October 30 (803) Down There By The Train

8309875-railroad-tracks

Play this show

There’s a place I know
where the train goes slow
where the sinners can be washed
in the blood of the lamb
there’s a river by the trestle
down by Sinner’s Grove
down where the Willow and the Dogwood grows
down there by the train
down there by the train
down there by the train
down there by the train
down there where the train
goes slow
                     Tom Waits

Last time on Great River Radio, I played the Tift Merritt version of Tom Waits’ “Train Song” and I’ve been listening to that thing a lot in the last couple of weeks.  It is the great lyrics and the wonderful guitar playing of Eric Heywood that keep me coming back.  Then it had another effect on me, and that was to ponder why there are so many songs about trains in American music.  You could do hours and hours of train songs, even if you just limited yourself to the good ones.  But why?  Is it the lure of escape?  “My daddy told me, looking back/’best friend you’ll have is a railroad track'”… or is it the sound of the whistle and that lonesome sound of steel wheels on a steel track, long after the engine has passed?  Is it because they are going to take us to paradise?   “This train is bound for glory”?

I’m not doing train songs today – there are too many.  In some ways, it is too easy a project.  But I will be sprinkling some train songs by Tom Waits into the list, including a return of that Tift Merritt cover.  It is also Halloween tomorrow and though most of you are probably not going to be dressing up and going out trick or treating, I’ll slip a couple of ghostly songs into the mix.

I’ve also got new music from Polica, The 1975, Linda Thompson (with son Teddy) and Goldfrapp (this one is awesome.)  You’ve probably heard some of the new Paul McCartney by now, and I’ll have a typically McCartneyesque track from that one.  There is new music from The Head and the Heart and something amazing from the 2013 release by Ben Harper and the great Charlie Musselwhite.

It’s a nice mix on this gloomy day – listen in live this afternoon or later on the blog.

Details:

Great River Radio – Wednesdays 4:15-5:45 p.m.
Catch the live stream: http://www.stthomas.edu/ustclubs/kust/KUSTLive.html
Web/Listen Later: https://greatriverradio.wordpress.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/GreatRiverRadio

Playlist
On The Road-Tom Waits
Cecil Taylor-Jonathan Wilson
Shake-The Head And The Heart
You Can’t Be Told-Valerie June
Sex-The 1975
New-Paul McCartney
Oh, The Joy-Trixie Whitley
Down There By The Train-Tom Waits
Three White Horses-Andrew Bird
Drew-Goldfrapp
Chain My Name-Polica
Werewolves Of London-Warren Zevon
I Scare Myself-The New Standards
In A Graveyard-Rufus Wainwright
Won’t Be Long Now-Linda Thompson/Teddy Thompson
Persuasion-Richard Thompson/Teddy Thompson
Train Song-Tift Merritt
Bottom of the World-Tom Waits
We Can’t End This Way-Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite

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