Posts Tagged ‘Jim Capaldi’

Caught In ’70s Traffic One More Time

As the piano kicked in on ‘Something New’ at the same time as one of the most distinctive voices in rock, Traffic were back in the American album chart on this day 41 years ago with When The Eagle Flies. With Stevie Winwood  vocals and keyboards augmented by the work of Jim Capaldi, Chris Wood and now Rosko Gee (plus the uncredited Rebop Kwaku Baah), they would once again strike gold in the States — but this would be their last chart showing with a new studio record for very nearly 20 years. This ninth album by the British rock pacemakers gathered half a dozen new compositions by Winwood and Capaldi, and another, the equally impressive ‘Dream Gerrard,’ that Steve wrote with inimitable performer-humorist Vivian Stanshall, late of the Bonzo Dog Band. It arrived just over a year and a half after the band’s 1973 entry Shoot Out At The Fantasy Factory, after which they had released the On The Road memento of their concert in Germany that year.

 

traffic-on-the-roadTraffic-When-The-Eagle

 

Whereas Traffic’s recent studio endeavours had been produced by Winwood, When The Eagle Flies was overseen, like the live disc, by their Island label boss and confidant, Chris Blackwell. There was a subtle update to their sound, too, with the use of Moog and Mellotron keyboards, and an ever greater advance into a sophisticated jazz-rock style. But, with their status as FM album rock radio staples intact, there was no sign of any reduction in their American popularity.

While their British audience showed less enthusiasm for the new album, granting it only a fleeting top 40 place, Eagle entered the 28 September, 1974 US chart at No. 52 and became the group’s fourth top ten LP in a row there. Billboard called the album “a superb return.”

It reached No. 9 in a 27-week run, going gold by November, but after a promotional tour in the US in the autumn, Traffic called it a day. They were commemorated by two compilations in 1975 but the name was not revived by Winwood and Capaldi until 1994’s Far From Home.

On this date in 1967, Traffic released their debut album ‘Mr. Fantasy’. 

The second half of 1967 is memorable for many landmarks in the annals of pop history, but one that’s sometimes a little underplayed is the remarkable arrival of a new British rock force called Traffic.

In the space of less than six months, the band racked up no fewer than three top ten hits in the UK with ‘Paper Sun,’ ‘Hole In My Shoe’ and ‘Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush.’ Then, exactly 48 years ago on the countdown on 30th December, 1967, they rounded off the year in style by charting with their first album, Mr. Fantasy.

Beneath the surface of what appeared to be a new driving force in creative British pop, all was less than harmonious, because by the time the album appeared, Dave Mason was about to split with his colleagues Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi and Chris Wood. He returned to the fold in time for their self-titled follow-up of 1968.

Paper Sun

“Dave Quits, But Traffic Keeps Moving’ was the Melody Maker’s headline in its 16 December issue. “It’s because there are things I want to do and for me to do them while still in the group would hang the others up,” he told the paper’s Chris Welch. “The best thing to do is leave. I decided ages ago.” Almost immediately, he started producing the debut album by Family, Music In A Doll’s House, which came out the following July.

Nevertheless, Mason still had three solo compositions on Mr. Fantasy, in the form of ‘House For Everyone,’ ‘Utterly Simple’ and ‘Hope I Never Find Me There.’ He also had a co-write on the closing ‘Giving To You,’ with all six remaining tracks credited to the Winwood/Capaldi/Wood triumvirate. As a notable example of the way that the singles and album markets were now splitting in two, the album didn’t contain any of Traffic’s hit singles.

Mr. Fantasy opened on the chart at No. 38, as The Beatles‘ Sgt.Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band continued at No. 1, in what turned out to be the penultimate week at the summit for that particular classic. The Traffic album then faltered at No. 40 before rallying in the new year to spend two weeks at No. 17, and then hitting a No. 16 peak in early February. In the US, a different version of the album, with alternative sequencing and the notable addition of ‘Smiling Phases,’ hit No. 88. Bigger achievements were in store for Traffic on both sides of the Atlantic.

Traffic Make Their Album Debut

Remembering Jim Capaldi who died from stomach cancer,  born 2nd August 1944 – 28th January 2005

Nicola James “Jim” Capaldi  was an English musician and songwriter. His musical career lasted more than four decades. He co-founded Traffic in Birmingham with Steve Winwood, and the band’s psychedelic rock was influential in Britain and the United States. Capaldi and Winwood wrote many of Traffic’s major hits and most of the tracks on the band’s ten albums. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a part of Traffic’s original line-up. Jim Capaldi also performed with several famous musicians, including Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Alvin Lee, and Mylon LeFevre. He has also written lyrics to songs for other artists,

As a solo artist he scored more than a half dozen chart hits in various countries, the most well-known being “That’s Love“, “Shoe Shine“, and his cover of “Love Hurts“.

Following his death, several tributes in celebration of Capaldi’s life and music came out under the name Dear Mr Fantasy. The first was a tribute concert that took place at the Roundhouse in Camden Town, London on Sunday, 21 January 2007. The performances were evenly split between Capaldi’s solo songs and his work with Traffic. All profits went to The Jubilee Action Street Children Appeal. A recording of the concert was released as a double CD set the same year.

Jim Capaldi’s success as a lyricist continued throughout his life. In 1990 One and Only Man“, a Steve Winwood song for which Capaldi wrote the lyrics, reached the Top 20 in the USA. He was a five times winner of BMI/Ascap Awards for the “most played compositions in America”, and sales of songs written or co-written by him exceeded 25 million units. He numbered Bob Marley among his friends, and they travelled together while Marley was writing the Catch A Fire album. Capaldi wrote the lyrics to “This Is Reggae Music”.

In the 1980s, Capaldi collaborated with Carlos Santana contributing songs and ideas to Santana’s projects and in the 1990s he co-wrote (with Paul Carrack) the song “Love Will Keep Us Alive“, 

In 1993, Traffic reformed and toured the US and UK. Capaldi and Winwood recorded a new album, Far from Home, without the other members of the band. In 1998 he paired up again with Dave Mason on an extensive American tour.

The second such tribute, Dear Mr. Fantasy: The Jim Capaldi Story, is a four-disc boxed set released in July 2011. Though a slight majority of the tracks came from Capaldi’s solo albums, it also included some of his work with the Hellions, Deep Feeling, and Traffic, a few rare non-album tracks, and more than ten previously unreleased recordings,

The third and final tribute is a book of Capaldi’s handwritten lyrics, released in November 2011. The ideas of a boxed set and lyrics book had been conceived by Jim Capaldi shortly before he died, and their releases were prepared by his widow Aninha in fulfilment of a last promise to him.

Traffic-John_Barleycorn_Must_Die_(album_cover)

 

The fourth album from the English rock Band TRAFFIC, regarded as their definative recording, released in 1970 on Island records featured the single “Empty Stages” recorded at Island studios and Olympic studios in London from February to  April 1970 and produced by Chris Blackwell and Guy Stevens, Stevie Winwood who was still only 22 but had already served his apprenticeship in the Spencer Davis Group an then with the supergroup Blind Faith, had entered the studios to record what was to be a solo album titled Mad Shadows he wanted like minded musicians to join him and invited Chris Woods saxes and other wind instruments and Jim Capaldi drumming, therefore becoming a reunited Traffic and particulary a relaunch of the band’s career. With Jazz and Blues a forefront to the bands sound it also included a contempoary version of the English seventeenth century folk song ” John Barleycorn” with similarities to what was happening with bands like Pentangle and Fairport Convention. Reissued in 1999 with five bonus tracks, then in 2011 a deluxe version had the whole of the Live Fillmore East concert plus some demos,