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Welcome To The Canteen Original recording remastered, Live

4.1 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 19 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered, Live
  • Label: Island - Universal Special Imports
  • ASIN: B00006399Z
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #14,171 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Medicated Goo
2. Sad And Deep As You
3. 40,000 Headmen
4. Shouldn't Have Took More Than You Gave
5. Dear Mr. Fantasy
6. Gimme Some Lovin'

Product Description

Product Description

Dave Mason was back on board when Traffic toured England in '71 and recorded this live LP. They do early Traffic essentials plus then-new Mason gems: Medicated Goo; Dear Mr. Fantasy; Sad and Deep As You even an inspired Gimme Some Lovin' !


To call Traffic "mercurial" might be an understatement. After a promising debut, the band (whose core consisted of vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Stevie Winwood, vocalist-percussionist Jim Capaldi, and winds player-keyboardist Chris Wood) variously broke up, saw Winwood's participation in the supergroup Blind Faith, reformed, and struggled with lineup expansions and contractions. Indeed, this 1971 live album recorded in London followed an unreleased Fillmore East effort by John Barleycorn's four-piece edition (the trio plus Blind Faith bassist Rick Grech). Now rhythmically augmented by Jim Gordon, ex-Dizzy Gillespie sideman Reebop Kwaku Baah, and the return of singer-songwriter Dave Mason for his third stint in the band, Traffic turns in a rich, eclectic set that didn't so much recap their career as retool it entirely. With Mason's more prosaic "Sad and Deep as You Are" and "Shouldn't Have Took More Than You Gave" alternating with the exotic impressionism of "40,000 Headmen," the good-natured R&B of "Medicated Goo," and the early staple "Dear Mr. Fantasy," this sounds like a band with a lot of promise. But typically, Mason's tenure this time 'round lasted just six performances. The feverish, polyrhythmic reworking of Winwood's Spencer Davis hit, "Gimme Some Lovin'," hints at the more fusion-oriented direction the band would take on its next studio album. Unfortunately, modern digital remastering hasn't improved the original recording's somewhat muddled sound. --Jerry McCulley

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This was a contractually obligated album and a period of transition too, and it's also Traffic best moment live.
Soon "Welcome to the Canteen" would be followed by "The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys," showing most people that the band was not dead, although by "Shoot Out at the Fantasy Factory" they have, arguably, reached creative exhaustion.
Anyway, the band is playing live here, and even at the expense of a poor recording -even after remastered-, Traffic sounds great. Back is, again, Dave Mason, Jim Gordon and Reebop Kwaku Baah provide a powerful percussion section, and there's always Stevie Winwood.
His voice, electric piano, and organ navigate the groove, and keep as much R&B and it exudes Rock.
If you've known Traffic from the times this was out for the first time, then you'll be transported. If you haven't heard them, it's as good a place to start as any.
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Format: Audio CD
This is not the best album of all time or even the best Traffic album. It isn't even an official Traffic album. It was released to complete a contractual obligation. The sound is horrible, which prevents any chance of this being a decent album. Traffic has a much better live album called On The Road.
This concert was poorly recorded and the original LP sounded pretty bad. The first CD release was even worse. This new remastered CD is about what the LP was. There is not much you can do when the original masters are bad.
There is only one very good song on the album, an 11 minute version of Mr. Fantasy and it alone might make this album worth buying. There is also a nice 6 minute version of 40000 Headmen which is an added bonus. Mr. Fantasy shines in spite of the sound problems, but 40,000 Headmen suffers a little.
Medicated Goo is just like the studio version on Last Exit, so it adds nothing new. There are two Dave Mason solo songs that are nice, but there are better versions on Mason's solo albums. There is no reason to own these poorly recorded, substandard versions of these songs, when much better versions already exist.
Gimme Some Lovin' is a noisy, sloppy mess. All you can hear is the theme repeated over and over. The musicians performance and "interplay" is sloppy and seems as if the band members are tripping over each other. However, if this track did have decent sound quality, it might be enjoyable.
This album was released to complete Steve Winwood's contractual obligation to release 5 records for United Artists. At this time, Traffic was already recording Low Spark of High Heeled Boys for Island Records, but were afraid of a lawsuit if they released it before completing the United Artists contract.
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Format: Audio CD
I used to have a copy of this on 8-track back in the day ... and I listened to it so much that the cartridge eventually fell apart.
"Welcome to the Canteen" is a document of a place and time, and the last gasp of the original version of Traffic before it jumped off the jazz/rock deep end. Dave Mason joined up with the expanded core group for just a handful of dates, and he delivers two songs that later showed up on his early solo efforts.
The recording is rather poor, particularly on the acoustic-based "40,000 Headmen;" unfortunately, the CD remastering helps only a little. The package is also a bit skimpy, clocking in around 39 minutes ... a bonus track, available on other Traffic remasters, would have helped (maybe they just weren't available).
In all, this is Traffic's best live album. The fiery playing and excellent vocals by Winwood, Mason and Capaldi more than make up for the primitive recording. After all these years, this album is still a personal favorite.
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Format: Audio CD
I'm quite familiar with Traffic's output, and I think this is really their best album. It's just awesome. I'm as much a Dave Mason fan as a fan of Traffic, and Dave is probably at his best on this release, in blending with Winwood, Capaldi, and Wood.
Everyone is relaxed, and in the groove. Mason really stands out with his guitar work, especially on acoustic guitar. This remastered live recording really makes you feel right there; Winwood's and Capaldi's vocals especially are clear, colorful, and understandable. I don't understand one reviewer's complaint about a heavy mix with respect to the prominence of Kwaku-Baah's African drums.
But I think the main reason Welcome to the Canteen has such an impact on me, is that I usually prefer studio albums. They're usually more sophisticated sounding, with all the orchestration, form, and meaning very intensionally present. In contrast, live albums, I find, are usually overly flamboyant and simplified in artistry versus the studio version.
But Welcome to the Canteen is the exception. It's the first live album I've heard that is totally inspired, not overly flamboyant, and where the musicians are just glad to be there for the art of it all. And you still get the joy and immediacy of it being live, coupled with the advantage of you're hearing it direct, with no studio sound enhancements or overdubs.
I strongly recommend this album. The reason I give it only four stars is that, unlike most people, I've never been a big fan of Gimme Some Lovin, the last track.
A great note of trivia: with all the "Sad and Deep as You" live versions out there by Dave Mason, it was quite remarkable to hear it sung on Welcome to the Canteen by Jim Capaldi, while Dave focused on a fairly elaborate acoustic guitar line.
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