Traffic

The Wet Dreams of Mr. Fantasy

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    6
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A true stereo version of Mr. Fantasy is appended with period hits and soundtrack material, plus a crop of BBC sessions from 1967-1969. A fascinating potpourri, but one which, oddly, hastens to deceive. Even in their youth, Traffic never slouched when it came to putting the studio to good use, which means there really isn't that much of a difference between a true stereo Mr. Fantasy and whichever other version listeners have lived with these past years. Appending the U.S. album's bonus hit singles and the outtakes gifted to the Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush movie soundtrack is a nice touch, but no reason to get really excited. The BBC material, too, has been around for a while, and the sleeve's claim for "best sound quality" is subjective, to say the least. The snips of DJ voice-over are fun, though, and the version of "Roamin' in the Gloamin'" is certainly a reminder that even this early on, Traffic really could stretch out when they were given the chance. But a final live track from Cincinnati in 1970 is an irrelevance which ruins what would otherwise have been at least a fair snapshot of the band at their undisputed peak. For no matter how portentous they were in 1968, they only rolled downhill from there.