Jerry, Go and Ile that Car [Laws H30]
DESCRIPTION: Larry Sullivan has spent forty years maintaining the railroads; he is proud of the state of the tracks and of never having had a wreck. As he lies dying, he asks to be buried by the tracks. His last words are, "Jerry, go and ile that car."
AUTHOR: (credited by Loomis to "Riley the Bum")
EARLIEST DATE: 1904 (article by Charles F. Loomis with Arthur G. Wells)
KEYWORDS: train death work
FOUND IN: US(MW,So,SW)
REFERENCES (8 citations):
Laws H30, "Jerry, Go and Ile that Car"
Cohen-LongSteelRail, pp. 543-546, "Jerry, Go Ile That Car" (1 text, 1 tune)
Dean-FlyingCloud, pp. 26-27, "Jerry, Go Oil the Car" (1 text)
Belden-BalladsSongsCollectedByMissourFolkloreSociety, pp. 445-446, "The Old Section Boss" (1 text, very defective)
Sandburg-TheAmericanSongbag, pp. 360-361, "Jerry, Go an' Ile That Car" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-FolkSongsOfNorthAmerica 216, "Jerry, Go and Ile that Car" (1 text, 1 tune)
Botkin/Harlow-TreasuryOfRailroadFolklore, p. 441, "Jerry, Go and Ile That Car" (1 text, 1 tune)
DT 691, JERRYILE
Warde H. Ford, "Jerry, will you ile that car" [fragment] (AFS 4215 B2, 1939; on LC61, in AMMEM/Cowell)
Harry "Mac" McClintock, "Jerry, Go Ile That Car" (Victor 21521, 1928; on RRinFS) (on GrowOn3, ClassRR [as "Jerry. Go and Oil That Car"])
Art Thieme, "Jerry, Go & Oil That Car" (on Thieme06)
NOTES [113 words]: Cohen's detailed examination of this song notes the earliest publication, by Loomis in 1904, which has been repeatedly reprinted, often without acknowledgment (e.g. by Lomax in Cowboy Songs). Loomis concluded, after much research, that the song was written in 1881 by "Riley the Bum," who could not otherwise be identified.
Despite the fact that very many of the texts now in circulation derive from Loomis, the handful of independent texts are just that -- independent, often with very different "feel." The description above is basically of the Loomis version.
Interestingly, the name Larry (O')Sullivan seems to be nearly constant, even as the song shifts around him. - RBW
Last updated in version 3.5
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 2022 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.