Sunday, July 12, 2009

ROCK Sex: "Mystery Train" - Carter Family > Jr. Parker > Elvis Presley > Jim Jarmusch

ROCK Sex is going round, round the bend.


The Carter Family are universally known as 'The First Family of Country Music'. Led by guitarist Mother Maybelle, they had an incalculable impact on Country, Bluegrass, and Blues artists for decades.

In their famous standard, "Worried Man Blues" (1930) you hear these lines:

"The train arrived sixteen coaches long/
The train arrived sixteen coaches long/
The girl I love is on that train and gone."

Here's son-in-law Johnny Cash having a family rave-up on his TV show (1969-1971):

THE CARTER FAMILY -"Worried Man Blues" (live)

These lines inspired Memphis Blues artist Junior Parker and his producer, Sam Phillips, to co-write this classic:

JUNIOR PARKER -"Mystery Train" (1953)

Shortly afterward Sam Phillips asked another label mate to try his hand on the throttle. Here's Elvis Presley with one of his signature songs:

ELVIS PRESLEY -"Mystery Train" (1955)

John Fogerty used the train as a metaphor for the impact of Elvis in this tribute.

JOHN FOGERTY -"Big Train From Memphis" (1985)

Indie auteur Jim Jarmusch box-carred Memphis, its deep musical history, and the ghost of Elvis into his great film, MYSTERY TRAIN (1989). The cast included Screaming Jay Hawkins, Joe Strummer (The Clash), Rufus Thomas, Steve Buscemi, Elizabeth Bracco (The Sopranos), Nicoletta Braschi, Masatoshi Nagase, and the voice of Tom Waits. Essential viewing for Rock'n'Roll film fans:

MYSTERY TRAIN trailer (1989)

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

-1950s Rock, C: The 80s disciples‏

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