Seatrain – Same (Sea Train) (1969)

FrontCover1Seatrain was an American roots fusion band based initially in Marin County, California, and later in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Seatrain was formed in 1969, subsequently drawing some members from the Blues Project when it broke up. Seatrain recorded four albums and disbanded in 1973.

Flutist/bassist Andy Kulberg and drummer Roy Blumenfeld of Blues Project formed the band with Jim Roberts, ex-Mystery Trend guitarist John Gregory, former Jim Kweskin Jug Band violinist/fiddler Richard Greene, and saxophonist Don Kretmar. Seatrain recorded their first album, Planned Obsolescence, in 1968, but had to release it as a Blues Project album for contractual reasons. In 1969, they released a self-titled LP (Sea Train), but faced a major change in membership a few months later.

The group’s second self-titled album was released in 1970 under the single-word name Seatrain. By then, Blumenfeld, Gregory, and Kretmar had been replaced by drummer Larry Atamanuik, keyboardist Lloyd Baskin, and Earth Opera guitarist and former Blue Grass Boy Peter Rowan. The album’s “13 Questions” was released as a single and became a minor hit in the US, reaching #49 on Billboard’s national chart.

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George Martin produced the album, marking the first time he had acted in that capacity with a rock act since his work with the Beatles. He also produced Seatrain’s much-anticipated 1971 follow-up album, The Marblehead Messenger. In September Seatrain toured Great Britain for the first time, usually performing as a support act for Traffic.[5] However, Rowan and Greene left the band soon after to form Muleskinner, while Roberts and Atamanuik joined the backing band of Emmylou Harris. Kulberg and Baskin replaced these members with guitarist Peter Walsh, keyboardist Bill Elliott, and drummer Julio Coronado, but only released one more album, 1973’s Watch.

Sea Train is a debut A&M Records album by the band Seatrain, recorded in 1969. (by wikipedia)

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Label from a reissue, 1976

Out of the ashes of the Blues Project came Sea Train. In an attempt to fuse jazz and rock with touches of bluegrass and country, this initial release didn’t show the potential hidden in the ranks of the group. This is very obviously a first album. (by James Chrispell)

This is the kind of out-there music that the late 1960s routinely served up from out of nowhere. Sea Train? Who? Some of the guys from the Blues Project? Oh, OK. But that’s not really it. Sea Train is all about John Gregory, guitarist/lead vocalist/songwriter, and lyricist Jim Roberts. Who are they? Just some guys they hooked up with on the West Coast?

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Anyway, the first – and best – Sea Train record belongs to Gregory and Roberts, with incredible songwriting and musicianship help from Andy Kulberg (think Flute Thing). Oh, and let’s not forget Richard Greene on violin. Beautifully recorded by Henry Lewy (think the clarity of Joni Mitchell’s early albums), it’s basically a thinking man’s Blood, Sweat & Tears with no horns. But, hey, that’s the ’60s for you.

Starting with the second album, it was a wholly different band. (by Fran Coombs)

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Personnel:
Roy Blumenfeld (drums, percussion)
Richard Greene (violin, keyboards, viola, backgrounf vocals)
John Gregory (vocals, guitar)
Don Kretmar (saxophone, bass)
Andy Kulberg (bass, flute, background vocals)
Jim Roberts (lyrics, background vocals)

Tracklist:
01.

“Sea Train” (Kulberg, Roberts) 4:12
“Let the Duchess No” (Gregory, Roberts) 3:42
“Pudding Street” (Kulberg) 5:00
“Portrait of the Lady as a Young Artist” (Gregory, Roberts) 3:46
“As I Lay Losing” (Kulberg, Roberts) 5:00
“Rondo” (Gregory, Roberts) 3:29
“Sweet’s Creek’s Suite” (Kulberg) 3:56
“Out Where the Hills” (Kulberg, Roberts) 5:15

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InletsThe inlets from a reissue, 1976

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