Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97

DigiTrad:
CHARLEY ON THE MTA
WRECK OF OLD 97
WRECK OF THE 97
WRECK OF THE OLD 97 (USAF)


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Wreck of the Old 97 (parody from PHC) (13)
(origins) Origins: Wreck of the Old 97 (49)
Tune Req: '..going round the bend..90miles an (11)


GUEST,Norton1 17 Feb 01 - 05:56 PM
catspaw49 17 Feb 01 - 06:02 PM
GUEST,Norton1 17 Feb 01 - 06:04 PM
Joe Offer 17 Feb 01 - 06:17 PM
Joe Offer 17 Feb 01 - 06:49 PM
catspaw49 17 Feb 01 - 06:58 PM
catspaw49 17 Feb 01 - 07:23 PM
Joe Offer 17 Feb 01 - 07:26 PM
Joe Offer 17 Feb 01 - 07:33 PM
Sorcha 17 Feb 01 - 07:35 PM
catspaw49 17 Feb 01 - 07:36 PM
catspaw49 17 Feb 01 - 07:38 PM
Joe Offer 17 Feb 01 - 08:01 PM
Giac 17 Feb 01 - 10:39 PM
catspaw49 17 Feb 01 - 11:36 PM
raredance 18 Feb 01 - 01:18 AM
Sourdough 18 Feb 01 - 02:52 AM
catspaw49 18 Feb 01 - 03:05 AM
Sourdough 18 Feb 01 - 03:17 AM
Joe Offer 18 Feb 01 - 03:18 AM
bob schwarer 18 Feb 01 - 06:53 AM
mkebenn 18 Feb 01 - 08:31 AM
Midchuck 18 Feb 01 - 08:53 AM
mkebenn 18 Feb 01 - 09:07 AM
Snuffy 18 Feb 01 - 09:34 AM
raredance 18 Feb 01 - 11:44 AM
Sourdough 18 Feb 01 - 12:56 PM
Melani 18 Feb 01 - 02:09 PM
Giac 18 Feb 01 - 02:33 PM
bob schwarer 18 Feb 01 - 03:30 PM
Steve Parkes 19 Feb 01 - 08:19 AM
raredance 19 Feb 01 - 10:18 AM
Janie 28 Sep 03 - 10:02 AM
GUEST,NH Dave 28 Sep 03 - 02:07 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 28 Sep 03 - 02:54 PM
Janie 28 Sep 03 - 04:10 PM
Janie 28 Sep 03 - 04:16 PM
Jim Dixon 29 Sep 03 - 10:21 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 29 Sep 03 - 11:14 PM
Chief Chaos 30 Sep 03 - 12:47 PM
mike the knife 30 Sep 03 - 01:17 PM
Stewie 20 Oct 03 - 06:34 PM
Joybell 20 Oct 03 - 06:54 PM
Joybell 20 Oct 03 - 07:09 PM
GUEST,Bucky Edgett 26 Feb 04 - 12:27 PM
greg stephens 26 Feb 04 - 12:59 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 26 Feb 04 - 02:36 PM
Bill D 26 Feb 04 - 02:52 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 26 Feb 04 - 04:16 PM
GUEST,av8nrog 11 Dec 16 - 09:33 PM
Snuffy 12 Dec 16 - 09:54 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: Wreck of the Old 97
From: GUEST,Norton1
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 05:56 PM

Way up on the mountain one cold freezin mornin'
Just watchin' the smoke from below
It was boilin' up from a short black smokestack
Way down on that Southern Railroad

It was the Old 97 the fastest mail train
That runs on the Southern Line
And when she pulled into Monroe, Virginia
She was 47 minutes behind time.

Thought you would like to add the first two verses to this tune to your data base also. Makes the song have a little more sense also. Enjoy -- Steve


Click for related thread
Click here, too


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: catspaw49
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 06:02 PM

I use a variant of your first one that I picked up off a Pat Sky rendition, just slightly different.

Spaw


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: GUEST,Norton1
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 06:04 PM

Cool - One of our local "experts" told me those two verses didn't exist. Now I can say that I know another who uses them - I've seen your name enough on here that I should say "Famous!"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 06:17 PM

Here's what the Traditional Ballad Index has to say about it.
-Joe Offer-

Wreck of Old 97, The [Laws G2]

DESCRIPTION: "Steve" Broady is told that, due to a mix-up in numbering, his train is "way behind time." He is driving as fast as he can to make up the time when, on a long downgrade, his brakes fail. The train goes off the track; Broady dies at the controls
AUTHOR: disputed (tune by Henry Clay Work)
EARLIEST DATE: 1924
KEYWORDS: crash wreck train death
HISTORICAL REFERENCES:
Sept 27, 1903 - "Old 97" goes off the track near Danville, killing engineer Joseph A. "Steve" Broady and at least ten others
FOUND IN: US(Ap,MA,Ro,SE,So)
REFERENCES (6 citations):
Laws G2, "The Wreck of Old 97"
Randolph 683, "The Wreck of the Southern Old 97" (1 text, 1 tune)
Friedman, p. 318, "The Wreck of the Old 97" (1 text)
Botkin-RailFolklr, p. 449, "The Wreck of the Old 97" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-FSWB, p. 104 "The Wreck Of The Old 97" (1 text)
DT 634, WRECK97*

RECORDINGS:
Kelly Harrell, "The Wreck on the Southern Old 97" (OKeh 7010, 1925; on KHarrell01)
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "The Ship That Never Returned" [Laws D27] (tune & meter)
cf. "The Train that Never Returned" (tune & meter)
cf. "The Flying Colonel" (tune)
SAME TUNE:
The Speakers Didn't Mind (Greenway-AFP, pp. 136-137)
On a Summer Eve (Greenway-AFP, pp. 138-139)
Notes: Authorship claimed by, among others, David Graves George; the legal battles over the song were extended. The tune is taken from Henry Clay Work's "The Ship that Never Returned" - RBW
File: LG02

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions

The Ballad Index Copyright 2000 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: THE WRECK OF THE OLD 97
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 06:49 PM

Looks like we could have some fun looking into this song. The primary version in the Digital Tradition is here (click) which is more-or-less the version sung on the recording by Vernon Dalhart. I think the historical accounts identify the engineer as Joseph Andrew "Steve" Broady, but versions of the song identify him as "Pete" and "Steve Brooklyn." Here are the lyrics to onve version from Scalded to Death by the Steam, which devotes an entire chapter to the song. You woun't believe how much space Norm Cohen devotes to this song in Long Steel Rail.
-Joe Offer-


WRECK OF THE OLD 97

On a cold frosty morning in the month of September
When the clouds were hanging low,
Ninety-seven pulled out of the Washington station
Like an arrow shot from a bow.

Old Ninety-seven was the fastest mail train
That was ever on the Southern line,
But when she got to Monroe, Virginia
She was forty-seven minutes behind.

Oh, they handed him his orders at Monroe, Virginia,
Saying: "Steve, you're away behind time.
This is not 38, but it's old 97
You must put `er in Spencer on time.

Steve Broady said to his black greasy fireman,
"Just shovel in a little more coal,
And when we cross the White Oak Mountain
You can watch Old 97 roll."

It's a mighty rough road from Lynchburg to Danville
And the line's on a three mile grade.
It was on that grade that he lost his air brakes
And you see what a jump he made.

He was going down hill at ninety miles an hour
When the whistle broke into a scream
He was found in the wreck with his hand on the throttle
And scalded to death by the steam.

Now ladies you must all take fair warning
From this time ever more
Never speak harsh words to your true loving husbands
They may leave you and never return.

September 27, 1903
Danville, Va.

From Scalded to Death By the Steam, Lyle


DT #634
Laws G2
@train @death @railroad @wreck
filename[ WRECK972
Tune file : WRECK97
JRO SN PP
Apr01



Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: catspaw49
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 06:58 PM

Okay.....Since we're getting into it a bit, the Patrick Sky first verse is pretty similar but I have no idea where he picked it up:

I was standin' on the mountain
One cold, frost morning
Watchin' the smoke from the below.
It was comin' from a wide open smokestack
Down on that Southern Road.

Spaw


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: catspaw49
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 07:23 PM

Hey.....Just noticed this one too, and I believe I got it from Pat Sky also. He added a vers just before the last:

All along the line
The telegraph wires were hummin'
And this is what they said,
"You know that brave engineer from Monroe, Virginia
He is lyin' in that graveyard dead."

Spaw


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: ADD: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 07:26 PM

THE WRECK OF OLD 97

1. `Twas the 27th day in the month of September,
The clouds were hangin' low,
When Old 97 pulled out from Washington
Like an arrow shot from a bow.

2. Well, the Old 97 was the fastest mail-train
The Southland had ever seen;
Well, she run the road from Boston down to Washington,
Through Jackson, down to New Orleans.

3. Joseph Broady kissed his loving wife
About the rising of the sun;
And he said to his children, "God bless you all;
Your father must go the run."

4. Yes, Old 97 was the fastest train
To run that Southern line,
But when she pulled in to Monroe, Virginia
She was forty-seven minutes behind.

5. Well, they handed up his orders down in Monroe, Virginia,
Saying, "Joe, you're way behind time;
This is not Thirty-Eight, but it's Old 97 -
You must put her into Spencer on time."

6. Joseph Broady was the engineer -
A mighty brave man was he;
But many brave men have lost their lives
To the railroad company.

7. Yes, Broady was the engineer
On that fatal Sunday eve;
And his fireman leaned out from the cab at Lynchburg,
Just waiting for the signal to leave.

8. Well, they gave him the signal, and he threw back the throttle,
Although the air was bad;
And the people said, when he passed Franklin Junction
You couldn't see the man in the cab.

9. He turned 'round and said to his black and dusty fireman:
"Shovel on a little more coal,
And when we cross that White Oak Mountain
You're gonna see Old 97 roll."

10. Then Broady said to his trusty fireman:
"Don't obey the whistle nor the bell,
I'll pull Old 97 into Spencer, North Carolina
Or I'll sink 'er in the bottom pits of hell."

11. It's a mighty rough road from Lynchburg down to Danville,
And there lies a three-mile grade;
It was on that mountain that he lost his air-brakes,
You can see what a jump he made.

12. He was goin' down grade, makin' ninety miles or better,
When his whistle broke into a scream;
He was found in the wreck, with his hand upon the throttle,
And scalded to death by the steam.

13. Yes, Old 97 was the fastest mail train
The Southern had ever seen;
But on that fatal Sunday evening
Her death list. . . it numbered thirteen.

14. Well, the news came in on the telegraph wire,
And this is what it said:
"The brave, brave man who left Monroe, Virginia,
Is lyin' down in North Danville - dead.

15. Now, all you ladies, you must take warning,
From this time now and on,
Never speak harsh words to your true lovin' husband -
He may leave you, and never return.


Another verse, designed primarily to show the similarity between this song and "The Ship That Never Returned" might be inserted between verses 14 and 15, and goes like this:

Did she ever pull in? No, she never pulled in,
And her time was due at one;
But for hours and hours the dispatch was waiting
For the fastest train ever run.


(This is a 1972 composite version by Paul Shue, based on Tom Rush's version and
information from the book "Old 97," by Pat Fox, October l972)
From "Scalded to Death By the Steam," Lyle


DT #634
Laws G2
@train @death @railroad @wreck
filename[ WRECK973
Tune file : WRECK97
SN PP JRO
Apr01


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 07:33 PM

I may have this in books, but I can't say I've ever heard it in person. What I know is the Kingston Trio singing "MTA." Is the tune for this exactly the same as the verses for MTA, or what?

-Joe Offer-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Sorcha
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 07:35 PM

I don't hear them in my head as exactly the same, Joe, but they are similar. I also learned "put her into Danville on time" instead of Spencer.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: catspaw49
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 07:36 PM

Well that incorporates my verse from my previous post. I like that one, but the idea of inserting the "Never returned" business is, to me, kinda' silly. The line "never returned" in itself is easily applied to the sea, but doesn't fit a railroad application. Although the way engines and all were purchased and used back then, each with a "personality".....it still doesn't work for me. Southern did not do away with the run because of a wreck. White Star may have had other ships, two sisters to Titanic, they were to have their own schedule, not a replacement.

There is also a certain mystery to any shipwreck, its now in an alien environment, but a train wreck is right there in front of you. Not making sense? Okay..............I still don't find connecting this to the other any benefit.

Spaw


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: catspaw49
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 07:38 PM

Joe, the tune is the same as "MTA" but only the verses. The "Did he ever return, no he never returned" part is not in "Wreck of the Old 97."

Spaw


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 08:01 PM

Yeah, I dunno if I can handle this: Spaw, waxing philosophic.


It doesn't seem that Lyle likes the "never returned" verse, either - that's why she separates it and just puts it there as an alternative. Still, it's reasonable to recognize the relationship between Work's Ship that Never Returned and this one.

Click here for "The Train that Never Returned" in the database, which was apparently about a different train wreck.

-Joe Offer-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Giac
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 10:39 PM

I've heard it as "lost his leverage" instead of "lost his air brakes," meaning the wheels lost their purchase on the tracks. Also, Lakesburg, sted Lynchburg.

It's a mighty rough road from Lakesburg to Danville,
On a line with a three-mile grade;
It was on that grade that he lost his leverage,
And you seen what a jump he made.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: catspaw49
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 11:36 PM

Hi Giac......To clear up the "route" question and names in general, it goes like this.

Monroe is just north of Lynchburg, Virginia and was the railyard location. The Southern (now Norfolk Southern) tracks run down to the NC/VA border where Danville is loacted. White Oak Mountain is about 15 miles to the north of Danville. The Spencer is Spencer, North Carolina where the railroad had large engine shops and a yard (now a museum).

We went through this on another thread somewhere, but that's pretty much the gist of it. Hope it helps.

Also, the line in verse 8 about the "air was bad" leads into the "lost his air brakes" so I would say that is probably the line rather than "leverage." Whaddaya' think?

Spaw


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: raredance
Date: 18 Feb 01 - 01:18 AM

Several texts of the song in Cohen and in the Frank C Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore have the word "average" replacing "airbrakes". "average" can be traced to a recording of Vernon Dalhart's. He misunderstod the word "airbrakes" on an earlier recording by Henry Whitter. Dalhart was also apparently responsible for changing "Spencer" to "Center" and "Steve" to "Pete" and "begin to scream" to "broke into a scream". Those phrases are indicative of versions that descended from Dalhart's record. "leverage" likely arose because someone thought "average" didn't make sense tried to rationalize a different word "leverage". Unfortuantely leverage makes no more sense than average, since leverage is the force applied by a lever to lift or pry an object. If he had lost his ability to pry himself off the track he would have stayed on the track. Norm Cazden has an extended discussion of how folk singers often rationalize a sound alike word because they do not know what the original was. Cazden's discussion is in the context of the lumber camp song "Jack Haggarty" (which is the subject of another thread that I amuse myself with from time to time) but has broader applications.

Among the FCBCNCF's 6 texts is one that includes as a chorus:

Did she ever pull in? No, she never pulled in,
Though at one forty-five she was due.
For hours and hours has the switchman been watching
For the mail train that never came through.

There's nothing here about never "returning" and it makes at least a plausible chorus for a railroad situation.

rich r


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Sourdough
Date: 18 Feb 01 - 02:52 AM

There is a Southern Railroad engine at the Smithsonian. Getting it to and into the museum was a major effort. The fellow in charge of the Southern Railroad's publicity for this event was a young man named Laurence Starkey. Larry's father had been a country singer with a national radio show. As a result, Larry had grown up with people arond the house like Grandpa Jones (his mother used to mke them play out back because they seemed so loud in the house) so it wasn't surprising that Larry told me he'd searched out old railroaders and listened to their stories. He'd met one who had gone out with the crane train to the wreck of Train Number 97. He asked the old man what he remembered from that crash. He said that there was nothing special, "just all those canaries in the trees". "Canaries?"

Apparently the train was loaded with cars filled with canaries heading for the mines. They were the primitive early warning signals for gas buildup in the mines. They were being trasnported into the mountains. They had been freed by the crash and were sitting, twittering in the trees nearby.

Sourdough


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: catspaw49
Date: 18 Feb 01 - 03:05 AM

Well Sourdough........I'm "glad you brought that up. It came up before in the other thread, but was explained in a different way by our own renowned Art Thieme which led to the following:

********************************************************************

Subject: RE: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Art Thieme
Date: 28-Dec-98 - 05:47 PM

Mr. Earl-----Many trains carried live canaries whenever they could. If a train had a difficult time getting up a grade the brakeman'd bang on the side of the car the birds were housed within with a 2 by 4. The birds would intantly take to the air and lighten the train enough for the spinning driving-wheels to take the whole thing over the hump!Honest.

Art

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Post - Top - Forum Home - Translate --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Subject: RE: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Bill D
Date: 28-Dec-98 - 05:56 PM

but the cost of canaries was so great back then, that they achieved the same effect by feeding the brakeman/conductor on beans and cabbage and having him stand on the rear caboose platform!! The trick was in the timing...(It is a little known fact that listening to an old brakeman tell about this is how the idea for JATO (jet assisted take-off) for the Air Force came about!)

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Post - Top - Forum Home - Translate --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Subject: RE: Wreck of the Old 97
From: catspaw49
Date: 28-Dec-98 - 06:29 PM

...or sometimes on tough grade,like Horseshoe Curve in Pa., if a helper engine was not available, they'd boost steam pressure by getting two guys like Bill & Art to exhale into the valve gear.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Post - Top - Forum Home - Translate --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Subject: RE: Wreck of the Old 97
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 28-Dec-98 - 07:45 PM

Of course, all these tecniques became obsolete when someone (Jay Gould's daughter?) realized that if you put larger wheels on the caboose, the train would always be goung downhill, and no coal at all was required.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Post - Top - Forum Home - Translate --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Subject: RE: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Benson
Date: 28-Dec-98 - 08:26 PM

Since the topic of canaries and gasses has arisen in this thread.... it came to mind.......I have been told that they used canaries in the coal mines to detect when the explosive gasses down deep in the mine had reached a level of danger.......the canary would die.....and the miner would get the hell out!!!

Do you suppose those canaries were freed from forced labor...??? Or was there just a run on canaries in 1903?

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Post - Top - Forum Home - Translate --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Subject: RE: Wreck of the Old 97
From: catspaw49
Date: 28-Dec-98 - 10:50 PM

I suppose you could say the canaries were freed, but this particular group was traced in the Appalachian mountains for years following the wreck. Eventually forming into 7 groups, most had a hard time surviving in the wild. One surviving group was traced to a nesting site across the Cumberland Gap where they had migrated. Most of the local folk enjoyed having these unique birds in their hills. The main nesting area was on the Clinch River northwest of Knoxville. However, the mercury contaminating the river along with the proximity to Oak Ridge, where the birds were often seen feeding, caused mutations and eventually death to the almost the entire flock. The only known descendant of these birds can be seen today on Sesame Street at PBS.

Spaw ******************************************************************

As you can see, at Mudcat, some things never change.

Spaw


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Sourdough
Date: 18 Feb 01 - 03:17 AM

By an odd coincidence, I heard from Larry the other day for the first time since he did promotion for a documentary series I produced for 20 years ago. We haven't been in touch for all of that time although apparently each has been trying to reach the other. I will pass this information on to him for his edification. Once again, the depth of information here is astounding.

Sourdough


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Feb 01 - 03:18 AM

FCBCNCF???
RichR, how long have you been waiting to be able to use that?
-Joe Offer-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: bob schwarer
Date: 18 Feb 01 - 06:53 AM

Heard somewhere that this wreck led to the Westinghouse air brake. You needed to pump up the air line to release the brakes. If air pressure dropped the brakes were applied. Safety brakes.

Don't know if this is true. Haven't gone to the books to check when the Westinghouse brake came into use.

Bob S.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: mkebenn
Date: 18 Feb 01 - 08:31 AM

The ship that never is the "father" ie oldest of these, isn't it. Always thought of it as the pappy of MTA, anyway. Agree with 'Spaw about the never pulled in business. If you vary the tune abit and don't use the chorus, seems less like MTA, a good thing, I'd think. Mike


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Midchuck
Date: 18 Feb 01 - 08:53 AM

Which has the most songs to the one tune? This one, or "Great Speckled Bird/Thinking Tonight of my Blue Eyes," or some other that I haven't thought of?

Peter.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: mkebenn
Date: 18 Feb 01 - 09:07 AM

Midchuck, prob'ly "Buffalo Skinners", if you count the varients(CanadIO etc) as different songs. Mike


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Snuffy
Date: 18 Feb 01 - 09:34 AM

Back in April last year Stewie posted a version recorded by the Arizona Wranglers in 1929 in this thread Lyr Add: Wreck of the 97 2 which is out on the geography and the date, but is still a superb recording


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: raredance
Date: 18 Feb 01 - 11:44 AM

I dunno but the "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" tune family has a lot of diffferent songs to it. And you might check out an old "Rosin the Beau (Bow)" thread.

Joe - I don't know how many times I've typed in Frank C Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore. Problem is I don't feel it's proper to use the abbreviation the first time I refer to it in a thread, and it's not often I get that second chance. So, yes, I have been waiting. If Brown had only done his collecting in Vancouver, the abbreviation would be a palindrome. Contemplate that!

rich r


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Sourdough
Date: 18 Feb 01 - 12:56 PM

Westinghouse Air Brakes

I know that it took a long time for the air brake to be accepted. There was a general understanding among the railroad executives and workers that the air brake was far superior to a system that had brakemen climing on top of railroad cars any time of day or night and in any sort of weather to turn the wheels that applied each brake. When a brakeman was finished with one car he would have to scramble across the little walkway on top of the car to get to the next one. This hardly allowed them to "slam on the brakes". Wrecks resulted. The problem was, not surprisingly, that it was expensive to change over and there was a reluctance to spend the money. Usually, with the diffusion of a new and expensive safety technology, it takes a well-known disaster to have it implemented. It would be interesting to know whether the wreck of 97 was that incident.

George Westinghouse made a lot of money from his brake eventually, setting up an industrial dynasty. One of the corporate descendents was the Westinghouse Broadcasting Company but I think there were some other very big ones, too.

Sourdough


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Melani
Date: 18 Feb 01 - 02:09 PM

I've always heard it "Steve" and "lost his average." I don't remember where I learned it; I think from another kid in my church youth group when I was in high school. But I've also always liked "The Wreck of the Old 99":


Letme tell you the story of Old 99,
The fastest engine on the Santa Fe Line.
One morning she made a desperate dash
And got there on time, and did not crash.

It's a really short song.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Giac
Date: 18 Feb 01 - 02:33 PM

Just got back to this thread - LOL Spaw, you're killin' me! Glad to know I live so close to the home of Big Bird's ancestors. By the way, I have seen funny looking buzzards in that same area, no joke. It's right near where there are signs along the highway warning you to not walk in the woods or fields. Not to worry. If the buzzards look funny, reckon what the coyotes and raccoons look like?

I agree that "lost his leverage" makes no sense, it's just how I heard it. Probably whoever made that change also misunderstood Lynchburg, did a 180 with the whole thing and made Danville the destination.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: bob schwarer
Date: 18 Feb 01 - 03:30 PM

Westinghouse patented his air brake and founded the Westinghouse Airbrake Co. in 1869. Air brakes became mandatory on US trains in 1893. Do not know how that fits in with the problems of Old 97.

Here are a few sites for homework tonight:

http://www.sdrm.org/faqs/brakes.html

http://www.railroadextra.com/chapt21.Html

http://www.uiowa.edu/~humiowa/rd10-15.htm

http://www.trainweb.org/railwaytechnical/air%20brakes.htm

Pop quiz possible.

Bob S.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 19 Feb 01 - 08:19 AM

I've seen a photo of the wreck. The track was on a long high trestle, which curved around to the left. The train took the curve too fast and left the track, falling to the foot of the trestle. Broady was thrown out and died as a result of the fall, not from scalding. (And definitely not with his hand on the throttle, but it's a shame to spoil a good line with facts!)

Somewhere back in another thread, someone kindly supplied the name of the book with the photo, which tells the story of all the famous train wreck songs, such as the FFV.

Steve


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: raredance
Date: 19 Feb 01 - 10:18 AM

The book with the photos is the one Joe cited above: Scalded To Death By the Steam by Katie Letcher Lyle (most recent edition 1991 by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC)

rich r


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Janie
Date: 28 Sep 03 - 10:02 AM

FYI the wreck of the 97 happened 100 years ago this week, at or near Danville, Va. (At least according to the e-mail my dad just sent me.)

Janie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: GUEST,NH Dave
Date: 28 Sep 03 - 02:07 PM

The first liar on this list doesn't stand a chance.

    Dave


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 28 Sep 03 - 02:54 PM

Nine killed including Engineer Joseph A. Broady. Near Danville (across from North Danville), just before Stillhouse Trestle. Southern Railway, on the mail run between Washington and Atlanta. The song is fairly accurate, as pointed out before. Broady had transferred from the Norfolk and Western a month before, and was unfamiliar with the route. Highballing, the locomotive and five wooden cars all plunged into the ravine.
See Norm Cohen, "Long Steel Rail," University Illinois Press, for the story and versions of the song.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Janie
Date: 28 Sep 03 - 04:10 PM

Here is a link with the history of the train wreck. (I skimmed the above posts and don't think this has been posted before.)http://www.blueridgeinstitute.org/ballads/old97.html

On "preview", which is where I am now, Make A Link did not make a link, or I did it wrong and can't figure it out. If this post doesn't have a blue clicky when I hit submit, maybe some joe clone could fix it? The Blue Ridge Institute is a pretty interesting site.

Janie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Janie
Date: 28 Sep 03 - 04:16 PM

I think I got the link this time.

http://www.blueridgeinstitute.org/ballads/old97.html


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: WRECK OF THE OLD 97 (from Vernon Dalhart)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 29 Sep 03 - 10:21 PM

I think 15 verses (see above) is too many to perform; it will bore your audience. Despite what you may think of his corrupting the text, Vernon Dalhart's version is about the right length for a good performance.

Thanks to Rich R's discussion above, I at least transcribed "average" correctly; the first time through, I heard it as "air brakes", because that's what I expected to hear, I suppose. However, I'm not convinced Dalhart sang "Center"; it sure sounds like "Spenter" to me. Maybe it's just a slip of the tongue.

Transcribed by me from the sound file at The Record Lady's All-Time Country Favorites, Real Country Archives Page 13.

WRECK OF THE OLD 97
(As sung by Vernon Dalhart)

They give him his orders at Monroe, Virginia,
Saying, "Pete, you're away behind time.
This is not Thirty-Eight, but it's old Ninety-Seven.
You must put her in Spenter on time."

He looked round, says to his black greasy fireman,
"Just shovel in a little more coal,
And when we cross that White Oak Mountain,
You can watch old Ninety-Seven roll.

It's a mighty rough road from Lynchburg to Danville,
In a line on a three-mile grade.
It was on that grade that he lost his average,
And you'll see what a jump he made.

He was going down grade making ninety mile an hour
When his whistle broke into a scream.
He was found in the wreck with his hand on the throttle
And a-scalded to death with the steam.

Now ladies, you must take warning
From this time now and on.
Never speak harsh words to your true-loving husband.
He may leave you and never return.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 29 Sep 03 - 11:14 PM

Always regarded this kind of a song as a story, rather than a 3 minute version which doesn't say anything.
The shortened but story-telling version on the website of the Blue Ridge Institute, posted by Janie, is far superior in interest to the Dalhart version.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Chief Chaos
Date: 30 Sep 03 - 12:47 PM

Little bit of thread drift...
The safety regs of this country should be written in red ink to pay homage to the blood that was literally spilled to get them there. The Clean Air Act, Explosives Loading Regulations, etc. Sometimes I get tired of this job!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: mike the knife
Date: 30 Sep 03 - 01:17 PM

I must have ridden/driven route 58 through Danville a few hundred times in my life (on my way to & from Martinsville, VA- 30 miles away). When I was young, my mother would alyays break into the verse "It's a mighty rough road from Lynchburg down to Danville" when we would pass the roadside marker. I have read a few varying accounts of the accident, and I never once heard of the canaries- pretty cool.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Stewie
Date: 20 Oct 03 - 06:34 PM

A link to the following interesting article by Fred Lewey's daughter about her father's claim to authorship was posted to the old-time music newsgroup. It also has Lewey's text as recorded by Robert Gordon and printed by Norm Cohen at page 206 of 'Long Steel Rail'.

CLICK HERE

The last stanza does not appear in the 14 October 1925 transcription by Gordon as given in Cohen's book and the first line is slightly different.

--Stewie.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Joybell
Date: 20 Oct 03 - 06:54 PM

mike, I love your mum. How many other singers break into songs all the time as something triggers them? As I drive through towns here I always do. And it's not just driving. It happens when someone says a line or even a word out of a song. Loose the thread of the conversation all the time but it usually doesn't matter much.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Joybell
Date: 20 Oct 03 - 07:09 PM

Q, I'm with you. If they can't listen long enough for the story as you want to tell it, then they don't deserve it. In the days of limited room on an old record there was no choice, but live music is another matter.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: GUEST,Bucky Edgett
Date: 26 Feb 04 - 12:27 PM

I'm not a registered member here, and don't know if this will go through, but I'll give it a whirl.

Have just been listening to an MP3 of the Vernon Dahlhart recording from the Smithsonian collection reissue. Vernon says "lost his airbrakes." He pronounces it "(h)ahrbrecks" but the word is NOT "average" or "leverage."

I don't know the proper word, if there is one, to describe the vocal affect I'm hearing at the beginning of the word, but I'd call it "aspiration." It's akin to his "fahrmin" for "fireman," where he breathes out on the "ahr," sounding it in his throat, rather than the nasal/glottal whine of "fiiiire" we're more accustomed to hearing in clipped standard American.

The "brecks" second syllable has a kind of a swallowing sound to it. I don't know what that's called, maybe a glottal stop? The swallow prevents the "a" from being a standard long vowel, which requires an open throat.

I know there are technical terms to describe the physical movements of throat, tongue, lips, etc. that make all these sounds, and I apologise for my ignorance in not knowing them. I hope you get the drift of my layman's language.

Anyway, unless there is some documentary evidence to the contrary--something written by Dahlhart himself--I say he sang "airbrakes." It's quite possible some Yankee running dogs can't understand his lovely lilting suthren tones, and therefore repeated him incorrectly, but I say again it's "airbrakes."

; ^ )

Bucky Edgett


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: greg stephens
Date: 26 Feb 04 - 12:59 PM

I've been singing "airbrakes" all my life, whatever Vernon Delhart said or didnt say, i'm sticking to airbrakes. Putting an h at the beginning of words that havent got one is an old London habit too. they make up for it by taking away the h's from words that have got them.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 26 Feb 04 - 02:36 PM

On the recording at "Record Lady," the word on the Dalhart recording is 'average'."
It is so transcribed in Norm Cohen, "Long Steel Rail," p. 213, where Vernon Dalhart's lyrics are fully transcribed, along with other versions.

'Average' was a point considered in the famous trial concerning authorship of the song (discussed in "Long Steel Rail."
I believe that the court fight is covered somewhere in the threads on this song; in any case it is presented clearly in "The Long Steel Rail" for those truly interested in the minutiae of the trial, its appeal and reversal.

So tak wahrnin, fahrmun. Not that it makes no nevuh mind, but the pronunciations seem normal for the area (actually quite a bit of variation. Certainly they don't have the accents of New England (also varied).

Dalhart may have made more than one take of this song, which was popular for many years. The railroad term 'average' is not understood by those outside of the fraternity.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Bill D
Date: 26 Feb 04 - 02:52 PM

I can't believe in all those threads, I never posted the 3 leading verses the way I have them on a record by Pop Stoneman..(and have been singing them for 25-30 years)

so...(not arguing that these are 'best', just adding to the collection.)

"I got up in the mornin', and I stood on the mountain
Just watchin' the smoke from below
It was comin' from a tall, lofty smokestack
Way down on the Southern Railroad.

Old 97 the fastest mail train
That the South had ever seen,
But she run too fast on that fatal Sunday evening,
And the death toll will number thirteen.

On that foggy mornin' of which I tell you,
The ground was covered with snow.
Old 97 left Washington city
Like an arrow shot from a bow."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 26 Feb 04 - 04:16 PM

The Arizona Wranglers used the line "Like an arrow shot from a bow" in a 1929 recording. Norm Cohen put their version at the start of his chapter (p. 197) on The Wreck of the Old 97."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: GUEST,av8nrog
Date: 11 Dec 16 - 09:33 PM

Hi guys. I did not read the entire post, so excuse me if this is redundant, but I can address a couple of issues that seem to be unresolved. First, is the use of the name "Steve" for the engineer, Joseph "Joe" Brodey. He was nicknamed "Steve" as a reference to Steve Brodey, a well known daredevil of the era, because he was known to be able to handle a fast train. Use of the name "Pete" was due to a mistake made by on one of the original recordings of the song - I can't remember the singer's name - he had a copy of an earlier recording only, not the sheet music, and misunderstood. As for the term "lost his average" - in railroad/trucker speak of the time, the saying "lost his average" means to have your air pressure drop to a point that it can no loner efficiently apply the brakes and stop the vehicle. This usually happens when the vehicle is being operated on a curvy track with stretches of straight-a-ways between and the operator is trying to go as fast as possible. This is the technique: He will approach a curve maintaining his speed as long as he thinks he can, then apply the brakes to get into the curve, then accelerate thru the curve. Sometimes when this is being done in rapid succession, the air compressor that supplies the air pressure to the braking system can't keep up and average pressure drops below the minimum required to stop. This is referred to as "losing your average". Hope that clears it up for you guys. By the way, my question was does anyone know what the lyrics "this is not 38" refer to? I had always heard it was a reference to Casey Jones fatal trip, but 38 doesn't match either his trip number (2) or his the engine number (382). If you know, my email is av8nrog_74@hotmail.com


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Snuffy
Date: 12 Dec 16 - 09:54 AM

97 was the Southern Railway's Fast Mail train, and the locomotive hauling it on the day of the crash was #1102. The company could be subject to severe penalties for failing to keep to the schedule laid down by the US Mail

Presumably train 38 would be a normal passenger service, where punctual arrival on time was not so crucial.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 16 July 10:54 AM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.