Wabash Cannonball, The

DESCRIPTION: In praise of the amazing Wabash Cannonball, a train which can apparently accomplish anything. The song mentions various places the train visits and the impression it makes on the townsfolk. It may close with a eulogy for "Daddy Claxton"
AUTHOR: Original ("TheGreat Rock Island Route") credited to J. A. Roff; rewritten as "Wabash Cannon Ball," perhaps by William Kindt, who copyrighted it; Cohen suspects the rewrite preceded Kindt's 1904 publication, and common tune is not the same as either Roff's or Kindt's
EARLIEST DATE: 1882 (sheet music, as "The Great Rock Island Route"; first use of the "Wabash Cannonball" title is Kindt, in 1904)
KEYWORDS: train railroading travel
FOUND IN: US(SE,So)
REFERENCES (8 citations):
Cohen-LSRail, pp. 373-381, "The Wabash Cannonball" (2 texts, one of them Kindt's, plus a text and sheet music cover of Roff's "The Great Rock Island Route," 1 tune)
Randolph 840, "The Wabash Cannonball" (1 text, 1 tune)
Randolph/Cohen, pp. 385-386, "The Wabash Cannonball" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 840)
Lomax-FSNA 220, "The Wabash Cannon Ball" (1 text, 1 tune)
Botkin-RailFolklr, p. 462, "The Wabash Cannonball" (1 text, 1 tune)
PSeeger-AFB, p. 85, "Wabash Cannonball" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-FSWB, p. 100 "The Wabash Cannonball" (1 text)
DT, WABASHCB*

Roud #4228
RECORDINGS:
Roy Acuff & his Crazy Tennesseeans, "Wabash Cannonball" ((Vocalion/OKeh 04466/Conqueror 9121/Conqueror 9128, 1938; rec. 1936) [despite the band title, Dynamite Hatcher sang lead on this recording]
Roy Acuff & his Smoky Mountain Boys, "Wabash Cannonball" (Columbia 37008/Columbia 37598/Columbia 20034, 1947) [Note: Some pressings of these issues used the Vocalion/OKeh master listed above]
Bill Carlisle, "Wabash Cannon Ball" (Decca 5713 [as Bill Carlisle's Kentucky Boys]/Melotone [probably Can.] 45326, 1939)
The Carter Family, "Wabash Cannonball" (Victor 23731, 1932; Montgomery Ward M-7444, 1938; Bluebird B-8350, 1940; rec. 1929)
Clark & Edans, "Wabash Cannonball" (Gennett, unissued, 1928)
Hugh Cross, "Wabash Cannonball" (Columbia 15439-D, 1929)
Delmore Brothers, "The Cannon Ball" (Bluebird B-7991, 1939; rec. 1938)
Roy Hall & his Blue Ridge Entertainers, "Wabash Cannonball" (Vocalion 04717/Conqueror 9230, 1938)
Bill Mooney & his Cactus Twisters, "Wabash Cannonball" (Imperial 1150, n.d.)
Morris Brothers, "Wabash Cannonball - No. 2" (Bluebird B-8252, 1939)
Pete Seeger, "Wabash Cannonball" (on PeteSeeger17)
Art Thieme, "Wabash Cannonball" (on Thieme04)
Doc Watson, "Wabash Cannonball" (on RitchieWatson1, RitchieWatsonCD1)
Mac Wiseman, "Wabash Cannonball" (Dot 1262, 1950s)

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "The Gatesville Cannonball" (tune)
cf. "We Work for Hay and Company" (tune)
cf. "The Boys at Ninety-Five" (tune)
cf. "The Gospel Cannonball" (lyrics)
SAME TUNE:
"Hail! Ye Brave Industrial Workers" (Greenway-AFP, p. 178)
"We Work for Hay and Company" (File: FowL26)
The Grand Coulee Dam (by Woody Guthrie) (Greenway-AFP, pp. 292-293; DT, GRNCOULE)
Delmore Brothers, "New Wabash Cannon Ball Blues" (Bluebird B-8404, 1940)
Delmore Brothers, "Gospel Cannon Ball" (Decca 5970, 1941)
Charles Stowe, "Carolina Cannonball" (on OBanks1)
Boomtown Bill (by Woodie Guthrie) (on Keynote 5000, 1942?; in Archie Green, "Woody's Oil Songs," published in Archie Green, editor, _Songs about Work: Essays in Occupational Culture for Richard A. Reuss_, Folklore Institute, Indiana University, 1993, p. 213)
File: R840

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 2014 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.