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At the height of psychedelia and the worldwide Summer of Love, Traffic retreated from the bright lights of the city and the music industry hurly-burly to get their act together in the wilds of rural Berkshire – where, away from the outside world, they worked on an organic fusion of jazz, folk, pop and R&B elements that would herald a game-changing new maturity in British rock.

Over the next twelve months or so, Traffic’s symbiosis of bucolic living and naturalistic music would be mirrored by events of the other side of the Atlantic: The Band’s rootsy country/soul/R&B stew, The Byrds’ move into country-rock and Crosby Stills & Nash’s intricate harmonies and acoustic-led instrumentation would all strike a chord with British rock bands and the burgeoning hippie scene in general.

Traffic’s concept of getting it together in the country, together with the nascent West Coast sound and the first real stirrings of what would subsequently become known as Americana, had a seismic effect. Numerous bands – Brinsley Schwarz, Bronco, Heron etc – began to live communally, retiring to remote farmhouses and country cottages to write, rehearse and even record in splendid isolation.

The peacock plumage and acid-in-wonderland lyrics of psychedelia were rejected. Instead, The Band’s down-home appearance and tales of old-time rural America were adopted wholesale. Polite, middle-class young men raised in quiet suburban towns on a diet of Marmite, The Dandy and early closing on Wednesdays suddenly assumed the appearance of weather-beaten, late 19th-century Klondike Gold Rush prospectors. The Aquarian Age was slowly turning into the Agrarian Age.

Across The Great Divide: Getting It Together In The Country is the first compilation to shine a light on this curiously neglected stitch in the constantly-evolving British rock tapestry of the late Sixties/early Seventies. Joining huge names like Rod Stewart, Traffic and Fairport Convention are cult underground acts, mainstream Sixties pop groups updating their sound, a post-Dylan wave of back-to-the-land singer/songwriters and a clutch of righteously obscure rural rockers whose music failed to find an outlet at the time.

Over three 3CDs and four hours of music (including several tracks that have never previously been issued), and housed in a clamshell box containing a 44-page booklet, Across The Great Divide assiduously charts the fascinating period when a posse of British musicians bravely attempted to build Cripple Creek in perfidious Albion’s green and pleasant land before shrugging their shoulders and moving on to either glam-rock, hard rock or the movement’s logical successor, the spit-and-sawdust pub rock circuit. Happy trails!

DISC ONE

TEATIME ON THE TRAIL

1. WARMING UP THE BAND – Heads Hands & Feet
2. CAJUN WOMAN – Fairport Convention
3. HOME IS WHERE I WANT TO BE – Mott The Hoople
4. DEVIL’S WHISPER – Mighty Baby
5. DESERT ISLAND WOMAN – Chilli Willi & The Red Hot Peppers
6. WILLOWING TREES – Shape Of The Rain
7. ABBOT OF THE VALE – Tony Hazzard
8. LOUISIANA MAN – The Hollies
9. FADING – Mason
10. SLEEP SONG – Unicorn
11. BOY, YOU’VE GOT THE SUN IN YOUR EYES – Open Road
12. COUSIN NORMAN – The Marmalade
13. CLIFFTOP – Richmond
14. LADY CAME FRO THE SOUTH – Starry Eyed And Laughing
15. OIL FUMES AND SEA AIR – Stray
16. RED MAN – Rare Bird
17. THE PIE – The Sutherland Brothers Band
18. TOUCH HER IF YOU CAN – Matthews Southern Comfort
19. EMPTY STREET, EMPTY HEART – Quicksand
20. OOH LA LA – Faces

DISC TWO

BEFORE THE GOLDRUSH

1. COUNTRY GIRL – Brinsley Schwarz
2. WHEN I’M DEAD AND GONE – McGuinness Flint
3. FORTY THOUSAND HEADMEN – Traffic
4. NEW DAY AVENUE – Bronco
5. TRY AGAIN – Tranquility
6. VELVET MOUNTAIN – Cochise
7. A SOUVENIR OF LONDON – Procol Harum
8. CINNAMON GIRL – The Deep Set
9. DAY THE WORLD RAN AWAY – Stephen Jameson
10. I’LL JUST TAKE MY TIME – Byzantium
11. IT’S A WAY TO PASS THE TIME – High Broom
12. GOING TO THE COUNTRY – Holy Mackerel
13. LIQUOR MAN – Montage*
14. JESUS IS JUST ALRIGHT – Shelagh McDonald
15. WE BOTH NEED TO KNOW – Granny’s Intentions
16. BYE AND BYE – Heron
17. COUNTRY DAN AND CITY LIL – Timebox
18. AND A BUTTON – The Searchers
19. TAKE ME TO THE PILOT – The Orange Bicycle
20. THE JAILER – Natural Gas*
21. SO NICE – Curtiss Maldoon
22. MILLION TIMES BEFORE – Jawbone

DISC THREE

URBAN COWBOYS

1. OPEN THE DOOR – Carolanne Pegg
2. COUNTRY COMFORT – Rod Stewart
3. HOME FOR FROZEN ROSES – Northwind
4. NICE – Bridget St. John
5. COUNTRY ROAD – The Pretty Things
6. HOME GROWN – Andy Roberts
7. SHERIFF MYRAS LINCOLN – Edwards Hand
8. CIRCLE ROUND THE SUN – Marian Segal
9. PRETTY HAIRED GIRL – The Parlour Band
10. HELLO BUDDY – The Tremeloes
11. TALLAWAYA – Greasy Bear
12. MY NAME IS JESUS SMITH – Man
13. METROPOLIS – Keith Christmas
14. COUNTRY HEIR (single edit) – Deep Feeling
15. JOHNSON BOY – Prelude
16. COTTAGE MADE FOR TWO – Paul Brett’s Sage
17. SEE HOW THEY RUN – Dave Cousins & Dave Lambert
18. CLEAR BLUE SKY – Mother Nature
19. DANCING FLOWER – Idle Race
20. WHEEL OF FORTUNE – The Illusions*
21. MY LITTLE ONE – Gordon, Ellis & Steel*
22. I’LL FLY AWAY (demo version) – Plainsong

Artists

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5013929186101

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DISC ONE

TEATIME ON THE TRAIL

1. WARMING UP THE BAND – Heads Hands & Feet
2. CAJUN WOMAN – Fairport Convention
3. HOME IS WHERE I WANT TO BE – Mott The Hoople
4. DEVIL’S WHISPER – Mighty Baby
5. DESERT ISLAND WOMAN – Chilli Willi & The Red Hot Peppers
6. WILLOWING TREES – Shape Of The Rain
7. ABBOT OF THE VALE – Tony Hazzard
8. LOUISIANA MAN – The Hollies
9. FADING - Mason
10. SLEEP SONG - Unicorn
11. BOY, YOU’VE GOT THE SUN IN YOUR EYES – Open Road
12. COUSIN NORMAN – The Marmalade
13. CLIFFTOP - Richmond
14. LADY CAME FRO THE SOUTH – Starry Eyed And Laughing
15. OIL FUMES AND SEA AIR - Stray
16. RED MAN - Rare Bird
17. THE PIE – The Sutherland Brothers Band
18. TOUCH HER IF YOU CAN – Matthews Southern Comfort
19. EMPTY STREET, EMPTY HEART - Quicksand
20. OOH LA LA - Faces

DISC TWO

BEFORE THE GOLDRUSH

1. COUNTRY GIRL – Brinsley Schwarz
2. WHEN I’M DEAD AND GONE – McGuinness Flint
3. FORTY THOUSAND HEADMEN – Traffic
4. NEW DAY AVENUE - Bronco
5. TRY AGAIN – Tranquility
6. VELVET MOUNTAIN - Cochise
7. A SOUVENIR OF LONDON – Procol Harum
8. CINNAMON GIRL – The Deep Set
9. DAY THE WORLD RAN AWAY – Stephen Jameson
10. I’LL JUST TAKE MY TIME - Byzantium
11. IT’S A WAY TO PASS THE TIME – High Broom
12. GOING TO THE COUNTRY – Holy Mackerel
13. LIQUOR MAN – Montage*
14. JESUS IS JUST ALRIGHT – Shelagh McDonald
15. WE BOTH NEED TO KNOW – Granny’s Intentions
16. BYE AND BYE - Heron
17. COUNTRY DAN AND CITY LIL - Timebox
18. AND A BUTTON – The Searchers
19. TAKE ME TO THE PILOT – The Orange Bicycle
20. THE JAILER – Natural Gas*
21. SO NICE – Curtiss Maldoon
22. MILLION TIMES BEFORE - Jawbone

DISC THREE

URBAN COWBOYS

1. OPEN THE DOOR – Carolanne Pegg
2. COUNTRY COMFORT – Rod Stewart
3. HOME FOR FROZEN ROSES - Northwind
4. NICE – Bridget St. John
5. COUNTRY ROAD – The Pretty Things
6. HOME GROWN – Andy Roberts
7. SHERIFF MYRAS LINCOLN – Edwards Hand
8. CIRCLE ROUND THE SUN – Marian Segal
9. PRETTY HAIRED GIRL – The Parlour Band
10. HELLO BUDDY – The Tremeloes
11. TALLAWAYA – Greasy Bear
12. MY NAME IS JESUS SMITH - Man
13. METROPOLIS – Keith Christmas
14. COUNTRY HEIR (single edit) – Deep Feeling
15. JOHNSON BOY - Prelude
16. COTTAGE MADE FOR TWO – Paul Brett’s Sage
17. SEE HOW THEY RUN – Dave Cousins & Dave Lambert
18. CLEAR BLUE SKY – Mother Nature
19. DANCING FLOWER – Idle Race
20. WHEEL OF FORTUNE – The Illusions*
21. MY LITTLE ONE – Gordon, Ellis & Steel*
22. I’LL FLY AWAY (demo version) – Plainsong