Monday, 16 February 2009

Rockin' Song of the Week - Number 40

John D Loudermilk -Blue Train (On A Heartbreak Track) RCA 47-8308
Never one of your run-of-the-mill artists, John D. Loudermilk was one of the most prolific and creative songwriters in country music history. The son of white collar, illiterate parents he was encouraged by them to pursue his education, but music was never far from his mind. He was a local radio attraction throughout his school years, eventually being heard on the radio performing his own composition A Rose And A Baby Ruth, which wound up with George Hamilton IV, giving him a number one record. JD landed a deal with Colonial Records and his first single for them, Sittin' In The Balcony got covered by Eddie Cochran who took it into the charts. Over the years, further releases followed on Colonial, Dot, Columbia and RCA but it was as a writer that he achieved his biggest successes, among them Talk Back Trembling Lips, Waterloo, Tobacco Road and Ebony Eyes. As a singer, JD has an engaging, easy-on-the-ear sound that was prefect for his country/rock 'òn' roll songs.

Blue Train was cut at the RCA Studios in Nashville on 17th April 1961 (ironically, on the first anniversary of Eddie Cochran's death) under the expert production and engineering of Chet Atkins and Bill Porter respectively. Charlie McCoy's train whistle harmonica commences proceedings before the band kick in with a tight acoustic rhythm. Future Jerry lee Lewis drummer Jimmy Isbell and bass from either Henry Strzelecki or Roy Huskey maintain the train rhythm. The backing vocals from Anita Kerr, Norro Wilson and the usual crew aid a fine element to the song, and the whole thing is a blast. As with virtually everything he released it failed to register on the charts but it did see an extended shelf-life thanks to be part of the excellent Language Of Love album late in '61. Even if the folks back home weren't excited enough to buy the single in droves, the South Africans made it a hit thanks to it being linked to the famed railroad line between Johannesburg and Capetown, die Blou Trein (Blue Train). So why didn't the people of Wales make Railroad Bills' Aberystwyth Sprinter a hit?
Recommended downloads: Angela Jones, Jimmie's Song, Th' Wife, the Big O sounding Language of Love and the Jack Scott style ballad What Would You Take For Me.

No comments: