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John Barleycorn Must Die

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Editors’ Notes

Traffic's third and most exploratory LP is also regarded as the band’s accidental reunion album. Traffic had disbanded following its eponymous 1968 sophomore record. Subsequently, Steve Winwood joined up with Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, and Ric Grech for the short-lived supergroup Blind Faith before recording the soul-folk tune “Stranger to Himself” and the rootsy acid-rock ballad “Every Mother’s Son” for what was supposed to be his solo debut. But Winwood longed for collaboration, so he called on drummer Jim Capaldi and multi-instrumentalist Chris Wood, making for Traffic's inadvertent rebirth. The soulful opener, “Glad,” and the folky title track best exemplify the rich chemistry of these three musical luminaries. The latter is a reworking of the traditional English folk song “John Barleycorn,” an ode to barley-based libations. Traffic brilliantly kept its roots intact while brewing its own concoction of folk-rock similar to that of Fairport Convention, save for some exemplary flute playing by Wood. This remaster boasts crystalline fidelity while respecting the original 1970 hard-panned production values.

Customer Reviews


Great album.


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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