Train Playlist

Train Playlist

“Train Song”
Wendy Waldman

It’s got the rhythm of a train, just like “Midnight Rider” has got the rhythm of a galloping horse.

This is the opening cut from Wendy’s debut album “Love Has Got Me” which got a stellar review in “Rolling Stone,” which boosted her career.

They don’t make records like this anymore. Maybe because there’s no money to and anybody with a computer can upload their acoustic music and spam the public saying it’s great.

Wendy’s had a lot of covers, Robert Smith, yes, of the Cure, covered “Pirate Ships” from this LP.

And, of course, Maria Muldaur had her huge breakthrough hit with “Vaudeville Man.”

But as much as I like “Train Song,” I’d recommend you begin with the second side and “Old Time Love.” Which blends into “Vaudeville Man” and then my absolute favorite from the album, “Lee’s Traveling Song”:

Hitch a ride on a plane to California
My mind won’t let me be
Whoa, whoa, what will be my destiny

“Riding On A Railroad”
James Taylor

From “Mud Slide Slim,” the follow-up to “Sweet Baby James,” which contains the huge hit cover of Carole King’s “You’ve Got A Friend,” but I never cottoned to that.

There were three tracks I loved on this LP, and when CD players arrived in the eighties I’d program them and put them on endless repeat.

The above, “Machine Gun Kelly” and…

“You Can Close Your Eyes.”

Funny how decades later album tracks that were the best but did not get mainstream traction are acknowledged for their greatness. Like the Beach Boys’ “Til I Die.”

And James Taylor’s “You Can Close Your Eyes.”

“Hitchcock Railway”
Joe Cocker

From the second album, with “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window,” “Delta Lady,” “Something” and “Dear Landlord.”

I’d say it’s a crime that Joe Cocker is not in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, but that institution has lost all credibility.

You probably don’t know this, you should!

“The Panama Limited”
Tom Rush

From Tom’s 1965 album, when many boomers were enamored of the Beatles and were unaware of the coffee house folk/blues music that had started on college campuses and had flourished amongst those just a bit older.

The original song is by Bukka White, but Tom Rush popularized it along with songs by James Taylor, Joni Mitchell and Jackson Browne.

Seek out and go to a Tom Rush show, he performs “The Panama Limited” just as well as he ever did, it’s a treat.

“Train Ride”
Rhino Bucket

The right band at the wrong time.

1990 was the year of Mariah Carey, pop was making a comeback, MTV was steering away from the hair bands to pop and rap. And this music was not rare back then, but it is now.

Then again, some of the lyrics wouldn’t work in the #MeToo era. Like the opening cut, “One Night Stand.”

If this is your sound, and it appeals to many, you’re gonna dig this.

If it was released today this album would be a smash. It seems like this formula has been lost, pull it up and listen to the first four tracks, “One Night Stand,” “Beg For Your Love,” “Train Ride” and “Going Down Tonight.”

“Can’t You See”
The Marshall Tucker Band

Seems like more people remember “Heard It In A Love Song,” but this cut, the second from their debut, was their absolute best. Back when songs were long, went through movements.

Toy Caldwell passed over a quarter century ago, but he’s an unheralded writer/player/singer, truly great.

“Two Trains”
Little Feat

From “Dixie Chicken,” the title track of which seems to be the only cut which has survived. Even Bonnie Raitt’s cover of “Fool Yourself” seems to have been forgotten.

This is Lowell George’s pinnacle, and when it didn’t instantly go gold, it seems like he got further into drugs and…he slowly retreated from his own band, at least in terms of songwriting.

Yes, Billy Payne turned out to be an all-star, but Lowell George was a member of the pantheon, a god.

There are his vocals, so mellifluous, and he never oversang.

And his slide…

And his ability to fade into the woodwork yet not be forgotten. He added subtleties to so many of your favorite records.

Start with the totally forgotten “Juliette.” You need know manual, no key to get into it, to understand it.

Then “Fool Yourself.”

Then go to “Roll Um Easy,” of which J.D. Souther does a great cover.

And, of course, “Fat Man In The Bathtub.”

And finally the definitive take of Allen Toussaint’s “On Your Way Down.” This is not made for a party, to bump your asses, it’s to be played long after dark, maybe in darkness, maybe when you’re alone.

And, remember:

The same dudes you misuse on your way up
You might meet up on your way down

“It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry”
“Super Session”

From the second side, with the legendary eleven minute cover of Donovan’s “Season Of The Witch.”

A completely different version than the Dylan original, all the focus is on Mike Bloomfield’s contribution to this album, but Stephen Stills holds his own, but somehow he’s been labeled difficult and doesn’t get his due.

“Downbound Train”
Bruce Springsteen

My favorite cut on “Born In The U.S.A,” it was never a single and no one ever talks about it, but it evidences a feeling, of losing, of being a cog in the system, of believing the game is rigged against you.

“The City of New Orleans”
Arlo Guthrie

Does anybody remember this was written by Steve Goodman? Does anybody remember Steve Goodman?

“Night Train”
Steve Winwood

Right smack dab in the middle of side two of “Arc Of A Diver,” an album that sold prodigiously, but at this late date people only seem to talk about the hit, “While You See A Chance,” maybe “Spanish Dancer,” but this is the essence for me, genius, I never burn out on it, I listen to it on a regular basis.

This is another cut that’s got the rhythm of a chugging train. And it feature’s Winwood’s stellar guitar playing (go see him and hear him perform “Dear Mr. Fantasy”) as well as his keyboard and vocal chops.

“Trans-Europe Express”

“Autobahn” was seen as a novelty. Little did the hoi polloi know Kraftwerk would end up the most influential act in electronic music.

Now if you lived in L.A., you ultimately heard “Pocket Calculator” on KROQ, from the act’s best album, 1981’s “Computer World” (talk about being ahead of your time). But the essence of that album is not “Pocket Calculator,” seen as a novelty itself, but “Computer Love.”

Kraftwerk ran out of gas. Only one original member is still in the act. It seems just when people were waking up to the influence of Kraftwerk, they lost the inspiration and stopped making new music.

“Trans-Europe Express” sounds like you’re on the train, in the middle of the night, wide awake, watching the cities go by.

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