Friday, May 23, 2008

Train Facts

Becky is on the train to New Orleans! She sent this information our way about the train...and a picture from the window!

Subject: City of New Orleans Song

Steve Goodman wrote this in 1970. He wrote the lyrics on a sketch pad after his wife fell asleep on the Illinois Central train, where they were going to visit his wife's grandmother. Goodman wrote about what he saw looking out the windows of the train and playing cards in the club car. Everything in the song actually happened on the ride. After he returned home he heard the train was scheduled to be decommissioned do to lack of passengers. He was encouraged to use this song to save the train. He retouched the lyrics and released it on his first album in 1971.

Guthrie's cover in 1972 popularized the song and brought attention to rail lines that were vanishing across middle America. Many people who lived in rural areas relied on them to travel.
Goodman died September 20, 1984 at the age of 36 after a long battle with leukemia. Shortly after his death this won a Grammy in the category of best Country song, which Nelson had recorded and made a #1 Country smash the previous year. (thanks, Mike - Mountlake Terrace, WA, for above 3)

Guthrie and Goodman's versions have slightly different lyrics:

Goodman: "Passing towns that have no name."
Guthrie: "Passing trains..."
Goodman: "Sons of Pullman porters and the sons of engineers ride their father's magic carpet made of steam."
Guthrie: "... made of steel."
Goodman: "...the rhythm of the rails is all they dream"
Guthrie: "...all they feel"

Here's more info on the City
of New Orleans train <> .

1 comment:

Clay Eals said...

Good to see your post dissecting "City of New Orleans" by Steve Goodman. He often doesn't get his due. You might be interested in my 800-page biography, "Steve Goodman: Facing the Music." The book delves deeply into the genesis of "City of New Orleans," and Arlo Guthrie is a key source among my 1,050 interviewees and even contributed the foreword.

You can find out more at my Internet site (below). Amazingly, the book's first printing sold out in just eight months, all 5,000 copies, and a second printing of 5,000 is available now. The second printing includes hundreds of little updates and additions, including 30 more photos for a total of 575. To order a second-printing copy, see the "online store" page of my site. Just trying to spread word about the book. Feel free to do the same!

Clay Eals
1728 California Ave. S.W. #301
Seattle, WA 98116-1958

(206) 935-7515
(206) 484-8008