Since the 19th Century, America’s mighty railroad has inspired countless artists from all genres. Johnny Cash and John Fahey are just two who have based whole albums around the imposing locomotives which provided the nation’s lifeline prior to motor vehicles and planes. This marvellous collection revels in how the train’s mystique has been represented in blues, jazz, country and early rock’n’roll. After the Rev A W Nix’s fire-and-brimstone intro, this fascinating journey motors through delights ranging from the western swing of Pee Wee King’s Railroad Boogie, to the sinister country blues of King Solomon Hill’s Gone Dead Train. More familiar names include Ma Rainey, The Carter Family and Drifting Cowboys. Others, such as the mysterious Eugene Fox and his unhinged Sinner’s dream, may be less known, but are worth getting acquainted with. Bobby Crown’s 1956 rockabilly howl, One Way Ticket, is revelatory, while Flying Crow sees Washboard Sam roping in Big Bill Broonzy, Memphis Slim and Willie Mitchell in 1941 for a languorous chug. One of the best attempts yet at hacking a tunnel through the huge iceberg of American train songs.
Various Artists - Black Diamond Express To Hell
All aboard for a seat-gripping ride through American train song
OZIT Morpheus | CD 85313
Reviewed by Kris Needs
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