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The Definitive Collection: Traffic

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Album Review

Though the two-CD set Smiling Phases finally put a comprehensive Traffic compilation on the market in 1991, the only readily available single-disc collection had long been Best of Traffic, originally issued halfway through the band's career. Thus, Feelin' Alright: The Very Best of Traffic, a 77-minute sampler for the CD era, was long overdue. It combines the group's early singles hits like "Paper Sun" and "Hole in My Shoe" with lengthier album tracks like "Dear Mr. Fantasy" and "The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys." Looking over the song list, any Traffic fan will be able to reel off omissions. But easy as it is to note what's missing, it's not so easy to figure out how such songs could be shoehorned into a single-disc set that is already packed with great material. Except in its first year in England, Traffic was not a band that made hit singles, but it did make a plethora of strong recordings, many of which were lengthy by the standards of the time. Several of the absolute necessities on a collection of their best work run longer than five minutes each; "The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys" runs close to 12 minutes. Beyond those absolute musts are a bunch of other good songs, many more than could fit on one CD. Compilation producer Bill Levenson has made a reasonable choice among them to construct a well-balanced disc that shows off the band's many talents. Neophytes with a few extra dollars to spend are strongly urged to take the plunge and buy Smiling Phases, but as a one-CD collection of some of the highlights of Traffic's career, this album lives up to its title.

Customer Reviews

Coffre au trésors!

Quel plaisir de retrouver ces chansons d'un des meilleurs groupes britanniques des années 60-70! Tout y est, rien ne manque. Le son jure un peu sur certaines pièces mais on pardonne quand on aime Traffic!


Formed: 1967 in Midlands, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s

Though it ultimately must be considered an interim vehicle for singer/songwriter/keyboardist/guitarist Steve Winwood, Traffic was a successful group that followed its own individual course through the rock music scene of the late '60s and early '70s. Beginning in the psychedelic year of 1967 and influenced by the Beatles, the band early on turned out eclectic pop singles in its native Great Britain, though by the end of its first year of existence it had developed a pop/rock hybrid tied to its unusual...
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