“Railroading on the Great Divide”


"Railroading on the Great Divide/Nothing around me but the Rockies and sky/There you'll find me as the years roll by...." Singer wanders the country before landing on the Great Divide, and tells of the rails and ties he has laid there.


Seldom cited, composed after World War II, but it has attained sufficient circulation in the revival that I index it. - PJS

This has been credited to Janette Carter, who recorded it in 1952 with her brother Joe and her parents A. P. Carter and Sara Carter Bayes; indeed, it was listed as by Janette in the earlier editions of this index. But Cohen corresponded with Sara Carter Bayes about the composition, so I'm following his lead.

This was recorded as part of a brief reunion of A. P. and Sara Carter (strictly musical, of course), which produced a handful of sides for the Acme label. The reunion cuts were not particularly successful (according to John Atkins, article "The Carter Family" in Bill C. Malone and Judith McCulloh, "Stars of Country Music," p. 110, Acme was a small label with no distribution channel and significant quality control problems; he also regards the instrumentation as weak in the absence of Maybelle).

A. P. kept at it with Acme until 1956, but with little reward; this was just about the only memorable product of the sessions. Had they tried the reunion a decade or so later, the folk boom might well have carried them to success -- but A. P. died in 1960. - RBW


  • A. P. Carter Family, "Railroading on the Great Divide" (Acme 992, 1952)


  1. Cohen-LSRail, pp. 528-529, "Railroading on the Great Divide" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. BI, RcROTGD


Author: Sara Carter Bayes
Earliest date: 1952 (record, A. P. Carter Family)