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GUEST,TJ in San Diego Origins/Tune Req: The MTA Song (88* d) RE: Origins/Tune Req: The MTA Song 14 Dec 09


Bess Lomax Hawes was credited for the parody. The Kingston Trio had a habit of making small changes to traditional songs so that their versions could be copywrited separately. This tune was all based on a MTA fare increase in the 1950's which raised the ire of Bostonians.

In the early 1980's, I had the pleasure of meeting a courtly Virginia gentleman friend of my wife's grandparents. He was a retired Navy doctor in his late 90's and still remarkably fit and sharp. Dr. Vann and I were discussing folk music from his home region one Christmas eve. He said he was from Danville, which reminded me of the lyric from "The Wreck of the Old 97."

The doctor quickly retorted that "they got a lot of the details all wrong." It turned out that, as a thirteen year old boy, he had hitched a wagon and driven his father, one of the town's doctors, to the wreck site at the trestle to minister to the injured. He remembered how much morphine was given out that day and how horrendous the carnage. It is not often that one is privileged to speak with those who were eyewitnesses to such history and to the real life origins of folk songs.


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