Sunday, August 8, 2010
A Traffic jam to get stuck in
In 1971 Traffic -- an on-again, off-again, on-again project of the multi-talented Steve Winwood -- released The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys. This was their fifth album.
It did not.
Low Spark was about the stress, the corporate greed and the incessant demands associated with the success of rock stardom:
The percentage you're paying is too high-priced
While you're living beyond all your means
And the man in the suit has just bought a new car
From the profit he's made on your dreams
Low Spark is similar in origin and tenor to "Have a Cigar" from Pink Floyd's remarkable 1975 album Wish You Were Here:
We're just knocked out
We heard about the sell-out
You gotta get an album out
You owe it to the people
We're so happy we can hardly count
Like The Brothers Floyd, several of whom were schooled in architecture, the classic Traffic line-up knew how to create space, fill it with wandering, sometimes woebegone lyrics, and then polish it off with sonic hooks and rambling instrumental episodes that defy indifference.
With songs such as "Rainmaker" and "Many a Mile to Freedom," Low Spark is one of rock's great Hidden Treasures. (Shoot, some day it might just end up on someone's Pssst! List.)
The music clearly transforms Wayne Shelor and we are happy to channel his musings on Sundays at the Sanctuary.