Night Train To Nashville: Music City Rhythm & Blues, 1945-1970, Volume 2

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Reissues

Night Train To Nashville: Music City Rhythm & Blues, 1945-1970, Volume 2

(Lost Highway)

The first volume of Night Train to Nashville won a Grammy for best historical recording of 2004. Volume 2 is almost as gratifying, a testament to Nashville's post-World War II R&B scene, which, not surprisingly, has been overshadowed by everything associated with the Grand Ole Opry. Taking its name from a Sixties Music Row TV show, the 2-CD Night Train concentrates on Nashville artists, yet also includes tracks by out-of-towners like Ivory Joe Hunter, Clyde McPhatter, Esther Phillips, and John Coltrane as a member of the Gay Crosse band. Some will be drawn to songs they know from the pop charts: Bernard Hardison's "Too Much," later a No. 1 hit for Elvis; Christine Kittrell's "I'm a Woman," a hit for Peggy Lee; teen vocal group the Gladiolas' "Little Darlin'," a four-million seller when done by Canada's the Diamonds; and Arthur Alexander's "Soldier of Love," covered by the Beatles, Marshall Crenshaw, and Pearl Jam. Early Fifties recordings from the Republic and Excello labels offer choice examples of the sounds that later grew into rock & roll. It's being Nashville, the intermingling of country and soul is found in Phillips' 1962 recording of "Release Me," made popular by Ray Price, and Freddie North's "She's All I've Got," later a major hit for Johnny Paycheck. An enlightening booklet, which gives context to the music and offers song notes with further background as well as photos, makes Volume 2 Grammy worthy as well.

****

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