Almanac Music: Songs about Trains


[Wikimedia Commons.]


Songs about Trains


Transportation is a major issue in popular songs, whether it be setting out on a journey, perhaps to see a loved one, or simply going out on the open road for the experience. It could be ‘leaving on a jet plane’ (yes, a future piece of mine will be about planes), or it might involve a young person showing off in their latest car. Whatever the case, the protagonist of the song is in some sense on the move. This week, the theme is trains. So dear readers, please put your songs about trains in the ‘Comments’ section. In this instance, the word ‘train’ could be in the title, or an important aspect or theme of the song as a whole.



‘Hey, Porter’, written and performed by Johnny Cash (1955)


Honesty, directness, clarity and a rich baritone voice are hallmarks of Johnny Cash’s work. These qualities are evident in the rockabilly song ‘Hey, Porter’, an archetypal ‘train song’ that Cash put on vinyl with the Tennessee Two. It was part of the classic collection of material Cash recorded for Sun Records in the early years of his career.




Mystery Train’, written by Junior Parker, performed by Elvis Presley (1955)


Elvis’s earliest hit features him on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Scotty Moore on lead guitar, and Bill Black on bass. It was produced by Sam Phillips at Sun Records. The record, a mix of rockabilly and rhythm and blues, is so important that it can be seen as part of the ‘Mother Lode’ in relation to the history of rock ‘n’ roll.





‘Folsom Prison Blues’, written and performed by Johnny Cash (1955)


‘I hear the train a-comin’ / It’s rollin’ round the bend…’ This rockabilly / country song is another archetypal ‘train song’, and again a product of Memphis, Tennessee’s Sun Studios.






‘Last Train to Clarkesville’, written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, performed by The Monkees (1966)


This infectious pop / rock number was the Monkees’ debut single and a major international hit for the band, even if Mickey Dolenz (lead), Davy Jones and Peter Tork (backing) only sang vocals on the recording, the instruments being played by studio musicians.





‘Peace Train’, written and performed by Cat Stevens / Yusuf (1971)


Cat Stevens’/ Yusuf’s much-covered folk / rock classic, from his album Teaser and the Firecat, was a hit around the world, as many of a certain age will recall. It has also served as one of the key peace anthems since its first release. (John Lennon’s ‘Give Peace a Chance’ was another one, released a couple of years earlier.)





‘The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down’, written by Robbie Robertson, performed by Joan Baez (1971)


This classic folk / rock / country song about the dying days of the South in the context of the American Civil War has been a favourite of mine since childhood, mainly I suppose, because of its incredibly catchy chorus. It is also an important ‘train song’ in that the main character ‘Virgil Caine … served on the Danville train’, and this is elaborated upon in the first verse.





‘Downbound Train’, written and performed by Bruce Springsteen (1984)


In this sombre song from Springsteen’s Born in the USA album, the singer is caught in the wake of a lost relationship. He feels as melancholy as ‘a rider on a downbound train’.






‘Driver 8’, written and performed by R.E.M. (1985)


This wonderful train song, from R.E.M.’s third album, Fables of the Reconstruction, is a catchy (and yet plaintive) country / folk / rock number, and has provoked many interpretations. On the surface, the song is about an over-worked train driver who is told by his conductor to ‘take a break’, but it’s an issue that can be viewed in various ways on a metaphorical level.









So, wonderful readers (and listeners) – over to you. Your responses to this topic are warmly welcomed. In the ‘Comments’ section, please add your own choice of a song (or songs) about trains, along with any other relevant material else you wish to include.



[Note: Wikipedia has been a good general reference for this piece, particularly in relation to checking dates and other details.]





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Kevin Densley is a graduate of both Deakin University and The University of Melbourne. He has taught writing and literature in numerous Victorian universities and TAFES. He is a poet and writer-in-general. His fifth book-length poetry collection, Please Feed the Macaws ... I'm Feeling Too Indolent, will be published in late 2023 by Ginninderra Press. He is also the co-author of ten play collections for young people, as well as a multi Green Room Award nominated play, Last Chance Gas, which was published by Currency Press. Other writing includes screenplays for educational films.


  1. Colin Ritchie says

    One I would add KD is ‘City Of New Orleans’ by Arlo Guthrie. It’s about the train that travels from NO to Chicago. Ripper song, and I’ve been lucky enough to ride on her though not all the way to Chicago.

    ‘It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry’ – Bob Dylan
    ‘Morningtown Ride’ – The Seekers

  2. Daryl Schramm says

    City of New Orleans was the the first song I thought of. Jimmy Buffett and Mac McAnally played an acoustic version from the bleachers of Wrigley Field as a tribute to Hurricane Katrina victims at the conclusion of his concerts in Chicago just after the tragic event.

  3. Kevin Densley says

    Thanks for these three fine ‘train songs’, Col. Dylan’s song even has the word ‘train’ in its title: ‘It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry’. ‘City of New Orleans’, among numerous other things, outlines the importance of the names of particular trains, and how they develop a kind of personality – other examples would be ‘The Flying Scotsman’ in the UK, and the ‘South Aurora’ (no longer operating), ‘Spirit of Progress’ (no longer operating) and ‘The Ghan’ in Australia.

    Thanks, Daryl, for the additional material, too.

  4. David Whittaker says

    Pat Metheny Group, Last Train Home, evocative as an instrumental as you’re likely to hear,

  5. Love these Kevin

    Crazy Train – Waifs
    End of The Line – Traveling Wilburys

  6. Colin Ritchie says

    And of course ‘Chattanooga Choo Choo’ by Glenn Miller – it became the first million selling record.

  7. Kevin Densley says

    Thanks, David. Yes, ‘Last Train Home’ is beautifully evocative. ‘Train songs” seem to possess, in general, this quality.

  8. Kevin Densley says

    Glad you’re enjoying the theme, Rodney. Great harmonica work in the Waifs’ song, by the way. Love ‘End of the Line’, too.

    Cheers, Col – Chattanooga Choo Choo’ by Glenn Miller has to be in our list!

  9. george smith says

    Joy Mckean and Slim Dusty’s magnum opus “Indian Pacific”. What a pity that the mighty passenger train between the states turned into an overpriced cruise ship on wheels.

    Slim and Joy also paid tribute to “the Sunlander” from Queensland!

    Troy Casser Daley has some excellent train songs, including “I wish I was a Train” and “Trains”

  10. Mark ‘Swish’ Schwerdt says

    Midnight Special (lots of artists)

  11. Rock Island Line – Many artists have covered this including Lonnie Donegan, Johnny Cash and, of course that great spoof by STAN FREBERG.
    Freight train – Nancy Whiskey
    The Wreck of old 97 – Johnny Cash.

  12. Kevin Densley says

    Hi George. Thanks for your choices. Great to see some fine Australian Country artists featured.

    Thanks, Swish, for ‘Midnight Special’. The late night train notion reminds me of one that I sometimes caught home from work many years ago. It’s nickname was the “Drunks’ Express” – the last train from Melbourne to Geelong.

  13. Kevin Densley says

    Correction, immediately above: ‘Its nickname was…’

  14. Kevin Densley says

    Thank you, Fisho, for your selections. I have the feeling that this train theme will be a particularly productive one.

  15. Sheena Easton: “9 to 5 (Morning Train)”,
    Tom Waits: “Downtown Train” (covered woefully by Rod Stewart)
    Gladys Knight and the Pips: “Midnight train to Georgia”
    Duke Ellington: “Take the A Train”, which I did a couple of months ago.
    The Who: “5:15” from Quadrophania
    Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers: “Runaway Trains”
    The Clash: “Train In Vain” (possibly the greatest song of the punk era)
    U2: “Zoo Station”

    And of course,
    The Pogues: “Night Train to Lorca”, “Poor Paddy (works on the railway)”
    “Boat Train” (opening lyrics “I met with Napper Tandy and I shook him by the hand/ I said ‘Hold me up for Chrissakes, cos I can hardly stand”)
    and the classic “Sally MacLennane” (chorus: We walked him to the station in the rain/ We kissed him as we put him on the train)

  16. 3:10 to Yuma – Frankie Laine
    All Aboard – Chuck Berry

  17. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Fun fact – Midnight Train To Georgia was inspired by Farrah Fawcett

  18. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Love Train – The O’Jays
    Outside The Trains Don’t Run On Time – Gang Of Four
    Strangers On A Train – Sports (a real earworm)
    Subway Train – New York Dolls
    Train To Montmorency – Greg Champion
    Frankston Line – Greg Champion
    White Train – Paul Kelly
    Last Train To Heaven – Paul Kelly and the Coloured Girls
    Trans Europe Express – Kraftwerk
    Late For The Train – Buzzcocks
    Shine A Light – Field Recordings From The Great American Railroad (album) – Billy Bragg and Joe Henry

  19. Kevin Densley says

    Hi Smokie. Thanks for your extensive bunch of train songs. Great stuff – and your mention of The Who’s ‘5.15’ made me think of the Beatles’ ‘One after 9.09’.

  20. Kevin Densley says

    Hi again Fisho. Thanks for your additional couple of songs. Fine additions!

  21. Kevin Densley says

    Hi again Swishter! Many thanks for your fun Farrah Fawcett fact (how about that for alliteration?) and for your good-sized list.

    I very much agree with you about ‘Strangers On A Train’, a song I’ve really liked since it first came out all those years ago.

  22. Now you’re talking’ KD. “Runaway Train” written by one of my heroes John Stewart for his under appreciated “Punch the Big Guy” 1987 album (do yourself a favour). Made famous by Rosanne Cash on her King’s Record Shop album. (Her ex the young Rodney Crowell in the video from his wild boy days).
    Has some of the greatest metaphors about love, risk and chance. “The curves around midnight aren’t easy to see”. “To try to get off now is about as insane; as those who wave lanterns at runaway trains”. “Steel rails and hard lives are always in twos; I’ve been here before this – and now it’s with you”.

  23. Kevin Densley says

    Hi PB. Many thanks for some highly interesting bits of commentary, as well as your song selections.
    Fine material to ponder, as usual. In so many instances, train songs gain a big part of their interest and resonance from a metaphorical dimension.

  24. Robert Johnson’s ‘Love in Vain’ famously covered by the Rolling Stones on Let it Bleed. Great blues song, given a country feel on a magnificent album.

    When the train left the station
    It had two lights on behind
    Yeah, when the train left the station
    It had two lights on behind
    Whoa, the blue light was my baby
    And the red light was my mind.

    Another excellent theme, KD although when the transportation idea gets to ‘submarine’ it might be a bit thin.

  25. Kevin Densley says

    Great Stones cover of ‘Love in Vain’ – thanks, Mickey.

    Just incidentally, there’s an American band (usually in duo form) called The Submarines, featuring F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald’s great-granddaughter, Blake Hazard, on lead vocals.

  26. You’ve got a ticket to ride here Kevin. There are some great songs in your selection further enhanced by the songs in the comments section contributed by other Almanackers.

    May I add Woody Guthrie’s recording of ‘ The Hobo’s Lullaby’. Whilst we’re on this theme there’s much to chose from the work of Jimmie Rodgers ‘The Singing Brakeman’.


  27. A little-known Bruce song from his Steel Mill days is The Train Song.

    Two recent Springsteen songs, Tucson Train and Burnin’ Train. The first is a ripper, the second a stinker.

    There’s a song from his Tracks compilation, called Leavin’ Train where his lover’s eyes get compared to a Leavin’ Train. He’s done a lot better with imagery, similes and metaphors through his magnificent career.

    Such as on Land of Hope and Dreams, one of Springsteen’s finest. Similar metaphor that Paul Kelly uses on Last Train to Heaven, which borrows/pays homage to Curtis Mayfield’s People Get Ready. An incredible song (and a train song).

  28. One of the saddest songs ever is Hank Williams, (I Heard That) Lonesome Whistle. Exhibit A for why he was called the Hillbilly Shakespeare.


  29. Dave Nadel says

    The Waif’s best train song was Bridal Train
    Freight Train by Elizabeth Cotton was written in the early Twentieth Century and recorded by quite a few people during the early sixties folk boom.
    Speaking of folk singers, Gordon Lightfoot’s Canadian Railroad Trilogy was an ambitious history of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
    Gordon also refers to trains in his classic Early Morning Rain (Can’t jump a jet plane, like you can a freight train)
    There is a song about jumping trains in Australia in the 1930s; The Battler’s Ballad by Jack Wright, written in 1935. I have it on a CD by The Fagans.
    On the Queensland Railway Line is a “folk song” written by members of Brisbane Realist writers Group in 1959. I used to hear this sung at folk clubs in the 60s and 70s. I don’t know if anyone has ever recorded it.
    Graeme Connors wrote Son of a son of a son of a railwayman. The reference to Jimmy Buffet’s Son of a son of a Sailor is obvious and Jimmy is namechecked in Graeme’s song.

  30. Kevin Densley says

    Thanks so much, Glen for your general comment about the songs on the list so far.

    Just listened to Guthrie’s ‘The Hobo’s Lullaby’ and a bit of Jimmie Rodgers – fabulous stuff!

  31. (The Railroad comes) In the Middle of the House -Rusty Draper and Alma Cogan.
    I remember listening to this one long ago, it’s a comedy song that ends with a train whistle.

  32. Kevin Densley says

    Hi Rick. Fine set of comments.

    My opinion: ‘The Train Song’ – nothing distinctive there.

    ‘Tucson Train’ – love it – Springsteen X-factor aplenty – anthemic, too!

    ‘Burnin’ Train’ – a bit muddy and all over the place musically.

    ‘Leavin’ Train’ – yep, with that imagery, good riddance!

    Skipping through a bit more … Hank Williams’ ‘Lonesome Whistle’ – so lovely, sad and true in its 3/4 time simplicity.

  33. Kevin Densley says

    Thank you, Dave, for your highly interesting post. You given us quite a bit to chew on, here. I’ll try to track down and listen to everything you’ve mentioned. Some tunes will be a lot easier to locate than others, of course.

    Your material involving Australian work reminded me of something, too. In preparation for this piece, I was going to include a song performed by Australian singer Melinda Schneider called ‘Something in the Air’ – it was the theme song for an ABC TV series based in a one-horse town (Emu Springs?). Some lines in the song go: ‘There’s a feeling / I can’t explain / The line’s gone / But I still hear the train…’ Wonderful! I even contacted Melinda to discover where I could find the song and she didn’t know, either. It’s not available by regular online search means, and the ABC soundtrack of the TV show has not been on sale as a new product for many years.

  34. Kevin Densley says

    Thanks, Fisho – I just had a listen to both versions of ‘In the Middle of the House’. It’s a neat comedy song. However, with its repetition of the central line ‘The railroad comes through the middle of the house…’, it could give one a major headache if listened to too often!

  35. Amanda Shires – When You Need aTrain it Never Comes is a superb song with an equally great video on You Tube ,
    Then for the old hippies is Casey Jones by the Grateful Dead , and the song every guitarist thinks they can play but few can play well-?Freight Train first sung by Elizabeth Cotten.

  36. Sorry, I see Elizabeth Cotten’s Freight Train has already been mentioned

  37. Chuck Berry’s much covered “The Promised Land” –
    “Right away I brought me a through train ticket
    Ridin’ across Mississippi clean
    And I was on that midnight flyer out of Birmingham
    Smoking into New Orleans”
    Along similar lines The Eagles had a song “Midnight Flyer” also “Train Leaves Here This Morning”.
    Little Feat’s “Two Trains” off the Dixie Chicken album.
    The Doobie Brothers “Long Train Runnin'”
    Crosby, Stills and Nash “Marrakesh Express”

  38. Of course there’s the Johnny Burnette rockabilly classic, ‘Lonesome Train on a Lonesome Track’.

    Though it’s not specifically a train song the Chuck Berry standard ‘Johnny B Goode’ makes an overt reference to a train. On that particular note, is there a better version than Lobby Loyde & the Coloured Balls classic recorded at Sunbury 1973?

    A big thankyou to Rick Kane for his selection. Hank was great at maudlin tunes, the imagery in ‘Lonesome Whistle’ is Hank at his best.

    I have another rockabilly tune whose melody I remember, now I need to remember the correct title!


  39. Here’s a little taster from Asleep at the Wheel, who we are seeing next weekend and I’m excited:

    Choo Choo Ch’Boogie – yes I know it’s Louis Jordan but Asleep’s cover is excellent.
    My Baby Thinks She’s a Train – Rosanne Cash covered this and almost made it her own. Almost.
    Don’t Forget the Trains

  40. Liam Hauser says

    Last train to London (Electric Light Orchestra)
    Train of Gold (Electric Light Orchestra) – a very underrated song in the ELO catalogue
    Motor’s too fast (James Reyne)
    Summer Rain (Belinda Carlisle)
    Wave your flag and stop the train (The Move)

  41. Liam Hauser says

    I forgot to mention:
    Midnight train (Kelly Groucutt)

  42. The other Rockabilly song is Stray Cats ,’Mystery Train Kept a Rollin’.


  43. Kevin Densley says

    Thanks, Tim, for your train songs. I agree, ‘When You Need a Train it Never Comes’ is an excellent song, while the Grateful Dead’s ‘Casey Jones’ seems so much of its era.

  44. Kevin Densley says

    Thank you, PB. for your additional song choices – the more I know Chuck Berry’s songs in detail, the more respect I have for him as a songwriter; for one thing, he is such a brilliant storyteller. Another brief comment: ‘Marrakesh Express’ is one of my favourite CSN songs – now Graham Nash, there’s another fine songwriter!

  45. Kevin Densley says

    Thanks, Glen, for your additional material. Bringing up ‘Lonesome Whistle’, reminds me how wonderfully Williams imitates the plaintive sound of the train whistle within the word ‘lonesome’. – touch of genius there.

  46. Kevin Densley says

    Thanks again, Rick.

    I just had a taster of your taster and it tastes good!

    Enjoy Asleep at the Wheel!

  47. Kevin Densley says

    Thanks, Glen, for the Stray Cats’ ,’Mystery Train Kept a Rollin’ – very much dealing with the early days of rock ‘n’ roll.

  48. Kevin Densley says

    Thanks for your choices, Liam – good stuff here. Of course, if one examines the lyrics of ‘Summer Rain’ – to select one of your examples – one can see it is very much a train song, even if it’s not perhaps as obvious as some others in this category.

  49. Peter Crossing says

    Waiting For A Train – Jimmie Rodgers, the singing brakeman. Contains yodelling.
    Boz Scaggs does a great cover that includes some wonderful dobro from Duane Allman. Almost contains yodelling.

    As well as road songs, Steve Earle does a few train songs, backed by great musos
    Mystery Train Part II
    Train A Comin’
    Texas Eagle – with the Del McCoury band in great form

    Contrasting train songs:
    This Train – Sister Rosetta Tharpe
    Train To Nowhere – Charlie Musselwhite
    Morning Train – Precious Bryant
    and so it goes

    Paradise – John Prine mentions the role of Mr Peabody’s coal train in environmental destruction.

    Some years ago my good friend Joffer sourced nine CDs of Blues Train Songs. 12 tracks per CD = 108 songs. Some originals, some covers, some double-ups. You’ll probably be grateful that I don’t mention them all.

  50. Kevin Densley says

    Thanks, Peter – this is an impressive list, with some informative bits of commentary. Thank you. ‘Blues Train Songs’ is certainly a sub-group of the broader ‘Train Songs’ category.

  51. Have I missed someone putting up the ‘Orange Blossom Special’ ?

    When I was a kid ( last century) I had an LP of Johnny Cash train songs. A lot of those classics have been put up here in response to Kevin’s posting. Good music.


  52. Kevin Densley says

    Hi Glen. You’re the first to put forward the classic ‘Orange Blossom Special’. Fine song!

    There’s a Cash album originally released in 1960 called Ride This Train, but not all the songs are railroad themed; some, according to Wikipedia ‘[describe] different destinations around the United States visited by train.’

  53. It would be remiss of me not to mention “The Sound of A Train” by Weddings Parties Anything.

  54. Richard Griffiths says

    Great stuff Kev!

    Her My Train a Comin’ Jimi Hendrix both acoustic and electric is Hendrix at his best.

    Freedom Train by Leo De Castro and Friends is a great piece of progressive Oz rock history from the early 70’s and features on the rare Garrison: The Final Blow album. Australia’s greatest drummer of our generation Mark Kennedy produces one of the great drum solos of all time.

  55. Kevin Densley says

    Thanks, Smokie, for WPA’s ‘The Sound of A Train’ – a lovely song about memories.

  56. Kevin Densley says

    HI Richard G. Many thanks for your input. So pleased you’re enjoying the ‘songs about about trains’ discussion. I really like the songs you’ve put forward. That ‘Freedom Train’ by De Castro and Friends serves as a reminder of how much great Oz music has been produced over the years.

  57. John Harms says

    A bit of Roger…

    Third boxcar, midnight train
    Destination Bangor, Maine
    Old, worn out suit and shoes
    I don’t pay no union dues

    I smoke old stogies I have found
    Short, but not too big around
    I’m a man of means by no means
    King of the road

    I know every engineer on every train
    All of their children, and all of their names
    And every handout in every town
    Every lock that ain’t locked, when no one’s around

  58. John Harms says

    An old fave I might add. Sung many times as an undergrad, and many times since.

  59. Kevin Densley says

    Thanks, JTH, for your contribution – a bit of the characteristically witty and catchy Roger Miller (i.e. ‘King of the Road’) is most welcome.

  60. Dave Nadel says

    Different genre to most of the songs so far mentioned, but Duke Ellington’s Take the A Train, written by Billy Strayhorn is a jazz classic. The story of the song can be found here

  61. Kevin Densley says

    Thanks, Dave. Smokie Dawson has already mentioned ‘Take the A Train’, but your inclusion of the link to the story of the song (which I read) provides some good additional material.

  62. Dave Nadel says

    I somehow missed Smokie’s mention in his list of songs, sorry.

  63. Kevin Densley says

    No worries, Dave, easy to do in a list this long!

  64. One of Tom Ts finest, I Miss a Lot of Trains. He recorded a song called Engineers Don’t Wave from the Trains Anymore with Earl Scruggs and he mentions trains in his song, I Love.

    Re King of the Road (great call!) Roger Miller who is a standout songwriter also had, Train of Life and a Christmas song, Old Toy Trains.

    Then there’s Train, Train by Southern hard rock band Blackfoot from 1979 and er, Dolly Parton also recorded it.

    Speaking of the Johnny Cash album, Ride this Train, his good friend Merle Haggard also released train albums. His first was a tribute to Jimmy Rogers and some of Jimmy’s songs have been noted in this thread. Haggard went on to record the album, My Love Affair with Trains. The title track being a Dolly Parton song. He also records the Jimmy Buffett song, Railroad Lady. All in all, 11 songs/paeans to trains.

    Merle also recorded the song, The Train Never Stops at our Town and I mention it as it was written by Dallas Frazier, one of the finest songwriters of the last 70 years.


  65. Kevin Densley says

    Great stuff, Rick. Thanks so much – a lot to get into in relation to you latest comments.

    Train songs – or, at least, songs with significant ‘train content’ – can also be found in unlikely places. Consider the typically grim humour of Warren Zevon’s recording of his own ‘Poor, Poor Pitiful Me’, which commences with a reference to suicide:

    ‘I’d lay my head on the railroad track
    And wait for the Double-E
    But the railroad don’t run no more
    Poor poor pitiful me…’ (Note: lyrics of Linda Ronstadt’s version of the song are slightly different.)

  66. In regards to the already mentioned, Chattanooga Choo Choo, Many, many moons ago on a radio program called My Music, alternative words to the song. Remember it goes, “Pardon me boy, was that the Chattanoogs Choo Choo?. Their version became, “Pardon me Roy, was that the cat that chewed your new shoe”? Thought you might like that bit of useless info.

  67. Daryl Schramm says

    I love the Orange Blossom Special tune. So many versions/covers. My highlight was early this year at WOMADelaide, when and where the Kronos quartet played it during their set I haven’t been as excited for quite some time. Just didn’t see it coming.

  68. Kevin Densley says

    Thanks for that bit of info, Fisho. You know what? Amazingly enough, I’ve heard the other version, too!

  69. Kevin Densley says

    Hi Daryl. Hearing the Kronos Quartet play ‘Orange Blossom Special’ would have been something wonderful indeed!

  70. Karl Dubravs says

    Hey KD
    As always, a great theme.
    Surprisingly, no-one has mentioned –
    Bob Dylan’s – Slow Train (off the 1979 Slow Train Coming album)
    Unsurprisingly, no-one has mentioned –
    Bob Dylan’s – Train A-Travelin’ (recorded under his Blind Boy Grunt pseudonym on the Broadside Balleds Vol 6 album)
    Cheers, Karl

  71. Kevin Densley says

    Hi Karl. Great to have your usual Dylan-related input. Excellent stuff!

  72. A great list and lots of terrific additional suggestions. I don’t think anybody has yet mentioned the rollicking Joe Cocker classic “Hitchcock Railway” where too much cowbell is barely enough.

  73. Kevin Densley says

    Thanks, Ian, for ‘Hitchcock Railway’ – good one. I’m familiar with both the song and the cowbell!

    Whan a drummer starts to reach towards the cowbell, look out!

  74. Frank Perich says

    Hi all.
    In the caboose again. On a previous edition of song themes I offered Alamein Train by Pete Best Beatles. Has it already scored?
    Little Jimmie Dickens does a great Wabash Cannonball.
    Box Tops The Letter “Ain’t got time to take a fast train”. Billy J Kramer and host of others Bacharach’s Trains and Boats and Planes. Jimmy Dale Gilmours Train of Love. Mavericks do a song titled End of the Line as does Roxy Music but different composition. Not sure if there at the end of the railway line, point of no return or the one at the fish and chip shop. Hope I haven’t doubled up on others choices. Frank.

  75. Dave Nadel says

    500 miles by Peter, Paul and Mary. “If you miss the train I’m on, You will know that I am gone, You can here the whistle blow one hundred miles” Bobby Bare had a song called 500 miles a year or so later, same tune different lyrics. No mention of trains. Bobby did mention riding a freight train North in his song Detroit City, which is easily his best song – he didn’t write it.
    There is also a blues and Jug Band song called The Mobile Line.
    “Did you ever take a trip, baby on the Mobile line
    Hey lordy mama mama, hey lordy papa papa hollerin’ ’bout the Mobile line
    It’s the road to ride to ease your troubling mind”
    Road in this context means railroad. I first heard this song in 1966 sung by Mark Spoelstra on a compilation called “The Folk Box”. A Google search shows the song attributed variously to Spoelstra, Jim Kweskin and the Jug Band and Jimmy Dale Gilmour. However further searching revealed a song called France Blues recorded and almost certainly written in 1927 by a couple of Mississippi blues men named Long “Cleve” Reed and Little Havery Hull. Its lyrics are almost identical with The Mobile Line so I guess the song should be attributed to Reed and Hull.

  76. Kevin Densley says

    Really interesting material, Dave. Detail like this gives our train discussion further depth.

    Reminds me that ‘Mystery Train by Junior Parker, which Elvis (among others) recorded, has lyrical similarities with the song, ‘Worried Man Blues’ recorded by the Carter family in 1930. The Carter family song, in turn, was based on an old Celtic ballad. Listen to ‘Worried Man Blues’ on YouTube, if you can – it’s a beauty, and another ‘train song’, of course.

  77. What about Hank William’s ‘Pan American’?

    Did I not see that in the songs listed?


  78. Kevin Densley says

    I’ve looked through the increasingly large list numerous times and can’t recall, ‘Pan American’, Glen. Thanks for that one.

  79. Kevin Densley says

    Hi Frank P. I meant to respond to you a bit earlier than this. You given us a fine range of material here. Pretty sure ‘Alamein Train’ isn’t on this train list -yes, I remember you noting it in another context a while back.

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