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...that's the biggest disaster, people goin' around goin': 'mah baby left me, mommma...' [laughter]. Hel-lo, y'know? It's like absolutely bizarre. Nobody cares whose voice you sing in as long as it yours - Jerry Ricks, Port Townsend 97

Author Topic: Train and railroad songs  (Read 7756 times)

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Offline waxwing

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Re: Train and railroad songs
« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2005, 01:32:41 PM »
Cool, Michael. Start a thread on mining blues. But remember where you are and let's keep it focused on prewar blues. Maybe, if someone wants, they could start one on flood blues, too.
All for now.
John C.
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

“Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22

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Emma Lee

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Re: Train and railroad songs
« Reply #16 on: February 08, 2005, 02:20:24 PM »
Great work!? :D? Here's an updated running list of Train and Railroad Songs:

Freight Train (Elizabeth Cotten)
Railroad Bill (Etta Baker)
KC Railroad Blues (Andrew and Jim Baxter)
KC Moan (Memphis Jug Band)
Big Railroad Blues (Cannon's Jug Stompers)
Wreck of the Old 97 (Pink Anderson)
Railroadin' Some (Henry Thomas)
How Long (Brownie McGhee)
Southbound Train (Big Bill Broonzy)
Blue Railroad Train (Delmore Brothers)
M&O Blues (Memphis Slim)
Kassie Jones, Pt. 1 (Furry Lewis)
Spike Driver Blues (Mississippi John Hurt)
Avalon Blues (Mississippi John Hurt)
Talkin' Casey (Mississippi John Hurt)
Railroad Blues (Sam McGee)
The New Frisco Train (Bukka White)
The Panama Limited (Bukka White)
Special Streamline (Bukka White)
Mean Conductor Blues (Ed Bell)
Rolling Stone, part 1 (Robert Wilkins) gets into some train stuff
The Train Done Left Me (Carolina Tar Heels)
Bringing in the Georgia Mail (Bill Monroe)
The Train That Carried My Girl From Town (Frank Hutchison)
Orange Blossom Special (Rouse Brothers)
Snatch It Back Blues (Buddy Boy Hawkins)
Long Journey Home (Monroe Brothers)
Pea Vine Blues (Charley Patton)
Little Red Caboose (Henry Thomas)
Sunshine Special (Blind Lemon Jefferson)
Gone Dead Train (King Solomon Hill)
Gone Dead On You Blues (Blind Lemon Jefferson)
The Midnight Special (Leadbelly)
Big Four (Charlie Jordan)
Rock Island Line (Leadbelly)
Yellow Dog Blues (Sam Collins)
M & O Blues (Walter Davis)
M & O Blues (Willie Brown)
Broke Down Engine (Blind Willie McTell)
Southern Casey Jones (Jesse James)
Down South Blues (Scrapper Blackwell)
John Henry (or John Henry Blues), versions by Henry Thomas, Cephas & Wiggins, James Roberts, Arthur McClain, Joe Thompson, Alec Askew, and others.

For more info: a chapter or section in Paul Oliver's Blues Fell This Morning is devoted to this subject.
Train compilations:?Train 45: Railroad Songs Of The Early 1900s
? Classic Railroad Songs, Vol. 1: Steel Rails
« Last Edit: April 18, 2005, 10:48:24 AM by Johnm »

boots

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Re: Train and railroad songs
« Reply #17 on: February 08, 2005, 02:34:09 PM »
Two more:
Rev. Robert Wilkins - Streamline 'Frisco Unlimited
Mississippi Fred McDowell - On The Frisco Line
« Last Edit: February 08, 2005, 03:20:20 PM by Boots »

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Train and railroad songs
« Reply #18 on: February 09, 2005, 08:38:33 AM »
In addition to How Long Blues by Leroy Carr (Brownie's version listed above), Carr also does a version of Big Four Blues (complete with train whistles).

Emma Lee

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Re: Train and railroad songs
« Reply #19 on: February 09, 2005, 11:36:39 AM »
Also, "The Moore Girl" by Andrew and Jim Baxter is all about trains and train sounds. According to the liner notes of Violin, Sing the Blues for Me, "Moore girl" is probably a mondegreen, or misheard lyric, for "mogul," a type of freight locomotive.

(Speaking of which, I'm still not sure know what Bamalong is a mondegreen for. Working theories: Second Babylon; Second 'Bama [Alabama infantry unit] long; or maybe some sort of obscure mojo term.)?

And yet another train song from Henry Thomas, "When the Train Comes Along." Fully four of his 23 complete recorded works are train songs.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2005, 10:49:08 AM by Johnm »

Offline GhostRider

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Re: Train and railroad songs
« Reply #20 on: February 09, 2005, 11:53:24 AM »
Hi:

One of the verses of "Kentucky Blues" by Little Hat Jones refers to the Santa Fe railroad and "catching the blinds" on his way outta town.

Alex

Offline waxwing

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Re: Train and railroad songs
« Reply #21 on: February 09, 2005, 01:47:34 PM »
Yeah, right, "ridin' the blinds" is a train reference, too. So then "Ragged and Dirty" by William Brown comes to mind right off, and I know that McTell's got a few. Well, there's Statesboro Blues, but that's not got "blinds" in it. Okay, listening to the JPS 1st volume:
Writin' Paper Blues
Stole Rider Blues
Dark Night Blues
Statesboro Blues (mentioned above)
Loving Talkin' Blues
Atlanta Strut (he imitates a piano player imitating a "train gwine Atlanta to Augusta"
Travelin' Blues (Lots of great train sound imitations and images, including blinds)
Broke Down Engine (mentioned in previous post)
Scarey Day Blues ("she shakes it like the Central, she wobbles like the L & N)

And that's just the first quarter of his recorded works. Actually, it makes a lot of sense that someone from Atlanta would have a lot of train images in their lyrics. Being at the southern end of the Appalachian mountais, Atlanta was criss crossed by numerous railroad lines. In fact, early in the century they began to build bridges over the tracks, which had essentially brought street traffic to a halt. and eventually there were so many bridges that the whole downtown area just moved upstairs one floor, built new storefronts, and all the trains ran "underground". I visited in the '70s when they were beginning to excavate "Underground Atlanta" all the old storefronts still being there. I hear its turned into a Disneyesque chainstore paradise now. Anyway, I would expect the other Atlanta players to have lots of train images in their lyrics, too.
All for now.
John C.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2005, 03:54:16 PM by waxwing »
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

“Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22

http://www.youtube.com/user/WaxwingJohn
https://www.facebook.com/WaxwingJohn

boots

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Re: Train and railroad songs
« Reply #22 on: February 09, 2005, 01:59:25 PM »
Just played on the Juke:
Palmer McAbee - McAbee's Railroad Piece

Offline Johnm

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Re: Train and railroad songs
« Reply #23 on: February 10, 2005, 09:02:54 AM »
Hi all,
A few more to add to the list--
   * "Seaboard Stomp"--Blind Blake
   * "Depot Blues"--Son House
   * "If I Die A Railroad Man"--Teneva Ramblers
   * "The Longest Train"--J.E. Mainer's Mountaineers
I have a feeling this list could go on for a while, particularly if people just work from their own memories.  It's fun to think about it.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Richard

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Re: Train and railroad songs
« Reply #24 on: February 10, 2005, 01:37:56 PM »
Unless I've missed -

Waiting for a train - Jimmie Rodgers
PDQ - Clarence Williams Jug band

I'll keep thing but the longer the list the harder it gets ;D
(That's enough of that. Ed)

Offline Rivers

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Re: Train and railroad songs
« Reply #25 on: February 10, 2005, 06:45:59 PM »
Conspicuously absent: Special Agent Blues - Sleepy John Estes
Danville Girl and derivitives, esp. Good Morning Mr Railroad Man -Dock Boggs, Woody Guthrie
There are zillions of Jimmie Rodgers tunes about trains.
Tamp 'em Up Solid, Josh White, Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet
Got a feeling there should be a Funny Papa Smith song in there too but it eludes me.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2005, 06:48:25 PM by Rivers »

blind rat blues

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Re: Train and railroad songs
« Reply #26 on: February 11, 2005, 05:29:08 AM »
Hi guys and gals, I have a couple to add Trouble in mind and Santa Fe Blues by Lightnin' Hopkins.

Offline Eldergreene

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Re: Train and railroad songs
« Reply #27 on: February 12, 2005, 03:12:34 AM »
One of my pickin' faves is John Fahey's ' Last Steam Engine Train', good fun with that 5th string slide an' all..

mdpastor

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Re: Train and railroad songs
« Reply #28 on: February 12, 2005, 10:30:34 AM »
Also, "Waiting For a Train", "The Wabash Canonball",? "500 Miles", and "The City of New Orleans".
« Last Edit: April 18, 2005, 10:50:33 AM by Johnm »

Offline outfidel

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Re: Train and railroad songs
« Reply #29 on: February 14, 2005, 11:24:44 AM »
Here's an interesting book that I just stumbled across on Amazon:

Long Steel Rail: The Railroad in American Folksong

One of the customer reviews told me something about "Wabash Cannonball" that I didn't know before:

    (H)ave you ever wondered about the phrase "She's the wondrous combination called the Wabash Cannonball"? What in the world does "combination" mean? Apparently, it means nothing more than that someone (who may have been more familiar with songs than with railroads) misunderstood the meaning of the original words and wrote down the wrong word! Does it help to know that a very early version of the song went "She's the bo's
[hobos'] accommodation called the Wabash Cannonball"? The train "accommodated" hobos by providing free, albeit unauthorized, transportation and at least temporary shelter from the elements.[/list]
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