Probably the coolest job I ever held was working in a used book store while a teen-ager. The job didn't pay worth beans but I was and still am a bibliophile and thus was in heaven. You meet a few characters in such stores, but the most striking I ever came across were the trainophiles. They issued, of course, from the nearby aerospace outfit, Northrop Aircraft (where I'd later spend a tempestuous quarter century), and of course it made perfect sense that engineers would be attracted to engineers. Those cats were hard-core and hunted down train books like the fanatics they were, and I've always admired that kind of single-pointedness.
The Electric Trains are now extending their own monophilia in Put the Track Back, a track by track love affair with the iron horses that still exert such a powerful fascination for a significant percentage of the American public (which is why, dear reader, you feel that thrill of elemental righteousness when spying a juggernaut steam engine in a Sergio Leone spaghetti western). Every song here is a paean to the Pullmans, porters, and passenger marvels that represented freedom and exploration in the U.S. saga. Naturally, expect Dylan's It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry and Petty's Running Down a Dream as well as the hallowed traditonal Good Mornin', Mr. Railroad Man.
But the main of the CD is a very cool down-on-the-tracks collection of tunes composed by The Electric Trains themselves, including a song that should one day find it's way to companioning Ghost Riders in the Sky: their own Ghost Train. The group is a threesome, contemporary lads to boot—well, not exactly spring chickens—but, holy Jehosaphat!, does it ever sound like the members just came off the stage at Grand Old Opry on Workingman's Git-Down Night. And when I say "git down", I'm not referring to jigs and reels but the fact that there's dust, grit, and an honest elementality to their music. A far as I can determine, this is their debut disc, but it speaks of years of playing together and the sort of urbanely striking fare you'd look forward to seeing roll into town.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
Website design by David N. Pyles