Digital Tradition Mirror

Wreck of Old 97

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Pennywhistle notation and Dulcimer tab for this song is also available

Wreck of the 97

 Steve Brady kissed his lovin' wife
 By the rising of the sun
 And he said to his children, 'May God bless you
 For your dad must now go on his run'

 'Twas the twenty-second day of that November
 And the clouds were hanging low
 He took old 97 out of Washington station
 Like an arrow shot from a bow

 I was standing on the mountain that cold and frosty morning
 And I watched curling smoke below
 It was smoke from old 97's smokestack
 Way down on that southern road

 97 was the fastest mail train
 Ever run the southern line
 But when she reached into Richmond, Virginia
 She was twenty-seven minutes behind

 He received his orders at the Richmond station
 Saying, Steve you're far behind
 Now this isn't 38 but it's old 97
 You must put her into Spencer on time

 When he read his orders, he said to his fireman
 Do not obey the whistle or the bell
 And we'll put old 97 into Spencer on time
 Or we'll sink her in the bottom pits of hell

 He saw the brakeman signal and threw back his throttle
 Although his air was bad
 And his signalman said when he passed Franklin Junction
 'You could not see the man in the cab'

 Steve looked at his watch and said to his fireman,
 'Just throw in a little more coal
 And when we reach those Cumberland Mountains
 You can watch old 97 roll

 He went over the grade, making 90 miles an hour
 And his whistle broke into a scream
 He was found when dead with his hand on the throttle
 And was scalded to death by steam

 When the news went in oe'r the telegraph wires
 This is what the Western said,
 'That brave, brave man that was drivin' 97
 Is laying in North Danville dead

 The people waited at the depot
 Till the setting of the sun
 It was hours and hours the dispatch was waiting
 For the fastest train ever run

 Source:  The Arizona Wranglers 'The Wreck of the 97'.  Recorded in 1929 in Holl
ywood, California.  Reissued on Various Artists 'Train 45: Railroad Songs of the
 Early 1900s' Rounder CD 1143.


Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!

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