My fascination with trains goes back to my childhood in the Fifties. My grandfather had worked for the railroad for a while and often talked to me about trains. The electric train set that my parents got me for Christmas in 1957 became a yearly tradition as the layout was set up around the Christmas tree. Each year my parents added new trains and accessories to that layout. If there had been enough room in our house, I would have loved to have kept my trains in operation throughout the year. I loved trains then and I remain transfixed by trains.
|Postcard of the "New Olympian" passenger train. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
When the metaphorical motto about "getting on the Trump train" came into use, it was something that I easily related to. The campaign was a wild ride, but a well organized ride with more people getting on board at each station stop. With the inauguration before us at the end of this week the real train ride begins. There's still time for more of us to get on board. I'm hoping for a pleasant ride over the next four years. I'm sure the opposition will continue to try to obstruct the progress of the journey, but this is a powerful train that is not likely to be easily deterred.
Still, many of you are not ready or at all interested on hoping aboard the Trump Train. So let's forget about that train for a while and ride a different train to a different place. Let's take the A Train down to Harlem...
Battle of the Bands
Battle of the Bands is the blogging event started by Far Away Series and now hosted by StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands. This event happens twice each month on the 1st and 15th. The premise is simple: Listen to the songs presented below and then in the comments vote for your favorite and tell us why you liked it. Then visit the links listed near the bottom of this post for more Battle action.
Take the A Train
This is one of the signature tunes of the Duke Ellington Orchestra. "Take the A Train" was composed by Billy Strayhorn and Duke's son Mercer Ellington in order to circumvent high ASCAP broadcasting royalty fees. The title is a reference to taking the new A train rather than the D train as the best way get to Harlem and Sugar Hill from Brooklyn. A popular account says that the title was inspired by instructions that Duke gave to Strayhorn in order to get to his house.
Strayhorn claimed to have written lyrics for the song, but the first recorded vocal version had lyrics composed by (or for) The Delta Rhythm Boys, whose version I'm using as the first offering in my second Band Battle of 2017. For reference purposes, I've offered for your listening pleasure a 1943 version of Duke Ellington and his Orchestra performing the song in the film Reveille with Beverly.
Don't Vote on this version, please!!! For reference only...
Here are the versions to vote on...
The Delta Rhythm Boys "Take the A Train" (1942?)
I love this video! This version of "A Train" is a step back in time. Great harmonies done with style, "The A Train" doesn't get much better than this. Seeing as I can't hop on a time machine I'm happy to let this video take me back These guys are the real deal. What do you think?
Chicago "Take the A Train" (1995)
On Night and Day, their acclaimed album collection of big band standards, Chicago reached back into the past with updated recordings of classic jazz tunes. Chicago pays tribute to the big band sound while pushing into the realm of psychedelia as it goes into territory the "A Train" never went before. See if you think this is as cool as I think it is.
Time To Vote!
The song versions in this Battle were recorded over 50 years apart providing very different musical takes on the same song. Which version do you like the best?
Please vote on your favorite by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the version you chose. Then after you've finished here, please visit the other blogs listed below who may or may not be participating this time around. And if you've put up your own BOTB contest let us know that as well so we can vote on yours.
Here are some other places where you might find BOTB posts:
StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands
‘YOUR DAILY DOSE’
'Curious as a Cathy'
Sound of One Hand Typing
The Doglady's Den
Cherdo on the Flipside
Jingle, Jangle, Jungle
J. A. Scott
Winner Announced on Monday January 23rd
There will be another couple of posts in my President Trump Acclimation Series in the upcoming week. They will continue to be harsh as have been the preceding two entries, though those posts generated some excellent discussion. My wish is not to condemn anyone or any group, but to inform and raise what I think are some important points that are often ignored by most people. Then on January 23rd it will be back to my more important concern, Battle of the Bands. At that time we'll see what you readers have opined about the two song versions to be voted on in the above post. Please vote!
Do you like trains? Have you ever taken a train trip or do you commute via train? Would you like to see a resurgence in affordable efficient passenger train travel?