Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Traffic • Heaven Is in Your Mind

Back in 1967 a kid named Steve Winwood left the Spencer Davis Group to form a new band, Traffic. Their debut album, Heaven Is in Your Mind, was released to critical acclaim and was a definite psychedelic slice of wax. And its story is pretty wacked out, too.

Mr. Fantasy was it’s title in the UK, but when United Artists decided to put it out Stateside, they first renamed it, then added a couple of singles to it, added some snippets of another song in between tracks, and added another tune onto the end which was really an alternate version of one of the singles they had added to the album. Naturally, they had to change the album name again, and called it Heaven Is in Your Mind/Mr. Fantasy. Crikey, my head is spinning! Fast forward 40+ years later and the geniuses at Sundazed reissue it under its original title, in monaural (that’s mono to you kids), and keeps the original, US-modified track order.

Well, I can assure you, you are safe with this one. If it messes with your head, it’s only because the music on it is so amazing. I never thought I would say that about a Steve Winwood record! (Okay, I am a fan of “Gimme Some Lovin’”.) “Paper Sun” is a whimsical little tune, as is “Hole In My Shoe,” which was later covered by a pot-smokin’ Young One named Neil. Apparently the album features Winwood, Jim Capaldi and Chris Wood, plus Dave Mason, who isn’t pictured on the back because he left the band before it was released, and these guys all play a plethora of instruments. I just can’t get over the fact that Winwood sang and wrote a bunch of these songs, especially when I think of all the AM radio, easy listenin’ crap he’s put out since Traffic cleared up. I mean, nearly every time I hear a Traffic song on Underground Garage I love it. (Same with J. Geils, pre-“Centerfold,” for that matter.) And though I haven’t heard “Berkshire Poppies” on the satellite radio, it’s a great little song, full of kooky instrumentation and goofy lyrics. Again: Winwood. Now that’s REALLY MESSING WITH MY HEAD.

But get over it, I shall. Heaven Is in Your Mind is a brilliant album. The mono vinyl is a 180 gram pressing, and it’s a beauty, love.
5/5 (Sundazed)

2 comments:

  1. How could you have missed this one for all these years? One of my favorites. Loving the blog, buddy

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  2. I spent too many years with my nose in the air about pre-punk rock, let me tell ya!

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