RAILROAD BILL

Latest update on 07/09/2016

Artist: Riley Puckett
Author: traditional
Label: Columbia
Year: 1924

With Gid Tanner. Melodically related to the English children song Dirty Bill (From Vinegar Hill).

Covers:

1924:

Roba Stanley & Bill Patterson

1927:

J.H. Small

1927:

Martha Copeland [as Hobo Bill; first black artist to record it]

1929:

Will Bennett [as an old man; contemporary of the real legend and celebrating Bill's independence: "He never worked and he never will, Ride Bill, ride"]

1929:

Frank Hutchison

1937:

Blind Jesse Harris

1937:

Vera Hall

1942:

Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee

1955:

Tom Paley

1956:

Lonnie Donegan

1956:

Paul Clayton

1959:

Hobart Smith

1961:

Rambling Jack Elliott

1963:

Joan Baez

1972:

Ferre Grignard

1973:

Taj Mahal

1981:

Gun Club

1998:

Van Morrison-Lonnie Donegan-Chris Barber

2000:

Dave Alvin

2004:

Greg Brown

2016:

Billy Bragg & Joe Henry

This is a real story. There once was a Railroad Bill, his name was Morris Slater. Worked as a day laborer in the harsh terpentine plantations in the south Alabama woods. In 1893 he killed a police man and escaped by jumping on a train. From then on he ambushed the L&N line with raids and murders. In 1895 he shot a sheriff (but he didn't shoot no deputy). Another two years later he was captured and executed. Officials had to carry his dead body from town to town to prove he was really dead. The stuff where legends are made of.

Contact


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