Traffic operated on the cutting edge of the late-sixties music scene at a time of rapid and remarkable evolution, and expanded rock's sonic palette. But whereas most progressive British bands were based in London, Traffic retreated to a secluded cottage in the countryside. A key component of Traffic's mythology is their communal stone cottage in Berkshire. It was here the group wrote and rehearsed material for Mr. Fantasy, and Traffic, among the more remarkable albums of the sixites.
The group's first single was the Winwood/Capaldi composition "Paper Sun" followed in August 1967 by Mason's "Hole in My Shoe" which hit number two in the U.K. Mason also appeared in the debut album, Mr. Fantasy. His whimsical melodies and goodtime feel, incorporating simple yet rich lyrics, ensured a delightful contrast. His vocals adding a mellower texture to Winwood's, and an extra interest. His three tracks, "Utterly Simple", "House for Everyone", and 'Hope I Never Find Me There" having instant appeal. The latter relating more closely to the group's contributions. Mason became recognized for his obvious virtuosity on sitar, vocals, and guitar.
Artistically Mason had started the process of establishing himself. Like Winwood, he was a musical perfectionist, but their approaches were different. Rather than follow his ideals which would estrange him from the band, he decided to quit, even before the first album was released in December 1967 he left the band.