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Playlist: Trains!

Compiled By: PRX Editors

 Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/locosteve">Locosteve</a>
Image by: Locosteve 
Curated Playlist

A celebration of everyone's favorite body-scanner-free transportation. National Train Day is May 10, 2014.


Curious about how stuff gets on this list?

Julie the Amtrak God

From Jenny Asarnow | 03:00

Conversations with Julie, the voice on the Amtrak telephone line.

Shutterstock_136027958_small These are dialogues that actually took place between me and Julie, the automated voice of Amtrak. I let her direct our conversation and allowed myself to be (mostly) passive. I was feeling lost, and I felt she could give me direction. A slightly longer version of this piece was featured in Chaise DVD Magazine (Issue 1). A remixed version (involving dance beats) was featured in Free Matter for the Blind (an audiozine), volume 6. That version of the piece aired on WFMU in June 2004. You can listen to it here: http://www.wfmu.org/playlists/shows/11845 This version has not been aired

Railfans

From Eric Winick | 16:22

Since October 1962, a handful of dedicated rail enthusiasts have been sending each other letters, photos, and reports about their common passion. Over time, what began as a means of sharing information has become the lifeline for a lifetime friendship. And it shows no sign of slowing down.

Playing
Railfans
From
Eric Winick

004_4a_small Featuring: Al Holtz, Jack May, and Walter E. Zullig, Jr,
Recorded:  May-September 2011, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Ossining, NY
Original Music:  Jay Kustka

From the files of Yarn AudioWorks.

PHOTO GALLERY:  View photos of Walter, Al, and Jack in action, train photos by Jack, a copy of the very first Circuit letter, and more, by clicking HERE.

Jay Kustka is a Boston guitarist and singer/songwriter with 30+ years experience. A recent semi-finalist of Lee Ritenour’s Six-String Theory contest, his playing styles range from roots rock/blues to funk, reggae and beyond.  Check out his music at the links below:

http://www.jaykustka.com
http://www.youtube.com/user/TheDayRiffer
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jaykustka/with-a-little-help-my-first-album

Special thanks to Adam Greenfield and Lisa Zullig.

The Train Plan

From Hearing Voices | Part of the The Plan series | 29:03

We hop on some trains and see where they take us. Pieces from various producers.

0601pantrains_small We hope on some trains and see where they take us... PLAYLIST: ARTIST | AUDIO | ALBUM (*=PRX piece) 1. Chuck Jonkey | Peruvian Highlands | World Trains 2. Jenny Asarnow | Julie the Amtrak God* | -- 3. David Isay | Pullman Porter* | Holding On 4. Clothesline Revival | Calling All Trains | Of My Native Land 5. Ben Adair | Hobo Confessions* | Savvy Traveler 6. Chuck Jonkey | Peruvian Highlands | World Trains 7. Steve Reich / Kronos Quartet | 1 America - Before the War | Different Trains 8. Chuck Jonkey | Peruvian Highlands | World Trains

Air copy:
This [broadcast day] we travel by train, into history and into story. We hear a sound portrait of Pullman Porters, train sounds from the Peruvian highlands, and a hobo's tale of hopping trains. Ride the rails, with The Train Plan, this [broadcast day] on [station]. 

The Orphan Train

From Annie Wu | 52:59

In September, 1854, the first "orphan train" carried 46 homeless children from New York City to far off homes to become laborers in the pioneer West. Widely duplicated throughout its 75 year history, the original orphan train was the creation of the now-forgotten man who was to become the father of American child welfare policy. This doc features interviews from orphan train riders as well as readings from period newspapers, letters, and journals.

Playing
The Orphan Train
From
Annie Wu

Advertisement_small This fall marks the anniversary of one of the least known and yet most significant social experiments in American history. In September, 1854, the first "orphan train" carried 46 homeless children from New York City to far off homes to become laborers in the pioneer West. It was the first step in what was to become the emigration of as many as 250,000 orphan children to new homes throughout the entire United States. Widely duplicated throughout its 75 year history, the original orphan train was the creation and life project of the now forgotten man who was to become the father of American child welfare policy. Some of the most famous orphan train riders included songwriter Eden Ahbez, author of the Nat King Cole classic "Nature Boy," as well as John Brady, a governor of Alaska and Andrew Burke, second governor of North Dakota. More than 150 years after the first orphan train, the remaining riders are scattered across the country, and their descendants live in communities like yours. This new unnarrated one hour documentary features interviews from surviving orphan train riders as well as readings from period newspapers, letters and journals. The show is laced with an eclectic mix of traditional folk, classical and impressionist music. A 25-minute version of the show will air on "Soundprint" on Dec. 10, 2004.

2 Train, End to End

From Jessica Gross | 05:02

Sounds of New York. First stop: Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn. Last stop: 241st St., the Bronx. Stand clear of the closing doors, please.

Default-piece-image-2 First stop: Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn. Last stop: 241st St., the Bronx. Stand clear of the closing doors, please.

HOB Radio: Trains!

From Ben Manilla | Part of the House of Blues Radio Hour series | 59:01

Hear that lonesome whistle blow! The House of Blues Radio Hour pays tribute to the locomotive with favorite Blues songs about trains.

644447123_a8bc7237de_m_small The House of Blues Radio Hour is a weekly syndicated program hosted by Elwood Blues (a.k.a. Dan Aykroyd).  In this episode, Elwood pays tribute to the locomotive and plays his favorite Blues songs about trains.  Includes music by Creedence Clearwater Revival, James Brown, The Rolling Stones, Muddy Waters, Jimi Hendrix, and more! 

Tokyo "All Aboard" Melodies

From Andy Raskin | 03:12

Tokyo's trains have different music -- depending on where you're going -- to help keep people calm.

Train_small Tokyo train platforms used to use a buzzer to tell people "all aboard." About ten years ago, Japan Railway began introducing more soothing synthesized melodies to do the job. Aired on NPR's All Things Considered 9/18/03.

The Last Amtrak

From Hank Rosenfeld | Part of the Folk Journalism series | 08:30

From Los Angeles to Chicago, folk journalist Hank Rosenfeld finds Amtrak's Train #4, the Southwest Chief, full of adventure...

Folkjournalistinterviewaboardamtrak_small From Los Angeles to Chicago, folk journalist Hank Rosenfeld finds riding the rails aboard Amtrak's #4 Southwest Chief is the only way to fly, evoking Lord Buckley, Thornton Wilder and Bob Dylan while encountering a novelist, an acting troupe from Guatemala...everyone from hip-hop all-stars to a kid doing burger commercials in Spanish...

99% Invisible #43- The Accidental Music of Imperfect Escalators (Standard 4:30 Version)

From Roman Mars | Part of the 99% Invisible (Standard Length) series | 04:30

Sometimes it's an object's imperfections that makes you fall in love with it. And sometimes that object is an escalator in a D.C. Metro station.

99invisible-logo-square-for_prx_small

[For Director's Cut version, go to: http://www.prx.org/pieces/89156-99-invisible-43-the-accidental-music-of-imperfe]

Ever since the industrial revolution, when it became possible for products to be designed just once and then mass produced, it has been the slight imperfections and wear introduced by human use that has transformed a quality mass produced product into a thing we love. Your worn blue jeans, your grandmothers iron skillet, the initial design determined their quality, but it’s their imperfections that make them comfortable, that make them lovable, that make them yours.

And if you think that a “slightly broken” escalator can’t be lovable, then our own Sam Greenspan would like to introduce you to Chris Richards. Chris Richards is a music critic for the Washington Post, and after years of ignoring the wailing and screeching of the much maligned, often broken escalators in the DC Metro, he began to hear them in a new way. He began to hear them as music.

Notes:

  • This story was adapted from one Sam Greenspan produced for his podcast, Whisper Cities, which tells stories of overlooked places and the people who find them.
  • The designer of the first DC Metro stations was Harry Weese. Weese’s “Jailhouse Skyscraper” in downtown Chicago was profiled in 99% Invisible #26 by Dan Weissmann. The Metro ceilings may be brutalism at its best.

  • If you don’t get the “Culs-de-sac” joke, listen to this episode.
  • Radio producers Alex Van Oss and Charles Maynes also created their own Ballad of the DC Metro forPodstantsiya, a Moscow-based podcast and audio collective. (The site in in Russian, but the radio feature is in English.)