Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Achtung Bongo

Photo copyright : Carter Tomassi

Traffic - 40,000 Headmen

We loyal subjects of the kingdom of Bloggenstein are faced with few dilemmas as we go about our business, but one we can rarely avoid is the back story. You find a piece of music you love, and about which you can say something. After a few paragraphs, (which convey your enthusiasm, a bit of history, or some words about a life and work), you suggest that everybody should shuffle off and purchase.

But when you come across people who have not only been around for ever, but have also been great for a vast amount of that time, you are in trouble because the back story - who they played with, what they did - can take over. Hello Stevie Winwood.

Stuff it, you can get the full story elsewhere. First of all, everybody should listen to Paper Sun before they set off for work on a Monday morning. Things won’t seem so bad after that. Secondly, my abiding memory of a Reading Festival in the early 90’s was a friend blasting out The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys on a cheapo tape recorder just after the tents got set up. Then the sky cleared and Mr Peel played the Butthole Surfers version of Hurgy Gurdy Man. Lovely. Third, it doesn‘t take long to realise that Talk Talk copped a great deal from Traffic as they progressed from electro angst to improv devotional. I think he even played on The Colour of Spring. And Talk Talk were wonderful.

So to the track in question. Great voice, of course. So great I’m ashamed that I’ve been taking it for granted for years. Groovy band, absolutely. I would be surprised if there haven’t already been multiple samples of the opening bars. And you just know there is going to be a full on bongo jam involved somewhere along the way, especially when Jimmy Hastings throws in the flute. You can’t have flutes without bongos. Obviously that’s where classical music has been going wrong all those years.

On we roll…then we get the echoed voice out in the meadow, flute darting like a swallow. Come on, how is that not perfect? It leaves you feeling better than you did. And if you play There’s a Riot Going On by Sly and The Family Stone straight after it, I can guarantee that you will usher in your own personal Summer, regardless of whatever the sky up there decides to do.

Alright, maybe we don’t shuffle off this time. Step out! That’s right...

Buy - The Best Of Traffic from Amazon

No comments: