The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #119222   Message #3704699
Posted By: Richie
27-Apr-15 - 08:12 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Libba Cotten's Freight Train
Subject: RE: Folklore: Libba Cotten's Freight Train

Clearly it's based on existing songs, which I call the "When I Die" songs. Here are some examples from two other sources:

1) WHEN I DIE- As printed by E.C. Perrow in 'Songs and Rhymes from the South,' The Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 28, No. 108 (April 1915), p. 130.

(A. From East Tennessee; mountain whites; recitation of F. Le Tellier; 1907.)

When I die, don' bury me a tall
But soak my body in alcohol.

When I die, bury me deep
En put a quart u' licker at my head en feet.

When I die, don' bury me a tall
But take me down to Bowery Hall
Take off my coat en open my vest
En tell all the girls I'm gone to rest.

(B. From Mississippi; negros; MS. of Mr. Harrison; 1909)

When I die don't bury me at all
Preserve my bones in alcohol
Fold my arms across my breast
Natural born . . . gone to rest.

Natural born . . . don't have to work
Carry a recommedation on the tail of my shirt.

(C. From Mississippi; negros; MS. of W.G. Pitts; 1909)

When I die, bury me deep
Tell all the gamblers that I've gone to sleep
Put a pair of bones in my right hand
And I'll throw seven in the promised land.

2) Brown Collection: 466 Train . . . Run So Fast

From Blake B. Harrison, Trinity College student. December 5, 1919, with music. As in White ANFS 402 (without music).

1 Train, train, train, train, run so fast,

Couldn't see nothing but de trees go past.

Refrain: Don't tell mama where I'm gone.
Cause I'm on my way back home.