UAS 5504 John Barleycorn Must Die
Produced by Chris Blackwell/Steve Winwood
(* produced by Guy Stevens)
Released on July 1970
UK CHART POSITION #5 . . . US CHART POSITION #11 . . . GOLD RECORD
Find it at GEMM
UAS 5504 cover  

K ronomyth 5.0: TRAFFIC LIVES! In a strange sense, it seems that John Barleycorn had to die for Traffic to live. What began as a Steve Winwood solo album (tentatively titled Mad Shadows) with Jim Capaldi and producer Guy Stevens soon flowered into the new Traffic album with the reunion of Chris Wood and the replacement of Stevens (who took the title to Mott) with Chris Blackwell. While Barleycorn isn’t a complete departure for the band, it is a new chapter, and it’s really on this album that the story of Traffic gets interesting for prog fans. The songs from the Blackwell sessions (“Glad,” “Freedom Rider,” “Empty Pages,” “John Barleycorn”) are the proggiest cuts they’ve committed to vinyl, mixing folk, soul and rock into a flavorful stew that proved far more fortifying than the psychedelic confections of “Shanghai Noodle Factory” or “Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring?” With the sax/flute work of Wood featured prominently and the guitar all but absent, John Barleycorn sounds like a lost Jethro Tull album much of the time (and Tull is tops in these parts). This and their next album represent to me the height of Traffic; Winwood, Capaldi and Wood have never done anything to equal them. In fact, I’ve been confounded over the years by the fact that Steve Winwood albums have failed time and again to come up to the standards of Barleycorn and Low Spark. The Guy Stevens sessions may shed some light into the mystery; “Stranger To Himself,” “Every Mothers Son” and “Sittin’ Here Thinkin’ of My Love” (included on the expanded CD version) are more in line with Winwood/Capaldi songs before and after, suggesting that Chris Wood was the missing ingredient for greatness. I’ve bought Traffic, Winwood and Capaldi albums hoping to discover the magic of Barleycorn again, and haven’t encountered it outside of their next album, so best to look upon the pair as cherishable anomalies and raise a glass in toast to divine happenstance.

548 541 front cover UAS 5504 original label UAS 5504 reissue label
548 541-2 front cover
[high resolution scan]
UAS 5504 original label UAS 5504 reissue label

TRACK LISTING

  1. GLAD    (Steve Winwood)    6:30
  2. FREEDOM RIDER    6:02
  3. EMPTY PAGES    4:45
  4. STRANGER TO HIMSELF*    4:05
  5. JOHN BARLEYCORN    (trad. arr. by Steve Winwood)    6:20
  6. EVERY MOTHERS SON*    7:05

    CD reissue bonus tracks
  7. I JUST WANT TO KNOW
  8. SITTIN' HERE THINKIN' OF MY LOVE
  9. BACKSTAGE & INTRODUCTION
  10. WHO KNOWS WHAT TOMORROW MAY BRING (LIVE)
  11. GLAD (LIVE)

    2001 Island Expanded CD Remaster
  12. GLAD    (Steve Winwood)    6:57
  13. FREEDOM RIDER    5:24
  14. EMPTY PAGES    4:33
  15. I JUST WANT YOU TO KNOW    1:30
  16. STRANGER TO HIMSELF*    3:50
  17. JOHN BARLEYCORN    (trad. arr. by Steve Winwood)    6:21
  18. EVERY MOTHERS SON*    7:05
  19. SITTIN' HERE THINKIN' OF MY LOVE*    3:24

    2011 bonus disc tracks
  20. STRANGER TO HIMSELF (ALTERNATE MIX)
  21. JOHN BARLEYCORN MUST DIE (FIRST VERSION)
  22. EVERY MOTHER'S SON (ALTERNATE MIX)
  23. BACKSTAGE & INTRODUCTION (LIVE)
  24. MEDICATED GOO (LIVE)
  25. EMPTY PAGES (LIVE)
  26. FORTY THOUSAND HEADMEN (LIVE)
  27. WHO KNOWS WHAT TOMORROW MAY BRING? (LIVE)
  28. EVERY MOTHER'S SON (LIVE)
  29. GLAD/FREEDOM RIDER (LIVE)

    All songs written by Steve Windwood/Jim Capaldi unless noted

CREDITS

JIM CAPALDI -- drums, percussion, vocals, tambourine
STEVE WINWOOD -- organ, piano, vocals, percussion, bass guitar, electric piano, acoustic guitar
CHRIS WOOD -- sax, flute, electric sax, percussion, organ
Brian Humphries -- engineer
Andrew Johns -- engineer
Richard Polak -- photography
Mike Sida -- album design
English Folk Dance & Song Society -- illustrations

return to TRAFFIC discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK July 1970 Island LP ILPS 9116 gatefold cover, pink label
US July 1970 United Artists LP UAS 5504 gatefold cover, red/black label
AUS'L/NZ 1970 Island LP SFL/SILPS-933909  
FRA 1970 Island LP 6405 007  
GER 1970 Island LP 88 018ET  
ISR/NOR 1970 Island LP 6339 016  
JPN 1970 Island LP ILS 40205  
UK   Island LP ILPS-9116 gatefold cover, palmtree label
ITA   Island LP ORL1-9116 gatefold cover
UK   Island LP ILPS-9116 blue label
JPN   Island LP 20S-96 blue label
UK   Island LP ILPS-9116 gatefold cover, sunset label
US 1970s United Artists LP UAS 5504 gatefold cover, yellow cloud label
CAN   Island LP ISM-9116 gatefold cover
SPA   Island LP H25114  
MEX 1977 Island LP LA-048  
US 1986 Island LP 90058-1  
KOR 1987 Island LP OLW 489  
UK 1988 Island LP ILPM-9116  
UK/GER   Island LP/CD/CS 842 780-1 180g vinyl
JPN 1991 Island CD PSCD-1136  
US/GER October 1999 Island CD 546 499  
  1999 Polygram Int'l CDX 551 132 w. 5 bonus tracks
UK/GER 1999 Island CDX IMCD 266 digital remaster w. 5 bonus tracks
JPN 1999 Island CDX UICY-9271 bonus tracks
US February 27, 2001 Island CDX 548 541-2 digital remaster w. 2 bonus tracks
JPN   Island CDX PHCW-2704 24-bit remaster w. 5 bonus tracks
JPN June 13, 2007 Island CDX UICY-9273 w. 5 bonus tracks
JPN 2008 Universal CDX UICY-90772 SHMCD remaster w. 5 bonus tracks
UK 2011 Universal 2CD 5332411 digital remaster w. bonus disc

 

For more discographies visit...
progrography

© 2012 Connolly & Company. All rights reserved.