Song of the Week – Lonesome Train, The Pirates

Ignored            Obscured             Restored

In 1960, Johnny Kidd & The Pirates scored a #1 hit on the UK singles chart with their original version of “Shakin’ All Over.”  It’s an exceptional tune that you probably know from one of the many covers.  Perhaps The Guess Who’s version from 1965 that reached #1 in Canada, or The Who’s track from Live at Leeds (1970).

Kidd died in 1966, but his band lived on with many personnel changes.  But only one was given Kidd’s blessing to use the Pirates name and rcord under it.  That group consisted of guitarist Mick Green, vocalist and bass player Johnny Spence and drummer Frank Farley.  (This was not the band that recorded “Shakin’ All Over.”)

This final collection of bandmates were a powerful trio of rock and roll musicians.  Energy oozes from them like hot lava from a volcano.  After a 10 year hiatus, the band reformed in 1976 at the behest of fan and Dr. Feelgood guitarist, Wilco Johnson.

The released an album in 1977 called Out of Their Skulls.  It was half live from a concert at Nashville Lives in  London, and half in the studio.  I favor the live side because it captures their energy, and the audience reaction, so well.  Today’s SotW is ”Lonesome Train” from the live side.

“Lonesome Train” was originally recorded in 1956 by rockabilly band Johnny Burnette and the Rock ‘n Roll Trio – they of “Train Kept A’Rollin’” fame.  This version by The Pirates snarls with attitude and chugs along at a ferocious pace thet befits the song title.  Green’s guitar work is fantastic.  He’s credited for his ability to play rhythm and lead simultaneously.

Green’s reputation as a musician led to gigs with Bryan Ferry, Paul MCartney, Robert Plant, and Van Morrison.  Green died in 2010.

Enjoy… until next week.

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