Cincinnati Babyhead

Speaks his mind on music & movies!

Album : Traffic – John Barleycorn Must Die

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CB was a fan of Traffic having been introduced through ‘The Best Of’.  This was his first step into their world after that.  Pretty much hoping for the same sound and style.

Right off the top with ‘Glad’ he gets a real cool piano riff with the drums laying the beat, organ filling in and then the sax coming in.  What a cool sound.  Jazzy feel.  The piano is really catchy with the sax trading licks and solos.  An instrumental for an opening and CB was loving it.  ‘Freedom Rider’ opens with piano and sax again.  Then there’s that familiar voice of Steve Winwood.  Some flute thrown in and yeah there was that Traffic sound.  CB was digging this.  More extended jams but it was sounding good.  Chris Wood works out on the flute.  Great Traffic tune.  ‘Empty Pages’ ends side one.  Another real good tune.  Winwood’s vocals don’t hurt.  He also plays some real good keyboard.  Traffic was feeling a little funky and jazzy on this one.  These guys were turning CB onto some real good music.  Side one didn’t disappoint.

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traffic-john-barleycorn-must-die-inside-gatefold

Side two opens up with ‘Stranger to Himself’.  Winwood busts out a guitar and has his own sound.  Hard song to pin down, more of a hard edge, more into the rock sound.  Again they turn into a jam band on this one.  It works.  CB liked bands that kept thing interesting as long as it sounded good and this does.  ‘John Barleycorn’ is a traditional folk song.  CB is a sucker for a story song and JB satisfies that.  Wood’s flute enhances the feel.  Traffic kills this tune.  They could play so many different styles, mixed bag.  CB was pulling for JB in the song.  He didn’t know anything about John Barleycorn  (went on to do years of research on the subject).  He was getting an education and hearing some great music at the same time.   Great take by the boys.  ‘Every Mothers Son’ is a little workout for Winwood and ends the record.  It’s a good one.

‘John Barleycorn Must Die’ just solidified CB’s like for this band and when CB likes something he goes whole hog and that’s what he did with Traffic.  There was more Steve Winwood,  Jim Capaldi and Chris Wood to listen to and discover.  It started with ‘The Best of Traffic’ which led to this album and to more.  Traffic was becoming a favorite band.

“And little Sir John with his nut brown bowl, proved the strongest at last…”

 

 

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23 comments on “Album : Traffic – John Barleycorn Must Die

  1. hotfox63
    March 26, 2017

    From “John Barleycorn”, there are, like from most folksongs, innumerable versions. On the albumcover from Traffic stands that there exist 100 to 140 versions. Interesting versions are from Martin Carthy or The Fairport Convention.

    Liked by 2 people

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      March 26, 2017

      Absolutely love Traffics touch on this folk song (CB loves folk-songs). I will check out both versions you tagged. Thanks for the heads up.

      Like

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      March 26, 2017

      Listened to a couple versions by Martin. Very good! Will check out more of his work. Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jim S.
    March 26, 2017

    Great album, great band. Fortunately, Boston and Philly have plenty of emporiums where one can do said JB research and in my younger days, I confess I did much of my own. That should hopefully explain certain lack of functioning brain cells.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      March 26, 2017

      JB research is a right of passage. Such a cool tune. Agree, great album, great band.

      Like

  3. greenpete58
    March 27, 2017

    “(Y)ears of research on the subject”?? Love it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      March 27, 2017

      I would guess that ‘greenpete58’ did a little research back when.

      Like

      • greenpete58
        March 28, 2017

        Got my B.S. in Mr. Barleycorn, and studied Mary Jane de Grasse for my Masters.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Jim S.
        March 28, 2017

        Heh. Greenpete, I spent a fair amount of time listening to
        Lucy in the
        Sky with
        Diamonds.

        Liked by 3 people

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        March 28, 2017

        Sounds like you guys are still doing some adult studies at the local college ?

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        March 28, 2017

        I think the boys from Traffic were doing some heavy research in all those areas. Listening to the album right now.

        Like

  4. 1537
    March 27, 2017

    I know its very wrong of me, but I still haven’t heard this one. I just love that gatefold.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      March 27, 2017

      I think you do a pretty good job of covering the musical bases. We can’t get to them all. Traffic is a CB favorite. All these albums I mouth off about are ones I actually have the original LPs . Traffic had a couple other cool jackets. Bruce at VC commented on the clipped covers of ‘Low Spark’ and ‘Fantasy Factory’. The music inside is pretty cool also.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. catchgroove
    March 29, 2017

    Great band. I am a big Winwood. Solo fan. The live album he did with Clapton is pretty special.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. dcw0731
    March 31, 2017

    My Traffic experience started with “Low Spark” and I thought nothing they could do would surpass my love for it but then I heard John Barleycorn and it blew me away. Still play the CD a ton. Great Choice CB!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      March 31, 2017

      ‘Low Spark’ is another great LP. I’m a card carrying Traffic guy. (I’ve been popping in looking for your ‘Lazy take.)

      Like

      • dcw0731
        March 31, 2017

        I was going to work on last night but it was getting late and I didn’t want to rush it out. Maybe I need a John Barleycorn fix first (just a couple plays I promise). There is nothing like a fix involving “Little Sir John with his nut brown bowl, proved the strongest at last…”.
        Then I’ll be ready for some heavier Deep Purple sound.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        March 31, 2017

        Keyboard brothers, John Lord and Steve Winwood. ‘John Barleycorn’ is a regular visit for CB. A fave for sure.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Thom Hickey
    April 1, 2017

    Now you’re talkin’!

    Thom

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: The State of Rock Today – Part II – Music Enthusiast

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This entry was posted on March 26, 2017 by in 1970 albums, Chris Wood, Jazz Rock, Jim Capaldi, Steve Winwood, Uncategorized and tagged , , , .

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