“Ben Dewberry's Final Run”

Author: Rev. Andrew Jenkins
Earliest date: 1927 (copyright)
Keywords: train death railroading work crash disaster wreck floatingverses worker

Description

Ben Dewberry tells his fireman never to fear, and that there are two more roads he wants to ride, and otherwise forecasts disaster. After passing over a trestle and switch, without warning the train derails and Dewberry is killed

Long description

Ben Dewberry tells his fireman never to fear, and that there are two more roads he wants to ride, and to "put your head out the window, watch the drivers roll." It begins to rain; he predicts that they "may make Atlanta but we'll all be dead." After passing over a trestle and switch, without warning the train derails and Dewberry is killed

Notes

While clearly a composed song, Norm Cohen notes its strong affinity with older forms such as Furry Lewis's "Kassie Jones" blues-ballad and the "Joseph Mica/Milwaukee Blues/Jay Gould's Daughter" family of songs. Indeed, three of the five verses are shared with those songs. - PJS

Said verses being instruction to the fireman not to fear; the two more roads Dewberry would like to ride; the suggestion, "put your head out the windows, see the drivers roll"; and the prediction "we may make Atlanta but we'll all be dead." - RBW

Historical references

Cross references

Recordings

References

  1. Cohen-LSRail, pp. 158-162, "Ben Dewberry's Final Run" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Roud #14015
  3. BI, RcBDFR