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: 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
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