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 Req: Rock Island Line (from Leadbelly)

DigiTrad:
ROCK ME ON THE WATER
THE ROCK ISLAND LINE
THE ROCK ISLAND LINE (is a mighty fine line)


Related threads:
Tune Req: Rock Island Line (Leadbelly) - tabs (9)
(origins) Origins: Rock Island Line (34)
Rock Island Line Tues Jan4 BBC Radio4 (16)
Review: Lonnie Donegan - Rock Island Line (29)
Vauxhall Rock Island Line (20)
Paul Leegan Rock Island Line (5)
Lyr/Chords Req: Rock Island Line (Donegan) (3)


GUEST,Edmund 27 Sep 01 - 11:27 AM
IanC 27 Sep 01 - 11:37 AM
IanC 27 Sep 01 - 11:41 AM
wysiwyg 27 Sep 01 - 01:53 PM
wysiwyg 27 Sep 01 - 02:00 PM
BanjoRay 27 Sep 01 - 04:25 PM
wysiwyg 27 Sep 01 - 04:54 PM
GUEST,Edmund 28 Sep 01 - 12:34 AM
masato sakurai 28 Sep 01 - 01:15 AM
GUEST,BluesMojo 28 Sep 01 - 01:48 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 28 Sep 01 - 06:39 AM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 28 Sep 01 - 06:44 AM
IanC 28 Sep 01 - 06:55 AM
masato sakurai 28 Sep 01 - 07:38 AM
GUEST,PHYLLIS 05 Feb 04 - 12:34 PM
GUEST,Guest - first request 08 Jan 06 - 07:15 PM
Peace 08 Jan 06 - 07:23 PM
Barry Finn 09 Jan 06 - 10:21 AM
Flash Company 09 Jan 06 - 10:46 AM
Jimmy C 11 Jan 06 - 04:51 PM
Jimmy C 11 Jan 06 - 04:57 PM
GUEST,Judy 24 May 07 - 11:59 AM
GUEST 24 May 07 - 04:08 PM
GUEST,Tunesmith 24 May 07 - 04:50 PM
greg stephens 24 May 07 - 05:04 PM
Leadbelly 24 May 07 - 05:12 PM
guitar 25 May 07 - 10:31 AM
GUEST,HughM 25 May 07 - 05:11 PM
TinDor 03 Feb 09 - 12:32 PM
GUEST,Zac Graham 13 Sep 10 - 05:01 AM
Tannywheeler 14 Sep 10 - 01:01 AM
Bonzo3legs 14 Sep 10 - 09:20 AM
GUEST,marie 16 Sep 10 - 06:47 AM
Dave Hanson 17 Sep 10 - 04:11 AM
GUEST,Doc John 03 Jun 13 - 05:23 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: Rock Island Line Lyrics
From: GUEST,Edmund
Date: 27 Sep 01 - 11:27 AM

I have checked digitrad for the lyrics, but I remember long ago a version in which the performer (Leadbelly?) spoke ... something like the station master asked what he had and he answers something like 'I got cows ... I got sheep ... I got all live stock ' and the station master lets him go and he says 'I fooled ya .. I fooled ya .. I got all pig iron, I got all pig iron.' and then it works into the singing part.

Can anyone help me with the actual lyrics for this?

many thanks ... Edmund


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Rock Island Line
From: IanC
Date: 27 Sep 01 - 11:37 AM

Lonnie Donegan did it like that, but I'm not sure where he got his cersion from.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Rock Island Line
From: IanC
Date: 27 Sep 01 - 11:41 AM

There's a copy of the Lonnie Donegan version here.

:-) Ian


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Rock Island Line
From: wysiwyg
Date: 27 Sep 01 - 01:53 PM

I'll post them-- BRB.

~S~


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: ROCK ISLAND LINE (from Lonnie Donegan)
From: wysiwyg
Date: 27 Sep 01 - 02:00 PM

ROCK ISLAND LINE
As recorded by Chris Barber's Jazz Band with vocalist Lonnie Donegan, released 1955.

[SPOKEN] Now this here's the story about the Rock Island Line.
The Rock Island Line she runs down into New Orleans,
And just outside o' New Orleans is a big toll gate,
And all the trains that go through the toll gate
Why, they gotta pay the man some money.
But of course, if you got certain things on board,
You're okay; you don't have to pay the man nothin'.
And just now we see a train, she comin' down the line,
and when she come up near the toll gate,
The driver, he shout down to the man, he say:

[SUNG] I got pigs. I got horses. I got cows. I got sheep,
I got all livestock. I got all livestock.
I got all livestock.

[SPOKEN] And the man say, well, you alright boy.
Just get on through. You don't have to pay me nothin'.
And the train go through,
And when he go through the tollgate,
The train get up a little bit of steam,
And a little bit of speed,
And when the driver think he safely on the other side,
He shout back down the line to the man. He said:

[SUNG] I fooled you. I fooled you.
I got pig iron. I got pig iron.
I got all pig iron.

[SPOKEN] Now I'll tell you where I'm goin', boy.

[THE REMAINDER IS SUNG]

CHORUS: Down the Rock Island Line, she's a mighty good road.
The Rock Island Line is the road to ride.
Yes, the Rock Island Line, she's a mighty good road,
And if you want to ride, you gotta ride it like you find it.
Get your ticket at the station on the Rock Island Line.

I may be right. I may be wrong.
You know you're gonna miss me when I'm gone.

CHORUS

Hallelujah, I'm safe from sin.
The good Lord's comin' for to see me again.

CHORUS

A, B, C, W, X, Y, Z.
The cat's under cover but he don't see me.

CHORUS AND REPEAT


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Rock Island Line
From: BanjoRay
Date: 27 Sep 01 - 04:25 PM

Line 8 is "------we see a TRAIN coming down----". The last verse has "The cat's in the CUPBOARD---". Lonnie Donegan got his version from a Leadbelly recording, with a few changes and additions.

Cheers
Ray


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Rock Island Line
From: wysiwyg
Date: 27 Sep 01 - 04:54 PM

Thanks BR, that had been a straight paste job and I had never heard it.

Would I be correct then that one would make up additional verselets as one went along?

~S~


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Rock Island Line
From: GUEST,Edmund
Date: 28 Sep 01 - 12:34 AM

Many Thanks ... that's just what I wanted !!! Edmund


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Rock Island Line
From: masato sakurai
Date: 28 Sep 01 - 01:15 AM

I have a field recording of this song (by an African-American group), but can't find it yet. Missing somewhere in my house. If I remember correctly, Little Richard sings it in the video Visions Shared.

~Masato


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Rock Island Line
From: GUEST,BluesMojo
Date: 28 Sep 01 - 01:48 AM

Johnny Cash did it just like Lonnie but slowed down on his first album, 'Johnny Cash and his Hot and Blue Guitar.' I read someplace (don't remember where) that Lonnie got his version by speeding up Johnny's. But that could well be an error on my part or somebody else's.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Rock Island Line
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 28 Sep 01 - 06:39 AM

I have a recording of Leadbelly his very own self doing that intro, almost word for word. I'll give it another listen and try to transcribe it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Rock Island Line
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 28 Sep 01 - 06:44 AM

When I do it I ramble on about privatising the UK railroads, why they don't have paperwork to show the toll-keeper instead of relying on truth of driver, why couldn't he tell cattle trucks from ore-waggons etc. Makes a change and takes their minds of the awful thought that when I've stopped rambling the chorus comes which means I'll be "singing"!
RtS


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Rock Island Line
From: IanC
Date: 28 Sep 01 - 06:55 AM

Susan

Thanks for posting the lyrics. I didn't have time last night.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: THE ROCK ISLAND LINE (from John Lomax)
From: masato sakurai
Date: 28 Sep 01 - 07:38 AM

The field recording I mentioned above is "The Rock Island Line," sung by Kelly Pace, Charlie Porter, L.T. Edwards, Willie Hubbard, Luther Williams, Napoleon Cooper, Albert Pate, and Willie Lee Jones at Cummins State Farm, Gould, Ark., 1934. Recorded by John A. Lomax. It is in Negro Work Songs and Calls (Rounder).

THE ROCK ISLAND LINE

(Chorus)
I says the Rock Island Line is a mighty good road.
I says the Rock Island Line is the road to ride.
I says the Rock Island Line is a mighty good road.
If you want to ride, you gotta ride it like you're flyin'.
Buy your ticket at the station on the Rock Island Line.

1. Well, Jesus died to save me in all of my sin.
Well-a, glory to God, we goin' to meet Him again.

2. Well, the train left Memphis at half pas' nine.
Well, it made it back to Little Rock at eight forty-nine.

3. Well, Jesus died to save me in all of my sin.
Well-a, glory to God, we goin' to meet Him again.

~Masato


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Rock Island Line
From: GUEST,PHYLLIS
Date: 05 Feb 04 - 12:34 PM

I WAS TALKING WITH MY BROTHER LAST NIGHT AND HE SAID HE THOUGHT THE WORDS WEREABOUT A BOAT GOING DOWN THE RIVER, I SAID NO BUT I SURE HAD A HARD TIME FINDING THIS SITE WHICH PROVED ME RIGHT. THANKS ALOT


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Req: rock island line
From: GUEST,Guest - first request
Date: 08 Jan 06 - 07:15 PM

I have all the words, I also have Donegan's version and Leadbelly's version but, I cannot make out the words to the Leadbelly introduction. the only words I understand are " the Rock Island Line'. I imagine he has recorded this a few times but this recording is from the Smithsonian Institute. I would appreciate the words from someone who has a more senstive ear than mine.

many thanks


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: ROCK ISLAND LINE (Leadbelly)
From: Peace
Date: 08 Jan 06 - 07:23 PM

The Rock Island Line
Leadbelly

Cat's in the cupboard and she can't find me
Oh the Rock Island Line is a mighty fine line
Oh the Rock Island Line is the road to ride
If you want to ride, you gotta ride it like you're flyin'
Get your ticket at the station on the Rock Island Line

Maybe I'm right, maybe I'm wrong
Lawd you gonna miss me when I'm gone
Oh the Rock Island Line is a mighty fine line
Oh the Rock Island Line is the road to ride
If you want to ride, you gotta ride it like you're flyin'
Get your ticket at the station on the Rock Island Line

Jesus died to save our sins
Glory to God I'm gonna see Him again
Oh the Rock Island Line is a mighty fine line
Oh the Rock Island Line is the road to ride
If you want to ride, you gotta ride it like you're flyin'
Get your ticket at the station on the Rock Island Line

Moses stood on the Red Sea shore
Smothin' the water with a two-by-four
Oh the Rock Island Line is a mighty fine line
Oh the Rock Island Line is the road to ride
If you want to ride, you gotta ride it like you're flyin'
Get your ticket at the station on the Rock Island Line


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: rock island line
From: Barry Finn
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 10:21 AM

A real nice field recoring (Cummins State Farm, Gould, Ark. 1934 Kelly Pace & gang) of this is in the the Library of Congress, archive of Folk Culture. Rounder released it on CD called 'Negro Work Songs & Calls'. It a little bit different from Leadbelly's version & worth the time & effort to listen to.
Sorry, can't give you anything on the intro you're looking for.
Barry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: rock island line
From: Flash Company
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 10:46 AM

I don't think I still have the Leadbelly version unless it is on a tape somewhere. As I recall, the intro was pretty much as Lonnie's up to 'The man say, you don' have to pay me nothin'', At which point Lead says, 'I thank you, I thank you, let me tell you where I'm goin', boy.'

FC


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rock Island Line (Leadbelly)
From: Jimmy C
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 04:51 PM

I have one version by Leadbelly, recorded for the Smithsonian. All I can understand from the intro are the words "Rock Island Line....People talking....Depot agent.......Switchboard.

Then he starts with " I got Sheep, I got hogs etc". The spoken intro is definitely not as long as Donegan's. I will listen some more but with his drawl it will be difficult to make out all the words.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rock Island Line (Leadbelly)
From: Jimmy C
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 04:57 PM

Addition to the above post.

I also wanted to say that these words given by Peace


If you want to ride, you gotta ride it like you're flyin'



On my recording sound like


If you want to ride her, you gotta ride her like you find her


I really have to listen some more. Maybe try to play at a slower speed. ?.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rock Island Line (Leadbelly)
From: GUEST,Judy
Date: 24 May 07 - 11:59 AM

This is what I remember from Lonnie's. I got sheep. I got horses. I got all live stock I got all live stock I got all live sto'ock. And the man say well that OK you go on through. And he go on through and the train get a little faster and the driver look back and he say I fooled you I fooled you I got pig iron I got pig iron I got all pig ir'on. Well the rock island line she's a mighty good road the rock island line she's the road to ride yeah the rock island line she a mighty good road if you want to ride her got to ride her like you find her her your ticket at the station for the rock island line. Well I may be right I may be wrong I know you going to miss her when she gone. Then the chorus again. A B C W X Y Zee the cats in the cupboard but she cant catch me. Chorus again. Thats all I can remember sorry I never heard Leadbelly's version.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Rock Island Line
From: GUEST
Date: 24 May 07 - 04:08 PM

Johnny Cash's version starts off slow during the recitation.
Once he gets to the part where the train driver goes through the
gate, and starts "picking up speed"; Johnny then speeds up the song,
gradually until the tempo is really fast to the verse:
"Well I fooled you, I fooled you,
I got pig iron, I got pig iron,
I got all pig iron.
The Rock Island Line........"

Then it stays fast for the rest of the song.
Various recordings of Johnny's version ad-libs the recitations a bit;
and he normally kept it at a higher speed for the entire duration of
the song when performing live.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Rock Island Line
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 24 May 07 - 04:50 PM

I put big money on Lonnie recording the song before Johnny Cash. And, as the 50s British trad jazz performers were heavily into black American roots music, Lonnie most certainly got the song from Leadbelly.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Rock Island Line
From: greg stephens
Date: 24 May 07 - 05:04 PM

Lonnie had a considerable influence on American folk and country which is often ignored.For example Stan Freburg, the great American comic, did a great parody of Lonnie singing "Rock Island Line" which brought the song to a much wider American audience than it had ever had before from Leadbelly's performance alone. The Atlantic has always been a two way street.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Rock Island Line
From: Leadbelly
Date: 24 May 07 - 05:12 PM

Here comes Leadbelly's version,


The Rock Island Line

Cat's in the cupboard and she can't find me
Oh the Rock Island Line is a mighty fine line
Oh the Rock Island Line is the road to ride
If you want to ride, you gotta ride it like you're flyin'
Get your ticket at the station on the Rock Island Line

Maybe I'm right, maybe I'm wrong
Lawd you gonna miss me when I'm gone
Oh the Rock Island Line is a mighty fine line
Oh the Rock Island Line is the road to ride
If you want to ride, you gotta ride it like you're flyin'
Get your ticket at the station on the Rock Island Line

Jesus died to save our sins
Glory to God I'm gonna see Him again
Oh the Rock Island Line is a mighty fine line
Oh the Rock Island Line is the road to ride
If you want to ride, you gotta ride it like you're flyin'
Get your ticket at the station on the Rock Island Line

Moses stood on the Red Sea shore
Smothin' the water with a two-by-four
Oh the Rock Island Line is a mighty fine line
Oh the Rock Island Line is the road to ride
If you want to ride, you gotta ride it like you're flyin'
Get your ticket at the station on the Rock Island Line


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Rock Island Line
From: guitar
Date: 25 May 07 - 10:31 AM

and also Stan Feberg did it as well and Johnny Cash.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Rock Island Line
From: GUEST,HughM
Date: 25 May 07 - 05:11 PM

So why did the driver have to pay a toll? Was this paid when passing from one state to another, or did the company which ran the train not own the track?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rock Island Line (from Leadbelly)
From: TinDor
Date: 03 Feb 09 - 12:32 PM

Rock Island Line & Leadbelly article


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rock Island Line (Leadbelly)
From: GUEST,Zac Graham
Date: 13 Sep 10 - 05:01 AM

I think that what Guest means are the lines where Huddie talks about the way workers stand when cutting poles for the track i.e.

Now this's the Rock Island line. These boys is cuttin' with pole-axes The man cut righthanded he stan off to the side of the other man - th' man cuttin lef'haded he stan' f to the other side. Now the boys'll sing about the Rock Islan' Line that's a mighty good road to ride. An in that road the man gonna talk to the depot agent when he's comin out the cut with the Rock Island line freight train. Comin back from New Orleans this way. That man blows his whistle down there diffrent than the way the man blow his whistles here...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rock Island Line (Leadbelly)
From: Tannywheeler
Date: 14 Sep 10 - 01:01 AM

"If you want to ride it, got to ride it like you find it.."
"I may be right an' I may be wrong, but gal ya gonna miss me when
   I'm gone..."
"Oh, the Rock Island line it is a mighty good road.
Oh, the Rock Island line it is the road to ride...

The narration is about the fact that only agricultural products could go through wi/out paying a fee. So the:
"I got cows, I got pigs, I got sheep, I got hawssiz(horses)--
I got all livestock; I got all livestock;"
After the train has been cleared to pass & is going on its way the answer changes to:
"I fooled you; I fooled you! I got all pig iron; I got all pig
   iron!"(train is hauling ore.)
This is the way I remember these parts of this song--Leadbelly version. Tw


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rock Island Line (Leadbelly)
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 14 Sep 10 - 09:20 AM

So nothing about 2 old ladies sitting in a van, each one wishing that the other was a man - or was that Cumberland Gap???


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rock Island Line (Leadbelly)
From: GUEST,marie
Date: 16 Sep 10 - 06:47 AM

Missing lyrics I learned as a child were as follows-

these are the spoken -or hollered- words between the chorus

this is the order we sang them in.

ABC double XYZ
The cat's in the corner an it can't see me


God gave us the Rainbow Sign
No more water, it's fire nex time

Moses stood on the Red Sea shore
Partin' the waters with a 2x4

Jesus died to save our sin
Glory to God, we gonna see him agin

I may be right an I may be wrong
But you're gonna miss me when I'm gone

hope this helps. I think our Sunday Schoolteacher may have added some extra words - or maybe they just got left of the recordings.

marie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rock Island Line (Leadbelly)
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 04:11 AM

This is the intro by the man himself, I'm listening to it now,

That Rock Island train outa New Orleans coming back this a way, that depot agent gonna throw that switch board over the track, that means that Rock Island Line train gotta go into hold, that man don't wanna stop that train, he's gonna talk to the depot agent with his whistle, and this is what he's gonna tell him, ' I got cows, I got horses, I got hogs, I got sheep, I got goats, I got all livestock, I got all livestock, I got all livestock,' that depot agent gonna let that train by, when that Rock Island train get by that engineerman gonna talk back to the depot agent with his whistle and this is what he gonna tell him, ' I thank you, I thank you, I thank you, ' now that ol' Rock Island Line train is a gettin on down the road,

The Rock Island Line is a mighty good road, etc etc etc.

Dave H


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rock Island Line (Leadbelly)
From: GUEST,Doc John
Date: 03 Jun 13 - 05:23 PM

Lead Belly recorded I think seven versions of Rock Island Line, including fragmentary ones. He was probably with the Lomaxes, as he acted as their driver and guide, when they recorded convicts singing this song in 1934 and may have learned it then as it didn't feature in his repetoir before that. His intros vary: at first he just describes how it was used as an axe cutting song and then he develops the story of the 'engineer' fooling the 'dept agent'. One version is with the Golden Gate Quartet and with no introduction, reviving the original idea of the song.
Lonnie Donegan, lifting popular music from 'ballads' and novelty songs, recorded it at least twice.
I'd like to know if in fact livestock really didn't attract a toll on American rail roads at this time.


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: 18 July 8:55 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.