Music

Casey Jones

Today’s post was written by Paul.

The Streamline Cannon Ball

To close out this year’s train song series, here’s a jaunty little song about the most well known train engineer in American History, Casey Jones (also known as “The Ballad of Casey Jones”).

I learned this version of the song from the amazing Jim Glaser. I pulled out this Dean six-string banjo to give it a slight Dixieland feel.

The indifference toward death in this song always cracked me up a little. I omitted some verses that provide an explanation as to why Jones’ train was behind that day (water over the tracks) and state that he was 8 hours behind delivering the “western mail.” However, according to Wikipedia, Jones was only 75 minutes late as a fill-in driver (not his fault), and he was driving a passenger train, not just hauling mail.

Also according to the Wiki account, Jones’ train struck a stationary train, not another train head-on by missing a switch or because of being too late.

I read another online article that claimed Jones was known for being somewhat of a daredevil driver and that he may have been the first to put a whistle on his train as a warning when he approached crossings, but I don’t know about the validity of that.

Either way, his name is permanently etched in many, many train songs, like this one and “Freight Train Boogie” that I did with my nephew Ben in the 2019 series.

I hope you enjoyed this song, which some of you may not have heard before. I got the train engineer cap on Ebay, and I thought I would pick up some overalls at my local Walmart, only to discover they don’t carry them. My papaw on Pap’s side used to wear one of these hats. As far as I know, he never worked for the railroad, but I guess he somehow wound up with it and wore what he had. I have to say, this is the most comfortable hat I’ve ever worn. If it weren’t for the looks and questions I would get, I’d wear it all the time. 🙂

Thanks for watching our train song series. I hope each of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Paul

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19 Comments

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    December 6, 2020 at 5:23 pm

    Paul I believe you can find overalls to match your hat at Roundhouse Jeans in Oklahoma. They are one of the few makers of 100% American made jeans..

    • Reply
      JustAnOldGuy
      December 6, 2020 at 6:50 pm

      Well, if you don’t want to travel to Franklin or Oklahoma, places that I’m sure are nice enough, you could just head north to Bristol, Tn. There, on the corner of 7th and Shelby you’ll find some first class jeans and overalls at the Pointer factory outlet. Friendly folks and after you’ve found a pair that fits around you they’ll take them upstairs and hem in the inseam you want in about 15 minutes. They’ve got some fine, tough jeans and regular overalls too along with a spare cap if you need one.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    December 6, 2020 at 3:47 pm

    Tractor Supply has overalls. They even has them in a stripe similar to the hat. They also have a hat in the same fabric. They have a store in Franklin. I’m not sure it’s in the store. I found it on their internet sight.

    • Reply
      Ed Ammons
      December 6, 2020 at 7:08 pm

      It’s spelled “site” stupid!

  • Reply
    Gigi
    December 6, 2020 at 3:22 pm

    I loved it. Sounded good. My son in law work for the railroad for a period of time. Lov the music

  • Reply
    Jo
    December 6, 2020 at 3:12 pm

    Paul, thank you so much for the train song series. I really look forward to it each year. This is the most entertaining video you have ever made! I love all the facial expressions. And please play the banjo more often. Who knew? Also, keep wearing that hat! It suits you to a tee!
    And a note to Tipper. You have been holding out on us. I hear the Deer Hunter can play a musical instrument! What can we do to entice him to join in on one of your videos? Does he take bribes? Lol.

  • Reply
    Cynthia
    December 6, 2020 at 2:10 pm

    That was a fun song! I know about Casey Jones, but I have never heard the song. Paul should wear the hat any time he feels like it.

  • Reply
    Kenneth Ryan
    December 6, 2020 at 1:11 pm

    Mighty fine, Paul!

  • Reply
    dee
    December 6, 2020 at 1:03 pm

    I enjoyed the song and Paul always comes through with good singing and picking! I remember quite a few train songs but didn’t realize Paul could play the banjo too!!

  • Reply
    Ed Karshner
    December 6, 2020 at 10:45 am

    Great song! This has always been one of my favorites.

    The hat comment is hilarious. When I worked at the glass plant, all the “old timers” (probably of our grandpa’s generation) wore those hats. It must have been a thing among those guys. I always thought they were cool.

    Again, great tune thus morning.

  • Reply
    Gene Smith
    December 6, 2020 at 9:53 am

    Didn’t know they made six-string banjos. Nice sound. Good job.

  • Reply
    Randy
    December 6, 2020 at 9:25 am

    Tipper, I enjoy listening to the music. Today’s song reminds me of my uncle, he drove a Trailway bus for 32 years and it was said by some that knew him that he was good at making up time.
    I also listened to the blog about Job’s God and read what you said about the feelings you were having after the death of your father. I am nearly 70 years old and have experienced the death of most of my family members. None has affected me like the death of my daughter. I lost my will to live after her death and hate to think of what might of happen if not for her two boys, my grandsons. All I wanted to do was go to sleep and never wake up and then one day at work when I was having a bad time at work the old hymn The Nail Scarred Hand came to me and I kept saying thewords over and over and this song has helped me, but even as I write this I have tears in my eyes.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    December 6, 2020 at 8:25 am

    I had one of those train hats as a boy and I loved it. It was probably too big of course and I guess I looked funny. But the thing I remember was the band was snug but the top was loose. But it blew off anf got lost on the road.

    I wish I could have heard the song but I had no sound. I don’t think the sound was muted.

    Not being able to find overalls seems like a bad sign to me. Another thing kinda like them and also hard to find is fleece-lined (used to be flannel lined) jeans. I don’t know for sure but I think they were more common in the 1950’s. Along about then we turned out pants up and made a cuff so with them there was a colorful band showing the lininng. They come in mighty handy about now.They make a good Christmas present.

    • Reply
      Sanford McKinney Jr
      December 6, 2020 at 2:40 pm

      Ron,
      Pointer overalls are still being made in Bristol, TN/VA. They aren’t inexpensive, anymore! Perhaps they never were inexpensive, but seems to be high dollar for a pair today; at least to a guy of my age. I believe Wolverine still offers lined jeans.

  • Reply
    William Dotson
    December 6, 2020 at 8:20 am

    Thanks for the train series, as for the hat I remember in the 1950’s Dad wore a hat like as well as a lot of other men wore them, I had one as well and they were very comfortable, I thought they were so light you didn’t know they were on your head.

  • Reply
    Sanford McKinney Jr
    December 6, 2020 at 8:00 am

    Paul,
    I think I might have heard a little Jimmie Rodgers sound in your voice. I mean that as a compliment! I would enjoy hearing you do some of Jimmie Rogers songs.
    I guess the style of playing the banjo you did in this session was “strumming”? Whatever it was, I liked the sound very much. I always liked Grandpa Jones style of playing a banjo, also.
    Another thought on your comment about your Papaw’s RR cap: “As far as I know, he never worked for the railroad, but I guess he somehow wound up with it and wore what he had”. The older folks knew this as making do with what they had?
    Thank you for the enjoyment of listening!

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    December 6, 2020 at 7:40 am

    Since my father worked for the Pennsylvania RR I rode a lot. Loved the banjo touch and the hat. Somewhere I have one of my fathers hats. If I find it Paul can have it and maybe start a collection.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Psul
    December 6, 2020 at 7:18 am

    Loved this, thank you!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    December 6, 2020 at 6:36 am

    That was fun, I thoroughly enjoyed it, thanks Paul! You look pretty sharp in that cap, you should wear it more often.
    Thank you for this year full of the old train songs.
    I hate to admit this, but I don’t remember ever being on a train. I do remember once we took my grandmother to the station to take a train somewhere. I don’t remember where she was going but it was probably to Texas or Oklahoma to visit one of her sons who had moved away.

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