17 Apr NO MORE TRAFFIC: WINWOOD-CLAPTON RUMORS
LONDON — Traffic has broken up. The announcement, made in London this week, came at a time when Traffic had finally broken through in the United States.
The group’s second album, entitled Traffic, made a spectacular one hundred position leap on the trade charts this week, moving over 123,000 copies in five days. It is expected to be the final album by the group. In addition, there are strong rumors that one Traffic member, Stevie Winwood, is to record with ex-Cream guitarist, Eric Clapton.
Members of the trio were unavailable for comment on the split, which was confirmed by Traffic’s manager, Chris Blackwell. However, Traffic producer Jimmy Miller, who also cut the Rolling Stones’ Beggar’s Banquet album, had this to say about the split and the album:
“I’m absolutely bewildered by the breakup. I’d always felt Traffic was just coming and coming, getting into it more all the time. Each session was shredding restrictions. I really haven’t been able to completely accept the split mentally.
“We were all very, very happy with the new LP. I was a little down because I hadn’t been quite as intimate with the project as I had been with the first album. At the time we were doing it, I was heavily involved with Beggar’s Banquet. You know. I’d spend four days on Traffic, and then the next four with the Stones.
“The new album is certainly better than the first. The initial Traffic album was a ‘here we come, dig this’ sort of thing. We played that down for the second album, and it still came off. As Stevie Winwood says, ‘It’s just us, just us as we are now.’
“Steve is very serious about it, and wants to go off for a while. He’s bewildered by his own creations, and to force a few more doors open, he has to get away from it. There’s a strong possibility he’ll cut solo and also with well known English musicians.
“We don’t have very much in the can. We did cut a single last week, called ‘Medicated Goo,’ which I really really like. It was a commercial riff they’d hit upon, which comes out strong for a single. I think it will blow your mind.
“We do have some tapes put down during the group’s show at the Fillmore East, but apart from that, there’s not much. I really think the current album is the last lot of original stuff you’ll be hearing from Traffic.
“It was great working with them. Traffic was a group experimenting with form, pushing musical expansion. It’s beautiful that people in the States are hip to what they’re doing.
“Some people have said that the new album is all Stevie, but that’s not true. It’s fairly evenly divided between Steve and Dave Mason.”
Rumors that Stevie Winwood is to cut an album with Eric Clapton have been widely circulated throughout London in the past few days. It is understood that discussions have taken place between executives of Island Records (Winwood’s releasing label) and Polydor, who continue to hold contracts for all three members of the Cream. The deal would probably be for one album, with “courtesy of Island or Polydor Records” sort of label credit, as occurred in the jazz era when musicians label-hopped doing sessions with other stars.
It is widely known that Clapton has been anxious to work with Winwood. On several occasions he has asked Winwood to his country cottage for a weekend chat about future plans.
Stevie has also been working with Mick Jagger and Jimmy Miller on the next Stones album, as yet untitled, which will be issued in Spring of 1969. On one session, he played organ, piano, drums and guitar.
Winwood came to fame through his stint as organist-singer-and sometime guitarist with the Spencer Davis Group After splitting with the group, he formed Traffic, and had several hit singles in Europe including “Hole In My Shoe,” “Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush,” and “Feelin’ Alright.”
Winwood, meanwhile, is holidaying in Holland.