“A” Train – Southern Star Records

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aTrain-backThe A Train band was a complete gamble when I picked it up. I liked the instruments in the band and the photos of the members were intriguing. It was also interesting that Larry Nix at Ardent Records mastered the record.

It turns out that A Train was a regional band from Louisiana in the 70’s – 80’s and had a very active following. This release was on Southern Star records. The band on this release included:

Buddy Flett, Guitar and Vocals
Bruce Flett, Bass
John Howe, Alto Tenor Sax, Flute, Lead Vocals
Chris McCaa, Piano, Moog
Michael Johnson, Congos and Percussion
Alan Toorain, Drums
Joe Spivey, Fiddle

There are a lot of songs about love lost and a few found. This record would make Michael McDonald and Coco proud. The two bookending instrumental tracks are the highlights of the album.

Here is a news reel from 1980 or 1981 highlighting A Train.

 

My Take On the Album Tracks

Time Stops: An smooth instrumental jam, that features a steady bass line and a few mini guitar, keyboard and sax solos. It sounds like an elevator ride in Boogie Nights to me.

Trip on Your Lip: Very 70’s lounge sounding, smooth vocals backed by bongos.

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Baby Please: Kicks off with a ripping sax solo and transitions to a yacht rock vocal. Just Ok to me, but a Big in Japan.

When I Call Your Name: Soft jazz, with lyrics in the same vein as Terry Jacks and Harry Chapin, a great song to watch the sun reflect off of crystal water and reflect on the past.

Lyric highlight: “You are better off without me, cause I live in a jungle and its getting pretty wild”

I Don’t Want to Lose You: It has a nice little guitar then synthed out organ breakdown at 2:30.

When Did You Lose Your Love for Me: An upbeat song of lost love, belted out by John Howe. It features some nice jazz guitar work, filled in with bongo riffs.

Color of Your Hair: A song of love found, oh wait… now it is lost again.

Lyric highlight: “The color of your hair is all the gold I’ll need.” Enter soft piano solo.

Puerto Rican Hotel: Nice keyboard and percussion intro, you can hear a sample in this one. Builds slow and smooth. In my opinion, this song is the best effort on the album. It is all instrumental and the keyboard solo at the 4:30 mark is worth the wait.

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