Traffic – Traffic (1968)

Album no. 108/1001

Traffic are our first band on the list (surely) to hail from Birmingham! Well done them. In between sips on their bovril they managed to record this, their second album.

There were two songwriting teams on this album, so the material is a bit… well, varied.

This album was recorded before Traffic’s ‘initial’ breakup, which makes it sound like a terrible relationship. The next album makes this list too though, so maybe it wasn’t all bad.

Have you listened to this album before?

NK: Not on your life. Not even sure if I’ve heard of them. I assume it’s not going to be forty minutes of car horns and truck exhausts.

CL: OH LOL. That’s not funny at all. But no, I haven’t heard them either.

Standout track

NK: This album is all over the shop.‘Feelin’ Alright’ is really good. I have heard this track done by Joe Cocker, but had no idea it was a Traffic original. Joe Cocker’s version is better, but this one isn’t too bad. ‘Pearly Queen’ is ok, a slow sort of bluesey rocker with a fair amount of guitar in it. ‘Don’t Be Sad’ sounds like Buffalo Springfield, folk-rock harmonies. Didn’t fancy it. 

CL: It’s definitely weird. But I get what you mean about the Buffalo Springfield comparison – Buffalo Springfield are still WAY better than this – but it’s that same sort of easy-listening guff, isn’t it? I suppose if I have to pick one, ‘Pearly Queen’ is probably the best.

NK: My biggest issue with this album was the opener, ‘You Can All Join In’. It really put me off, a sort of weird country-folk mashup with a saxophone messing around in the corner. His voice sounds like David Bowie on that track, but it’s a pretty bad song.‘Vagabond Virgin’ edges dangerously close to Love and Beau Brummels territory, all folky flutes. Then at the end ‘Means to an End’ is some sort of weird groovy funky thing that I didn’t enjoy. This is a weird album.

When would be the best time to listen to this?

NK: I’ll tell you when not to listen to it: right after you’ve listened to Beggars Banquet. Compared to that this sounds lifeless and weak. I feel a bit bad for Traffic, they copped a bad timeslot. That said, it still wasn’t my thing.

CL: I don’t feel bad for them. I don’t care.

Why has this album been included on the list?

NK: I can hear them putting a lot of influences together, but I can’t hear it being very enjoyable. I’m guessing this is early prog rock, or so-called ‘classic’ rock? I don’t know, that isn’t my style, so it’s entirely possible I won’t know a lot about the bands they influenced.

CL: I HAVE NO IDEA. They’re also in in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I cannot tell you how much that irks me when a significant number of FAR better musicians still haven’t been inducted. The world is a weird place. This music is so boring and so unexciting that I fell asleep trying to finish this sentence.

Will you be listening again?  

NK: I don’t know. Probably not? Traffic are up again at number 199, so not for ages. It would be good to go back and listen to it again before we get to the next one, but that’s a long way off and I will probably forget.

CL: I listened to this twice because the first time I heard it, I couldn’t remember anything from it. Not a single song. So I had to listen to it again. But twice is enough. No more please.


NK: This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.

CL: This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.

Listen to Traffic on Spotify or buy it in iTunes.

One thought on “Traffic – Traffic (1968)

  1. Their two most popular songs – the sitar-based, psychedlic “Hole In My Shoe” and “Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush” never appear on an album (other than compilations).

    Also the individual members went on the success on their own. Jim Capaldi as songwriter, session muso and solo artist – had a disco hit in the 70’s with Love Hurts and in the early 80’s with That’s Love. Steve Winwood, the most well known member, had hit albums during the 80’s and a swag of charting singles like “Valerie (Call On Me)”, “Higher Love”, “Back in the High Life Again”. Dave Mason went solo, released some 13 albums (his latest in 2014 features a reworking on the Traffic song “Dear Mr Fantasy”) and had a couple of charting singles – his biggest “We Just Disagree” in 1977.


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