Bardentreffen 2009
Bardentreffen 2008
Bardentreffen 2004-7
FolkWorld Issue 43 11/2010; Photo Report & Song Collection

Full Steam Ahead
Bardentreffen Nürnberg, 30 July - 1 Aug 2010

Nürnberg and its Bardentreffen festival was all about the 175th rail anniversary: the steam-driven 'Adler' (Eagle) started to roll between Nürnberg and Fürth in 1835, covering the fives miles in fourteen minutes. Well, the artists came by car or plane, but for sure Arlo Guthrie & Co had their railroad songs on board. But let's not get fooled, Nürnberg's Bardentreffen is about listening to music not about trainspotting ...

Riding on the City of New Orleans
Illinois Central Monday morning rail
Fifteen cars and fifteen restless riders
Three conductors and twenty-five sacks of mail
All along the southbound odyssey
The train pulls out at Kankakee
Rolls along past houses, farms and fields
Passin' towns that have no names
Freight yards full of old black men
And the graveyards of the rusted automobiles

Good morning, America, how are you
Don't you know me, I'm your native son
I'm the train they call The City of New Orleans
I'll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done

Dealin' cards with the old men in the club car
Penny a point, ain't no one keepin' score
Won't you pass the paper bag that holds the bottle
Feel the wheels rumblin' 'neath the floor
And the sons of pullman porters
And the sons of engineers
Ride their father's magic carpet made of steam
Mothers with their babes asleep
Are rockin' to the gentle beat
And the rhythm of the rails is all they dream

Good morning, America, how are you ...

Night time on The City of New Orleans
Changing cars in Memphis, Tennessee
Half way home, and we'll be there by morning
Through the Mississippi darkness
Rolling down to the sea
And all the towns and people seem
To fade into a bad dream
And the steel rails still ain't heard the news
The conductor sings his song again
The passengers will please refrain
This train's got the disappearing railroad blues

Good morning, America, how are you ...

Arlo Guthrie & Wenzel

Arlo Guthrie @ FolkWorld:
FW#32, #34, #35

Wenzel @ FolkWorld:
FW #15, #22, #26, #31,
#34, #37, #38, #39, #42

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City of New Orleans: A train ride from Chicago to New Orleans via the Illinois Central Railroad. Steve Goodman's song was a big hit for Arlo Guthrie in 1972. Goodman himself won a posthumous Grammy Award for Best Country Song in 1984 for Willie Nelson's version.

Nim Sofyan

Nim Sofyan @ FolkWorld: FW#31, #37, #42

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In eighteen hundred and forty-one
My corduroy breeches I put on
My corduroy breeches I put on
To work upon the railway, the railway
I'm weary of the railway
Poor Paddy works on the railway

I was wearing corduroy britches, digging ditches, pulling switches
Dodging pitches, I was working on the railway

In eighteen hundred and forty-two, I didn't know what I should do ...

In eighteen hundred and forty-three, I sailed away across the sea ...

In eighteen hundred and forty-four, I landed on Columbia's shore ...

In eighteen hundred and forty-five, when Daniel O'Connell he was alive ...

In eighteen hundred and forty-six, I made my trade to carrying bricks ...

In eighteen hundred and forty-seven, poor Paddy was thinking of going to Heaven ...

Poor Paddy Works on the Railway: A popular Irish-American folk song, sometimes sung as a sea chanty. The Pogues did it too. During the 19th century, many of the men who built the American railroads were Irish immigrants.

Early one morning 'bout seven o'clock
There was twenty tarriers drilling at the rock
The boss came along and he says: keep still
And come down heavy with your cast iron drill

And drill ye tarriers drill, drill ye tarriers drill
It's work all day for the sugar in your tea
Down behind the railway
And drill ye tarriers drill, and blast, and fire

The boss was a fine man down on the ground
And he married a lady six feet round
She baked good bread and she baked it well
But she baked so hard as the hole of the hell

And drill ye tarriers drill ...

Now the new foreman was John McCann
By God, he was a mighty hard man
Last week a primature blast went off
And up in the sky went Big Jim Goff

And drill ye tarriers drill ...

Next time pay day came around
Jim Goff a dollar short was found
When he asked the reason, came this reply:
You were docked for the time you were up in the sky

And drill ye tarriers drill ...


OqueStrada @ FolkWorld: FW#43

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Drill Ye Tarriers: Tarriers were the men drilling holes and blasting away rock to make way for track. The words of the song are attributed to one Thomas F. Casey, himself a tarrier and occasional entertainer; Charles Connolly is credited with the music (1888).


Tinariwen @ FolkWorld: FW#33, #35, #38, #42

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The Ballad of John Henry: John Henry is probably the most frequently performed and recorded American folk song (Josh White devoted an entire LP side to different versions). The song deals with the digging of the Big Bend Tunnel in West Virginia in the 1870s. John Henry is notable for having raced against a steam powered hammer and won - only to die in victory with his hammer in his hand.
Some say he's from Georgia, some say he's from Alabam,
But it's wrote on the rock at the Big Ben Tunnel, that he's an East Virginia Man.
John Henry was a steel drivin' man, he died with a hammah in his han',
Oh, come along boys and line the track for John Henry ain't never comin' back.
John Henry he could hammah, he could whistle, he could sing,
He went to the mountain early in the mornin' to hear his hammah ring.
John Henry went to the section boss, says the section boss what kin you do?
Says I can line a track, I kin histe a jack, I kin pick and shovel too.
John Henry told the cap'n, when you go to town,
Buy me a nine pound hammah an' I'll drive this steel drill down.
Cap'n said to John Henry, you've got a willin' mind.
But you just well lay yoh hammah down, you'll nevah beat this drill of mine.
John Henry went to the tunnel and they put him in lead to drive,
The rock was so tall and John Henry so small that he laid down his hammah and he cried.
The steam drill was on the right han' side, John Henry was on the left,
Says before I let this steam drill beat me down, I'll hammah myself to death.
Oh the cap'n said to John Henry, I bleeve this mountain's sinkin' in.
John Henry said to the cap'n, Oh my! tain't nothin' but my hammah suckin' wind.
John Henry had a cute liddle wife, and her name was Julie Ann,
And she walk down the track and nevah look back, goin' to see her brave steel drivin' man.
John Henry had a pretty liddle wife, she come all dressed in blue.
And the last words she said to him, John Henry I been true to you.
John Henry was on the mountain, the mountain was so high,
He called to his pretty liddle wife, said Ah kin almos' touch the sky.
Who gonna shoe yoh pretty liddle feet, who gonna glove yoh han',
Who gonna kiss yoh rosy cheeks, an' who gonna be yoh man?
Papa gonna shoe my pretty liddle feet, Mama gonna glove my han',
Sistah gonna kiss my rosy cheeks, an' I ain't gonna have no man.
Then John Henry told huh, don't you weep an' moan,
I got ten thousand dollars in the First National Bank, I saved it to buy you a home.
John Henry took his liddle boy, sit him on his knee,
Said that Big Ben Tunnel gonna be the death of me.
John Henry took that liddle boy, helt him in the pahm of his han',
And the last words he said to that chile was, I want you to be a steel drivin' man.
John Henry ast that liddle boy, now what are you gonna be?
Says if I live and nothin' happen, a steel drivin' man I'll be.
Then John Henry he did hammah, he did make his hammah soun',
Says now one more lick fore quittin' time, an' I'll beat this steam drill down.
The hammah that John Henry swung, it weighed over nine poun',
He broke a rib in his left han' side, and his intrels fell on the groun'.
All the women in the West that heard of John Henry's death,
Stood in the rain, flagged the east bound train, goin' where John Henry dropped dead.
John Henry's liddle mother was all dressed in red,
She jumped in bed, covered up her head, said I didn't know my boy was dead.
They took John Henry to the White House, and buried him in the san',
And every locomotive come roarin' by, says there lays that steel drivin' man.


Valravn @ FolkWorld: FW#39, #41

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From the great Atlantic Ocean to the wide Pacific shore
From the green and flowing mountains to the south belt by the shore
She's mighty tall and handsome, and known quite well by all
She's the combination on the Wabash Cannonball

Listen to the jingle, the rumble and the roar
As she glides along the woodland, through the hills and by the shore
Hear the mighty rush of the engine, hear that lonesome hobo squall
You're travelling through the jungles on the Wabash Cannonball

She came down from Birmingham, one cold December day
As she rolled into the station, you could hear all the people say
There's a girl from Tennessee, she's long and she's tall
She came down from Birmingham on the Wabash Cannonball

Listen to the jingle, the rumble and the roar ...

Our the Eastern states are dandy so the people always say
From New York to St. Louis and Chicago by the way
From the hills of Minnesota where the rippling waters fall
No changes can be taken on that Wabash Cannonball

Listen to the jingle, the rumble and the roar ...

Here's to daddy Claxton, may his name forever stand
And always be remembered 'round the courts of Alabam'
His earthly race is over and the curtains 'round him fall
We'll carry him home to victory on the Wabash Cannonball

Listen to the jingle, the rumble and the roar ...

Wabash Cannonball: Hobos imagined a mythical, Flying Dutchman of a train. The Carter Family made one of the first recordings of the song in 1929.

Hammerling trifft Michaela Dietl

Hammerling @ FolkWorld: FW#38

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Freight train, freight train, run so fast
Freight train, freight train, run so fast
Please don't tell what train I'm on
They won't know what route I'm going

When I'm dead and in my grave
No more good times here I crave
Place the stones at my head and feet
And tell them all I've gone to sleep

When I die, oh bury me deep
Down at the end of old Chestnut Street
So I can hear old Number Nine
As she comes rolling by

When I die, oh bury me deep
Down at the end of old Chestnut Street
Place the stones at my head and feet
And tell them all I've gone to sleep

Freight train, freight train, run so fast
Freight train, freight train, run so fast
Please don't tell what train I'm on
They won't know what route I'm going

Freight Train: Elizabeth Cotten (1895-1987) was discovered in 1946 when working for the Seeger family as a housekeeper. A self-taught, left-handed guitar player, she composed her best-known song "Freight Train" when she was a child.

Now this here's a story about the Rock Island Line
Well the Rock Island Line she runs down into New Orleans
There's a big tollgate down there and you know
If you got certain things on board when you go through the tollgate
Well you don't have to pay the man no toll
Well a train driver he pulled up to the tollgate
And a man hollered and asked him what all he had on board and said
I got livestock, I got livestock, I got cows, I got pigs, I got sheep,
I got mules, I got all livestock
Well he said you're all right boy you don't have to pay no toll
You can just go right on through so he went on through the toolgate
And as he went through he started pickin' up a little bit of speed
Pickin' up a little bit of steam
He got on through he turned and looked back at the man he said
Well I fooled you, I fooled you, I got pigiron, I got pigiron, I got old pigiron

Down the Rock Island Line she's a mighty good road
Rock Island Line it's a road to ride
Rock Island Line it's a mighty good road
Well if you ride you got to ride it like you finally get your ticket
At the station for the Rock Island Line

Looked cloudy in the west and it looked like rain
Round the curve came a passenger train
North bound train on the southbound track
He's alright a leavin' but he won't be back

Well the Rock Island Line she's a mighty good road ...

Oh I may be right and I may be wrong
But you gonna miss me when I'm gone
Well the engineer said before he died
There were two more drinks that he'd like to try
The conductor said what could they be
A hot cup of coffee and a cold glass of tea

Well the Rock Island Line she's a mighty good road ...

Götz Widmann

Götz Widmann @ FolkWorld: FW#23, #26, #33, #37, #42

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Rock Island Line: The song is about the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad, first recorded by the Lomaxes and Leadbelly in 1934 from prison inmates. It became a huge hit for British skiffle musician Lonnie Donegan in the 1950s.


Katzenjammer @ FolkWorld: FW#42

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The Ballad of Casey Jones: Engineer John Luther Jones was killed when the Southbound Passenger Train #1 of the Illinois Central Railroad collided with a stopped freight train on 30 April 1900. The incidence spawned a number of songs, (including one by blues guitarist Walter 'Furry' Lewis (1893-1981) who himself lost a leg in a railroad accident in 1917). This song here was made up by Wallace Saunders, a black engine wiper in the railroad shop at Canton. Legend has it that vaudeville performers Frank and Bert Leighton added a chorus to the tune. When the song was first published in 1902, it was credited to T. Lawrence Seibert (music) and Eddie Newton (words).
Come all you rounders if you want to hear
A story 'bout a brave engineer,
Casey Jones was the rounder's name
"Twas on the Illinois Central that he won his fame.

Casey Jones, he loved a locomotive.
Casey Jones, a mighty man was he.
Casey Jones run his final locomotive
With the Cannonball Special on the old I.C.

Casey pulled into memphis on Number Four,
The engine foreman met him at the roundhouse door;
Said, "Joe Lewis won't be able to make his run
So you'll have to double out on Number One."

If I can have Sim Webb, my fireman, my engine 382,
Although I'm tired and weary, I'll take her through.
Put on my whistle that come in today
Cause I mean to keep her wailing as we ride and pray.

Casey Jones, mounted the cabin,
Casey Jones, with the orders in his hand.
Casey Jones, he mounted the cabin,
Started on his farewell Journey to the promised land.

They pulled out of Memphis nearly two hours late,
Soon they were speeding at a terrible rate.
And the people knew by the whistle's moan.
That the man at the throttle was Casey Jones.

Need more coal there, fireman Sim,
Open that door and heave it in.
Give that shovel all you got
And we'll reach Canton on the dot

On April 30, 1900, that rainy morn,
Down in Mississippi near the town of Vaughan,
Sped the Cannonball Special only two minutes late
Traveling 70 miles an hour when they saw a freight.

The caboose number 83 was on the main line,
Casey's last words were "Jump, Sim, while you have the time.
"At 3:52 that morning came the fareful end,
Casey took his farewell trip to the promised land.

Casey Jones, he died at the throttle,
With the whistle in his hand.
Casey Jones, he died at the throttle,
But we'll all see Casey in the promised land.

His wife and three children were left to mourn
The tragic death of Casey on that April morn.
May God through His goodness keep them by His grace
Till they all meet together in that heavenly place.

Casey's body lies buried in Jackson, Tennessee
Close beside the tracks of the old I.C.
May his spirit live forever throughout the land
As the greatest of all heroes of a railroad man.

Casey Jones, he died at the throttle ...

Classic Railroad Songs
Classic Railroad Songs
Smithsonian Folkways
SFW CD 40912

Nuremberg, Germany

Photo Credits: (1) Adler (unknown); (2) Arlo Guthrie & Wenzel, (4) Oquestrada, (7) Hammerling trifft Michaela Dietl, (by Tom Kamphans); (3) Nim Sofyan, (5) Tinariwen , (6) Valravn, (8) Götz Widmann, (10) Nürnberg (by Walkin' Tom); (9) Katzenjammer (by Dorthe Lübbert); (11) 'Classic Railroad Songs' (by Smithsonian Folkways).

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