The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys – Traffic

trafficTraffic was an English rock band formed in 1967 by Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi, Chris Wood and Dave Mason. They began as a psychedelic rock group influenced by The Beatles when releasing early pop singles, and diversified their sound through the use of instruments such as keyboards, reed instruments, and by incorporating jazz and improvisational techniques in their music.

After disbanding in 1969 during which time Winwood joined Blind Faith, Traffic reunited in 1970 to release the critically acclaimed album John Barleycorn Must Die. The band’s line-up varied from this point until they disbanded again in 1975, although a partial reunion took place in 1994.

The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys

“The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys” is a song by the band Traffic from their 1971 album of the same name, The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys. The song is reminiscent of a laid-back jazz jam, beginning with a gradual fade-in and ending with a slow fade-out. At about 11 minutes and 35 seconds, it is the longest song on the album.

The title refers to an inscription written by actor Michael J. Pollard in band member Jim Capaldi’s book while they were both in Morocco. Capaldi and Pollard were planning to work on a movie that was never filmed. Capaldi said:

Pollard and I would sit around writing lyrics all day, talking about Bob Dylan and the Band, thinking up ridiculous plots for the movie. Before I left Morocco, Pollard wrote in my book ‘The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys.’ For me, it summed him up. He had this tremendous rebel attitude. He walked around in his cowboy boots, his leather jacket. At the time he was a heavy little dude. It seemed to sum up all the people of that generation who were just rebels. The ‘Low Spark,’ for me, was the spirit, high-spirited. You know, standing on a street corner. The low rider. The ‘Low Spark’ meaning that strong undercurrent at the street level.

If you see something that looks like a star
And it’s shooting up out of the ground
And your head is spinning from a loud guitar
And you just can’t escape from the sound
Don’t worry too much, it’ll happen to you
We were children once, playing with toys
And the thing that you’re hearing is only the sound of
The low spark of high-heeled boys

The percentage you’re paying is too high priced
While you’re living beyond all your means
And the man in the suit has just bought a new car
From the profit he’s made on your dreams
But today you just read that the man was shot dead
By a gun that didn’t make any noise
But it wasn’t the bullet that laid him to rest was
The low spark of high-heeled boys

If you had just a minute to breathe and they granted you one final wish
Would you ask for something like another chance?
Or something similar as this? Don’t worry too much
It’ll happen to you as sure as your sorrows are joys
And the thing that disturbs you is only the sound of
The low spark of high-heeled boys

If I gave you everything that I owned and asked for nothing in return
Would you do the same for me as I would for you?
Or take me for a ride, and strip me of everything including my pride
But spirit is something that no one destroys
And the sound that I’m hearing is only the sound
The low spark of high-heeled boys

  • Audio from the 1971 album, The Low Spark of High Heel Boys:

album-low-spark-of-high-heeled-boys


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About DJ Allyn

DJ Allyn is a burned out radio guy who went on to become a burned out sound engineer for a few Seattle area grunge bands in the 1980s and 1990s. Left the madness of worldwide tours with bands, cleaned up my act and went into the relative sanity of sound engineering for television series. Currently working as the Director of Sound for a television series being filmed in North Vancouver, British Columbia. I am always on the lookout for interesting videos, old music, and fun.

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