FREIGHT TRAIN

Latest update on 03/02/2016

Artist: Chas McDevitt Skiffle Group
Author: Elisabeth Cotten
Label: Oriole
Year: 1956

Vocal: Nancy Whiskey. In the Levy Studio in London. Top 5 UK on Oriole, later also top 40 US on Chic. Author Elisabeth Cotten was a fingerpicking Piedmond autodidact who wrote this folk standard as a child (°1895). She finally cut it herself by accident following her engagement as housekeeper for a famous couple of musicologists. Dusting off musical instruments rejuvenated her own intrest in musicmaking. The family Seeger was sort of a Family Trapp of the American folk with Mike & Peggy & Pete Seeger as their best known exponents. 'Lizzy' Cotton was like a second mother for them and what's more, she knew how to handle guitar and banjo. She started a singing career while well in her eighties, encouraged by all the commotion following the unexpected and unauthorized Charles McDevitt recording and hit. His lack of crediting Cotten hastened her own recording session, conducted by Mike Seeger in person (for Folkways).

Covers:

1957:

Peggy Seeger [the daughter of the house where author Elisabeth 'Lizzy' Cotton served as a maid (see note); Peggy first sang this song during a concert tour in England, where it struck McDevitt & C°]

1957:

Elisabeth Cotten [author]

1957:

Rusty Draper [top 10 US]

1960:

Joan Baez [released in '82]

1961:

Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee

1962:

Charles Blackwell

1963:

Peter, Paul & Mary

1963:

Duane Eddy

1964:

Chet Atkins

1965:

Doctor Ross

1977:

Taj Mahal

1979:

Merle Travis

1984:

Clay Allison

1988:

Eddie Adcock

1993:

Jerry Garcia

2006:

Bo Ramsey

2007:

Cary Hudson

2010:

Preservation Hall Jazz Band [vocal: Ani DiFranco]

2011:

Buddy Miller [with Marc Ribot, Greg Leisz and Bill Frisell]

2013:

Gary Clark Jr.

Dylan had his Freight Train Blues ('62) from an old Roy Acuff recording, see: I Got The Freight Train Blues.

Contact


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