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 ("The Great 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
REFERENCES (8 citations):
Cohen-LongSteelRail, 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-OzarkFolksongs-Abridged, pp. 385-386, "The Wabash Cannonball" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 840)
Lomax-FolkSongsOfNorthAmerica 220, "The Wabash Cannon Ball" (1 text, 1 tune)
Botkin/Harlow-TreasuryOfRailroadFolklore, p. 462, "The Wabash Cannonball" (1 text, 1 tune)
Seeger-AmericanFavoriteBallads, p. 85, "Wabash Cannonball" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber/Silber-FolksingersWordbook, p. 100 "The Wabash Cannonball" (1 text)

Roud #4228
Roy Acuff & his Crazy Tennesseeans, "Wabash Cannon Ball" (Vocalion 04466/OKeh 04466/Conqueror 9121. 1938; Columbia 37008, 1946; 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]
Loy Bodine, "Wabash Cannon Ball" (Superior 2608. 1931)
Bill Carlisle's Kentucky Boys, "Wabash Cannon Ball" (Decca 5713/Melotone [Canada] 45326, 1939; Decca 46045, 1947)
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) (Vocalion 5377 [as "The Wabash Cannon Ball], c. 1928)
Delmore Brothers, "The Cannon Ball" (Bluebird B-7991/Montgomery Ward M-7677, 1939; rec. 1938); "The Wabash Cannon-Ball Blues" (Bluebird B-8404/Montgomery Ward M-7832, 1940)
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, ClassRR)
Mac Wiseman, "Wabash Cannonball" (Dot 1262, 1950s)

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)
"Hail! Ye Brave Industrial Workers" (Greenway-AmericanFolksongsOfProtest, p. 178)
"We Work for Hay and Company" (File: FowL26)
The Grand Coulee Dam (by Woody Guthrie) (Greenway-AmericanFolksongsOfProtest, pp. 292-293; DT, GRNCOULE; Greg Vandy with Daniel Person, _26 Songs in 30 Days: Woody Guthrie's Columbia River Songs and the Planned Promised Land in the Pacific Northwest_, Sasquatch Books, 2016, p. 32; (Woody Guthrie), __Roll On Columbia: The Columbia River Collection_, collected and edited by Bill Murlin, Sing Out Publications, 1991, pp. 44-45)
Delmore Brothers, "Gospel Cannon Ball" (Decca 5970, 1941; Decca 46049, 1947)
Charles Stowe, "Carolina Cannonball" (on OBanks1)
The Mine at Baie Verte (File: Guig263)
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)
The White Ghost Train (by Woody Guthrie; tune conjectured by Pete Seeger) (Woody Guthrie, __Roll On Columbia: The Columbia River Collection_, collected and edited by Bill Murlin, Sing Out Publications, 1991, pp. 84-85, with Seeger's notes on p. 83)
File: R840

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