The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys (Bonus Track)
Traffic’s fifth album shows the band at the peak of its powers. The songwriting is superlative, the jams are soaring, and the band’s two constituent modes were never better fused. For the most part The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys is more hushed and relaxed than Traffic had been in the past. “Hidden Treasure” and “Many a Mile to Freedom” find Steve Winwood toning down his earthy holler to sing in a low whisper, atop grooves best defined by the latter song’s lyrics: “Then together we flow like the river / Then together we melt like the snow.” Ironically, it's usually silent drummer Jim Capaldi who shows off his formidable pipes on the heavy funk-rock of “Rock ‘n’ Roll Stew” and “Light up Or Leave Me Alone.” The album’s title track is probably Traffic’s greatest moment. “The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys” is something actor Michael J. Pollard wrote to Jim Capaldi while both were traveling in Morocco. Traffic interpreted it to refer to the grassroots power of the counterculture, and the song’s anthemic jam resounds as a mysterious tribute to the Woodstock generation.