The Black Train
During The Malta Bums commitment, his mainly day job as a draughtsman, his family and playing Waterpolo, he lived The Malta Bums in 1972 and from The Black Train in 1973 to played only in weekends.
The original formation of The Black Train was Freddie Portelli as a lead Guitar and Vocals, Freddie Calleja Drummer and Vocalist and George Baldacchino was a bass player and vocals at the very beginning, he emigrated to Australia and Joe Vella Bass player and vocals and replaced him to form the known THE BLACK TRAIN.
The name Black Train orginally this way, when an local promoter Leli Saliba wanted to book Freddie to play with a band at Pheonica Hotel Ballroom and asked Freddie what is the name of the band which was not yet a band but, just musicians, but he wanted a name for publicity on the media and he needed a name right then because he was going to book the adverts right then, and when he urged Freddie for a name BLACK TRAIN came out from Freddie’s mouth.
After the memories ans experance gain with The Malta Bums which Freddie was the leader and founder of THE MALTA BUMS legendary band, could not cope laying everynigh, play waterpoolo, work as a draughtsmen, so he set up BlackTrain to play only at weekends, but my urge of composing songs will not let him go and so BLACK TRAIN had a long chain of hit records which are still regulary requested to day. It was really not hard to establish Black Train as a top band and for years was voted as best local Band in Malta’s popularity poll every year of this Band’s existence.
Freddie got many contacts from The Malta Bums experence, It was who always worked out all contacts for the Malta Bums so it was no difficulty at all to keep and also add more contacts when he formed his second Band BLACK TRAIN.
Black Train evey weekends will play mainly the Phoencia Ball Room, at that time that was the Mecca place of top bands, Place Hall at Paola and in summer they used to have concerts around Malta and Gozo when they was not abroad, because they got many invitations to went playing aboard and make concerts and TV appearances performing live in Canada, Uk and Italja due to the popularity band hit records.
As Black Train they issued two Albums and about 12 vinyl records on 45rpm. were they all guarantee a success, and with beautiful lyrics and good beat in them.
The popolarity with Black Train get more commitments and will play during the week too, and after another wonderful adventure with this band, after 12 years Freddie begain to find difficult to continue with Black Train on professional bases, work as a draughtsman, playing waterpoolo at the highest level including Malta’s international team, and decieded to take a break.
After the split of the band in 1985 Freddie Calleja spend sometime playing and after stoped, but Joe Vella who was the youngest one is still playing till today, as bassist especialy with jazz bands like Vinny Vella Jr.Band.
Times go by and after the sixtteen years Freddie Portelli make a come back, and he issued his first solo Cd Album which was a double album with the oldies recordings that he composed for The Malta Bums and Black Train named Għall Dejjem was a huge success issued by KTA Records which was printed three times and still sought and true songs still played till today. After also introduced more on more CD Albums relesed, to mention a triple album.
- Viva Malta
- Black Train
Singles A & B -Side
(As The Black Train Group)
- Blue Sea Bay
- Konna Tfal
(As Freddie & The Black Train)
- ( ) Jidbiegħu / Tgħallimt
- ( ) Mulej / Kliem
- (1975) Flimkien / Ejja Lura
- ( ) Se Jkolli Nemmen / Joħlom Min Irid
- ( ) Fuqek Se Immut / Titlaqnix
- (1978) Wied Ta' Dmugħ / Tigħddx Le
- (1977) Viva Malta / Tilwima
- (1977) Ġej il-Milied / Għandek Lili hawn Hekk
- ( ) Kullħadd Jaf / Adam u Eva
- ( ) Ħallini / Ma Kellekx Tort
- ( ) Naf Għalfejn / Magħqudin