The band, Freight Train, was formed by The Reds® founding member, Rick Shaffer, in 1968.  The line-up went through many personnel changes before arriving at the one that appears on the 1971 album, "Just The Beginning," on Fly By Nite records, a subsidiary of the Lost-Nite and Crimson labels, owned by Philadelphia record man Jerry Greene.   Greene released a catalog of doo wop and oldies hits in the 1960’s, most notably the hit record by The Soul Survivors, "Expressway To Your Heart,"  and today owns the compilation label, Collectibles, located in Narberth, PA.

The Freight Train albums’ line-up was Rick Shaffer on lead guitar and back-up vocals, Steve Martina on guitar and lead vocals, Jim Peters on bass, and Tommy Geddes on drums.  The album is a collection of Chicago blues standards done in a aggressive Paul Butterfield/British blues style, that included some of the great master works of Howlin' Wolf, Willie Dixon, T-Bone Walker, Sonny Boy Williamson and the great Magic Sam.  It also contained a rare track, "Rollin Man," by British blues guitarist Peter Green.  The album was engineered by Joel Fein, for his outstanding R&B style.  Fein’s signature on the soundtrack, "The Buddy Holly Story," starring Gary Busey, is legendary.

The band played all the venues of the time period, from outdoor Festivals to University gigs, coffee houses, and as the opening act for other more established bands.  Then, just prior to recording their next album, this time of original blues and R&B, Steve Martina decided to totally stop playing music.  His departure created quite a hole in the line-up, especially since Martina was principle vocalist and writer of the new material that had a J Geils / Butterfield Blues sound approach.  Nevertheless, Martina was replaced by guitarist/vocalist, John Rostkowski, a talented and distinctive vocalist/songwriter.  The next, and final, upset for the band was changing management because of an unfulfilled promise to get the band off Fly By Nite, and on RCA.  So, in 1973, Freight Train pulled into the station and disbanded.  

Today, “Just The Beginning,” is recognized as a nugget of "Heavy Psych Blues" in the collectors market, and the "Acid Archives.”  In 2011 the album resurfaced on CD on the  Russian Federation label, Vitt.  And, original 1971 copies of the album sell for whatever a collector will pay, sometimes as much as $225.    

In 1977, Shaffer, Geddes, and Peters, got back together, added keyboardist, Bruce Cohen, and formed, The Reds®. 

 Tarock Music