Wreck of Number Nine, The [Laws G26]
DESCRIPTION: A railroad engineer, whose wedding is set for the next day, leaves his sweetheart and sets out on his train. Rounding a curve, he sees another train coming. He is mortally wounded in the crash. He leaves his fiancee the cottage that would have been theirs
AUTHOR: Carson J. Robison
EARLIEST DATE: 1927 (recording, Vernon Dalhart)
KEYWORDS: train wreck marriage death lastwill crash
FOUND IN: US(Ap,SE,So,SW) Canada(Newf)
REFERENCES (11 citations):
Laws G26, "The Wreck of Number Nine"
Cohen-LSRail, pp. 267-271, "The Wreck of Number Nine" (1 text, 1 tune)
Randolph 684, "The Wreck of Old Number Nine" (1 text, 1 tune)
Randolph/Cohen, pp. 451-453, "The Wreck of Old Number Nine" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 684)
BrownSchinhanIV 340, "The Wreck of Old Number Nine" (1 fragment, 1 tune)
Moore-Southwest 162, "The Wreck of Number Nine" (1 text, 1 tune)
Cambiaire, pp. 88-89, "Number Nine" (1 text)
MHenry-Appalachians, pp. 77-78, "The Wreck of Number Nine" (1 text)
Guigne, pp. 76-78, "The Brave Engineer (The Wreck of Number Nine)" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lyle-Scalded, "Th Wreck of Number Nine" (1 text, 1 tune)
DT 668, COLDWIN
Jim Bennett, "The Brave Engineer" (on NFAGuigne01)
Bud Billings [pseud. for Frank Luther], "The Wreck of Number Nine" (Montgomery Ward M-8054, 1939)
Vernon Dalhart, "Wreck of The Number 9" (Lincoln 2712, 1927) (Gennett 6051/Silvertone 5005, 1927) (Brunswick 101, 1927) (Okeh 45086, 1927) (Cameo 1247, 1927) (Columbia 15121-D [as Al Craver], 1927); "Wreck of the Number Nine" (Radiex 4172 [as Jeff Calhoun], 1928)
J. E. Mainer's Mountaineer's "On a Cold Winter's Night" (Victor 27496, 1941)
Ernest Stoneman, "The Wreck of the Number Nine" (Broadway 8054, c. 1930); "Wreck of Number Nine" (on Autoharp01)
Stanley G. Triggs, "The Wreck of the Number Nine" (on Triggs1)
NOTES [135 words]: This, like "Zeb Tourney's Girl" [Laws E18], appears to be a Robison song that became traditional as a result of the Vernon Dalhart recording, though this seems to have had a stronger grip on tradition.
Indeed, Cohen states that, of the train wreck ballads he printed, only "Old 97" and "Engine 143" ("The Wreck on the C & O" [Laws G3]) were more popular. Both of the former are anonymous, and both based on real events; this is therefore the most popular fictional train wreck song, and also the most popular train song with a single known author.
It entered tradition very quickly; Henry collected his version from Mary E. King in 1929.
In recent years, a part of this tune has found some additional success (at least in bluegrass circles) as the basis for the chorus in the Goble/Drumm song "Coleen Malone." - RBW
Last updated in version 4.2
Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography
The Ballad Index Copyright 2018 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.