Take The B (Like Blues) Train

From ‘Sunnyland Train’ to ‘Gravy Train’, we have mixed 18 ‘Strictly Blues‘ tunes around the theme of ‘The Train‘. It has Big Boy Crudup, Blind Gary Davis, Big Bill Broonzy, Sonny Terry and many more.

IMAGE : Blue Train Girls Photo by dogonthesidewalk

Mississippi Blues Trail: Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup, who grew up singing spirituals, did not start playing guitar until he was in his thirties. In 1941, while playing on the streets in Chicago, he was offered a chance to record for RCA Victor’s Bluebird label.

Louisiana’s Leroux : Their 1978 Capitol press release read: “LeRoux takes its name from the Cajun French term for the thick and hearty gravy base that’s used to make a gumbo.” Louisiana’s LeRoux (the first album) was a musical gumbo that blended various instruments and arrangements for some spicy, mouth-watering pop-rock.

Jazz Institute of Chicago : In 1927, Lewis recorded “Honky Tonk Train Blues,” a driving boogie based on the sounds of the trains that rumbled past his boyhood home on South La Salle Street in Chicago as many as a hundred times a day.

Reverend Gary Davis : Davis went into the recording studio for the first time in the ’30s with the backing of a local businessman. Davis cut a mixture of blues and spirituals for the American Record Company label, but there was never an equitable agreement about payment for the recordings, and following these sessions, it was 19 years before he entered the studio again.

Elijah Wald : Josh’s life intersected some of the most exciting periods in American culture. In the 1920s, he was leading legendary blind blues singers around the South, and became the youngest soloist in the “race records” market. In the 1930s, he was a blues star, more popular than Robert Johnson and influencing a generation of Southern players.

Peter L. Patrick : Mississippi’ Fred McDowell was born about 1904 or 1905, and worked most of his life as a farm laborer, mill worker, and tractor driver. He played music at country dances and juke joints, though as he says, “I wasn’t making money from music… sometimes they’d pay me, and sometimes they wouldn’t.” In his late 50s he was ‘discovered’ and recorded by folklorists Shirley Collins and Alan Lomax,

50 Miles of Elbow Room : Warm and inviting blues from the great St. Louis Jimmy Oden, who is perhaps best remembered these days as the composer “Going Down Slow,” which became a standard recorded by Howlin’ Wolf and many others. On this LP, Oden is often accompanied on piano by Roosevelt Sykes and his vocal delivery provides a reflective, end-of-the-night vibe, which is one that frequently resonates with me these days.

The Ethiopians on Wikipedia : Dillon had previously released some mento songs under the name Jack Sparrow. Around late 1966, Morris left the Ethiopians. Having left Dodd, the Ethiopians started recording at Dynamic Studios for the W.I.R.L. label, releasing the ska classic song “Train to Skaville”, which was their first success.

PLAYLIST : Elmore James – Sunnyland Train (2.16) . Big Boy Crudup – Train Fare Blues (2.42) . Jimmy Davis – Two Trains Running (3.58) . Fred McDowell – The Train I Ride (6.30) . Big Bill Broonzy – Too-Too Train (2.50) . Meade Lux Lewis – Honky tonk train blues (3.08) . Saint-Louis Jimmy Oden – Patrol wagon blues (3.38) . Lonnie Brooks – The Train And The Horse (5.04) . Louisiana’s Leroux – Night Train (4.58) . Sonny Terry – Train whistle blues (2.44) . B.B. King – Hold That Train (3.59) . R.L. Burnside – Two Trains Runnin (2.49) . Blind Gary Davis – When the train comes along (2.37) . Lou Donaldson – Gravy Train (8.14) . The Ethiopians – Train To Skaville (2.51) . Roosevelt Sykes – The Train Is Coming (2.49) . Josh White – Number 12 train (3.42) . Muddy Waters – Train Fare Home Blues (2.49) .


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