Later that year for Vocalion as Ballard Cross. A version for Gennett in 1928 by Clark & Edans was shelved. It's about a mythical train leading hobos to a dreamland. Based upon an earlier song (The Great Rock Island Route, copyrighted in 1882 by J.A. Roff). First published in 1904 by William Kindt. By the time of the first recordings his copyright was expired and claimed by clever A.P. Carter. His authorship was rewarded by Roy Acuff's hit version.
Carter Family [the session they first met Jimmie Rodgers]
Roy Acuff & His Crazy Tennesseans [vocal: Dynamite Hatcher; all Roy Acuff contributed was some whistling on the intro]
Delmore Brothers [as The Cannon Ball and in '41 as Gospel Cannonball]
Cousin Jody [dobro player in Roy Acuff's band]
Tex Ritter [in film Rolling Home To Texas]
Woody Guthrie [melody in Grand Coulee Dam]
Roy Acuff & His Smoky Mountain Boys [lead vocal: Roy]
Bill Haley [parody as Jukebox Cannonball]
Raiders [with Tommy Allsup and Leon Russell]
Chuck Berry [same melody in The Promised Land]
Since 1885 a real Cannonball train serviced the Wabash line between Chicago and Kansas City. That's a shorter distance than between "the great Atlantic" and "the wide Pacific" like in A.P. Carter's song lyrics. Not to be confused with the Wabash Blues by Mamie Smith (1921), covered by Bob Wills, Johnny Cash and the like.