Traffic – John Barleycorn Must Die (Deluxe Edition)

January 01, 1970



What began
as a Steve Winwood solo effort would become, with help from bandmates Jim
Capaldi and Chris Wood, Traffic’s breakthrough album. Released in 1970, long
after the band’s initial break-up, John
Barleycorn Must Die
took Traffic’s prog-folk roots and jam-band tendencies
and added dollops of jazz-fusion and rock ‘n’ roll experimentation. Songs like
“Freedom Rider,” “Every Mother’s Son,” and the AOR hit
“Empty Pages” wrote the musical blueprint that would result in
Traffic’s subsequent commercial and critically successful early-‘70s albums.


The deluxe
John Barleycorn Must Die drops two
bonus tracks from earlier reissues in favor of a second disc with three
alternative mixes and six live tracks from a frequently-bootlegged November
1970 Fillmore East show. The original version of the title track is more
melancholy and mesmerizing than the subsequent (album) take, with Wood’s flute
pushed higher, while the alternative “Every Mothers Son” is more
vibrant and guitar-heavy. Of the live tracks, “Medicated Goo” is a
funky triumph; “40,000 Headmen” is simply otherworldly, with an
enchanting mix of prog-rock and jazz; while “Glad” and “Freedom
Rider” are mashed together into a single exhilarating musical odyssey. The
entire performance is well worth the price of admission. 


DOWNLOAD: “Empty Pages,” “Medicated
Goo” (live) REV. KEITH A. GORDON



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