Recorded live at Fairfreld Hall, Croydon and the Oz Benefit Concert, London.
Mixed at Island Studios, Basing Street, London.
2002 CD Reissue Notes:
Mastered from the original analog master tapes at Universal Mastering Studios-East.
As evidenced by the critical and widespread commercial appeal of their 1970 'comeback' album John Barleycorn Must Die, Traffic had reemerged as a potent creative force. At their core, Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi, and Chris Wood represented a potent, enthusiastic partnership eager to take on new creative challenges.
In the recording studio, Traffic often drew upon one of their primary strengths, Winwood's ability to play multiple instruments. Winwood moved skillfully between keyboards, bass, and guitar as each new recording required. However, this same facility could not be replicated onstage. To remedy this, the group expanded to include former Blind Faith bassist Rick Grech, a move that allowed Winwood to focus primarily on guitar and keyboards. This edition toured successfully throughout 1970 in support of John Barleycorn Must Die.
In November 1970, recordings were made of the group's concerts at the Fillmore East in New York. A six song live album, which featured "Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring," "Glad," "Pearly Queen," "40,000 Headmen," "Dear Mr. Fantasy," and "Can't Find My Way Home" was prepared for release in early 1971, but was never issued.
By May 1971, Traffic had expanded once more. The break up of Derek & The Dominos created an opportunity for drummer Jim Gordon to join the group. With Gordon in tow, Capaldi placed new emphasis on his emergence as a vocalist. Joining Gordon and Grech in the new lineup was percussionist Reebop Kwaku Baah, a former sideman for Dizzy Gillespie.
The most striking addition, however, came in the form of guitarist Dave Mason. Mason had been a founding member of Traffic but creative differences had driven him from the group in 1968. These select 1971 dates represented Mason first significant work with Traffic since his departure three years before.
Island Records obviously sensed the significance of this reunion and dispatched engineer Brian Humphries to Fairfield Hall in Croydon to record the group's opening performance. Rough hewn, effusive renditions of past Traffic favorites such as "Dear Mr. Fantasy" were featured alongside Mason's "Shouldn't Have Took More Than You Gave" and the Spencer Davis Group standard "Gimme Some Lovin".
In Croydon, Traffic thrilled the capacity crowd and in the aftermath of their performance, Mason was aglow at the possibilities presented by their successful reunion. "Personally, I think we ought to do a bunch more concerts, go to America, do some recording and then tour here," Mason gushed enthusiastically to Rolling Stone the following day. "People in America have never seen Traffic buzzing like last night. But it's Stevie's band, so it is up to him. Every time I have seen them for the last couple of years, I have asked them if they would like to reform the orignal group, but the personalities were never receptive. This time, he said yeah."
Despite Mason's enthusiasm, this edition of Traffic would last but for just six performances. Winwood was determined to come off the road and focus his energies solely on recording. "I'll do these gigs," he admitted to Rolling Stone, "but after that I'm just stopping." Mason left soon thereafter and resumed his solo career in the United States.
Highlights from two of those six performances, including their opening night in Croydon and a July 1971 London benefit for Oz Magazine, would be mixed and issued in September 1971 as Welcome To The Canteen.
(P) (C) 2002 Universal-Island Records Ltd.
Manufactured by The Island Def Jam Music Group
825 Eighth Avenue
New York, NY 10019
Distributed by Universal Music & Video Distribution, Inc.
Warning: All rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.
Compact Disc Digital Audio