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"Welcome To The Canteen"

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December 04 - 10, 2022

Year of Release: 1971
  • Medicated Goo
  • Sad And Deep As You
  • 40000 Headmen
  • Shouldn't Have Took More Than You Gave
  • Dear Mr. Fantasy
  • Gimme Some Lovin'

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    Traffic returns this week, with their live 1971 album, Welcome To The Canteen. It was recorded at Fairfield Halls, Croydon and the Oz Benefit Concert, London, July, 1971. This performance was six performances, all of which appear on the live album. Lead by Steve Winwood, and Dave Mason, the six performances include 3 songs that were originally from the first 3 Traffic albums, two songs from a Dave Mason solo album, and one song that was originally recorded by the Spencer Davis Group, of which Winwood was part of in the 1960s. Despite the live album was not popular at all in the band's native UK, it was successful in the U.S. (#26, album chart). The live "Gimme Some Lovin'" (the Spencer Davis song) would appear in the U.S. (Billboard Hot 100) chart. On the album cover, the band's name did not appear, instead, all of the band members names appeared. (Maybe this was the fact that all 6 songs were not true Traffic songs, being that from Dave Mason solo and the Spencer Davis Group hit.)

    Leading off the live set is "Medicated Goo" (what a title!). This song was from the band's second self-titled album (Traffic). It did not appear originally when first released. It would appear on the 2000 reissue (UK only). Winwood's distinctive voice is easily recognized, however, the music has an almost sound to that of the Grateful Dead. It's a great, live recording. "Sad And Deep As You" is the first of the two Dave Mason songs, as it originally appeared on Mason's Alone Together album. Mason, like Winwood, also has a distinctive voice, and the flute on this live version also stands out. A beautifully crafted arrangement, live. "40,000 Headmen" was originally from the second album Traffic, as this live version has a very laid-back approach. (The bongos are the standout instrument on this one, as the flute was, on "Sad And Deep As You.") I can see the audience getting mellow during this one, with a joint or drink, or both as the song smoothly plays.

    "Shouldn't Have Took More Than You Gave" is the second solo Dave Mason song, also originally from the Alone Together album. A good Rock song, Winwood's organ is the standout, and the guitar solo also has a Grateful Dead touch. Alone Together was the first solo album by Mason, and maybe a better song from it during this live performance could have been the Mason-penned "Only You Know And I Know," which was made famous by Delaney & Bonnie (with Eric Clapton). That song itself is a great tune, and many may or may not have known, that it was written by Dave Mason.

    The next live track, is one of Traffic's most famous: "Dear Mr. Fantasy," originally from Traffic's debut album, Mr. Fantasy. Just as the studio version, the live version is just as good, lasting almost 11 minutes in length, as they performed this song as an extensive jam. Closing out the album is "Gimme Some Lovin'" the Spencer Davis Group classic. (Of course, many remember this song by The Blues Brothers.) What's interesting, is how different styles both Traffic and the Spencer Davis Group were, in comparing this song to Traffic's own musical style. They would journey into Jazz, especially heard on the song "Glad," from John Barleycorn Must Die, release a year earlier (1970). And, just as both musical styles of Spencer Davis and Traffic, the live version of "Gimme Some Lovin'" is quite different than the original. As it starts, it sounds a lot like Santana in concert, and again, it's different than the original. Being that Traffic has their own musical style, they incorporate that on their cover of "Gimme Some Lovin'" And, it's another extensive Jam on this cover as well, lasting a bit over 9 minutes in length.

    As most live album, it's a take it or leave it. The Traffic and solo Dave Mason songs are quite good. This is what the audience was familiar with, more on the Traffic songs, as Dave Mason had just released his first solo album (as Traffic was still together at the time.) The extensive jams were obviously a treat for the audience, as both songs ("Dear Mr. Fantasy" and "Gimme Some Lovin'") were easily recognized, as one was a Traffic classic, and a golden oldie originally from the Spencer Davis Group. Roughly 10 minutes in length for both, these are songs well-done during any live concerts.

    But Welcome To The Canteen is a take... It's a fine sounding concert, and for those who attended, I'm sure it was worth more. Both Steve Winwood and Dave Mason would accomplish solo careers of their own, and another Traffic member, Jim Capaldi had some minor success also. Capaldi's song "Living On The Edge" is a classic. And both Mason and Winwood have their own pieces of the pie of great solo recordings of their own: Mason, with his version of the Hendrix/Dylan classic "All Along The Watchtower" and "We Just Disagree." His Mariposa D'Oro is another well-done solo album of his. As for Winwood, there are many, many solo recordings and albums that are top-notch. Winwood accomplished reaching the #1 spot with two songs, "Higher Love" and "Roll With It." And of course, there's songs from his Arc Of A Diver and Back In The Highlife albums. Other albums of his also had memorable hits.

    Welcome To The Canteen -- Welcome to Traffic. It's how Steve winwood and Dave Mason were together, in a band that would create great Rock music. And, they

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