Recorded at Olympic Sound Studios
Composed by the members of Traffic
In memory of Len Tibbits, brother of Harry Tibbits, he died shuvling (sic) gravel.
(C) 1968 Island Record Ltd., A Universal Music Company
The copyright in this sound recording and of this artwork is owned by Island Records Limited.
WARNING: All rights reserved. Unauthorised copying, lending, hiring, reproduction, public performance and broadcasting prohibited.
2000 UK Island CD Reissue Notes:
BETWEEN 1966 AND 1967 rock began to evolve out of pop. The new possibilities on offer caused ructions within Beat's old guard - Paul Jones split from Manfred Mann, Eric Burdon forged a 'New Animals' and Stevie Winwood said goodbye to the Spencer Davis Group.
Born in Birmingham on May 12, 1948, Winwood was a child protege, playing various instruments - piano, guitar, organ - in local pubs and bands by age 13. Yet for all that mercurial talent, it was Stevie's voice which grabbed immediate attention, soaked, as it was, in the rasp of Ray Charles and the swing of Mose Allison. Winwood, brother Muff and drummer Steve York teamed with guitarist/singer Spencer Davis in 1963 to forge one of Britain's finest R&B groups. Before their demise four years later, the quartet recorded a series of vibrant singles, notably 'Keep On Runnin", 'Gimmie Some Lovin" and 'I'm A Man', as well as three stellar albums. However, by early 1967, rumours of Stevie's unhappiness spread. He had become the fulcrum of a group which bore his character but not his name and it had become clear he wished to play a freer, more adventurous music. Tales flourished about late-night jam sessions with fellow Brummie musicians and in April the music press formally announced his new venture: Traffic.
The rest of the line-up was dubbed 'unknown' yet they were veterans of (the) same circuit through which the Spencer Davis Group had evolved. Drummer Jim Capaldi had been lead singer with the Sapphires prior to teaming with guitarist Dave Mason in the Hellions. John 'Poll' Palmer (later of Eclection and Family) and Luther Grosvenor (Spooky Tooth, Mott The Hoople), were also members of a promising band which completed three singles before splitting. Mason, Capaldi and Palmer then formed the short-loved Deep Feeling, but Dave left soon afterwards. He moved to London joining club favourites Julian Covey and the Machine, but having been fired for missing rehearsals, took employment as a roadie for the Spencer Davis Group. Traffic began life in 1965 as Mason began to distract Winwood and Birmingham's Elbow Bow Room club became a new focal point. Capaldi dropped in, ex Locomotive saxophonist Chris Wood arrived and the seeds of a new band were sewn a year before they became official. Their understanding proved unshakeable, and it's long-whispered that Mason, and possibly others, provided the muscle on the final Spencer Davis hit, 'I'm A Man'.
Winwood's already established managerial ties with Island Records' owner Chris Blackwell continued and the new unit became a conerstone in the label's development as an outlet for Jamaican music to that of rock. It was Blackwell who helped secure a cottage for the fledgling group at Aston Tirrold in Berkshire thereby founding one of pop's enduring cliches, that of bands 'getting it together in the country'. Traffic's communal period may have been quite brief - Stevie was, in fact, the sole permanent resident - yet during that time they fused a unique sound with traces of pop, soul, R&B and jazz.
'This is a photo of a Number 1 record', barked the uncompromising advert surrounding the release of 'Paper Sun', Traffic's debut single. If a tad optimistic, the performance itself deserved the hype. One of the truly great 'Summer of '67' songs, it proved Winwood's bold step was well-founded. Tablas and sitars enhanced Traffic's pulsating sound, and contrasted the more open, light-hearted vibe of the flipside, 'Giving To You'. Dave Mason's 'Hole In My Shoe' - which Winwood recorded under duress followed, before 'Here We Go 'Round The Mulberry Bush', the first song Traffic recorded together - gave the group their third Top 10 hit. Unfortunately, this brought renewed pressure on Winwood. He had wanted to escape chart-bound mentalities and although Traffic was feted as a rock act in the USA and Europe, it was seen as another pop group in Britain. Tensions between Stevie and Mason had also become apparent. They could not see eye to eye on Traffic's direction (and control), and indeed all of the band, bar Dave, preferred issuing the gutsy collective, 'Coloured Rain', as the group's second single, rather than the whimsical, but unrepresentative, 'Hole In My Shoe'.
The gulf between Mason and his colleague continues on Traffic's album debut, 'Mr. Fantasy', despite the rural bonhomie suggested by its memorable sleeve. Indeed Dave's rage strewn opus, 'Utterly Simple', although charming in itself, sounds like a solo track. Elsewhere, however, the band's empathy flourishes on the vibrant 'Heaven Is In Your Mind while 'Berkshire Poppies' (made with the aid of sundry Small Faces) capture the group at its most light-hearted. 'Dear Mr. Fantasy' itself, offers a burning passion born of nights playing together in the Berkshire countryside and contrasts the plaintive cry for recognition apparent in 'No Face, No Name, No Number', one of the most poignant ballads recorded by anyone.
'Mr. Fantasy' was released in Britain in December 1967, but by the time it appeared Dave Mason had left the line-up. The US edition, issued somewhat later, reflected his departure. The sleeve showed Traffic as a trio and the errant member's name was absent from the credits. The content was also changed but, in many ways, the revamped set provided a wider overview of Traffic's first six months than the albeit excellent snapshot captured by thr UK version. Scissors at the ready, out went all of Dave's contributions, bar 'House For Everyone', and in came the group's first two singles, 'Smilin' Phases', the punchy flip of 'Hole In My Shoe' and 'We're Afraid You Missed This', a jokey reprise of the album's 'title' track. With this in mind, both pressings are included on this CD - the British in stereo; its transatlantic counterpart in mono. If this seems confusing, then so too is Traffic's subsequent history, detailed on the companion volumes of Traffic' and 'John Barleycorn Must Die'.
ORIGINAL ISLAND PROMOTIONAL BIOGRAPHY FROM THE PRESS PACK:
TRAFFIC LIFE LINES
(DRUMS & PERCUSSION)
AGE: 22 YEARS.
HOW OLD DO YOU FEEL: ANYTHING UNDER FIFTY.
BIRTHDAY: 2ND, AUGUST
ARE YOU AFRAID OF DEATH: I DON'T KNOW.
FAVOURITE FLOWER: DON'T INVOLVE ME IN THESE LATEST CRAZES.
00 YOU LIKE CLASSICAL MUSIC: YES.
00 YOU DAY-DREAM: NO, I NIGHT-DREAM.
DO YOU SMOKE: YES.
HOW MANY CIGS. DO YOU SMOKE PER DAY: 7 1/2 OUT OF A PACKET OF 10.
WHAT TYPE OF FOODS DO YOU ENJOY MOST: MUSIC.
WHAT COUNTRY IN THE WORLD WOULD YOU ESPECIALLY LIKE TD VISIT: ENGLAND.
ARE YOU PATRIOTIC: NO, JIM IS MY NAME.
IDEAL GIRL: DON'T KNOW - I HAVEN'T MET HER YET.
DO YOU LOVE ANIMALS: I DO, BUT I DON'T THINK THEY LOVE ME.
WHICH ANIMALS DO YOU LOVE MOST: TRAFFIC.
WHO DO YOU ADMIRE: GOD.
WHO WOULO YOU LIKE TO BE OTHER THAN YOURSELF: THE QUEEN MOTHER.
AMBITION: TO MAINTAIN PEACE OF MIND AT ALL TIMES.
JIM WRITES TO YOU:- "I STARTED OUT BREATHING AND HAVE CONTINUED TO DO SO EVER SINCE, ALTHOUGH MY HEART WORRIES ME SOMETIMES. IT DOES A SORT OF PARADIDDLE WITH TWO RESTS IN-BETWEEN WHICH PROBABLY STARTED ME DRUMMING AT THE TENDER AGE.
I LOVE THE COUNTRY WIDE AND ALL THE SPACES IN IT. THIS ALLOWS ME TO BREATHE FREELY AND THINK FREELY - WHICH IS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL FOR EATING SUGAR PUFFS AND I LOVE SUGAR PUFFS.
THE FIRST RECORD I EVER HAD RELEASED WAS WITH A GROUP CALLED THE 'HELLIONS'. THE ROYALTIES TOTALLED 2/9d. AND WE WERE COMPLETELY KNOCKED-OUT WITH THIS ACHIEVEMENT. - ANYWAY I MUST GO, DON'T WANT TO BE CAUGHT IN THE TRAFFIC!"
DAVID THOMAS MASON
(GUITAR, SITAR, PERCUSSION, HARP)
AGE: 21 YEARS.
HOW OLD DO YOU FEEL: 21.
BIRTHDAY: 10TH MAY
ARE YOU AFRAID OF DEATH: NO, ONLY THE WAY IN WHICH I MIGHT DIE.
FAVOURITE FLOWER: ALL FLOWERS.
00 YOU LIKE CLASSICAL MUSIC: GOOD CLASSICAL MUSIC.
00 YOU DAY-DREAM: I SUPPOSE EVERYBODY DOES.
DO YOU SMOKE: YES.
HOW MANY CIGS. DO YOU SMOKE PER DAY: WHENEVER I FEEL LIKE ONE.
WHAT TYPE OF FOODS DO YOU ENJOY MOST: I'M JUST GLAD THERE'S FOOD AVAILABLE.
WHAT COUNTRY IN THE WORLD WOULD YOU ESPECIALLY LIKE TD VISIT: INDIA & AFRICA.
ARE YOU PATRIOTIC: I'VE NEVER REALLY THOUGHT ABOUT IT.
IDEAL GIRL: SOMEONE WHO APPRECIATES INDIVIDUALITY.
DO YOU LOVE ANIMALS: YES.
WHICH ANIMALS DO YOU LOVE MOST: CATS ESPECIALLY.
WHO DO YOU ADMIRE: I APPRECIATE SO MANY PEOPLE.
WHO WOULO YOU LIKE TO BE OTHER THAN YOURSELF: THERE ISN'T REALLY ANYBODY ELSE I'D LIKE TO BE.
AMBITION: TO GAIN PEACE OF MIND.
DAVE WRITES TO YOU:- "THE PEN THAT IS WRITING THESE WORDS IS CONTROLLED BY THE MIND VIA THE HAND AND ARM.
LITTLE GIRLS WITH LITTLE SKIRTS AND LITTLE MINDS THAT FIT THEIR SCENES OF NIGHT CLUBS AND BRIGHT LIGHTS AND WONDERING WHETHER HE'S ALRIGHT (FOODS ANOTHER PROBLEM WITH ME, I HAVE TO WATCH MY DIET AS WELL).
HAVE YOU NOTICED HOW MANY PEOPLE WALK WITH THEIR NOSES ON THE GROUND WHEN THERE'S SO MUCH GOING ON AROUND THEM.
WORCESTER IS LIKE ONE BIG SHOP SURROUNDED BY HOUSES BUT THERE'S A BEAUTIFUL CATHEDRAL.
SIR EDWARD ELGAR WAS BORN NEAR TO MY HOME, AND UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES HE DIDN'T THINK THAT THERE WAS MUCH POMP ABOUT LAND OF HOPE & GLORY."
(ORGAN & PIANO. GUITAR, PERCUSSION & HARP)
AGE: 19 YEARS.
HOW OLD DO YOU FEEL: SOMETIMES 16 - SOMETIMES 19.
BIRTHDAY: 12TH MAY
ARE YOU AFRAID OF DEATH: I DON'T USUALLY GIVE IT MUCH SERIOUS THOUGHT.
FAVOURITE FLOWER: GIANT SUN-FLOWERS.
DO YOU LIKE CLASSICAL MUSIC: YES.
DO YOU DAY-DREAM: YES.
DO YOU SMOKE: YES.
HOW MANY CIGS. DO YOU SMOKE PER DAY: ABOUT 15 TO 20.
WHAT TYPE OF FOOOS DO YOU ENJOY MOST: INDIAN AND CUBAN FOOD.
WHAT COUNTRY IN THE WORLD WOULD YOU ESPECIALLY LIKE TO VISIT: AFGHANISTAN.
ARE YOU PATRIOTIC: YES, IN MY OWN WAY.
IDEAL GIRL: SOMEONE WHO I LOVE.
DO YOU LOVE ANIMALS: YES.
WHICH ANIMALS DO YOU LOVE MOST: NICE ONES.
WHO DO YOU ADMIRE: I ADMIRE MANY PEOPLE.
WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE OTHER THAN YOURSELF: I WOULDN'T LIKE TO BE ANYONE OTHER THAN MYSELF.
AMBITION: (no answer printed)
STEVE WRITES TO YOU:- "WHERE I WAS BORN IS NOT IMPORTANT, ALTHOUGH I LOVE BIRMINGHAM, I LEARNT MORE SINCE I LEFT SCHOOL.
I LIVE ON THE BERKSHIRE DOWNS, AND MY ONLY INFLUENCE IS ENVIRONMENT AND PAST MISTAKES. I DON'T DENY ANYTHING I'VE DONE IN THE PAST, BECAUSE WITHOUT THAT, I WOULDN'T BE ON THIS PLANE NOW. TO CREATE IS TO GIVE, AND TO GIVE OUT IS NOT POSSIBLE WITHOUT ABSORBING FIRST, SO I ABSORB OR IGNORE EVERYTHING I SEE, BECAUSE IT ISN'T POSSIBLE EITHER TO ABSORB EVERYTHING.
I DON'T WANT TO KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN OR WHAT HAS HAPPENED, I JUST KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING. WITHOUT ACCEPTANCE FROM EVERYBODY, NOTHING WOULD BE POSSIBLE, INCLUDING US."
(TENOR, SAX, FLUTE & PERCUSSION)
AGE: 22 YEARS.
HOW OLD DO YOU FEEL: PHYSICALLY I SOMETIMES FEEL OLD; MENTALLY - VERY YOUNG, BUT I DON'T MIND ABOUT THAT.
BIRTHDAY: 24TH JUNE
ARE YOU AFRAID OF DEATH: YES.
WHY: THE THOUGHT OF EVERYTHING JUST COMING TO AN END - BUT THEN IT MAY NOT.
FAVOURITE FLOWER: BUTTERCUPS & DAISIES.
DO YOU LIKE CLASSICAL MUSIC: YES, I LIKE ALL DIFFERENT SORTS OF MUSIC.
DO YOU DAY-DREAM: WELL, I HAVE NIGHT-MARES AND 'DAY-MARES'.
DO YOU SMOKE: SOMETIMES IN THE EVENING.
WHAT TYPE OF FOODS DO YOU ENJOY MOST: SIMPLE FOODS, LIKE FRUIT AND SEA FISH.
WHAT COUNTRY IN THE WORLD WOULD YOU ESPECIALLY LIKE TO VISIT: CHINA.
ARE YOU PATRIOTIC: NOT REALLY.
IDEAL GIRL: A GIRL WHO IS HONEST AND UNDERSTANDING AND VERY NATURAL.
DO YOU LOVE ANIMALS: YES.
WHICH ANIMALS DO YOU LOVE MOST: MONSTERS (SECOND THOUGHTS: DOGS AND ALL HOUSE PETS).
WHO DO YOU ADMIRE: SOMEONE WHO IS HUMBLE AND KIND.
WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE OTHER THAN YOURSELF: A BIRD WITH HUMAN FUNCTIONS AND A BRAIN.
AMBITION: HAPPINESS FOR OTHER PEOPLE.
CHRIS WRITES TO YOU:- "HERE I AM TRYING TO WRITE A FEW WORDS ABOUT ME AND I DON'T EVEN KNOW MUCH ABOUT MYSELF EXCEPT WHAT I LIKE AT THE MOMENT: (NOT IN ORDER OF IMPORTANCE) TRAFFIC, STEPHANIE WOOD, MY MOTHER & FATHER, SEVERAL CATS, OLD HOUSES, GHOSTS, TREES, EMILY BRONTE, HOT SUMMER DAYS, STOURBRIDGE, ROADS LEADING SOUTH, THE SEA, BEACHES, ROCK POOLS, PADSTOW, JAMES, THATCHED ROOFS, DAVE & STEVE, THE SMELL OF APPLE BLOSSOM, EARTH. FRESH SEA AIR, CLANCEY BROTHERS FACTORY, LAUGHING, TRAVILLING, ISLAND, KEN, BEATLES, CHILDREN, CAVES, DAY, LAWNS, BURIAL MOUNDS, SWALLOWS, RARE THINGS, RUBIES, SOME TOTEM POLES, PEACHES, BUTTER, COLOURS, THE SOUND OF WIND, ALL INSTRUMENTS, BOB DYLAN, DARK, LANTERNS, DAWN, DUSK, ATMOSPHERES IN THE EVENINIG AND LITTLE THINGS."
These original analogue masters have been digitally transfered at 24 bits resolution, processed using Sonic Solutions NoNoise technology and mastered to 16 bit for CD using Prism SNS Noise Shaping.
Made in the EU
Compact Disc Digital Audio