|Best of Traffic|
|Produced by Jimmy Miller|
|Released on September 1969|
|US CHART POSITION #48|
|Find it at GEMM|
|UAS 5500 cover
[high resolution scan]
A sked to name the great psychedelic albums of the ‘60s, people invariably cite Pink Floyd, The Beatles, The Who, even The Rolling Stones from the loyal illuminati who won’t admit that Satanic Majesties was a complete failure. Noticeably absent is Traffic, whose early psychedelic triumphs provided a blueprint to many for how it should be done. From Genesis to Jethro Tull, David Bowie to XTC (as their alter ego, the Dukes of Stratosfear), nearly everyone took something from Traffic. Psychedelia by turns enjoys a long dusty burial and colorido rebirth; at the moment, it’s been deep interred by all but aging hipsters with disposable cash. Traffic, however, is a phenomenon that won’t go quietly into the ground. Even in 1969, when Best of Traffic was released, Traffic was properly dead. And yet, like Cream, they rise again with compilations, repackages, reissues. Mostly it’s the old, psychedelic Traffic that keeps coming back like a ghost to haunt us; the Barleycorn-and-beyond Traffic spoke its piece in its lifetime and sleeps quietly now. I suspect it’ll keep coming back until we give the early Traffic its due. “Heaven Is In Your Mind,” “Paper Sun” and “Coloured Rain” are 2,000 light years from what most psychedelic bands were doing in 1967. The first side deserves to be taken out of formaldehyde, given a good rinsing, and entered into the rolls alongside “Armenia in the Sky” and “Arnold Layne.” The second side documents the band’s dissolving, as Dave Mason and Steve Winwood began to drive the band in very different directions. “Shanghai Noodle Factory,” “Forty Thousand Headmen” and “Dear Mr. Fantasy” show where Traffic was headed, “Feelin’ Alright” doesn’t. Problematic as it is to fuse these crumbling halves of Traffic together, Best of Traffic may not be the best way to experience Traffic for the first time. It was, at the time, simply another way for the record labels to cash in before Traffic cashed out. But if curiosity and commerce should intersect at, say, six dollars, then heaven is in your hand (noting that, some days, my prose is more purple than others).
|UAS 5500 back cover|
Woody Woodward and Ron Wolin -- art direction and design
return to TRAFFIC discography
|REGION||RELEASE DATE||LABEL||MEDIA||ID NUMBER||FEATURES|
|UK||September 1969||Island||LP/8T||ILPS/Y81 9112|
|US||November 1969||United Artists||LP||UAS 5500||orange/pink label|
|US||United Artists||LP||UAS 5500||tan label|
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