Jim Capaldi: The Contender

Ex-Traffic lynchpin faces 1978 in disco mode.

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It’s a long way from getting it together in the country with Traffic to the white-towel-draped, Rocky-resembling Capaldi on the cover, and the smooth funk and disco sounds inside.

With his solo career’s early success in the balance, staying alive in a Bee Gees-warped market must have seemed common sense. The title track, though, is the lone highlight. Written by Capaldi for a boxing documentary, its lyrics also reflect a rock career’s bruising grind, as does the by-then posthumous presence on wailing lead guitar of Free’s Paul Kossoff.

A newly released 1978 Dutch gig on the second disc is a bit greasier, with between-song chat that gives a sense of the earnest, honest Capaldi on an off-night. This vérité snapshot, mid-tour during an unsuccessful makeover, is more interesting than the actual LP./o:p