I rode the subway yesterday. And guess what? Today I have trains on my mind. However, if you think about it objectively, it’s doubtful that a quick, albeit pleasurable, little subway ride could trigger a full- scale train obsession. Which is what I have. A full-scale train obsession. Maybe it’s because I always have a full-scale, all the time, 24/7, train obsession. Or maybe it’s just nostalgia, a yearning for the good old days when the trains were in their glory. Before my time even! What nostalgia! Then again, maybe it’s simply because there are just so many great train songs. Here’s Choo Choo Sheboogie to get us started.
I confess a decided weakness for train songs and for songs with train references. After all, “it’s a long steel rail and a short cross tie/I’m on my way back home”, a line from Steamline Cannonball, which could well summarize all of human knowledge and wisdom up to this point in time on the space-time continuum. Some of my favorite train songs are……
Well… there’s Streamline Cannonball, Wabash Cannonball, Night Train, Orange Blossom Special, Mystery Train, Ballad of the FFV, Chatanooga Choo Choo (Pardon me, boy, is that the Chatanooga Choo Choo?). Then there are some fine country songs with train references like Folsum Prison Blues, In the Pines, all those Hank Williams songs, and did I mention Streamline Cannonball?
I confess I tried to write a train song or two myself. When I was a teenager in the Bronx I composed an ode to the IRT Thru Express titled Talkin ‘Bout the Thru Express. I remember it had a rhyme about being a yokel and then changing for the local.
Last year I made up one about hearing the evening train roll by, aptly titled Did You Ever Hear the Evening Train Roll By?