Last Train to Memphis

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jeff Tamarkin
Johnny Rivers was about 15 years removed from the recording studio and nearly 20 from a hit when he cut this album between 1996 and 1998. During the '60s and early '70s, Rivers had been one of the most consistently successful American solo artists: his covers of previously proven R&B/blues, folk and rock/pop songs Chuck Berry's "Memphis," Willie Dixon's "Seventh Son," Leadbelly's "Midnight Special" and new tunes written to order P.F. Sloan's "Secret Agent Man," Jim Hendricks' "Summer Rain," Rivers' own "Poor Side of Town" were all quality stuff that have demonstrated proven staying power, and Rivers was able to maintain his career performing them for years. For his ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jeff Tamarkin
Johnny Rivers was about 15 years removed from the recording studio and nearly 20 from a hit when he cut this album between 1996 and 1998. During the '60s and early '70s, Rivers had been one of the most consistently successful American solo artists: his covers of previously proven R&B/blues, folk and rock/pop songs Chuck Berry's "Memphis," Willie Dixon's "Seventh Son," Leadbelly's "Midnight Special" and new tunes written to order P.F. Sloan's "Secret Agent Man," Jim Hendricks' "Summer Rain," Rivers' own "Poor Side of Town" were all quality stuff that have demonstrated proven staying power, and Rivers was able to maintain his career performing them for years. For his studio comeback, Rivers turned to Peter Guralnick's Elvis Presley biography, Last Train to Memphis, for inspiration. Having grown up in Baton Rouge, LA after a childhood move from New York, the southern sounds of rockabilly, blues, and country gave the young Rivers his musical foundation, and the tracks here, though not always conforming strictly to those genres or paying direct tribute to the region or the era, are certainly influenced by that earth-shifting music. Rivers co-wrote several of the album's songs with Jack Tempchin, who had given him his last big chart hit with "Swayin' to the Music Slow Dancin'" back in 1977. Like that ballad, the pair's new compositions here are well-crafted and beautifully performed -- Rivers' voice is as strong and unmistakable as it was in his hit-making days. His own compositions, with the exception of the opening "Down at the House of Blues," which comes off as a commercial for the same-named chain of clubs regardless of any lack of intent to do so, are also strong. Nonetheless, his true Johnny Rivers-ness kicks into full gear when he returns to the familiar territory of remaking oldies: his interpretations of Muddy Waters' "Rollin' Stone" and the old Casinos hit "Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye," written by John D. Loudermilk, are among the highlights. The Collector's Choice edition of the album, reissued in 2006, tacks on a bonus track, a tribute to one of Memphis' other true heroes, Carl Perkins, titled "Blue Suede Blues."
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/10/2001
  • Label: Soul City Records
  • UPC: 651957300929
  • Catalog Number: 3009

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Johnny Rivers Primary Artist, Primary Artist, Primary Artist, Primary Artist, Rhythm Guitar, Vocals, Background Vocals
Doug Hamblin Guitar
Lauri Bono Background Vocals
Tony Braunagel Drums
Peter Bunetta Drums
Lester Butler Harmonica
Rick Chudacoff Bass
Kal David Guitar, Vocals, Vocal Harmony
Keith Edwards Drums
Bob Glaub Bass
John Herron Piano
James "Hutch" Hutchinson Bass
Wayne Jackson Trumpet
Darrell Leonard Trumpet
Andrew Love Saxophone
Arno Lucas Percussion
Dean Parks Guitar
Herb Pedersen Dobro, Guitar, Background Vocals, Vocal Harmony
Harlan Rogers Organ, Keyboards, Hammond Organ
Rick Rosas Bass
Lee Sklar Bass
Joe Sublett Saxophone
Maxine Willard Waters Background Vocals
Luther Waters Background Vocals
Oren Waters Background Vocals, Vocal Harmony
Gary Mallaber Drums
Waddy Wachtel Guitar
Julia Waters Background Vocals
Leland Sklar Bass
Rick Jackson Organ, Hammond Organ, fender rhodes
Marc Goldberg Bass
Mike Thompson Hammond Organ
Scott Craigo Drums
Mike "Brotha Jinx" Thompson Guitar, Hammond Organ
Technical Credits
John D. Loudermilk Composer
Johnny Rivers Producer
Joe Schiff Engineer
Allen Sides Engineer
Richard Bosworth Engineer
Valerie Wilmer Cover Photo
Ben Wallach Engineer
James A. Lane Composer
Gary Hardy Engineer
Dan Epstein Liner Notes
Ellie Leacock Artwork, Illustrations
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