9. TRAFFIC — John Barleycorn Must Die
As Steve Winwood, a rock veteran at 20 years old, started work on his first solo album, he found himself accumulating members of Traffic to help out. First came drummer Jim Capaldi, then flute and woodwind player Chris Wood. The result was an album embodying both post-WWII angst and English pastoral mythology. Often the winds of Chris Wood cue us—rollicking sax on “Glad” (the opening instrumental) mellowing to questing flute and rustic sax in “Freedom Rider”. The homespun feel of the rough brown cover enhances the ‘lost Albion’ feel of the package, adding to the satisfaction of this excellent album, one which ushered in the second phase of Traffic’s career. John Barleycorn lives.
"And little Sir John with his nut brown bowl
And his brandy in the glass
And little Sir John with his nut brown bowl
Proved the strongest man at last"
Where do you stand with Traffic?
(‘On the curb’?)
Where do you stand on John Barleycorn
(‘On the wagon’?)