The Second Disc

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John Barleycorn Must Be Expanded

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Well, at least it will be expanded. Traffic’s John Barleycorn Must Die (1970) is coming out as a double-disc deluxe edition in February.

Originally intended as Steve Winwood’s first solo album after the dissolution of Blind Faith, John Barleycorn became a reunion project for Traffic and spawned several well-known songs including “Glad” and “Empty Pages.” It was also the highest-charting album of Traffic’s career in the U.S., hitting No. 5.

A previous reissue in the U.K. in 1999 added two studio tracks within the album order and added three live cuts from a show at the Fillmore East. Those live cuts were dropped for the U.S. reissue in 2001. This new set includes more from that run of concerts (which were recorded for a live album, ultimately scrapped for 1971’s Welcome to the Canteen), but does not include those studio bonus tracks. You apparently can’t win them all.

The set’s coming your way on February 7 (a U.K. release date); order it here and check the track list after the jump.

Traffic, John Barleycorn Must Die: Deluxe Edition (Island/UMe (U.K.), 2011)

Disc 1: Original LP (released as Island ILPS  9116 (U.K.)/United Artists UAS-5504 (U.S.), 1970)

  1. Glad
  2. Freedom Rider
  3. Empty Pages
  4. Stranger to Himself
  5. John Barleycorn Must Die
  6. Every Mother’s Son

Disc 2: Bonus material

  1. Stranger to Himself (Alternate Mix)
  2. John Barleycorn Must Die (First Version)
  3. Every Mother’s Son (Alternate Mix)
  4. Backstage and Introduction (Live) *
  5. Medicated Goo (Live)
  6. Empty Pages (Live)
  7. Forty Thousand Headmen (Live)
  8. Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring (Live) *
  9. Every Mother’s Son (Live)
  10. Glad/Freedom Rider (Live) **

All tracks previously unreleased except Disc 2, Tracks 4, 8 and 10 (“Glad”), previously released on Island CD IMCD-266 (U.K.), 1999.
Disc 2, Tracks 4-10 recorded live at the Fillmore East, New York City, November 18-19, 1970.

Written by Mike Duquette

December 23, 2010 at 12:02

One Response

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  1. We’re lucky that Steve Winwood & Universal Music reached a compromise over artist & publishing royalties grievances that were never Universal’s fault, and that Winwood is no longer invoking his contractual right to prohibit the release of unreleased material. But the truce between Universal & Winwood gives Winwood control over compiling. For the sake of public unity, Winwood & Universal claimed that his recent box set(a hits collection with no rare material) was the first release under the new deal, but in fact, the “John Barleycorn Must Die” 2-CD set will be the first release since Winwood ended the freeze on releasing vault material and Universal addressed Winwood’s grievances. There will also be an expanded edition of “Arc of a Diver” at some point in 2011.
    Many years ago, Winwood signed recording and publishing deals with Island Records which must have seemed fair by the standards of the day, but Winwood increasingly resented Universal(present day owner of Island Records) for not giving him a raise. But Winwood’s freeze on permitting Universal to release outtakes(which went into effect shortly after the release of the UK 1-CD expanded edition of “John Barleycorn Must Die”) only antagonised the fans. Actually, Winwood is still in fine form as a singer,composer & multi-instrumentalist, and continues to make good records, but they have been ignored. I’m confident that once Winwood satisfies his fans’ cravings for vintage outtakes, fans will belatedly discover Winwood’s more recent recordings.

    Phil Cohen

    December 23, 2010 at 13:08


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