Someone asked "What does it take before a song becomes a pop standard
? Four generations? Five?
The Train Kept A Rollin'
is a garage rock classic, but the original by Tiny Bradshaw
(rec. 25-jul-1951 -- sax solo: Red Prysock
) was played in a very different style. So who was Tiny Bradshaw? And what about all those covers?
Myron 'Tiny' Bradshaw first recorded in 1934, leading a swing band on eight sides for Decca. Originally a drummer and singer, Bradshaw was a non-playing leader modeled on Cab Calloway. ("They had a whole group of these guys. . . Lucky Millander, Cab Calloway, Tiny Bradshaw. . . They'd have someone in front to wave a baton and jump around and dance and maybe sing a song."
-- from Dizzy Gillespie's autobiography, To Be or Not to Bop.
") After the war Tiny gradually adopted the jump blues style of Louis Jordan, and recorded a number of sides for King Records
that crossed over to the pop charts. He passed away November 26, 1958 at the age of 53 after being sidelined by a series of strokes.
Bradshaw's Billboard entry
, including AMG bio
A useful E-zine entry on Bradshaw
Bradshaw Entry from The Encyclopedia of Popular Music
30 second song clips
Other Bradshaw sides
Well Oh Well
(1950) Tiny's first big crossover hit. Maybe that's why nearly all of his uptempo numbers start with "Well. . . "
The Rock and Roll Trio
(rec. 02-Jul-1956) were brothers Johnny (vocal, guitar) and Dorsey (vocal, bass) Burnette and Paul Burlison (lead guitar) -- all Golden Gloves boxers. Burlison was inspired by a 78 of the Tiny Bradshaw hit he'd bought a few days before the session, but the solo may actually have been played by Nashville cat Grady Martin
. The Trio broke up acrimoniously after less than two years despite an appearance in the film Rock, Rock, Rock.
(Dorsey Burnette quit just weeks before filming. The bassist here is Johnny Black.)
The record did not make the national charts. But some British teenagers like these guys
were inspired to take up guitars, in part, by the Trio's records.
Screaming Lord Sutch and his savages
(rec. 1965) -- guitar solo: Ritchie Blackmore. Self-styled lord, David Sutch
based his act on that of Screamin' Jay Hawkins. His 'savages' and 'heavy friends' were the cream of 1960s UK studio cats.
Sutch bio: Eye of the goof
Sutch bio: Loony archive
Sutch interview: Ugly things
The Yardbirds' place in history would be secure based on this song alone.
Yardbirds BBC Sessions
(rec. Dec-1965) -- guitar solo: Jeff Beck. I haven't found the Yardbirds original studio recording from 12-sep-1965 online, but this performance is very like it.
(rec. early 1966) -- guitar solo: Beck.
Yardbirds live on French tv
(rec. 27-Jun-1966) -- guitar solo: Beck. Jimmy Page plays bass.
Yardbirds on film: Antonioni's Blow-up
(rec. late Oct-1966) guitar solos: Beck, then Page. The Yardbirds stand in for The Who and the song gets new lyrics and title (Stroll On
). Notice that the first half of the guitar solo matches Beck's previous solos, and the second half matches Page's subsequent solos. This is one of only two confirmed tracks with Beck and Page both on lead guitar (the other is Happenings Ten Years Time Ago
). The 'twin-lead' line-up lasted only four months.
Yardbirds live on French tv
(rec. 09-mar-1968) -- guitar solo: Page.
"Yardbirds Featuring Jimmy Page"
(rec. 20-mar-1968) -- guitar solo: Page. This live album was released in 1971 to cash in on Led Zepplin's popularity, then withdrawn, bootlegged, repeat.
A good Yardbirds fan site with lots of info and pics.
Like a lot of American rock musicians of their generation, Aerosmith
(1974) were influenced by the Yardbirds, though the guitar parts here were actually played by sessioners Dick Wagner
and Steve Hunter
. Aerosmith's particular innovation is the addition of the "Slow Train" intro section. Changes in public taste and the economics of pop music have made this the most popular and influential version.
(1980) keeps it simple, stupid. Lemmy has no more idea what the words are than Lord Sutch does.
This cover by Racer X live
(1980s? 1990s?) shows that evolution isn't always about progress.
Guns, Roses, Arrow, Smith, Pierce, Fenner & Bean live
(1993) take us back to the barely controlled chaos of the Yardbirds arrangement.
We can probably expect a cover in Tiny Bradshaw's original style -- any day now.