Blue Train is one of three Bear Family discs that collect the recordings of famed Nashville songwriter John D. Loudermilk. Some of the tracks here were actually minor hits (Loudermilk rarely did anything to promote his recordings as an artist), but Loudermilk's writing and unique interpretations are of primary interest. The songwriter's vocals are pleasant, if not spectacular, and the production is nicely sparse and folky, often featuring Loudermilk's own excellent classical guitar playing. His quirky compositions have always straddled the line between pop and folk, and the tunes here are no exception. Although much of this music will sound lightweight to modern ears, it is certainly the product of an intensely creative mind, unafraid to tackle any topic, no matter how bizarre or seemingly inconsequential. Highlights include "All of This for Sally," a song about a millionaire who willed his fortune to a cocker spaniel, and "The Bully of the Beach," which was inspired by those ubiquitous Charles Atlas muscle building ads. Although many of the tunes are lighthearted, Loudermilk could occasionally get serious, as evidenced by "Darling Jane," where he details a man's loss of his new wife to hurricane floodwaters. Although not really for the casual country or oldies fan, Blue Train should appeal to any fan of brilliant songwriting or slightly left of center vintage pop and country music.
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AllMusic Review by Pemberton Roach