Traffic “The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#967 in the Series) is Traffic, The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys.

Back in 1986, my friend Bruce Embree and I went to see Steve Winwood in concert. He was touring in support of his Back In The High Life album.  We had second row-center seats.  That was a treat considering I nabbed them via phone order!!   On the way to the show we had discussed ‘what were our chances to hear any Traffic tunes?’ This was one of the first solo Winwood tours that I had remembered. We certainly had not seen him before.  So we weren’t sure what to expect. Some artists will play quite a number of songs from their past band associations. Some acts (Peter Gabriel) never go there.

Stage lights- Down, silhouetted guitarist –TRAFFIC_SLEEVELeft, silhouetted guitarist –Right.  But we couldn’t see any sign of Stevie, who should have been directly in front of us.  Where was he? Are we going to hear Traffic? We had all kind of questions in our head.

Then one little light shown from the back of the Poplar Creek Music Center.  Very tiny, very pointed.  All it highlighted were a pair of hands, center stage, resting on a piano keyboard.

Then we heard it, the opening quiet piano riff to “Low Spark of High Heeled Boys.”  Is he going to play some Traffic? Heck Yeah! And he’s opening with the best song we could have asked for. It truly was one of those concert moments that stay with you. Even now, a quarter century later.

They didn’t play the extended 11 minute version. I really didn’t expect that anyway. What they did was segue into another Traffic classic, “Glad.”

Besides the title cut, other highlights here include “Rock and Roll Stew,” “Rainmaker,” and “Light Up or Leave Me Alone.”

Traffic was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.

–Larry Carta 

Track Listing

All songs written by Steve Winwood and Jim Capaldi unless otherwise noted.

Side One

  1. “Hidden Treasure” – 4:16
  2. “The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys” – 11:35
  3. “Light Up or Leave Me Alone” (Jim Capaldi) – 4:55

Side Two

  1. “Rock & Roll Stew” (Ric Grech, Jim Gordon) – 4:29
  2. “Many a Mile to Freedom” (Steve Winwood, Anna Capaldi[1]) – 7:26
  3. “Rainmaker” – 7:39


  • Steve Winwood – vocals, guitar, piano, organ
  • Chris Wood – saxophone, flute
  • Jim Capaldi – vocals, percussion
  • Ric Grech – bass, violin
  • Jim Gordon – drums
  • Rebop Kwaku Baah – percussion


Beck to the Cool Album Home Page


Posted by Larry Carta

1 Comment

  1. Russell Dean (02 Oct 2011, 20:17)

    I love this album – it really is good all the way through but my favorite song is Many a Mile to Freedom – I really feel its the most beautiful song Mr Winwood ever wrote..

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