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Origins: Wreck of the Number 9/Cold Winter's Night

DigiTrad:
ON A COLD WINTER'S NIGHT


Related threads:
Lyr Req: The Wreck of the Old No. 9 (5) (closed)
the brave engineer (3)


Metchosin 10 Nov 99 - 02:12 PM
Pete Peterson 10 Nov 99 - 02:25 PM
Dale Rose 10 Nov 99 - 02:37 PM
Dale Rose 10 Nov 99 - 02:50 PM
Dale Rose 10 Nov 99 - 02:54 PM
Metchosin 10 Nov 99 - 03:03 PM
Metchosin 10 Nov 99 - 03:14 PM
Gene 10 Nov 99 - 03:42 PM
Dale Rose 10 Nov 99 - 04:33 PM
Metchosin 10 Nov 99 - 04:46 PM
Dale Rose 10 Nov 99 - 05:11 PM
Metchosin 11 Nov 99 - 12:49 PM
Metchosin 11 Nov 99 - 01:01 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 17 Apr 02 - 01:16 PM
Joe Offer 16 Jul 18 - 09:03 PM
Joe Offer 16 Jul 18 - 09:40 PM
GUEST 17 Jul 18 - 10:00 PM
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Subject: Wreck of the Number 9
From: Metchosin
Date: 10 Nov 99 - 02:12 PM

Another song from my grandfather's repotoire, I don't know if this was from his minstral shows during his service with the 30th Regiment British Columbia Horse, from 1915-1917, or from his earlier songs. A little link to the Great War for Remembrance Day for me though and for anyone interested in railroad songs another "tear jerker".

Wreck of the Number 9

Twas a cold winters night
Not a star was in sight
And the north wind rollin' down the line
With his sweetheart so dear
Stood a brave engineer
With his orders to call out Number 9
He kissed her goodbye
With a tear in his eye
But the joy in his heart he could not hide
For the whole world seemed bright
As she told him that night
That tomorrow she'd be his blushing bride.

Oh the wheels hummed a song
As the train rolled along
And the black smoke
Came pouring out the stack,
In the headlights a gleam
Seemed to brighten his dream
Of tomorrow, when he'd be going back.
He sped round the hill
And his brave heart stood still
For a headlight was shining in his face,
And he whispered a prayer
As he threw on the air
For he knew this would be his final race.

In the wreck he was found
Lying there on the ground
And he asked them to raise his weary head
As his breath slowly went
This message he sent
To the maiden who thought she would be wed:
There's a little white home
That I bought for our own
Where I dreamed we'd be happy by and by
Now I leave it to you
For I know you'll be true
Till we meet at the Golden Gates, goodbye

From the songs of Charles Edward Prewett (1879-1966)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Number 9
From: Pete Peterson
Date: 10 Nov 99 - 02:25 PM

A wonderful song. I think I first learned it from J.E. Mainer's Mountaineers-- more recently done by Doc Watson. One of the best train wreck songs, right up there with Engine 143 and Wreck of the old 97.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Number 9
From: Dale Rose
Date: 10 Nov 99 - 02:37 PM

Metchosin, The Wreck of the Number Nine is in the DT, hiding under the title of On a Cold Winter's Night. The best way to find if something is in the DT is to try to use some unique phrase, enclosed in brackets like this: [his brave heart stood still].

I (and many others) have carefully typed out the words to a favorite song, or one that someone has requested, only to find that it was already in the DT. I try to check before I start nowadays, but I still slip up now and again.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Number 9
From: Dale Rose
Date: 10 Nov 99 - 02:50 PM

Pete's right about that, it is one of the best, and this certainly gives us an excuse to talk about it! I actually cannot remember who I first heard it by, probably Vernon Dalhart ~~ other good versions not already mentioned by Pete are by Hank Snow, Jim Reeves, and Mary Robbins. It is my understanding that it is a Carson Robison composition. (when in doubt, say Carson Robison, and you have a chance at being right)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Number 9
From: Dale Rose
Date: 10 Nov 99 - 02:54 PM

Noooooo, not MARY Robbins, MARTY!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Number 9
From: Metchosin
Date: 10 Nov 99 - 03:03 PM

Thanks Dale, I tried to pull it up from the DT with key words of railroad and number 9 and couldn't see it (but I did get an interesting? Robert Service Parody) Fortunately I didn't have to type this one out as I've have it saved in a folder of Grampa Songs.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Number 9
From: Metchosin
Date: 10 Nov 99 - 03:14 PM

I get Winds Blew Across the Wild Moor when I Call up the title On a Cold Winter's night on the DT. How Come?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Number 9
From: Gene
Date: 10 Nov 99 - 03:42 PM

A CLICK below will bring up a bunch of Wrecks!!!

* WRECKS @ www.bmi.com *


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Number 9
From: Dale Rose
Date: 10 Nov 99 - 04:33 PM

You got that because Mary of the Wild Moor has the line Twas all on a cold winter's night in its lyrics. The search box searches for words or phrases within the song as well as just the titles. Otherwise we'd never find some of them! It's pretty picky, just like most search engines. I've seen comments about the fuzzy search, but I really have never tried it, and forget how to do it. Perhaps someone will stop by with an explanation.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Number 9
From: Metchosin
Date: 10 Nov 99 - 04:46 PM

No Dale, I'm clicking on the titles list not using the key word search, and I still get Mary of the Wild Moor


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Number 9
From: Dale Rose
Date: 10 Nov 99 - 05:11 PM

Gotcha ~~ see what you mean ~~ just a slip in the programming, I would imagine. If you bring it to Dick's attention, it will likely get fixed in the next update.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Number 9
From: Metchosin
Date: 11 Nov 99 - 12:49 PM

Dale or anybody, What's a full text search? that's what Dick told me to do. Is it different than just ckicking on the capital letter in the Digitrad thing at the top of the page?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Number 9
From: Metchosin
Date: 11 Nov 99 - 01:01 PM

The only way I have managed to com up with the title and lyrics is to scroll through @train keyword


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Subject: Lyr Add: WRECK OF NUMBER NINE (Carson J. Robison)
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 17 Apr 02 - 01:16 PM

WRECK OF NUMBER NINE
(On a Cold Winter Night)
(Carson J. Robison)

On a cold winter night not a star was in sight
And the north wind kept howling down the line,
With a sweetheart so dear stood a brave engineer,
With his orders to pull old Number Nine.
He kissed her goodbye with a tear in her eye,
For the joy in his heart he could not hide,
And the whole world seemed bright when she told him that night,
On tomorrow she'd be his blushing bride.

As the train rolled along and the wheels hummed a song,
And the black smoke came pourin' from the stack,
His headlight a-gleam seemed to brighten his dream,
Of tomorrow, he'd be coming back.
Round the corner of the hill, that his brave heart stood still,
And the headlight was shining in his face.
He whispered a prayer as he threw on the air,
For he knew that would be his final race.

In the wreck he was found laying there on the ground,
And he asked them to raise his weary head;
And his breath slowly went 'twas a message he sent,
To a maiden who thought that she'd be wed.
"There's a little white home that I bought for our own,
Where I knew we'd be happy by and by,
Oh, I('ll) leave it to you for I know you'll be true,
Till we meet at the Golden Gates, goodbye."

Carson J. Robison, first recorded by Vernon Dalhart, 1927. The words above, close to the original, sung by J. E. Mainer's Mountaineers in the 1930s.
@Railroad @Wreck @Ballad

From Norm Cohen, 1981, "Long Steel Rail," pp. 267-271, with music.


The version by Mainer's Mountaineers was recorded in 1936.


J.E. Mainer recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sRuNak0YhM
"Recorded 15 June 1936 Hotel Charlotte, 237 West Trade St., Charlotte, NC – J.E.Mainer’s Mountainers (J.E.Mainer [fiddle], Wade Mainer [vcl], Harold Christy [gt], Beacham Blackweller [gt], Junior Misenheimer [banjo]). The song is also known as "The wreck of Old Number Nine".


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Subject: DT Version: Wreck of the Number 9
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Jul 18 - 09:03 PM

This song is indeed in the Digital Tradition as "On a Cold Winter's Night." That's what it's called on the recording by J.E. Mainer and the Mountaineers:
ON A COLD WINTER'S NIGHT (from DT)

On a cold winter's night, not a star was in sight
And the north wind kept howlin' down the line
With his sweetheart so dear stood a brave engineer
With his orders to pull old Number Nine

He kissed her goodbye with a tear in her eye
For the joy in his heart he could not hide
And the whole world seemed bright when she told him that night
That tomorrow she'd be his blushing bride

As the train rolled along and the wheels hummed a song
And the black smoke came pouring down the stack
His headlight that gleamed seemed so bright as he dreamed
Of tomorrow when he'd be coming back

Round the corner of the hill his brave heart stood still
A headlight was shining in his face
He whispered a prayer as he threw on the air
For he knew that would be his final race

In the wreck he was found laying there on the ground
And he asked them to raise his weary head
And his breath slowly went; it was a message he sent
To a maiden who thought that she'd be wed

"There's a little white home that I bought for our own
Where I knew we'd be happy bye and bye
Oh I leave it to you for I know you'll be true
Till we meet at the Golden Gates, Goodbye."
DT #668
Laws G26

@train @death @wreck @love
From J.E. Mainer's Mountaineers Smokey Mountain Balladeers
filename[ COLDWINT
RPf

          ON A COLD WINTER'S NIGHT

C F
On a cold winter's night, not a star was in sight
C G7
And the north wind kept howlin' down the line
C F
With his sweetheart so dear stood a brave engineer
C G7 C
With his orders to pull old Number Nine
G7 C
He kissed her goodbye with a tear in her eye
C G7
For the joy in his heart he could not hide
C F
And the whole world seemed bright when she told him that night
C G7 C
That tomorrow she'd be his blushing bride


And here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry on this song:

Wreck of Number Nine, The [Laws G26]

DESCRIPTION: A railroad engineer, whose wedding is set for the next day, leaves his sweetheart and sets out on his train. Rounding a curve, he sees another train coming. He is mortally wounded in the crash. He leaves his fiancee the cottage that would have been theirs
AUTHOR: Carson J. Robison
EARLIEST DATE: 1927 (recording, Vernon Dalhart)
KEYWORDS: train wreck marriage death lastwill crash
FOUND IN: US(Ap,SE,So,SW) Canada(Newf)
REFERENCES (11 citations):
Laws G26, "The Wreck of Number Nine"
Cohen-LSRail, pp. 267-271, "The Wreck of Number Nine" (1 text, 1 tune)
Randolph 684, "The Wreck of Old Number Nine" (1 text, 1 tune)
Randolph/Cohen, pp. 451-453, "The Wreck of Old Number Nine" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 684)
BrownSchinhanIV 340, "The Wreck of Old Number Nine" (1 fragment, 1 tune)
Moore-Southwest 162, "The Wreck of Number Nine" (1 text, 1 tune)
Cambiaire, pp. 88-89, "Number Nine" (1 text)
MHenry-Appalachians, pp. 77-78, "The Wreck of Number Nine" (1 text)
Guigne, pp. 76-78, "The Brave Engineer (The Wreck of Number Nine)" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lyle-Scalded, "Th Wreck of Number Nine" (1 text, 1 tune)
DT 668, COLDWIN

Roud #3229
RECORDINGS:
Jim Bennett, "The Brave Engineer" (on NFAGuigne01)
Bud Billings [pseud. for Frank Luther], "The Wreck of Number Nine" (Montgomery Ward M-8054, 1939)
Vernon Dalhart, "Wreck of The Number 9" (Lincoln 2712, 1927) (Gennett 6051/Silvertone 5005, 1927) (Brunswick 101, 1927) (Okeh 45086, 1927) (Cameo 1247, 1927) (Columbia 15121-D [as Al Craver], 1927); "Wreck of the Number Nine" (Radiex 4172 [as Jeff Calhoun], 1928)
J. E. Mainer's Mountaineer's "On a Cold Winter's Night" (Victor 27496, 1941)
Ernest Stoneman, "The Wreck of the Number Nine" (Broadway 8054, c. 1930); "Wreck of Number Nine" (on Autoharp01)
Stanley G. Triggs, "The Wreck of the Number Nine" (on Triggs1)

NOTES [135 words]: This, like "Zeb Tourney's Girl" [Laws E18], appears to be a Robison song that became traditional as a result of the Vernon Dalhart recording, though this seems to have had a stronger grip on tradition.
Indeed, Cohen states that, of the train wreck ballads he printed, only "Old 97" and "Engine 143" ("The Wreck on the C & O" [Laws G3]) were more popular. Both of the former are anonymous, and both based on real events; this is therefore the most popular fictional train wreck song, and also the most popular train song with a single known author.
It entered tradition very quickly; Henry collected his version from Mary E. King in 1929.
In recent years, a part of this tune has found some additional success (at least in bluegrass circles) as the basis for the chorus in the Goble/Drumm song "Coleen Malone." - RBW
Last updated in version 4.2
File: LG26

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2018 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Wreck of the Number 9/Cold Winter's Night
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Jul 18 - 09:40 PM

I've been thinking I should talk Janie into taking me on a tour of Train Wreck Sites of the South. Last year, she took me to the site of the Wreck of the Old 97 in Danville, Virginia, and later I found a song about The Wreck of Number 52 that took place along our way from the Raleigh-Durham area to Danville.

This is a fascinating song, and I thought it would be fun to go to the site of this wreck. Alas, Norm Cohen's Long Steel Rail says this is a fictional song by Carson J. Robison, copyrighted January 13, 1927 - so there's no train wreck site to visit.

There's a very nice study of this song here:
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Wreck of the Number 9/Cold Winter's Night
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Jul 18 - 10:00 PM

Robison played guitar on Dalhart's recording of the Wreck of the Old (Southern) 97. When that recording was a smash hit he wrote the Wreck of The #9 .


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