Rehearsed and written at a cottage in the Berkshire countryside, Traffic's debut was former child prodigy Steve Winwood's first foray into headier territory after a stint playing R&B-fueled rock & roll with the Spencer Davis Group. Rounded out by drummer Jim Capaldi and multi-instrumentalists Chris Wood and Dave Mason, Traffic's 1967 debut, Mr. Fantasy, was originally released in the U.S. under the title Heaven Is in Your Mind.
The record includes experimentation with vaudeville-inspired numbers ("Berkshire Poppies"), flamenco-flavored fantasy ("Dealer"), and sitar-drenched meditations ("Utterly Simple"). Winwood's inspired organ playing and soulful singing poke out on cuts like "Coloured Rain." In keeping with the band's unorthodox approach to composition and arrangement, "Giving to You" offers a funky groove sandwiched between tidbits of an overheard conversation about the relative merits of jazz.