Traffic - The Low Spark Sessions Olympic Studios 1971 (Bootleg)

Jumat, 04 Januari 2013

Size: 163 MB
Bitrate: 320
Found in DC++ World
No Artwork
Excellent SoundQuality

This is billed as outtakes from the Low Spark studio sessions, though it seems to have other stuff as well. The sound quality is excellent except for the alternate mix “Rock & Roll Stew” extended version which is curiously distorted. Twelve tracks pretty much suitable for diehard fans only.

I can still remember the first time I heard The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys. I was in high school, and it must have been my senior year because I had just smoked a bowl in the basement. When I came upstairs and went to my room, my buzz was just starting to kick in, and I flipped on the radio. That song was playing, and that hypnotic, steady bass line dragged my ass right down to the floor. I sat there like Buddha - cross legged, eyes closed, and letting every beautiful note wash over and through me. I've been a Traffic fan since. I still don't know what the song is about, but here's a boatload of theories to start with.

While Traffic was a band with a distinguished career and many great albums, Low Spark just seems to stand out. The entire thing is great from start to finish, and most of it was available to FM listeners of the day. I remember at least four of the LP's six songs getting regular play - a ratio even today's most popular releases do not enjoy anymore. It was the band's most successful album in the U.S. Not bad for a band everyone had given up for dead many years before.

I was fortunate to see the core of Steve Winwood and Jim Capaldi (and I'm not sure who else, certainly not Chris Wood, who was long dead, or Dave Mason, who was in Fleetwood Mac that year) reunite as Traffic in 1994, when they toured as the opener for the Grateful Dead. While I frequently blew off the opening acts in favor of the parking lot scene, I made sure I was in to see Traffic both nights. I'm glad I did - both sets were fantastic (despite the poor live performances I've heard on some older boots) , and as of Capaldi's passing will never happen again.  Unfortunately this was post Brent GD, therefore no big Dear Mr. Fantasy jam, which sounds just awesome in my imagination.

Aside from Winwood (guitar, keys, vocals), Capaldi (percussion, vocals) and Wood (sax, flute) the band also consisted at this point of Rick Grech (bass, violin), Reebop Kwaku Baah (percussion) and Jim Gordon (drums) who is the unfortunate lunatic I referred to in yesterday's final clue. 

The music I'm sharing today comes from the Low Spark sessions at the Olympic Studios in London in 1971. I'm sure there is plenty more - this is just one disc and doesn't cover all the songs on the album. It does, however, include three "unknown jams" and demos for a couple Capaldi tunes that Traffic never did (he may have done them solo, I don't know.) 

While I wish I could post a nifty version of Low Spark of High Heeled Boys, I can't. The version here has some different percussion, and the sax solo doesn't sound exactly the same, but the piano solo does, as do the vocals. Overall, it's not that different from what we know. I can share a completely different arrangement of the album's single, though. Rock & Roll Stew has long been one of my favorite Traffic tunes, and this alternate arrangement is cool as hell. It's a little simpler and less layered than the release, and feels a little more like a straightforward rock song.

The next is one of the unknown jams, all of which are cool. This is the third and longest, and it features the Muscle Shoals Horns. It's called Unknown Jam #3 w/Muscle Shoals Horns. I swear, I have no idea where they come up with these titles. What do you think of it?

At the last minute, I've decided to include a third cut, simply because it it so unlike anything Traffic ever actually did. In fact, it sounds more like something Arlo Guthrie would do. It one of the Capaldi demos, and is a solo acoustic, very folksy sounding tune. It's called Easter Weekend demo #2. According to Google, this bootleg is the only way to hear this song, because no Capaldi albums came up in the search. Oh well. I do have to say that I enjoy the novelty of an acoustic guitar demo from a drummer! [Source:]

This is Traffic during 'The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys' recording sessions, at Olympic Studios, London, developed across various dates in 1971.

After the break-up of Blind Faith in 1969, Steve Winwood began working on a solo recording, bringing in Chris Wood and Jim Capaldi to contribute, and the project eventually turned into a new Traffic album, John Barleycorn Must Die, their most successful album yet. Traffic went on to expand its lineup late in 1970, adding Ric Grech on bass. The group further expanded in 1971 with drummer Jim Gordon of Derek and the Dominos and percussionist Rebop Kwaku Baah. The live album Welcome to the Canteen was released in September and marked the band's break with United Artists Records. It did not bear the "Traffic" name on the cover, and instead was credited to the band's individual members including Dave Mason, who returned for his third and final spell with the band. The album ended with a version of The Spencer Davis Group song "Gimme Some Loving", which became a minor hit.

Following the departure of Dave Mason, Traffic released The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys (1971), which was a Top 10 American album but did not chart in the UK; the LP is also notable for its striking die-cut cover. It sold over half a million copies in 1972 when it received a gold disc, and was awarded a R.I.A.A. platinum disc in March 1976 for over a million total sales. Once again, however, personnel problems wracked the band as Grech and Gordon left the band in December 1971, and the month after, Winwood's struggles with peritonitis brought Traffic to a standstill. Jim Capaldi used this hiatus to record a solo album, Oh How We Danced, which would prove to be the beginning of a long and successful solo career. The album included a surplus recording from The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys, "Open Your Heart", and the new tracks featured drummer Roger Hawkins and bassist David Hood, from the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio house band. Capaldi soon brought them on board to replace Grech and Gordon.[Source:]

The Low Spark of High Heeled Sessions
Olympic Studios, London, UK 

Stevie Winwood - keyboard, guitar, vocals 
Dave Mason - guitar 
Jim Capaldi - vocals 
Chris Wood - sax; 
Rick Grech - bass 
Jim Gordon - drums 
Reebop Kwaku Baah - percussion 

01. The Low Spark Of High-Heeled Boys - alternate take, February 9, 1971
02. Rock And Roll Stew - alternate take, May 19, 1971
03. Rainmaker - alternate take, May 19, 1971
04. Rock And Roll Stew - alternate mix, August 25, 1971
05. Light Up Or Leave Me Alone - alternate mix, August 25, 1971
06. Traffic Jam #1 - take 2
07. Traffic Jam #2 - with Muscle Shoals Horns
08. Traffic Jam #3 - with Muscle Shoals Horns
09. It's So Hard - Jim Capaldi & Jim Gordon demo #1
10. It's So Hard - Jim Capaldi & Jim Gordon demo #2
11. Easter Weekend - Jim Capaldi demo #1 
12. Easter Weekend - Jim Capaldi demo #2

1. Link
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