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Lyr Req: Railroad Bill

DigiTrad:
RAILROAD BILL
RAILROAD BILL AND THE KITTEN


Related threads:
(origins) Origins: Railroad Bill (48)
Lyr Add: Propane Bill (a bad weather incident) (21)
Chords Req: Railroad Bill (Etta Baker) (9)


GUEST,seabird 10 Mar 02 - 02:58 AM
Doug Chadwick 10 Mar 02 - 03:21 AM
DaveJ 10 Mar 02 - 04:01 AM
DaveJ 10 Mar 02 - 04:05 AM
katlaughing 10 Mar 02 - 04:52 AM
GUEST,leeneia 10 Mar 02 - 11:03 AM
GUEST,leeneia 10 Mar 02 - 11:04 AM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 10 Mar 02 - 11:59 AM
Bugsy 19 Mar 03 - 12:55 AM
katlaughing 19 Mar 03 - 03:19 AM
GUEST,Joebigun 03 Jun 04 - 06:16 PM
akenaton 03 Jun 04 - 06:46 PM
Tyke 03 Jun 04 - 08:14 PM
GUEST,Tor 18 Aug 06 - 12:36 PM
12-stringer 18 Aug 06 - 02:10 PM
GUEST,jim 19 Aug 06 - 11:31 AM
Peace 19 Aug 06 - 09:24 PM
Azizi 19 Aug 06 - 09:42 PM
Azizi 19 Aug 06 - 10:26 PM
Mr Happy 07 Oct 08 - 10:54 AM
Joe_F 07 Oct 08 - 09:47 PM
John Minear 08 Oct 08 - 07:17 AM
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Subject: Railroad Bill
From: GUEST,seabird
Date: 10 Mar 02 - 02:58 AM

The DT database entry for Railroad Bill has the right tune, but the words to Railroad Bill and the Kitten, a very different song.

Can anyone supply the appropriate words?

thanks


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Subject: Lyr Add: RAILROAD BILL
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 10 Mar 02 - 03:21 AM

Railroad Bill, Railroad Bill
He never worked and he never will
He's gonna ride, ride, ride

Railroad Bill, comin' down the track
No money in his pocket, his guitar on his back
He's gonna ride, ride, ride

Railroad Bill, comin' down the line
He's a two time loser but a buddy of mine
He's gonna ride, ride, ride

Railroad Bill, he said to me
Son, come and follow a life that is free
I'm gonna ride, ride, ride ...
.... I'm gonna ride, ride, ride
.... I'm gonna ride, ride, ride

HTML line breaks added. --JoeClone, 12-Mar-02.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Railroad Bill
From: DaveJ
Date: 10 Mar 02 - 04:01 AM

Are you talking about Mike Agranoff's version of "Railroad Bill?" If so check out his Home Page. Oh and while your at it, why don't you buy the CD. Mike's parody of the traditional "Railroad Bill" is copyrighted.

DaveJ


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Railroad Bill
From: DaveJ
Date: 10 Mar 02 - 04:05 AM

oops! Time to go back to elementary school... that's "while you're at it"

DaveJ


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Railroad Bill
From: katlaughing
Date: 10 Mar 02 - 04:52 AM

If you are looking for the words to the original, click on Joe Offer's posting in this thread, which contains a great discussion on the song, too: click here


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Railroad Bill
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 10 Mar 02 - 11:03 AM

Railroad Bill, he never had a wife, ain't no woman wants a railroad life, it's ride, ride, ride.

He was born one morning in a drizzling rain, 2:45 he caught a westbound train, it's just ride, ride, ride.

(Remembered from a New Christie Minstrels' album)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Railroad Bill
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 10 Mar 02 - 11:04 AM

It occurs to me to wonder how you end this song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Railroad Bill
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 10 Mar 02 - 11:59 AM

"Railroad Bill" has a long history, possibly going back before the events concerning Morris Slater, who was killed in Alabama in 1897 (Norm Cohen, Long Steel Rail, p. 122-131). It appears in many collections of Negro folk songs.
The Cisco Houston version in the DT is unusual in that it uses two-line stanzas rather than three.
It has been recorded by Will Bennett, 1929, Vocalion 1464. It is the first recording by a black artist, and the music with chords and text is reproduced in Cohen.
It was recorded by Riley Puckett and Gid Tanner, 1924, Columbia 15040-D; the first recording of the song. It was also recorded by Frank Hutchison, 1929, Okeh 45425 (reissued on Rounder 1007 in "The Train That Carried My Girl From Town," lyrics in Cohen. Cohen lists a number of other recordings.
Lyrics to two early black versions are in Odum and Johnson, 1925, The Negro and His Songs.
I will transcribe the lyrics of any of these if there is any interest.

Will Bennett sang "Railroad Bill" in B.
    (C) Railroad Bill, ought to be killed,
    Never worked and he nev (F) er will.
    Now I'm gonna (C) ride, my Rail (G7) road (C)Bill.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Railroad Bill
From: Bugsy
Date: 19 Mar 03 - 12:55 AM

I always end it with:

Railroad Bill, He's dead and gone,
Left me alone to sing this song,



Cheers


Bugsy


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Railroad Bill
From: katlaughing
Date: 19 Mar 03 - 03:19 AM

kewl, Bugsy! Nice to see you here!!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Railroad Bill
From: GUEST,Joebigun
Date: 03 Jun 04 - 06:16 PM

Legend of RR bill associated with the P&A (lPensacola & Atlantic) RR
which later was the L&N RR.{now CSX) Some researchers say he was a black man with    a Robin Hood M.O. In the infancy of the P&A RR the route ran through pines, swamps, etc.,. Legend has it that RR bill set up Scarecrow like figures along the darkened R/W with torches, & bill straddled the track with a tdorch or light. the shadowy images confused the crew into thinking there were more robbers & stopped the train, Bill uncoupled the engine & then proceeded to rob the passengers.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Railroad Bill
From: akenaton
Date: 03 Jun 04 - 06:46 PM

What about Lonnie Donegans' great skiffle version.
Really boots along,
"Got a 45 pistol just as long as my arm,
kill anybody that done me harm.
Gonna ride,old Railroad Bill".


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Railroad Bill
From: Tyke
Date: 03 Jun 04 - 08:14 PM

Railroad Bill, Railroad Bill
Asked for the words on the Mudcat
Will he get them I think he will.

I think this verse is a fake mainly cos I just write it!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Railroad Bill
From: GUEST,Tor
Date: 18 Aug 06 - 12:36 PM

I was wondering if anyone know of any tab of Hobart smiths "railroad bill" or any other similar version? (jack elliot etc)

Thanks,

Tor


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Subject: RE: Lyr/TAB Req: Railroad Bill
From: 12-stringer
Date: 18 Aug 06 - 02:10 PM

Elliott's RRB is tabbed in the old "Young Folk Songbook" from abt 1962, though it may be a little hard to find these days. I think there is a tab, based on Hobart Smith, in the "New Lost City Ramblers Songbook" (aka "Old Time Stringband Songbook"). Happy Traum gives a generic tab version in the 60s Oak book on fingerpicking styles for guitar, whose title I don't remember exactly. (Maybe it is "Fingerpicking Styles for Guitar.")

If ya just want the chords, the standard ones are

[C]Early one morning, sky was rain
[E7]Round the curve come a [F]long freight train,
[C]Ride, [G7]ride, [C]ride.

You can also do Harvey Hull and Cleve Reed's "Original Stackolee Blues" and Crying Sam Collins' "Lonesome Road" to the same arrangement and nearly the same pick, though the melodies vary a bit.


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Subject: RE: Lyr/TAB Req: Railroad Bill
From: GUEST,jim
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 11:31 AM

Railroad Bill comin' over the hill,
Lightin' his cigar with a $10 bill
And it's ride, ride, ride.

Railroad Bill, He's a mighty bad man,
Shot the lantern right out the brakeman's hand
Then he rides, rides, rides.


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Subject: Lyr/Chords Add: RAILROAD BILL
From: Peace
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 09:24 PM

Railroad Bill

G
Railroad Bill, Railroad Bill
B                   C
He never worked and he never will
G             D    G
And its ride, ride, ride

Railroad Bill, was a mighty mean man
Shot a midnight lantern out of the brakeman's hand
And its ride, ride, ride

Railroad Bill, he stole my wife
Said if I didnt like it hed take my life
And its ride, ride, ride

Going on a mountain, gonna head on out West
.38 Special sticking out of my vest
And its ride, ride, ride

Railroad Bill took my wife,
If I didnt like it, gonna take my life.
And its ride, ride, ride

Going on a mountain, going out west
Thirty-eight special sticking out of my vest.
And its ride, ride, ride

Buy me a pistol just as long as my arm
Shoot everybody ever done me harm.
And its ride, ride, ride

Got a thirty-special in a forty-five frame,
I cant miss cause I got dead aim.
And its ride, ride, ride


Lyrics from the link just above this post.


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Subject: Lyr Add: WILD NEGRO BILL
From: Azizi
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 09:42 PM

Is "Railroad Bill" a cleaned up version of "Wild Ni**** Bill"?

See this poem that is included in Thomas W. Talley's now classic 1922 collection "Negro Folk Songs" {Kennikat Press edition, 1968, p. 94}

WILD NEGRO BILL
I'se wild Ni**** Bill
Frum Redpepper Hill.
I never did wo'k, an' I never will.

I'se done killed de Boss.
I'se knocked down de hoss
I eats up raw goose widout apple sauce!

I's Run-a-way Bill.
I knows dey mought kill;
But ole Mosser hain't cotch me, an' he never will!

-snip-

Btw, Talley {an African American professor at Fisk University} wrote in the introduction to his 1922 collection that many of the songs in that collection were quite old. For this particular example, Talley used the "Negro" referent in the title, but spelled out the "N" word in the poem {song}itself.


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Subject: Lyr Add: I'S LOOKING FER RAILROAD BILL
From: Azizi
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 10:26 PM

I had forgotten that I had already posted this song in the Origins: Railroad Bill thread.

Here's a companion post to that example. I will repost in its entirety, because I believe that this example is an important addition to this thread and also because I want to correct a typo for the word "policemen" that I made in my initial posting.

Subject: RE: Help: Railroad Bill
From: Azizi - PM
Date: 22 Jan 05 - 01:17 PM

In her 1925 collection 'On The Trail Of Negro Folk Songs" Dorothy Scarborough writes:

"There are various Negro versions of Railroad Bill, the best that I have found being given by Professor Odum in Journal of American Folklore. {Folklore Associates edition; page 251-252}

I'S LOOKING FER RAILROAD BILL

Railroad Bill mighty bad man,
Shoot dem lights out o' de brakeman's hand-
It's lookin' fer Railroad Bill.

Railroad Bill mighty bad man,
Shoot the lamps all off the stan'-
An it's lookin' fer Railroad Bill.

First on table, next on wall,
Ole corn whiskey cause of it all-
It's looking fer Railroad Bill.

Ole McMillan had a special train,
When he got there wus a shower a rain-
Wus lookin' fer Railroad Bill.

Ev'body tole him he better turn back,
Railroad Bill wus goin' down the track-
An it's lookin' fer Railroad Bill.

Well, the policemen all dressed in blue,
Comin down sidewalk two by two,
Wus lookin' fer Railroad Bill.

Railroad Bill he had no wife,
Always lookin fer somebody's life-
An it's lookin' fer Railroad Bill.

Railroad Bill was the worst ole coon
Killed McMillan by the light o' the moon-
It's lookin' fer Railroad Bill.

Ole Culpepper went up on Number Five,
Goin' bring him back, dead or alive,
Wus lookin' fer Railroad Bill.

Standin' on the corner, did n't mean no harm,
Policeman grab me the arm-
Wus lookin' fer Railroad Bill."

end of quote

Scaborough {Odum} writes 'It's lookin' fer Railroad Bill.' but I wonder if this was a mis-hearing of "I'se lookin fer Railroad Bill"..

Scaborough also includes this verse:

Railroad Bill got so fine
He shot a hole in a silver dime
Railroad Bill, Railroad Bill
Railroad Bll got sore eyes,
An' won't eat nothin' apple pies.

(p. 253 Folklore Associates edition, 1963}

---
Needless to say, to African Americans of that time 'Railroad Bill' was an anti-hero, a man with attitude who didn't take no stuff, who challenged the system and won {at least for a while}.

"Coon" was used as an informal referent for African Americans by both Black Americans and others. Though it is now, then it was not necessarily a negative term. The only positive use of 'coon' that I have ever heard among African Americans {though it's very rarely used now} is the internal rhyme "ace boon coon" as in "You're my ace boon coon".

Though I don't view Wild N--- Bill/Railroad Bill as a role model for contemporary African Americans, I think it's a shame that so few of us know this folklore...

Ms. Azizi


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Railroad Bill
From: Mr Happy
Date: 07 Oct 08 - 10:54 AM

Some good extra info here:

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=AQDI8wTvRv0


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Railroad Bill
From: Joe_F
Date: 07 Oct 08 - 09:47 PM

I heard these somewhere:

Railroad Bill, he was so bad,
Stole all the money his old man had,
And it's ride, ride, ride.

Railroad Bill, ran his train so fast,
Couldn't see the postes as they passed,
And it's ride, ride, ride.

(Some dialects have a 2-syllable pronunciation of the plurals of nouns in -st: postes, nestes, joistes. I gather that it was standard in Middle English.)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Railroad Bill
From: John Minear
Date: 08 Oct 08 - 07:17 AM

I came across this great version of "Railroad Bill" by Sparky Rucker yesterday. Not only is this a fine performance, but this whole website is a treasure!

http://www.aca-dla.org/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/WarrenWilson&CISOPTR=1933&REC=4

Just click on "Access this item" at the top of the page.


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