The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys is the fifth studio album by English rock band Traffic, released in 1971. As with other Traffic albums, The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys featured different forms and offshoots of rock including jazz rock, progressive rock, as well as classic rock and roll. The name of the album's title track was suggested by the actor Michael J. Pollard.
The album features the hit "Rock & Roll Stew" and the FM hit, "The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys." This is the only original Traffic album to feature two lead vocals by Jim Capaldi ("Light Up Or Leave Me Alone" and "Rock & Roll Stew"). His only other unaccompanied vocal on a Traffic studio album was "Dealer" from Mr. Fantasy. The LP is also notable for its die-cut cover.
The album was certified gold less than a year after its release in the United States, and eventually certified platinum in 1996.
Low Spark of High Heeled Boys was remastered and reissued with one bonus track on 19 March 2002.
Critical retrospectives on the album are generally positive. Allmusic was overwhelmingly approving in its assessment, praising the variety brought by the non-Winwood/Capaldi compositions and the power of the lengthy title track, and claiming the album "marked the commercial and artistic apex of the second coming of Traffic". In addition, Robert Christgau commented on the band's growth from previous efforts, stating that while the group is "devoid of intellectual thrust," they're "onto something," and "when it works, it suggests a nice paradox—relaxed and exciting at the same time."Pop Matters offered yet another viewpoint, calling it "an album that's easy to listen to over and over, but one that seldom shows up on 'best of' lists." It commented that most of the songs are highly understated and require multiple listens to appreciate.
"Rock & Roll Stew Parts 1 & 2" (Grech, Gordon) – 6:07
Note: This is different from the "Rock & Roll Stew Part 1" and "Part 2" recordings on the single. It is a previously unreleased version which is the most complete studio performance of the song. The album version fades earlier than this version. Part 1 on the single is an edit (with shortened instrumental break) of the album version. Part 2 (side B of the single) fades in at a point past the album version's fadeout. This is also the version of "Rock & Roll Stew" that appears on the Gold compilation.