Tag Archives: Leadbelly

Sing a song of railways

63601whensadd

I woke up this morning, like you do, and I thought, can I write an essay  using just pieces of lyrics or titles from railway songs I know? ‘While riding on a train going west’ ‘under bridges over bridges to our destination’ ‘He made the freight train boogie As he rolled down the line’. ‘It takes a lot to laugh it takes a train to cry’ ‘Chattanoooga-choo-choo’. ‘Time flies by when you’re the driver of a train, speeding out of Trumpton with a cargo of cocaine’. ‘This old engine makes it on time Leaves Central Station at a quarter to nine’.

‘Its hell on a plate it’s a funeral freight, oh Johnny It’s the end of a dream in steel and steam, oh Johnny’. ‘I got sheep, I got Cows I got horses I got pigs I got all livestock I got all livestock’. ‘Coal in the boiler burning up bright Rolling and a-rocking through the night’ ‘Freight train was it taught me how to cry The holler of the driver was my lullaby’

‘Hey, look a-yonder comin’ Comin’ down that railroad track’ ‘It’s the 06.05 Special’ ‘The boiler was filled with lager beer The devil himself was the engineer The passengers were most a motley crew’ ‘In the cutting, through the tunnel, Rushing clanking on the track‘. ‘This train don’t carry no Gamblers Liars, thieves, nor big shot ramblers This train is bound for Glory This train.’ ‘John Henry told his captain
“Lord a man ain’t noth’ but a man” ‘

If you have enjoyed my blogs – I have written a book about my 60 years involvement with railways, from trainspotter, via steam age footplateman, to railway author and photographer, this is a link to it:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-Real-story-Railway-Children/dp/1514885751

Please like & share:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather

And the light that I saw by

46443lampRailway enthusiasm and the Incredible String Band, not natural bedfellows. The title of this piece is part of a line from a song by the Incredible String Band, called Douglas Traherne Harding, and the finished line is; ‘and the light that I saw by was the light that I was’. The song has a verse about hiding sheep and goats under sacks of oatmeal to avoid ferry charges, in a very similar vein to ‘Rock Island Line’, a song with its roots in the American prison system and first popularised by the Blues Legend Leadbelly. In Rock Island Line the train crew deceive the toll man about the nature of their load.

The key word here is deception, not in the monetary terms above, but in the philosophical views of Douglas Traherne Harding, we deceive ourselves. This could be a drab winter’s afternoon in 1964, there’s nothing in the photo which tells us it’s not, if I turned it into a black and white image, it might be even more deceptive. The image was captured in 2010 and the location is Bewdley South Box and Ivatt 2-6-0 No. 46443 is heading towards Bewdley station. It was the fact that the lamp was lit which gave me the title, and what followed, flowed from that. In the space of a couple of hundred words, railways, philosophy, popular music, the American prison system and deceitfulness!! More ‘train of thought’ than ‘steam age daydream’ I think.

If you have enjoyed my blogs – I have written a book about my 60 years involvement with railways, from trainspotter, via steam age footplateman, to railway author and photographer, this is a link to it:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-Real-story-Railway-Children/dp/1514885751

or: To celebrate the author’s up coming 70th birthday, you could grab yourself an eBook  copy of “Gricing, The Real Story of the Railway Children”, for just £2.99  – offer ends 13 / 03/ 2017.

This is the link to Amazon for your copy:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B011D1WBWY


Please like & share:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather