Needless to say that the late 1960s was a weird and wonderful time in the history of music. Traffic was a competent and artistic band who were yet another bunch of legendary musicians who put out some well-received music. After some brief issues with their drummer before recording this album, they eventually created and delivered this album, seen frequently as their best overall. Let’s jump back in musical time and take a listen to this album, and hear what it sounds like.
You Can All Join In begins the album with weird electric guitar riffs and strummed acoustic guitars. A catchy and well written sung piece follows, with some very Fender sound guitar licks throughout. This is simple, pretty and marvellous immediately from the go. It is simple music for a much simpler era than today and sounds a lot like the Grateful Dead in many ways. Still, a catchy and melodic piece that demands repeat listens. The electric lead guitar drives this piece along extremely well, and it just sounds mindblowing and amazing. Really cool and simple, a great listen indeed, with some undeniably great sounds. The mixing of this song is perfect for the music at hand, too. Overall, very good music, all the way through to the fade-out.
Pearly Queen is next, beginning with a soft keyboard organ sound and some subtle guitar parts. Soon enough, the song gets going and is a very much big Hippy statement. It sounds quite good, almost as much as the opening track. There is a vast amount of wonderfully varied instrumentation and some wild Jimi Hendrix like guitar fills to boot. There is a lot of wonderful stereo panning on this song as well. The lyrics are rather Psychedelic, and there are some background harmonica and other instruments, too. This really does sound a lot like Jimi Hendrix with keyboards but is equally impressive as well as much as his music was. A very great and interesting listening experience. The second half has pounding tom-tom drums and some cool harmonica, along with some trippy organ sounds. Great music, and something that should be valued more musically than it is. Excellent.
Don’t Be Sad is next, and has some mid-position Fender guitar sounds, along with dual tracked harmonicas and gorgeous harmony based singing. This is another really excellent Pop/Rock piece that sounds really excellent. The bridge section has bongos and saxophone thrown into the mix, with a more prominent organ throughout. Everything on this song is done so brilliantly well that it is honestly refreshing and exciting from start to finish. A clever, wonderful and decent song to listen to, this is inspired heavily by the music of the time and put into an original context. Brilliant song that sounds great, with a very full-on and Psychedelic outro. Nice.
Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring begins with some odd instrumentation and singing. It is definitely a strange piece of music with unusual playing throughout. Still, this is very much a welcome thing at this point. The bridge connecting the verses of the song is fantastic and this is true artistry: clear and tuneful singing; clean and well-played guitar work; nice organ and other neat touches. The guitar and organ solo, and especially the bass guitar playing in the second half, are really fantastic. Indeed, unless you are a genuine psychic or clairvoyant, this song makes perfect sense lyrically. Excellent song and a great listening experience. Fresh and fun, even to this day.
Feelin’ Alright? begins with some pretty acoustic guitars and some beautiful singing and really amazing lyrics. Unlike modern bands and musicians, these songs are all done by Traffic alone as a group. The piano in the chorus and verses is additionally a nice addition to the music. A really genuinely great effort of music through and through. The drumming is also very dramatic and powerful, and yes, there are bongos in the mix too. A really top and enjoyable piece. The saxophone solo on this song is just amazing listening, which supports the song perfectly. Really cool and refreshing music, this does sound like a true winner. Catchy, simple and beautiful, Traffic delivers a great listen. Everything on this song is amazing, from the singing to the nimble Paul McCartney styled bass guitar playing. Great music, and of course, worth a listen, all the way through to the fade-out.
Vagabond Virgin is next and is a little over five minutes long. It has some really amazing sounds, like the awesome multitracked and treated harmonies, pretty flute and clanging piano. The backbeat is really great too, and this sounds really fantastic. This is uplifting, positive and energetic listening. The lyrics are rather interesting and probably not worth listening to as it deals with underage teenage sex. Still, the song is nonetheless amazing and impressive listening. The effort here is really fine, wonderful and melodic, and the song is amazing and it does sound like influenced by Van Morrison. This is a great original piece all the same. The solo section is a combination of acoustic guitar, piano and flute. A true winner and a perfectly executed piece of magical music, it has some great acoustic rhythmic strumming towards the end. Catchy and cool, you’ll need shades for this album. Great music all the way to the finish.
(Roamin’ Thro’ The Gloamin’ With) 40.000 Headman is a very druggy sounding song title. It begins with a strange flute, acoustic guitar picking and quickly launches into a terrific and great piece. The melodies and structures on this song are really fantastic, and the whole thing makes perfect sense from the late 1960s. A wacky, weird and wonderful piece of excellent delivered music. Fresh, fun and just superbly delivered, there are pounding drums and gorgeous flute sounds throughout. Undeniably great, this is very different from everything else that is made today. A really great and grand piece of music, and very gentle and nice listening.
Cryin’ To Be Heard has some fluttering organ, subtle saxophone and hi-hats at the start. It has a huge deal of suspense before a crashing drum roll enters and we are underway. After the chorus, the song has a rather sad sounding vocal and harpsichord. This is really simple, pretty and unique sounding music. This song powers along very well, and although it isn’t one of the best songs from this album, it does sound genuinely great. A magical, Psychedelic and different piece, it is about dealing with difficult emotions. There are some rather hypnotic multitracked vocals in the second half and just sounds truly awesome. In the second half is a harpsichord solo and some great playing from the rest of the band as they compete for attention. The chanting and other playing lead up to a frenzied finish. Never ever dull, not for a moment, on this song. It concludes with crashing drums and some lone and Eastern styled sounds. Great.
No Time To Live is not a James Bond reference. It begins with melancholy piano and a subtle organ in the faded intro. Soon enough, the piano takes centre stage as the song gets going. This has more gorgeous saxophone in it and purely sounds really amazing. Lyrical singing then enters after a minute or so, and there is a call-and-response between the instrumentation and singing on this song. This piece eventually gets going rhythmically and sounds really great. There are some amazingly mixed sounds on this album, and the whole thing really sounds amazing. Lyrics about the Wheel Of Fortune (a proper reference to it, not the TV show that is around these days though) makes for interesting and wonderful listening. This is a brilliant and awesome tune that is really grand, clever and impressive. There is a really intelligent and awesome music structure to these songs, including this beauty. It ends with a chaotic finish.
Means To An End begins with some quirky instrumentation, before launching into a semi-Country groove. It sounds really wonderful and fantastic from the go, and the guitar licks are really amazing sounding. The whole piece and the group sound as though they are on fine form. Brilliant and a wonderfully uplifting effort throughout, Traffic made impressive music. This song is very short at two and a half minutes long. However, it is a cool and quirky number with an upbeat sentiment about it. The outro is excellent.
Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush – Stereo Version is another short song with a spacey Electronic intro, quickly matched by guitar parts. It launches into a marching drum led piece with lyrics that are unusual, along with great harmonies and more bongos. It sounds different, eclectic and artistic. Around the middle, it quickly launches into a speedy groove, before everything goes into the background again, courtesy of the stereo mix. A really fine and fantastic listening experience, this sounds nicely delivered and executed. Great to hear.
Am I What Was Or Am I What I Am begins with crisp, clean electric guitar sounds and has a strange sound to it. This is another bite-sized chunk of music that sounds really fantastic. It has an unusual feel to it and just is very brilliant and impressive. There is a multitude of excellent sounds in this piece, notably the powerful and frequent drum rolls throughout. This is yet another consistently great song, and like the rest of the album, must be heard. Excellent.
Withering Tree begins with background piano, some strange backwards sounds and picked acoustic guitar. This is another musically accomplished and deliverable sounding music piece. Sleighbells and other gentle percussive sounds dominate this piece, along with the nicely sung lyrics. A strange lyrical and musical concept, this sounds really articulate, intelligent and superb. Traffic does not fail at all whatsoever. Interesting and awesome music, this sounds like very solid music, with a flute driven outro. Nice.
Medicated Goo is a weird song title. Beginning with racing piano parts, upbeat guitars and catchy drumbeats, this does sound really awesome to listen to. It’s a strange listening experience likely with a hidden meaning within it, it still sounds driven and amazing. The guitar solo near the middle sounds legendary, and Traffic really excel at what they did here. A fresh, fun and interesting piece of music, this is a winner of an album. There is a breakdown with catchy bass guitar and other instrumentation flowing in and out of consciousness. A really sweet piece of music, the dirty guitar solo at the end is magical. Nice to listen to, even today.
Shanghai Noodle Factory is the last song on this album, and goes for five minutes, a bit longer than usual. It begins with synchronised organs and drums, before launching into a really weird lyrical song about being in said factory. Nonetheless, this is a very good listening experience and does sound very enjoyable. It’s likely a Hippie sort of trip here and just sounds very weird. Of course, there are some typical Traffic sounds, such as organ and flute. Still, the lyrical sentiment is totally odd. A wacky but enjoyable listen, the chanted line, “Nowhere, doing nothing,” is gorgeous, and is followed by a great bunch of instrumental solos. These are very impressive and point ahead to the future of Progressive Rock. Eventually, the song section resumes and this piece reaches a fine conclusion and this solid gold classic of an album finishes. Cool.
Hands down, this is an amazing and very underrated album. Absolutely you should hear this wonderful journey through a form of original, intelligent and artistic music. There is very little to point out as a flaw on this record, perhaps the only flaw being some of the overt Hippie ideals from the day, that has not aged so well. Still, this is a classic album that you will not regret hearing.
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