How The Train Song Changed The Face Of Popular MusicTrainKeptARollinFrontCover-72

By Spencer Vignes

* Published: October 2016
* Paperback and Kindle
* ISBN: 9780993212093
* 208 pages
* Includes two 8 page plates sections
* Price: £14.99


  • “A rattling good read” ASLEF Journal
  • “An engaging and enlightening read” R2 Magazine
  • “Will be prized as a valuable resource long after your first read” RAM Magazine

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Journey To The Heart Of The Train Song

For almost 200 years, people have been writing and performing songs – thousands of them – about trains. Tune your radio to any station playing country, blues, jazz, soul, folk or rock‘n’roll and it won’t be long before a train makes its way through the lyrics or tempo of a song. Gone on, try it. You’ll be surprised. Or maybe you won’t.

The Train Kept A-Rollin’: How The Train Song Changed The Face Of Popular Music is the story of how many of those songs came to be and what it is, or perhaps was, about the railways that seduced generations of singers, songwriters and musicians from Birmingham, England, to Birmingham, Alabama.

Journalist and author Spencer Vignes marries his twin passions of music and railways in a book that gets to the heart of the genre. Painstakingly researched, Spencer interviewed a roll call of musical luminaries – including Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson, Nick Cave, Ray Davies, Sheena Easton, Bryan Ferry, Tom Johnston of The Doobie Brothers, Chas McDevitt, Ralph McTell, Francis Rossi, Peggy Seeger and Brian Setzer – who share the secrets of how they came to write and record their train songs.

“Rock Island Line”, “Last Train To Clarksville”, “Homeward Bound”, “Midnight Train To Georgia”, “Folsom Prison Blues”, “Smokestack Lightning”, “Freight Train”, “Waterloo Sunset”, “Long Train Runnin’”, “Mystery Train”, “Trans-Europe Express”, “City Of New Orleans”, “Love Train”, “The Loco-Motion”, “Last Train To San Fernando”… they’re all here, plus the stories behind the very best of the rest.

“Everyone’s got their train song because everyone loves a train.” So said the late Carl Perkins about music’s bond with the railways. This book shows how right he was.

About The Author

Spencer Vignes is a writer, journalist and PR consultant. His previous books have been on sport, including The Wimbledon Miscellany (The History Press, 2010) and A Few Good Men: The Brighton & Hove Albion Dream Team (DB Publishing, 2014). He lives in Cardiff.