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Train songs

10 Aug 02 - 08:36 AM (#762981)
Subject: Train songs
From: Lynn

Good morning, 'Catters.

Next week I'm playing for a Senior Citizens' train ride and luncheon in CNY. I could use a few more train songs, especially those that have easy choruses I can teach to them.

I know the usual ones - Midnight Special; City of New Orleans; It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry; I've Been Working...; Drill Ye Tarriers Drill. Are there any you've taken a special liking to???

And how about more food songs, since we're also eating.

Have a blessed Saturday!


10 Aug 02 - 08:58 AM (#762986)
Subject: RE: Train songs
From: masato sakurai

There's a long thread on Train Songs.


10 Aug 02 - 09:14 AM (#762991)
Subject: RE: Train songs
From: van lingle

Hi Lynn, one that you're sure to see mentioned in the thread that Masato linked above is The Wabash Cannonball which many seniors will probably know and be able to sing along with. Regarding food, another depression era tune they might know is One Meatball. Good luck, vl.

10 Aug 02 - 10:44 AM (#763012)
Subject: RE: Train songs
From: Janice in NJ

Try some songs by Bruce "U. Utah" Phillips, including Starlight on the Rails, No Round Trip Ticket, Daddy What's a Train?, Rock Me to Sleep, Phoebe Snow, and Queen of the Rails.

10 Aug 02 - 10:56 AM (#763013)
Subject: RE: Train songs
From: DMcG

Don't forget "Cannily, Cannily" (in DT) either

10 Aug 02 - 11:08 AM (#763015)
Subject: RE: Train songs
From: The Walrus


Not specifically a "train" song, but if the mood is right, try "Sentimental Journey".


10 Aug 02 - 12:35 PM (#763038)
Subject: RE: Train songs
From: Wilfried Schaum

Food songs: I only remember the lively chorus:
Oh it's beans, bacon, and gravy,
that almost drove me crazy,
I ate 'em till I saw 'em in my dreams ...


10 Aug 02 - 01:02 PM (#763048)
Subject: RE: Train songs
From: Uncle_DaveO

Beans, Bacon & Gravy" is in the DT. Great song! It's one of my old standbys.

Dave Oesterreich

10 Aug 02 - 01:46 PM (#763053)
Subject: RE: Train songs
From: Jim McLean

How about Cosher Bailey's Engine? It's in the DigiTrad Database. Jim McLean

10 Aug 02 - 04:49 PM (#763091)
Subject: RE: Train songs
From: open mike

Greg Brown's ":the train that carried jimmy Rogers home" is both about trains and the brakeman Jimmy Rogers.

10 Aug 02 - 05:23 PM (#763114)
Subject: RE: Train songs
From: Susanne (skw)

Isn't there one called 'The Wreck of the F&O' (well, maybe it wouldn't be appropriate anyway ...). Or 'Poor Paddy Works on the Railway'? As to food songs, the only one I can remember is 'Colcannon' on a Black Family CD. Hope the trip goes well!

10 Aug 02 - 06:06 PM (#763134)
Subject: RE: Train songs
From: toadfrog

See TRUE AND TREMBLING BRAKEMAN The DT version leaves out the first verse, which goes:

See the true and trembling brakeman
As he signals to the cab;
There is only one thing for it
And the train it is to grab.

See also CHATTANOOGA CHOO CHOO, And other songs with links collected HERE I think Suzanne is thinking of ENGINE 143 a.k.a. THE WRECK ON THE C & O (Carter family). These should help for a while.

10 Aug 02 - 08:34 PM (#763188)
Subject: RE: Train songs
From: toadfrog

Also, I'M MOVIN' ON (Hank Snow)

10 Aug 02 - 10:14 PM (#763222)
From: Robin2


Where was you when the train left town?
I's standin' on the corner with my head hung down.
Hey, the train carried my girl from town,
Hey, hey, hey, hey.
SPOKEN: That's kinda the way she sounded when she's rollin' away from the depot...

If I had a gun I'd let the hammer down,
Lord, I'd shoot that rounder took my girl from town.
Hey, that train that carried my girl from town,
Hey, hey, hey, hey.

There goes the train that carried my girl from town;
If I knowed her number, Lord, I'd flag her down.
Hey, the train carried my girl from town,
Hey, hey, hey, hey.

Rations on the table and the coffee's gettin' cold,
And some dirty rounder stole my jelly roll.
Hey, the train carried my girl from town,
Hey, hey, hey, hey.

Hello, Central, give me six-o-nine,
I want to talk to that woman of mine.
Hey, that train that carried my girl from town,
Hey, hey, hey, hey.

I wish to the Lord that the train would wreck,
Kill that engineer and break the fireman's neck.
Hey, that train done carried my girl from town,
Hey, hey, hey, hey.

SPOKEN: Rollin' on down the line...

Ashes to ashes and dust to dust,
Show me the woman that a man can trust.
Hey, that train that carried my girl from town,
Hey, hey, hey, hey.

There goes my girl, somebody bring her back,
'Cause she's got her hand in my money sack.
Hey, that train carried my girl from town,
Hey, hey, hey, hey.

SPOKEN: This is kinda way that train went when she went outa hearin'...(train sounds on guitar or fiddle or drum)

11 Aug 02 - 07:00 AM (#763317)
Subject: RE: Train songs

The best food-and-train song I know is Dave Goulder's "Footplate Cuisine", but probably not appropriate for your gig as it will put the OAPs off their food. No time to write out all the lyrics just now as I'm on the way out, but as a taster ...

Some like a wilderbeast stewed in red wine,
Others an ostrich leg pickled in brine.
But I prefer something that died on the line
Home cooking for footplate cuisine.
I'll post the full song if no one else has, later today.

11 Aug 02 - 05:28 PM (#763503)
Subject: RE: Train songs
From: Genie

Another one I get a lot of requests for in senior citizens' homes (especially from the folks who are under 90) is "Five Hundred Miles." They also like Elizabeth Cotten's "Freight Train," as well as "Chattanooga Choo Choo" and "Wabash Cannonball."

One I get requests for but don't do (cause it really needs a fiddle or something) is "Orange Blossom Special."

"Waiting For A Train" (sung by Jimmie Rodgers) is also requested from time to time, as is "Rock Island Line."


11 Aug 02 - 05:50 PM (#763510)
Subject: RE: Train songs
From: Genie

"Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?"  ("Once I built a railroad, I made it run... .")
Night Train
"Blues In The Night" ("...Hear that lonesome whistle blowin' 'cross the trestle, 'Whoo-ee," ..."...Clickety-clack, it's echoing back the Blues In The Night.")

Engine 143 (The Wreck on the C & O)  -- and the parody "Georgie on the IRT."

Bill Grogan's Goat (where the goat is tied to the railroad track for eating Grogan's red shirts and then coughs up the shirts and flags the train).

An accordion player/singer who plays regularly at retirement homes around Portland, OR, does a very popular rendition of "Casey Jones," complete with a train-impression done on the accordion.

  Need a New Train Song!


Re: food songs, how about "Shoo-Fly Pie & Apple Pan Dowdy?"

There's also a parody of the old song "In The Shade Of The Old Apple Tree" called "'Neath The Crust Of The Old Apple Pie."

Or how about "Home Grown Tomatoes?" (Guy Clark?)

12 Aug 02 - 03:26 PM (#763995)
Subject: RE: Train songs
From: GUEST,

It might not be widely known across the pond, but how about that old somg by the famous Percy French? It's called "Are Ye Right There, Michael, Are Ye Right", and is a very funny but affectionate tribute to an old Irish narrow gauge line that is sadly no longer with us. It lends itself to a humorous delivery/burlesque and it has a simple but catchy chorus....

Barry Worthington

12 Aug 02 - 04:58 PM (#764006)
Subject: RE: Train songs
From: GUEST,DonMeixner

Hi Lynn,

I'm in the Syracuse phone book. Give me a call and I'll see what I can do to help you.


12 Aug 02 - 05:57 PM (#764034)
Subject: RE: Train songs
From: GUEST,Jerry

The senior demographic would probably know "Alabamy Bound" which has that great lyric, "Just gave the meanest ticket man on earth all I'm worth/ To put my tootsies in a upper berth." Unfortunatly it has no refrain.

There's always "I've been working on the Railroad" and "Midnight Special" both of which have choruses. A light rail song that many might know is "Charlie and the MTA."

Have fun.


13 Aug 02 - 01:37 AM (#764208)
Subject: RE: Train songs
From: Genie

Barry, thanks for reminding me of that Percy French song. It slipped my mind when I was thinking of train songs.

One other train song I thought of is the children's song "Down By The Station." There was also a version of this song popularized by somebody like the Chad Mitchell Trio or the Brothers Four in the 1960s.

13 Aug 02 - 06:48 AM (#764302)
Subject: RE: Train songs
From: van lingle

...then there's Chicken Cordon Blues by Steve Goodman.

13 Aug 02 - 07:12 AM (#764307)
Subject: RE: Train songs
From: Jim McLean

There's another children's song "The Train" which starts
The train is a-comin', oh yeah
Train is a-comin', oh yeah
Train is a-comin'
Train is a-comin'
Train is a-comin' oh yeah.

Better get your ticket....
Train is a-leavin' .....
Goin' through the tunnel ...
Goin' through the city ...
Stoppin' at the station (rallentando and stop!)
It was recorded by Don Spencer, the Playschool presentor. Chers, Jim Mclean

13 Aug 02 - 07:55 AM (#764321)
Subject: RE: Train songs
From: Abuwood

How about tshosholosa Click Here

13 Aug 02 - 10:52 AM (#764401)
Subject: RE: Train songs
From: Deda

Hobo's lullaby (Listen to the steel rails humming, that's the hobo's lullaby).

13 Aug 02 - 06:40 PM (#764727)
Subject: RE: Train songs
From: Genie

Or how about the "This Train" that PP&M sang?

"This train, she's bound for glory, this train. (x2)
This train, she's bound for glory,
If you want to get to heaven, the you got to be holy ..."

13 Aug 02 - 07:01 PM (#764745)
Subject: RE: Train songs
From: SeanM

I think one of my faves will probably always be Paddy on the Railway.

Also, if you want a big ol' list, you can always enter "@railroad" or "@train" into the Digital Tradition search box for a list of specific rail and train related songs - 23 for the first, 82 the second.

Hope this helps... M

13 Aug 02 - 07:15 PM (#764759)
Subject: RE: Train songs
From: Gareth

Or you could try this Australian classic When the Coal Blew Away

and dare I mention "John Axon"


13 Aug 02 - 09:27 PM (#764847)
Subject: RE: Train songs
From: pattyClink

"Let the train blow the whistle when I go". I don't know who wrote it but Johnny Cash put it on "American Recordings", it's great and funny and memorable with an easy chorus.

And there's always David Allan Coe's Perfect Country Western song, for those wonderful lines "I was drunk the day my Mom got out of prison, and I went to pick her up in the rain, but before I could get to the station in my pick-up truck, she got runned over by a danged old train".

Have fun whatever you do!

One of the most memorable days of my life was on a train which had to stop for a derailment ahead. Wound up in the club car singing songs with a traveling eccentric millionaire who liked to play hobo and a belly dancer from New Orleans. Ya never know what's gonna happen on a train...

13 Aug 02 - 11:53 PM (#764928)
Subject: RE: Train songs
From: Genie

"Nine Hundred Miles"

14 Aug 02 - 12:08 AM (#764931)
Subject: RE: Train songs
From: john c

Nobody´s mentioned The Runaway Train (came down the track and she blew). Great fun when the train starts picking up speed and an easier chorous you´ll find nowhere.................WHOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOO!

14 Aug 02 - 01:30 PM (#765252)
Subject: RE: Train songs
From: GUEST,Elaine

I remember one from grade school:

Oh, the Rock Island Line is a mighty good road, Oh, the Rock Island Line is a mighty good road, Oh, the Rock Island Line is a mighty good road, If you're gonna ride it Gotta ride it like you're flyin' Get your ticket at the station For the Rock Island Line.

If a little jazz is okay, there's always Take the A Train.

14 Aug 02 - 02:33 PM (#765306)
Subject: RE: Train songs
From: Train Guard

Now this is my home territory - though from a British perspective. Given that, and the fact that the audience would probably want something bright and breezy, I'm going to suggest a song by the immortal Percy French. (Purists can leave at this point...)

It's probably not well known across the pond, but "Are Ye Right There Michael, Are Ye Right" (as it's usually known) is a grand old comic song based on the writer's experience of a narrow-gauge line in Ireland that is (sadly) no longer with us...

It has a good rumbustious (loud!) chorus that is easy to pick up, and the song lyrics lend themselves to characterisation and a comic approach.

Though whether you can find a copy of the song and learn it (though you may already know about it) in good time for the big day is anybody's business....

Good luck, anyway!

Train Guard

14 Aug 02 - 03:16 PM (#765339)
Subject: RE: Train songs
From: beadie

An old favorite of mine was one by Tom T. Hall called "The Engineers don't wave from the trains anymore."

I only saw it on one album that he did, a bilateral mutual appreciation disc with Earl Scruggs (I forget the title, but its a great album)

The engineers don't wave from the trains anymore,

Not like they did in 1954

They got computers and diesels and such

And the engineers don't wave from the trains anymore,

The engineers don't wave from the trains.

When I was a little boy I'd hang around the track

I'd watch them trains going to Louisville and back

I had my dreams, and I had my plans,

I was going to be a train driving man.

There's more, but memory fails at the moment.

14 Aug 02 - 03:32 PM (#765356)
Subject: RE: Train songs
From: beadie

I checked and the album (not released on CD) was titled "The Storyteller and the Banjoman."

Apparently, the lyric to this cut wasn't ever put on anyone's database, but it should have been.

19 Aug 02 - 12:58 PM (#767987)
Subject: RE: Train songs
From: Genie

I had forgotten about Blue Water Line until someone asked for the lyrics and chords a couple of days ago.


14 Sep 04 - 12:30 PM (#1271901)
Subject: I love Train Songs!
From: Once Famous

I do not know, nor have I checked if this has been talked about before, but it's time for more talk about American music.

American folk, country, and bluegrass music has long been extremely rich with songs about trains, which everyone knows helped build this great land and continues to be the backbone of our transportaion system.

I love songs about trains because I love trains. I have even been a serious collector of antique electric trains for almost the last 20 years.

Trains are a subject of much romaticism in American song and I find this so much more appealing than politics in song.

Who of you loves songs about trains and what are your favorites?

I am currently learning a wonderful song called "Jenny Dreams of Trains" written by Guy Clarke and Vince Gill. What do you play?

14 Sep 04 - 12:32 PM (#1271904)
Subject: RE: I love Train Songs!
From: Wolfgang

old thread: Love affair with trains


14 Sep 04 - 12:34 PM (#1271907)
Subject: RE: I love Train Songs!
From: Wolfgang

or: Railroad song buffs


14 Sep 04 - 01:04 PM (#1271928)
Subject: RE: I love Train Songs!
From: Uncle_DaveO

For whatever it's worth, I'm in the process (slowly) of planning my next CD, working title, Steam, Steel Rails & Hoboes.   All solo railroad-oriented songs, about 18 of them, I think, with guitar, banjo, or unaccompanied.

Dave Oesterreich

15 Sep 04 - 10:31 PM (#1273025)
Subject: RE: Train songs
From: GUEST,Puck

Best ever train song,,,, 'City of New Orleans'. Arlo Guthrie's version on Alice's restaurant is sh**hot, as is Willie Nelson's.

05 Oct 15 - 10:35 PM (#3741998)
From: Jim Dixon

Words and music by Vaughn Horton, Denver Darling, Milton Gabler. ©1945
As recorded by Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five, 1946.

Headin' for the station with a pack on my back,
I'm tired transportation in the back of a hack.
I love to hear the rhythm of the clickety-clack,
And hear the lonesome whistle, see the smoke from the stack,
And pal around with democratic fellows named Mac,
So take me right back to the track, Jack.

CHORUS: Choo-choo, choo-choo ch'boogie.
Woo-woo, woo-woo, j'boogie.
Choo-choo, choo-choo ch'boogie.
Take me right back to the track, Jack.

You reach your destination but, alas and alack,
You need some compensation to get back in the black.
You take a mornin' paper from the top o' the stack,
And read the situation from the front to the back.
The only job that's open needs a man with a knack,
So put it right back in the rack, Jack.

Gonna settle down by the railroad track,
Live the life o' Riley in the beaten-down shack,
So when I hear a whistle I can peep through the crack,
And watch the train a-rollin' when it's ballin' the jack,
For I just love the rhythm of the clickety-clack,
So take me right back to the track, Jack.

06 Oct 15 - 01:24 AM (#3742003)
Subject: RE: Train songs
From: GUEST,HiLo

City of New Orleans by Arlo Guthrie is not onAlice's Restaraunt. It is on his album Hobo's Lullaby .

06 Oct 15 - 02:07 AM (#3742005)
Subject: RE: Train songs
From: GUEST,Eddie1 - Sans cookie as ever

I have presented radio shows on Train songs. Playlist here:
Artist                Title
Gordon Lightfoot        Canadian Railroad Trilogy
Pete Seeger                Hobo's Lullaby
Nanci Griffith                Southbound Train
Various Artists                The Runaway Train
Johnny Cash                On the Evening Train
The Band                Mystery Train
Van; Lonnie;                 Railroad Bill
Pete Seeger                Last Train to Nuremberg
Various Artists                Golden Gate Gospel Train
Various Artists                Night Train to Memphis
Various Artists                Wreck of the Old '97
Beryl Bryden Casey Jones
Various Artists                Wabash Cannonball
Trains 2                
Johnny Duncan & Blue Grass Boys                Last Train to San Fernando
GlendaleTrain                GlendaleTrain - Big Fat Gap
Grandpa Jones                Grandpa Jones 12 - Waiting for a train
Grateful Dead                Monkey And The Engineer
Hank Williams                Pan American
Janis Joplin                Janis Joplin - Bobby McGee
Jerry Garcia & David Grisman                Freight Train
Last Train to Heaven                Last Train to Heaven - Boxcar Willie
Various Artists                Midnight Special - CCR (4.10)
Unknown                O B Special - Ramblehouse
Right Track                Right Track -Wrong Train - Confederate Railroad
Rock Island Line                Rock Island Line - Johnny Cash
Runaway Train                Runaway Train - Kasey Chambers (2.59)
Runaway Train                Runaway Train - various
The Notting Hillbillies                Railboard Worksong

And Food/Drink Songs:
Artist                Title           Length
Chet Atkins                Country Champagne        02:36
Various Artists                Strawberry Fields Forever        02:21
Jean Jacques Milteau                Gumbo        01:49
Willie Nelson                Whiskey River        04:04
Archie Fisher                Gunsmoke & Whisky        03:34
The Carter Family                Chewing Gum        03:05
Chet Atkins                Java        02:41
Chuck McCabe                Meats in a Can        01:48
Virginia Boys                Dill Pickle Rag        01:30
Emmylou Harris                Another Pot O' Tea        03:03
Flatt & Scruggs                Hot Corn, Cold Corn        02:32
Grandpa Jones                Mountain Dew        02:13
Gretchen Wilson                One Bud Wiser        03:39
Hamish Imlach                Goodbye Booze        03:10
Harry McLintock                Big Rock Candy Mountain        04:39
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band                Jambalaya         03:22
Janis Ian                Hunger        06:28
Jerry Garcia                Whiskey in the Jar        04:17
Jimmy Rodgers                Peach Pickin' Time in Georgia        02:51
Lefty Frizell                CigarettesAndCoffeeBlues        02:37
Lonnie Donegan                Take a Drink on Me        03:15
Merle Haggard                I Think I'll Just Stay Here and Drink        03:58
Hank Thompson                What Made Milwaukee Famous        02:08
Burl Ives                Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly         02:39
Slim Dusty                Pub With No Beer Slim Dusty        03:00
Eddie                Put Another Log        01:39
                Red Hot Chilli Pipers        02:22
Red Ingles                Cigareets & Whuskey        02:42
RedFoleyErnestTubb                Too Old To Cut The Mustard        02:54
Johnny Paycheck        The Bottle Let Me Down        04:23
The Dubliners                Rare Old Mountain Dew        01:27
Iain MacKintosh                The New Restaurant        02:15
Tom Paxton                Bottle of Wine        02:54
Tom T Hall                Old Dogs & Children        04:10
Emmylou Harris        Two More Bottles of Wine        03:15
George Jones                White Lightnin'        02:45
Young Tradition                Chicken on a Raft        03:34