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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
NOMADMan Lyr Req: All Around the Water Tank? (J Rodgers) (15) Lyr Add: SAM'S WAITING FOR A TRAIN (from G Ohrlin) 05 Jun 09


Art,

Thanks for reminding us about the Glenn Ohrlin song.

I have a copy of that LP here. Here are the words to what Glenn calls "Sam's Waiting for a Train."

I was born and raised in Texas, a state that you all know,
I got on that Katy train, so cold I could hardly go,
I rode down to Memphis, and I got off to warm,
Looked out for that Katy train, but the Katy train was gone.

They left me standing on a platform a-waiting for a train,
So cold and hungry I lay down, my heart was filled with pain,
I'm thinking of those good old days, I wish they'd come again,
A thousand miles away from home trying to catch an old freight train.

I went up to a lady and I asked for something to eat,
A little piece of bread and a little piece of meat,
A little piece of punkin pie would soothe my appetite.
I aim to ride that old freight train a thousand miles tonight.

Well, I went up to Kansas, I didn't go to stay,
I fell in love with some Kansas girls and I had to run away,
Goodbye to all you Kansas folks, I'll bid you all adieu,
And when that old freight train runs out I'll see no more of you.

They left me standing on a platform, a-waiting for a train,
So cold and hungry I lay down, my heart was filled with pain,
I'm thinking of those good old days, I wish they'd come again,
A thousand miles away from home, trying to catch an old freight train.

Here are Glenn's comments:

"Suppose a lot of you are familiar with the songs of Jimmie Rodgers, I mean the Jimmie Rodgers that died in 1933. I mean, he's still well-liked, and they still put out albums of his songs. One of my favorites of his was 'Waiting for a Train.' But one of my old neighbors down in the Ozarks - Sam Hess - he's got a ranch down there and a bunch of cattle, and he's past 80 years old, plays the banjo and sings, he knows an older version of the same song. I call it 'Sam's Waiting for a Train.' There ain't no yodeling. I can't yodel anyway."
(tape 12/14/63)

"When you pick up stuff because you enjoy it you generally forget most other considerations about it. But I do remember, in fact, on the song ballet Sam wrote for me I marked it at the time, that Sam learned that song from Levi Morris, the brother of Neal Morris and Jimmie Driftwood's uncle. Jimmie sang it last Friday night at the courthouse and said 'Here's one my dad used to sing.'... Sometimes when Sam sings it, it ends with the words 'I aim to ride that old hog train a thousand miles tonight.' Then he laughs when he says 'hog train.' To date the song - Sam said he hadn't played a banjo for 40 years when he started playing it again this year. Oh yes - Sam calls it 'that old freight train song."
(Letter 5/11/64)

Note - there was a pop singer named Jimmie Rodgers active in the late '50s (Remember "Honeycomb?") That's probably the reason for Ohrlin's comment "I mean the Jimmie Rodgers that died in 1933" to distinguish him from the more current performer of the same name.

Regards,
John


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