Sound — 10
"Traffic" is a mixture between beautiful Folk-Rock by Dave Mason and virtuos musicianship by Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi and Chris Wood. In the beginning the band recorded without Mason, who left the group, but later, when the other members weren't able to write enough material for the album, was asked to join again. This was the last Traffic album with Mason. They disbanded shortly after this album and reunited in 1970 without Mason. Songs: 01."You Can All Join In": (Mason) 3:34 A great composition. It is very entertaining and catchy. 02."Pearly Queen": (Capaldi/Winwood) 4:20 Although todays live versions by Winwood sound better in my opinion it's a classic song you must hear. It is based on a John Lee Hooker riff. 03."Don't be Sad": (Mason) 3:24 It's a good song, which shows Masons singing abilities very well. 04."Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring": (Capaldi/Winwood/Wood) 3:11 Nice, shows Winwoods vocal range (falsett) and his great organ and guitar playing. 05."Feelin' Alright": (Mason) 4:16 For me the best song on the album, after listening I'm always "Feelin' Alright". 06."Vagabond Virgin": (Capaldi/Mason) 5:21 Winwoods piano is great here, but vocals (Mason/Capaldi) are good too. 07."Forty Thousand Headmen" (Capaldi/Winwood) 3:15 Nice Intro and great flute by Wood, sounds great through the whole song. 08."Cryin' to Be Heard": (Mason) 5:14 Very relaxed Verses but a very powerful Chorus. 09."No Time to Live": (Capaldi/Winwood) 5:10 Slow, a little blue, in one word: beautiful. Surprise: Mason is playing the organ. 10."Means To An End": (Capaldi/Winwood) 2:39 The needed follower of the two previous slower songs. Simply Funky. All the songs are very different from each other, often with the biggest contrast between Winwoods and Masons compositions.
Lyrics — 10
The Lyrics are not revolutionary, but on Masons songs they're very direct and simple, while Capaldis are more psychedelic ones. Lyrics and music fit perfectly on each song. Winwoods singing skills are without a doubt fantastic, and he really deserves his place on Rolling Stones "100 Greatest Singers Of All Time" (33). Mason does a great job too, although he is not as good as Winwood.
Overall Impression — 10
I don't know any other album like this one, because of the clear differences between Masons and Winwoods Songwriting, who both have each 5 songs written or co-written. It's a perfect album, you got songs that bring it into the charts and songs that show the musical abilities of the musicians. The most impressive song is for me "Feelin' Alright". This album is for me in the same league as the Beatles White Album, Dylans "Highway 61" or Claptons "Layla And Other...", so if it was stolen, I would buy it again, and put it into a safe with all the other great albums, so it can't be stolen again.