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Lyr Add: Panama Limited (Bukka White/Tom Rush)

GUEST 02 Mar 09 - 06:57 AM
PoppaGator 02 Mar 09 - 04:20 PM
GUEST,Tom Nelligan 02 Mar 09 - 11:06 PM
GUEST,Dwight Erskine 22 Jul 10 - 02:49 PM
Roger in Baltimore 22 Jul 10 - 03:28 PM
Roger in Baltimore 22 Jul 10 - 04:48 PM
GUEST,John Fullerton 28 Feb 14 - 08:28 PM
GUEST,guest Robbie Gimby 14 Dec 15 - 11:58 AM
GUEST 14 Dec 15 - 11:58 AM
GUEST,HiLo 14 Dec 15 - 12:16 PM
GUEST,henryp 14 Dec 15 - 05:27 PM
GUEST,HiLo 14 Dec 15 - 06:33 PM
GUEST,stevesg 23 Dec 15 - 06:47 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: PANAMA LIMITED (Bukka White/Tom Rush)
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 06:57 AM

Have waited too long for the lyrics and finally transcribed 'em myself.
Ken Ward
3/1/09

PANAMA LIMITED
Tom Rush version
"...kind of an amalgam of a bunch of Bukka White's train songs."
From YouTube
D tuning D A D F# A D, capo 2nd fret


This is a song about a train called the Panama Limited.
The Panama Limited's a train that runs from Chicago, down to New Orleans.
She's what they call a special streamlined train. That means she's fast.
That train's so fast, the hobos don't mess with that train.
They just stand by the track with their hat in their hands.

(Slide/fill)

Now I had a girl, she was leaving one morning on that train
And she got up singing and crying.
She said, "Daddy, you know'n I hate to go.
Hey, hey, hey, hey."

(Slide/fill)

I said, "I know you do, baby."

Now we're going on down to Union Depot to catch the Panama Limited,
And off in the distance, she heard a local freight blow.
She asked me was that the Panama Limited? I said, "No."
I said, "Babe, the train you heard blows north of town, sounds like this..."

(Local train slide)

"Panama Limited you hear off in the mountains to the south,
She sounds more lonesome, sound like this..."

(Panama Limited slide #1)
(Slide/fill)

Well, my gal she said, "What time is train time?"
I said, "I don't know anything about train time, babe.
I'm just hanging out tryin' to pick up a few dimes,"
And she jumped up singing and crying.

She said, "Daddy, it's alright the way you turned me down.
Hey, momma ain't got a dime."
And she turned her back on me,
And went running down the hill towards Union Depot.

And I stood there a minute, and I went running after her.
I was gonna beg forgiveness for the words I said.
And I went running, and running,
And I got down to the big stone steps going up to Union Depot.
I looked up. She was way up on top of the steps,
I called her name.

She heard me call her name and she turned
And called back to me over her left shoulder,
"Too late, too late, too late, too late.
Hey, momma gonna quit you now."

(Slide/fill)

And just when she said that, you know,
You could hear the Panama Limited blow,
Thirty-seven miles south of Memphis, Tennessee.

(Panama Limited slide #2)
(Slide/fill)

Now my gal she's running across the depot
Up to the depot agent's window
And she asks him what time train time was
And he said, "Go put your head on the track.
When you hear the rail singing, you know train time won't be long."
And she did. She went out across the platform,
Kneeled down on a cross-tie,
Put her pretty head up on that cold steel rail.
She could hear the Panama Limited coming down.

(Panama Limited slide #3)

She heard that rail, you know,
And she jumped up singing and crying.
She said, "Daddy, you know'n I hate to go,
Hey, momma ain't got a home."

(Slide/fill)

And she said that, you know,
I went up and stood behind her and put my arms around her.
And we stood there a little while,
And pretty soon the Panama Limited's on the outside of town.

Now, coming down to Memphis,
You got a downgrade, you got a crossing.
To make that crossing, an engineer's got to cut down on his air brakes.
You can hear that down in the depot.
Now my gal and me were down in Union Depot
With arms around each other.
The Panama Limited hit that crossing, she cut down, began to squall.

(Panama Limited slide #4)

My gal she heard those brakes, she jumped up one last time.
She said, "Daddy, you know'n I hate to go.
Hey, I may never see your face no more."

The Panama Limited's coming around the bend.
You can see the engineer. He's sitting way up in his big tall engine.
He's just leaning out to watch his drive wheel roll.
He's rolling fast.
He's got his one hand outside the cabin.
He's waving at all the little kiddies in the station.
They're all jumping around, waving back.
He's got his other hand upside inside the cab on the bell rope,
And all the time he's riding her in, and all the time he's slowing her down,
That bell keeps on toning.

(Panama Limited slide #5)
(Bell)

She's going everywhere but home.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tom Rush/Bukka White Panama Limited
From: PoppaGator
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 04:20 PM

Quite a job ~ that's a piece with a LOT of lyrics!

There are quite a few unintended/extraneous characters ~ if someone could clean 'em up (easily), that would be great. ;^)

This song appeared on Tom Rush's eponymous Vanguard LP, way back in about 1963 or 64; I bought a copy and just about wore it out.

Much more reecntly, I rented a DVD, "Judy Collins Wailflower Festival," which included appearances by Eric Anderson, Arlo Guthrie, and Tom Rush as well as Ms Collins, and on which Tom performs "Panama Limited." It was a pleasure to be able to SEE him play something I had heard so many, many times in the past.

As far as I could tell, the mostly-spoken lyrics were heard in exactly the same format/order as on that old record. I'm sure that Tom had to painstakingly practice and memorize his performance before his coordination of vocal and guitar could sound so easy and natural, and that once he got it down the way he wanted, it was never going to change much at all.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tom Rush/Bukka White Panama Limited
From: GUEST,Tom Nelligan
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 11:06 PM

I notice that Tom now corrects a minor historical error that appears in the version on that old Vanguard album (which I bought when I was in high school). On the original, he says that Panama Limited runs "from Washington DC down on to New Orleans". Now he's correctly originating it in Chicago. For decades up until 1971 the Panama Limited was the Illinois Central Railroad's premier overnight train on the Chicago-New Orleans run via Memphis.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Panama Limited (Bukka White/Tom Rush)
From: GUEST,Dwight Erskine
Date: 22 Jul 10 - 02:49 PM

My grandfather was an engineer on the Panama Limited, back in the steam-engine days. My dad worked for the Illinois Central in his youth, and was eventually an official with the railroad in its Memphis office. I'd like to hear this piece sometime in order to compare it to the better-known Steve Goodman-Arlo Guthrie tune, City of New Orleans. I do wish the lyrics could be amended to reflect the inaccuracy of the train coming and going from Union Station. The IC passenger trains of yesterday all ran from the now-razed Central Station.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Panama Limited (Bukka White/Tom Rush)
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 22 Jul 10 - 03:28 PM

A Tom Rush favorite of mine. The lyrics are not quite the same, but then the Vanguard version must have been in 1966 or so. Some differences might be mistakes and others intentional changes like putting the Limited on the Illinois Central Tracks.

Any song you sing for over 45 years is gonna experience some change. I'm impressed with how well the two versions do agree.

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Panama Limited (Bukka White/Tom Rush)
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 22 Jul 10 - 04:48 PM

Dwight,

If you go to YouTube, put Tom Rush in the search block and you will see he has a video of his performance that Ken used as the source of his transcription. It is nothing like Steve Goodman's song. I'm putting in a direct URL, but I am not sure it will work. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdOToAXo5WQ

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Panama Limited (Bukka White/Tom Rush)
From: GUEST,John Fullerton
Date: 28 Feb 14 - 08:28 PM

I was curious about what the term "peek seat" meant, and in looking around could not find a reference to it. Near the end of the song in this version, i3n my album, he says the engineers sitting way up in the peek seat, maybe he means peak seat, but I interpreted it to mean the spot where the engineer sticks his head out to look ahead, which I interpreted as the peek seat. I have no idea what happened to that part of the lyrics to change it, but there is no doubt that in the album named Tom Rush, he does use the term peek seat. Anybody got a clue?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Panama Limited (Bukka White/Tom Rush)
From: GUEST,guest Robbie Gimby
Date: 14 Dec 15 - 11:58 AM

great guitar by rush; whomever taught him he learned it well.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Panama Limited (Bukka White/Tom Rush)
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Dec 15 - 11:58 AM

great guitar by rush; whomever taught him he learned it well.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Panama Limited (Bukka White/Tom Rush)
From: GUEST,HiLo
Date: 14 Dec 15 - 12:16 PM

One of my favourite Tom Rush songs.Why was the train called the "Panama" limited ?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Panama Limited (Bukka White/Tom Rush)
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 14 Dec 15 - 05:27 PM

The Panama Limited operated from 1911 to 1971. It took its name from the Panama Canal, then under construction and three years from completion.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Panama Limited (Bukka White/Tom Rush)
From: GUEST,HiLo
Date: 14 Dec 15 - 06:33 PM

Thank you. I used to try to play this. Well, needless to say, after all these years, I still don,t have it!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Panama Limited (Bukka White/Tom Rush)
From: GUEST,stevesg
Date: 23 Dec 15 - 06:47 PM

"peak seat" is where the engineer sat

This song has haunted me for more than 40 years.

Once I got Tom Rush's version note for note, on my National Duolian, I went back to Booker ("Bukka') Washington White's recordings "Special Streamliner" and "The Panama Limited", and added back what Tom Rush missed, and added my own stuff.

I produced a terrifying story-song about the absolute nature of lost love, fear, begging forgiveness with no chance of ever getting it, people leaving forever and the last glimpse, dark depression, an uncaring universe, and death. If I thought I had the right audience, I ended my set with it. I invariably got a standing ovation, but closer inspection revealed shocked silence and tears.

Annie, my college girlfriend, rode the Panama Limited north from Champaign IL to Chicago in 1977, before Amtrak retired the name in 1981.

I never saw her again.

As the train left the depot, an ancient Black baggage handler pushing a heavily loaded baggage cart passed me. He said over his left shoulder, "She's gone everywhere but home".

I sat down on the asphalt, and cried until I could cry no more.

A high-ball passenger train roared out of a folksong and coiled around me like a boa constrictor. The engine stared me in the eyes with an unblinking, Cyclopean headlight. I don't think it will ever release its grip.

stevesg


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