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The Definitive Collection Original recording remastered

4.4 out of 5 stars 101 customer reviews

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15 TRACK COLLECTION FROM SUPERSTAR BAND FEATURING STEVE WINWOOD, DAVE MASON, CHRIS WOOD AND JIM CAPALDI. FEATURES THE ROCK CLASSICS PAPER SUN, 'DEAR MR. FANTASY, 'FEELIN' ALRIGHT?,' 'GLAD,' 'FREEDOM RIDER,' 'EMPTY PAGES,''ROCK 'N' ROLL STEW' AND 'THE LOW SPARK OF HIGH-HEELED BOYS.'
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 8, 2000)
  • Original Release Date: February 8, 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Island
  • ASIN: B00004C4QU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,141 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Steve Vrana HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 14, 2000
Format: Audio CD
My first exposure to Traffic was in college when I heard John Barleycorn Must Die. I especially enjoyed the title track and became an instant life-long fan. I bought every album through 1974's When the Eagle Flies and even picked up their first two albums from 1968--Mr. Fantasy and Traffic. When it came time to update my Traffic collection on CD I opted for the 2-CD Smiling Phases (now sadly out of print) that came out in 1991. Now almost a decade later Island updates(?) that anthology with the single disc Feelin' Alright: The Very Best of Traffic. This new release is a case of good news, bad news depending on what kind of fan you are.
If you're a casual fan, this collection gives you the band's UK singles: "Paper Sun" (#5)and "Hole in My Shoe" (#2), but omits "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush" (#8). [The closest thing Traffic had to a single in the US was when "Empty Pages," from John Barlecorn Must Die, reached #74 in 1970.] You also get key album tracks like the slightly trippy "Dear Mr. Fantasy," the jazzy "Forty Thousand Headmen" and Dave Mason's more pop-oriented fare like "You Can All Join In" and "Feelin' Alright." You also get four of Barlecorn's six tracks--including the folky title track and the funky instrumental "Glad." Traffic's post-Barleycorn output is skimpy, only two songs--both from Low Spark of High Heeled Boys. You get the nearly 12-minute title track, plus "Rock and Roll Stew." [I would have preferred Jim Capaldi's "Light Up or Leave Me Alone."] All told, this is a lot of music (77 minutes) for the price.
Sadly, for the more serious fan this disc only scratches the surface.
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Format: Audio CD
The definitive Traffic anthology was released about a decade ago. The 2 disc set Smiling Phases focused on both the key album tracks from the band's albums as well as a number of harder to find items (like the b side Giving To You which has quite a few differences from the album version). This single disc anthology only touches the surface and doesn't include any rarities or previously unissued tracks (these are available on the individual CDs). Overlooking the shortcomings, Feelin' Alright (like its UK counterpart Heaven Is In Your Mind -- not to be confused with the US album of the same name which is really the reconfigured Mr. Fantasy in stereo)is a pretty good look at a band that accomplished quite a bit in a very short time.
The original foursome consisted of Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi, (the late) Chris Wood and Dave Mason. Mason was an infrequent member of the band. He left shortly after completion of the band's first album. Wisely the compilers of this disc chose material from the second Traffic album. Mason returned to the fold with some of his strongest material. The only quibble is the exclusion of the live version of Sad and Deep As You from Welcome To The Canteen and Just For You (from Last Exit which was originally issued as a solo single. Mason was fronting Traffic though).
The Winwood-Capaldi (and Wood) songs selected are among their strongest. You can't please everyone but including the searing dirge Whithering Tree (which features one of Winwood's finest vocals), Coloured Rain and Smiling Phases and Every Mother's Son would have made the collection just about complete. The latter song from John Barleycorn Must Die has a performance by Winwood that, again, ranks among his finest.
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Format: Audio CD
Of the bands Steve Winwood's associated with, there's Traffic, formed after his departure from the Spencer Davis Group, in which he temporarily departed during his sojourns with Blind Faith and Ginger Baker's Airforce. He reformed the group, which stayed together till 1975. This is also the group associated with Dave Mason, who left and rejoined several times before embarking on a mostly unsuccessful solo career and a brief stint with Fleetwood Mac in the 90's. Traffic itself contributed to the British psychedelic scene, replete with organs, flute, saxophones, sitars, and harpsichords, as well as other instruments, showing how they embraced Indian sounds, the neo-Bachian music by Procol Harum, and the like, and they're all here on this greatest hits compilation.
Some live performance clips of Traffic made their way to MTV's closet classics. Three of those were from John Barleycorn Must Die, the album where Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi, and Chris Wood reformed after Winwood's temporary split. "Freedom Rider" featuring a moody sax and fluttering flute along with Winwood's usual psychedelic organ, showed that a two year absence hadn't done the group any harm. The near-seven minute instrumental jam "Glad" was my favourite, demonstrating Chris Wood melding saxophones, flute, and percussion together, with Winwood's piano, wavering from left-hand keys to right, with the slow walking rhythm of the piano towards the end. The sobering guitar and flute title track to John Barleycorn was a tale of the struggle against alcohol as personified by the title, with the growing of barley as an analogy to John growing up. Beer, ale, whisky... we get that from barley, yeah?
From their debut Mr.
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