Records That Made History

Traffic – The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys

todayJuly 6, 2024 5

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The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys is the fifth studio album by Traffic, released in 1971. As with the group’s other albums, The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys featured different styles of rock music including jazz rock , progressive rock, as well as classic rock and roll. The name of the song from which the album takes its name was suggested by actor Michael J. Pollard.

The Traffic trio that made this album, Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi, and Chris Wood, had been augmented by three other members, Ric Grech, Jim Gordon, and “Reebop” Kwaku Baah, with all Low’s sessions evident Spark to be characterized by the various combinations of the main musicians of the group as well as their guests.

The album includes the hits “Rock & Roll Stew” and “The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys”, with the latter also overwhelming the FM radios. This is the only album by the original Traffic to contain two songs with lead vocals by the group’s drummer Jim Capaldi, the ultra-aggressive “Light Up Or Leave Me Alone” and “Rock & Roll Stew” a real march on life on the road . The only time Capaldi was heard as a second voice was on the track “Dealer” from the 1967 studio album Mr. Fantasy. The vinyl record is also notable for the elaborate cutouts it had on its cover. The other four tracks were Winwood / Capaldi compositions, in the band’s best known style.

The album went gold in less than a year after its release in the United States and platinum in 1996. It was reissued with a bonus track on March 19, 2002.

Critical reviews of the album have been generally positive. AllMusic overwhelmingly approved with its appreciation and praise, the variety of non-Winwood/Capaldi compositions as well as the power of the soulful title track claiming that the album “marked the commercial and artistic peak of Traffic’s second iteration” which had begun in 1970 with the amazing John Barleycorn Must Die.

Additionally, Robert Christgau commented on the band’s evolution from their previous efforts, stating that while the group “lacks spiritual drive”, they are “on to something” and “when it works, it’s something beautiful, paradoxical, relaxing and exciting all at once “. Online magazine Pop Matters took a different view, calling it “an album that’s easy to listen to over and over again, but one that rarely appears on best-of lists.” He also pointed out that most of his songs are very underrated and require multiple listens to be appreciated.

Through this amazing album I select the self-titled “The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys”.


1. Hidden Treasure 4:16
2. The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys 12:10
3. Rock ‘n’ Roll Stew 4:29
4. Many A Mile To Freedom 7:30
5. Light Up Or Leave Me Alone 5:00
6. Rainmaker 7:39

Written by: Dimitris Sigalos

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