Thursday, July 26, 2012

Buried Treasure: Seatrain - Seatrain (1970)

The Blues Project, from New York City, is a 60s band famous for not living up to their advanced billing. The group splintered quickly with hardly any success. The band's most famous members, Al Kooper and Steve Katz went on to form the original incarnation of Blood, Sweat, and Tears while two other refugees from the Greenwich Village outfit, Andy Kulberg (flute and bass) and Roy Blumenfeld (drums) moved to the West Coast and formed Seatrain.

Seatrain was a bluegrass/country/rock outfit whose big attraction was electric fiddler Richard Greene. He came over from another well known folk group, The Jim Kweskin Jug Band, that once featured singer Maria Muldaur.

Seatrain's eponymous second LP is the one most people remember and by the time of its release Blumenfeld had already moved on and was replaced by Larry Atamanuik. Also on board for this record were keyboard player Lloyd Baskin and guitarist Peter Rowan.

"13 Questions" was a minor hit single that reached #49 on Billboard's chart and "Song of Job," a track based on the Bible story, also received substantial airplay. Other listenable fare included the fine opening song, a cover of Lowell George's "Willin."

Greene's rocking fiddle is showcased on both the LP's closer, the old blugrass classic "Orange Blossom Special" and on "Sally Goodin," another country standard. Greene's lightning fast bow work dominates the entire album.

The Beatles' George Martin produced the record as well as the band's followup Marblehead Messenger (1971).

Seatrain's most prominent members had careers long after the band ended. Greene continued to play in folk groups and he still teaches violin today on a national level. Rowan joined Seatrain after stints playing with country giants Bill Monroe and David Grisman. He later toured with Greene in the late 70s and continues to compose and play today with various groups. In 1973 both Greene and Rowan joined a short-lived band named Old and in the Way with Jerry Garcia. Kulberg passed away in 2002 after a long career as a musician and composer.

You can buy a used copy of Seatrain at collector's prices from Amazon and you can listen to "13 Questions" here.

1 comment:

  1. I know I've heard Seatrain, but I've heard more of Old and In the Way (drawn there more by Grisman than Garcia).