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Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
John Barleycorn Must Die
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on 21 August 2014
Traffic, a British rock band who recorded with various line-ups between 1967 and 1974, are in glorious form on this 1970 release. The 3 players who came on board for this venture were Steve Winwood (vocals, Hammond organ, piano, electric guitar, bass), Jim Capaldi (drums, percussion, vocals) and Chris Wood (saxophone, flute and percussion). The instrumental opener, 'Glad' demonstrates the classy virtuoso talents of the trio and segues masterfully into the first of the vocal tracks, namely 'Freedom Rider'. 'Empty Pages' is no less impressive and the relatively short 'Stranger To Himself' is an excellent rock workout. The title track 'John Barleycorn (Must Die)' is unlike anything else here; a lovely, traditional folk song delivered with subtlety and panache. 'Every Mother's Son', which closes the album, is another Traffic classic - powerful and soulful, not surprising given Winwood's supreme abilities both as a singer and musician. If you enjoy rock music with a progressive/blues feel, Traffic should tick all the boxes and provide you with 40+ minutes of excellent entertainment. Highly recommended.
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on 31 July 2017
one of traffics best
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on 20 September 2017
Very good album. One of the. Best
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on 3 March 2011
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 original John Barleycorn album re-release does a great job of seperating the instruments and the clarity of Chris Wood's flute and sax and Steve Winwood's guitar, piano and organ work really does provide a new dimension for the stand out tracks within this fine album. It has always been a really innovative piece of work with Glad merging mellifluously into Freedom Rider as the opening two tracks but some of the bass muddiness on the original release has been overcome here particularly on Empty Pages and Every Mother's Son.Steve Winwood's virtuoso organ playing on the latter has never sounded better than it does here in a travel song that takes you on a real musical journey with lyrics that match the quality of musicianship "The back door to the universe, That old moon dust..." "Stranger to Himself" features excellent lead guitar work by SW which sounds better than ever. As for the title track itself, these three guys could be playing in your living room the sound is that good and it's a great version of the traditional English folk song with outstanding acoustic guitar and vocals from Steve and Jim Capaldi with flute work by Chris Wood that is quite exquisite.The Berkshire Downs and Cotswolds countryside permeates through the music as a tangible influence upon the sound created between the three players.
It's great to have the Traffic Live material from November 1970 on disc two,when Ric Grech joined the others having recently left Blind Faith along with Steve Winwood, although the sound quality here is not as sharp as the Studio re-master but that's probably to be expected from a concert that was recorded 40 years ago. Some good alternate versions & mix tracks accompanying the live material.
All in all an excellent package and a job well done here in this release. Cannot help but feel a tinge of sadness that Chris Wood and Jim Capaldi are no longer with us but that must be some jam they are playing up there bringing that high spark to the wild blue yonder.
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on 14 February 2017
My favourite Traffic album, recorded after they got together in a rented farm in the country.
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on 18 July 2017
Many regard this as Traffic's masterpiece, and mostly this is so, though for me the title track is a bit too folksy. Otherwise the 5 remaining tracks from the original LP are superb, from the jazzy opener 'Glad' which makes you exactly that to hear it, to my personal favourite Traffic song 'Empty pages', just classic English rock at its most creative. I'm not happy at the insertion for CD of a bonus song between the original sides 1 &2, which adds little and makes this almost relegated to 4 stars.
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on 18 April 2011
Well anyone who loves this album obviously won`t be disappointed. What makes this DeLuxe Edition the business is that we have the LP on one disc & all of the extra tracks on disc 2. So you can listen to the album or the extras. Manufacturers take note. This is the way to make a DeLuxe Edition. Oh you won`t be disappointed by the extra tracks either.
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on 16 August 2011
I would hate myself if I would sound as someone who has the intention to let down this most excellent edition of so dear album to all of us. My comments regard the second disc i.e.. Fillmore East concert. The tape was in circulation among collectors for ages so a lot of Traffic fans knew it very well, including myself, and it was hard to imagine the reasons to exclude five tracks from the concert tape: Pearly Queen, Heaven Is In Your Mind, John Barleycorn, Means To An End and Dear Mr. Fantasy, all great performances. The whole concert lasts around 70 minutes, so it would fit the second disc, while the outtakes could fill the first disc that lasts mere 35 minutes. Something else bothers me even more: two live tracks were "shorten" about one minute each, in both cases some solos were cut short which is really a shame because I could not find the reason for that.
Again, I love Barleycorn-era Traffic and I would recommend everyone to treasure their every album, including this edition, but I could not help myself not to mention this.
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on 26 April 2011
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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on 28 June 2004
Times had changed by 1970 ... Dave Mason was off to a full solo career, Chris Wood had joined Ginger Baker's Airforce, and Capaldi was not so sure what he wanted to do, but had not yet decided to quit the drums and be a singer.
This is how this album begins, with only Stevie Winwood in the studio, having already penned a couple of songs -"Every Mothers Son" and, only included in this remastered version, "Sittin' Here Thinkin' of My Love"- and ready to record a solo album.
Anyway, that was the plan but was not what ended up happening. Instead, whatever the real reason was -several stories are told- soon enough Capaldi and Steve's brother, Chris Wood, joined him and this became Traffic third studio album.
Although Mason was gone -his contribution to Traffic's original sound and the two gems they recorded together can never be acknowledged enough- Winwood had enough music, feeling and ideas to carry the load and make "Barleycorn ..." a classic in its own right.
It can be said that although this is very much a Traffic album, it is more heavily dominated by Winwood's musical vision and playing than its predecessors.
There are two strong musical courses, running through Winwood's veins, coming naturally to a crossroads here, the ever-present Jazz/R&B that Winwood had been feeding off since the Spencer Davis Group's days, and his connection to the English Folk tradition.
Actually, when you think that it was recorded over thirty years ago, it is even a more astounding example of how "ahead-of -its-times" Traffic was and, even more conclusively, what a tremendous composer Winwood had already become at 22.
Traffic, as a whole, and this album in particular are, to this day, one of the beacons of popular music that has ever been recorded, even today.
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