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Welcome To The Canteen (Remastered) Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered

57 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered, March 19, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Dave Mason was back on board when Traffic toured England in '71 and recorded this live LP. They do early Traffic essentials plus then-new Mason gems: Medicated Goo; Dear Mr. Fantasy; Sad and Deep As You even an inspired Gimme Some Lovin' !

To call Traffic "mercurial" might be an understatement. After a promising debut, the band (whose core consisted of vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Stevie Winwood, vocalist-percussionist Jim Capaldi, and winds player-keyboardist Chris Wood) variously broke up, saw Winwood's participation in the supergroup Blind Faith, reformed, and struggled with lineup expansions and contractions. Indeed, this 1971 live album recorded in London followed an unreleased Fillmore East effort by John Barleycorn's four-piece edition (the trio plus Blind Faith bassist Rick Grech). Now rhythmically augmented by Jim Gordon, ex-Dizzy Gillespie sideman Reebop Kwaku Baah, and the return of singer-songwriter Dave Mason for his third stint in the band, Traffic turns in a rich, eclectic set that didn't so much recap their career as retool it entirely. With Mason's more prosaic "Sad and Deep as You Are" and "Shouldn't Have Took More Than You Gave" alternating with the exotic impressionism of "40,000 Headmen," the good-natured R&B of "Medicated Goo," and the early staple "Dear Mr. Fantasy," this sounds like a band with a lot of promise. But typically, Mason's tenure this time 'round lasted just six performances. The feverish, polyrhythmic reworking of Winwood's Spencer Davis hit, "Gimme Some Lovin'," hints at the more fusion-oriented direction the band would take on its next studio album. Unfortunately, modern digital remastering hasn't improved the original recording's somewhat muddled sound. --Jerry McCulley
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 19, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Island
  • ASIN: B00006399Z
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,969 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Ashley on October 1, 2004
Format: Audio CD
This is just a fun CD, and would nicely compliment your Traffic CD collection. It captures the best of both mutations of Traffic; the days with Dave Mason, and the new expanded line-up featuring a very talented Rebop on congas, and super-drummer Jim Gordon and Blind Faith alum Rick Grech on bass. The cast for this gig was quite impressive, and the playing is very tight and playful.

I have always found Dave Mason's involvement with Traffic to be curious. It reminds me of George Harrison with the Beatles: a talented, yet non-collaborative songwriter. This album is right in line with the two previous Traffic studio albums on which he appears, featuring his token two or three song offerings; songs that are distinctly different from the rest of the tracks. In this case, he features two lovely tunes from his debut solo album. It is a shame he does not appear on more Traffic albums, because his guitar-playing and vocals are a perfect fit with Winwood's music. He obviously had aspirations that were too big for simply being a member of a band, and I am sure he and Steve fought for creative control of the group. That being said, the product here is a nice "goodbye" to the Traffic of old and a big "hello!" to the new and platinum-selling group, right on the brink of releasing their radio-friendly classic, "Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys". Again, the group is amazingly tight, playful, and played a catchy jam version of "Gimme Some Lovin" that will make you wish you saw it in concert, and "Medicated Goo" is a brilliant song that will make you turn up the volume in your car.

HOWEVER, this disc does have its flaws. First of all, it made me yearn for more material.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Don Schmittdiel on January 18, 2005
Format: Audio CD
'Welcome To the Canteen' is one of the more intriguing albums to come out of the psychedelic era of rock and roll. The band wasn't quite as loosely assembled as say the 'Super Session' trio of Stephen Stills, Mike Bloomfield, and Al Kooper, but nearly so. In-and-out-again Traffic co-founder Dave Mason is in at this point, but only for a handful of concerts. Frontman Steve Winwood had also augmented the original Traffic line-up with journeyman drummer Jim Gordon, who was making the rounds with Eric Clapton and George Harrison, and percussionist Reebop (wouldn't you love to know if he wears Reebox?). Once Mason flew the coop this band would be primed to record its seminal work, 'The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys', but for this moment in time, the stars aligned in a most illuminating way.

Two of the more intriguing tracks on this disc are the Dave Mason compositions, 'Sad and Deep As You' and 'Shouldn't Have Took More Than You Gave'. Both are stellar works fresh from Mason's 1970 solo debut album, 'Alone Together'. It's marvelous to hear Mason perform these songs so near to their inception, and with such a fine line-up of backing musicians. The tempo is slow, but the emotion is high on each. Chris Wood's flute on 'Sad and Deep As You' is beautifully understated, while Mason's guitar work on 'Shouldn't Have Took More Than You Gave' is stunning. Reebop and Jim Capaldi's percussion on both songs provide yet another nuanced layer to appreciate.

There are three heavy rock numbers on the disc, each possessing its own unique flavour. The opener, 'Medicated Goo' is rather fun and funky with sharp, driving guitar riffs. The two longest tracks on the disc made up the entire second side of the original vinyl version of this release. 'Dear Mr.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By David Lindsay on November 16, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I first bought this album in a thrift shop in 1973. The sound quality is not great, but this was the strongest line-up of Traffic. It was recorded in London in July 1971, and has the four original band members: Winwood, Mason, Wood and Capaldi; plus Jim Gordon, Rick Grech and Reebop.

I saw Traffic play live in '74 and they were disappointing, borderline awful; they seemed tired and bored. On this set they play with considerable energy and the band is tight.

Winwood is in excellent form, however the presence of Dave Mason seems to make a difference. In my view Traffic was better with Mason in the band. His guitar playing is excellent and he provides an interesting contrast to Winwood's organ. Jim Gordon demonstrates what a great drummer he was. Capaldi and Reebop provide perussion, and Wood some embellishments here and there.

Mason brought with him two very good songs from his recent solo album Alone Together. Also included are Medicated Goo, 40,000 Headmen, Dear Mr Fantasy and Gimme Some Lovin'. Island must have more songs from this concert in the vault, it would be good to hear them.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Preetam Datta on October 20, 2003
Format: Audio CD
my review is fairly tainted by my initial liking of this record .. this was one of my first records that I had when I was growing up in Calcutta, India ..
I have not had this album for the last 9 years and bought it last month from Amazon.Ca .. must have heard it a hundred times in my previous life and all the memories came rushing back .. didn't forget a chord, not one beat .. had every nuance saved in my brain ..
One of the most creative and enjoyable live sessions .. just wish it was longer than 45 minutes ..
Compared among last exit and on the road .. the other two traffic live albums, my preference would be for this one based on sheer artistic quality ..
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