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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 31 July 2017
one of traffics best
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on 12 April 2013
First, some kind of "background"...
I "discovered" this álbum in mid eighties, in the wake of Winwood`s "Back in the high life" success. on my teens.
At that time, the independent labels were rising, bringing forth the talents of The Smiths, The Cure, among others,
breaking through the bunch of disposable artists (you name them!). Remember, I`m talking of 80's brazilian perspective
of international pop/rock!
I already knew sounds from the past, like favourites from classic rock era (Beatles, Hendrix, Joplin, Zeppelin) and some prog rock luminaires (Genesis, Yes, Floyd). But Traffic was a different story.
Long songs and free jamming was nothing new to me, but these guys got something else.
The sound overall is pretty much accoustic. Even when rich harmonies appear, the groove is rocking in textures with
african percussion coloring the usual drums sounds. Sax, piano, flute and guitar alternates in the lead, driving songs with folk, rock and R&B roots.
This unique blend of elements could be indigest. With Winwood and Capaldi as Chefs, becomes a fine recipe.
The church boy voice and melodic talent of Winwood, and the rhythm mastery and raspy voice of Capaldi are fantastic on their own. Combined, is pure gold.
My old favourites are "hidden treasure", transcendent in Winwood`s voice, and the title track, a delightful (and imperceptible) 12 minutes jamming class in one lesson! My new favourites are "r`n`r stew", more powerful in this remastered back to black vinyl edition, and "many a mile to freedom", richer in subtle details. Nice pressing, with a voucher for free download in btb`s website.
All in all, a wonderful pleasure, the same from almost 30 years ago, sounding better than ever. How many records can make you feel that way?
Highly recommended for lovers of folk, rock, jazz, african and latin rhythms, and, more especially, of life!!!
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on 22 September 2006
It captures the essence of the brilliance of Traffic, the whole band, not just Winwood - who is a consistently wonderful musician. The track is satisfyingly long, and you can hear the pleasure they have in performing it.

The other tracks are good, but don't match the standard of "The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys".
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on 18 July 2017
Fabulous album, and a contender for their best. If there is an English equivalent to 'Americana', then Traffic encapsulate it, with the second half of their career producing a remarkable fusion of soulful jazz-folk-prog. Here, the magnificent title track evidences the jazz element, whilst 'Hidden treasure' and 'Rainmaker' have folk influences, and 'Many a mile to freedom' is great soulful rock.
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on 29 September 2013
One of Traffics best albums. Steve Winwood is still performing the title track in his live set. Quite rightly.
My only problem with this album is having the late Jim Capaldi on vocals on Rock and Roll Stew. He was never in the same league as Winwood. I bought Jack Bruce a pint in the Dog and Duck in Frith Street once and told him what a great vocalist SW was. He didn't stop and buy me a pint back!
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on 4 July 2009
It wasn't just the title track that made replacing my faithful old vinyl copy for CD version vital. After more than 30 years it's still a favourite album from Stevie & Co. From the jazzy free-wheeling "Low Spark" to the almost traditional pre-world "Rainmaker" this record is crying to be heard.
From a long time ago when I was a student, but not nostalgia - few groups have ever sounded this good.
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on 18 June 2017
It's all been said before -
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VINE VOICEon 12 September 2003
1971's 'Low Spark Of The High Heeled Boys' saw an augmented Traffic line up dilegently working over the same ground as John Barleycorn and finding new sprouts of growth everywhere.
Winwood is in great voice, Chris Wood's flute & sax are used to perfection while the rhythm section's gentle but solid groove allows Capaldi, Winwood & Wood ample room to solo.
Standout tracks have to be the sinewous workout of the title track, the Capaldi sung 'Rock'N'Roll Stew' and the pastural beauty of 'Rainmaker' although that said none of the other tracks are below par and it is overall an excellent recording.
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on 15 June 2017
Some years ago, a friend, his wife and I were listening to "About Time", Steve Winwood. Matey's Missus went into raptures about Steve Winwood's voice and I could only agree, when my pal mentioned "Low spark" and described it as a disgrace. This too, I could only agree. I've never owned a copy. I heard it living above a chap who had it and it wafted through the place all the time and, knowing Mr Fantasy, Spencer Davis stuff (and Winwood's voice), I was shocked. I knew Traffic had become more than a bit "flaky" and they had big troubles with drugs but.....even so.....
To me, it sounded as though two P.A. mics had been hung in a room above a crew that had learned the songs "straight from the pen", that's to say, no work had been done to arrange them properly or for individuals to take time to consider what best to do. The lyrics seemed to me to be imbecilic unless one was drugged up, sloppy, bad sounds, badly recorded and I remembered a review which had said that they were going for a "less produced" sound. More like they turned up to the booked and contracted session "half baked" (not the first time) and gave the record company the job of selling it with that crock about "production values". I had also heard "On the Road" and only two tracks on the entire album were remotely playable, with atrocious guitar playing through miles too much distortion by a Steve Winwood that seemed to have seriously "lost it". Well, one man's meat is another man's poison so if you like it, rock on.
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on 28 July 2014
This is quite an accessible record (compare to "John Barleycorn", a great record but it is a bit of a shock to the system if you only have Traffics first two studio albums).
There are some really well crafted tracks with great melodies on this record, even the songs with expanded instrumental breaks (there no real different to concerts by acts such as Hendrix, The Who & Zeppelin when they go off on one).
So if you do already own "Traffic" & "Mr Fantasy" & want to explore the bands 1970's output, then this may be a better starting point rather than "Barleycorn"
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