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John Barleycorn Must Die

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Amazon.com: HASH(0x98fe7360) out of 5 stars 1 review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98fe871c) out of 5 stars "And little Sir John with his nut brown bowlllll; Proved the strongest man at last." 14 May 2013
By Annie Van Auken - Published on Amazon.com
Original pressings of the 1970 UNITED ARTISTS album entitled JOHN BARLEYCORN MUST DIE are on their deep carrot & black label. This masterpiece was the band's highest charter in the U.S., peaking at #5 on Billboard's 200 and earning an RIAA Gold Record award. All done without Dave Mason, who didn't return after over a year's layoff in which Steve Winwood cut an LP as part of the British supergroup, BLIND FAITH.

This record's gentle title piece is adapted from a traditional tune that exists in over 100 variations, some dating back to King James I (circa 1465). Jim Capaldi is backing vocalist and plays tambourine, Chris Wood handles flute and percussion and Steve is lead vocalist, plus he plays piano and acoustic guitar.

Winwood sings and handles all instruments on "Stranger to Himself." Capaldi is backing vocalist. The album's longest, "Stranger to Himself," is another Steve multi-track affair supported by Jim's percussion.

There's yet more studio trickery on "Glad," this LP's spacey, jazzy opening instrumental. It's Winwood's organ, piano and percussion, Chris on sax, flute, electric sax and percussion, with Jim pounding drums and additional percussion. It's the same lineup on "Freedom Rider," a very strong piece with lyrics unrelated to the American Civil Rights movement of the early 1960s. Twin Steve and Chris organs on side-closing "Empty Pages," a song that hung around the lower ranks of Billboard's 100 for two months, never getting higher than #74. Winwood sings lead, also plays bass and electric piano, Capaldi adds drums and other percussive sounds.

(NOTE: I purposely reviewed this album's sides in reverse, for that's how I've always listened to it.)

[6:30] Glad
[6:02] Freedom Rider
[4:45] Empty Pages

[4:05] Stranger to Himself
[6:20] John Barleycorn
[7:05] Every Mother's Son

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