Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Traffic: The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys [Island, 1971]
These guys waste their talent--they're devoid of intellectual thrust, they've never figured out what to do with their beloved jam form, and more often than not their lyrics are designed only to fill holes in the music or the meter. Yet they're onto something here. Their modest improvisations have a lot more force and hook appeal than the ones of John Barleycorn, they've figured out how to incorporate horns without compromising their electricity, and sometimes it even sounds as if Winwood knows why he's singing. When it works, it suggests a nice paradox--relaxed and exciting at the same time. B