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Cherry Pop

Title - Strangers on a Train [Expanded]
Artist - The Left Banke

For those unaware, The Left Banke arrived in 1966 with their hit singles “Walk Away Renee” (ranked #222 on Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” list in 2004) and “Pretty Ballerina,” which put them on the forefront of the genre now known as Baroque Pop.

Founder Michael Brown left the band before their second album (The Left Banke Too — featuring “There’s Gonna Be a Storm,” the title of the long out-of-print and collectible anthology of their Smash Records repertoire), going on to involvement in other influential groups including Montage, Stories, and the Beckies.

In 1978, original members Steve Martin Caro, Tom Finn, and George Cameron reunited to record tracks for Finn’s new publishing deal. The tracks would emerge in 1986 in the U.S. as Strangers on a Train, and in the U.K. under the title Voices Calling.

Flash forward to 2001. Brown, who’d remained an active songwriter, invited Caro to lay down vocals on new material he had written in hopes of sparking a Left Banke resurgence. The tracks were circulated to industry insiders, but were not heard by the public at large.

Six bonus tracks from the 2001 sessions now augment the Strangers on a Train reissue (releasing February 25th, 2022 via Omnivore Recordings), making it a cohesive document of not only the last Left Banke album, but what exists of what could have been another.

1. Strangers On A Train
2. Heartbreaker
3. Lorraine
4. Yesterday’s Love
5. Hold On Tight
6. And One Day
7. You Say
8. I Can Fly
9. Only My Opinion
10. Queen Of Paradise
11. Airborne [Bonus Track]
12. I Don’t Know (2002 Version) [Bonus Track]
13. Until The End [Bonus Track]
14. Buddy Steve (Long Lost Friend) [Bonus Track]
15. Meet Me In The Moonlight [Bonus Track]
16. High Flyer [Bonus Track]

Given that Walk Away Renee was written by a 17 year old, sung by an 18 year old and is still today, all these decades later, being played, listened to and enjoyed all over the world, you know going into this newly expanded album from The Left Bank that you are in for a mighty fine, and heartwarmingly genuine musical experience.

With each and every one of the songs containing heart, harmony, style, melody, catchy lyrics and oh-so much more, this new collection opens on the free flowing, rocker of a title track, Strangers on a Train and the exuberant, tambourine-imbibed Heartbreaker (which actually sounds like early Foreigner to me!) and follows those up with the yearning piano balladry of Lorraine, the foot-tapping AOR of Yesterday’s Love, before unleashing the roustabout vibe of Hold On Tight.

Next up is the orchestral beauty of And One Day and more mid-tempo balladry in the form of You Say and they are in turn backed by the euphoric I Can Fly, the tighter melodies and chords of Only My Opinion and then the original album rounds out on the disco-fied Queen Of Paradise.

The bonus tracks now included open with Airborne (a rare song written by Michael Brown and Steve Martin Caro in the early 2000’s) and the beautiful I Don’t Know (2002 Version), and follows those with magnificent love story within Until The End, the album rounding out with the foot-tapper Buddy Steve (Long Lost Friend), the dulcet piano ballad Meet Me In The Moonlight, coming to a close on the harmonious High Flyer.

The new issue is produced for release by Daniel Coston, Scott Schinder, and Grammy® Award-winner Cheryl Pawelski, with new liner notes by Schinder and restoration and mastering by Grammy® Award-winning engineer Michael Graves at Osiris Studio.

Strangers on a Train presents the culmination of this groundbreaking band, whose influence is not only still felt, but heard.

Official Purchase Link

Omnivore - Left Banke - Strangers on a Train - Official YouTube Trailer