It was mid 1964, when a group of young high school students,. Diego Garcia Sayan, brothers Freddy and Jose Rizo Patron, Ramon Orbegoso and Felipe Larrabure, formed the group Los Hang Ten's. The band had several additions, among them a promising vocalist, Manuel Sanguinetti.
In 1967, Jose and Freddy Rizo-Patron (lead and rhythm guitar), left Los Hang Ten's to join Manuel Sanguinetti, a lead singer and a former classmate, who wanted to form a more professional, tighter outfit. That group, with several key additions eventually became Traffic Sound, one of the most influential and creative groups that emerged from the rock 'n' roll scene in Peru in the 60's.
The new band had high hopes and the dream that one day they could play their music to larger audiences, perhaps even give rock concerts in the United States. After several months playing together and giving presentations to friends, they realized the only way to achieve their goals was to bring into the band other experienced rock musicians who shared their own particular high hopes.
The elected group of new musicians, among others, were the ex-members of Los Mads, perhaps the first super-group in Peruvian psychedelic rock history. Manuel Sanguinetti (lead vocals) called Jean Pierre Magnet (sax and wind instruments) and Willy Thorne (keyboards); Willy got in touch with two other friends, Willy Barclay (bass) and Lucho Nevares (drums), who accepted to join the group and Traffic Sound was born.
The origin of the group’ s name was the traffic light, a souvenir from a wild night in town, they found in the attic that was used for rehearsals, at the Rizo-Patron's state.
After months of intense practice and presentations for friends, Traffic Sound started giving concerts at the Tiffany Club, the temple of Peruvian psychedelia. Because of their musicianship and popularity, a Peruvian label, MAG Records, gave them a recording contract in the last quarter of 1968. Their first single came out on the MAG label with the songs” Sky Pilot” and “Fire”, and it was followed by two others under the same label. The singles were cover songs by The Doors, Cream, Jimmy Hendrix and other groups that were Traffic Sound’ s main influences at the time. The covers were well executed, with an added Latin flavor, and with Manuel Sanguinetti singing in English. The singles sold out quickly and MAG decided to reissue all three of them as a compilation that became their first long-play : A Bailar Go Go.
In 1969 they recorded their second LP, Virgin (MAG LPN-2382), perhaps one of the finest rock albums made in South America in the seventies, and regarded by many collectors among the best psychedelic LPs of all times. This time all songs were original compositions, all group efforts, and played with finesse, finally Traffic Sound had developed its own style. Still some small influence from British rock is evident in some compositions : “Virgin” (The Bee Gees) , “Tell the World I am Alive” (Led Zeppelin) , “Yellow Sea Days” (Pink Floyd) and a touch of The Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Sky Pilot” on their song “A Place in Time Called You and Me ” (purposely presented backwards on the LP).
Virgin made Traffic Sound the most popular group in Peru and the most requested in concerts. Later on became the number one priority among serious collectors of psychedelic recordings. The first edition of the LP came out on the regular MAG package (front and back covers joined by a rivet), the second edition was a fold out cover with pictures of the group (this version of the cover is the most popular among collectors), the third and last edition had a single cover, with the front and back glued together, and the record had an orange label, instead of the original MAG black label.
In 1970 they recorded their third LP titled Traffic Sound (MAG LPN-2395); in my opinion their finest album. This recording features seven tracks of highly original material, full of “all out” improvised solos. At this point they had a strong, mature sound; unique in the right mixture of psychedelic rock with Andean and Latin music. The hit songs ”Chicama Way” and “Tibet’ s Suzettes” revealed the group’ s inner thoughts and the atmosphere that surrounded Peruvian youths in the early seventies.
By George Bonilla
1. Tibet's Suzettes - 4:37
2. Those Days Have Gone - 3:21
3. Yesterday's Game - 5:41
4. America - 2:55
5. What You Need And What You Want - 4:07
6. Chicama Way - 7:41
7. Empty - 1:22
Music by Traffic Sound
Lyrics by Manuel Sanguinetti
*Manuel Sanguinetti - Lead Singer, Percussion
*Willy Barclay - Lead, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
*Freddy Rizo Patron - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
*Willy Thorne - Bass, Organ, Piano, Vocals
*Jean Pierre Magnet - Tenor Saxophone, Flute, Percussion
*Luis Nevares - Drums, Vibraphone, Percussion