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Lyr/Chords Req: Reuben's Train

23 Mar 00 - 11:44 PM (#200446)
Subject: Rueben's Train
From: E.Michael

Are there any words to Rueben's Train, or is it strictly instrumental? In either case what is the chording. Also, what is the tuning for a 5 string?


24 Mar 00 - 01:04 AM (#200543)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Rueben's Train
From: Barbara

I dunno no "Reuben's Train", but I know a "Rueben James". Could that be what you want? Tune is same as Wildwood Flower?
Blessings,
Barbara


24 Mar 00 - 02:05 AM (#200587)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Rueben's Train
From: Stewie

Can't help you with chords etc, but I can tell you it definitely has words. You can find Doc Watson singing it on the magnificent Rounder double CD 'North Carolina Banjo Collection' Rounder CD 0439/40. I have Wade Mainer's 1940s recording somewhere, but I can't locate it at the moment.

--Stewie.


24 Mar 00 - 02:29 AM (#200592)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Rueben's Train
From: Billy the Bus

Hi E. Michael,

You'll find words and music for the Willie Johnson version of Reuben p 565 in Alan Lomax "Folk Songs of North America" (Collected Lomax 1939).

It's got a different chorus to what I recall from later bluegrass/old-time versions, but it has the basic verse I recall....vis:

Well, old Reuben had a train,
Run from Boston down to Maine
You could hear the whistle blow 100 miles.

Let's know if you don't track it down, and I'll try to make time to type in the words.

Cheers - Sam


24 Mar 00 - 03:19 AM (#200601)
Subject: Reuben's Train
From: Joe Offer

If you spell "Reuben" right, you can find it in the Digital Tradition (DT) database by using the blue search box on this page (or you can click here). The version in Lomax is quite different. Billy the Bus, if you have time to type it, that would be really nice.
-Joe Offer-


24 Mar 00 - 06:59 AM (#200613)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Rueben's Train
From: Midchuck

Reuben's Train? Chords? Don't you mean "Chord?"

Peter.


24 Mar 00 - 11:56 AM (#200737)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Rueben's Train
From: Uncle_DaveO

Reuben had a train
He put it on the track
Run it to the Lord knows where!
Ohhh, me! Ohhh, my!
Run it to the Lord knows where!

Oh, you ought to been uptown
See Reuben's train go down
You could hear its whistle blow a hundred miles!
Ohh, me! Ohh, my!
Hear its whistle blow a hundred miles!

That's all I remember right now.

Dave Oesterreich


24 Mar 00 - 11:59 AM (#200739)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Rueben's Train
From: GUEST,Bill in Alabama

Right, Midchuck--

D will usually get you through the song just fine. For variety, throw an A at it every once in awhile.


24 Mar 00 - 12:59 PM (#200765)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Rueben's Train
From: Pinetop Slim

Song "900 Miles" is set to Reuben's Train:
I'm a-(Em) ridin on this train, I've got tears in my eyes
(Gb)tryin to get a (B7) letter to my (Em)home...
If this train runs me right, I'll be home Saturday night
'cause I'm (Gb)nine hundred (B7)miles from my (Em)home...
And I (B7) hate to hear that lonesome whistle (Em) blow
It's this (B7)long, lonesome train a-whistlin' (Em) on.


24 Mar 00 - 02:19 PM (#200804)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Rueben's Train
From: M. Ted (inactive)

The melody that I know is not the same as 900 miles, it is a major melody the one the is used in "I'm Here to Get My Baby Out of Jail"--


24 Mar 00 - 03:42 PM (#200848)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Rueben's Train
From: GUEST

Try a search in the forum for an old thread "Rueben's Train".


24 Mar 00 - 04:42 PM (#200886)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Rueben's Train
From: Lanfranc

Pat Sky's version is my personal favourite.


24 Mar 00 - 09:27 PM (#201048)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Rueben's Train
From: Bud Savoie

The tuning used by both bluegrassers and old-timeys is f#DF#AD. You can tune the 5th string to "a", but it loses something. I have seen some use aEAC#E to accommodate a fiddler.

A few more verses:

Reuben had a wreck and it broke old Reuben's neck,
But it never harmed a hair of my head.

Reuben had a wife, she was tired of her life,
'Cause Reuben didn't have no home.

Oh, Reuben, were you drunk when you pawned your watch and trunk
All for to get your baby out of jail?

Also, you can use any of the verses for "Train 45."


24 Mar 00 - 10:02 PM (#201072)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Rueben's Train
From: Sandy Paton

A fine version is on Frank Proffitt's first Folk-Legacy recording, accompanied by his fretless banjo, with some really neat slides. It's available now as a custom cassette, and will soon be released as a CD. I'll type in Frank's text when I have more time to play. Right now, I'm a bit boxed in.

Sandy


25 Mar 00 - 01:17 AM (#201171)
Subject: ADD: Reuben's Train ^^
From: Sandy Paton

REUBEN TRAIN
Collected from Frank Proffitt, Reese, North Carolina, 1961.

Oh, Reuben's coming down the track,
And he's got his throttle back,
And the rails are a-carrying him from home.

If the boiler don't bust
'Cause it's eat up with rust,
I'll soon be a long ways from home.

If you don't believe I'm gone,
Look at the train I'm on;
You can hear the whistle blow a thousand miles.

I'm a-going down the track;
I ain't never coming back,
And I'll never get no letter from my home.

Well, the train run so fast
Till I knowed it couldn't last,
For the wheels was a-burning up the rail.

Old Reuben had a wreck
And it broke old Reuben's neck,
And it never hurt a hair on my head.

Now I'm walking up the track,
Hoping I'll get back;
I'm a thousand miles away from home.

If I ever get back to you,
You can beat me black and blue,
For I'll never leave my shanty home.

Lomax printed a collated version of eight stanzas "picked up through the years along the song-hunting trail" (The Folksongs of North America, New York, 1960). The Frank C. Brown Collection (North Carolina Folklore, Durham, NC, 1952) includes two versions, one of which contains seven stanzas. The song, in more fragmentary form, seems to be quite widely known. Its relationship to the well-known "900 Miles" is obvious, I think.

Sandy^^


25 Mar 00 - 07:34 PM (#201450)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Rueben's Train
From: Rincon Roy

Ken Perlman gave a fun banjo&guitar concert in Tucson recently & said a friend of his found a group of West African musicians in a remote (?) village who played a traditional tune from their neighborhood which matched the Reuben's Train tune that he knew. Hmmm... Just how old is this tune?


28 Mar 00 - 02:04 PM (#202727)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Rueben's Train
From: M. Ted (inactive)

This is a very funky melody--it seems so simple it is almost a throwaway, but it has the roots of so many things in it--also, it seems to be in a Phrygian mode, but probably is better described as being a gapped scale of some type--


07 Jun 00 - 01:16 PM (#239432)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Rueben's Train
From: The Shambles

I have just seen Ken Perlman perform this song and he said the same thing. Any more thoughts on this idea?


07 Jun 00 - 02:35 PM (#239475)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Rueben's Train
From: SINSULL

I had a recording of it by the Dillards but can't seem to find it. It was part of a collection of folk music from the late fifties. I'll keep looking.


08 Jun 00 - 03:49 AM (#239789)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Rueben's Train
From: Dharmadog

i know of a many cuts of 'rubens train' my favorite rendition is from the 'holy modal rounders' one line goes something like: in a hobo heaven with some rounder guys... need some cocaine gimmee some'' rubens train it jumpeed the track and broke his firemans back.. now he can't read a letter from his maw


08 Jun 00 - 08:18 AM (#239835)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Rueben's Train
From: GUEST,ohwilliedear@yahoo.com

The Proffitt Lyrics given above are the best ones I know. If you're asking for the chords, I'm not sure that you understand what the tune is about. in my opinion, it's a modal tune. If you play full triad chord(s) under the melody, it gives it away, makes it too obvious. The beauty of modal tunes-and especially reuben's train is that chord changes are implied. I think that if you strum a D or dmin behind that repetitive melody, you'll find yourself playing one boring tune. If you have to arrange it for two people (guitar player doesn't want to sit it out, etc...) make him/her learn the melody or come up with an interesting counter melody. Also, I play it in the following tuning: aDGAD and sometimes aDGAC. In the latter, I can do some Dock Boggs sounding hammer ons/pulloffs on the high D string.


08 Jun 00 - 10:21 AM (#239883)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Rueben's Train
From: GeorgeH

As implied . . it's a variant (or a number of variants of) "Ten thousand miles". Simpkins (Martin Simpson to the non-initiates) recorded a fine version of it many years ago . . from memory it's on the wonderful "Special Agent" LP - later re-released on CD . . I'll try to remember to check that tonight. Certainly his words are different again from those offered above . .

G.


08 Jun 00 - 04:05 PM (#240028)
Subject: Lyr Add: REUBEN'S TRAIN (Martin Simpson)
From: Ragtime Willy

Further to my last message re Martin Simpson's version of 'Reuben's Train', the full lyrics are:-

Well, old Reuben had a train
And he rode it down the track
He rode it to God knows where
And it's oh Lordy me, oh Lordy my
He rode it to God knows where

Oh Reuben come to town
Just as the sun went down
The shirt on his back was all he owned
And it's oh Lordy me, oh Lordy my
The shirt on his back was all he owned

Me I'm walking down the track
With tears in my eyes
I'm trying to read a letter from my home
If this train runs me right
I'll be home Saturday night
I'm 900 miles from my home
And it's oh Lordy me, oh Lordy my
I'm 900 miles from my home

It's a long steel rail, you know
It's a short crosstie
That's caused me to leave my home
Oh Lordy me, oh Lordy my
well caused me to leave my home

And I'm gonna take my razor blade
Cut Reuben in the shade
Start me a graveyard on my own
It's oh Lordy me, oh Lordy my
Well I'll start me a graveyard on my own

Repeat first verse

It's a fine version from Martin's "Grinning in Your Face" CD on Fledgling Records - FLED 3021

By the way, couldn't find any of Martin's 20+ CD's on the Mudcat Auction - can this be true??!!!

HTML line breaks added. --JoeClone, 30-Mar-03.


09 Jun 00 - 06:52 AM (#240293)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Rueben's Train
From: GeorgeH

Ragtime . . that saved me the trouble . .

And of course there are no Simpkins CDs in the Mudcat auction . . no one's going to dispose of such treasures . . .

G.


09 Jun 00 - 07:52 AM (#240310)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Rueben's Train
From: BanjoRay

In a Dwight Diller clawhammer banjo workshop, Dwight told us that the song was originally about a slave who stole a train and took his people north around or before the american civil war. Anybody know anything about this?
Cheers
Ray


09 Jun 00 - 02:01 PM (#240457)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Rueben's Train
From: GUEST,Arnie

My favorite sounding version comes from Tommy Jarrell with that incredible southern banjo/fiddle sound. I beleive it's on his June Apple recording. A good version is on "A Moment In Time" (Marimac 9038-C) with Dan Gellert and Brad Leftwich. If you are a fan of great southern fiddle/banjo you should look into this recording.


09 Jun 00 - 03:23 PM (#240497)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Rueben's Train
From: Ragtime Willy

To GeorgeH - Thanks for putting me straight George - of course no one would want to part with anything by the wonderful and incomparable Simpkins - apart from the exquisite guitar playing, has anyone ever had such a breadth of knowledge and such good taste?

I wonder why there is nothing by Martin in the Mudcat Record Shop?


30 Nov 07 - 11:45 AM (#2205576)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Reuben's Train
From: Mr Happy

Great version here:http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=fLYbDJcqjao


30 Nov 07 - 02:42 PM (#2205714)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Reuben's Train
From: oombanjo

as Ragtime Willy's notes. Played on 5 string in A modal/G modal depending on your voice. cheers Oombanjo


08 Mar 08 - 08:34 AM (#2282826)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Reuben's Train
From: Mr Happy

Anyone know who Reuben was?


08 Mar 08 - 09:45 AM (#2282847)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Reuben's Train
From: Charley Noble

Perhaps he was later shanghaied and sent to sea on a whaling ship, i.e., "Poor Ol' Reuben Ranzo." That would help explain why one finds an occasional railroad song being used as a shanty, i.e., "Ol' Moke."

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


08 Mar 08 - 09:32 PM (#2283363)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Reuben's Train
From: SouthernCelt

Pat Sky did a version of "Reuben's Train" on his first album way back in the 60s. His version has a variation in the way the verses are done. I took the part with the longer (more lines & repetition) and applied the "folk process" to create a new song to the tune that I called "J.J.'s Train." It's about a short-lived short track railroad built in my home county by entrepreneur JJ White in the early 20th century. Lasted only about 17 years. I had a Great Uncle who tried to catch a ride on one of the slow moving freights when he'd been drinking and he fell off and got such a hard blow to the head that he died within a couple of days. I wrote him into the song as well.

Don't have my lyrics handy to post but you can hear a rough recording of it on my ezFolk page (it's down the list near the end).

All the chords are built around major chords, root (starting) chord of G.

SC

SC


09 Mar 08 - 06:44 AM (#2283502)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Reuben's Train
From: Mr Happy

Part've the reason I'm asking is that many other 'train' songs do have a basis in fact, for example 'the Glendale train' & 'Cosher Bailey'


09 Mar 08 - 09:08 AM (#2283563)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Reuben's Train
From: Bob Coltman

"Reuben," or "Reuben's Train," has a history dating back at least to 1928, when Robert Gorden collected a version.

It's one of three songs that are cousins of each other: "Reuben," "Train 45," and later on "900 Miles." (Not to be confused with the later folk-pop "500 Miles").

First to record "Reuben" was Emry Arthur, ~January 1930, Paramount 3237, vocal with guitar. I've always felt Arthur had a lot to do with putting the song together. His version was long, the greatest number of verses I've ever heard on a record, and gives sign of his having collected it himself -- don't know the source, but Arthur was an enthusiastic song-gatherer who sang many interesting traditional songs from the Kentucky region and nearby as well as the popular songs he also featured.

"Reuben" was not widespread before WWII. It was covered only by fiddler Jess Johnson the following year, and by Wade Mainer & the Sons of the Mountaineers in 1941. Cousin Emmy rewrote it as "Ruby" on a 1947 recording. In 1951 Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper covered it, and the Osborne Bros & Red Allen made "Ruby" a bluegrass classic in 1956 as "Ruby Are You Mad At Your Man?"

But the song had earlier branched out into the fiddle specialty "Train 45," one of G.B. Grayson & Henry Whitter's finest recordings, October 10, 1927. This was covered by Seve Ledford and the Carolina Ramblers String Band in 1943, and in 1937 by Wade Mainer, Zeke Morris and Ledford working as a trio -- that last recording was the first to reach outside the south when Alan Lomax included it on his historic set "Smoky Mountain Ballads" on Victor, date uncertain but sometime in the late 1940s.

"900 Miles" was the work of Woody Guthrie -- don't know where he got it from, but it's a distinctly different version -- and featured in the Lomaxes' Folk Song U.S.A." (1947), where it reached thousands of young folkies. So that was the first version to circulate strongly in the new folk community around 1950 and after.

All from the one train song.

Must admit it marked me for life on first hearing "900 Miles," then shortly thereafter the wonderful "Train 45." Best of all, though, was Arthur's "Reuben, oh Reuben," which became the one I sing. Bob


24 Dec 09 - 04:32 PM (#2795873)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Reuben's Train
From: GUEST,Rick

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7f5-wDIlhk

Some friends of mine (Mack and Gabe) playing a stunning rendition of the song, enjoy.


18 Mar 10 - 03:30 PM (#2867046)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Reuben's Train
From: GUEST,dave

earl scruggs plays a nice version of reubens train using only two chords d and a ,but there is alot of slides, hammerons and whines.its the sort of tune that you can play about with down and up the neck,and make it sound really nice.dont try and play it too fast or you will lose some of the beauty of the tune good luck


28 May 10 - 10:24 AM (#2915978)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Reuben's Train
From: GUEST

Reuben had a train sailed from Michigan to Spain
and he drowned in that ocean deep and wide
Oh lordy me, oh lordy my
He drowned in that ocean deep and wide.


29 May 10 - 10:25 AM (#2916566)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Reuben's Train
From: GUEST,bankley

Jayto / JT Oglesby does a kickass electric version...

that train be just smokin, !


11 Oct 11 - 03:09 PM (#3237341)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Reuben's Train
From: GUEST,Guest

Just passing through here and enjoying your discussion! However, it's certainly worth noting that Old Crow medicine does one very smoking hot version of Reuben's Train on the live DVD they released a few years ago...

Enjoy!


13 Oct 11 - 10:31 AM (#3238374)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Reuben's Train
From: GUEST,vientocita

Does anyone know the origin of this piece - is it traditional = out of copyright??