Seatrain - Seatrain (1970)

Seatrain were an American rock band active from 1969 to 1973.

Seatrain had risen from the ashes of The Blues Project, and released a fantastic self-titled album in 1969. However their original lineup did not last, leading to a brief period of temporary members coming and going (including singer Red Shepherd, drummers Bobby Moses and Billy Williams, and guitarists Teddy Irwin and Elliott Randal). By the time of their second album, they had settled on a strong new lineup - Peter Rowan (guitar/vocals), Lloyd Baskin (keyboards/vocals), Andy Kulberg (bass/flute), Richard Greene (violin) and Larry Atamanuik (drums). Jim Roberts was still on board as the group's dedicated lyricist. Kulberg and Greene were the only original members, and Kulberg was the only one left who used to be in the Blues Project. Newcomer Peter Rowan had previously been in psychedelic rock band Earth Opera, but his real background was in folk and bluegrass.
The new Seatrain had a new sound, which their new album showcased, produced by George Martin in his first post-Beatles work (confusingly, it was another self-titled record, but this time Seatrain rather than Sea Train). Their sound moved away from progressive rock filled with jazz and classical influences, and went in the direction of a more concise, commercial sound, with a bit more roots thrown in (violinist Richard Greene was obviously enjoing having Rowan on board). However they didn't completely disavow their old sound, as there was still a great deal of complex, sophisticated song structures and interesting fusions. The instrumental focus was fully on Greene's violin, often used with wah and fuzz effects. The vocals were shared by Rowan and Baskin, both of whom proved to be very strong singers, and most of the original songs were written by the Kulberg/Roberts team.
The songs themselves were not all originals, with covers including Lowell George's "Willin'" (actually pre-dating the first Little Feat version), the traditional "Sally Goodin" and Ervin T. Rouse's "Orange Blossom Special" (the latter two really letting Greene show off his bluegrass skills). From his Earth Opera days, Rowan brought "Home To You" which was remade, and the band also re-did "Out Where The Hills", originally from their first album.
The album actually had a surprise minor hit - "13 Questions" reached #49 on the singles charts.

Sea Train (1969) <|> The Marblehead Messenger (1971)
More from Seatrain



edison61 said...

I discovered this LP at around the age of 10 via my cool uncle's hippyish then-girlfriend. I still have my vinyl copy and have always been a bit surprised when nobody I know seem to have any knowledge of it; I've always thought of it as kind of a minor classic; just a very strong sets of songs played well and originally. Martin's production was good too...I guess Capitol had high hopes if they hired him. At any rate, I'm new to your blog and just wanted to say thank you; it's really nice to see it here and I like what you wrote about the band.

edison61 said...

Ah, just saw that the link is dead. Any chance of a re-up?