Celebrate National Train Day – Top Train Songs

TrainWreck1

No other technology has held a thematic sway over roots and county music like the the railway system (okay, maybe distilling) The train has been a symbol of freedom that has catured the iamginction of songwrietrs or generations.

In celebrate National Train day here are some my personal and fan picked favorites.

As a teenager Eaglesmith hopped a freight train out to Western Canada, and began writing songs and performing. It;s natural he’d write a great son about them.

Steve Earle’s post-addiction and post-prison is arguably his best. The GRAMMY-nominated “Train a Comin’ featured older material written when Earle was in his late teens but it;s maturity is evident in songs like “Sometimes She Forgets,” Mercenary Song,” and “Mystery Train part II” whose lyrics finished the day it was recorded.

“Orphan Train” tells the story of the orphan trains operated between 1853 and 1929, relocating about 250,000 orphaned, abandoned, or homeless children to foster homes located largely in rural areas of the Midwest. Julie Miller adds just the right atmosphere to this contemporary dirge,

500 Miles is a folk classic credited to Hedy West and made popular by acts like Peter, Paul and Mary (it was the second track on their US #1, May 1962 debut album).A slightly altered version was a hit by Bobby Bare in 1963. Roseanne Cash does a hulluva version from her release “The List.”

Billy Joe Shaver, with his late son Eddie picking in the strat, made an instant classic with this one.

Guy Clark wrote “Texas – 1947” bout the first time a diesel sped through his hometown of Monahans in West Texas.

“Ben Dewberry’s Final Run” by Andrew Jenkins was covered by Johnny Cash, Jerry Douglas, Steve Forbert, Bill Monroe, Jimmie Rodgers and Hank Snow. Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings give it fine turn.

Orange Blossom Special” is a classic by Johnny Cash. Johnny burns up the mouth harp on this one at San Quentin.

City of New Orleans” is a folk song written by Steve Goodman describing a train ride from Chicago to New Orleans. Arlo Guthrie had a hit with i on his 1972 album Hobo’s Lullaby. The way I see it, when Willie Nelson does a song it stays done.

email

5 thoughts on “Celebrate National Train Day – Top Train Songs

  1. Dan McIntire
    10 May, 2014 at 6:09 am

    good selection of train songs but so many its impossible not to omit lots of great ones.More of my favorites are Freight Train Boogie by the Delmore Brothers (and covered by Doc Watson),Mystery Train,a big chunk of the Jimmie Rodgers catalogue (Waiting for a Train,Hobo Bill’s last Ride,etc.),I’m Movin’ On,Folsom Prison Blues,and though not technically americana Appel Direct by Django Reinhardt.I haven’t even started yet. I don’t think distilling even comes close to the number of train themes in song

  2. Dean Coffman
    11 May, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    Great list. Would like to see a list of Top Truck Driving Songs.

  3. Baron Lane
    13 May, 2014 at 3:49 am

    Thanks for the idea!

  4. emfrank
    24 May, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    Excellent list – though I would have put Texas Eagle before Mystery Train for Earle’s contribution. Ciity of NO is definitely top… no matter who sings it, though I love Arlo’s..

    And a list of trucking song would be great!

  5. Baron Lane
    27 May, 2014 at 8:08 am

    Thanks for stopping by Emily. The list is in no particular order just a list of my favorites and others suggested on twitter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *