Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Traffic 5: Welcome To The Canteen

Now that Traffic was back, they expanded to add Ric Grech (most recently of Blind Faith) on bass, Jim Gordon (ditto from Derek & The Dominoes) on drums, and the inimitably named Reebop Kwaku Baah on percussion. (With those two pounding the rhythm, Jim Capaldi retired to the tambourine, and stayed there.) By the time they recorded gigs for a potential live album, Dave Mason was back in the band, again, and he takes a center role on Welcome To The Canteen.
A crisp rendition of “Medicated Goo” opens the album, then Mason steps forward for “Sad And Deep As You”, an overly sensitive strum that makes a nice transition into “40,000 Headmen”. That becomes a lengthy acoustic jam, then Mason comes back with the repetitive yet still mesmerizing “Shouldn’t Have Took More Than You Gave” (thanks to Stevie’s organ part).
Side two is made for jamming, with about ten minutes each devoted to “Dear Mr. Fantasy” (which is always a matter of personal taste) and “Gimme Some Lovin’”, rearranged with a “Get Back”-style gallop. Considering the glut of live albums hitting the marketplace (and this blog, no less), your endurance of this segment will be a matter of personal taste.
When Welcome To The Canteen was released, the cover and label credited the seven (!) individuals who made up the band at the time of recording. Later reissues, reflecting that the ensemble (save Mason) went on to record as Traffic, used that name on the spine and elsewhere, so that’s how it’s credited now. It’s still an intriguing little sidestep in the netherworld between actual Traffic albums.

Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi, Dave Mason, Chris Wood, Rick Grech, “Reebop” Kwaku Baah, Jim Gordon Welcome To The Canteen (1971)—3

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