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Review: Lonnie Donegan - Rock Island Line

DigiTrad:
ROCK ME ON THE WATER
THE ROCK ISLAND LINE
THE ROCK ISLAND LINE (is a mighty fine line)


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Shanghaiceltic 07 Jan 10 - 07:51 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 07 Jan 10 - 08:49 PM
Shanghaiceltic 07 Jan 10 - 09:10 PM
beeliner 08 Jan 10 - 07:53 PM
Bonzo3legs 09 Jan 10 - 11:28 AM
GUEST,Paul Griggs 11 Jan 10 - 04:30 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 11 Jan 10 - 06:36 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 11 Jan 10 - 06:39 PM
GUEST,Paul Griggs 12 Jan 10 - 04:33 AM
Smedley 12 Jan 10 - 05:05 AM
Will Fly 12 Jan 10 - 05:18 AM
Smedley 12 Jan 10 - 05:42 AM
GUEST,Doc John 12 Jan 10 - 06:24 AM
Dave Roberts 13 Jan 10 - 02:14 AM
GUEST,Doc John 13 Jan 10 - 04:18 AM
Will Fly 13 Jan 10 - 04:35 AM
Dave Roberts 13 Jan 10 - 05:18 AM
Roger the Skiffler 13 Jan 10 - 05:50 AM
Will Fly 13 Jan 10 - 06:30 AM
GUEST 13 Jan 10 - 07:06 AM
Dave Roberts 13 Jan 10 - 09:53 AM
MikeL2 13 Jan 10 - 10:32 AM
wilbyhillbilly 14 Jan 10 - 04:56 AM
SINSULL 09 Nov 10 - 10:28 PM
banjoman 10 Nov 10 - 07:05 AM
GUEST,DWR 10 Nov 10 - 08:40 AM
GUEST,DWR 10 Nov 10 - 08:57 AM
banjoman 11 Nov 10 - 06:57 AM
GUEST,Cpt. Colin 11 Nov 10 - 07:26 AM
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Subject: Review: Lonnie Donegan - Rosk Island Line
From: Shanghaiceltic
Date: 07 Jan 10 - 07:51 PM

This might be of interest for the Lonnie Donegan fans, there are five days left to listen.

Rock Island Line

Folk singer and musician Huw Williams tells the story of how Lonnie Donegan's recording of The Rock Island changed the course of popular music forever. Huw talks to The Quarrymen and Peter Donegan, tracing the origins of The Rock Island Line from the prisons of the southern American states via John Lennon's prized 78 to the railroad itself.

The programme includes a new recording of The Rock Island Line featuring The Quarrymen and Pete Donegan.


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Subject: RE: Review: Lonnie Donegan - Rock Island Line
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 07 Jan 10 - 08:49 PM

I just listened to the full program. Rock Island Line had as much to do with me getting into folk music as any song I ever heard. I enjoyed the program very much but in their enthusiasm they went a wee bit overboard. If it wasn't for Rock Island Line we never would have had sliced bread and Barack Obamma would never have become President. Hey, I LOVE Rock Island Line and Lonnie Donnegan, but I still would have become a folk singer. And I can't buy that the Beatles never would have existed except for the Rock Island Line. A cruel irony for those folkies who think the Beatles killed folk music. :-)

Thanks so much for posting this.

The Beatles did record a Lonnie Donnegan song, though... Nobody's Child.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Review: Lonnie Donegan - Rock Island Line
From: Shanghaiceltic
Date: 07 Jan 10 - 09:10 PM

My two Gt Aunts (both spinsters) took me to see Lonnie Donegan at the Cliffs Pavillion in Southend On Sea when I was just a wain.

Re your comments about 'If LD had not recorded...' it does seem to be the genre in any documentary these days, a sort of extra justification.

The Beeb is worth checking out on a regular basis as they often have music orientated documentaries on BBC Radio 4 arvived for a week after broadcast. I lsiten to them during the day as I work at home in Perth.

BBC Radio 4 documentaries


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Subject: RE: Review: Lonnie Donegan - Rock Island Line
From: beeliner
Date: 08 Jan 10 - 07:53 PM

I just went nuts over LD's recording when it came out - I still have the 45.

The Stan Freberg parody, with the late Peter Leeds as the unimpressed producer, was pretty good too.

"I got pigs, I got horses, I got cows..."

"You don't have to name all the animals."

"You didn't let me get to the sheep, man."

"It doesn't matter."

"It matters to the sheep!"

While the song was popular there was also a Dodge Truck commercial that utilized the song's basic structure with different lyrics.

When no one seems to mention, however, is that the Rock Island, as far as I know, never went to New Orleans. Its line from Tucumcari to Memphis connected with the Illinois Central, which did, and still does.


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Subject: RE: Review: Lonnie Donegan - Rock Island Line
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 09 Jan 10 - 11:28 AM

I once got into trouble at school for announcing to my friend as he walked into morning assembly that LD's new record had gone straight to number one. Perhaps it was My Old Man's a Dustman!


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Subject: RE: Review: Lonnie Donegan - Rock Island Line
From: GUEST,Paul Griggs
Date: 11 Jan 10 - 04:30 PM

The Beatles never recorded "Nobody's Child" but the Travelling Wilburys did.

Check out memories of Lonnie Donegan at

Memories of Lonnie Donegan


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Subject: RE: Review: Lonnie Donegan - Rock Island Line
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 11 Jan 10 - 06:36 PM

I was pretty sure they did (The Beatles), but I'd have to check. It was before they became big.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Review: Lonnie Donegan - Rock Island Line
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 11 Jan 10 - 06:39 PM

Here are the lyrics to Nobody's Child as recorded by the Beatles taken from Lyricsearch.

==========================
Beatles - Nobody's Child
==========================
(Coben/Foree)
Lead Vocal: ???

As I was slowly passing
An orphan's home one day
I stopped for just a little while
To watch the childern play
Alone a boy was standing
And when I asked him why
He turned with eyes that could not see
And he began to cry


I'm nobody's child
I'm nobody's child
Just like the flowers
I am growing wild
I've got no mammy's kisses
I've got no, no daddy's smile
Nobody wants me
I'm nobody's child

No mammy's arms to hold me
Or soothe me when I cry
'Cause sometimes I feel so lonesome
I wish that I could die
I'd walk the streets of Heaven
Where all the blind can see
And just like all the other kids there'd be a home for me

I'm nobody's child
I'm nobody's child
Just like the flowers
I'm, I'm growing wild
I've got no mammy's kisses
I've got no, no daddy's smile
Nobody wants me
I'm nobody's child


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Subject: RE: Review: Lonnie Donegan - Rock Island Line
From: GUEST,Paul Griggs
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 04:33 AM

I've discovered the Beatles connection with Nobody's Child. The Beatles recorded as a backing band to Tony Sheridan in Germany on Polydor during the early sixties under the name "Beat Brothers". One of the tracks was "Nobody's Child" and the singer was Tony Sheridan.

Paul.


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Subject: RE: Review: Lonnie Donegan - Rock Island Line
From: Smedley
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 05:05 AM

You can't blame the Beatles for keeping quiet about 'Nobody's Child' - sugary schlock!!!

As for Donegan, there's no denying his historical importance, but don't his records sound a bit forced and false if you listen to them today ?


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Subject: RE: Review: Lonnie Donegan - Rock Island Line
From: Will Fly
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 05:18 AM

As for Donegan, there's no denying his historical importance, but don't his records sound a bit forced and false if you listen to them today ?

Not in my book, but it's all personal taste. Why compare his early stuff with the sounds of today when their impact was in the 50s? He influenced a whole generation of youngsters to get a guitar and make music for themselves - and did so by his own obvious enthusiasm and enjoyment of the music.

Have a read of Pete Frame's "The Restless Generation" to put it all into context.


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Subject: RE: Review: Lonnie Donegan - Rock Island Line
From: Smedley
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 05:42 AM

I know that history, already, pretty much. And I didn't mean to compare him with today's music but with other late 50s stuff. I thnk his voice, in particular, has worn less well than some of his contempooraries, but I'd never dispute his huge importance.


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Subject: RE: Review: Lonnie Donegan - Rock Island Line
From: GUEST,Doc John
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 06:24 AM

Well to me Lonnie Donegan sounds as good today as he did in the 50's: I've just rediscovered his material on CD and I've done the journey of LD to Lead Belly etc back to Nic Jones etc. Some of the other skifflers were pretty grim, however. I agree with Smedley about 'Nobody's Child'; LD must have liked it as he recorded it twice.


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Subject: RE: Review: Lonnie Donegan - Rock Island Line
From: Dave Roberts
Date: 13 Jan 10 - 02:14 AM

Talking of 'My Old Man's A Dustman'; it came out in (I think, without actually checking) 1960 and was right in the middle of the changeover
from 78 rpm to 45 rpm records, as evidenced by the fact that my eldest brother and his friend both bought the record on the same day,
my brother on 45 and his friend on 78.
They came to our house to play the records for the first time on our Dansette Junior record player.
It's strange to remember nowadays how the purchase of just one record was such an occasion back then.
Both records were vinyl and identical in every way except for size.
So Lonnie must have been among the very last performers to have his records issued in the old format.


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Subject: RE: Review: Lonnie Donegan - Rock Island Line
From: GUEST,Doc John
Date: 13 Jan 10 - 04:18 AM

Dave, don't forget that knock out triangular thing in the middle on the 45 ! Or was that only on EP's.


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Subject: RE: Review: Lonnie Donegan - Rock Island Line
From: Will Fly
Date: 13 Jan 10 - 04:35 AM

The triangular piece in the middle of 45rpm was often knocked out for juke box playing. Which is why, when you buy S/H discs, those with no middle are, generally, ex-juke box. You used to be able to buy little clip-in inserts to make them playable for a domestic deck. Nothing to do with being EP or otherwise...


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Subject: RE: Review: Lonnie Donegan - Rock Island Line
From: Dave Roberts
Date: 13 Jan 10 - 05:18 AM

You mean these things...

adaptors

The type on the right hand side was such a recognisable icon in the 70s and 80s that it was almost a shorthand symbol for 'record'. So much so that, when I asked a young designer I knew to come up with a logo for the disco I used to run, this is what emerged...


logo

You can still buy these things, by the way, but the most common ones
nowadays are yellow for some reason.

Sorry about the thread drift, everyone.


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Subject: RE: Review: Lonnie Donegan - Rock Island Line
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 13 Jan 10 - 05:50 AM

The programme gave me some more useful facts for my deconstructed version of the song.


RtS
(one of the grimmeest of the Skifflers)


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Subject: RE: Review: Lonnie Donegan - Rock Island Line
From: Will Fly
Date: 13 Jan 10 - 06:30 AM

Hey Dave - great logo! Thanks for reminding me what the inserts looked like. I've still got on or two salted away somewhere. I'll no doubt need them when I transfer my vinyl to iPod.


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Subject: RE: Review: Lonnie Donegan - Rock Island Line
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jan 10 - 07:06 AM

Memories! I remember singing Rock Island Line when it had just come out, at an audition for Carol Levis Discovery's (forerunner of opportunity knocks, and yes, I AM that old).

They hadn't got a clue, it was the "wrong" sort of music they said.

Lonnie proved them wrong.

It reminds me when I was a lorry driver (before the word trucker was invented) and I asked my governor if we could switch our tilt trailers and start pulling containers, he said "we'll stick to tilts, this container thing is just a flash in the pan, won't last long".

Ah well.


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Subject: RE: Review: Lonnie Donegan - Rock Island Line
From: Dave Roberts
Date: 13 Jan 10 - 09:53 AM

Thread drift again, I'm afraid, arising from what 'Guest' just posted:

Another example of the same short-sighted thinking -

In 1967, when colour TV first started in the UK, we were renting a black & white TV set from a local radio & TV shop.

One day my Dad was talking to the proprietor and asked him when he would be getting some colour sets in.

'I'm not bothering.' was the reply, 'I can't see it catching on...'


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Subject: RE: Review: Lonnie Donegan - Rock Island Line
From: MikeL2
Date: 13 Jan 10 - 10:32 AM

Hi

I actually played with Lonnie many years ago.

In the second World War Lonnie Lonnie was evacuated from London to Altrincham in Cheshire England.

He stayed with a family not far from where I then lived. Of course at that time nobody knew that he was to become Lonnie Donnegan, least of all me.

It was some years later that I met him. He came up to Altrincham to help the family who he stayed with in the war. The father of the house was made Mayor of Altrincham and lonnie came up to play in a Charity for the Mayor.

I was only very young but had learned to play a few chords on my guitar and was persuaded by my school to play in the concert.

Lonnie was friendly with me and praised my playing and singing and gave me some good advice..." practice practice practice".

So naturally I have fond memories of Lonnie and his music which I belted out on forming a skiffle group a couple of years later.

upSo although he wasn't really responsible for me taking up the guitar he did inspire me to play and keep trying to improve.

cheers

Mike


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Subject: RE: Review: Lonnie Donegan - Rock Island Line
From: wilbyhillbilly
Date: 14 Jan 10 - 04:56 AM

I am GUEST 07:06am 13th Jan. Don't know what happened to my cookie again but it's ok now.


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Subject: RE: Review: Lonnie Donegan - Rock Island Line
From: SINSULL
Date: 09 Nov 10 - 10:28 PM

Wandering thru Utube and came across Lonnie Donegan singing Rock Island Line. For years I have been trying to figure out who was on the recording my cousin and I (maybe ten years old) played over and over again until we wore it out. Brilliant stuff. What an amazing performer.
One of those moments when I wish I could turn back the years and savor the moment.
Ah well.
SINS


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Subject: RE: Review: Lonnie Donegan - Rock Island Line
From: banjoman
Date: 10 Nov 10 - 07:05 AM

Nobody's child I always thought of as a Hank Williams song?


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Subject: RE: Review: Lonnie Donegan - Rock Island Line
From: GUEST,DWR
Date: 10 Nov 10 - 08:40 AM

Wrong Hank. Hank Snow, 1949

Though when it comes to the Hanks, there really wasn't a wrong one, whether it be Williams, Snow, Thompson, or even Penny. All great.


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Subject: RE: Review: Lonnie Donegan - Rock Island Line
From: GUEST,DWR
Date: 10 Nov 10 - 08:57 AM

Actually, the song was recorded somewhere along the way by Hank Williams Jr, could be you're thinking of that version.

There is a much newer version on an album called Nobody's Child: Romanian Angel Appeal, but that's all material for some other thread.

My own experience with Rock Island Line was of course Lonnie when I was in my early years of college, Johnny Cash just a little later, and how could one forget Stan Freeberg's version?

When the song pops into my brain every now and then, it can be any one of the three. The older versions, sorry, I never "hear" those. Lonnie was definitely first in my memory. I didn't buy the song until many years later when I picked it up on an album by Lonnie on an imported Decca album. That was really my intro to his music.


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Subject: RE: Review: Lonnie Donegan - Rock Island Line
From: banjoman
Date: 11 Nov 10 - 06:57 AM

Nobody's child was recorded by Hank Williams senior. I have the record (The lonesome sound of Hank Williams) and the credit is for Hank Snow.


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Subject: RE: Review: Lonnie Donegan - Rock Island Line
From: GUEST,Cpt. Colin
Date: 11 Nov 10 - 07:26 AM

Sinsull- the track was recorded during a break in the making of a trad jazz album by the Chris Barber band in which LD was banjoist. Chris Barber was on bass and Beryl Brydon on washboard (with Donegan on guitar of course)


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