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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Traffic Trio At Their Creative Best
This album found the Traffic trio of Winwood, Capaldi and Wood at their creative best and represents a peak in their musicianship as three players whose chemistry really found it's collective muse here post their initial disbandment. For me, not only is this one of the best albums of it's era but it's one of the best of any era.The re-mastering on the first disc of the...
Published on 3 Mar 2011 by Garry B Grove

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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not The Traffic I Had Expected!
I understand that Traffic had disbanded in the late 1960s, however Steve Winwood had got them back together for John Barleycorn Must Die which was released in 1970.
This is a much more jazz like experiance than I had expected, although the title track is folk music at it's best,similar to Fairport Convention.
So not everyone's cup of tea, if in doubt you could...
Published on 25 Mar 2011 by J. Thompson


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A welcome improvement, 26 April 2011
By 
Gerard A. Murphy "Murf the surf" (Springwood NSW Aust) - See all my reviews
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I first purchased this album way back when it was first released. The music was excellent but you could not say the same about the pressings in Australia. I've had two pressings over the years and the sound quality was non existent. Other people that I know who owned the record agreed that the Australian pressings were lousy. So it is rather remarkable how clear and vibrant this remastered cd release is (and the bonus extras are superb, especially the alternate version of the title track). Five of the tracks also appeared on the "Chronicles" box set some years ago and these were also a big improvement. Highly recommended.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What happened to the the 22 year old genius who made this album?, 12 Nov 2007
By 
Levenbridge (Yorkshire, England) - See all my reviews
I've often wished I could ask Steve Winwood what happened to switch off the greatness - this album, the two that came before and the one that followed it are unparalled works amoungst those that seemed to taking rock music forward to an era in music to rival any that had preceeded it. Yet as has often happened with 'popular music' it ended just as it seemed it might emphatically break open the world of musical form. Why is it that Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert or Wagner never lost the creative drive but virtually all rock 'composers' have (heard anything profound by Paul McCartney or Bob Dylan recently?)!

Well whatever the reason is, (and none of the greats are very likely to come out and say "well the reason I'm no good anymore is......") John Barleycorn remains one the absolute best albums that anyone could be lucky enough to own. It is not the third best Traffic album as is often said, the first five Traffic albums are all equally creative and satisfying, if one has to be the best this is it!

There are no weaker tracks on John Barleycorn, each is a gem that stands in its own right, and if one of the really telling guages of great art is "how long before it starts to bore you" this passes that test, a rare thing in the genre - and 30+ years on I'm guessing that John Barleycorn Must Die contains a beauty, integity and a unique colouration that mean it never will.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A forgotten classic!!, 21 Sep 2001
After buying Traffic's greastest hits I decided to buy John Barleycorn. What started out as Steve Winwoods first major solo project soon became a group effort when Steve realised his work needed the expertise of his band mates. John Barleycorn is a fisrt class album, one I recommend if you are interested in the less commercial bands of the late 60's and 70's. The title track is one of the best on the album, but in my opinion Empty Pages is the best! Go and buy this album now!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A third successive bullseye, 22 Jun 2007
By 
D. J. H. Thorn "davethorn13" (Hull, UK) - See all my reviews
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Welcome to the 1970s. After two great albums rooted in the late 1960s culture, Traffic, minus Dave Mason, made one brimming with vital, extended instrumental passages, as was the norm for the average 1970s album-oriented band. Mason had been known as the the more pop-inclined writer in Traffic, and as Winwood now had the field to himself (it was going to be a solo album at first, anyway) the new emphasis wasn't surprising.

Contrary to the widely-held belief that this approach led to all artists of the era drifting off at a tangent, however, most of them, Traffic included, made solidly-structured music. This album doesn't contain any potential hits, but wit, melody and beautifully-weaved textures abound. The instrumental 'Glad' features an arresting opening passage of sax, lively percussion and inspired piano. The trio are on top form collectively and individually. 'Freedom Rider', into which 'Glad' segues maintains the tempo.

The album title alludes to a folk song, but only the interpretation contained here touches on that genre. 'Every Mother's Son' provides a marvellous swirling climax to the original album. The bonus tracks include a live version of the wonderful 'Who Knows What Tomorrow Will Bring' from their second album. In total, this expanded reissue runs to an hour of high quality. A superb album that grows with age.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Album, 3 May 2013
By 
Mr. Clifton Jones (Matlock, Derbyshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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The only debate on this on is whether this or 'Low Spark' is the best Traffic album. Steve Winwood at his finest.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Traffic John Barleycorn Must die, 31 Dec 2010
By 
Mr. James K. Hunter (scotland) - See all my reviews
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Originally a Stevie Winwood solo album entitled Mad Shadows but became a Traffic CD. I bought this as a present as I already owned the Vinyl and have a CD copy of my own. It is a wonderful fusion of rock, folk and jazz, with the soul quality of Winwood's voice. The title track is an old folk song about the attempts of the population to give up alcohol in the fifteenth century. It's like a mellow King Crimson, full of wonderful melodies and in typical Prog rock fashion, extended tracks, giving complete song collages instead of straightforward pops song of verse, chorus, verse and fade out.
I can't recommend this CDJohn Barleycorn Must Die highly enough but it comes with a warning, you will probably wish to search out the other Traffic CD's avaiable, but that's no bad thing.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still impressive after 40 years!, 7 Mar 2010
By 
Ben Alofs (Bangor, North Wales, UK) - See all my reviews
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Traffic's "John Barleycorn must die" is one of those legendary and pivotal music albums. Made in 1970 - in July this year it will celebrate its 40th birthday! - it is the perfect fusion of rock, jazz and folk music. I still have my old vinyl copy, but recently got a digitally remastered cd version of 2001 with two previously unreleased tracks.
I hadn't heard "John Barleycorn Must Die" for many years and I was amazed at how crisp the music still sounds. This is music of all time. The highlights for me are Glad, Freedom Rider and John Barleycorn. As far as modern renditions of ancient folk songs go John Barleycorn (together with Sandy Denny's Banks of the Nile) is among the very best.
Sadly only Steve Winwood still plays on. Chris Wood died tragically young in 1983 at the age of 39 and Jim Capaldi died in 2005, also too young, at the age of 61. We are left with the beautiful result of their joint creative energies.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Barleycorn mustn't die, 5 Jun 2011
By 
C. R. Davis "Christian Davis" (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
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Good to hear this again. Some regard it as Traffic's best but, personally I prefer the rawness of Mr Fantasy and the much overlooked second album. Not overly impressed with the second, bonus CD but it is there to make people like me buy it again.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not what I was expecting, 7 Aug 2013
By 
Gary G (Liverpool, UK) - See all my reviews
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Took a punt on this after hearing the title track 'John Barleycorn Must Die'. I love this very folky track and, without having done my homework, assumed the rest of the album would be similar in style. Nope. It's a prog-y, jazzy, poppy catastrophe with one great track inserted.

I should've done more research before taking the plunge. Not for me at all.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANCE, 28 Aug 2011
I saw them debut this at Mothers in Erdington. This remains my most played album of all time. And to put that in context, I love The Beatles. RIP Chris and Jim.
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