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Lyr Add: The Wreck of the Virginian (Alfred Reed)


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Jim Dixon 14 Nov 11 - 02:39 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: THE WRECK OF THE VIRGINIAN (Alfred Reed)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 14 Nov 11 - 02:39 PM

You can hear this recording at The Internet Archive. The text, tune, chords, and considerable historical background is given in Long Steel Rail: The Railroad in American Folksong by Norm Cohen, David Cohen (Urbana : University of Illinois Press, 2000), page 250:

As recorded by Blind Alfred Reed, Victor 20836, 7/28/1927

Come all you brave bold railroad railroad men and listen while I tell
The fate of E. G. Aldridge, a good man we all loved well.
This man was running on a road known as Virginian Line.
He was a faithful engineer and pulled his train on time.

He was the oldest on the road; we always called him Dad.
He loved his engine very much; he was the best we had.
Frank O'Neal was his fireman; he was faithful too and brave.
He stayed with Dad; he died with Dad and filled a new-made grave.

It was a bright spring morning on the twenty-fourth of May.
The train crew was at Roanoke; they were feeling fine and gay.
Train Number Three had left Roanoke en route for Huntington.
These poor men did not know that they were making their last run.

Dad pulled his train; a pleasing smile on his bright face did beam.
He did not have to grumble; Frank sure kept him lots of steam.
At eleven fifty-two that day they'd just left Ingleside.
An east-bound freight crushed into them; they took their farewell ride.

It seems that all good engineers to duty always sticks.
Dad entered into service in the year nineteen-and-six.
He did not have to work to live; they begged him to retire,
But Dad would not give his consent; to run was his desire.

Dear ladies, if your husband runs an engine on the line,
You may expect a message of his death 'most any time.
All railroad men should live for God and always faithful be.
Like Dad and Frank they soon may pass into eternity.

[A different song about the same wreck appears in the DT as THE WRECK OF THE VIRGINIAN NUMBER 3 by Roy Harvey.]

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