A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock Hall of Fame.
UNBELIEVABLE! Here’s an Island Pink Label pressing of Traffic’s self-titled second album that has a STUNNING side one, a GREAT side two, and plays close to Near Mint! It has been YEARS since we’ve had such a beautiful Pink Label copy, and I doubt we’ve ever heard a pressing on any label that could better this side one. The sound is as close to PERFECTION as we ever expect to hear for this music — super tubey magical, unbelievably transparent and tonally correct from top to bottom.
Side two is very good as well, but not quite the knockout that side one is. The sound is very rich and full-bodied but it lacks a little bit of top end next to the first side. Still, it should be a nice step up over most side twos out there.
Most Traffic albums are quite inconsistent; this is probably their best overall effort. It’s the only Traffic album to get five stars in the All Music Guide.
You Can All Join In Track Commentary
One of the best sounding songs on the album, full of tubey magic. Just listen to the richness of those guitars.
Pearly Queen Track Commentary
This track never sounds good.
Don’t Be Sad
Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring Track Commentary
One of the two best sounding tracks on side one.
Feelin’ Alright Track Commentary
This track never sounds quite as good as I want it to. No idea why that should be.
Forty Thousand Headmen
Cryin’ to Be Heard Track Commentary
Probably the best sounding track on the album.
No Time to Live
Means to an End
AMG 5 Star Review
After dispensing with his services in December 1967, the remaining members of Traffic reinstated Dave Mason in the group in the spring of 1968 as they struggled to write enough material for their impending second album. The result was a disc evenly divided between Mason’s catchy folk-rock compositions and Steve Winwood’s compelling rock jams. Mason’s material was the most appealing both initially and eventually: the lead-off track, a jaunty effort called “You Can All Join In,” became a European hit, and “Feelin’ Alright?” turned out to be the only real standard to emerge from the album after it started earning cover versions from Joe Cocker and others in the 1970s. Winwood’s efforts, with their haunting keyboard-based melodies augmented by Chris Wood’s reed work and Jim Capaldi’s exotic rhythms, work better as musical efforts than lyrical ones. Primary lyricist Capaldi’s words tend to be impressionistic reveries or vague psychological reflections; the most satisfying is the shaggy-dog story “Forty Thousand Headmen,” which doesn’t really make any sense as anything other than a dream. But the lyrics to Winwood/Capaldi compositions take a back seat to the playing and Winwood’s soulful voice. As Mason’s simpler, more direct performances alternate with the more complex Winwood tunes, the album is well-balanced.