“J. C. Holmes Blues”

Author: Gus Horsley (but based on older materials)
Earliest date: 1925 (recording, Bessie Smith)
Keywords: nonballad railroading floatingverses

Description

"Listen, people, if you want to hear A story about a brave engineer, J. C. Holmes was the rider's name...." Floating verses about Holmes, the people who want to ride his trains, the freight he wants to carry, the rails he'd like to ride

Notes

I suffered for quite a while trying to decide whether to list this as its own song or as a by-blow of "Casey Jones." Formally, I probably should have done the latter; the amount of original material in this song is almost nil. It's simply a fixup of the blues ballad version of Casey Jones/Joseph Mikel/Jay Gould's Daughter (which already constitute an almost impossible mess to untangle).

I finally decided to keep this separate because it appears "J. C. Holmes" is a sport: It split off from the main "Casey" stock, but did not go into tradition in any recognizable form. Neither does it seem to have further influenced the "Casey" tradition. - RBW

Cross references

References

  1. Cohen-LSRail, pp. 163-165, "J. C. Homes Blues" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. BI, LSRa163