Steve Winwood - guitar, piano, vocals; Chris Wood - flute, saxophone; Jim Capaldi - percussion, drums, keyboards, vocals; Roger Hawkins - drums; David Hood - bass; Rebop Kwaku Baah - percussion; Barry Beckett - keyboards
In his 40-plus-year career in the music industry, success has always seemed to attach itself to Steve Winwood. From the time he played organ and sang lead, at age 15, on such hits as "Gimme Some Lovin'" and "I'm A Man" for the Spencer Davis Group in 1965; up through four different incarnations of Traffic; to a now-classic LP made with Winwood/Clapton/Baker/Gretch supergroup of Blind Faith in 1969; and finally on a long string of successful platinum solo albums that included acclaimed Back In The High Life, Steve Winwood has always made extraordinary records and maintained a truly exceptional, distinctive voice.
This recording was made while the band was taping shows for their soon-to-be-released On The Road double CD. For the tours and records made around this time ('72-'74), Traffic was augmented by three members of the legendary Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, a group that had provided backing on some of the greatest rock and R&B hits of the 1960s and '70s, including many classic Aretha Franklin and Dusty Springfield records. This same month, Traffic released Shoot Out at the Fantasy Factory, which went gold and reached the American Top 10.
By adding David Hood on bass, Roger Hawkins on drums and Barry Beckett on keyboards, the group's core members -Winwood, percussionist/vocalist Jim Capaldi and sax player/flutist Chris Wood - found an enormous amount of freedom to play their respective instruments. Many Traffic classics are here, including "Empty Pages," "Evening Blue," "Forty Thousand Headman," "Glad" and "Freedom Rider," but there is still enough room for several, then-new tracks to be featured, including "Shoot Out At The Fantasy Factory," "Rock and Roll Stew," "Roll Right Stones," "(Sometimes I Feel So) Uninspired" and "Light Up Or Leave Me Alone."
For fans of Traffic, Winwood, or classic rock in general, it doesn't get much better than this.