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Train a Comin'
List Price: $7.98

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Product Description

Steve Earle's first record after emerging from artistic struggles, prison, and addiction, 1995's Train A-Comin' finds an artist starting from scratch and returning to the very basics of his musical vision. The low-key, charming, all-acoustic support comes from veterans Peter Rowan, Norman Blake, and Roy Huskey, while Earle's original material dates as far back as 1974--he wrote "Mercenary Song," he notes, while still working at Ciraco's Pizza. The mix of covers--Beatles, Townes Van Zandt, and the "Jamaican hillbilly" of "Rivers of Babylon" (with Emmylou Harris chiming in)--proves he had one primary listener in mind: himself. With no expectations thrust upon him, no labels involved, and very few at the time bothering to listen, Earle mined a raw gem. --Marc Greilsamer

Customer Reviews:

  • Something's Missing

    Although I knew this was an acoustic album, I was still not prepared for how different Steve Earle sounds with a whole album in this setting. Just acoustic guitar, acoustic bass, fiddle, some banjo. No drums at all.

    This arrangement works better on some songs than others. "Goodbye", "Ben McCulloch", and "Tecumseh" are songs of astonishing lyrical and melodic beauty. The spare arrangement really lets the songs shine and they are among the finest in Mr. Earle's catalogue. However, there are others - such as "Mystery Train Part II" and "Tom Ames' Prayer" - that sound constrained by this approach. These are songs aching for the full throttle attack of a plugged in band.

    There's a couple of covers. "I'm Looking Through You" won't make you forget the Beatles' original, but it's a nice understated version. "Rivers Of Babylon" doesn't work, it just doesn't sound like the enthusiasm is there.

    If you're looking for a "typical" Earle album, this is not a first choice. If you're familiar with and enjoy his work, just be sure to expect an all acoustic outing and give it at least a few listens before you pass judgement. The best songs are great and most of the remaining material is at least very good. I think if he had used a full band on a few tracks the overall results would have been even better....more info
  • Best of the Best
    One of my fav Earle albums, recorded during the heavy drug phase of his carrier. A great singer song writer by todays or yesterdays standards to be sure. Steve Earle is one of the last true great american artists still putting out records and touring. Get it and you wont be dissapointed....more info
  • Keep it in the limelight
    I realize I'm just 14 years late in reviewing this one of a kind CD. Other CD's I was buying on Amazon kept bringing this one to the "people who bought this also bought..." comment. Knock on my door enough times, I'll finally open it for you. So I just discovered Steve Earle and this recording. It reminds me of several musicians. One being Guy Clark whom he praises in the liner notes.
    Simply put, a great singer/song writer, and guitar picker. It's never too late to discover music. ...more info
  • Essential Earle
    I am a rockn grandma whose favorite songwriter/singer is Steve Earl. This is my 3 year old grandson's favorite CD. He likes to get on the dining room table to sing and dance to Steve. The boy is aquiring a sophisticated musical ear so he will never be seduced by musical pablum. ...more info
  • hear them tracks a' hummin'
    "Train a' Comin'" is the type of album that, after you listen to it, you're just left going, "Wow!" and although there are some super-catchy songs (most notably "Sometimes She Forgets,") it really takes a few listens to really completely love this record, or to at least fully appreciate it.
    Pretty much everyone I've played this for has the same reaction--it changed them. I've learned more about songwriting from listening to this album than from any other record in my collection, save for my Townes Van Zandt and Hank Williams albums. Speaking of Townes, I often wonder what he thought of Steve's efforts, particularly this record. For those who don't know, Steve was Townes' protege back in the '70s when Mr. Earle was just a skinny kid bumming around Austin and later Nashville, tugging at the coattails of the likes of Townes, Jerry Jeff and Guy Clark. Of course, since Steve learned songwriting at the foot of the greatest songwriter who ever lived, it's easy to see why he became such a fantastic and important songwriter. Steve covers Townes' masterful "Tecumseh Valley" in such a heartfelt way that it comes close to making me favor it over the version on Townes' "Our Mother the Mountain," but I did write "almost."
    If you have the properly sequenced version of this album (the one that begins with "Mystery Train No. II,") then you are in for a heck of a ride that does not stop in its amazing quality. Many of these songs, like "Mercernary Song" and "Tom Ames' Prayer" date back to Steve's early days of songwriting, and it is astonishing to me how he wrote such lyrics at such a young age, but then again, he was hanging out with Townes, so I guess that explains it.
    Truly one of the most touching recordings you'll ever hear. Take my word for it.
    From one Texas songwriter to another: Steve Earle, my friend, your work never ceases to amaze or inspire me.
    -chris edwards...more info
  • One of the greatest albums of all time
    I have to agree with B. Morris. He (or she?) is not exaggerating and neither am I - this is one of the greatest albums ever made. I would put it into my top 20 or even top 10. No matter how many times I listen to it, I never seem to get sick of it. This is timeless, simple, honest roots music. "Mercenary Song" is an absolute gem. It's such an uplifting's like a breath of fresh if an exclamation mark is at the end of every line. Just when the world thought Mr. Earle was finished, he gives us this. Talk about a come back...
    ...more info
  • good stuff
    I bought this album just before I went to Alaska in 1995 to cook on a seafood processor. Of the hundred or so cd's I took with me that season, this got, along with 'Cover Girl' by Shawn Colvin and 'Where'd You Hide the Body', by James McMurtry, about 90% of the play time. I just think it's great stuff and one of the treasures of my modest collection. 'I'm Nothin' Without You', with Emmylow Harris, steals the show for me...'she shared a cheesburger with me and I haven't been the same since'... ...more info