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Lyr Add: Life's Railway to Heaven (Abbey/Tillman)

DigiTrad:
LIFE'S RAILWAY TO HEAVEN
MINER'S LIFEGUARD
THE H-BOMB'S THUNDER
WEAVER'S LIFE


Related threads:
(origins) Origins: Life's Railway To Heaven / Union Miners? (13)
Chord Req: Life is like a mountain railway (10)
Lyr Req: Miners Stand Together (7)
Lyr Req: Keep your hands on your wages (8)
Req: Miner's Lifeguard Parody (Shanty Singers) (12)
Tune Req: Union Miners / Miner's Lifeguard (50)
Chord Req: Miner's Lifeguard (16)
Lyr Add: Jesus Walk Around Your Bedside (5)
Lyr Req: union miners (answered)^^^ (3) (closed)
Tune Req: Life Is like a Mountain Railroad (18)


Jim Dixon 03 Apr 10 - 02:57 PM
Ron Davies 03 Apr 10 - 03:40 PM
Dave MacKenzie 03 Apr 10 - 06:32 PM
Richie 04 Apr 10 - 03:40 PM
GUEST,Max Burnette 24 Dec 11 - 05:45 PM
Jim Dixon 27 Dec 11 - 04:48 PM
Jim Dixon 27 Dec 11 - 06:20 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: LIFE'S RAILWAY TO HEAVEN (Abbey/Tillman)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 03 Apr 10 - 02:57 PM

This has apparently not been posted at Mudcat before, although it has been mentioned as the original on which MINER'S LIFEGUARD was based. The correct original title is LIFE'S RAILWAY TO HEAVEN, though it is sometimes known as LIFE IS LIKE A MOUNTAIN RAILROAD or ...RAILWAY.

From On Wings of Song by George C. Hugg (Philadelphia: Geo. C. Hugg, 1896), page 55:


LIFE'S RAILWAY TO HEAVEN.
"Respectfully dedicated to Railroad Men."
Words, M. E. Abbey. Music, Charlie D. Tillman.

1. Life is like a mountain railroad, with an engineer that's brave.
We must make the run successful from the cradle to the grave.
Watch the curves, the fills, the tunnels. Never falter; never quail.
Keep your hand upon the throttle and your eye upon the rail.

CHORUS: Blessed Saviour, Thou wilt guide us till we reach that blissful shore,
Where the angels wait to join us in Thy praise forevermore.

2. You will roll up grades of trial. You will cross the bridge of strife.
See that Christ is your Conductor on this lightning train of life.
Always mindful of obstruction, do your duty; never fail.
Keep your hand upon the throttle and your eye upon the rail.

3. You will often find obstructions. Look for storms of wind and rain.
On a fill, or curve, or trestle, they will almost ditch your train.
Put your trust alone in Jesus. Never falter; never fail.
Keep your hand upon the throttle and your eye upon the rail.

4. As you roll across the trestle spanning Jordan's swelling tide,
You behold the Union Depot into which your train will glide.
There you'll meet the Superintendent, God the Father, God the Son,
With the hearty, joyous plaudit, "Weary pilgrim, welcome home."

[Note: This song can also be found in the CyberHymnal a.k.a. NetHymnal. There it says the song was copyrighted in 1890, and that Eliza R. Snow may have had a hand in writing the lyrics.]


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Life's Railway to Heaven (Abbey/Tillm
From: Ron Davies
Date: 03 Apr 10 - 03:40 PM

It appears that this song is already in the DT. But still worth a thread. It's a dynamite song. Wonderful extended metaphor.   Originally a Welsh tune?

I also remember reading that Tom Horn, (lawman and assassin, per Wiki), asked for his last request before being hanged in 1903 for a murder (he may not have committed), said he wanted to hear this song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Life's Railway to Heaven (Abbey/Tillman)
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 03 Apr 10 - 06:32 PM

There is a very strong similarity to "Dim ond Iesu", so much so that if try to sing the hymn tune without the dots, I invariably end up on "Miner's Lifeguard"/"Life's Railway to Heaven".

Roy Acuff, incidentally, appears to claim it as hi own composition on Hickory Records LP LPM 125, "Great Train Songs".


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Life's Railway to Heaven (Abbey/Tillman)
From: Richie
Date: 04 Apr 10 - 03:40 PM

Hi,

From what I remember, it was based on a poem by W.S. Hays. The info should be in Norm Cohen's book.

Anyone have the Hays' poem?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Life's Railway to Heaven (Abbey/Tillman)
From: GUEST,Max Burnette
Date: 24 Dec 11 - 05:45 PM

The tune could possibly be older than is credited. Cathy Mattea sings a tune called The Empty Chair which is identical in every way. She says this is a Civil War song. It's about a soldier not returning home. This could have been a popular tune unclaimed at the time and adopted by Tillman.
    This could date the tune as early as 1870 or there about.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Life's Railway to Heaven (Abbey/Tillman)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 27 Dec 11 - 04:48 PM

The poem by W. S. Hays that Richie refers to has been posted twice at Mudcat: a short version in a thread called Hymns - Play along and a longer version in a thread called Origins: Life's Railway To Heaven / Union Miners?. The title given in the latter thread is OLD HAYSEED'S RAILROAD IDEA OF LIFE, but I have seen it under other titles. I haven't verified that the words are correct.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Life's Railway to Heaven (Abbey/Tillman)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 27 Dec 11 - 06:20 PM

I think the song you have heard Kathy Mattea (note spelling) sing is called THE VACANT CHAIR (not "The Empty Chair").

The tune to which Kathy Mattea and several other contemporary performers sing THE VACANT CHAIR is not the tune that was originally written for it. It looks as if in recent years the tune for LIFE'S RAILWAY TO HEAVEN (et al.) somehow got attached to the lyrics of THE VACANT CHAIR.

You can compare the original tunes here:

THE VACANT CHAIR - Words by H. S. Washburn, music by G. F. Root, 1861.

LIFE'S RAILWAY TO HEAVEN - Words by M. E. Abbey, music by Charlie D. Tillman, 1891.


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