Traffic - Traffic (1968)

Traffic were a British rock band active from the late 60s to the early 70s. Their line-up changed numerous times, but the three constant members throughout their career were the core trio of Steve Winwood, Chris Wood and Jim Capaldi.

Shortly after their first few singles and their debut album, founding Traffic member Dave Mason left the band momentarily. Steve Winwood, Chris Wood and Jim Capaldi went on without him, but before long he had returned, in time to record their second album.
The self-titled Traffic was a progression from their debut. It toned down the psychedelic flairs which had arguably marred Mr Fantasy somewhat, and the result was a stronger, more accessible record - a fusion of rock, jazz, R&B, folk, pop, and still a reasonable dose of psychedelia. Though Mason had returned, he contributed little to the songs of the others, and so the record is split between those written and sung by Mason and those written by the other three (and sung by Winwood). Nevertheless, it still resulted in a smooth, coherent album. Like before, the band revelled in their multi-instrumental ability... between the four of them they played electric and acoustic guitars, bass, Hammond organ, piano, harpsichord, sax, flute, harmonica, drums and percussion. Certain songs showed off their jazzy instrumental abilities, others hinted at their folkier side, whilst a few rocked quite hard.
The most notable song on the album was Mason's "Feelin' Alright". Though it wasn't a hit for Traffic, it was soon being covered by numerous other artists (including Joe Cocker, Three Dog Night and Rare Earth) and has endured to this day as a classic song.
The album reached #9 in the UK charts, and also broke into the top 20 in the US (which Mr Fantasy had failed to do). However despite its success, Mason left the band again around the time of its release. The other three members went on to tour America as a trio, but then announced Traffic's breakup. But it didn't last long...

Mr Fantasy (1967) <|> Last Exit (1969)
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