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Lyr Req: The Longest Train (Mainers Mountaineers)

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GUEST,Jonathan Hewlett 12 Dec 07 - 02:11 PM
Amos 12 Dec 07 - 03:51 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 12 Dec 07 - 04:12 PM
Mark Ross 13 Dec 07 - 10:22 AM
Amos 13 Dec 07 - 10:27 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 Dec 07 - 01:13 PM
Amos 13 Dec 07 - 01:38 PM
12-stringer 14 Dec 07 - 07:44 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 14 Dec 07 - 10:58 PM
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Subject: The Longest Train
From: GUEST,Jonathan Hewlett
Date: 12 Dec 07 - 02:11 PM

Does anyone have lyrics to the song, The Longest Train, by J.E. Mainers Mountaineers. I have the song but I just cannot make out the first or last verse.


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Subject: RE: The Longest Train
From: Amos
Date: 12 Dec 07 - 03:51 PM

I dunno the version you mention, but here is Ollie Gilbert's version:

VERSE 1
The longest train I ever saw
Run by Joe Brown's coal mine
The headlight passed at six o'clock
The cab came by at nine

VERSE 2
The prettiest girl I ever saw
Is on that train an' gone
Her eyes were blue, her cheeks was brown
An' her hair is hung way down

VERSE 3
Th train it wrecked at four miles
It killed my Evalane
Her head was found in th driver's seat
Her poor body hain't been found

VERSE 4
Th longest way, th longest day
The longest night
Was the day Evalene died
I walked the track all day, alone,
I bowed my head an' cried

VERSE 6
Th long steel rail, the short cross ties
They carried away
The arms that brought me safely here
But I'll make it home, someday


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Subject: RE: The Longest Train
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 12 Dec 07 - 04:12 PM

The Tenneva Ramblers recorded the song in 1927; the couplet
The engine passed at six o'clock,
And the cab it passed at nine,
originated with them.
Norm Cohen, "Long Steel Rail," p. 496

N. I. White, from a black railroad gang in NC:
The longest train I ever saw
Was on the Seaboard Air Line,
The engine pas' at 'a ha' pas' one,
And the caboose went pas' at nine.
"American Negro Folk Songs," 1928.


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Subject: RE: The Longest Train
From: Mark Ross
Date: 13 Dec 07 - 10:22 AM

Am I wrong , it seems to me Mainer's Mountaineers are playing the song in 2/4 time, but they sing the tune in 3/4? Am I crazy, or were they?

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: The Longest Train
From: Amos
Date: 13 Dec 07 - 10:27 AM

There is also a kindred set of lines in "Lonesome ROad":

Look up, look down that lonesome road
Hang down your little head and cry my love,
Hang down your head and cry

The best of friends must part some day
And why not you and I my love,
And why not you and I

The longest train I ever did see
Was on that Georgia line my love,
Was on that Georgia line

The only girl I've ever loved
Is on that train and gone my love,
Is on that train and gone

...


A


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Subject: RE: The Longest Train
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 Dec 07 - 01:13 PM

Doc and Merle Watson perhaps should be credited with floating the "longest train" verse into "Lonesome Road." It has no other connection with "The Longest Train."

"Lonesome Road" appeared in print in Scarborough, "On the Trail of Negro Folk Songs," 1925, collected from a Negro road worker in Virginia. Scarborough comments that she didn't know if the song was from black, or white, tradition. It doesn't have the train verse (p. 73, with short score).
Carl Sandburg collected a different version, perhaps from Texas. No train verse (The American Songbag, pp. 322-323, somewhat different music, and emphasis on a lying woman).
Collected by Brown in NC in 1923(?);, I don't have the lyrics or details. The music again varies.
Leach and Beck collected the song from African-Americans (1940s?) in Virginia; no railroad verses, but it has some other floaters (JAFL, vol. 63, p. 281, with score).


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Subject: RE: The Longest Train
From: Amos
Date: 13 Dec 07 - 01:38 PM

When I first heard "Longest Train" back in 1960, I think, the verses were a tad different, but I do not know whose (aside from my banjo-player) they were:

"The longest Train I ever did see
Was a hundred coaches long.
And the only woman I ever did love
Was on that train and gone.

On that train and gone, love,
On that train and gone,
Only woman I ever did love,
Was on that train and gone.

The train pulled out, and the whistle blew
With a long and a lonesome sound
She is gone, she is gone,
ANd left me here alone.

This version also wandered over into a number of versions from the "Who's Gonnas Shoe Your Pretty Little Foot" archetype. So I suspect it was a hodgepdoge sort of thing.   

A


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Subject: RE: The Longest Train
From: 12-stringer
Date: 14 Dec 07 - 07:44 PM

The Mainer version lyrics are:

The longest train I ever saw
Was the day I left my home
The engine had passed the 6-Mile Post
And the cab had never left town.

chorus:
Look up, look down, that lonesome road
Where you and I must go
To the pines, to the pines, where the sun never shines,
And I shiver when the cold winds blow.

The prettiest little girl I ever saw
Was walking down the line
Her cheeks was painted rosy red
And her hair hung down behind.

chorus

That train run back four miles from town
And killed my girl, you know
Her head was found in the driver wheel
Her body I never could find.

chorus


Bluebird B-6222 (mx 94340-1), recorded 6 August 1935 in Atlanta. (From an mp3 downloaded off the jazz-on-line.com site.)


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Subject: RE: The Longest Train
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 14 Dec 07 - 10:58 PM

Looking into F. C. Brown, North Carolina Folklore, there is a version similar to Mainer's, collected in 1921 from a Miss Hattie McNeill, Wilkes County, NC. I have only the volume with musical scores, so I can't post the verses she sang.

IN THE PINES, WHERE THE SUN NEVER SHINES

To the pines, to the pines, where the sun never shines.
Oh, I shivered when the cold wind blowed.
8
The longest train I ever saw
Was on the Georgia line.
The engine passed at five o'clock,
The cab never passed till nine.

pp. 199-200, F. C. Brown, "North Carolina Folklore," vol. 5, The Music of the Folk Songs, ed. J. P. Schinhan.


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