Friday, September 20, 2013


It's a song you've no doubt heard more than a few times. "Train Kept A-Rollin'" has been covered by everybody; Johnny Burnette and his Rock 'n' Roll Trio, Scotty McKay, Screaming Lord Sutch, the Yardbirds, Aerosmith, and your mother. A lot of people assume that Burnette's was the original, because it is the most celebrated, due in no small part to the early use of fuzz. But the original was done by Tiny Bradshaw, and it doesn't get mentioned often, so what the hell.

Jeff Beck attempts the Burlison method

Speaking of fuzz, the fuzz on Burnette's version that is, it's the subject of wide debate by Train Kept A-holics. One story has that it was the accidental result of a loose tube in the amp of Burnette's guitarist Paul Burlison. Another version credits studio guitarist Grady Martin, who was an early fuzzianado. You can read a long debate in this post, including comments from Burlison's son. One last thing before you go: It just occurred to me that the footage in the Michelangelo Antonioni film Blow Up (above), featuring the Yardbirds playing the song in a club, may be paying homage to the Burlison version of the story, with Jeff Beck banging the shit of his amp when it starts shorting out. Remote possibility, I know, but I like the Burlison version too much not to throw that out there. 

Tiny Bradshaw - Train Kept A-Rollin' mp3 (via DivShare*) at On The Flip-Side
Johnny Burnette and  the Rock 'n' Roll Trio - Train Kept A-Rollin' mp3 at Beware of the Blog
Scotty McKay - Train Kept A-Rollin mp3 at Beware of the Blog
The Yardbirds - Train Kept A-Rollin' mp3 (via DivShare*) at On The Flip-Side
Screaming Lord Sutch - Train Kept A-Rollin' mp3 (via DivShare*) at On The Flip-Side
*Once you get to DivShare, click on the green Download" button, and scratch your head for fifteen seconds. When the button reappears, you're good to go.


snakeboy said...

One thing for sure when you listen to the Tiny Bradshaw version; That woman must have been fine...

AEC said...

Jeff Beck bangs his guitar because the director originally wanted the Who. When he had to settle for the Yardbirds, he had Beck do a minor Towshend impression.