Listen: 13 Questions / Seatrain Seatrain13.mp3
Despite my preference for the British bands from the 60′s and 70′s, there’d many times be an American group as part of those three band live lineups so prevalent at the time. Like there were always three at The Fillmore. Three bands were kind of a given.
No recollection which bill Seatrain were part of, ’13 Questions’ was current at the time and I remember liking the set.
Besides, I did fancy the look of the Capitol label around this time: those lime green with purple/black logo albums, then the circular orange and red with graphically matching blue/yellow bullseye 7″ label/sleeve combos. Plus, Capitol used a lot of recycled vinyl, whereby they’d grind up and melt down returns and defectives with the label still affixed, hence ‘Capitol surface noise’ as we all coined it. Example: did you EVER hear a Quicksilver Messenger Service album without it during the quiet patches? There you go. The proof.
I must admit, it made all those records by Joy Of Cooking, The Band and yes, Seatrain sound a touch desirable to one person at least. I liked Capitol’s particular sound of crackle.
Listen: I’m Willin’ / Seatrain SeatrainWillin.mp3
Seems ’13 Questions’ had a fair share of airplay on the FM stations in it’s day. I know I heard it on occasion, as was the case with their version of Lowell George’s ‘I’m Willin”. Despite Seatrain’s general lack of lyrical ability, seems they were not alone. Lowell Geroge, on this particualr song at least, is clearly no poet. I mean, are these words supposed to be funny?
Still, I’d acquired a taste for violin in rock, when well done as in the case of Family, it can make one quite open minded. Then I saw The Flock support John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, and Jerry Goodman was setting the place ablaze. Really good stuff. Likewise with Seatrain. Richard Greene was a much more subtle but classy violinist. His playing was never overdone.
Live, they were pretty raw. In the studio though, with George Martin producing, no doubt wearing his signature shirt, tie and suit coat, they were sadly cleaned, polished and de-souled. He did have a knack for white washing things in the booth. See my post on The Action.
Got home that night after seeing the band and played both ’13 Questions’ and ‘I’m Willin” a good half dozen times each, until I could stand the ‘Capitol surface noise’ no longer.