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Album: Blackfoot StrikesReleased: 1979Charted:
This song was written by bluegrass and Delta blues musician "Shorty" Medlocke - the grandfather of this band's frontman Rickey Medlocke. The song is best remembered for its harmonica intro, performed by Shorty, which mimics the sound of a steam locomotive blowing its whistle, pulling out of the station and accelerating to full speed.
The song is about a man whose lover is leaving town on a "Midnight train to Memphis," and who decides to follow her there. He may even be intent on taking the same train, but the lyrics aren't clear about this.
Before founding Blackfoot, Rickey Medlocke was also an early member of Lynyrd Skynyrd (a band he would rejoin later in his career). Blackfoot also included drummer/singer Jakson "Thunderfoot" Spires, bassist/singer Greg T. Walker, and lead guitarist Charlie Hargrett. They had a number of hit albums, but proved to be more popular in Europe than in the United States. Blackfoot Strikes was their first platinum album, and produced their only two US Top 40 hits: "Highway Song" (which hit #26 US in September 1979) and "Train, Train" (#38 in December).
The group disbanded in the early 1980s but have reunited a few times since then, the second time including all the original members except Medlocke, who had rejoined Lynyrd Skynyrd. Spires died in 2005 of an aneurysm, leaving Walker and Hargrett as the only remaining original members.
This song has been covered by hard rock band Warrant and even by Dolly Parton. (thanks, Joshua - Twin Cities, MN, for all above)