Regular readers know that I listen to a lot of folk music, and by folk music I don’t just mean the “folk music scare” material popularized in the 1960s but a broad selection of folk music from around the world, including the various delightful musical forms that came out of the American south – Cajun and zydeco, blues, soul, conjunto, bluegrass, old time country and so on. I decided to run a train song of the day in this space because the train is at the heart of so much Americana. As I started posting them, I realized that for each one I posted, I thought of a couple more, and finally I decided to count down a final 50.
Of course, as I compiled my list, I realized that the train song touches on several musical genres, and not just Americana. For instance, there’s the Portuguese party tune Apita O Comboio (The Whistle of the Train), which I think I’ve heard at every Portuguese social event I’ve attended.
That tune is a lot of fun to play on the button accordion as well.
It might be interesting to trace the train song through pop music as too (although I suspect there are loads more car songs in pop music than train songs). I just posted a Warren Zevon tune the other day as some of you will recall. Yesterday, I received a train song of the day request from my friend Tim in sunny Ottawa. We’re talking about a pop tune from the 80s here, an area about which I know very very little. When friends reference their favourite pop tunes from that era, they seem bewildered when, as often as not, I have no idea what they’re talking about. I’m told there was good music produced in the pop world back then. Where was I?
So, by request (thanks Tim!), here is train song #37, Chris de Burgh performing Spanish Train…