UAS-5550 Welcome to the Canteen
Produced by Chris Blackwell & Steve Winwood
Released on September 1971
Find it at GEMM
UAS-5550 cover
[high resolution scan]

W elcome to Canteenaville, population You and 40,000 Headmen and a version of Gimme Some Loviní that if five seconds longer would qualify as assisted suicide. Unfortunately, the road to Traffic is littered with accidents like this: collisions with contractual obligations and compilations. Worse, Canteen was going in the wrong direction. John Barleycorn was the bandís future, but you wonít find a whiff of it here. Instead, a reunion with Dave Mason for a summer tour in 1971 birthed this monster: one track each from the first three Traffic albums, two from Masonís solo elpee and the aforementioned Spencer Davis Group classic. Like Last Exit, Welcome to the Canteen is a contractual obligation album, ending their five-album deal with US distributor United Artists. (One day UA and then you ainít.) And like Last Exit, I wouldnít pay it no mind. Trafficís first two albums are psychedelic cornerstones, Barleycorn and Low Spark something even better. After that, you may want to stop at Shoot Out and then start buying solo albums by Mason and Winwood. Iíve never been inspired by any of the live material Iíve heard from Traffic. It doesnít get any better with bongos. ď40,000 HeadmenĒ and not ďMedicated GooĒ is the best of the batch, building up a dry and folksy vibe that would have felt at home among Barleycornís bits. Thatís about all Iíve found in this Canteen, despite shaking it dozens of times for something more. I guess I keep shaking it because of the people involved; now six members strong, Traffic should have been making beautiful music. But honestly they achieved more as a trio in the studio. If you really love Traffic and were fantasizing about a Mason reunion, drink up. But Iíll wait, knowing thereís an oasis up ahead (Low Spark) with many of the same players where the music is much sweeter.

UAS-5550 back cover
UAS-5550 back cover


  1. MEDICATED GOO    (Steve Winwood/Jimmy Miller)    3:34
  2. SAD AND DEEP AS YOU    (Dave Mason)    3:46
  3. FORTY THOUSAND HEADMEN    (Jim Capaldi/Steve Winwood)    6:19
  4. SHOULDN'T HAVE TOOK MORE THAN YOU GAVE    (Dave Mason)    5:36
  5. DEAR MR. FANTASY    (Jim Capaldi/Steve Winwood/Chris Wood)    10:55
  6. GIMME SOME LOVIN'    (Steve Winwood/Muff Winwood/Spencer Davis)    9:00


"REEBOP" KWAKU BAAH -- congas, timbales, bongos
JIM CAPALDI -- vocals, tambourine, percussion
JIM GORDON -- drums
RICK GRECH -- bass
DAVE MASON -- vocals, lead guitar, acoustic guitar
STEVE WINWOOD -- vocals, organ, electric piano, guitar
CHRIS WOOD -- saxophones, flute, electric piano, organ
Brian Humphries -- engineer
visualeyes -- photography & album design

return to TRAFFIC discography

UK/ISR/NOR September 1971 Island LP ILPS 9166 white label
US September 1971 United Artists LP UAS-5550  
AUS'L 1971 Island LP SIL 934338  
CAN 1971 Island LP 2334 022  
FRA 1971 Island LP 6396 041  
GER/NET 1971 Island LP 85676IT  
JPN 1971 Island LP AML1-1008  
ARG 1976 Island LP 0005707 packaged as BIENVENIDOS A LA CANTINA
UK 1980s Island LP ILPS-9166 blue label
US September 1971 United Artists LP UAS-5550  
ITA 1980s Island LP ORL 8077  
BRA 1987 Island LP 6047 259  
  May 1988 Island CD 90922  
US 1988 Island LP 90924  
US 1988/9? Island LP/CD/CS 842 417  
US March 19, 2002 Island CD 586 847 digital remaster
JPN July 28, 2003 Island CD UICY-9274  


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