ALL ABOARD! 25 TRAIN TRACKS CALLING AT ALL MUSICAL STATIONS.

ALL ABOARD! 25 TRAIN TRACKS CALLING AT ALL MUSICAL STATIONS.

Nowadays, most compilations seem to be genre specific. They feature only soul, funky, jazz, psychedelia, pop or rock. Some compilations go even further, and focus on a sub genre of music. 

That’s because nowadays, many people seem to gravitate to one genre of music. It can be anything from Philly Soul to fusion and jazz funk to Acid House, to dancehall, dub and Northern Soul. Often, compilers of sub genre compilations take things even further, focusing on a label or period time. These compilations are compiled for labels by enthusiastic and knowledgeable people, and include some fantastic music. 

One label who have been doing this for nearly forty years are Ace Records. During that period, they’ve released countless compilations. Many of these compilations are genre specific. Not all though.

Other compilations can only be described as eclectic. Some have a theme. That’s the case with Ace Records forthcoming compilation, All Aboard! 25 Train Tracks Calling At All Musical Stations. This twenty-five track is described as: “25 tracks with a train theme or rhythm from across the musical spectrum.” There’s everything from blues, funk, gospel, jazz, pop, psychedelia, R&B, reggae and soul on All Aboard! 25 Train Tracks Calling At All Musical Stations. Everyone from Rufus Thomas, Peggy Lee, Dusty Springfield, James Carr, The Shangri-Las, Chuck Berry, Luther Ingram, Neil Sedaka, Little Walter and The Ethiopians feature on All Aboard! 25 Train Tracks Calling At All Musical Stations. It’s been compiled by Vicki Fox, and will be released on Ace Records on 28th August 2015. For anyone who likes their music eclectic, this is a musical journey not to be missed. Here’s why. 

The opening track on any compilation is always the most important. Compiler Vicki Fox realises this, and chose Harold Jackson and The Jackson Brothers’ The Freedom Riders. It’s a truly poignant track, one that’s named after a brave group of people, The Freedom Riders. They protested against segregation on the American railroads and buses. By ignoring the strict rules on segregation, they risked being thrown off buses or railroads. On occasions, they were badly beaten. So, in 1961, jazz pianist Harold Jackson and Dimples Jackson penned Freedom Riders. It was released on Edsel in June 1961, and is a  poignant, dramatic reminder of a brave group  of civil rights activists who fought for what many take for granted, equality.

Mention blues harmonica players, and most people think of Little Walter, Otis Rush, Big Walter Horton, Jimmy Reed and Sonny Boy Williamson. Not many people will mention Cyril Davies. That’s unless they frequented the London R&B scene in the early sixties. Back then, Cyril Davies and His Rhythm and Blues All Stars were a familiar face. They released Country Line Special in 1963, on Pye International. This Cyril Davies penned track was part of Pye Internationl’s R&B series. Country Line Special also featured on The E.P. The Sound Of Cyril Davies, which showed that a British blues man could play the blues harp.

Peggy Lee wasn’t just a singer. She was songwriter and actress, and enjoyed a long and successful career. In 1943, Peggy Lee collaborated with Dave Barbour and His Orchestra on It Takes A Long Long Train With A Red Caboose (To Carry My Blues Away). It’s a swinging slice of jazzy blues, delivered in Peggy Lee’s unmistakable style.

In 1965, Dusty Springfield was one of music’s rising stars. She was signed to Phillips in Britain, and was about release her sophomore album, Everything’s Coming Up Dusty. It featured Won’t Be Gone Long, which was originally covered by Aretha Franklin. Aided and abetted by Doris Troy and Medeline Bell on backing vocals, Dusty delivers a vocal that’s a mixture enthusiasm, anticipation and joy. 

It’s no exaggeration to call James Carr one of the greatest Southern Soul singers ever. His career started in 1964, at Goldwax Records. That’s where he released the best music of his career, including his 1968 single Freedom Train. This is two minutes of joyous, hook laden music with a message. It’s vintage James Carr, and features him at his very best. Sadly, James Carr’s time at the top didn’t last long. By the early seventies, James was drifting between record companies. Soon, releases became infrequent. Eventually, James Carr became one of soul music’s forgotten men. He was almost penniless, and still suffering from mental health problems. However, there was a resurgence in interest in his music in the late nineties. A new generation discovered the music of the greatest Southern Soul singers ever. Freedom Train is a tantalising taste of James Carr at his very best.

Success came quickly to The Shangri-Las. They were formed in 1963, and in 1964, released their classic single Leader Of The Pack. It gave The Shangri-Las commercial success on both sides of the Atlantic. In 1965, The Shangri-Las covered Jeff Berry and Ellie Greenwich’s The Train From Kansas City. It was produced by Shadow Morton, and released on Red Bird. The Train From Kansas City brings with it a problem. A boyfriend is heading home, only to find that his girlfriend is engaged to another. This musical soap opera comes to life thanks to The Shangri-Las and Shadow Morton.

Chuck Berry first came to the attention of record buyers in the 1955. Sixty years later, and he’s still going strong. Now aged eighty-eight, he’s regarded as one of the founding fathers of rock ’n’ roll. He penned The Downbound Train, which was the flip side of his 1956 single No Money Down. It reached number eight in the US R&B charts, and featured on his After School Session album. The Downbound Train sees Chuck painting pictures of his worst nightmare, while his Combo create a blistering rockabilly beat. It’s a captivating track a musical legend.

Although Luther Ingram had been releasing singles since the mid-sixties, commercial success had eluded him. Then in 1971, he cowrote Respect Yourself for The Staple Singers. This was a game-changer. Two years later, in 1972, Luther enjoyed the biggest hit of his career with a cover of (If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don’t Want To Be Right. However, the year before, 1971, Luther released I’ll Love You Until The End as a single on the Koko label. It wasn’t a commercial success. Tucked on the B-Side was Ghetto Train. It’s an anthemic, soulful stomper, that deserves to be heard by a wider audience.

It always pays to check the B-Side of a single. There’s always the possibility that a hidden gem may be hidden away. That’s what happened when people flipped over Neil Sedaka’s 1959 single Oh Carol. It was released on RCA Victor. Tucked away on the B-Side was One Way Ticket (To The Blues). Since then, it’s been mistakenly regarded as one of Neil Sedaka’s hit singles. While that may not be the case, it’s one of his best songs.

“Get onboard the Psychedelic Train” is the opening line of Derrick Harriott and The Chosen Few’s 1970 single. It was penned and produced by Derrick, and is a fusion of funk and reggae with a psychedelic twist.

Sharon Tandy’s Hurry Hurry Choo Choo is without doubt, one of the most sassy and soulful songs on All Aboard! 25 Train Tracks Calling At All Musical Stations. Incredibly, Hurry Hurry Choo Choo was relegated to the B-Side of Sharon’s 1968 Atlantic single Love Is Not A Simple Affair. Thankfully, it’s given an airing on All Aboard! 25 Train Tracks Calling At All Musical Stations, and for that, we should be truly grateful.

Up The Line shows just why Little Walter is regarded as one of the best blues harp players ever. Little Walter unleashes a blistering solo midway through the track. Accompanied by a crack band of bluesmen, Up The Line is Little Walter at his best. It was released as a single in 1963. By then, Little Walter was signed to Checker, an imprint of Chess Records, which was home to some of the giants of blues music. This included the man they called, Little Walter.

Lou Adler discovered Caroline Day, and had high hopes for her. However, Caroline Day only ever released one single. That was Teenage Prayer. On the flip side was Steam. It was written by William Powell and produced by Charles Wright. Sadly, Teenage Prayer passed record buyers by. That’s despite the Wrecking Crew providing the musical backdrop, and Darlene Love and The Blossoms adding harmonies. 

A year after releasing their debut single, The Ethiopians released a single that would become a rocksteady classic. That’s Train To Skaville. It was released in Jamaica on the WIRL label in 1967. In Britain, Train To Skaville was released on the Rio label. Since then, Train To Skaville has come to be regarded not just as a rocksteady classic, but a reggae classic.

While the opening track of a compilation is the most important track, the closing track comes a close second. Vicki Fox, the compiler of All Aboard! 25 Train Tracks Calling At All Musical Stations has chosen Daddy Long Legs’ Death Train Blues. It’s a blistering slice slice of bluesy New York garage from the Daddy Long Legs’ sophomore album, Evil Eye On You. It was released in 2012, and is bed described as three minutes of raw power from the New York based trio. This proves the perfect way to close All Aboard! 25 Train Tracks Calling At All Musical Stations, as it leaves the listener wanting more.

As compilations go, All Aboard! 25 Train Tracks Calling At All Musical Stations is one of the best of 2015, and one of the most eclectic. There’s everything from blues, funk, garage rock, gospel, jazz, pop, psychedelia, R&B, reggae and soul on All Aboard! 25 Train Tracks Calling At All Musical Stations. It’s a mixture of familiar faces, classics and hidden gems from Peggy Lee, Dusty Springfield, James Carr, The Shangri-Las, Chuck Berry, Luther Ingram, Neil Sedaka, Little Walter and The Ethiopians. They’re just a few of the names on All Aboard! 25 Train Tracks Calling At All Musical Stations.

I could just as easily have mentioned tracks from Rufus Thomas, Cliff Carlisle, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Bobby Wayne and James Brown and The Famous Flames. That shows the sheer quality of All Aboard! 25 Train Tracks Calling At All Musical Stations. This truly eclectic compilation that will be released by Ace Records on 28th August 2015, and will be appreciated by anyone with eclectic tastes in music. 

Compiler Vicki Fox certainly has eclectic taste in music. On All Aboard! 25 Train Tracks Calling At All Musical Stations Vicki Fox takes the listener on a musical journey full of twists, turns and surprises aplenty. Seamlessly, All Aboard! 25 Train Tracks Calling At All Musical Stations flits between musical genres, taking the listener on a musical journey they’ll want to take time and time again.

ALL ABOARD! 25 TRAIN TRACKS CALLING AT ALL MUSICAL STATIONS.

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