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John Barleycorn Must Die (Deluxe Edition)

Traffic

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iTunes Review

Originally intended as Steve Winwood’s first solo album, John Barleycorn Must Die went down as the one of the reformed group’s finest creations. Winwood, Jim Capaldi and Chris Wood were fearless in their exploration, beginning the album with the seven-minute instrumental “Glad” to give listeners an idea of their uncompromising nature. Traffic were top-notch musicians who happened to have Steve Winwood and his golden throat as their ultimate weapon. There isn’t a bum track here. The Deluxe Edition includes alternate mixes of “Stranger to Himself” and “Every Mother’s Son” and the first version of the English Folk title cut that’s as beautiful as the official recording. The live tracks from the Fillmore East, New York on November 18 and 19, 1970 were originally planned for a live album that was scrapped in favor of Welcome to the Canteen and have been often bootlegged. The sound here highlights the feel of an intimate venue and the performances are first rate. The songs, from Traffic, Last Exit and Barleycorn, sound jazzier and looser, with the “Glad/Freedom Rider” medley ending things on a climatic note.

Biography

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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