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Traffic Sound (Peru)
Overall View

Discography:

1968-1969 - "A Ballar GoGo"+"Virgin" (EP+LP=1CD, 55 min, "Hi-Note")
*****

1971 - "III"
*****


1968-1969 - "A Ballar GoGo"+"Virgin" (EP+LP=1CD, 55 min, "Hi-Note")
*****


Tracklist:

"A Ballar GoGo":

1. I'm So Glad (Skip James)

2. You Got Me Floating (Hendrix)

3. Sueno (Cavalieri)

4. Sky Pilot (E. Burdon)

5. Fire (Hendrix)

6. You Can't Win (Destruction)

7. Jews Caboose (Traffic Sound)

"Virgin":

1. Virgin 

2. Tell the World I'm Alive 

3. Yellow Sea Days:

4. March 7th 

5. March 8th 

6. March 9th 

7. A Place In Time Call "You And Me"

8. Simple

9. Meshkalina

10. Last Song





"Virgin":

all music written and arranged

by Traffic Sound, lyrics by M. Sanguineti.



Line-up:

Manuel Sanguineti -

  vocals, percussion

Willy Barclay -

  lead guitar

Freddy Rizo Patron -

  rhythm guitar,

  acoustic guitar

Willy Thorne -

  bass guitar, organ & piano

Luis Nevares -

  drums 

Jean Pierre Magnet -

  saxes & flutes,

  piano, vibraphone

Prologue. Having listened to all the musical material ever created by Traffic Sound, I just want to let you know in advance that this is, in my view, one of the ten best bands of the early progressive years. What's especially significant is this is one of those bands that sparked the Dawn of Progressive Rock on planet Earth. Also, I am sure that most of the Prog reviewers would regard Traffic Sound as the band of the Canterbury school (though the music of this Peruvian band is distinctly original). Then, is the Canterbury County located in Peru? (I more than wonder why was one of the most significant Progressive sub-genres called with the name of one of the England's counties? Especially since a lot of the bands, stylistically labeled as "Canterbury", actually perform the music that can be compared to the works of 'classic' Canterbury bands not in the list!)

The Album. I think there's no need to tell you of the band's first 21-minute album (EP!), especially since it consists of only cover versions, and not the band's original songs. So let's consider the 34+)-minute "Virgin" the first Traffic Sound album, especially since this is really true, by all means (and please don't search for tautologies in my reviews: this is just graffiti on the virtual PC walls of paper). There are seven progressive songs out of eight in all on "Virgin", and five of them are real progressive killers, especially with regard to the general situation about Progressive Rock at the Dawn of the Genre. Here are these progressive songs-masterpieces: Tell the World I'm Alive, Yellow Sea Days, Jews Caboose, Meshkalina, and Last Song (which actually is the only instrumental on the album). While all the first four of these songs (the fifth one Last Song is a special composition, so I'll specially be back to it a bit later). These compositions are filled with all of the essential progressive ingredients and all of them (as well as the album's other songs, except track 11) were created within the frame of a unified, incredibly original stylistics, each of them, taken separately, has, however, some special characteristics of their own. And I especially appreciate the diversity that is placed in the album with a unified overall stylistics.) Tell the World I'm Alive, containing wonderful interplays between acoustic guitar and organ passages and solos of sax and bass, apart from other arrangements, is the only (of the said four tracks) that was performed without drums, and Manuel Sanguineti's always excellent performance on percussion is especially impressive here. The longest track Yellow Sea Days is the most progressive composition of "Virgin". It contains a wide variety of diverse vocals (yes, an "early Peruvian" English is OK, as always) and instrumental arrangements with all electric and acoustic instruments in a game, a lot of heavy riffs, electric guitar and flute separate solos and unique trio-interplays between the sax solos and piano and acoustic / classical guitar passages. Also, this song is especially rich in complex time signatures, sudden changes of musical direction along with tempo, etc. Apart from the remarkable joint instrumental arrangements, Jews Caboos contains the most noticeable vibraphone solo as well as interplays between organ and vibe. Even if Jean Pierre Magnet wasn't the first multi-instrumentalist in the history of Rock music, he was the most talented one, at least. The work of the rhythm section is tight here, as always, while the varied percussives add new exotic colours to an overall musical palette. The longest and most virtuosic solos of electric guitar are also on this track as well as interplay between them and strident sax solos. Meshkalina is the album's only composition where there are most of the solos and arrangements go uptempo to very fast. Classically, diverse, very interesting and original instrumental arrangements work each of the said four songs throughout, including all the vocal parts too (which is always especially impressive). The fifth outstanding track Last Song is the instrumental played only with an acoustic guitar. I was deeply impressed by Mr. Patron's classical mastery of playing this instrument as well as his compositional inventiveness. I am sure he was the first and only acoustic (classical!) guitar hero until Steve Howe joined Yes and played his acoustic piece for "The Album" in October of 1970. (Regarding the compositional and performing quality, I regard the third "acoustic hero" Greg Lake who performed The Sage on ELP's first "(Mussorgsky's) Pictures At an Exhibition" live show in March of 1971. Note: I've heard parts of classical guitar played by a few other musicians in 1970, including Focus's Jan Akkerman, whose acoustic passages become, in my view, really excellent for the first time on the band's second album "Moving Waves".) The songs Virgin and Simple (tracks 7 & 12) sound progressive as well, and quite good, actually. There are complete acoustic

Summary. I wrote the review of the band's third (second, though!) album first: this way now I can compare them more objectively. So, I am contesting the two 'official' opinions on both the full length Traffic Sound albums I've read (in the Gibraltar EPR and on the web-site of Hi-Note). Both of these opinions are similar and the main sense of them is that only the third (i.e. second) album of Traffic Sound is really progressive, which doesn't correct actually (if you don't believe me, check both these albums out and compare!). Progressively (by all means, though), "Virgin" is on par, at least, with the band's following album, which I have depicted myself (see below). As for the significance of both of these works by Traffic Sound, the status of "Virgin", released before the line of the Progressive Rock front become really visible (notable, etc), is much higher than the following one. This is, IMHO, one of the few best albums of Progressive Rock released in the 1960s and the only of Classic Progressive's "Top 10 1960" albums being released not in the UK (not even in the USA, but in Peru (!); see also some changes in Summary on the following Traffic Sound album).

VM. November 2, 2001
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1971 - "III"
*****


Tracklist:

1. Tibet's Suzettes 4-45

2. The Days Have Gone 3-26

3. Yesterday's Game 5-49

4. America 3-00

5. What You Need And What You Want 4-14

6. Chicama Way 7-46

7. You Want to Be Sure 3-32





Line-up:

Line-up: (same)



All music written and arranged

by Traffic Sound, lyrics by M. Sanguineti.

The Album. Six of the album's seven tracks were created within the frame of a united, incredibly original style that you've never heard before (if you haven't heard Traffic Sound, of course). These tracks represent a real, mature Classic Progressive Rock, full of the varied changes (of themes, tempos, etc), unexpected 'invasions' into different musical dimensions, separate virtuosic solos and duet / interplay between two soloing instruments. In addition, there are excellent vocals with very good pronunciation of English and, of course, large-scaled and diverse instrumental arrangements. The latter, by the way, work non-stop (behind all the vocal parts too) on each of the said six songs. The instrumental structures of the album are generally very changeable; each of the band members shows a solid musicianship throughout. But the mastery of the Master of the Wind (instruments) is particularly outstanding. While Jean Pierre's wild solos on sax are usually quite long he uses this instrument, sadly, not in all compositions of the album, unlike the flute. Nevertheless, when he plays the sax, as well as the flute, though, he (always) really shines - like your crazy diamond. I have to admit, though, that some of Jean Pierre's flute solos are more virtuosic than the sax ones, but I really like that unique wild sound of the latter instrument. Flute passages / solos sound on all tracks and, in the process of forming the joint arrangements, they often create wonderful duets with very tasteful piano roulades or organ solos (as in the beginning of Chicama Way). Back to the saxophone, you can hear a few of the fantastic sax solos on each of the 1st, 3rd, and 6th tracks (Tibet's Suzettes, Yesterday's Games, and Chicama Way, which is, in my view, the best song on the album). Yesterday's Games is the only accessible track on the album; it was composed (for some reason) on the basis of Rhythm 'n' Blues of the second half of the 1960s, and only Jean Pierre with his 'wild' sax makes the sound of this song more fit for the album's unified, on the whole, style. There is another (the last - by all means) track on Traffic Sound's third album that, on the whole, sounds slightly different than most of the tracks on the album, - You Want to Be Sure. After Traffic Sound's traditional (firm!) intricate arrangements with electric guitar, organ, flute and even bass solos in a game (no, I don't forget such a special thing as the drumming, which is excellent here, as always), there are only beautiful piano roulades sound no less than a minute and a half in the end of the song (of the album, though).

Summary. I see this review in many ways sounds like an ode to the band's wind instrumentalist. I won't change anything here (as always), and Jean Pierre is really worthy of all the kind words I said about his musicianship: undoubtedly, he was the best (most virtuosic, at least) musician in the band. When you hear his wild (in the most positive meaning of the word) solos on saxophone and brilliant, fast solos on flute, you'll understand that this musician was also one of just a few really strong wind instrumentalists at the time: he was on a par, at least, with such giants as Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull), Thijs Van Leer (Focus), Elton Dean (Soft Machine), and Dick Heckstall-Smith (Colosseum). As for the third (second!) Traffic Sound album, it should be obvious by now, after I've listened to its predecessor, I can't regard "III" as their best. "Virgin" is on a par with it, at least, by all means, while Peruvian Traffic Sound is one of the few best bands that worked progressive at the Dawn of the Genre.

VM. October 27, 2001
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