“Railroad Blues (I)”


Floating verses; "Went to the depot and I looked up on the board, It read, good times, children..."; "Where was you, mama, when the train left the shed..."; "Met a little Gypsy in a fortune telling place/She read my mind, and then she slapped my face."

Cross references


  • Jelly Roll Anderson, "Good Time Blues" (Gennett 6181, 1927) (Herwin 92014, 1927) (one of these two successive cuts is on TimesAint03)
  • Willie Hill, "Good Old Birmingham" (on FolkVisions2)
  • Daddy John Love, "Railroad Blues" (Bluebird B-6624, 1936)
  • Sam McGee, "Railroad Blues" (Champion 45033, 1935; Decca 5348, 1937) (on McGeeSmith1, TimesAint05)
  • New Lost City Ramblers, "Railroad Blues" (on NLCR03, NLCR12, NLCRCD1)
  • Art Thieme, "Railroad Blues and Nine Pound Hammer" [medley] (on Thieme01)


  1. Cohen/Seeger/Wood, p. 190, "Railroad Blues" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Cohen-LSRail, pp. 402-403, "The Railroad Blues" (1 excerpted text, 1 tune -- a subset of a song collected in 1915 and printed in JAFL, with fully 80 four-line stanzas, most of which could however be treated as doubles two-line stanzas and therefore sung as a true blues. It has floating verses from everywhere, which perhaps means it should file here. I don't list it as the Earliest Date, though, because it's so anomalous)
  3. BI, CSW190


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1935 (recording, Sam McGee)
Found in: US(Ap)