‘Traffic’: Green Light For Their Only UK Top Ten Album
Their self-titled 1968 set had the band working with New York producer Jimmy Miller, doubling up between these sessions and his initial work with the Rolling Stones.
Meanwhile, on trivia corner: which band’s second album contained the contributions of a member who left, rejoined and left again all within the space of nine months?
The answer is Traffic, whose self-titled sophomore release charted on October 26, 1968. It had come together just in time to capture the restless spirit of Dave Mason, during the few months in which he was back in the line-up before departing again (and then rejoining once more, for another short spell a few years later).
After the three Top 10 UK singles of the band’s initial period in 1967 (“Paper Sun,” “Hole In My Shoe,” and “Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush”), Traffic had started their transition to a more mature, album-oriented sound with their first LP at the end of that year, Mr. Fantasy. The new, simply-titled set again had them working with New York producer Jimmy Miller. He was doubling up between these sessions and his initial work with the Rolling Stones, which emerged a few weeks later on the Beggars Banquet album.
Traffic was made during the brief period in which Messrs Winwood, Capaldi and Wood persuaded Mason, who had first left the group early in 1968, to return for these sessions. With his pop sensibilities somewhat at odds with the more jazz-oriented leanings of his bandmates, he was gone again by the time the album started its chart ascent.
Dave left behind four of his own songs, including the enduring “Feelin’ Alright,” and a co-write with Jim Capaldi, “Vagabond Virgin,” before departing for the multi-faceted career he had hinted at with his production, that same year, of Family’s first album, Music In A Doll’s House.
Listen to the best of Traffic on Apple Music and Spotify.
Traffic entered the UK album chart at No.27, but took precisely one more week to become their first Top 10 LP, jumping to its No.9 peak. Very surprisingly, it turned out to the band’s only LP to make that upper ground in their home country.
Buy or stream Traffic.
October 29, 2015 at 11:25 pm
Traffic’s first album ‘Mr.Fantasy’ was also a top ten album.
February 23, 2016 at 9:53 pm
I worked with Dave Mason at the ‘Metalbox Company’ during the 90’s. He was a good chap, extremely professional. He did speak to me about his time with ‘Traffic’. To cut a long story short, he said, ‘I had to make a decision, there were lots of late nights and drugs, I took the stable option and worked for R&D at Metalbox. He also wondered if he’d made the right decision when he went to the States to holiday at Steve Winwood’s Villa on the beach.
October 26, 2016 at 10:01 pm
Too much big ego Winwood would play every instrument & sing every song if he could. When Mason left for good Traffic found its niche John Barley Corn etc.
Luckily Clapton was putting Blindfaith together and that was great, for what 2 years.