Liner Note Author: Vicki Fox.
There've been plenty of songs about cars, several songs about planes, and a fair share about trucks, but perhaps the vehicles that inspire the most tunes are trains. Certainly, Ace's 2015 compilation All Aboard! 25 Train Tracks Calling at All Musical Stations suggests as much, containing 25 train-besotted tracks from every style of popular song. The earliest song here is Cliff Carlisle's blues "Pan American Man," dating all the way back to 1937 when trains were still a major mode of transportation in the U.S., and the latest comes from 2012, when Norton Records' Daddy Long Legs delve into the frenzied raunch of "Death Train Blues." Mostly, these cuts date from the '60s and contain a blend of tight, funky soul and R&B, ska, and reggae, plus a bit of rock & roll and the odd pop tune. In the case of Neil Sedaka's "One Way Ticket (To the Blues)," it's truly odd -- his smiling delivery creates eerie cognitive dissonance with the minor-key melody -- but usually this either runs to a cool groove like Sharon Tandy's "Hurry Hurry Choo Choo," tight Southern vamps, or train-track rhythms reminiscent of Johnny Cash. It's a fun cross-section of the sounds and iconic railway imagery that fueled mid-century Americana (with just a hint of Jamaica). ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine