Monday, April 15, 2024

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: Traffic "Hole In My Shoe"


TRAFFIC-Hole In My Shoe/Smiling Phases U.S. United Artists UA 50218 1967

Traffic's second American single was released in October 1967, three months after it's British release as Island WIP 6017 where it reached #2, unfortunately it failed to chart here.

Penned and sung by guitarist Dave Mason it perfectly encapsulates the child like "toy town" psychedelic pop genre with lyrics about toy soldiers, bubblegum trees et al. With sitars, flutes, organ, Mellotron etc it has all the necessary trappings of a '67 pop psych record including the spoken word bit (care of Island records supremo Chris Blackwell's stepdaughter Francine)  "I climbed on the back of a giant albatross which flew through a crack in the cloud, to a place where happiness reigned all year round where the music played ever so loudly".  

The flip side, "Smiling Phases" is sung by Steve Winwood and his soulful vocals over a harder rocking musical section than the A-side with just flute, bass, drums, guitar, organ and outside of some phasing on the vocals none of the psychedelic whimsy from the A-side.

Both sides are available for streaming on Spotify and are also on the deluxe edition of their debut LP "Mr. Fantasy" (titled "Heaven Is In Your Mind" in the U.S.).  

Their whole journey from this period has been wonderfully chronicled in the wonderful book "The Island Book Of Records 1959-1968". 

Hear "Hole In My Shoe":

Hear "Smiling Phases":

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