UAS 5500 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
UAS 5500 back cover

TRACK LISTING

  1. PAPER SUN    (Steve Winwood/Jim Capaldi)    3:23
  2. HEAVEN IS IN YOUR MIND    (Steve Winwood/Jim Capaldi/Chris Wood)    4:02
  3. NO FACE, NO NAME AND NO NUMBER    (Steve Winwood/Jim Capaldi)    3:30
  4. COLOURED RAIN    (Steve Winwood/Jim Capaldi/Chris Wood)    2:44
  5. SMILING PHASES
  6. (US repl. above w.) YOU CAN ALL JOIN IN    (Dave Mason)    3:12
  7. HOLE IN MY SHOE    (Dave Mason)    2:48
  8. MEDICATED GOO    (Steve Winwood/Jimmy Miller)    3:36
  9. FORTY THOUSAND HEADMEN    (Jim Capaldi/Steve Winwood)    3:15
  10. FEELIN' ALRIGHT    (Dave Mason)    4:10
  11. SHANGHAI NOODLE FACTORY    (Steve Winwood/Jim Capaldi/Fallon/Jimmy Miller/Dave Mason)    5:04
  12. DEAR MR. FANTASY    (Jim Capaldi/Steve Winwood/Chris Wood)    5:33

CREDITS

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
AUS'L 1969 Festival LP SFL 933613  
GER 1969 Island LP 88.066ET  
JPN 1969 Island LP 20S-95  
NZ   Island LP L33613  
SPA 1970 Philips LP 63 43001  
JPN 1971 Island LP AMLI-1004  
JPN   Island LP ILS-80309  
NET   Island LP 88 175XAT  
US   United Artists LP UAS 5500 tan label
YUG 1976 Jugoton LP LSI-70816  
UK   Island CD IMCD 169  
FRA 1998 Island CD 846 153  
JPN   Island CD UICY-2163  

 

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