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Traffic - Mr. Fantasy CD (album) cover

MR. FANTASY

Traffic

 

Eclectic Prog

3.68 | 150 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Mr. Fantasy is the debut full-length studio album by UK progressive rock act Traffic. My version is the 1999 UK remastered CD with the original UK version in stereo and the mono US version ( which is called Heaven is in Your Mind)is included as a bonus. The album was originally released in 1967.

The music on Mr. Fantasy is a mix of psychadelic rock, folk, proto-prog rock and semi-jazzy elements. The musicianship is excellent and the addition of flute, sax, citar, mellotron, harpsichord and organ to the more regular rock instrumentation of bass, drums, guitar and piano really gives the music an interesting sound. The vocals are really strong and suits the music perfectly.

The style is very varied and reminds me of Family´s debut full-length studio album Music In A Doll's House (1968) and Audience self-titled debut full-length studio album from 1969. Mr. Fantasy possesses much of the same charm as those two albums IMO. The songs are rather short ( between 2 and 5 minutes long) and mostly vers/ chorus structured. All songs are of high quality. They may not be very challenging but they are memorable and well written. The progressive approach is mostly due to the use of unusual instrumentation and the way the instruments are played. The band are obviously willing to experiment within a commercial pop/ rock frame. I find all songs on the album worth mentioning but some stand out more than the rest. The opening track Heaven is in Your Mind, Dear Mr. Fantasy and the ending mostly jamming instrumental track Giving to You are among my favorites. The latter probably gives a good picture of how Traffic sounded live as I assume they jammed a lot more in that environment than they did on this very structured album.

The US mono version which is included as a bonus, features a different tracklist which includes some single tracks instead of some of the album tracks from the UK version. Dave Mason had left the band shortly after the release of the UK version which meant that the band removed some of the songs which were penned by him from the US version. Personally I prefer the tracklist on the UK version and the psychadelic pop/ rock songs which were included to the US version are not as interesting as the tracks which were removed from the UK version. The fact that the bonus tracks are in mono doesn´t help either. I much prefer the stereo sound.

Mr. Fantasy has been a positive surprise for me and I assume this is considered a quite influential proto-prog album and rightly so. 4 stars are well deserved. I really enjoyed this album.

UMUR | 4/5 |

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