Considering that Traffic couldn't seem to stay intact for more than a few months at a time, the band's work seems even more remarkable. Recorded in the summer of 1968 and released later that fall, Traffic
, the band's sophomore release, stands as the outfit's high-water mark and one of the great rock albums of its time. Clearly, Dave Mason
and Steve Winwood
had completely different visions for the band, both musically and socially. In fact, Mason had already left the band at the year's beginning, only to return a few short months later. Mason liked to work alone and favored rooted folk-tinged material; Winwood saw the band as a communal affair and leaned toward progressive jazz-influenced music. Of course, the synthesis of these two approaches is what makes Traffic
such a terrific album. There's not a weak moment across these 10 songs (augmented on this reissue with three mono single mixes). By fusing bits of country and folk, wisps of psychedelia, and elements of jazz and soul, the album managed to both presage and summarize the ambitious developments of rock music during its most creative era. --Marc Greilsamer
Bonus tracks include I Am What I Was or Am I What I Am and Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush from the film of the same name, and the non-LP cuts Withering Tree; Medicated Goo , and Shanghai Noodle Factory .