John Barleycorn Must Die – Traffic (1970)

John Barleycorn Must Die is the fourth studio album by English rock band Traffic, released in 1970. … In late 1968, Traffic disbanded, with guitarist Dave Mason leaving the group for the second time prior to the completion of the Traffic album. In 1969, Steve Winwood joined the supergroup Blind Faith, while drummer and lyricist Jim Capaldi and woodwinds player Chris Wood turned to session work. Wood and Winwood also joined Blind Faith’s drummer Ginger Baker in his post-Blind Faith group Ginger Baker’s Air Force for their first album, Ginger Baker’s Air Force (1970). At the beginning of 1970, after the demise of Blind Faith, Winwood returned to the studio ostensibly to make his first solo album, originally to be titled Mad Shadows. He recorded two tracks with producer Guy Stevens, ‘Stranger to Himself’ and ‘Every Mother’s Son’, but yearned for like-minded musicians to accompany. Inviting Wood and Capaldi to join him, Winwood’s erstwhile solo album became the reunion of Traffic (minus Dave Mason), and a re-launch of the band’s career. Mad Shadows would go on to be the title of Mott the Hoople‘s second album, also produced by Guy Stevens. As did most of their albums, it featured influences from jazz and blues, but the version of the traditional English folk tune ‘John Barleycorn‘ also showed the musicians attending to the same strains of modern interpretations of traditional folk music as contemporary British bands Pentangle and Fairport Convention. … The original LP release of the album had the front cover design on a background consisting of a photograph of burlap. Later LP copies had the design on a grey background. The cover is displayed prominently during a party scene in the 1971 movie by Dario Argento, Four Flies on Grey Velvet. … AllMusic criticised the vocal sections as ‘excuses for Winwood to exercise his expressive voice as punctuation to the extended instrumental sections’, but made note of how the album took the band’s jazz/rock leanings beyond mere jamming. …”
Traffic Reborn With ‘John Barleycorn Must Die’ (Audio)
Discods (Video)
YouTube: “John Barleycorn Must Die” – Full Album

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