Saturday, June 8, 2013

Traffic: Shanghai Noodle Factory

“Last Exit” was the third album by the band Traffic; however, it was a conglomeration of various tracks that Island records in the UK collected and released. This was done to fulfill the band’s recording contract after they broke up the first time. In the US, the LP was issued on United Artists as Island did not yet have a North American presence.

“Shanghai Noodle Factory” was one of those songs, and although it was the flip side of “Medicated Goo” in the UK, it was not the flip in the US – that was relegated to “Pearly Queen” from the previous self-titled album. I include it here as it did garner some album airplay and it is one of my favorite cuts on “Last Exit.” The song was written when Dave Mason was in the band (the second of three times); however, it was recorded after he left Traffic for the second time. “Last Exit” was released in May 1969.

The song was credited to all four band members, producer Jimmy Miller, and songwriter/arranger Larry Fallon. While Fallon worked with a number of bands, I am not sure what his connection with Traffic was at this time as his name only appears on the songwriting credits of this song and nothing else on the album. The UK single only lists Winwood and Capaldi as writers.

As with many of the Traffic releases as a three part band, it showcases Stevie Winwood on vocals, keyboards, bass, and guitar. Not to be outdone, the late Chris Wood plays stellar flute as well and the late Jim Capaldi provided drums, percussion, and backing vocals.

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