A NEW collection of material by one of Worcestershire’s greatest song-writers and drummers has been released.

The four-CD boxed set Dear Mr Fantasy featuring the work of Evesham-born Jim Capaldi –pictured – is out this week, with previously unreleased tracks by the former Traffic lyricist. It is also packed with rare photos and essays.

Drummer and vocalist Capaldi died in January 2005, shortly after Traffic were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Although Capaldi is best remembered for his work with the band, he was a highly successful lyricist working with Bob Marley and The Eagles and collaborating with Eric Clapton, Van Morrison and George Harrison.

The boxed set features a treat for fans with an unreleased demo track recorded with ex-Beatle Harrison at his Buckinghamshire home in the mid-1990s entitled Love’s Got A Hold On Me.

The set has been put together with input from Capaldi’s wife Anna, who said the 67-track compilation reflected her husband’s wide-ranging career from his early association with beat band The Hellions to the 1993 Traffic reunion and beyond.

Capaldi spent the 1960s playing the club scene around Worcester and Birmingham with The Hellions, which eventually evolved, after a line-up change, into Deep Feeling.

Born in 1948, he came from a musical family.

“His father was an accordian player, and his mother was a singer,” said Mrs Capaldi.

“His father used to say he would hit anything possible, from an early age – including pots to pans. That was his natural way.

“When he was 14 he had a row with his dad because his dad wanted him to knuckle down, so he left home and stayed with friends in Worcester and never went back.

“He said the only proper job he had was working for three months at the Lea and Perrins factory, but he was sacked because his late-night gigs made him late every morning.”

In 1967 Capaldi formed Traffic with Steve Winwood, Dave Mason and Chris Wood and they released the album Mr Fantasy. The band folded before reforming with a slightly changed line-up still including Capaldi.

Through the 1970s Capaldi, still playing with Traffic, launched a solo career and contributed on material with other artists, playing on into the 1980s and 90s.

Capaldi wrote the lyrics to Bob Marley’s This Is Reggae Music and co-wrote The Eagles’ Love Will Keep Us Alive.

There were tours and collaborations until the end of his life but Capaldi always had the idea of doing a compilation to bring together a life’s work.

“He always wanted to do it, but he got sick and it was very quick – he only lasted six months after he was diagnosed with cancer, but he wanted to do it, so I carried it on,” said Mrs Capaldi.

One of his collaborations was with ‘close friend’ George Harrison. The two had lived a few miles from each other in Buckinghamshire and Capaldi “would go over and help George in the garden, then afterwards they would go in the studio and mess around jamming and writing songs, and one of those is Love Got A Hold On Me”, said Mrs Capaldi.

“The plan was to finish it but of course George got ill and we moved away for a while and it never got done.”

For details visit jimcapaldi.com or islandrecords.co.uk