Tag Archives: railroading

John Henry (Pete Seeger Version)

TITLE: John Henry (Blankenship Version) AUTHOR: unknown CATEGORY: Traditional, Public Domain KEYWORDS: train, work, death, technology, railroading, worker EARLIEST PRINTED OR RECORDED REFERENCE: 1909 Journal of American Folklore HISTORICAL REFERENCES: Researchers are still trying to pin down the REAL John Henry, from Guy B. Johnson, , 1929 to Scott Nelson’s book 2006 book

John Henry (Blankenship Version)

TITLE: John Henry (Blankenship Version) AUTHOR: unknown CATEGORY: Traditional, Public Domain KEYWORDS: train, work, death, technology, railroading, worker EARLIEST PRINTED OR RECORDED REFERENCE: 1909 Journal of American Folklore HISTORICAL REFERENCES: Researchers are still trying to pin down the REAL John Henry, from Guy B. Johnson, , 1929 to Scott Nelson’s book 2006 book  SOME CONSIDER THIS SONG OFFENSIVE: Many versions over read more »

Big Rock Candy Mountain

NAME: Big Rock Candy Mountain, The AUTHOR: Unknown; popularized by Harry “Haywire Mac” McClintock EARLIEST DATE: 1906 (version by Marshall Locke & Charles Tyner published) KEYWORDS: hobo, railroading, dream, food, drink The kids’ song that we know as The Big Rock Candy Mountain, with “lemonade springs where the bluebird sings,” is considerably different from the read more »

I’ve Been Working on the Railroad

TITLE: I’ve Been Working on the Railroad AUTHOR: unknown CATEGORY: traditional, public domain KEYWORDS: railroading, work, courting EARLIEST DATE: 1894 (Carmina Princetonia) Although this is surely a composed song, James J. Fuld, The Book of World-Famous Music (1971-1995) cannot find any references to the “Railroad” verses prior to 1894 (when it was twice published as “The Levee Song”) No composer is read more »

Rock Island Line

TITLE: Rock Island Line AUTHOR: unknown (heavily adapted by Huddie Ledbetter) CATEGORY: traditional, public domain KEYWORDS: railroading, train, floatingverses EARLIEST DATE: Cummins Prison Farm (Arkansas) in 1934. Recorded by John & Ruby Lomax [YouTube] “The Rock Island Line” is a tall tale in rhyme, the song’s subject is a train so fast that it arrives at its destination read more »

Drill, Ye Tarriers, Drill

TITLE: Drill Ye Tarriers, Drill AUTHOR: words: Thomas Casey/music: Charles Connolly CATEGORY: author known, public domain KEYWORDS: work, railroading, hardtimes, talltale, comic EARLIEST DATE: 1888 (play, “A Brass Monkey”; sheet music published by Frank Harding of New York, seemingly without attribution) HISTORICAL REFERENCES: Refers to the construction of the American railroads in the mid-19th century. “Drill, read more »