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Origins: Casey Jones

DigiTrad:
CASEY JONES
CASEY JONES - UNION SCAB
CASY JONES (Pilot)


Related threads:
Lyr Add: Kassie Jones / Casey Jones (Furry Lewis) (21)
Lyr Req: A song help, please (bawdy Casey Jones) (7)
(origins) Origin: Ben Dewberry's Final Run (Andrew Jenkins) (17)
Lyr Req: Southern Casey Jones (7)
Help: Wallace Saunders made Casey Jones (5)
(origins) Origins: Casey Jones Anniversary Apr 30 (4)
News flash - Modern day Casey Jones (40)
(origins) Origins: Casey Jones: Again (11)
Casey Jones, Hero or Shmo (3)
Lyr Req: Casey Jones (Mississippi John Hurt) (3)


Stewie 27 Mar 00 - 07:11 PM
Midchuck 27 Mar 00 - 07:52 PM
Stewie 28 Mar 00 - 12:58 AM
Stewie 28 Mar 00 - 01:00 AM
ddw 28 Mar 00 - 11:53 PM
Jon Freeman 29 Mar 00 - 12:57 AM
ddw 29 Mar 00 - 01:15 AM
Stewie 29 Mar 00 - 06:37 PM
raredance 29 Mar 00 - 08:31 PM
ddw 30 Mar 00 - 12:36 AM
GUEST,Jack Gurner 31 Mar 00 - 01:31 AM
RWilhelm 31 Mar 00 - 11:13 AM
Stewie 01 Apr 00 - 01:45 AM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Apr 00 - 08:04 PM
Stewie 02 Apr 00 - 07:25 PM
Stewie 02 Apr 00 - 07:28 PM
RWilhelm 03 Apr 00 - 09:56 AM
GUEST,tok 08 Apr 00 - 10:53 PM
RWilhelm 11 Apr 00 - 01:57 PM
GUEST,tok 19 Apr 00 - 09:41 PM
Stewie 22 Apr 00 - 02:54 AM
toadfrog 29 May 02 - 08:02 PM
Mark Ross 29 May 02 - 09:21 PM
Jim Dixon 05 Jun 03 - 09:20 PM
Goose Gander 24 Feb 06 - 11:58 AM
Barry Finn 24 Feb 06 - 03:52 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 02 Jan 07 - 09:28 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 02 Jan 07 - 09:39 PM
GUEST,A 22 Mar 11 - 12:13 AM
GUEST,mg 21 Jan 12 - 04:54 PM
catspaw49 21 Jan 12 - 07:01 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 21 Jan 12 - 08:53 PM
Mark Ross 21 Jan 12 - 11:22 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: CASEY JONES (John Koerner)^^
From: Stewie
Date: 27 Mar 00 - 07:11 PM

CASEY JONES
(Traditional/arr J.Koerner)

Early in the mornin' it looked like rain
Round a bend came a passenger train
Under the cab was Casey Jones
A good engineer, but he's dead and gone
Hey, yeah, dead and gone
A good engineer, but he's dead and gone

Casey Jones was a brave engineer
He told his fireman not to fear
All he needed was water and coal
Put your head out the window see the drivers roll
Hey, yeah, the drivers roll
Put your head out the window see the drivers roll

Ain't it a pity, ain't it a shame
Some was a-crippled and some was lame
Some will never ride the road again
Six wheel driver had to take the blame
Hey, yeah, take the blame
That six wheel driver had to take the blame

Jago's daughter said before she died
'There's one more road I'd like to ride'
'Daughter, daughter what could that be?'
' Southern California or the Santa Fe'
Hey, yeah, the Santa Fe
Southern California or the Santa Fe

Jago's daughter said before she died
'There's two more drinks I'd like to try'
'Daughter, daughter what could that be?'
It's a glass of water and a cup of tea'
Hey, yeah, a cup of tea
A glass of water and a cup of tea

Jago's daughter said before she died
I'd fix the blinds so the bums can't ride
If ride they must, let 'em ride the rods
They can put their trust in the hands of God
Hey, yeah, the hands of God
They can put their trust in the hands of God

Get out the engine, get out the train
I will ride the road again
She's fast as lightning, smooth as glass
And ya gotta hold your hat when the engine goes past
Hey, yeah, the engine goes past
Ya gotta hold your hat when the engine goes past

Early in the morning it looked like rain
Round a bend came a passenger train
Ridin' the rods was hobo John
A good old rounder, but he's dead and gone
Hey, yeah, dead and gone
A good old rounder, but he's dead and gone

^^
Traditional, arranged and adapted by John Koerner. Copyright J. Koerner 1974.
Source: Spider John Koerner 'Stargeezer Red House RHR CD 84.
PS

This rollicking version of 'Casey Jones' is different from those in the DT. The closest text that I can find to this is one that Joe Hickerson sang on 'Drive Dull Care Away Vol 1' Folk Legacy FSI - 58. Hickerson noted that he did not recall a specific source, but that it was probably influenced by versions by Carl Sandburg, Furry Lewis, Mississippi John Hurt and Neil Rosenburg.

The structure of Hickerson's refrain differs slightly from the Koerner version and for his third and fourth verses, he sang:

Now Casey looked ahead and what did he see
Round the bend came the eight-eighteen
Casey said, 'Fireman you'd better jump
These two locomotives they are bound to bump

Shoulda been there for to see the sight
Jumpin' and yellin', black and white
Some were crippled and some were lame
But that six wheel driver had to bear the blame
Had to bear the blame
Had to bear the blame
That six wheel driver had to bear the blame

Hickerson does not have the great verse about 'the bums' nor the 'Get out the engine' one. He noted that there is another verse that he did not sing because 'to her dying day (November 21, 1958), Casey's widow 'had to deny on many occasions that she had ever had "another papa on the IC (or any other) line"'.

The Hickerson and Koerner versions share a couple of verses with Furry Lewis' 'Kassie Jones Part 2' and with the version in the Lomaxes 'American Ballads & Folk Songs'. My queries are these: where does the 'Jago's daughter' phrase (if that's how it's spelt) come from; and what is the source of Koerner's 'bums' and 'get out the engine' stanzas? He may have made them up himself - there is reference to adaptation, but that may refer only to the slight altering of the refrain. Does anyone know? Koerner's is a gloriously spirited rendition.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Casey Jones 2 and queries
From: Midchuck
Date: 27 Mar 00 - 07:52 PM

"Jay Gould's daughter."

There are versions that are all just about her. Poor kid, she got all kinds of abuse just because daddy was a robber baron. Sort of early Jewish-American Princess humor, without the Jewish.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Casey Jones 2 and queries
From: Stewie
Date: 28 Mar 00 - 12:58 AM

Midchuck, many thanks. I can hear that now, but I would never have made it out. It certainly makes the 'bums' stanza more pertinent. The only versions I have seen had 'Casey Jones said before he died'. Available resources for folksong are pretty thin up here in the top of Oz - I have to rely on my own album and book collections and what I can find on the net. Your help is much appreciated.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Casey Jones 2 and queries
From: Stewie
Date: 28 Mar 00 - 01:00 AM

Midchuck, many thanks. I can hear that now, but I would never have made it out. It certainly makes the 'bums' stanza more pertinent. The only versions I have seen had 'Casey Jones said before he died'. Available resources for folksong are pretty thin here at the top of Oz - I have to rely mainly on my own album and book collections and what I can find on the net. Your help is much appreciated.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Casey Jones 2 and queries
From: ddw
Date: 28 Mar 00 - 11:53 PM

Stewie,

I plugged into the thread because Casey Jones is one of my favorite songs to perform. My arrangement is mostly from Mississippi John Hurt's guitar work and verses, but I've tweeked it here and there and lifted a couple of verses from Mance Lipscombe.

I've heard maybe 10 or 12 versions of the song, some with pretty radically altered melody lines, others with wildly different verses, but one thing I've always found interesting is the treatment of the widow Jones. Casey is treated as everything from hero to villian (see the Casey Jones, Union Scab version in the DT), but she is universally treated as cold, calculating, mercenary or uncaring — and sometimes a combination of all those things.

One of the things that facinates me about the song is the love-hate relationship between the songs' composers (known or otherwise) and Casey, but the real kicker is the Miz Jones thing.

What's your take on it?

david


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Casey Jones 2 and queries
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 29 Mar 00 - 12:57 AM

http://www.watervalley.net/users/caseyjones/Casey.htm

Jon


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Casey Jones 2 and queries
From: ddw
Date: 29 Mar 00 - 01:15 AM

What a great resource site — thanks for pointing it out, Jon.

david


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Subject: Lyr Add: CHARLIE SNYDER
From: Stewie
Date: 29 Mar 00 - 06:37 PM

Jon,

Thanks for the pointer to that great site - it makes fascinating reading.

David,

You have probably heard more versions of the song than I have. I have not heard Mance Lipscomb do it.

I think Hickerson has the key to your puzzle about the shabby treatment of Mrs Jones. Though Casey was white, the singers responsible for perpetuating his name were black railroad workers. The original ballad was a reworking of 'one or more members of a cycle of black railroad and hobo songs'. The Lomaxes tell the story of Wallis 'Wash' Sanders, Casey's engine-wiper, who learned the tune and some verses of 'Jimmie Jones' from Cornelius Steen who brought them to Canton from Kansas City. The story is that Sanders liked the song and added verses of his own that described the wreck in which Jimmie Jones was killed. When the Casey Jones wreck occurred, Sanders changed the words accordingly. In 1909, two white vaudevillians, T. Lawrence Seibert and Edward Newton, made what became a very popular song about the event. Hickerson points out that, throughout the various versions, 'incidents and remarks pertaining to other people (real and imagined) accrued to Mr Jones from the earlier songs'. This was also the case for poor Mrs Casey who was an unfortunate victim of the folk process.

Hickerson refers to an article by Norm Cohen that delves into the complex history: 'Casey Jones: At the Crossroad of Two Ballad Traditions' Western Folklore Vol 32, No 2, April 1973, pp 77-103. I haven't read it, but I will certainly make every effort to obtain a copy. Have you heard Furry Lewis' 'Kassie Jones Parts 1 and 2'? It presents like a kaleidoscope of disconnected images. I find it difficult to decipher many of the words; I have not seen a transcription. In part 1, we are told that Mrs Casey loved Casey because she said so. In part 2, there are the lines about the children:

'Children, children won't you hold your breath
Draw another ... from your father's death'.

Do you know what he is singing there? I can't make it out, but I assume it is another slur on Mrs Casey.

Finally, to make this long posting even longer, I must admit to having had the answers to my queries under my very nose all along. I read only the pages in the Lomaxes' book that the index indicated related to 'Casey Jones'. If I had looked further, I would have found the following ballad that answered my queries. The Lomaxes said that it was 'a ballad sung by the Negroes along the Ohio River':

CHARLIE SNYDER

Charley Snyder was a good engineer
He told his fireman he had nothing to fear
All he needed was fire and coal
Put your head out the window see the drivers roll
See the drivers roll
See the drivers roll
Put your head out the window see the drives roll

On Sunday morning it began to rain
When around the bend came a passenger train
On the bumpers was-a hobo John
He's a good old hobo but he's dead and gone
He's dead and gone
He's dead and gone
He's a good old hobo but he's dead and gone

Jay Gould's daughter said before she died
'Father, fix the blinds so the bums can't ride
If ride they must, let them ride the rod
Let them put their trust in the hands of God
In the hands of God
In the hands of God
Let them put their trust in the hands of God'

Jay Gould's daughter said before she died
'There's one more road o'er which I'd like to ride'
'Tell me daughter what can it be?'
It's in southern California on the Santa Fe
On the Santa Fe
On the Santa Fe
It's in southern California on the Santa Fe

Hurry up, engine, hurry up, train
Missie gwine ride over the road again
Swift as lightning and smooth as glass
Darkey take your hat off when the train goes past
When the train goes past
When the train goes past
Darkey take your hat off when the train goes past

Source: John A. Lomax and Alan Lomax 'American Ballads & Folk Songs' Macmillan 1934 pp 41-42.

One can appreciate why the last verse was altered – that almost reads like something from a 'coon' song. However, it does have echoes back to the slavery days when it was impossible for a slave to travel by train without a written bond from his owner - and to the train as a symbol of freedom, steaming north to the free states.

Thus, all the verses in Koerner's version are traditional. He definitely sings 'I'd fix the blinds', but 'Father, fix the blinds' seems more appropriate. Also he is probably singing 'Southern California on the Santa Fe' rather than 'Southern California or the Santa Fe'. I would not have picked that up because he sings no words before 'Southern' in that line.

Thanks to all, Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Casey Jones 2 and queries
From: raredance
Date: 29 Mar 00 - 08:31 PM

Norm Cohen's book "Long Steel Rail, The Railroad in American Folksong" (1981 Univ of Illinois Press, and according to another recent thread here about to be reprinted) devotes about 20 pages to the Casey Jones saga and some of the subsequent lyrics that are posted above. I do not know to what extent Cohen's analysis and descriptions of the historical events may agree or differ with those at the linked site. Interestingly Cohen did not include a complete set of the lyrics to what is probably the best known of the Casey Jones songs, but used the Furry Lewis version as his primary source.

rich r


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Subject: Lyr Add: CASEY JONES
From: ddw
Date: 30 Mar 00 - 12:36 AM

CASEY JONES

Casey Jones was a brave engineer
Told his fireman to, not to fear
Said "all I want is my water and my coal
Look out the window, see my drive wheels roll."

Early one mornin' come a shower of rain
Round the curve I seen a passenger train
In the cabin was Casey Jones
A nobel engineerman, but he's dead and gone.

INSTRUMENTAL BREAK

Children, children, get yo' hat
Mama, mama, what you mean by that?
Get yo' hat, put it on yo' head
Go down in town, see if yo' daddy's dead

Mama, mama, how can it be,
Daddy got killed on the ol' I C?
Children hush and hold yo' breath
We gonna draw a pension from yo' daddy's death.

Ol' Miz Jones, when she got the news
She was sittin' on the bedside lacin' up her shoes
Said go 'way children an' stop yo cryin'
You got another daddy on the Salt Lake line.

INSTRUMENTAL BREAK

Casey said before he died
I fixed them blinds so the bums can't ride
If they ride, let 'em ride the rods
Trust they lives in the hands of God

Casey said again before he died
There's one more road that I wanted to ride
What road, what road can that be?
The Golden Colorado and Santa Fe

INSTRUMENTAL BREAK

Now Casey died, he went to heaven from here
Said "Looky here, St. Peter, I'm a brave engineer."
St. Peter said "Casey, cause you brave and bold
Gonna send you down yonder where you can shovel coal."

As I said in an earlier post, this is an arrangement I've sorta landed on based mostly on John Hurt's version with a couple of verses lifted from Mance Lipscomb. The only ones from Mance — if my wobbly memory is still upright — are the ones that start "Ol' Miz Jones, when she got the news" and the last verse.

The thing that's always fascinated me about the song is the number of versions — darned near as many as songs about the Titanic, maybe even more — and the juxtaposition of characteristics attributed to Casey. He's painted as both the swashbuckling, balls-out engine driver, satisfied by nothing more complex than having his water and coal, watching his drive wheels roll and getting there on time and as the mean-spirited company man who would set the blinds (I understand they were devices attached to cars for just that purpose) so the bums can't ride except by getting under the cars and hanging from the struts underneath. Mance's version even adds the dimension of being a braggart, even in death.

Also, as mentioned in my earlier post, there's the nasty treatment of Miz Jones, who, if the site Jon pointed us to is correct, was a pretty resourceful and tough lady, but certainly not as cold and mercenary as these verses make her sound.

As I said, I love this song — it's just fun to play and sing — but it is probably the bitterest and most damning of any of the railroad songs I know.

cheers

david


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Casey Jones 2 and queries
From: GUEST,Jack Gurner
Date: 31 Mar 00 - 01:31 AM

I am glad that I backtracked the hits on our museum web pages and found this site. You folks have given me several sets of new lyrics that we had never seen before.

The songs are the story. The only reason Casey Jones is famous is because of the song. Otherwise, he is just one of hundreds of enginemen killed that year.

The 100th anniversary of Casey's death is April 30th and we hope that everyone will sing their favorite version in rememberance of ol' Casey.

Thanks for the interesting reading!

Jack Gurner Water Valley Casey Jones Railroad Museum http://www.watervalley.net/users/caseyjones/Casey.htm


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Subject: Lyr Add: CASEY ’N’ BILL
From: RWilhelm
Date: 31 Mar 00 - 11:13 AM

While we are on the subject, here is a song recorded in the 20's by Earl McDonald's Original Louisville Jug Band about a race between Casey Jones and Steamboat Bill.

CASEY 'N' BILL

Now down the river came Steamboat Bill
Spied Casey Jones coming over the hill
The engine was a puffin and the boiler was hot
While the coons on board done the turkey trot
The railroad run down long side the bank
Casey crawled out from behind the tank
Bill said to Casey "you're a racing man
Get up your steam and go as fast as you can"
Chorus:
Casey'n Bill down the Mississippi
Casey'n Bill all full of glee
Casey'n Bill down the Mississippi
Tryin' to break the record of the Robert E. Lee

Now down the river about a mile below
Was the place where they had to go
They both were running neck and neck
When they reached the bridge gonna be a wreck
So Casey reached up the whistle he blew
The draw bridge opened to let him through
They both come together and they both must die
Cause the race was over and it was a tie

Now in the wreck it was a shame
There was no one that knew their names
When the wives got the message their husbands was dead
They both raised the river with the tears they shed
The little kids didn't seem to bother
When someone told them that they lost their father
One said to the other now don't cry and fret
We don't need no daddy, ma's a suffragette

And when they died no one know
Up to heaven is where they wanted to go
St. Peter said boys you must relate
Something good you done to get through this gate
Bill said I know at one time
We gave 20 cents to a man that was blind
St. Peter said you know that don't go Bill
So you can take your 20 cents and go to Jeffersonville


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Casey Jones 2 and queries
From: Stewie
Date: 01 Apr 00 - 01:45 AM

Earl, that's great little song. I have it on Yazoo's 2 CD reissue 'Ruckus Juice & Chittlins' Yazoo 2032 and 2033. If you're interested in other Louisville jug stuff (and don't have them already), the Frog label has 2 great CDs: Clifford Hayes Louisville Stompers 'Frog Hop' Frog DGF10 and Dixieland Jug Blowers 'Louisville Stomp' Frog DGF6. Both impeccably remastered by the incomparable (in remastering terms) John R.T. Davies from his own collection.

--Stewie


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Subject: Lyr Add: CASEY JONES (Grateful Dead)
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Apr 00 - 08:04 PM

Great site there - but did you see the bit at the end of the songs page?: "Probably the oddest attempt at a song using the Casey Jones name was written for The Grateful Dead (words by Robert Hunter; music by Jerry Garcia), an over-the-hill rock and roll band with a cult-like following. It was more about cocaine than railroading and is hardly worth repeating here."

So here they are anyway:

CASEY JONES
(Grateful Dead)

Driving that train, high on cocaine
Casey Jones you'd better watch your speed
Trouble ahead, trouble behind
And you know that notion just crossed my mind

This old engine makes it on time
Leaves Central Station 'bout a quarter to nine
Hits River Junction at seventeen to
At a quarter to ten you know it's travelling again

[chorus]

Trouble ahead, the lady in red
Take my advice you'd be better off dead
Switchman's sleeping, train Hundred and Two
Is on the wrong track and headed for you

[chorus]

Trouble with you is the trouble with me
Got two good eyes but we still don't see
Come round the bend, you know it's the end
The fireman screams and the engine just gleams

[chorus - repeated]


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Casey Jones 2 and queries
From: Stewie
Date: 02 Apr 00 - 07:25 PM

To continue McGrath's theme about other songs using the Casey name, Duncan Emrich, 'American Folk Poetry', gives an interesting mining parody that he collected from Bill Gilbert of Grass Valley, California in 1914. Gilbert first heard it in 1918 when he was president of the Western Federation of Miners. It has verses like:

They went into the crosscut to drill some more
The powder exploded with a hell of a roar
It scorched poor Casey just as flat as a pan
And now he's a-mining in the promised land

Casey said just before he died,
'There's one more machine I would like to have tried'
His partner said, 'What can it be?'
'An Ingersoll jackhammer now don't you see?'

Casey Jones was a ten-day miner
Casey Jones was a ten-day man
Casey Jones took a chance too many
And now he's mining in the promised land

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Casey Jones 2 and queries
From: Stewie
Date: 02 Apr 00 - 07:28 PM

Sorry, that should read he collected it from Gilbert in '1940', not '1914'.

--Stewie.


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Subject: Lyr Add: CASEY JONES (bawdy version)
From: RWilhelm
Date: 03 Apr 00 - 09:56 AM

Stewie, Thanks for the recommendations. I've got the Dixieland Jug Blowers CD and the incredible "Ruckus Juice & Chittlins" CDs. I will definitely check out Clifford Hayes Louisville Stompers.

Now, how about a dirty version of Casey Jones. _The Erotic Muse_ by Ed Cray has two versions, here's one:

CASEY JONES

Casey Jones was a son-of-a-bitch.
His balls were covered with the whorehouse itch.
He went to the door with his pecker in his hand,
Says to the lady, "I'm a railroad man."

Casey Jones said before he died
There were five more things he'd like to ride:
Bicycle, tricycle, automobile,
Bow-legged woman and a ferris wheel.

Casey said before he died
There were two more drinks he'd like to try.
"Well, tell me, Casey, what can they be?"
"A cup of coffee and a cup of tea."

They were rolling down the line 'bout half past two.
Casey pissed in the fire and the boiler blew.
The fireman drowned in a yellow stream
And for miles around you could see yellow steam.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Casey Jones 2 and queries
From: GUEST,tok
Date: 08 Apr 00 - 10:53 PM

My dad used to sing a song I always thought was a take off from Casey Jones of which I can only recall part. Does anyone know of this song or other parts?

She was comin' down the grade doin' ninety miles an hour
When the whistle broke out in a scream
Well they found him in the wreck with the throttle through his neck
Scalded to death by the steam.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Casey Jones 2 and queries
From: RWilhelm
Date: 11 Apr 00 - 01:57 PM

That's "The Wreck of the Old 97"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Casey Jones 2 and queries
From: GUEST,tok
Date: 19 Apr 00 - 09:41 PM

Where can I find the lyrics. The ones here are Air Force version?


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Subject: Lyr Add: CASEY JONES
From: Stewie
Date: 22 Apr 00 - 02:54 AM

I tracked down Norm Cohen's article in Western Folklore - 'Casey Jones: At the Crossroads of Two Ballad Traditions'. It is great reading. I don't know how much it overlaps with his material in 'Long Steel Rail' - like others, I am eagerly awaiting the imminent second edition of that tome. However, I commend the article to all interested in the song - I gave the details in an above posting.

Cohen's argument is too detailed and complex to go into here, but there are 2 quotation in that I will post because I believe they will be of interest. The first is the text of the first published song about Casey Jones. It was published in 1908 in 'The Railroad Man's Magazine' with the note: 'Jones was an engineer on the IC, between Memphis and Canton, Mississippi, and was killed in a wreck several years ago. The song was supposed to have been sung by his negro fireman'. This version predated the vaudeville pop song by a year:

CASEY JONES

Come all you rounders, for I want you to hear
The story told of an engineer
Casey Jones was the rounder's name;
A heavy right-wheeler of a mighty fame

Caller called Jones about half past four;
He kissed his wife at the station door,
Climbed into the cab with his orders in his hand
Says, 'This is my trip to the holy land'

Through South Memphis yards, on the fly,
He heard the fire-boy say, "You've got a white eye."
All the switchmen knew, by the engine moan,
That the man at the throttle was Casey Jones.

It had been raining some five or six weeks,
The railroad track was like the bed of a creek;
They rated him down to a thirty-mile gait,
Threw the south-bound mail about eight hours late.

Fireman says, "Casey, you're running too fast,
You run the block-board the last station you passed."
Jones says, "Yes, 1 believe we'll make it through,
For she steams better than 1 ever knew."

Jones says, "Fireman, don't you fret;
Keep knocking at the fire-door, don't give up yet.
I'm going to run her till she leaves the rail,
Or make it in on time with the Southern mail."

Around the curve and down the dump
Two locomotives were bound to bump.
Fireman hollered, "Jones, it's just ahead;
We might jump and make it, but we'll all be dead."

'Twas round the curve he spied a passenger train
Reversing his engine, he caused the bell to ring
Fireman jumped off, but Jones stayed on
He's a good engineer, but he's dead and gone

Poor Casey Jones was all right,
For he stuck to his duty both day and night.
They loved to hear his whistle aqd ring of number three,
As he came into Memphis on the old 1. G.

Headaches and heartaches, and all kinds of pain,
Are not apart from a railroad train.
Tales that are in earnest, noble and grand,
Belong to the life of a railroad man.

The other part of the article that I will post is a wonderful letter that Cohen quotes from a hobo who went by the name of Kelly the Rake. Kelly wrote to the 'Kansas City Star' on 5 August 1911 in response to some letters and articles that had been printed in the paper about Casey Jones. Kelly wrote:

In the beginning I would say that after a sudden and unsought for exit from college when I was 16, and the ensuing wrath of my paternal ancestor, I took to the road and since have sought adventure in the realms of the unemployed. In this connection 1 am enabled to give authoritative and authentic information about this mythical Casey Jones, inasmuch as 1 was one of the progenitors of the original song.

Jay Gould, for reasons of economy, removed the platforms from the Missouri Pacific mail and baggage cars, thus eliminating a safe and comfortable means of transportation for "bos." A pal of mine, one Herkimer Hank, and myself were incited to some wrath by this action which resulted in the following effusion:

Old Jay Gould said before he died
I'll fix the blind so the 'bos can't ride
If they ride, they will ride a rod
And place their life in the hands of God

This verse called for more so we added the following:

Old Jay Gould said, as he was about to die,
There's two more railroads I'd like to buy.
We were wondering what they could be
He said, the New York Central and the Santa Fe.

These verses were afterward added one by one. My repertoire holds about fifty verses about old Jay Gould.

And now for the Casey Jones part. Some years ago on the Rock Island between Herington and Kansas City was a freight engineer who was always good for a ride if we would heave coal. He said his name was James A. Michaels, and he was so known. He was a reckless runner, and verses began to be made to the tune of old Jay Gould. Here are six of them:

Songs are sung about the heroes of old,
I'll tell you of one that skins them cold.
James A. Michaels was the eagle eye's name,
And when he died he died dead game.

James A. Michaels was a brave engineer;
He told the tallow pot not to fear.
Says he, all you got to do is to keep her hot,
And we'll make it in about four o'clock.

Just grab the shovel and heave the coal;
Put your head out the window and watch the drivers roll
Then he looked at his watch and mumbled and said,
We may make it, but we'll all he dead.

They pulled out of - - - about forty minutes late,
Dragging behind thirty-six cars of freight.
The conductor didn't keep any tab,
'Cause James A. Michaels was in the cab.

But when they got to the whistling post,
James turned as pale as any old ghost.
He had the tallow pot out on top,
Helping the brakies to make the stop.

The Cannon Ball come splitting the air
He threw her over and unloaded right there.
He yelled to the fireman, You'd better jump,
'Cause two locomotives is about to bump.

On the railroads, an engineer is an eagle eye, a fireman a tallow pot. These are verses chosen at random from among probably three hundred verses that I know.

I believe the way the Casey Jones song started was thus: A small coterie of us were flopped under a bean tree in Arizona some time ago. A guy asks if we would write some of it out. We did, and he said he was going to publish it. I think this is the real origin of the song.

Yours respectfully, Kelly the Rake In Camp, Near Porum, Ok, Aug 2, 1911.

Cohen also quotes an interesting text from Haywire Mac.

Cheers, Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Casey Jones 2 and queries
From: toadfrog
Date: 29 May 02 - 08:02 PM

What ever happened to Casey Jones I?

Who are these people bad-mouthing Stephen Jay Gould? A bunch of "Creation scientists"? I say, he was a great author!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Casey Jones 2 and queries
From: Mark Ross
Date: 29 May 02 - 09:21 PM

That's JAY GOULD the robber baron, not the scientist. In JAY GOULDS'DAUGHTER daughter says;

"there's 2 more trains I'd like to ride Tell me daughter what can they be, The Atchison, Topeka & the Santa Fe."

The joke being that they were one railroad.

The original version of CASEY JONES by Saunders was recorded by Haywire MAc on the Folkways LP(now out on CD) recorded by Sam Eskin in the '50's.

Mark Ross


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Subject: Lyr Add: CASEY JONES (Silbert, Newton)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 05 Jun 03 - 09:20 PM

These words are nearly the same as the version in the DT, but that transcription has several major shortcomings: it doesn't identify which part is the chorus; it doesn't indicate where the chorus is to be repeated; it doesn't explain how the chorus changes from one verse to the next; and no source or author is credited.

Transcribed by me from the sheet music at The Library of Congress American Memory Collection, with punctuation added.

CASEY JONES
(Words, T. Lawrence Seibert. Music, Eddie Newton. Copyright 1909.)

Come, all you rounders, if you want to hear
A story about a brave engineer.
Casey Jones was the rounder's name.
On a six-eight wheeler, boys, he won his fame.
The caller called Casey at a half past four,
Kissed his wife at the station door,
Mounted to the cabin with his orders in his hand,
And he took his farewell trip to that Promised Land.

CHORUS: Casey Jones! mounted to the cabin.
Casey Jones! with his orders in his hand.
Casey Jones! mounted to the cabin
And he took his farewell trip to that Promised Land.

"Put in your water and shovel in your coal.
Put your head out the window. Watch them drivers roll.
I'll run her till she leaves the rail,
'Cause I'm eight hours late with that western mail."
He looked at his watch and his watch was slow.
He looked at the water and the water was low.
He turned to the fireman and he said,
"We're going to reach Frisco but we'll all be dead."

CHORUS: Casey Jones! going to reach Frisco.
Casey Jones! but we'll all be dead.
Casey Jones! going to reach Frisco.
We're going to reach Frisco but we'll all be dead.

Casey pulled up that Reno Hill.
He tooted for the crossing with an awful shrill.
The switchmen knew by the engine's moan
That the man at the throttle was Casey Jones.
He pulled up within two miles of the place.
Number Four stared him right in the face.
Turned to the fireman, said, "Boy, you'd better jump
'Cause there's two locomotives that's a-going to bump."

CHORUS: Casey Jones! two locomotives.
Casey Jones! that's a-going to bump.
Casey Jones! two locomotives.
There's two locomotives that's a-going to bump.

Casey said just before he died,
"There's two more roads that I'd like to ride."
Fireman said, "What could that be?"
"The Southern Pacific and the Santa Fe."
Mrs. Jones sat on her bed a-sighing.
Just received a message that Casey was dying.
Said, "Go to bed, children, and hush your crying,
'Cause you got another papa on the Salt Lake Line."

CHORUS: Mrs. Casey Jones! got another papa.
Mrs. Casey Jones! on that Salt Lake Line.
Mrs. Casey Jones! got another papa,
And you've got another papa on that Salt Lake Line.

[The Water Valley Casey Jones Railroad Museum seems to have the most thorough and reliable information about the real Casey Jones, and the early history of the song.]


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Subject: Lyr Add: WRECK OF THE SIX WHEELER
From: Goose Gander
Date: 24 Feb 06 - 11:58 AM

WRECK OF THE SIX WHEELER
Transcribed from recording by
Newton Gaines, Texas, 10-12-29
(BVE-56368-2) on Native American Ballads (RCA LPV-548)

Monday morning it begin to rain
Around the curb came a passenger train
On the Charlie was old Jimmy Jones
He's a good old porter but he's dead and gone
Dead and gone, he's dead and gone
He's been on the Charlie so long.

Joseph Mica was a good engineer
He told his fireman not to fear
All he wanted, keep it good and hot
"We'll make Canton 'bout 4 o'clock,
'Bout 4 0'clock, 'bout 4 o'clock,
Been on the Charlie so long."

When we was about a mile of the place
Number One stared us right in the face
Conductor looked at his watch and he mumbled and said,
"We may make it, but we'll all be dead,
All be dead, we'll all be dead
I've been on the Charlie so long."

When the two locomotives was about to bump
Fireman was preparing for to make his jump
Engineer blowed the whistle and the fireman balled
"Oh, Mr. Conductor, won't you save us all,
Save us all, Oh, save us all,
I've been on the Charlie so long."

Oh, you oughta been there for to see the sights
Running and a-screaming both black and white
Some was crippled and some was lame
But the six wheel driver had to bear the blame
Had to bear the blame, had to bear the blame
He's been on the Charlie so long.

Ain't it a pity, Oh, ain't it a shame
That the six wheel driver had to bear the blame
He'd been on the Charlie so long.

Gonna lay my head, gonna lay my head
Down on some railroad line
Let the Sante Fe, let the Sante Fe come and satisfy my mind
Let the Sante Fe, let the Sante Fe come and satisfy my mind
Gonna lay my head down on some railroad track
When the train come along, I sure gonna jerk it back.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Casey Jones 2 and queries
From: Barry Finn
Date: 24 Feb 06 - 03:52 PM

I used to sing Joe Hickerson's version, I believe he has he train lins as the "Southern Pacific & the Santa Fe". His notes also say:
"John Luther "Casey " Jones met his death on April 30, 1900, while highba-ling the "Canonball" southward on th Illinois Central run between Memphis & New Oreleans. Almost immediately, one or more members of a cycle of black railroad & hobo were reworked (by Casey's engine-wiper, according to some) into "Casey Jones" ballad/lyric, & in 1909 two white vaudevillians, T. Lawerence Seibert & Edward Netwon, fashioned what became a very popular song about the event. Throughout all these versions, incidedents, & remarks pertaining to other people (real & imagined) accrued to Mr. Jones from the eariler songs. One verse in this folk process was particularly telling: Casey's widow, to her dying day (Nov. 21, 1958), had to deny on many occasions that she had ever had "another papa on the I.C. (or any other) line". I do not sing this verse. (The complex history of these matters can be found in Norm Chhen's article, "Casey Jones": At the Crossroads of Two Ballad Traditions"'
some of this had already been mentioned & no need to continue as the rest has againg been said above.

Alan Lomax also has a small bit to say in his "Folk Songs of North America" aside from mentioning that John Luther Jones's family moved across the Mississippi River, in his teens, to Caycee, Kentucky, whence comes the nickname he later chose to distinguish himself from the numerous other John Joneses working for the I.C. Railroad.

Old (good) threads die hard, don't they.

Barry


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Subject: Lyr Add: CASEY JONES, MINER
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 02 Jan 07 - 09:28 PM

Stewie posted three verses a few years back. I think all of it should be here.

CASEY JONES, MINER

1.
Come all you muckers and gather here,
A story I'll tell you of a miner dear,
Casey Jones was the miner's name,
On a Burley machine he won his fame.
2.
The story I am about to tell
Hapened at a mine called the Liberty Bell,
They went into the crosscut and mucked her out,
And Casey said, "We'd better step about."
3.
Carey Jones was a ten-day miner,
Casey Jones was a ten-day man,
Casey Jones took a chance too many,
And now he's mining in the promised land.
4.
Casey said, "We'd better dig in,
Before that damned old shift boss comes in;
If he finds out we've been taking five,"
He'll send us to the office to get our time."
5.
They went into the crosscut, put up the bar,
Placed the machine up on the arm,
Put in a starting drill with its bit toward the ground,
Turned on the air and she began to pound.
6.
Casey said, "If I haven't lied,
There is a missed hole on that right-hand side."
His partner said, "Oh gracious me!
If it ever went off where would we be."
7.
They went into the crosscut to drill some more,
The powder exploded with a hell of a roar,
It scortched poor Casey just as flar as a pan,
And now he's mining in the promised land.
8.
Carey said just before he died,
"There's one more machine I would like to have tried."
His partner said, "What can it be?"
An Ingersoll jackhammer, don't you see."
9.
Casey Jones was a ten-day miner,
Casey Jones was a ten-day man,
Casey Jones took a chance too many,
And now he's mining in the promised land.

Heard by Bill Gilbert in 1918 at Chicago Park, near Colfax, CA when he was President of the Western Federation of Miners.
Two 'unprintable stanzas about the Empire mine, Grass Valley, and Mrs, Jones going to Colfax and Reno "to be free once more" of a mucker she married after the death of Casey.

ten-day miner- a tramp miner, who works just long enough to make a stake so that he may hit the road again.
taking five- knocking off work long enough to smoke a cigarette, etc.
missed hole- a hole in a ound of dynamite charges which has not exploded because of a faulty fuse or other reason.

First printed in "Southern Folklore Quart., VI, 2, June 1942. Taken here from Duncan Emrich, "Songs of the Western Miners," Calif. Folklore Quart., 1942, vol. 1, no. 3, pp. 213-232.
There were other versions at other mining camps.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Casey Jones 2 and queries
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 02 Jan 07 - 09:39 PM

Casey Jones, Miner, correction:
verse 7, 'It scorched poor Casey just as flat as a pan.'

Burley machine- not specified, but made at Burley Machine Shops, Burley, Idaho.
Ingersoll- now Ingersoll-Rand?


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Subject: Lyr Add: CASEY JONES (bawdy)
From: GUEST,A
Date: 22 Mar 11 - 12:13 AM

CASEY JONES (bawdy)

If all you little bastards will leave me alone, I'll tell you all the story of Casey Jones,
Casey Jones was a brave engineer and he had a little fireman who was mighty queer.
The caller called Casey at half past four, he screwed his wife, then he screwed his whore,
He mounted to the cabin with his pecker in his hand, said "it takes a lot of puss to be a railroad man."
Casey Jones, mounted to the cabin, Casey Jones, with his pecker in his hand,
Casey Jones, mounted to the cabin, said it takes alot of puss to be a railroad man.

Hang your head out the window watch the drivers roll, get your dam dirty finger out of my asshole,
We're crossing the trestle into Santa Fe where you can find a little fag and you can spend the day.
Casey had a pecker 'bout two feet long, and that's the reason for this nasty song,
You could always tell by the woman's moan that the man behind the pecker was Casey Jones.
Casey Jones, the man behind the pecker, Casey Jones, made the woman moan.
Casey Jones, the man behind the pecker, the man behind the pecker was Casey Jones.

Now Casey Jones was a son of a bitch, drove his engine into the ditch.
The whistle blew and the engine split, the conductor farted and Casey Shit.
Casey Jones said before he died, there's five more things I'd like to ride.
A tricycle, bicycle, automobile, a bull legged woman and electric eel.

The buried old Casey on the day that he died, the women all came from far and wide,
to see the engineer with the two foot cock, but they couldn't get the lid down on the fuckin box.


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Subject: Origins: Casey Jones
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 21 Jan 12 - 04:54 PM

Just heard a special on Casey Jones on KMUN Astoria OR USA. They said the original song was written by a Saunders, his assistant engineer. Saunders was African American, at time when there was so much discrimination on the railroads. Was Casey Jones African American?

They also played this supremely nasty song about Casey Jones, sung by Peter Seeger. I see it was written by Joe Hill, which surprises me because I had not heard any nasty ones from him before..it was just plain mean. Was Casey Jones a scab? The song almost seemed to rejoice in his accident and sent him to heaven to scab for the angels and then to hell I think.

There was a kid show on TV I think called Casey Jones..about a kid I think..this was an era where there were lots of boy and his father and no mother TV shows...they sang Casey Jones steaming and a rolling Casey Jones you never have to guess when y ou hear the tooting?? of the whistle it's Casey at the throttle of the Cannonball express.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Casey Jones
From: catspaw49
Date: 21 Jan 12 - 07:01 PM

The most info about the real history of Casey Jones by far is located HERE...http://www.watervalley.net/users/caseyjones/casey.htm#cj.

The nasty song by Joe Hill is Casey Jones Union Scab in the DT. Damn little of anything accurate in that song.

The TV show starred Alan Hale Jr. (the Skipper from Gilligan) in his younger days. Here is a promo on YouTube.


Spaw


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Subject: RE: Origins: Casey Jones
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 21 Jan 12 - 08:53 PM

Norm Cohen, 1981, Long Steel Rail, University of Illinois Press, wrote at length about the song, its variants, possible progenitors, and the personnel involved.

One version has been attributed to a Wash Saunders, an uneducated Black engine wiper. Cohen says, "The search for Saunders' original composition has gone unfulfilled." Briefly, Cohen says that it could have been nothing like the 1908 version Railroad Man's Magazine, but more like Afro-American fragments of songs "that were in circulation before the turn of the century."
The actual wreck that killed John Luther (Casey) Jones occurred on the Illinois Central on April 30, 1900, and was well-reported in the Memphis Commercial Appeal of May 1, 1900. His fireman, Sim Webb, jumped and suffered minor injuries.

There is to much information in Norm Cohen's (pp. 132-157) section on Casey Jones and song versions to summarize here.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Casey Jones
From: Mark Ross
Date: 21 Jan 12 - 11:22 PM

The Joe Hill version was written for a strike on the Salt Lake San Pedro RR in 1911. Everyone walked off the job, trainmen, fireman, conductors, brakemen, gandy dancers, wipers, carmen, everyone except the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers who considered themselves the aristocrats of labor. Joe wasn't being mean, he was describing a situation which we call union scabbing.

Mark Ross


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