All Aboard!



Here it is then, my Train Set in a Tin which I have of course named “Countryline Special”

Below, the £2 coin shows the scale. The tin is in the background in the pic above.

It’s a laugh! MRA bought it in Wells. It reminds me of Lee Marvin playing with a train set on Christmas Day in the John Ford movie Donovan’s Reef (with John Wayne).



Author: pompeypop

University lecturer, longtime local musician and recently historian of popular music - especially in and around Portsmouth. My blog is entirely about that topic

8 thoughts on “All Aboard!

  1. There is incidentally a track called “Donovan’s Reef” by Country Joe & the Fish – but I’m not aware of any direct link between that and the movie of a few years earlier (which is pretty crazy)

  2. Well I’d say it must be…………..”TRAIN TIME”…………………

  3. Cyril Davies would be proud of you !! ps, on a very anorak moment, that brake wagon (caboose) should be at the back of the wagons ! How sad am I ? Pps, please don’t get us going on the ‘trains on record ‘ theme !! Happy New Year to MRA and yourself.

  4. trains on records…hhmmmm!!!!


  5. O.K, Dr, Dave – you might have a train set, but I’m going to indulging in a little trainspotting….

    You mentioned the Country Joe & The Fish song “Donovan’s Reef”……

    When The Country Joe Band played “The Frog On The Front” at The Pyramids on 6th August 2005 (due to a ‘cock-up’ by the management at South Parade Pier – they’d double booked a wedding) we were treated to a very rare outing of “Donovan’s Reef”.

    Nigel Smith – a great Pompey character and ‘mad muso’ (who many of the visitors to your blog will know) called out for the song, which Joe immediately launched into. At the end of the gig I was speaking to the bass player Bruce Barthol, who told me he had never ever played the song in his entire life and had to ‘busk; the whole thing – he couldn’t remember even having HEARD it before!

    “Donovan’s Reef” was recorded for the album “Here We Are Again” at Vanguard Recording Studios, 71 West 23rd Street, New York City, in December 1968 – the first of three sessions. Joe McDonald was on vocals and guitar, Barry Melton was on guitar, David Bennett Cohen on keyboards, Gary “Chicken” Hirsch on drums – and Mark Ryan played bass on the session.

    By the time of the recording, Bruce had left the band (in either October or November that year), and had come to England, where he put together Formerly Fat Harry.  

    Only Joe McDonald and Barry Melton were on all the tracks on the album., and other original C.J. & T.F. members David Bennett Cohen & Gary Chicken Hirsch only appear on some tracks. Other musicians were Dave Getz (drums), and three different bass players – Peter Albin (bass) from Big Brother & The Holding Company; and Mark Kapner on keyboards.

    A second session took place at Pacific High Studios, San Francisco, January 1969 with Joe Barry and Chicken , and David, with Jack Casady of Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna on bass

    For the third (and last) album session they returned to Vanguard Recording Studios, New York – in March 1969 – but this time Joe and Barry were joined by Peter Albin (bass) and Dave Getz ( drums) – both of Big Brother & The Holding Company – and Mark Kapner on piano. David and Chicken did not attend the session.

    Country Joe & The Fish played South Parade Pier on 25th March 1969, By this time Joe & Barry were the only ‘original’ members – Greg Dewey was on drums, Mark Kapner played keyboards and Doug Metzler was on bass. Only a few months after the Southsea gig this lineup played some little gathering called Woodstock, and eventually split up in June 1970.

    Recently Joe has been speculating that it would be nice to have a reunion in 2015 to celebrate 50 years since Country Joe and The fish first formed. Based on conversations I’ve had with Barry, Bruce and David (Chicken’s “gone to ground”) I am totally convinced this will NEVER happen, but as another Californian once wrote “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”…….

    The youtube link is the “Live at the Fillmore West 1969” version – “Donovan’s Reef Jam”.

    And just for you, Doctor Dave… the album comes with a large facsimile poster of the gigs – clearly showing Country Joe & The Fish headlining, with your all time favourite band (!!!) Led Zeppelin supporting them!

  6. Well they got that bill right then – although I’d have found another support act with Led Zep third!

  7. There WAS another support act Dave – Taj Mahal, who opened the show!!!!!!! Here is it at The Fillmore in 1969 (but not the Country Joe gigs) with Mike Bloomfield.

    It’s from the Mike Bloomfield and Nick Gravenites album ” LIve at Bill Graham’ s Fillmore West” , which I’ve been after (on vinyl) for some time, though it’s now out on CD combining the original “Live at Fillmore West ” vinyl and the extra tracks form the gig that turned up on Nick Gravenites’ ‘”My Labors” album. Taj appeared on just this one track. BTW, Bloomfield’s solo on ‘Blues On A Westside’ is just stunning…..

    The other players included Bloomfield’s former Butterfield Blues Band teammate Mark Naftalin on piano, his “Live Adventures” bassist John Kahn, his drummer Bob Jones, and the Electric Flag baritone saxophonist Snooky Flowers. Wow!

    Bob Dylan said “Mike Bloomfield played circles around anything I could play”. Well, yes, Bob, but in fairness, you could write circles around anything Mike could write…

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