The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #30973   Message #400454
Posted By: Joe Offer
17-Feb-01 - 06:49 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
Subject: Lyr Add: THE WRECK OF THE OLD 97
Looks like we could have some fun looking into this song. The primary version in the Digital Tradition is here (click) which is more-or-less the version sung on the recording by Vernon Dalhart. I think the historical accounts identify the engineer as Joseph Andrew "Steve" Broady, but versions of the song identify him as "Pete" and "Steve Brooklyn." Here are the lyrics to onve version from Scalded to Death by the Steam, which devotes an entire chapter to the song. You woun't believe how much space Norm Cohen devotes to this song in Long Steel Rail.
-Joe Offer-


On a cold frosty morning in the month of September
When the clouds were hanging low,
Ninety-seven pulled out of the Washington station
Like an arrow shot from a bow.

Old Ninety-seven was the fastest mail train
That was ever on the Southern line,
But when she got to Monroe, Virginia
She was forty-seven minutes behind.

Oh, they handed him his orders at Monroe, Virginia,
Saying: "Steve, you're away behind time.
This is not 38, but it's old 97
You must put `er in Spencer on time.

Steve Broady said to his black greasy fireman,
"Just shovel in a little more coal,
And when we cross the White Oak Mountain
You can watch Old 97 roll."

It's a mighty rough road from Lynchburg to Danville
And the line's on a three mile grade.
It was on that grade that he lost his air brakes
And you see what a jump he made.

He was going down hill at ninety miles an hour
When the whistle broke into a scream
He was found in the wreck with his hand on the throttle
And scalded to death by the steam.

Now ladies you must all take fair warning
From this time ever more
Never speak harsh words to your true loving husbands
They may leave you and never return.

September 27, 1903
Danville, Va.

From Scalded to Death By the Steam, Lyle

DT #634
Laws G2
@train @death @railroad @wreck
filename[ WRECK972
Tune file : WRECK97