Friday, 25 March 2011

Top 5 Songs about Trains

My Sunday mornings have tended of late to take a pleasant yet predictable routine. Mrs Top5 gets up horribly early and heads out for a lengthy training session in preperation for the 26.2 mile MoonWalk in May. I eventually rouse myself and endeavour to get myself and the boys fed, showered and dressed before her return. Mrs Top5 has a brief stop to top up on fluids before taking the boys rowing leaving me to cook the roast and listen to Cerys Matthews on BBC 6music.

Cerys' show is a fabulous mix of music, poetry, recipes and chat. The perfect soundtrack to an easy Sunday morning. Last week the theme was trains and vibrophones. I didn't do too well on the vibrophone front but there are a lot of songs about trains. Inevitably I spent the week putting together a top five.

Here's a Spotify playlist with my full list of contenders

1. Locomotive Breath Jethro Tull - Tull at their early seventies peak. Locomotive Breath is ostensibly about someone mentally falling apart and the song features a driving rythm and Ian Anderson's trademark "breathy" flute to create the impression of a train wreck in progress.

2. Train from Kansas City The Shangri-Las - Sixties "bad-girl" pop group from Queen's in New Yawk most famous for The Leader Of The Pack. This is a less well known b-side that I first heard performed by Neko Case live at the Wedgewood Rooms last year.

3. Downtown Train Tom Waits - Trying hard to think of a better way of describing Tom Waits other than "gravel voiced". Failing. You may recognise the lyrics more than the tune due to it being a fairly massive hit for Rod Stewart. A number of other artists have also done versions but this is the gravel voiced original.

4. Late for the Train Buzzcocks - Closing track from the band's second album demonstrates the power of a good instrumental. It brilliantly conjures a vision of the dash to catch the last train. Not sure if this is an age thing but I'm finding I enjoy lyric-free music more and more. The next step may well be a subscription to Gramophone magazine and an emerging interest in the classics.

5. Slow Train Status Quo - It's rare I give in to my undying love of The Quo and let them feature in a top five. This may well be my favourite Quo song of all time. Certainly it would be a strong contender for my Desert Island Disks managing, as it does, to cram everything I love about Quo into one song. The trademark three chord riff, some grungy telecaster bursts from Parfitt, a twiddly bit from Rossi about half way through and a pogo-perfect time signature (with a couple of slow bits to get your breath back).



Kimberly said...

This list is great. Just stumbled on your site, and I love the concept of your blog! Hope you don't mind having a random follower. PS that Tom Waits song is awesome.

Chopper said...

Absolutely delighted to get a random follower. Thanks very much for the kind comments.