MOUNT UP! The Story of The Count & Mule Train
There was an interesting piece in the Jamaica Observer about the classic Count Prince Miller cut “Mule Train”. This was a hit back in the day and still gets a spin sporadically in the clubs today.
As the story states: his involvement in the 1972 recording session was somewhat impromptu. “I came down here with, Millie Small, Charles Hyatt and Jackie Edwards to do a show…and Jackie was recording for Bunny Lee at Federal. I was leaving the following day and Jackie said, ‘come with us down the studio nuh Prince’. When I went down there I saw Familyman….Aston (Barrett), Chamers and a couple of others guys from the Wailers. And they were so glad to see me and right away dem sey ‘gi mi a piece a di Mule Train man a long time we nuh hear dat yu nuh Prince,’ and they start to play Mule Train. And I just go behind the mike and Blurr!!!!…..and sing Mule Train and leave the studio,” recalled Count Prince Miller.
As happens pretty regular enough, especially in the early Jamaican music scene, it was a cover given a reggae twist. In this case of an older cowboy hit having been recorded by the likes of Frankie Laine, Bing Crosby, Tennessee Ernie Ford, and Vaughn Monroe.
FOR THE COLLECTORS: Produced by Jackie Edwards, it was originally released in the UK on Trojan Records (TR-7824) in 1971. I also have it on a Jamaican Jaguar pressing (J-05) from around the same time. It’s interesting to note that as the label shows it’s a Walt Disney Publishing tune. Trojan Records and Walt Disney – now there’s a combo!
Here is the Count himself discussing a new remix that came out recently.
The original cut
Derrick Morgan also recorded his own version of the Mule Train riddim changing it slightly to “Reggae Train” which he has performed to this day. You can find a pretty good pressing of this version on a Striker Lee re-issue.
And just for a little fun here is Bing Crosby’s version for your listening pleasure.