May 6, 2015

Wreck of the Southern Old 97: Ernest Thompson


Sung by Ernest Thompson in 1924. From the original 78rpm disk, Columbia 130-D.

The wreck of the Southern Old 97 at
Stillhouse Trestle near Danville, 1903
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: Wreck of the Old 97 served as inspiration for balladeers, the most famous being the ballad first recorded commercially by Virginia musicians G. B. Grayson and Henry Whitter. Vernon Dalhart's version was released in 1924 (Victor Record No.19427), sometimes cited as the first million-selling country music release in the American record industry. Since then, "Wreck of the Old 97" has been recorded by numerous artists, including The Statler Brothers (feat. Johnny Cash), Charlie Louvin of The Louvin Brothers, Pink Anderson, Lowgold, David Holt, Flatt and Scruggs, Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Johnny Cash, Chuck Ragan, Hank Williams III, Patrick Sky, Nine Pound Hammer, Boxcar Willie, Lonnie Donegan, The Seekers, Ernest Stoneman & Kahle Brewer, Carolyn Hester and Hank Snow. The music was often accompanied by a banjo and a fiddle, while the lyrics were either sung, crooned, yodeled, whistled, hummed, recited, or chanted. The song rivaled that of "Casey Jones" for being the number one railroading song of all time.

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