Traffic's The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys is often praised as their best effort, and it might just be. This album is no doubt an exercise in everything that that the jazzier side of progressive rock does best.
Intricate arrangements with soft deliveries mixed and heavier tunes that let the audience rock out are all represented on this output, and the band could not have done any of the above better than they did with this release.
While the focus on the album may well be directed to the 11-minute title cut, all of the other songs on the album certainly deserve their praise. Since the album is one of the most thought out in all of prog history in terms of placement of songs (or so it seems) the album flows incredibly well.
Things get off to a mellow start from the first calming chords or Hidden Treasure, which also features some impressive vocal work. The middle of the album is represented by some of the heavier cuts, such as the rock ' rolling, Rock & Roll Stew, which sports some great soloing, and in its full version (a 6-minute cut is added to some remasters of the album), some very good instrumental noodling coming into the ending segment.
Really, the album plays out like a well-formulated chart, peaking in the middle in terms of heaviness and easing off at the start and finish.
Some of the most memorable songs are the slower ones, especially the ones that cap off the album. Many A Mile To Freedom is a somber and reflective piece that can really capture a mood if you let it.
Easygoing yet demanding, this is one of the best songs on the album. Of course, Rainmaker also deserves some due credit, the incredibly emotional coda highlighted by wonderful vocals and some very thoughtful playing makes this song worth waiting for when the end rolls around.
And now we get to the feature piece. The undeniable standout on this album has to be the excellent title track, The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys. Soft and fast pieces blend together wonderfully, and the band's style of jazz and rock really gets to shine here as they seem to have hit a vein with it.
If you've ever enjoyed jazzy music with a plethora of instruments which shifts its tempo in many places and some amazing vocals then this is the tune for you.
This album comes in contact with a lot of other genres, so eclectic is a very true placement for it. With moments of symphonic grandeur, canturburian groove, hard rock riffs and jazz rock fusion soloing this album is sure to please many, and even amaze some.
A true masterpiece in ever sense of the word, Traffic's The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys receives an easy 5 stars out of 5. Extremely recommended (by King By-Tor).
01.Hidden Treasure (4:16)
02.The Low Spark Of High-Heeled Boys (12:10)
03.Rock & Roll Stew (4:29)
04.Many A Mile To Freedom (7:12)
05.Light Up Or Leave Me Alone (4:53)
07.Rock And Roll Stew (single version) (6:07)
*Steve Winwood: vocals, guitar, piano, organ
*Jim Capaldi: vocals, percussion
*Rick Grech: violin, bass
*Chris Wood: flute, saxophone
*Jim Gordon: drums
*Reebop Kwaku Baah: percussion
[ Thank you LEANDRO for sending this post ]