Sunday, May 22, 2005

"The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys"

This is about as close to jazz as I am ever likely to get. Which probably qualifies me for at least a seat right by the band in hell, but hey, we don't make our own choices in these things. Traffic was Stevie Winwood's big sixties supergroup thing, the grown-up, experimental band he had after the Spencer Davis Group and well before his 90s resurrection with "Higher Love", "Valerie" etc. Incidentally, that Eric Prydz song that's been annoying the top of the charts of late is nothing more than the "Valerie" chorus beefed up, isn't it? Long live creativity.
Back to Traffic. This is epic stuff. No, "epic" here doesn't mean loud, passionate, bombastic or even huge. It's a low-key, winding, twisting, beautifully-performed track, with one of the best choruses I have ever heard, and some seriously sixties lyrics: "The percentage you're paying is too high a price/When you're living beyond all your means/And the man in the suit has just bought a new car/From the profit he's made from your dreams/But today we just read that the man was shot dead/By a gun that didn't make any noise/But it wasn't the bullet that laid him to rest, it was/The low spark of high-heeled boys." The song is long enough for plenty of solos, for recapitulation, for all the stuff that music and composition teachers teach us is important. It's something to play when you have time and space to really live "in" the song, to try to delve into it, understand it.

1 comment:

Cocaine Jesus said...

i have the LP of this and the one before it with the sliced off corners on the 12 inch sleeve. steve winwood has one of the greatest of voices and jim capaldi also could sing and was an excellent drummer. good song. good band. went a bit too progy after awhile though.