Traffic
The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys


4.5
superb

Review

by NightmareCinema16 USER (36 Reviews)
May 3rd, 2013 | 21 replies | 1,425 views


Release Date: 1971 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Traffic takes on more of a traditional prog rock perspective while staying consistent, and it works.

Many prog rock fans who like their genre so much have most likely heard Traffic’s John Barleycorn Must Die. This was the beginning of the success that the group gained mainly because it stands as a major accomplishment for the band and is heavily oriented by jazz fusion and progressive rock themes and it also went beyond what the band was originally able to do. This, however, isn’t their only good album. They also would have some hidden treasure in store a year after John Barleycorn. The treasure is their lesser known The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys, which is still something of a very high accolade.

Something that immediately gets attention in this album is the mostly traditional progressive music emphasized throughout. Traffic is shifting away from their long traditional jazz fusion music that made them well known in their previous efforts, but exchanged for something just as rewarding. In this album, Traffic is leaning to a King Crimson Lizard-like sound with a lick of Jethro Tull, something that serves as a new advantage. Still, there are remnants of jazz fusion jams that shouldn’t be forgotten. Take for example; The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys and Rainmaker both have excellent sounding improv, taking popular themes from some of their past songs, such as Glad and Freedom Rider.

The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys is also benefiting from something quite fresh for the band: giving mainstream rock a bit of a chance. A clear sign is Rock n’ Roll Stew, which has crackly solos, catchy riffs, fun lyrics and vocals, and an upbeat attitude, yet, there is still a sign of something still profound, mature, and well developed. A well-played move by Traffic, as they’re not to mention still sounding like themselves, but they’re also better suited to play with other rock groups such as Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, and Rush.

There is an important element lacking in Low Spark of High Heeled Boys, though. It’s the saxophone. It gave a catchy vibe and a melodic seasoning to memorable songs, such as Freedom Rider and Glad. It appears to be less present and has thinned throughout album (I didn’t even notice any until the 2nd listen). This might cost a few points for the group, since they’re normally associated with jazz.

The best part about this album: not too much else changed from John Barleycorn Must Die over to Low Spark of High Heeled Boys. They still have the old story-type tale songs such as Hidden Treasure, similar to John Barleycorn as well as the abrasive jazz fusion elements that made them special. They continue to explore of the same concepts from their other albums, and still remain consistent. That is something difficult for most rock groups to do.

In good short, Traffic reeled in another success with Low Spark of High Heeled Boys. While they explored a few new boundaries and genres, put more emphasis on traditional prog rock, they still remained relatively the same, not climbing too far out within their capability. This helped them keep most of the good results that John Barleycorn Must Die had. Now, that’s intelligent.

4.3/5



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user ratings (42)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
NightmareCinema16
May 2nd 2013


2016 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's been a while since I wrote a review, so I will want some suggestions. But, I am back in the zone again, after two full months.

Yazz_Flute
May 2nd 2013


18782 Comments


The album cover is fucking with me on the front page.

Digging: Battles - Mirrored

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
May 2nd 2013


4424 Comments


I have been meaning to do the Traffic discography for a while, but nice to see you covering them. This, John Barleycorn, and the
self-titled are my favourites from them.

NightmareCinema16
May 2nd 2013


2016 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I personally like John Barleycorn the most. Perhaps you want to work on Mr. Fantasy or the Self-titled album? Those ones are up for grabs as I am going to work on Hero and Heroine by Strawbs next.

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
May 2nd 2013


4424 Comments


I might start a 'Traffic series' in the next couple of weeks, I still have a bunch of other stuff before that, but will definitely try and promote Traffic on this site.

I've heard anything by Strawbs, what do they sound like?

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
May 2nd 2013


4424 Comments


I've *never heard.

NightmareCinema16
May 2nd 2013


2016 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

So far, I've only heard a few songs. It has a bit of old, dark, Gothic progressive sound to it.

Jethro42
May 2nd 2013


12438 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@Sgt Pepper; Strawbs roots are folk rock, but they kept on developing more and more toward progressive rock. Check out ''Grave New World'' and ''Hero & Heroine''

@Nightmare, welcome back, dude. Excellent review for an excellent album. The s/t song is a killer.

NightmareCinema16
May 2nd 2013


2016 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@Jethro, thanks man. Once again, I am at working on reviewing Hero and Heroine. I'm also going to get back into todays progressive scene and work on some newer albums that need some reviews.

Funeralopolis
May 2nd 2013


11319 Comments


album cover looks like that Ducktails album

Digging: No Joy - Wait to Pleasure

NightmareCinema16
May 2nd 2013


2016 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

For sure; it's mind blowing.

MisterTornado
Contributing Reviewer
May 3rd 2013


4507 Comments


So that's what the inside of a GameCube looks like....

Mad.
May 3rd 2013


3795 Comments


I've always wondered, why does Far From Home have no ratings...?

Digging: Anubis - Hitchhiking to Byzantium

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
May 3rd 2013


20645 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album rules, probably my favourite Traffic album.

Good to see you're back reviewing again, Nightmare. Have a pos.

Digging: Townes Van Zandt - Townes Van Zandt

NightmareCinema16
May 5th 2013


2016 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks, man. I had fun writing this up. My next review should be done in about a week or so.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
May 7th 2013


19738 Comments


nice review man looking forward to your strawbs one too ;)

Digging: Spectral Lore - III

NightmareCinema16
May 7th 2013


2016 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'll get that finished as soon as possible.

mudloop
August 26th 2014


121 Comments


Rainmaker might become one of my favourite songs omg it's awesome

Digging: Gnidrolog - Lady Lake

KILL
August 26th 2014


71743 Comments


better than maidens?

Digging: Invisible - El jardin de los presentes

jefflebowski
August 26th 2014


8242 Comments


best traffic, john barleycorn and shoot out run it close though

Digging: Brian Eno and Karl Hyde - High Life



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