The Brain Train

The Brain Train was the precursor to the psychedelic group Clear Light, who recorded one fairly well-known album for Elektra in 1967. Prior to that they had played and recorded in Los Angeles as the Brain Train, with a slightly different lineup. The Brain Train's sole single, "Black Roses"/"Me," came out in late 1967 on the small Titan label, and is an odd, interesting fusion of folk-rock, British Invasion, and psychedelic influences (particularly from the Yardbirds). "Black Roses" would be re-recorded by Clear Light on their album; the first version is a little rawer in execution and performance, with a more prominent influence from the Yardbirds' rave-ups. By the time the single came out, however, the Brain Train -- unusual for the time in boasting two drummers -- had already evolved into Clear Light, with the subtraction of singer-guitarist Robbie Robison, and the addition of lead singer Cliff DeYoung and keyboardist Ralph Schuckett. Indeed, they were already recording for Elektra by the time the Brain Train 45 appeared. Both sides of the Brain Train single were reissued on Scarey Business, a compilation of mid-1960s garage rock from the L.A.-based Titan, Modern, and Downey labels. ~ Richie Unterberger

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