The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys

Composed by Jim Capaldi / Steve Winwood

Song Review by

The Low Spark Of High-Heeled Boys (1971) heralded a second (or third by some accounts) coming for Traffic. The band first emerged during 1967 sporting a deliciously soulful blend of jazz and psychedelia, re-surfacing with the ‘unplugged’ and organic John Barleycorn Must Die (1970) . The stretched out jams and increasingly intricate instrumental interplay that marked this particular incarnation is evident throughout this extended side. The languid and particularly searching melody of “Low Spark Of High-Heeled Boys” may well take root in Winwood’s brief involvement with the ill-fated supergroup Blind Faith. The tune is strikingly similar to a rehearsal recording eventually issued as the quarter-hour long “Acoustic Jam” on the Blind Faith [2000 Deluxe Edition]. In keeping with much of the band’s material, the lyrics to “Low Spark Of High-Heeled Boys” are oblique at best. Metaphysical motifs meld with images of gun toting cross dressers and a stream-of-conscious observations about modern survival. The lengthy instrumental section shows off the band’s impressive improvisational skills, focusing in on the talents of cofounders Winwood, Chris Wood (sax) and Jim Capaldi (percussion) with their guests Rick Grech (bass) , Jim Gordon (drums) and Reebop Kwaku Baah (percussion).

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys 1971 Island 12:10
Smiling Phases 1991 Island 11:36
Classic Rock Box: WNEW-FM 25th Anniversary Box 1992
Various Artists
PolyGram 11:37
The Finer Things 1995 Island 11:41
Island 40, Vol. 4: 1967-1975 -- Electric Currents 1998
Various Artists
Island / Polygram 11:27
Heaven Is in Your Mind: An Introduction to Traffic 1998 Polydor 11:36
20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Steve Winwood 1999 Island 11:41
Feelin' Alright: The Very Best of Traffic 2000 Island / Universal 11:42
The Collection 2002 Spectrum Music 0:00
20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Traffic 2003 Island 11:41
Gold 2005 Island 11:40
Revolutions: The Very Best of Steve Winwood 2010 Island / Wincraft Music 0:00