19
Dec
08

Snow day

It’s started snowing about two hours ago. I would usually be traveling in this stuff, but being inside is one of the great advantages of not having a job.

Believe me, I’ve had my fill of trekking through this type of New England weather. Not that I dislike the weather. The change of seasons is the great allure of this region and as a journalist I really didn’t mind it at all — once I got to where I was going. Being out on the road in this stuff, that’s another thing altogether because of all the factors not in your control i.e. other drivers.

At any rate, this is the first post as you can see. I’ve been a journalist quite a while but a musician even longer, actually about twice as long. And along with other things such as art, film and family, music is what drives me the most.

Today is a good day to be inside and listening to great music. Of late, I’m listening to a variety of things, as always, but in particular an album by Chris Wood called Vulcan, which is quite remarkable since this is his first solo album yet he’s been dead since 1983.

For the uninitiated, Wood was in a group called Traffic, one of the great yet somehow overlooked bands from the late 1960s and early ’70s. You’ve all heard of Steve Winwood I’m sure. If you haven’t, then you should have by now. He was the creative force behind Traffic. But Jim Capaldi, the drummer and fellow songwriting collaborator, was just as integral.

So where does Chris Wood come into this? He played tenor sax and flute and other various things. When I saw Traffic live he played bass, piano and organ as well. Sometimes well, sometimes not so well. But according to his bandmates he was in many ways the most important member. He brought inspiration to the table. Evidently, he directed the boys to different styles of music, and that is the one thing that Traffic gave to the music community and why it was such a great influence on so many artists.

World music as it is called today. Traffic was there. The group mixed R&B, hard rock, jazz, latin, afro, all types of things into a stew that was unique at the time for a band of second-generation bluesers coming out of Great Britain.

The album is fascinating, good not great, but certainly worth a listen. It’s all instrumental and has many of the qualities of Traffic, in fact one of the tracks is actually Traffic live. It’s probably not available at the big shops, possibly a smaller, older record store if there is one of those near you, but more likely you will need to get it online at someplace such as amazon. But you know what? With these import albums, it’s often better and cheaper to buy it from the country of origin, so try amazon.co.uk.

Oh yeah, why did it take so long for a release. Well, Wood never actually finished the album although he worked on it for about five or six years. He was evidently a substance abuser and it took him at an early age. His sister and a fellow named Dan Ropek were key to the tapes being assembled and released. Nice job all around there.

If you want to hear the Chris Wood influence in Traffic, listen to You Can All Join In, which is actually a Dave Mason tune, or 40,000 Headmen, both excellent tracks.

If you do, let me know what you like or dislike about the album and what are your favorite tracks.

Looks like about two inches so far. On the edge of the woods, things are looking nice.

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