Baah, Hawkins, and Hood.

9 Responses to “Sunday Big Note – Listening Session #15”

  1. Harry Barris says:

    Tryin’ to think of a Zappa connection with Traffic: of course, Jim Gordon played with Traffic prior to Wazoo’ing.

  2. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from Harry Barris:

    Tryin’ to think of a Zappa connection with Traffic: of course, Jim Gordon played with Traffic prior to Wazoo’ing.

    I distinctly remember FZ making reference to Traffic’s “Heaven Is In Your Mind” numerous times while on tour through 1973 and 1974, so he was obviously quite familiar with Traffic and the musicians who made up the band. I’m pretty sure there wasn’t much that got past Zappa musically in the early 1970s as he was virtually at the top of his game creatively.

  3. Harry Barris says:

    The only time i’ve heard Zappa referencing that song was during the “unknown date” soundboard tape from (early) May 1973 (that’s not to say he didn’t mention it other times?). But he refers to the song in a sarcastic manner–poking fun at it–for its hippie-pop psychology. Similar to the way he would make fun of “Space Oddity”, “Rikki, Don’t Lose That Number”, etc., etc.

    But that reference to the Traffic song is followed up with a great version of Zomby Woof (with Zappa on lead vocals) on that May soundboard recording–which I’m sure you featured in one of your extensive Listening Sessions of live Zappa stuff!

    “There seems to be a mysterious cloud of gloom hanging over this audience.” — FZ

  4. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from Harry Barris:

    The only time i’ve heard Zappa referencing that song was during the “unknown date” soundboard tape from (early) May 1973 (that’s not to say he didn’t mention it other times?). But he refers to the song in a sarcastic manner–poking fun at it–for its hippie-pop psychology. Similar to the way he would make fun of “Space Oddity”, “Rikki, Don’t Lose That Number”, etc., etc.

    But that reference to the Traffic song is followed up with a great version of Zomby Woof (with Zappa on lead vocals) on that May soundboard recording–which I’m sure you featured in one of your extensive Listening Sessions of live Zappa stuff!

    “There seems to be a mysterious cloud of gloom hanging over this audience.” — FZ

    Excellent! For some odd reason I thought there were more references, but you’re absolutely correct!

  5. mystery coach says:

    So who is the guitar player in this video? Hot stuff.

  6. Slap says:

    A quote from mystery coach:

    So who is the guitar player in this video? Hot stuff.

    For shame! That would be a fella named Steve Winwood. (I hear he’s a pretty decent keyboard man, too…!) :)

    Seriously, Winwood’s one of the great under-recognized guitarists around.

  7. mystery coach says:

    doh! foiled by all that hair…. cheers!

  8. Slap says:

    Yeah, he did look like quite the hippyfreak in those days!

  9. Jamez says:

    There was a great documentary on Winwood last night on BBC4 on British TV called English Soul. Traffic are very underrated – and Winwood too!

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