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Origins: 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 Add: Wreck of the Old 97 (52)
Lyr Req: Wreck of the Old 97 (parody from PHC) (13)
Tune Req: '..going round the bend..90miles an (11)


Ian Kirk 27 Dec 98 - 06:08 PM
Gene 27 Dec 98 - 07:22 PM
Mike Billo 27 Dec 98 - 09:56 PM
Bill D 27 Dec 98 - 09:56 PM
Bill D 27 Dec 98 - 10:00 PM
Jerry & Bev 27 Dec 98 - 10:49 PM
Ian Kirk 28 Dec 98 - 07:25 AM
Ian Kirk 28 Dec 98 - 10:17 AM
dick greenhaus 28 Dec 98 - 12:22 PM
Earl 28 Dec 98 - 12:57 PM
Ian Kirk 28 Dec 98 - 01:33 PM
Earl 28 Dec 98 - 04:00 PM
Art Thieme 28 Dec 98 - 05:47 PM
Bill D 28 Dec 98 - 05:56 PM
catspaw49 28 Dec 98 - 06:29 PM
dick greenhaus 28 Dec 98 - 07:45 PM
Benson 28 Dec 98 - 08:26 PM
catspaw49 28 Dec 98 - 10:50 PM
Benson 28 Dec 98 - 11:28 PM
Barry Finn 29 Dec 98 - 12:04 AM
catspaw49 29 Dec 98 - 12:04 AM
catspaw49 29 Dec 98 - 12:12 AM
Art Thieme 29 Dec 98 - 10:57 AM
catspaw49 29 Dec 98 - 11:37 AM
D Terrell 29 Dec 98 - 12:21 PM
Roger in Baltimore 29 Dec 98 - 05:20 PM
Pete Peterson 29 Dec 98 - 06:57 PM
Art Thieme 30 Dec 98 - 10:48 AM
Gene 30 Dec 98 - 12:30 PM
Bert 30 Dec 98 - 01:01 PM
Barry Finn 30 Dec 98 - 01:11 PM
catspaw49 30 Dec 98 - 01:47 PM
Charlie Baum 30 Dec 98 - 02:20 PM
Bert 30 Dec 98 - 04:01 PM
Ian Kirk 30 Dec 98 - 04:23 PM
Earl 31 Dec 98 - 09:02 AM
GUEST,JOE 20 Oct 02 - 05:20 PM
GUEST 20 Oct 02 - 05:42 PM
Sorcha 20 Oct 02 - 09:23 PM
GUEST 20 Oct 02 - 11:43 PM
GUEST,gene kelly harrell 15 Feb 11 - 05:51 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 15 Feb 11 - 06:08 PM
Jim Carroll 16 Feb 11 - 03:05 AM
MGM·Lion 16 Feb 11 - 04:13 AM
GUEST,Andrew79 31 Mar 11 - 01:26 PM
GUEST,Barry Mazor 08 Aug 11 - 10:54 AM
Richie 01 Oct 11 - 12:03 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 01 Oct 11 - 02:56 PM
MGM·Lion 01 Oct 11 - 03:20 PM
Jim Dixon 02 Sep 18 - 08:02 AM
Jim Dixon 02 Sep 18 - 09:40 AM
GaryG 05 Sep 18 - 07:57 AM
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Subject: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Ian Kirk
Date: 27 Dec 98 - 06:08 PM

Anybody got details about the Wreck of the Old 97?

In the DigiTrad database it mentions some towns the train was supposed to pass through. I checked on a map of the US and found Monro Virginia and Lychburg but I couldn't find Spencer and I can't see the railway on my albeit small scale map.

I there a railway in that part of the world. Was there a train crash? Does it go by, over, or through the White Oak Mountain. Is the line that rough?

Having performed this number of few times I'd like to tell both members of my audience a bit about it.

Regards

Ian


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Subject: RE: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Gene
Date: 27 Dec 98 - 07:22 PM

CHECK THIS THREAD


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Subject: RE: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Mike Billo
Date: 27 Dec 98 - 09:56 PM

According to Bill C. Malone's "Country Music USA", Vernon Dalhart's two-sided hit "Wreck of the Old 97" and the "Prisoners Song", released back in the '20's, was the first record that was documented to have sold over a million copies.


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Subject: RE: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Bill D
Date: 27 Dec 98 - 09:56 PM

here is Spencer Danville is to the right (mentioned in song as where the engineer was taken) you can zoom in or out on the map to see detail.

On this page you can see where White Oak Mtn. recreational area is..if you have Adobe Acrobat reader,, you can go to the bottom of the page and download a map of the area, whch shows it to be 12 miles north and a little west of Danville.

So...the song seem to be pretty close to accurate about the places mentioned


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Subject: RE: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Bill D
Date: 27 Dec 98 - 10:00 PM

(Spencer is the little red cross on the map...you have to click the ballon down 2 or 3 levels to see the name..)


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Subject: RE: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Jerry & Bev
Date: 27 Dec 98 - 10:49 PM

"The Long Steel Rail" by Norm Cohen has 29 pages of the history of this song beginning with "The Ship that Never Returned" by Henry Clay Work who's tune was later used for "The Wreck of Old 97". By the way, this tune was also used for the hit song of the late 1950s, "MTA".


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Subject: RE: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Ian Kirk
Date: 28 Dec 98 - 07:25 AM

Thanks all. The magic world of the Mudcat has done it again. Silly of me to think I had to rely on old fashioned paper maps to locate these places when Bill D pointed me right at the place. I'm off to find the Cumberland Gap, San Fernando of last train to fame and all the places mentioned in the song about Route 66.

Incidentally is that right you can no longer drive right along Route 66? A friend of mine and I were planning to do it one year.

Thanks Gene for the pointer to the thread. The book about train crashes in the US looks interesting if not gory reading worth checking out.

Regards Ian


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Subject: RE: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Ian Kirk
Date: 28 Dec 98 - 10:17 AM

Does anybody know if the tune to the Wreck of the Old 97 is now in the public domain. I have an idea for a song and I'd like to use it.

Any idea how I can check if anyone owns the rights to it.

Regards

Ian


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Subject: RE: Wreck of the Old 97
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 28 Dec 98 - 12:22 PM

The tune certainly is PD.It was copyrighted by Henry Clay Work in the 1860s


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Subject: RE: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Earl
Date: 28 Dec 98 - 12:57 PM

Here is some more useless trivia about the wreck:

It happened on Sept. 27 1903

The engineer was named Joe Broady but was nicknamed "Steve" after the New York daredevil Steve Broady who jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge and lived.

Broady was not the regular engineer for that run.

He was a bachelor.

Southern Railway blamed Broady, giving $10,000 to the family of each man killed,but nothing to his.

The train was carrying six crates of live canaries. After the crash hundreds of yellow birds flew out of the wreckage.


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Subject: RE: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Ian Kirk
Date: 28 Dec 98 - 01:33 PM

Good stuff Earl. Where did you dig that up from?

Ian


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Subject: RE: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Earl
Date: 28 Dec 98 - 04:00 PM

I have a book called _Scalded To Death By the Steam_ by Katie Letcher Lyle. It has the stories behind many of the great railroad disaster songs. Good photos and illustrations too.


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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


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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!)


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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.


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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.


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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?


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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. catspaw49


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Subject: RE: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Benson
Date: 28 Dec 98 - 11:28 PM

Perhaps then it was the tune of migrant "mutant canaries" freed from their probable confinement in the "bowells of the earth" which inspired ......"The Clinch Mountain Backstep".......Who knows????


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Subject: RE: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Barry Finn
Date: 29 Dec 98 - 12:04 AM

Art & others. In the shanty Ranzo Ray, there's the line "We're bound for Buenos Aries with a bunch of green canaries, Ranzo, Ranzo,hurray, hurray". Now it's well known that in the horse latitudes the invaluable use of these creatures & how the doldrums can wreck havoc on the ship's sails & rigging by just flooping about to say nothing of the crew's spirits from reverse movement & the absence of porpoises. Well when this happens, the only thing left to do is,,, break out the green canaries (green & puking from flopping about) & then get them to start flapping there wings, first comes the gental sound of a breeze over the calm then a light hum as the sails start to fill & the birds keep right on flapping & the ship starts to heel & lean, then, oh no the danm birds don't know their own power & now even the storm'ls are starting to tear & the vessel's shipping green water (it's really blue except the canaries pissed in it) & the sound of scream in the rigging as the birds pass miner's gas while the water turns to a foaming white spray ( not gonna tell you why that happens) & doesn't anyone know how to turn these ill foresaken harpies off, yes there is one person, & that person is Ranzo, Ranzo, hurray, hurray.
Barry


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Subject: RE: Wreck of the Old 97
From: catspaw49
Date: 29 Dec 98 - 12:04 AM

SSSSHHHHHHSSSSS...psst...hey, Benson...WE KNOW!!! And now if we can just slide this into a folk heritage tunebook......... 25 years from now it'll be taken as gospel!!! Quiet now, just keep it under your fedora. catspaw49


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Subject: RE: Wreck of the Old 97
From: catspaw49
Date: 29 Dec 98 - 12:12 AM

Barry...sounds like your birds whipped up more than a "catspaw"...Yeah, you're right about the name and thanks for your message. catspaw49


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Subject: RE: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Art Thieme
Date: 29 Dec 98 - 10:57 AM

Catspaw (as opposed to Cat's Maw---Ised to think a pap test was to figure out who the father was)

As I mentioned here once somewhere else, on the Misssissippi River, barges ("We don't need no stinkin' barges!!") were often filled with live pigeons. When the tow (term for several barges pushed by a towboat) went aground, a guy would crack his bullwhip & get the birds to flyin'--- that lightened the load enough to get 'em floatin' on their way. These were famous from Lake Itasca in Minnesota all the way to the dead zone below New Orleans as PIGEON TOWS.Sometimes hammers were transported that way too---hammer tows. Even tic-tac candy...

My 500 pound uncle once dropped a safe he was moving & broke his foot. We had to call a toe truck to get him to the hospital!

Art


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Subject: RE: Wreck of the Old 97
From: catspaw49
Date: 29 Dec 98 - 11:37 AM

Oh gawd Art...they're gettin' worse!!! And sometimes these barges were FREE.....What was this thread about anyway? catspaw49


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Subject: RE: Wreck of the Old 97
From: D Terrell
Date: 29 Dec 98 - 12:21 PM

I must take issue with Spencer being in Virginia, The Spencer in the Song is refering to Spencer, North Carolina. Which is more directly southwest on a line from Monroe Va, through Danville, Va and on to Spencer. This basically parallels US highway 29. The rail line is still a major mainline for now, Norfolk Southern.

The Engine Shops in Spencer are now a museum:

http://www.ci.salisbury.nc.us/nctrans/index.htm

D Terrell


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Subject: RE: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 29 Dec 98 - 05:20 PM

Simply remarkable.

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Pete Peterson
Date: 29 Dec 98 - 06:57 PM

Being a Civil War buff I have Shelby Foote's three volume history which contains maps of the Northern and Southern rail systems (which gives a pretty good idea right away why the North won, but I digress) and there is no line connecting Lynchburg and Danville, as of 1862. asked some friends in Southside Virginia when that particular branch was completed and he (Kinney Rorrer, biographer of Charlie Poole and gen'l historian) said about 1885 and that sure enough, the hardest part was getting over the White Oak Mountain. Whoever wrote that song must have been a RR man. PETE


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Subject: RE: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Art Thieme
Date: 30 Dec 98 - 10:48 AM

Pete, For Pete's sake, besides bein' a railroad man he was probably an ornithologist too.


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Subject: RE: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Gene
Date: 30 Dec 98 - 12:30 PM

* LINK TO OTHER TRAIN/WRECK SONGS *


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Subject: RE: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Bert
Date: 30 Dec 98 - 01:01 PM

No one seems to have taken Art to task about his canaries being green from pukin'.
Canaries in the wild ARE green, them yaller ones are the cage bred, domesticated birdies.

Bert.


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Subject: RE: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Barry Finn
Date: 30 Dec 98 - 01:11 PM

Bert, those were my green canaries & they were Buenos Aries bound, they were wild (so green to begin with, but also new to the sea, being forest flyers) & sea sick & had just been outward bound from Rio where they were stored peir side along with a cargo load of guano (bat shit). They were drifting back towards Rio because of the doldrums & decided to work up a sweat by flapping their wings. Whn things got out of hand only a New York tailor could handle it, hurray for Ranzo. Barry


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Subject: RE: Wreck of the Old 97
From: catspaw49
Date: 30 Dec 98 - 01:47 PM

I think this is for the birds...also see Mudcat Insanity postings...Karen's about to leave without me...gotta' go. See all of you next year. HAPPY NEW YEAR catspaw49


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Subject: RE: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 30 Dec 98 - 02:20 PM

Ian--

While very little of US Route 66 is labelled as such, you can still follow it. (You might want to find an old atlas to do so.) Just realize that most of US66 has been upgraded to interstate status. Follow I-55 from Chicago to St. Louis. Follow I-44 from St. Louis to Oklahoma City. Follow I-40 from Oklahoma City to the middle of the Mohave Desert in California, and then pop down I-15 to San Bernadino. Follow I-10 to the seahore at Santa Monica. Now, stay off the interstate, but use parallel 2-lane roads. The biggest diversions fromteh interstate routings are the stretch north of I-40 through Kingman, Arizona, and the stretch south of I-40 from Needles, CA to I-15.

--Happy Trails.

--Charlie Baum


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Subject: RE: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Bert
Date: 30 Dec 98 - 04:01 PM

You've got yourself a good song started there Charlie.
Just add a chorus and fill it out a bit.

Bert.


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Subject: RE: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Ian Kirk
Date: 30 Dec 98 - 04:23 PM

Good on ya Charlie. Give us the whole route here

It goes from St Louis (on I44)
Down through Missouri
Oklahoma City looks Oh so pretty
You'll see Amarillo
Gallup, New Mexico
Flagstaff Arizona
Don't forget Winona
Kingman (on I40), Barstow, San Bernadino too (on I15)
Get hip to this kind of trip
And go take that California Trip
Get your kicks on Route 66

At least you know where this thread is leading though the rhyme scheme seems to have been messed up somewhat.

I betcha somebody else is going to say no, no you don't want to turn left on I16 you should turn right on I99 and then take a short cut on to I101 or whatever. Or doesn't that sort of conversation take place in the US. Certainly does over here.

Ian


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Subject: RE: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Earl
Date: 31 Dec 98 - 09:02 AM

I always forget Winona.


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Subject: RE: Wreck of the Old 97
From: GUEST,JOE
Date: 20 Oct 02 - 05:20 PM

I vividly recall playing this song on an old Victrola '78'in Crossville ,TN belonging to my grandmother &in this particular title The title was 'WRECK OF THE OLD "SOUTHERN '97' Possibly noting it was on the Southern RR. the musical background was a harmonica solo, & whistle sounds done by the artist(I think artist was blind.


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Subject: RE: Wreck of the Old 97
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Oct 02 - 05:42 PM

The Wreck on the the Southern Old 97, by Henry Whitter, vocal, guitar and harmonica. Recorded Dec. 12, 1923, Okeh master 72167-A, released on Okeh 40015, Jan. 1924. He published sheet music. Based on Frank Burnett's version. Text given in: Norm Cohen, "Long Steel Rail," Univ. Illinois Press.
Try looking in up in threads here, it may have been posted.


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Subject: RE: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Sorcha
Date: 20 Oct 02 - 09:23 PM

"According to Google" it is the same as just Wreck of the Old 97, 2 versions in DT, one here. Use the Alpha index browse function for W and you can find the other.


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Subject: RE: Wreck of the Old 97
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Oct 02 - 11:43 PM

In 1924, for Okeh, Kelly Crockett Harrell recorded "The Wreck on the Southern Old 97," with Henry Whitter's guitar and harmonica accompaniment, "The Wreck on the Old Southern 97." This was intended for a 12-inch disc. Harrell's text was similar to Burnett's, with a chorus he said was Lewey's. This information from Norm Cohen, The Long Steel Rail, p. 311. Harrell's version has been transcribed in notes to Bear Family 15508: "The Complete Kelly Harrell, vol. 1."
Guest Joe mentions a version by a blind singer. This was recorded by Ernest Thompson, who recorded for Columbia, 130-D, 1924. Another blind singer, George Reneau, recorded a "cover" of Whitter's disc that was actually sung by Gene Austin because Reneau's voice was too rough (also 1924). Vernon Dalhart recorded in 1924 from Whitter's disc, "The Wreck of the Old Southern 97," the same year he recorded "The Wreck of the Old 97."
There were complicated lawsuits, which I won't go into, all dull stuff except to the lawyers.

Are versions titled "Southern" similar to the one we usually hear? Yes, but there are differences in all the versions.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Wreck of the Old 97
From: GUEST,gene kelly harrell
Date: 15 Feb 11 - 05:51 PM

i know my grandfather recorded this song a long time back,there is a sign commerating this but im not sure where, my father took a picture or it and i have it, i get royalities from my grandfathers music 2 times a year. never knew the man but he must have had some musical talent


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Subject: RE: Origins: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 15 Feb 11 - 06:08 PM

I believe that Spencer is a few miles west Danville Va. Lynchburg is a bit North. Bin there,done that.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Feb 11 - 03:05 AM

Details of the lawsuit that was aid to be the first major copyright battle in American musical history.
Jim Carroll

Among the curious who came to gape at the wreckage was the telegraph operator at Franklin Junction, David Graves George. It was either George or a pair of Fries, Virginia textile workers named Charles Weston Lowell and Fred Jackson Lowey who took a song called "The Ship That Never Returned" and reworked it into "The Wreck of the Old 97." The dispute between the two parties was to be the first major copyright battle in American recording history. The route from the wreck to the courtroom less a story of its own.
Long before it was first recorded, the song was widely known in southern Virginia and North Carolina. Sometime around 19l4, a loom fixer in Fries named Henry Whitter learned the song from a fellow mill worker named Frank Burnett who, it turn, had learned "Old '97" from Noell and Lowey. Whitter had ambitions of becoming a professional musician and in 1923 he made his way to New York to audition for the General Phonograph Company. The record industry was not quite ready for country music, but after Fiddlin' John Carson's success in Atlanta later that Year, the company called Whitter back. On December 12, 1923, he made the first recording of "The Wreck of the Southern Old 97," twenty years after the event.
It was released early in 1924 and caught the attention of Vernon Dalhart. In August, 1924, he recorded it for the Victor Talking Machine Company. That record is said to have been the first million-selling country music record. Victor bought the rights to the song from Noel), Lowey and Whitter.
When David Graves George learned of Dalhart's success, he sued Victor over the rights to the song. The ensuing trial from 1930 to 1933 involved hundreds of witnesses. Danville and Fries residents testified to the length of time the song had been sung in their respective communities. Robert W. Gordon, the first director of the Archive of Folk Song in the Library of Congress acted as an expert witness concerning the song's distribution in oral tradition. In the first trial, George was awarded $62,295, but a subsequent appeal reversed that decision in favour of Victor. The recording of "Old 97" on this album has a significant place in the story of that controversy. Kelly Harrell was another Fries millhand and a friend of Henry Whitter. Whitter tried to get Harrell to record with him, but he was reluctant until he heard Whitter's recording. Convinced he could do no worse, he auditioned for Victor. In August, 1925, Harrell and Whitter went to Asheville, North Carolina to record for Okeh. Harrell was specifically asked to record "Old 97" because his singing was far clearer than Whitter's. The 12-inch record released was unusual for its length and obviously meant as a challenge to the Dalhart recording. Harrell was later called as a witness in the Copyright trial.
Harrell's version less typical of the intriguing mix of fact and inaccuracy in most versions of the song. Some of these might be explained as the effect of oral tradition. "And the lie was a three- mile grade," for example, originated as: "And at Lima there's a three mile grade. "Verses two and eight in Harrell's version are uncommon, and may have been collaboration by Harrell and Whitter. Joseph Broady, the engineer of 97 usually identified as "Steve Brady" in the song, was nicknamed Steve by his fellow railroaded after a New Yorker who won brief fame by surviving a fall from the Brooklyn Bridge.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Wreck of the Old 97
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 16 Feb 11 - 04:13 AM

I have a fine old RCA Victor LP, called The Railroad In Folksong, issued in UK by Decca, I think in the 1960s. It contains Vernon Dalhart's version of Old 97 recorded NYC on 18 March 1926 {C Robinson, guitar & L Raderman, violin}.

On that recording, Dalhart sings "You must put her in *centre* [not 'Spencer'] on time"; and "It was on that grade he lost his *average* [not 'airbrake']".

I do not find these variants in any of the DT versions.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Origins: Wreck of the Old 97
From: GUEST,Andrew79
Date: 31 Mar 11 - 01:26 PM

Does anyone know where i could find some pictures of the Train No.97, or locomotive #1102? I have pictures of the wreck, and one picture of the locomotive #1102, but are there any others?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Wreck of the Old 97
From: GUEST,Barry Mazor
Date: 08 Aug 11 - 10:54 AM

Jim Carroll: That's a nice summary of the lawsuit story. What was your source or sources for that? Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Richie
Date: 01 Oct 11 - 12:03 AM

Hi,

The best source of info is Norm Cohen's article:

http://bluegrassmessengers.com.temp.realssl.com/robert-w-gordon-and-the-second-wreck-of-old-97.aspx

The litigation actually lasted ten years ending in 1940 when the case was dismissed- George was two times awarded a share of the royalties only to have the decision reversed.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 01 Oct 11 - 02:56 PM

Whitter, Dalhart and Tanner (Skillet Licker) are also on youtube.

This song was the first country or mountaineer music I remember learning as a child from by parents old records.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Wreck of the Old 97
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 01 Oct 11 - 03:20 PM

The Dalhart version ref'd by Q above on youtube,

"Uploaded by vintageaudiobuff on Jan 25, 2010

"Wreck of the Old 97", sung by Vernon Dalhart. Released on the Victor record label in 1924 (acoustic recording). This became the first million-selling record in the United States"

is the exact one remastered on my LP The Railroad In Folksong mentioned in my post of 16 Feb 11 ~~

~M~


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE WRECK ON THE SOUTHERN OLD 97 (Whitter
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 02 Sep 18 - 08:02 AM

Here’s how the title and lyrics appear in the sheet music, which you can view at the website of York University. The most striking thing here is the name of the engineer:


THE WRECK ON THE SOUTHERN OLD 97
Words and music by Henry Whitter. ©1924.

1. They gave him up his order at Monroe, Virginia,
Saying: “Steve, you’re way behind time.
This is not “Thirty-Eight” but it’s “Old Ninety-Seven.”
You must put her in Spencer on time.”

2. Steve Brooklyn said to his black greasy fireman:
“Just shovel on a little more coal,
And when we cross that White Oak Mountain,
You can watch Old Ninety-Seven roll.”

3. It’s a mighty rough road from Lynchburg to Danville,
And a line on a three-mile grade.
It was on this grade when he lost his air brakes
And you see what a jump he made.

4. He was going down grade making ninety miles an hour
When his whistle began to scream.
He was found in the wreck with his hand on the throttle
And was scalded to death by steam.

5. So come on, you 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.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Wreck of the Old 97
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 02 Sep 18 - 09:40 AM

Early Recordings:
1924 – Bob White (Vernon Dalhart): THE WRECK OF THE OLD 97
1924 – Ernest Thompson: WRECK OF SOUTHERN OLD 97
1924 – Vernon Dalhart: THE WRECK OF THE OLD 97
1925 – Carl Felton’s Orchestra with Billy Jones and Ernest Hare: WRECK ON THE SOUTHERN OLD 97
1925 – Kelly Harrell: THE WRECK OF THE SOUTHERN OLD 97
1925 – Vernon Dalhart: THE WRECK OF THE SOUTHERN OLD 97
1927 – Gid Tanner and His Skillet Lickers, with Riley Puckett and Clayton McMichen: THE WRECK OF THE SOUTHERN OLD '97
1927 – Jeff Calhoun: WRECK OF THE OLD '97
1940 – Dick Robertson and His Orchestra: WRECK OF THE OLD 97
1942 – Johnny Mercer with Freddie Slack and His Orchestra: WRECK OF THE OLD 97
1942 – Muggsy Spanier Orchestra: THE WRECK OF THE OLD 97
1944 – The Jesters: WRECK OF THE OLD 97
1947 – Fred Kirby: THE WRECK OF THE OLD 97
1948 – Jim Dale and His Prides of the Prairie: WRECK OF THE OLD 97
1949 – Danny Kaye: THE WRECK OF THE OLD 97
1951 – Hank Snow: WRECK OF THE OLD 97


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Subject: RE: Origins: Wreck of the Old 97
From: GaryG
Date: 05 Sep 18 - 07:57 AM

Henry Whitter was a real pioneer. With GB Grayson he made the first recordings of not only this one but also Tom Dooley. Dalhart copied Henry's version. He was not overly blessed with talent, but he was there at the beginning. Grayson, on the other hand, was a wonderful fiddler. Lee Highway Blues is still a popular tune.

They held a centennial observance of the wreck in Danville. The historical marker is on Business 58. The refurbished depot (1899) has a model of the wreck and there is a mural near the site.


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Mudcat time: 20 September 12:41 PM EDT

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