Anyone with a passing acquaintance with Jim Capaldi or his best-known group, Traffic - or indeed with good music in general - will be absolutely delighted by this box set. I hesitate to categorise it, because, like Traffic tunes, the tracks on this package transcend genres, mood, time...
The opening `Daydreaming of You' is pure exuberant 60's pop - a recurrent theme Jim shamelessly visited over the years with the likes of `Open Your Heart' and his covers of `Oh How We Danced' and `Love Hurts', through to `Anna Julia'. Ballads are strongly represented by `Game of Love', `Man With No Country', `Old Photographs', `Love Used to be a Friend of Mine' and others. There are protest songs such as `Whale Meat Again', `We Don't Need' and - replacing my obscure and tatty single - `Tricky Dicky Rides Again'. There's the funk of `Low Rider' and `Elixir of Life', the disco version of `Shoe Shine' - and even a previously-unheard reggae version of 40,000 Headmen! Some of the stuff on Jim's last CD was actually regarded as `metal' - but if I have to chose a favourite groove it's the straight up-tempo rockers such as `Light Up or Leave Me Alone', `Electric Nights' or `Standing in my Light'.
There's five hours of music here on 67 tracks. Three or four from each of Jim's albums; a generous nod towards Traffic, various singles and about an hour's worth of previously unreleased material. If `demo' conjures up an image of half-baked ideas or 2nd-grade tracks, it shouldn't. The ten previously-unreleased tracks mean that there's something here even for the completist.
The package is in a convenient 5½" x 7½" book format, which includes 54 pages of photographs and informative notes / reminiscences by friends and admirers. Criticisms? Frankly, anyone compiling an album such as this is not going to suit `all of the people, all of the time', however Jim's wife Aninha aided and abetted by Paul Minkinnen comes close. They have resisted the temptation to include a lot of probably better-known Traffic material (which belongs elsewhere), although found the presumably penultimate recording of the title track which sounds as fresh as the original. Whilst there are a couple of anthemic tunes that have always sounded a bit too Bruce Springsteen for me, I accept that some people like that sort of stuff, and I cannot think of any tracks I would have included instead.
Listing who-played-what on every track would have been interesting, but a Sisyphean task, given that Jim played with just about everybody who was anybody! I suspect that one of the major contributors was ace guitarist Pete Bonas, with Steve Winwood naturally not far behind, and Dave Mason a close third. Clapton, Harrison, Kossoff & Santana each appear on two or three tracks, while there's a definite guest appearance of Paul Weller - and probably Gary Moore too.
If after a good meal one is supposed to leave the table sated, but not-quite-stuffed, this feast achieves something similar. It was great to hear some of the Polydor and Carrere recordings on CD for the first time, but Jim's legacy includes albums and singles from this period - and throughout the seventies - that would surely receive a loud welcome on re-release.