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Lyr Req: Little Red Caboose Behind the Train

DigiTrad:
LITTLE RED CABOOSE BEHIND THE TRAIN
THE LITTLE LOG CABIN BY THE STREAM


Related threads:
(origins) Origins: copyright of kidsong 'LittleRed Caboose' (33)
Lyr Add: Weathered Old Caboose behind the Train (4)
Lyr Req: Little Red Caboose (23)
Help: Sacred? - Cabin on the Hill (21)
Lyr Add: Little Log Cabin by the Sea (Carter Fam (4)


Sourdough 02 May 00 - 08:34 PM
Midchuck 02 May 00 - 08:52 PM
Stewie 02 May 00 - 09:15 PM
Sourdough 02 May 00 - 10:30 PM
Metchosin 02 May 00 - 10:41 PM
Dale Rose 02 May 00 - 10:43 PM
Sourdough 02 May 00 - 11:17 PM
Dale Rose 03 May 00 - 12:28 AM
Sourdough 03 May 00 - 01:26 AM
JenEllen 03 May 00 - 01:30 AM
Dale Rose 03 May 00 - 01:46 AM
Sourdough 03 May 00 - 02:51 AM
GUEST,Gene 03 May 00 - 03:21 AM
Stewie 03 May 00 - 04:07 AM
Dale Rose 03 May 00 - 10:32 AM
Sourdough 03 May 00 - 11:17 AM
Joe Offer 03 May 00 - 05:57 PM
Joe Offer 03 May 00 - 06:29 PM
Stewie 03 May 00 - 07:42 PM
Dale Rose 03 May 00 - 08:31 PM
Stewie 03 May 00 - 08:42 PM
Sourdough 04 May 00 - 03:40 AM
Stewie 04 May 00 - 04:36 AM
Sourdough 05 May 00 - 01:55 AM
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Subject: Little Red Caboose Behind the Train
From: Sourdough
Date: 02 May 00 - 08:34 PM

Yep, I tried the DT. I even search "caboose" to make sure.

THis song, to the tune of Little Old Log Cabin on the Lane, Little Old Sod Cabin", and the thirty or forty other cousins of that song, is a railway song about an aging railroadman. I remember some lines such as "My arms are getting weary and my eyes are getting dim. I cannot read the signals any more" The recurrent line is, "That little red caboose behind the train".

Does anyone have access to the words?

The melody is running through my head and I would love to play it when I get together with some friends later this week but I don't know enough lyric.

Sourdough


Click for related thread and lyrics


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Little Red Caboose Behind the Train
From: Midchuck
Date: 02 May 00 - 08:52 PM

Mr. Norman Blake recorded it as "The Weathered Old Caboose Behind the Train" on Chattanooga Sugar Babe, Shanachie 6027.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Little Red Caboose Behind the Train
From: Stewie
Date: 02 May 00 - 09:15 PM

I posted the lyrics to Blake's 'The Weathered Old Caboose' as a 'lyr add' thread if that's the one you are after.

click here

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Little Red Caboose Behind the Train
From: Sourdough
Date: 02 May 00 - 10:30 PM

Stewie -

Thanks for looking it up.

That song is definitely and closely related to the one I'm looking for but it seems to me to have had the lyrics moderned up a bit. I would like to find the older version of lyric if anyone has it.

Sourdough


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Little Red Caboose Behind the Train
From: Metchosin
Date: 02 May 00 - 10:41 PM

Little red caboose chug chug chug
Little red caboose chug chug chug
Little red caboose behind the train train train train
Goin down the track track track track
Smoke stack on the back back back back
Little red caboose behind the tra-ain

Sorry to foul the thread up Sourdough, but your request reminded me of the above ditty from my childhood that I hadn't thought of for years.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Little Red Caboose Behind the Train
From: Dale Rose
Date: 02 May 00 - 10:43 PM

I have it, Sourdough. It is on the same album that I found The Crime of the D'Autremont Brothers. Now I just have to find the time to dig it out again and transcribe it. I'll try not to make it as long as last time, but don't hold your breath!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Little Red Caboose Behind the Train
From: Sourdough
Date: 02 May 00 - 11:17 PM

Apparently we share a love of train songs but you seem to have a far deeper knowledge and collection.

Whenever you get around to it, I will be happy to get it. I am in your debt once again (but I do think of you gratefully whenever SP Train number 16 is going into the tunnel and the brothers head for the engine to kill Bates the fireman and endager the lives of the passengers and crew.

Sourdough


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Little Red Caboose Behind the Train
From: Dale Rose
Date: 03 May 00 - 12:28 AM

The song will be on the way as soon as I finish this post ~~ didn't take me as long as I thought it would, but the lyrics are another matter. At least you'll have them when you get the song.

Thought I'd list all the songs from the album, lots of neat stuff that is hard to find from other sources ~~ but getting easier every year!.

The Railroad In Folksong, RCA Victor Vintage Series 532, 1966. (notes were by Archie Green)

Orange Blossom Special, Rouse Brothers 39
The Train's Done Left Me, Carolina Tar Heels 29
Engine One Forty Three, The Carter Family 29
Jerry, Go Ile That Car, Harry "Mac" McClintock 28
If I Die A Railroad Man, Tenneva Ramblers 28
The Wreck Of The Virginian (Train No. 3), Blind Alfred Reed 27
Nine Pound Hammer Is Too Heavy, Monroe Brothers 36
The Davis Limited, Jimmie Davis 31
The Cannon Ball, Delmore Brothers 38
The Longest Train, J. E. Mainer's Mountaineers 35
Wreck Of The Old 97, Vernon Dalhart 26
The Red And Green Signal Lights, G. B. Grayson and Henry Whitter 28
Peanut Special, Byron Parker And His Mountaineers 40
Crime Of The D'Autremont Brothers, Johnson Brothers 28
McAbee's Railroad Piece, Palmer McAbee 28
The Little Red Caboose Behind The Train, Paul Warmack And His Gully Jumpers 28


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Little Red Caboose Behind the Train
From: Sourdough
Date: 03 May 00 - 01:26 AM

What a terrific album! What are the numbers after each title, the year of the recording? They seem to fit from the little I know.

Thank you!

How ar eyou sending the song but not the lyrics? By MP3?

Sourdough


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Little Red Caboose Behind the Train
From: JenEllen
Date: 03 May 00 - 01:30 AM

Sorry, I had the same brain train as Metchosin I guess. ~Elle


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Little Red Caboose Behind the Train
From: Dale Rose
Date: 03 May 00 - 01:46 AM

Yes, year of original recording, I neglected to say that. Unless it got hung up in the pipeline somewhere, you should have the RA by now. I haven't figured out how to make mp3 or wav that are sufficiently small yet. As for the lyrics, I have to be in a specific mood to handle lyrics, just recording songs requires a lot less brain power.

I took a look at the Norman Blake song posted by Stewie. It definitely looks like he at least modeled his chorus on The Little Red Caboose Behind The Train, which as noted in Sourdough's first post is itself a descendant of an even earlier song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Little Red Caboose Behind the Train
From: Sourdough
Date: 03 May 00 - 02:51 AM

The RA version has arrived and I can transcribe the lyrics without any problem.

I used to trasncribe lyrics professionally.

"Hey, Mister, can I get a job like that?"

"No, Johnny, it is a special kind of job."

I was living in Paris looking for ways to eke out the little money I was making busking and as a receptionist at a Student and Artists' Club on the West Bank. I was getting room and some board working as a male au pair fora family with two boys in Malmaison. (The first time I was a commuter was in Paris - around the Arche de Triomphe on my (BMW) motorcycle and down the Champs Elysee and then over to the Left Bank. I've never really had as interesting a commute since then.) It turned out that there were a lot of French singing groups, for some reason it was groups who wanted to sing American songs, that needed to have lyrics trasncribed because they could not understand them from the recording.

It never made a serious income stream but it did lead me to teaching at Berlitz.

In any case, thanks again for the recording.

Sourdough


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE LITTLE RED CABOOSE BEHIND THE TRAIN
From: GUEST,Gene
Date: 03 May 00 - 03:21 AM

Lyrics IFFY in a few places

LITTLE RED CABOOSE BEHIND THE TRAIN
Paul Warmack and his Gully Jumpers

I am growing old and weary
And my sight is getting dim
I have laid my [.?.] and pins away to rust
And the only friend that's left to me
In this wide world to [.?.]
Is the Little Red Caboose Behind The Train.

CHORUS
Oh, I'm growing old and feeble now
And my sight is getting dim
And i cannot see those signals anymore
I can hear those whistles blowing
AndI know I'll soon be going
To a better home I know that, far away.

There are young ones coming on
It is time for me to go
They'll be pestered with the rain, the sleet and snow
And they'll find a heap of trouble
When the bills they have, do double
With the Little Red Caboose Behind The Train.

CHORUS

Joe, can you add missing words and edit as needed?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Little Red Caboose Behind the Train
From: Stewie
Date: 03 May 00 - 04:07 AM

Dale, thanks for the track listing of the 'Railroad in Folksong' LP. About 15 years ago, I missed out on purchasing a copy by a day or two. An old bloke in Victoria (Oz) was selling his oldtimey LP collection but, by the time I found out, he had sold the RCA railroad one - but I purchased 4 others in the series from him. I ended up buying about 50 LPs from him. I am glad to see the track listing. I have all but 4 of them on other albums - one of the missing ones being 'The Little Red Caboose' - so I won't bother chasing the LP. Now if they released it on CD ... Cheers, Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Little Red Caboose Behind the Train
From: Dale Rose
Date: 03 May 00 - 10:32 AM

Out of curiosity ~~ which four songs are you missing, Stewie? A wild guess without checking would be the last four. Also, which four Vintage albums do you have? I'll compare your list with mine.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Little Red Caboose Behind the Train
From: Sourdough
Date: 03 May 00 - 11:17 AM

Gene:

Thanks for the lyric (posted to the other thread). I quickly grabbed it and was up until 1:30 this morning playing witht he lyric and song. It was like being able to give a glorious scratch to a wonderful itch.

Lyric corrections you asked for:

"links and chains to rust" "hills they have to double" (Maybe "bills" refers to the increasing cost of running railroads) "In this wide world left to stand" (This is my best guess. I am not sure about this word, though)

Sourdough


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Little Red Caboose Behind the Train
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 May 00 - 05:57 PM

GEE! I've got both Gene and Dale on my case to correct these lyrics andd get them posted in the right place, but I think they belong right where Gene posted them (click) where they can be compared at a glance with the Norman Blake version Stewie posted. So, I'll post the corrections there. Note that when I find interrelated threads, I often post a link to the other thread in the first message, like you'll see in this thread when I get finished.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: Lyr Add: LITTLE RED CABOOSE BEHIND THE TRAIN ^^
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 May 00 - 06:29 PM

OK, here's the joint transcription from Dale, Gene, Joe, and Sourdough:

LITTLE RED CABOOSE BEHIND THE TRAIN
Paul Warmack and his Gully Jumpers

I am growing old and weary
And my sight is getting dim
I have laid my links and pins away to rust
And the only friend that's left to me
In this wide world to stand
Is the Little Red Caboose Behind The Train.

CHORUS
Oh, I'm growing old and feeble now
And my sight is getting dim
And I cannot see those signals anymore
I can hear those whistles blowing
And I know I'll soon be going
To a better home I know that, far away.

There are young ones coming on
It is time for me to go
They'll be pestered with the rain, the sleet and snow
And they'll find a heap of trouble
When those hills they have to double
With the Little Red Caboose Behind The Train.

CHORUS
^^

And the notes from Dale:
The Little Red Caboose Behind The Train/Paul Warmack and his Gully Jumpers, recorded Nashville, TN 10/1/28 From The Railroad In Folksong, RCA Victor Vintage Series 532, 1966.

From the notes (not much on this song) The Grand Ole Opry, in its first decade, featured a handful of Tennessee String Bands like Paul Warmack's Gully Jumpers. The Little Red Caboose Behind The Train is a folk parody of Will Hay's minstrel classic "The Little Log Cabin In The Lane." Railroaders delighted in caboose ditties which evoked the warmth of a trainman's home and the spirit of his final parting. ARCHIE GREEN
"Links and pins," the predecessors of couplers, were used to join train cars together - so those words seem to me to be the correct interpretation.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Little Red Caboose Behind the Train
From: Stewie
Date: 03 May 00 - 07:42 PM

Hi Dale,

The four that I don't have are: 'Little Red Caboose', 'Crime of D'Autremont Brothers', 'Peanut Special' and 'The Train Done Left Me'.

The four Vintage albums are: 'Early Blue Grass', 'Early Rural String Bands', 'Native American Ballads' and 'Dust Bowl Ballads'. I no longer have 'Dust Bowl Ballads' because I later swapped it for 'Blue Ridge Mountain Music' in the Atlantic Southern Folk Heritage Series - a lovely record, especially the Mountain Ramblers' tracks. I also have the RCA Smoky Mountain Ballads LP on a British reissue (Pickwick).

Cheers, Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Little Red Caboose Behind the Train
From: Dale Rose
Date: 03 May 00 - 08:31 PM

Here are the complete notes by Archie Green for The Railroad In Folksong. (I figured more than one might like to read them) I made a rough spell check of my scan, but I did not remove all the hyphens, and likely missed a few paragraph breaks. I also did not put in all the html for italics, etc. It should be easily readable, though. (Stewie, I'll get to my comments about the albums later)

A new nation hacked out of a wilderness-spanning mountain, prairie, forest, desert-gave its builders a tremendous affection for the tools of transport. Ox team, covered wagon, canal boat, clipper ship, locomotive, and motor truck became folklore cluster points. Of all these machines in the United States, none attracted more songs and stories than the iron horse. Not only did the sheer physical labor expended in lacing a con- tinent with track Pulsate in lyric work songs, but hundreds of tragic wrecks sparked dramatic ballads, and many brave trainmen were memo- rialized in touching elegies. Apart from such obvious subjects was the alternate use of the train as a symbol for escape, freedom or salvation. Fortunately, railroadiana is well documented. When Ben Botkin, Frank Donovan, Alvin Harlow and Freeman Hubbard caught steam and whistle in printed narrative and anecdote, folksong collectors etched parallel pieces into sound recordings. This album takes up samples of railroad material-some of which originated in the 1920s: mountain, country, hillbilly. At that time the recording industry's artists and repertoire men gathered a fine harvest. We do not question whether Ralph Peer and his fellow scouts consciously sought railroad songs; we know -only that RCA Victor vaults hold excellent examples of such items comparable to the best Library of Congress field variants.

Actually, Victor's presentation of rail lore was underway in 1910 when Billy Murray sang the classic Casey Jones, followed by the Peer- less Quartet harmony on Drill Ye Tarr-iers Drill. These Tin Pan Alley favorites were also known by traditional singers, but Victor recorded no white, rural folksingers in any systematic manner until after Wreck e)f the Old 97 and The Prisoner's Song, an influential disc by Vernon Dalhart, became a bit. Since then, many recorded railroad folksongs have enriched society.

A characteristic of folklore is that we never learn the full history of songs or their singers. Some selections and performers on this LP are well known to rail fans and folksong buffs, while others are unknown, even to specialists. The album's design is sixteen railroad pieces, dating from about 1870 to 1940, which portray a cross section of themes in various musical styles. Excluded is the category of hobo folksong, which is connected to railroading. Many well-loved train numbers by Jimmie Rodgers, Wilf Carter, the Blue Sky Boys and others are also excluded because they are available on current RCA Victor or Camden reissues.

The train itself-steam engine, rattling boxcar, luxurious sleeper-is a complex object in folklore. The song, usually secondary in importance, is central here. Countless folksingers have honed these texts and tunes against the edge of experience at the roundhouse and boarding- house, depot and water tank. The rough-handed gandydancer or lonely boomer who added a plaintive melodic line to a poetic commonplace was as gifted as the Currier and Ives artist catching the visual excite- ment of the iron monster on the lithographer's stone.

THE RAILROAD IN FOLKSONG, is a multi-faceted anthology-national history, verbal art, musical display. You are invited to entrain for a ride backwards into nostalgia or ahead into fresh perceptions of Amer- ican experience.

Many railroads were honored by songs; few became famous folk- songs. A current bluegrass standard, with a gypsy rhapsody's verve, is Orange Blossom Special, composed by Ervin Rouse (a Floridian, origi- nally from Craven County, North Carolina). He recognized that his piece about a Seaboard Railroad flyer, in a sense, became anonymous during his lifetime whembe told Johnny Cash, "The Special belongs to everybody by now." Doc Walsh, Garley Foster and T. C. Ashley, in various combinations, constituted a fine country string band, 1926-1932. The Carolina Tar Heels performed a wide range of material including "mountain blues." The Train's Done Left Me is one of numerous complaints about the railroad's seemingly main function-to carry a lover away. George Alley, a Chesapeake & Ohio engineer (Fast Flying Vestibule), was killed at Hinton, West Virginia, on October 23, 1890. The ballad of his death spread rapidly and has been recovered under unusual titles. Sarah Carter learned Engine One-Forty-Three as a youngster. After the Carter Family's disc became popular, it served as a model for later' variants and parodies.

Irish immigrant laborers in American industry coined many songs commenting on new work roles. One such narrative, Jerry, Go Ile That Car, circulated during the 1880s from the Canadian Rockies to New Mexico's Santa Fe line. Harry K. McCllintock ("Haywire Mac"), who started as a Pennsylvania Railroad brakeman in 1902, enriched folklore by writing short stories and collecting boomer, hobo, and cowboy songs. A mountain string band, the Jimmie Rodgers Entertainers, accom- panied Rodgers to Bristol, Virginia-Tennessee, for his recording debut.

Without its "star" the group called itself the Tenneva Ramblers. If I Die a Railroad Man is usually an expressive stanza in diverse lyric songs, but the Ramblers placed the cliché in a 1917 wartime departure piece. The song dates back to a Civil War "Soldier's Farewell." Two Virginian Railway trains collided at Ingleside, West Virginia, on May 24, 1927. Engineer Aldrich and Fireman O'Neal were killed by flash scalding; the second train's crew escaped death. Immediately after the tragedy, Blind Alfred Reed recorded The Wreck of the Virginian. Although his style was fully traditional, there is no evidence that this ballad got away from its composer.

Negro labor was used in railroad construction throughout the South. Tunnel drilling, track lining, and spike driving chants moved about freely. Consequently, hammer songs-often part of the John Henry complex-entered white repertoires. The Monroe Brothers recorded Nine Pound Hammer Is Too Heavy at their first Bluebird session.

Native frontier humor featured bumpkins, braggarts, and fighter- hunters in tall tales. This genre lingers in rural drama wedded to com- mercial country music. The use of the train ride as a frame for droll talk and rustic instrumentals appears on other discs; however, it is best demonstrated by Jimmie Davis, a former Louisiana governor, on The Davis Limited. The Wabash Cannonball, a legendary train running everywhere, de- serves to have a colorful novel written about it. Wabash Company files list two (1880s) models: a Chicago to Kansas City or a St. Louis to Omaha flyer. In 1904 William Kindt secured a copyright for his ar- rangement of the song; subsequently it has been used by folk, pop, Dixie, country-western, and rockabilly performers. The Delmore Brothers, an Alabama duo, contribute a close-harmony The Cannon Ball.

While certain lyric folksongs are constant in structure, others attract an array of floating elements. One such conglomerate is titled "In the Pines," "John Brown's Coal Mine," "Lonesome Road," "Black Girl." J. E. Mainer's Mountaineers, a western North Carolina string band, center The Longest Train on a girl's macabre death in the locomotive's driver wheel.

Vernon Dalhart is but one pseudonym for Marion Try Slaughter from Jefferson, Texas. His stage and recording career was fabulous. Wreck of the Old 97 (a Southern Railway mail train wreck at Danville, Virginia, on September 27, 1903) is well known. Railroad Brotherhood journals constantly printed poems, some of which became folksongs. A favorite, in printed and oral form, is The Red and Green Signal Lights (also called "The Two Lanterns," "The Child of the Engineer"). This version is by two pioneer recording artists, 0. B. Grayson, a blind farmer-minstrel from Laurel Bloomery, Tennessee, and Henry Whitter, a textile hand from Fries, Virginia.

A part of the Southern Railway's system is described in Peanut Special, which ran from Columbia to Chester, South Carolina. Byron Parker and His Mountaineers made the rollicking trip frequently. The band is known for its role in the transition of old time to bluegrass music.

Hugh, Ray, and Roy D'Autremont robbed a Southern Pacific train at Oregon's Siskiyou Pass on October 11, 1923, murdering the engineer, fireman, brakeman, and mail clerk by shotgun and dynamite. This brutal event's ballad was composed after the Northwest loggers were im- prisoned in 1927. Crime of the D'Autremont Brothers by the Johnson Brothers, like some other broadsides, is folk in style but with no life in tradition. Charles and Paul Johnson were from eastern Tennessee.

Train sounds-whistles, wheel clicks on tracks, engine Roars-have long intrigued folk musicians. Fiddles, guitars, pianos, and harmonicas became railroads in the hands of dynamic artists. Train imitations, common to white and Negro players, preceded phonograph recordings. Palmer McAbee, an Alabaman, gave his name to McAbee's Railroad Piece.

The Grand Ole Opry, in its first decade, featured a handful of Tennessee string bands like Paul Warmack's Gully Jumpers. The Little Red Caboose Behind the Train is a folk parody of Will Hay's minstrel classic "The Little Log Cabin in the Lane." Railroaders delighted in caboose ditties which evoked the warmth of a trainman's home and the spirit of his final parting.

Archie Green Mr. Green is a vice-president of the John Edwards Memorial Foundation at UCLA, an archival center dedicated to the study of recorded folk music. Thanks go to Eugene Earle, Dave Freeman, Guthrie Meade, Bob Pinson and Peter Tamony for their assistance in source material and data.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Little Red Caboose Behind the Train
From: Stewie
Date: 03 May 00 - 08:42 PM

Great stuff, Dale. Many thanks for posting it.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Little Red Caboose Behind the Train
From: Sourdough
Date: 04 May 00 - 03:40 AM

That sure makes interesting reading and fans my interst in getting the CS. SOmeone did say it was going to be released as a CD, did't they?

Sourdough


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Little Red Caboose Behind the Train
From: Stewie
Date: 04 May 00 - 04:36 AM

Sourdough, the CD comment was only wishful thinking on my part. I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for it. RCA has abandoned even its highly-acclaimed Bluebird blues reissue series and its 4 oldtimey reissues are long out of print - bean counters triumphing over art. Thankfully, the Monroe Brothers' Bluebirds are to be issued under licence by Rounder. It would be nice if it licensed the Vintage series as well, but I doubt that it will happen.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Little Red Caboose Behind the Train
From: Sourdough
Date: 05 May 00 - 01:55 AM

They'll miss a market because people will start making their own CDs from the disks. As I understand it, the technology is pretty good as well as inexpensive and it has automated pop and hiss removal that is reasonable effective.

Once that happens, the market will disappear for that particular record. The only thing stopping it is getting the first tranfer done, after that, the copying is a piece of cake.

Sourdough


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