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

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more

2020-03-17
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music world, and festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more

2020-03-06
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Pre-Med - The Truth About Us – Pre-Med is a space rock band that formed in 2004 by Danny Faulkner and Hawkwind’s bassist Alan Davey. The Truth About Us is their second release and it features the talents of Eamon...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues