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Thursday, April 10, 2008

A beautiful song

Before they're swallowed whole by the all-consuming tsunami of parody let us pay tribute to Michael Flanders and Donald Swann in general and "The Slow Train" in particular. They recorded it in the early '60s just as Doctor Beeching's report into the railways was sweeping away much of the network of local stations that used to take people to work or the shops in the days before car ownership.
I'm no steam fan but the litany of names, the hymn-like tug of the tune and the trueness of the recording can moisten even my dry eye. And I'm not remotely surprised that somebody has bothered to tell the true story of every station mentioned in the song.