Tuesday, November 14, 2006

That lonesome whistle

Trains have been the subject of story and song ever since the first steel rails were laid. In an earlier time, when travel was limited to how far and at what speed a horse could take you, the train represented freedom and far off places.

To the prisoner, hobo, and traveler the train represents freedom, to the heartbroken, a departing lover. There are dozens of songs relating the tragic death of an engineer racing to make up for lost time. There are songs sung in praise of famous luxury liners of the rails. The symbolism of the train inspires visions of freedom, power, lost love, new life, strong men, and tragic accidents. I would be willing to venture that only songs about love and relationships out number the songs about trains.

Big and powerful, the image of a locomotive is inspiring.
And then there’s that lonesome whistle.

Crowder Brothers - Depot Blues.mp3

Joe "Cannonball" Lewis - Train Whistle Nightmare.mp3


Blogger Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

I live within earshot of four different sets of rails and often walk my dog near yet another. I heard that train's whistle as it began its slow rise from the prairie into the mountains on a recent grim day. The sound chilled my already chill bones.

Seems to me, ahem, that songs about getting high may outnumber train songs, if only by a smidgeon.

November 14, 2006 10:09 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

You may have me there, Beer.

Love / trains / inebriation –That is a tough call.

I’ll have to go through my collection with a whole new view, and see if I can draw any conclusions.

Or the wife and I could share a bottle of wine and wait for the 10:35 to roll through.

All in the name of research, of course.

November 14, 2006 10:35 PM  

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