Freight Train Blues

Commentary

Roy AcuffAccording to Stacy William’s liner notes, Dylan learned Freight Train Blues from a Roy Acuff record. Stacy Williams was the pen name of New York Times critic and Dylan biographer Robert Shelton, who made a little spending cash writing liner notes for folk recordings. Acuff was a very popular country singer and a regular performer at the Grand Ole Opry. Another of Dylan’s early heroes, Hank Williams, also recorded it.

Dylan performs the song at a faster tempo and with greater exuberance than Acuff. He also shows off his yodeling talents and his falsetto voice. At one point he holds a note – according to a rec.music.dylan poster – for 14 seconds. Wow!

Dylan has never played the song live.

Lots of other people have.

A spirited version  by Johnny Duncan from 1957.

June Carter’s sister.

The more popular blues song with the same title.


Lyrics

I was born in Dixie in a boomer shed
Just a little shanty by the railroad track
Freight train was it taught me how to cry
The holler of the driver was my lullaby
I got the freight train blues
Oh Lord mama, I got them in the bottom of my rambling shoes
And when the whistle blows I gotta go baby, don’t you know
Well, it looks like I’m never gonna lose the freight train blues.

Well, my daddy was a fireman and my mama-ha
She was the only daughter of an engineer
My sweetheart was a brakeman and it ain’t no joke
Seems a waste to get a good man broke
I got the freight train blues
Oh Lord mama, I got them in the bottom of my rambling shoes
And when the whistle blows I gotta go mama, don’t you know
Well, it looks like I’m never gonna lose the freight train blues.

Well, the only thing that makes me laugh again
Is a southbound whistle on a southbound train
Every place I wanna go I never can go
Because you know I got the freight train blues
Oh Lord mama, I got them in the bottom of my rambling shoes.

1 thought on “Freight Train Blues”

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    I have a live version of Freight Train Blues. You can purchase it on ITunes on the compilation Folk Barbecue Party. He also plays Stealin’ Stealin’.

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