Monday, February 25, 2008

Train Songs

Danville Girl

There are a lot of songs about trains and train wrecks. Some are hobo songs, like Railroading across the Great Divide, by Utah Phillips and of course Wabash Cannonball, that mythical hobo train that might take you to a better place one day. I've known the lyrics to Wreck of the Old 97 since I was a lad. My father would sing it in the old station wagon as we drove off in search of some secret trout stream.

Casey Jones

Not to be confused with the excellent Grateful Dead Tune which has Casey "ridin that train, high on cocaine".

Long Black Train (a little bit of Japanese Americana)

Wreck of the Old 97

Daddy What's a Train?

Utah Phillips recorded Daddy What's a Train on his album, Good Though, from the early 70s. He takes his boy down to the old rail yards, looking for something he could show, a trace of another time. Utah laments, "Kids are different now - some of them don't even know that milk comes from a cow".

Finally, the Orange Blossom Special. This is Charlie McCoy

Do you have a favourite train song? I've only touched the surface. The Clash did one, didn't they? Then there's Leadbelly and Midnight Special. There's Train of Love, the Johnny Cash tune. Here's a pretty good list. And another. And here are some Songs and Sounds of Railroading. I wonder if we could compile nearly as long a list of songs about buses or planes? I can think of a few. There are plenty of songs about trucks and trucking for sure.

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