Night Train to Nashville: Music City Rhythm & Blues 1945-1970, Volume Two
At two CDs, Night Train is too fluffy for continuous listening. But among these 39 cuts is a modest wealth of gritty jump blues, soul and R&B, all recorded in the capital of country music. Jimmy Sweeney’s “Boogie Woogie Jockey” and Richard Armstrong’s “Gene Nobles’ Boogie,” both tributes to regional DJs, get over with driving barrelhouse piano. Arthur Alexander’s yearning ballad “Soldier of Love” comes complete with a military snare beat, while the sax work on Christine Kittrell’s “I’m a Woman” is trashy enough to curl the hairs in John Waters’ mustache. Even the lesser cuts are informative: Check Esther Phillips’ “Release Me” for a mix of sassy soul singing with the vanilla-flavored strings, studio vocalists and tinkling piano so characteristic of ’50s/’60s Nashville country.