Freight Train Blues

Commentary

Roy Acuff
Roy Acuff

According to Stacy William’s liner notes for Bob Dylan, 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.

June Carter’s sister.

The more popular blues song with the same title.

Skiffle group.


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”

  1. 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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