TOP 5: TRAIN SONGS


When RomeoSidVicious mentioned that we hadn’t done train songs yet I was as surprised as him. I mean, after drinking songs and murder ballads I bet train songs are the most prevalent in the country & blues world. So, today is as good a day as any to remedy this gaping hole in the Top 5 theme.

I tried to avoid the obvious selections so there would be some easy one’s for y’all:

Johnny Cash – Orange Blossom Special: Okay, this one is obvious but come one…it’s trains, it’s Florida. I had to list it.

Love and Rockets – Bound For Glory: One of my favorite bands that rarely gets mentioned on here performing one of my favorite songs by them.

Chris Knight – Speeding Train: I’ve said it one and I’ll say it now. If you don’t like Chris Knight then there is obviously a horrific flaw somewhere in your makeup.

The Cult – Medicine Train: There is definitely some hearing damage in me as a direct result of playing this song to the edge of the 6×9’s in my 1973 Dodge Colt’s abilities.

Quad City DJ’s – C’mon N’ Ride It: Simply put…the greatest train song in the history of the world so you know….If you feel like dancin’ well come on, it’s up to you. Move your arm up and down and make that choo choo sound.

34 thoughts on “TOP 5: TRAIN SONGS”

  1. 1. City of New Orleans – Steve Goodman, but I really like the Willie Nelson version too
    2. Train of Love – Johnny Cash, but I really like the Bob Dylan version too
    3. Death’s Black Train – traditional(?), arranged by Jay Farrar/God Iron
    4. Runaway Train – Soul Asylum
    5. That Train That Carried My Girl from Town – Doc Watson, but I really like the Justin Townes Earle version too

  2. Hmm…lets see what I can come up with…

    Amtrack Crescent – Scott Miller & The CommonwealthParents tell me I rode on the amtrack crescent when I was a kid, can’t remember it though.

    Midnight Train To Memphis – The Steeldrivers
    Steeldrivers = Awesome.

    Train Trek – Robert Earl Keen
    Who doesn’t love REK? I mean really.

    Train, Train – Blackfoot
    I use to love this song when I was a kid.

    Tornadoes – Drive-By Truckers
    A train song about tornadoes. Why not?

  3. Fun List, all good songs !

    Slow Train ~ Bob Dylan
    Train in Vain ~ The Clash
    Love Train ~ The O’Jays
    Train, Train ~ Blackfoot
    Downbound Train ~ Bruce Springsteen
    Move along Train ~ Levon Helm
    Train Keep A Rollin’ ~ Aerosmith
    Desperados Waiting for a Train ~ Guy Clark
    Drug Train ~ Social Distortion

  4. I totally agree with dvot. No Tim Barry? Or what about that song on the new Justin Townes Earle album? (I’m bad with titles). On a side note – That JTE album is great and it definitely deserves a mention.

  5. Johnny Cash – “Folsom Prison Blues”

    Tom Waits – “Down By The Train”

    Love “Desperados Waiting For A Train” and “City of New Orleans.”

  6. PLAY A FUCKIN’ TRAIN SONG!
    (with kudos to A Truer Sound for introducing me to the good stuff by Todd Snider)

    Anyway, I gotta spend more time thinking about this, but just wanna mention real quick PANAMA LIMITED by Bukka White via Tom Rush which I played a dozen times the last couple of days. I love Tom Rush and I love Bukka White and I love train songs so this is a given for me. Also, a few ghost train songs by J.B. Beverley and JTE’s Ghost of Virginia. And does the old garage punk warhorse Train Kept A-Rollin’ count?

  7. great list esp. Folsom and City of New Orleans, but way too hard to narrow it to five. here’s more

    Ramblin Man – Hank Sr.

    California Blues – Jimmie Rodgers (most of his train songs could be on the list)

    Freight Train Blues – Roy Acuff (the Weary Boys have a great cover of it, too)
    Wabash Cannonball – Roy Acuff

    Wreck of the Old 97 – Johnny Cash version

    Hellbound Glory – Hellbound Glory, a good train song and a good way to introduce themselves

    Freight Line Blues, Railroad Blues – Wayne Hancock

    Gonna Ride a Train – JB Beverley and the Wayward Drifters (they’ve got a lot of other good ones, too)

    Rock Island Line – Leadbelly

  8. Oh, and the old chestnuts MYSTERY TRAIN (Elvis obv.) and DOWNBOUND TRAIN (by Chuck Berry, of course, but there’s also a weird version by Ray Manzarek – that Doors keyboard douchebag – worth checking out). Springsteen’s song of the same name is easily the best on the over-produced Born In The USA album and a highlight of his uneven (well, I probably mean bad) 80s output.

    “5. That Train That Carried My Girl from Town – Doc Watson, but I really like the Justin Townes Earle version too”

    I’m not entirely sure if it’s the same song but WILLIAM ELLIOTT WHITMORE reorded a bad-ass tune of that name.

  9. -Spike Driving Blues- Chris Knight or Doc Watson
    -Nine Pound Hammer-Bill Monroe
    -Locomotive- Motörhead
    -Rio Grand Rail- Brandon Butler/Canyon
    -Wabash Cannonball- Carter Family, Box Car Willie, Roy Acuff etc.

  10. I’m a little late to the party and most of my thoughts are already taken…but let be second MLP, Todd Snider’s “Play a Train Song” is killer. I’m not a big fan of some of the more out-there stuff Snider does, but that is just a great straightforward rock song.
    I also second the mentions of “Train, Train” and “Train Kept a Rollin'” and I’ll throw in the Black Crowes’ “A Train Still Makes a Lonely Sound”.

  11. My top 5 train songs:

    Train Song – Todd Snider
    Boomer’s Story – Ry Cooder
    A Train Still Makes a Lonely Sound – The Black Crowes
    Fool For a Lonesome Train – Ben Harper
    Two Trains – Little Feat

  12. this category doesn’t really bring anything to mind for me except for the following:
    justin townes earle – ghost of viriginia
    magnetic fields – fear of trains

  13. “I’ve Been To Georgia On Fast Train” – Johnny Cash (best yodelling ever!)

    “Desperados Waiting For A Train” – Guy Clark (the original and best version!)

    “Waiting For A Train” – Jerry Lee Lewis version of Jimmie Rogers song

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vAtfSOtaiI&feature=related

    “Train That Carried Jimmie Rogers Home” – Eilen Jewell & Dan Fram

    “This Heart Stops For Railway Crosses” – Katy Moffat

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTc2_2VhoJo

    “New Delhi Freight Train” – Terry Allen

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SsN1AcllQ4I&feature=related

    Train Tune – John Renbourn (acoustic guitar instrumental)

    And I second the vote for Fred Eaglesmith “I Like Trains” too!

  14. “Play a Train Song”-Todd Snider (hands down favorite train song ever!)

    “Georgia on a Fast Train”- Billy Joe Shaver

    “Train to Birmingham (LIVE)”- Cross Canadian Ragweed

    “The Log Train”- Hank Williams

    “Come Along and Ride This Train”- Johnny Cash

  15. Dang, forgot “Fear of Trains.” Good call.

    “that high loud whistle made her horse run away, but the straw that broke the camel’s back was you.”

    Fucking. Brilliant.

  16. Runaway Train by Nine Pound Hammer
    Crazy Train by Ozzy Osbourne
    Down There By The Train by Tom Waits
    Train Train by Blackfoot
    Locomotive by Motorhead
    Rock And Roll Train by AC/DC
    etc etc etc

  17. @brian- Everything I thought of has been mentioned then JB Beverley and the Wayward drifters came to mind. I thought no one would have listed them but I was wrong. They are a good band with several references to trains and they do deserve a listen.

    Anyway, I would of said
    City of new Orleans- Pick an artist
    Train still makes a lonley sound- Black Crowes
    Drug Train- Social D.
    Midnight Train to Georgia-

  18. Really? No one’s mentioned Captain Beefheart’s genius “Click Clack”?

    Seriously; check it out.

  19. Three good ones missing:

    Joe Ely’s version of REK’s ‘Whenever Kindness Fails’
    ‘Locomotive Breath’–Jethro Tull or Les Claypool
    ‘Drug Train’–Cramps (different song than Social D’s)

    And the Monkees’ ‘Last Train to Clarksville’ might have been on my list in 1973.

  20. Play a train song and georgia on a fast train have been mentioned…but both great!

    I would add:

    Halfway To Jackson – Justin Townes Earle
    Texas Eagle – Steve Earle & Del McCoury Band
    Waitin’ On A Train – Bottle Rockets
    Smokestack Lightnin’ – Howling Wolf
    Wreck of The Old 97

    also Rock Island Line….so many good train songs

  21. Actually, half of Fred Eaglesmith’s catalog is more or less about trains, and all great stuff.

    Great stuff mentioned here, but I’d like to mention David Allan Coe’s “You never even call me by my name.” Not exactly about trains all the way through, but the ending alone justifies it as one of the great C&W train songs!

    The Quad City DJs did nothing for me, to put it extremely euphemistically, though. I am quite willing to chalk it up to difference in tastes and not some moral failing on your part (or superiority on mine), but I am completely failing to see anything of value there.

  22. Midnight Train – The Men They Couldn`t Hang.
    Great driving tempo, the lyrics are about a train that carries nuclear waste through Britains countryside. Awesome!

    Boat Train – The Pogues.
    A song about getting pissed on the train.

    Night train to Georgia – Model 500.
    Detroits finest techno innovator Juan Atkins serves up a pretty extreme cybersoul number out of the old tune.

    Stop that Train – Beastie Boys.
    Hey! It`s the Beastie Boys, nuff said already! Altho, I think maybe also “No Sleep Till Brooklyn is about riding the subway)

    Rock Island Line is also a really really really coool tune and total classic stuff!

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