“The Crime of the D'Autremont Brothers”


"Way out west in Oregon in 1923, The D'Autremont brothers wrecked the train as brutal as could be." Four of the train crew are killed. The brothers flee, are caught almost four years later, and "noe they are in prison for the lives they led."


Pretty definitely not a folk song; the only early recording appears to be that by the Johnson Brothers (whose small repertoire included several other non-traditional songs); Cohen reports that it sold fewer than 6000 copies, and the song does not appear ever to have been found in the field.

Charles and Paul Johnson seem to have been rather mysterious themselves; Cohen also reports that their listed home town of Tuco, Kentucky, cannot be located. - RBW

Historical references

  • Oct 11, 1923 - Roy, Ray, and Hugh DeAutremont attack the San Francisco Express as it comes out of a tunnel in Oregon. The brothers were caught in 1927 and all were given life sentences


  • Johnson Brothers, "Crime of the D'Autremont Brothers" (Victor 21646, 1928)


  1. Cohen-LSRail, pp. 166-168, "The Crime of the D'Autremont Brothers" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. BI, LSRai066


Author: probably the Johnson Brothers
Earliest date: 1928 (recording by the Johnson Brothers)