Steve Winwood has filmed and shared a new performance of Traffic’s vintage 1971 track “The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys.” Captured solo at the piano at his Wincraft Music Studios in the heart of the English Cotswolds, it marks the recent release of the revered album in Dolby ATMOS for the first time.
Winwood turns the song, which he wrote with Jim Capaldi, into a solo tour de force, powered by his dexterous piano-playing and ever-distinctive, nimble vocals. The original was an 11-minute centerpiece of Traffic’s fifth studio album, which was released in November 1971. It featured Chris Wood’s sax solo and Winwood on both piano and Hammond organ.
The compelling new video highlights one particular passage in the lyrics, which match the atmospheric, brooding tone of the verses in the song: “If you had just a minute to breathe and they granted you one final wish, would you ask for something like another chance?”
Despite never being a single because of its length, the track became, and remains, a staple of classic rock radio. With Jim Gordon taking Capaldi’s place at the drumkit, the latter featured on additional percussion, with former Family and Blind Faith member Ric Grech on bass and Reebop Kwaku Baah on congas.
A live version of “Low Spark,” running to nearly 18 minutes, comprised the whole of side 4 of Traffic’s 1973 album recorded in concert in Germany, On The Road. Another notable interpretation came on Winwood’s 2017 release Greatest Hits Live.
The new mix is the first album in the Traffic catalog to be available in Dolby ATMOS. It was created by Richard Whittaker with Winwood and James Towler and his longtime studio collaborator, and is endorsed by the estates of both Capaldi and Chris Wood. The spatial-audio mix can be enjoyed immersively with a Dolby ATMOS speaker system or with regular headphones.
Stream The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys in Dolby ATMOS.