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John Barleycorn Must Die Deluxe Edition, Extra tracks

4.8 out of 5 stars 166 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Deluxe Edition, Extra tracks, March 15, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

Digitally remastered and expanded deluxe two CD edition of this 1970 album from the British rockers. The album has been restored to its 1970 original 6 track running order and a second disc has been added. Compiled by Steve Winwood, the second disc contains alternate mixes of 'Stranger To Himself', 'Every Mother's Son' and the first ever version of 'John Barleycom Must Die'. Additionally. seven previously unreleased songs from the band's legendary 1970 show at the Fillmore East in New York have also been added.
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Disc 2
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 15, 2011)
  • Deluxe Edition edition
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Deluxe Edition, Extra tracks
  • Label: Universal
  • ASIN: B004G5VFOU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (166 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,833 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Stuart Jefferson TOP 100 REVIEWER on March 8, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Two discs-34,58 minutes each approximately. Why they didn't fill the discs with more music is a bit disappointing. The digitally remastered sound is clean, but still has that slightly muffled feel to it-in part because the bass is oftentimes played by Winwood using the bass pedals on the keyboard. But you can now hear instrumentation and vocals that, on previous editions, weren't as clearly heard before. An example is the title track-Capaldi's background vocals can now be heard in unison with Winwood. The live tracks are taken from the original 16 track master tapes. The discs are manufactured in Germany. The discs are snapped in inside a quad-fold cardboard holder, which has some nice photographs. The 22 page booklet tells the TRAFFIC story in some detail, beginning with the formation of the group. There's quite a few great period color and b&w photographs, many not previously seen. Also included are period ads, which help flesh out the group's history.

This album was originally intended to be a Steve Winwood solo album, with Winwood playing the various instruments, and handling the vocals. But, as sometimes happens, it morphed into a TRAFFIC album. In 1970 Winwood still in his early twenties, was about to record a solo album to fulfill a contractual obligation. Finding things not really working out like he intended, Winwood (vocals/guitars/keyboards/bass) called on his friend and ( and TRAFFIC bandmate) Jim Capaldi (drums/vocals) for help. He then decided to bring in (TRAFFIC member) Chris Wood (saxes/flute/organ/percussion/vocals) to help flesh out the compositions-and TRAFFIC was reborn.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
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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Format: Audio CD
Traffic had one of the most original (and interesting) sounds in British rock, and not only because of their eclectic musical influences, which embraced psychedelia, folk, jazz, soul, R&B, and even classical. Their unique sound was also the result of their unusual instrumentation. While the group went through a number of personnel changes, its constant core members were Steve Winwood (vocals, keyboards, guitars), Chris Wood (sax, flute, and organ), and Jim Capaldi (drums & percussion). With no regular bass player, Winwood often filled in with the bass pedals on his organ. And, while there is no lack of guitars on most Traffic recordings, the guitar is not emphasized or particularly important to the group's sound. Dave Mason came and went in their early years and, on other recordings, Steve Winwood would switch to guitar, with Chris Wood taking over organ duties. In short, Traffic was anything but your typical guitar-bass-drums rock outfit. And, with "white Ray Charles" prodigy Winwood at the helm, and with their willingness to experiment with virtually any sound or musical style, they cut some of the most distinctive and important records in British rock.
"John Barleycorn Must Die" is the only recording by just the Traffic "core" trio, and it is also one of their strongest. With Dave Mason only a memory, and the Blind Faith experiment with Eric Clapton over, Steve Winwood returned to the studio to record his first solo album, originally titled "Mad Shadows." Needing a little musical support, he soon enlisted Capaldi and Wood, and Traffic was reborn with "John Barleycorn." However, the radio-friendly 3-minute song structures were abandoned, as Winwood & Co. stretched out into extended jazz-rock compositions.
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