Released in 1973 on a Motown Promotional only release to support the Mayoral election campaign of Coleman Young. The Originals consisted of C.P.Spencer, F.Gorman, W.Gaines and H.Dixon were known as Motown’s best kept secret and never really had the success they should have. In the third of the series, we move to 1973 Detroit. But to really appreciate the story of this release we first need to step back to 1969 when Richard Austin ran for Mayor of Detroit. This was a turning point for the city although Richard Austin was defeated at the general election it was becoming clear that the populace of Detroit wanted change.
Fast forward 4 years to “Election 1973” in order to urge voters to use democratic means to get their voice heard this single was released, Coleman Young stood head and shoulders above the other candidates in the Mayoral race. Coleman ran on the election agenda of change, in particular the need for change in line with the reform agenda that had been building since the 1967 “Rebellion” or Detroit Riots.
A particular target for Coleman was the abolishment of STRESS (Stop the Robberies Enjoy Safe Streets) which had been formed following the large number of robberies that took place in 1970. It was a classic sting or entrapment type operation, but it led to huge increase in Police brutality and lead to the death of 22 “suspects” the majority of whom were black. By 1971 the police in Detroit had killed more civilians than Police in any other city in the USA.
As part of the movement to support and elect Detroit’s first black Mayor, Coleman was able to gather support from all Detroiters and the Political elite because he supported the fight against racism and supported the need for business. He wanted to rebuild a fair and harmonious city.
Support was leant by Motown, the most successful black owned and operated record label in Detroit though the release of an anthemic 45 that provided a call to joining and supporting the change Detroit needed.
Young Train by the Originals. This incredibly rare 45 is a poignant reminder that 48 years later the struggle continues today for equality and harmony for all.
The title “Young Train” is a brilliant collaboration of using Colemans surname and a hark back to the freedom songs enshrined in the blues and soul history of Black America, think Freedom Riders, Southbound train, Midnight train to Georgia to name but a tiny number. It captured the imagination of Detroit leading to the inauguration of the First Black Mayor of Detroit in 1974. Coleman Young captured the hearts and minds of the people of Detroit, some of his actions and associates led to questions around his fitness for office, but the moment in time lives forever in this exclusively rare 45 now brought to you with the blessings of Universal Music Group via MD Records.
On a final note, it is in many ways incredibly sad that this anthemic song still holds a valid call to action in its message in 2021. So, turn the volume up and get on board the “Young Train” for democracy and equality.
Big thanks go out to Karl “Chalky” White for material used in the sleeve.
All aboard for the third release in the Blacktop series from the MD Collective.