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Lyr Add: Railroad Blues (Sam McGee)

Stewie 28 Mar 00 - 07:28 PM
GUEST 28 Mar 00 - 08:15 PM
Art Thieme 28 Mar 00 - 08:28 PM
Stewie 28 Mar 00 - 08:58 PM
Fortunato 29 Mar 00 - 09:50 AM
Stewie 29 Mar 00 - 05:10 PM
GUEST,harpgirl 15 Jun 07 - 04:11 PM
Chris in Portland 15 Jun 07 - 07:51 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: RAILROAD BLUES (Sam McGee)^^
From: Stewie
Date: 28 Mar 00 - 07:28 PM

RAILROAD BLUES
(Traditional)

Went to the depot, looked up on the board
Went to the depot, looked up on the board
It read good times here, but better down the road
(Falsetto yodel)

Well you caint do me, like you done poor Shine
You caint do me, like you done poor Shine
You took poor Shine's woman, but you sure lord caint take mine

Spoken: 'Here comes De Ford Bailey now with his harmonica'
[Instrumental passage]
'Tom Long comin' through Nashville with a load of pig iron'
[Instrumental passage]

Where was you, mama, when the train left the shed
Where was you, mama, when the train left the shed
'Standin' in my front door, wishin' I was dead'

Two little monkeys playin' up in a tree
Two little monkeys playin' up in a tree
One said to the other, 'Come on, let's make whoopee'

[Instrumental passage]

I met a little gypsy in a fortune telling place
I met a little gypsy in a fortune telling place
She read my mind, then she slapped my face

Source: recorded by Sam McGee in Richmond, Indiana, in August 1934. Reissued on Various Artists 'Train 45: Railroad Songs of the Early 1900s' Rounder CD 1143.
PS.

This was the great Sam McGee's signature song and guitar masterpiece – brimming with blues and ragtime echoes. It has been reissued already on several CD compilations, and Sam's entire 1920s and 1930s output is available on 'Sam McGee (1926-1934)' Document DOCD-8036. ^^


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Railroad blues
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Mar 00 - 08:15 PM

Oh, Stewie that's one of my favorites. I first heard Norman Blake's version, though, revival. Thanks for reminding me of it. I haven't played or sung it since 1978 or 78, I guess.

kind regards, Fortunato


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Railroad blues
From: Art Thieme
Date: 28 Mar 00 - 08:28 PM

The first time I ever heard the song it was done by TOM PALEY -- when he was with the New Lost City Ramblers -- on Febr. 4, 1961 at the first University Of Chicago Folk Festival. It just blew me away. On occasion I'd combine it with "Nine Pound Hammer". It wound up on my first LP (Kicking Mule KM-150) Outright Boldfaced Lies---Live At The Old Town School of Folk Music

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Railroad blues
From: Stewie
Date: 28 Mar 00 - 08:58 PM

Fortunato, it certainly deserves to be widely played, and it's probably about time some old standards like this were resurrected.

Art, I have a recording of it with Paley somewhere. He is a great musician who has freely acknowleged Sam McGee as a favourite influence. Also have a recording where Paley does another of Sam's signature pieces 'Franklin Blues' - on 'Hard Luck Papa', which like your first LP, was on Kicking Mule (SNKF 119).

Regards, Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Railroad blues
From: Fortunato
Date: 29 Mar 00 - 09:50 AM

Stewie I learned Brown's Ferry Blues with the "Hard Luck Poppa" verses from my Uncle Matthew Good, of Honeyville, Va. I didn't know Sam Mcgee did a version. Does it contain verses like:

"Hard time Poppa standing in the rain, if the world was corn he couldn't buy grain"?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Railroad blues
From: Stewie
Date: 29 Mar 00 - 05:10 PM

Fortunato, sorry about my ambiguous posting. 'Hard Luck Papa' is the title of the Paley album on which he did 'Franklin Blues'. He also did 'Brown's Ferry Blues' with lines similar to the ones you quoted: 'Hard Luck Papa countin' his toes/Smell his feet wherever he goes' etc. Like you, I am not aware that Sam McGee ever recorded a version of 'Brown's Ferry Blues'.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Railroad Blues
From: GUEST,harpgirl
Date: 15 Jun 07 - 04:11 PM

I heard Tom Paley do this song last night in town and it blew me away, too Art. I am wild about the mcgee's and Tom Paley...Tom is evidently 79 now and he is touring on a Grayhound Bus. He is going to Mt. Airy today.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Railroad Blues
From: Chris in Portland
Date: 15 Jun 07 - 07:51 PM

I have Tom's autographed KM tab book for Hard Luck Papa - as well as the KM tab for Art's lp. Got to get around to learning RR Blues someday. Del Ray did a nice version of that too, when she was playing with that harmonica fellow.
Art, the Chicago Public Library has transfered a lot of the U of C Folk Fests to cds - sure hope they figure a way to make them available for sale some time.
Chris in Portland, but once in Chicago


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