Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Rockin' Song of the Week - Number 34

Railroad Bill and the Boxcar Stompers - Aberystwyth Sprinter
Railroad Bill and the Boxcar Stompers are legends of the Aberystwyth pub scene. They played all the bars in town during the mid to late 80's when they were students here. It used to be great to be able to pop out for a few beers and listen to some live skiffle. With the usual array of skiffle instruments, washboard, tea chest bass, guitar and mandolin they sounded rough and loose, just like skiffle should. Highlights of the live show used to be Jesse James and Mama Don't Allow, which allowed everyone to take a solo for the encouraging crowd. They released a casette during this period, which I've still got somewhere. I can't remember what it was called but I remember the inlay was cheap and cheerful and brown. The star of the album was the self written classic, Aberystwyth Sprinter, a heartfelt tribute to the only train that runs into Aberystwyth - it still is! Known near and far as the Sprinter it was a sprinter in the same sense that Eddie The Eagle was an Olympic ski-jumper. I think they got to perform it on Radio 1 when the Roadshow came to town. It was probably the last skiffle song played on Radio 1. "I don't know the Welsh for piston, I don't know the Welsh for train, but I do know that I would like to come back here again, tourists come in summer, students come in winter, but everybody comes here on the Aberystwyth Sprinter". Classic. The last time I saw them was at a brilliant night at the King's Hotel in Newport, where the line-up also included the Rimshots (no mean skifflers themselves) and skiffle king, Lonnie Donnegan. It seems like Railroad Bill still play the occasional gig, I look forward to them coming back to Aber.

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