Exposé Online banner

Traffic — Where the Poppies Grow - Historic Radio Sessions 1967
(Mega Dodo Vogon VCD2005, 1967/2018, CD)

by Henry Schneider, Published 2018-04-11

Where the Poppies Grow - Historic Radio Sessions 1967 Cover art

For those of you who do not know Traffic's history, the band was formed in 1967 by Steve Winwood after leaving the Spencer Davis Group, along with Jim Capaldi, Chris Wood, and Dave Mason. The band was intended to be a cooperative with everyone living in a country cottage in Berkshire, collaborating on the songs. Hence the song “Berkshire Poppies” on their first album. Their first single, “Paper Sun,” peaked in the UK Top Five in July 1967. As was typical in the late 60s, the UK version of their first album Mr. Fantasy had different tracks than the US version, with “Paper Sun” only appearing on the US release. While Traffic was enjoying their initial success they recorded two sessions for Saturday Club in October 1967 and Top Gear in December 1967. Both of these sessions now appear for the first time on this archival release, Where the Poppies Grow. In addition, a concert from Traffic’s European tour, Radiohuset, Stockholm on September 12, 1967 is also included. The sound quality on these archive recordings is decent and what you would expect for the time, somewhat muffled, but the music shines through. For Saturday Club, Traffic performed “Paper Sun / A House for Everyone,” “Coloured Rain,” “Dear Mr. Fantasy,” and “Smiling Phases.” The only drawback is the occasional slimy voice of the emotive DJ introducing the songs. Due to the muffled sound, Dave Mason’s sitar performance is not noticeable, but Traffic does perform well with the much of the music sounding like the studio versions. For Top Gear, Traffic performed “Heaven Is in Your Mind,” “Dealer,” “No Face No Name No Number,” “Hope They Never Find Me Here,” and “Giving to You.” Again, excellent performances with muffled sound quality. And their performance of “Giving to You” is a jazzier version than the song on the LP. I remember bringing their album to my music class in college and playing this song as an example of jazz, but my music professor did not agree as it did not meet his definition of old school jazz. The remaining songs “Smiling Phases,” “Coloured Rain,” “Hole in My Shoe,” “Feelin’ Good,” “Paper Sun,” and “Dear Mr. Fantasy” are from the concert. The concert recordings sound a bit cleaner and you can tell that the musicians were enjoying themselves, as each track is longer than the LP tracks, with some very tasteful jamming. “Hole in My Shoe” is an exceptional example of raga rock with Dave Mason on sitar slowly building into the start of the song. “Feelin’ Good” is a nearly ten minute version of Nina Simone’s classic song. Traffic starts out by getting the audience to clap rhythmically with the drums entering for a three minute solo before the song begins. This performance is a wonderful fusion of psych, rock, and jazz. “Paper Sun” is also an extended raga rock performance with some great improv. And the final song “Dear Mr. Fantasy” showcases Steve Winwood’s guitar prowess with its slow burn. Overall, an excellent archival snapshot from 1967 if you ignore the DJ and the muffled sound. Where the Poppies Grow will really appeal to fans of early Traffic.


Filed under: New releases, 2018 releases, 1967 recordings

Related artist(s): Traffic

Latest news

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Larry Coryell / Badi Assad / John Abercrombie - Three Guitars – Larry Coryell and John Abercrombie have long been at the forefront of international jazz guitar, utilizing both acoustic and electric formats. Badi Assad is a Brazilian ace performer who had not...  (2004) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues