By 1969, Stephen Lawrence Winwood was an old man in the world of rock. No longer known as “Stevie”, Winwood had backed B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf, Chuck Berry and reggae stars Toots & the Maytals; he had co-written hit singles like “Gimmie Some Lovin’” for the Spencer Davis Group; formed and disbanded an early jazz/rock fusion outfit called Traffic then was part of the first “super-group” Blind Faith with pal Eric Clapton. After the failure of Faith, Steve Winwood decided to go solo. Like the rest of the rock world, he was influenced heavily by what Bob Dylan and The Band were doing in Woodstock, a “back-to-the-roots” approach miles away from 60′s psychedelia. Eventually Winwood ended up calling Chris Wood (flute, sax) and Jim Capaldi (percussion, vocals) to help with session work, which prompted Traffic’s comeback album. Originally titled Mad Shadows, the traditional song John Barleycorn was brought in by Wood, found on a recording by English folk group The Watersons. Released in 1970, John Barleycorn Must Die put Traffic back on the album charts and on the road touring. Newly re-released as a 2-CD package with alternate takes and a great live Fillmore concert, the songs from John Barleycorn still stand up. Probably why 40-plus years later an even older “old man of rock” Steve Winwood will still whip a few out for his live performances.