Traffic – The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys

One I really like from Traffic. It’s one of those songs you just let play, as you do other things. This song was released in 1971 but was not released as a single…It clocked in at 12 minutes long. Jim Capaldi started writing this in Morocco, where he was getting ready to make a movie called Nevertheless with actor Michael J. Pollard. The film project fell through but did lead to one of Traffic’s best-known songs.

From Songfacts.

Said Capaldi: “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.” >>

Never released as a single, this did very well on AOR stations in America, which didn’t mind playing all 12 minutes and 10 seconds of the song (it provided a nice cigarette break for the DJs). The album sold over a million copies in the US, but didn’t fare nearly as well in their native UK.

Jim Capaldi and Steve Winwood are the credited writers on this song. Dave Mason had left the band at that point, but Traffic added some new members for the Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys album, including former Derek & the Dominos drummer Jim Gordon, which allowed Capaldi to focus more on vocals. Original member Chris Wood played the prominent saxophone parts on this track.

When Traffic toured in 1972, this was a highlight of their live shows. For that tour, they brought along two of America’s finest session musicians: bassist David Hood and drummer Roger Hawkins from Muscle Shoals Sound Studios (Traffic would record their next album with these guys). 

The colorful percussionist was Rebop Kwaku Baah, a Ghana native who played on the studio version as well. According to Steve Winwood, Baah was later fired for being “too outrageous.” Said Winwood: “He insisted on going onstage and singing – and he can’t sing!”


The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys

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 a price
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

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

4 thoughts on “Traffic – The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys”

    1. I take requests! You will be seeing that very soon…Sometimes I run out of songs. I’m trying to organize the songs also and have an index of them. Thank you


  1. This is one of my most favourite albums from the early seventies and the songs – particularly this and my other fave from the same album, Rainmaker – give the exact flavour of those times. Wonderful!


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: